30: SHANKARA'S ONE HUNDRED VERSES (SHATA-SHLOKI)
The title means ‘A Century of Verses’. It actually consists of 101 four-line verses, all of the same metre with 21 syllables in each quarter. The work is a capsuled version of the whole spectrum of advaita, straight from the Master. Because it is poetry, it spares us the difficult terrain of long-winding arguments and dialectics in prose that is characteristic of the commentaries or Bhashyas. So even those of us who are beginners to advaita, as well as those who are not comfortable with Sanskrit, can appreciate it. And further, unlike the commentaries, it could probably have been ‘spoken’ out by the Acharya rather than composed in a ‘written’ manner. Consequently there is an added style – which, in addition, includes the usual majesty of Shankara’s writing -- of a purposeful extempore after-dinner conversation, the poetic impact of which may be enjoyed more if we know the language. I recommend it to every reader, who has any interest in advaita. Indeed I would like to call it:
“Triple A – FAQ on advaita”
– standing for “Authentic Answers from the Acharya to Frequently Asked Questions on advaita”. Some of the shlokas would probably admit a lengthy discussion. Many shlokas would correct the wrong fear current among newcomers to advaita that it might after all only be a dry philosophy far removed from humane and ethical considerations.
EACH PAGE IN WHAT FOLLOWS COVERS FIVE SHLOKAS
GO TO 30.01 30.02 30.03 30.04