Shankara’s Crest Jewel of Discrimination

Paper Info
Page count 6
Word count 1648
Read time 6 min
Topic Religion
Type Essay
Language 🇺🇸 US


Shankara was known to be a great teacher who used his teachings to criticize the religious traditions and the philosophy behind them. Some of the major concepts that emerged in Shankara’s Crest Jewel of Discrimination were rejection, self-discipline, and discrimination. These concepts were widely discussed and they were used to tackle ignorance during decision making. Discrimination talked about the way in which people looked at different things in life using different perspectives. Self-discipline on the other hand was the sense of worth that people demanded from society, depending on how one carried him or herself. In this book, Shankara talked about the ignorance that people had in their true nature, which made them suffer and bear the pain.

He said that people longed for happiness, but they did not know how to go about it, because they did not understand who they were and what they wanted in their lives. He said that self-knowledge helped to do away with ignorance. Elimination of ignorance helped to deal with the false perception that people had about life. Shankara’s teachings which were based on Advaita Vedanta were for everyone in the society. Being a Hindu did not limit Shankara’s teachings to Hindus only, but they became applicable in all religions. The writer discussed the path leading to God’s wishes with the use of knowledge.

The poem

The poem at the beginning of the book talked about the shattering of illusions, which people had created in their minds. He talked about the world in general and said that people needed to understand life as a whole. Shankara, in this poem, tried to show us that we should always be able to solve problems in our lives when they occurred and that was why he used questions in this poem.

Creation and destruction

Shankara said that in life, creation and destruction took place inevitably. He used the ocean to explain how waves formed and died with time. Waves were used to depict temporal situations in life. The water then depicted things in life that were eternal. Shankara also brought to our attention that the body and the spirit were different. He used the example of gold to explain that the wealth that people worshiped was not eternal, but something that could be created and destroyed. People were to treasure and take care of their spirits because bodies were known to age and eventually die while the spirit remained eternal.

Shankara’s Crest Jewel of Discrimination had a description that was precise and also very comprehensive on the nature and existence of God. This book gave teachings on Brahman and Atman. The teachings focused on the differentiation or the discrimination made on realities of life and what was not real. Atman was viewed to be in existence and that everything else which people believed in was just an illusion. A state of duality was established between Atman and Brahman; this meant that people did not exist physically in real life. Shankara viewed life as a dream which people lived every day and that was why he said that the main goal in life was for people to discover themselves at the Atman.

Shankara then talked of the aspirant, who after self-realization was supposed to have denial or reject some of the pleasures that the world had to offer. Individuals in this book were advised to distance themselves from their bodies and focus on eternity. He used examples such as the snake and rope to explain Maya. The three Gunas: Rajas, Tamas, and Sattwa were also used to discuss Maya. He also used superimposition to demonstrate Brahman. On the discussion about Rajas, we found that it enabled the creation of motion, gave energy, and helped people to preserve the same energy. Rajas were known to help Tamas and Sattwa carry out their activities. The Rajas helped humans to realize the truth about their lives; it gave sentiments that were fine. Tamas was about the darkness which clouded life, such as death. Among the three Gunas, Tamas was ranked in the lowest position.

Sattwa symbolized purity and it was supposed to purify the environment in which people lived. It advocated that individuals were fed on proper diet so that the brain did not become affected in any way. Sattwa also did not allow people to consume food obtained from hurting an animal in order to keep evil at bay.

Shankara’s text opened people’s eyes toward their enlightenment in spiritual path. His text made people view keenly the practices and believes that the society had to offer. The social norms were also questioned and customs helped to separate the acceptable behavior from the non acceptable ones.

The Atman and the five coverings

The five coverings which Shankara discussed were greed, anger, delusion, arrogance and doubt. Arrogance came to be experienced when superiors suppressed the inferior people.Anger restrained people from thinking straight and Shankara urged people to be able manage their anger so that they did not regret later for their actions. Greed was demonstrated when people wanted to acquire all the wealth in the world at the expense of others. While, doubt arose from not accepting the truth. Delusion arose from people not knowing what reality was and often became frustrated when things did not turn out as planned. These coverings were brought about as a result of thinking confusions. They could however be removed gradually.

Destiny and free will

Karmas actions decided ones destiny or fate. It talked about people planning every move in their lives carefully in order to acquire the desired results. He said that there could be a script that had been drawn before we were born, which controlled our activities in life. He continued to say that there was every possibility that the entire act was out of the script during an unconscious state of mind. However he said that not being able to identify who we were as dictated in the script made people have a lot of stress and thus brought suffering in people’s lives.

He illustrated further and said that when we took part in acting we needed to do our best for the play to be perfect and that was why the moment the play came to an end people prepared for the next drama. That was why those who performed well in plays always got hired to act in dramas which were better and thus earned higher income.It was neither destiny nor fate that was responsible for the situations that people found themselves in ( Vivekachudamani 78).

Path and achievement

Yoga played a big part in determining the path that people followed in life. Self discipline was also very important in helping people become more knowledgeable about life. He said that the goals that people had in life were not about being better than others because that created an ego that needed to be gratified. Shankara said that people had to be very humble so that they could be in a position to achieve the spiritual blessings that they had long awaited. He continued to say that those who took spiritual safaris and also went for retreats which were exotic were on the wrong path. He said that there was a path which was true and it was within people.

This discussion arose because he told people that in life there was nothing to achieve because all one needed to know was where they were and what they were. He said discoveries only came when people looked within themselves.

Words and language

The words that people used in life to describe circumstances bore differences and the wrong message was sent out to the people. The right choice of words had to be used so that the meaning of sentences could not be distorted. This posed a great challenge to Shankara teachings, because he had to write his text in Hindu and that was why his work was translated later. Before the translation, this meant that only Hindus could read the materials that he had written. This was not effective because he could not reach out to many people as he would have wanted to. For example, we found that the word God was used in English and we know that the usage of God was different from what this text was referring to.

Atman was described as liberation. Human beings had cravings which they found hard to disassociate themselves from. Shankara advised people that in order to reject these cravings they needed to meditate on daily basis at two times in a day. Practicing discrimination took place due to spiritual differences and dedicated efforts to being formless. It talked against seeking pleasures from things such as drugs, sex, movies, surfing on the internet and above all, taking alcohol. Atman was described as having been there always in life. Samadhi was achieved due to meditation that was complete, during which the mind was very conscious. People achieved equilibrium in Samadhi and that was what Shankara stressed more on.


This book tends to be repetitive on the discussion of Atman because it constantly stated about being real. It also kept repeating about Brahman which was said to be almost identical to Atman. Shankara’s Crest Jewel of Discrimination increased people’s awareness on issues that affected them in life.

This book played the role of staging a foundation to the beliefs of Hindu people and hence was seen as an important part of spiritual heritage globally. However this book was very inspirational and it helped me a lot in viewing life in a broader perspective. This book has contributed a lot to philosophy and I would recommend all people to read in order to discover themselves. The author was eloquent and a tackled issue very tactfully in this book.Wisdom was greatly applied in writing this book and it tackles questions that the reader might have in mind while reading it.

Works Cited

Vivekachudamani, Shankara.Shankara’s Crest-Jewel of Discrimination. London: Vedanta Press, 2000.Pgs 2-134.

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NerdyHound. (2022, May 22). Shankara's Crest Jewel of Discrimination. Retrieved from


NerdyHound. (2022, May 22). Shankara's Crest Jewel of Discrimination.

Work Cited

"Shankara's Crest Jewel of Discrimination." NerdyHound, 22 May 2022,


NerdyHound. (2022) 'Shankara's Crest Jewel of Discrimination'. 22 May.


NerdyHound. 2022. "Shankara's Crest Jewel of Discrimination." May 22, 2022.

1. NerdyHound. "Shankara's Crest Jewel of Discrimination." May 22, 2022.


NerdyHound. "Shankara's Crest Jewel of Discrimination." May 22, 2022.


NerdyHound. 2022. "Shankara's Crest Jewel of Discrimination." May 22, 2022.

1. NerdyHound. "Shankara's Crest Jewel of Discrimination." May 22, 2022.


NerdyHound. "Shankara's Crest Jewel of Discrimination." May 22, 2022.