In the second shloka Sankara actually advises us to adopt what has become fashionable now – “Minimalism” (in thought, word, and deed). The shloka is given below along with its purport, context and implied meaning as seen by me.
मूढ जहीहि धनागमतृष्णां
कुरु सद्बुद्धिं मनसि वितृष्णाम् ।
वित्तं तेन विनोदय चित्तम् ॥ २॥
Mooda Jahihi Dhan-aagama-Thrushnaam
Kuru Sad-Buddhim Manasi Vithrashnaam
Vittam Thena Vinodaya Chittam.
Today, Minimalism as a concept and principle is the new spirituality very popular in the West and so many Indians are running after this as well. Minimalism which is about de-cluttering (mind & matter) choosing quality over quantity, and training the mind to focus only on what is important is something that has been embedded in the social, cultural, and spiritual psyche of Indians from times immemorial and this stanza is a testimony to it.
In this shloka, Sankara addresses the “mind” directly:
मूढ (Ignorant, Stupid, Stupefied, Bewildered, Perplexed) जहीहि (mind) धनागमतृष्णां (Wealth-Acquisition-Thirst)
“Oh mind! When will you stop this ceaseless running after, this unquenchable thirst to acquire more and more wealth? Will you not stop to ponder, pause for a minute?“
कुरु (Kuruksethra) सद्बुद्धिं (Clear, Clarified mind) मनसि (Here, refers to the subtle mind, the seat of intellect, which perceives what the sense objects see, touch, smell, feel, and hear वितृष्णाम् (Free from desire, Content)
Kuru in my mind here, is an allegorical reference to the great battle of good versus evil on the battlefield of Kurukshetra which also must be fought within each individual mind as well.
“Oh mind! fight the Kurukshetra and emerge victorious, and with that clarified mind reflect on what is real and that which is unreal and remain anchored in contentment, free from the pulls of unquenchable desire“
यल्लभसे (In your present state, situation; what you get…) निज (is your own, innate, indigenous) कर्मोपात्तं (ripening of the fruits of past action – in this birth or leftover from previous)
“Remember Oh mind! your present situation and what you reap now, is the result of past actions (both in this birth and previous) and is of your own doing, and you alone are to blame. It is only the ripening of the fruits of your past action.“
वित्तं (found, discovered, gained, acquired, property, wealth) तेन (for that reason) विनोदय (Removing, driving away, crazy, funny, gratification, diversion) चित्तम् (observing, meditate upon, intellectual discrimination)
“Be careful mind! For what you do in the present now, determines your future. The mind is strange and funny and can divert you from the present to dwell on past riches, wealth, and property. Observe and meditate on the present moment and build your intellectual discrimination so that dispassion becomes your law“
- वित्तं: [V.S. Apte. Sanskrit-English Dictionary;2015. Pg-577;col-1;P-13;L-24]
- विनोदय: [V.S. Apte. Sanskrit-English Dictionary;2015. Pg-581;col-1;P-15;L-1-5]
- चित्तम्: [V.S. Apte. Sanskrit-English Dictionary;2015. Pg-237;col-2;P-11;L-1-3-6]
- धनागमतृष्णां: [V.S. Apte. Sanskrit-English Dictionary;2015. Pg-88;col-2;P-10;L-3]; [Pg-271;col-2;P-9;L-1-2]; [Pg-303;col-1;P-25;L-1-2]