Religion, Spirituality

Cluster of 12 blossoms – द्वादशमञ्जरिका (6) – Sankara shows us the mirror

In this shloka Sankara shows us the mirror and questions our attitude towards our elders and senior citizens in general. He asks us to see how one’s own family members treat their elderly relatives – Look at how we ignore them in conversations and how we seldom bother to listen to what they have to say. Sankara reminds us that we will get there too, and very soon. When old age and its associated ills is a given, why do we refuse to get off the treadmill of life? Why this mad rush? Why this unquenchable desire to acquire and hoard? Can’t we pause and look at life in all its pristine, unclothed, raw  beauty? This seems to be Sankara’s hidden message. This shloka is a wakeup call to all those who toil away in the hope that they will find happiness and rest at some distant time in the future… The shloka, its transliteration and translation below:

स्तावन्निजपरिवारो रक्तः ।
पश्चाज्जीवति जर्जरदेहे
वार्तां कोऽपि न पृच्छति गेहे ॥ ५॥
Yavad Vittauparjana-saktaha
Pashcaj-Jeevathi jarjara-dehe
Vartham Ko-api Na Pruchatthi Gehe

यावद्वित्तोपार्जन (As much as, As long as, As far as; gaining, acquiring, earning, wealth,  money) सक्त (Attached to, devoted, fond)
स्ताव (To that extent, that much) न्निज (One’s own) परिवारो (Family, Surrounded by) रक्तः (Blood relatives)
पश्चाज्जीवति (Towards the end of life, Old age) जर्जर (Infirm, Old, Unsteady) देहे (Body)
वार्तां (Welfare, Tidings, News) कोऽपि (Near, Going up to)  न (No) पृच्छति (Asking, Inquiring) गेहे (A house, Habitation)

As long as a man has strength, as long as he is able to earn wealth; look at how well he is treated. Look at how many friends he has. Look at how his kith and kin, family flock around him. However, when his aging body falters, and totters, nearing the time of his death, see how the very same people treat him. There is hardly a person who wants to walk up to him and ask him how he fares, if he is happy, if he needs anything…

2 thoughts on “Cluster of 12 blossoms – द्वादशमञ्जरिका (6) – Sankara shows us the mirror”

  1. The commentary on the last 2 shlokas were neat and crisp. However would like you to continue with the more elaborate style adopted in the first 3 shlokas, as it was even more informative.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are right. These two stanzas did not lend themselves to much elaboration nor was it possible to attach anecdotes to them. Will try to do that going forward wherever possible


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