The Viveka Chudamani which literally means "The Crest-Jewel of Discrimation" is a profound work of Adi Shankaracharya highlighting advaita Vedanta philosophy. Adi Sanakarcharya is renowned for his commentaries on Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita and Brahma Sutras. At a time when spiritual texts were confined to pundits and Brahmins, Adi Shankara composed many sub-texts in simple Sanskrit to help common people understand the gist of Vedas and Upanishadas. They became known as Prakarana Granthas. Shankara’s ‘Viveka Chudamani’ is the crown jewel of such texts.
Viveka Chudamani consists of 580 verses in Sanskrit, and unlike other well known scriptures, it is not divided into chapters, sections or sargas. It is written as a form of dialogue between the spiritual master and the disciple. In the verses, the master explains to his disciple the nature of the Atman and the ways to realize it.
Sri Shankara begins with salutaions to his spiritual master, Sri Govinda and in subsequent verses elaborates on the significance of Self Realization, ways to reach it, and the characteristics of a Guru. It criticizes attachment to the body and explains the various Shariras, Kosas, Gunas, Senses and Pranas. It teaches the disciple the ways to attain Self realization, methods of meditation and introspection of the Atman. It concludes with the denial of Pluralism and the description of state of Self Realization.