“Prasnottara Ratna Malika” – Garland of Gems of question and answers – is a 67 verse poem by Sri Sankaracharya in Sanskrit. It is written in question and answer form, where both question and answers are short, pithy and yet deep in conveying the message. Some of the questions raised and answered are in general on life, philosophy and godliness. Given below are the selected gems that pertain to our everyday life and living.
Few Gems from Garland of Gems:
What is most desirable for human beings? Life dedicated to one’s and others’ welfare.
Who are thieves – The sense objects
Who is the enemy of one – Idleness
What is transient – Youth, wealth and life
What is priceless – That which is given at the right time
What is hell? – Being in another’s control
What is death? – Unintelligence. A state of utter ignorance
What bestows happiness – Being amongst good people
Where is one to be indifferent? – Towards bad people, another’s wife, another’s property
What should one strive for – To have good education, good medical treatments and habit of giving gifts
What is to be cultivated with affection – Compassion towards the helpless, friendship with the good
Who are the kind of people that one cannot correct? – The unintelligent, doubting, the cheerless and the ungrateful
Who can control – The one who speaks truth, caring and humble
Who is blind? – One who enjoys wrong doing
Who is dumb? – One who does not know how to speak – right words at the right time
Who is deaf? – One who does not listen to good advise
By whom is this world conquered? – By the person who has truthfulness and endurance.
What is hard to obtain – Charity along with sweet words, knowledge with humility, courage with patience, wealth with renunciation. These four auspicious things are hard to attain.
What is to be earned by people? – Knowledge, wealth, strength, fame, merit.
Which is the destroyer if all good qualities? – Greed.
Who is the enemy? – Lust.
What is to be well protected? – Good name, devoted wife and discernment.
What is the weapon for all? – Reason
Who are elderly – Those who know truth and one’s duty
What is destroyer of all good qualities? – Greed
What is the cause of decadence in family – The kind of behavior that one does to create heart burn in good people
Which place is good to stay – The neighborhood of virtuous people
Which place should one avoid – A place full of wicked men and ruled by greedy rulers
Whose words never fail – Those who observe truthfulness, silence and control of the mind.
What sustains the body – It is the operative quantum of karma that one has to fulfill in this life.
Who reaps the success in work? – One who works well in his chosen field and does concentrated work
Whom does disaster not strike? – one who follows the advice of elders and has control over his senses
Whom does goddess of wealth loves – one who is industrious without lethargy and just in conduct
Who will be happy in this world? – The rich person
What indeed is richness? – That by which there is fulfillment of wants
For whom there is no sorrow – One who is devoid of anger. Also a person who has devoted spouse and wealth
What is happiness? – The state of contentment
- Excerpts from “Prasnottara Ratna Malika” – Garland of gems of question and answers