Few Gems from – Question-Answer Gems of Sri Sankaracharya

“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