Friday, September 16, 2016

"The Man in the simple Loin Cloth (Kaupeenam) is the Lucky One!" --- Adi Shankara.

Kaupeena Panchakam

This is a very short poem with five stanzas which glorifies the life of a Sannyasi (Ascetic). An ascetic in India is supposed to give away all his wealth before entering in to renunciation and get a loin cloth (kaupeena) from his teacher. That would be his only property. (Notes taken from youtube link.)

It has religious significance attached to asceticism for the Hindus. Bhagavata Purana enjoins that a true ascetic shouldn't wear anything other than a kaupina. Sometimes Lord Shiva himself is depicted wearing Kaupina. Even Lord Murugan of Palani and Hanuman are said to be wearing this garment. Langot or kaupinam is associated with celibacy. Sri Shankaracharya composed a verse called Kaupina Panchakam to assert the significance of asceticism. Famous Maharashtrian saint Samarth Ramdas is always depicted wearing a langot in popular pictures.

It is beautifully sung here:

Vedantha Vakhyeshu Sada ramantho,
Bhikshannamathrena trishtimantha,
Vishokamantha karane charantha,
Kaupeenavantha Khalu bhaghyavantha 1

Always thinking about words of philosophy,
Always getting satisfied with food got by begging,
And always without trace of sorrow, thinking of the inner self,
The man with the loin cloth is indeed the lucky one.

Moolam tharo kevalam ashrayantha,
Panidhvayam bhokthuma manthrayantha,
Kandhamiva sreemapi kuthsayantha,
Kaupeenavantha Khalu bhaghyavantha 2

Always depending on only roots and plants,
Always taking only two hands full of food,
And always thinking of wealth as a torn piece of cloth,
The man with the loin cloth is indeed the lucky one.

Swananda bhava pari thushti mantha,
Sushantha sarvendriya vruthi mantha,
Aharnisam brahma sukhe ramantha,
Kaupeenavantha Khalu bhaghyavantha 3

Always getting elated in his own thoughts,
Always peacefully controlling all his senses,
And always drowned in the pleasure of Brahmam,
The man with the loin cloth is indeed the lucky one.

Dehadhi bhavam parivarthayantha,
Swathmana athmanyavalokayantha,
Naantha na Madhyam na bahi smarantha,
Kaupeenavantha Khalu bhaghyavantha 4

Always witnessing his own changes of the body,
Who is seeing himself as his soul,
And who never thinks of ends, middle and outside,
The man with the loin cloth is indeed the lucky one.

Brahmaksharam pavanamucharantho,
Brahmahamasmeethi vibhavayantha,
Bhikshashano dikshu paribramayantha,
Kaupeenavantha Khalu bhaghyavantha 5

Always reciting the name of Brahmam with devotion,
Always thinking that he himself is Brahmam,
And who wanders aimlessly depending on alms obtained,
The man with the loin cloth is indeed the lucky one.


The above has been translated to English by Shri PR Ramachander. The first two pictures are of Kanchi Mahaperiyava and Ramana Maharshi in a rare one. The third is Samartha Ramdas.



  1. என்னப்பன் எம்பிரான்
    எல்லார்க்குந் தான்ஈ சன்
    துன்னம்பெய் கோவணமாக்
    கொள்ளுமது என்னேடீ
    மன்னுகலை துன்னுபொருள்
    மறைநான்கே வான்சரடாத்
    தன்னையே கோவணமாச்
    சாத்தினன்காண் சாழலோ.

    என் அப்பன், எம்பிரான், எல்லார்க்கும் தலைவன், அப்படிப் பட்டவன் தைத்த துணியைக் கோவணமாகக் கொண்ட தற்குக் காரணம் யாது? என்று புத்தன் வினவ, கலைகளையும், வேதங் களையும் சரடாகக் கொண்டமைந்த பொருளாகிய கோவணத்தைச் சாத்திக் கொண்டான் என்று ஊமைப்பெண் விடை சொன்னாள்.

    Beautiful one shared by Karthi Nagaratnam.

  2. Your posts are quite different from others and exclusive as always!