I first heard about Manache Shlok when I read in some book that Swami Chidananda ji (Late President, Divine Life Society) was very fond of this little book and always carried in his pocket. At that time, I was driven by inspiration to know what this Manache Shlok is. I had knowledge about Samarth Ramadas by that time as one of the greatest saints and gurus of our India, and that he was the guru of the greatest warrior and hero of our country, Chatrapathi Sivaji. Somehow, whenever I think of Samarth Ramadas, I am attracted and inspired by his whole being. And on another occasion when I was attending a Satsang with Pujya Swami Dayananda Saraswati of Arsha Vidya Gurukulam in Pennsylvania, Swamiji mentioned about Dasabodha written by Samarth Ramadas and how it is packed with highest knowledge of vedanta.
My brother was living in Pune at that time, and on my request, he got Manache Shlok, Dasbodha, Atmaram and Karunashtake of Samarth Ramadas. My happiness knew no bounds when I received the books. Since I am not Marathi by birth, my brother also purchased translations which I could use in my study. Fortunately, I came across a book called “Verses Addressed to the Mind” which are compilation of series of lectures that Swami Chidananda ji gave in Rishikesh Sivananda Ashram on Manache Shlok. I bought that book as well.
I started with Manache Shlok. It is at this moment I realized how fortunate I was to have learnt Hindi in my school years and get good speaking and writing knowledge ! Because of this, I was able to read great works of great masters in the upper and middle Indian geographical regions, and have the ability to read and understand languages like Marathi, Gujarati, Punjabi etc.
Manache Shlok is a beautiful work consisting of very simple verses with 4 lines in each verse. The presentation is simple, in that a simple person with simple knowledge can follow and grasp the sublime meaning that the author is presenting. As the title suggests, all these verses address the mind – teach it what is right and what is wrong, how one should live this life, how one should be devoted to Iswara, what qualities have to be cultivated, what tendencies and inclinations are to be avoided, what is auspicious and what is inauspicious, and throws light on the compassionate nature and glories of Iswara. Though I started from the first sloka, I would wander sometimes and pick up some verse from some page and it would be so nice and so connected.
I also read the book by Swami Chidananda ji, and felt extremely happy to read his exposition and the way his love and his passion for reciting the name of the Lord is expressed. I derived so much of inspiration from these two books. When Swami Prakashananda of Chinmaya Mission, Toronto came to visit us, he liked these two books and he took them. We also came across the audio of the rendition of manache shlok on youtube and liked it very much. Please find it below.
“Manache Shlok” book in Marathi can be purchased anywhere in India, I think. “Verses Addressed to the Mind” by Swami Chidananda ji can be bought from here
In Service of the Lord,
Aparna & Hari