Thanks to Hariram for pointing to some of the other commentaries available on Maneesha Panchakam. I will try to procure them soon and share them in the forum.
On getting beckoned by Acharya Sankara to move away, Lord Vishwanatha (in the form of Chandala) humbly lashes a few questions on the Acharya. There are two verses uttered by the Chandala. We will see the first verse today.
Annamayat annamayam athava chaitanyameva chaitanyat.
Yativara doorikartum vaanchasi kim broohi gaccha gaccheti.
Meaning: “O best among the ascetics! By uttering ‘Move Away’ ‘Move Away’ do you wish to move this body made of food from another body made of food or do you mean to move Consciousness from Consciousness. Do tell me”
Though the words of the Chandala are poignant, he still maintains his humble attitude and has huge respect for the Acharya. This is evident as he addresses the Acharya as the best among Yatis (a Yati is one who is striving for Liberation from Samsara - Mukti). Nevertheless, the Chandala wants to know what Sankara meant by saying “Move Away”.
The source for the body is food, irrespective of whether it is a Brahmin body or a Sudra body. As such body is matter and it is inert. How can an inert object move away from another inert object? Can matter move away from matter? This is the first clarification sought by the Chandala.
As per the Sastras, Consciousness (Chaitanya) is all pervading. Irrespective of whether it is Acharya Sankara or Chandala, the Consciousness is the same. That being the case, how and where can Consciousness move away? This is the second doubt raised by the Chandala.
We will see the next verse uttered by the Chandala in the next email.