(Translation from : Maneesha Panchakam by Swami Chinmayananda)
The word 'Maneeshaa' in Sanskrit means conviction /conclusive wisdom and panchakam means a collection of five shlokas. The stotra reveals the normally strong association with the body and the mind which makes even a strong person like Aacharya Sankara starts following a mechanistic mode of life.
The story behind this Panchakam begins with a Aadi Shankara going for a bath at the Ganga in Kashi along with his disciples. Shankara saw a dirty sweeper coming along. He shouted out to him to get out of his way. This was not only a moment of carelessness, but it was a seepage forth of the customs of that time, the very customs that Shankara sought to fight. The response of the sweeper and reply by the sage forms the body of the Panchakam. Shankara sees the divine in the sweeper, and heralds him as his Guru since the sweeper is able to see that he is not what is seen, but he is part of that Self which is compartmentalized into all of us.
Sweeper to Shankara:
अन्नामयादान्नमयम्थ्वा चैतन्यमेव चैतान्यात ।
द्विजवर दूरीकर्तु वाञछ्सी किं ब्रूहि गच्छ गच्छेति ॥
Oh! the best among the twice born, by saying 'move away - move away', do you wish to move matter from matter, or you mean to separate Spirit from the Spirit?
किं गंगाम्बुनी बिम्बितेओम्ब्र्मनौ चंदाल्वातिपयः
पूरे चंत्रमस्ती कच्च्न्घतिम्रित्कुम्भ्योवोर्म्ब्रे।
Is there any difference in the 'jewel of the sky' when it is reflected in the waters of the Gangaa or in a ditch in the way side of a slum? Is there any difference in the space as such, be it in a golden pot or in a mud pot? In the ocean of the self existing Blissful consciousness, in the inner Self, devoid of thought ripples, how can there be this delusory distinction" this is a braahmana and this is a dog eater?
Shankara replies as follows:
जग्रत्स्वप्न्सुषुप्तिषु स्फुत्तारा या संविदुज्ज्रुम्भ्ते
या ब्रह्मिदिपिपीलिकान्त्त्नुशु प्रोता जगत्साक्षिणी ।
सैवाहं न च दुश्यवास्त्विती दृढप्रज्ञापि यस्यास्ति चेत
चन्दलोअस्तु स तु द्विजोअस्तु गुरुरित्येषा मनीषा मम ॥ १ ॥
This indeed is my deep conviction: he who has realised that he is not the seen, but that he is the one Consciousness that illumines all experiences during the waking, dream and deep - sleep states, the one Consciousness that is the sole witness of the entire play of the universe, the one Consciousness which is the very Life Spark in all forms from the Creator down to the ant, he alone is my Guru, be he a sweeper, be he a braahmana.
ब्रह्मैवाह्मिदम जगच्च सकलं चिन्मत्रिविस्तारितं
सर्वं चैताद्विध्य्या त्रिगुनायोशेषं मया कल्पितम ।
इथं यस्य दृढा मतिः सुखतरे नित्ये परे निर्मले
चन्दलोअस्तु स तु द्विजोअस्तु गुरुरित्येषा मनीषा मम ॥ २ ॥
He who, in his direct experience of the Immaculate Supreme - Bliss - Eternal, has come to the firm understanding that the entire universe is but an extensive play of Pure Consciousness, all projected by his 'ignorance' expressed in the three moods of his mind, while he himself is but that Brahman - he alone is my Guru, be he a sweeper, be he a braahmana.
शास्वन्न्स्वरमेवा विश्वमखिलं निश्चित्य वाचा गुरोः
नित्यं ब्रह्म निरंतरं विमृशता निव्याज्शान्तात्मना ।
भूतं भावि च दुष्क्रुतं प्रदहता संविन्मये पावके
प्ररब्धाय समर्पितं स्वव्पुरित्येशा मनीषा मम ॥ ३ ॥
He who has done long reflections upon his teacher's words that this world of change is permanently in a state of flux; he who has tamed his mind to a true state of quiet and poise; he who has brought his mind, devoid of all dissimilar thoughts, constantly to contemplate upon Brahman; he who has burnt up all his past and future residual-vaasanas in the fire of Pure Consciousness; he who has offered his body to live through and exhaust its present destiny he alone is my Guru, 'be he a sweeper, be he a braahmana.'
या तियार्न्ग्नार्देव्ताभिराह्मित्यांतः स्फुटा गृह्यते
यभ्दासा हृदयाक्ष्देहविश्या भांति स्वतोअचेतनाः ।
तां भास्यैः पिहितार्क्मंदाल्निभां स्फूर्ति सदा भावयन
योगी निवृत्मंसो हि गुरुरित्येषा मनीषा मम ॥ ४ ॥
A yogee with his hushed mind lives, meditating upon That, which expresses as 'I--I' the subjective individuality in all creatures: plant, animal, human and angels; That, by whose Light, mind and senses and body are all enlivened to activity, even though they are all made up of inert and insentient matter; That, which illumines everything as Sun from behind a bank of clouds - He alone is my Guru: this is my firm conviction.
यात्सौख्याम्बुधिलेश्लेशत इमे श्कद्यो निव्रुता
याच्चित्ते नितरां प्रशान्त्कालने लब्ध्वा मुनिनिर्व्रुतः ।
यस्मिन्नित्यासुखाम्बुधाऊ गलित्धिब्रह्मैव न ब्रह्मविद
यः कश्सित्सा सुरेंद्रव्न्दित्प्दो नूनं मनीषा मम ॥ ५ ॥
During its moments of utter quiet, a yogee's mind gains that Ocean of Bliss, a tiny droplet from which is sufficient to make Indra and others feel contented and happy. Such a one who has dissolved his individual intellect in this Eternal Ocean of Bliss, is verily Brahman, not a mere Knower of Brahman - That rare one, whose feet are worshipped even by the very King of Gods indeed, he alone is my Guru; this is my firm conviction