From “Crest Jewel of Discrimination” by Adi Shankara

Adi Shankara - 'Crest Jewel of Discrimination' explanation by Michael Mamas“Arthasya nishchayo drishto vicharena hitoktitah; Na snanena, na danena pranayamashatena va.” – “By reflection, reasoning and instructions of teachers, the truth is known; not by ablutions, not by making donations, nor by performing hundreds of breath control exercises.”

Adi Shankara spelled it out for everyone. But few listen. It seems the last thing people want to do is think, reason, reflect, ponder, and discern. Unfortunately, people often view spirituality as an escape into emotionalism or desire for someone or something else to carry their cross. Spirituality should be a determined, relentless pursuit of Truth.

View your understanding of spirituality as something that must be refined, deepened, evolved over time. It is not an understanding that should be attained, put in a box, and rigidly adhered to. Evolution means change… advancement.

Ablutions, donations, breathing exercises, etc. when done properly can of course all be of value. However, first and foremost is discernment… discrimination. Remarkably, discernment is sometimes viewed as blasphemous. Questioning is considered dangerous, disrespectful doubting. Instead, questioning is the steadfast pursuit of deeper understanding.

Discernment is not just done with the intellect. You can justify anything with the intellect and people do. Thoughts are limitless. How you feel about those thoughts is what matters. But fine feelings are what is important. Superficial feelings and emotions are all too often based upon indoctrination, bias, personal childhood issues, and a myriad of limited judgmental notions.

Discernment is the integration of the surface of your being with the depth. Proper meditation is the most powerful tool of discernment. To advance spiritually, humanity must deepen the understanding of what spirituality is. Spirituality blossoms from within. It is not an indoctrination. No gardener would ever take the petals of a bud and peel them back to make a blossom. Discernment facilitates the natural blossoming from within.

© Michael Mamas. All rights reserved.


  1. Powerful blog. My favorite Michael Mamas quote from this blog is: “View your understanding of spirituality as something that must be refined, deepened, evolved over time…. Evolution means change… advancement.” This blog does a nice job of both clarifying and giving a feel for the importance of continuing to realize we don’t know and going ever deeper to learn more. I feel like this orientation towards spiritual growth is part of what stands out with your students.

  2. This is an amazing blog! I love how clearly and completely the concept of descernment is explained. Empowering.

  3. Another great blog! I particularly liked your comments about discernment.

  4. My favorite blog yet. So clear and concise and directly on point. Thank you

  5. Your explanation of discernment is powerful and clear. It reminds me of your blog which talked about swimming, not holding on to a bottom line. Our understanding must be allowed to evolve over time. And discernment is not just about intellect but seeking the finest feelings at the depth of our being. Thank you.

  6. I have put out great effort in many arenas of life and some of them have produced great results while others..well..not as much. The results I have experienced from what you teach Brahmarshi have created a brand new reality scale that has no limit..and although unmatched..the needle is just starting to move.

  7. Many times when I don’t have answers to problems I use the tools you have given me. The more I use them the easier the answers come. Thank you for this wonderful gift.

  8. Striving to know the elusive infinite – the process is a wonder – the goal unfathomable.

  9. This is such a great blog. Once again it brings me a sense of relief that my self reflection and honesty are more important than doing breathing exercises. I remember in class you said spiritual growth should be inside out instead of outside in. Thank you Brahmarshi, life has so many challenges, but I can always count on your consistent teachings.

  10. I too enjoy reading your blogs on discernment. Thank you for leading the way.

  11. Really key point, I feel: “Spirituality blossoms from within. It is not an indoctrination.”

  12. Jorge,
    You are absolutely 100% right. That is why I say that a spiritual teacher is like a gardener assisting the nature blossoming of the plants in the garden. Plants blossom from within themselves, naturally. Deep inside you already know everything because you are already one with everything. It is just a matter of awakening to that inner knowing. That process is subtle.. highly illusive.