A gift accompanied by soothing words
student. And alongside, Where is effort ordained? In learning, good medicine and charity.
What should the practical goals of life be? Knowledge, wealth, strength, fame and merit. But What is the destroyer of all good qualities? Greed.
Of course, there are predictable bits: What is as fleeting as lightning? The company of bad persons and young women and What makes a person free from sorrow? A submissive wife and abiding means of livelihood. At this point, we must consider that its a never-a-householder sanyasi speaking and how would he know? In fact hes told to go find out by a woman named Saraswati and smartly chooses to experience samsara (life, not the Guerlain perfume) as a king, not a woodcutter.
These questions and their mostly excellent answers are from the
the 67 Q&A in Sanskrit that he composed as a self-help book, sort of an ancient Seven Habits of Highly Effective People for men in the 8th century who had the right to be educated. Incidentally, among women, a respectable woman did not have this right but a courtesan did, perhaps to equip her to specialise as the thinking mans bimbo.
Whatever, the point is that a heap of Shankaras handouts make sense even today and the stuff about gender and caste can be edited right out, which may reduce the 67 by a few. But like he said, What adorns speech? Truth.