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Reality in Forty Verses (Ulladu Narpadu)

from Collected Works of Sri Ramana Maharshi

Once Bhagavan composed twenty Tamil stanzas containing his important teachings. They were not written in any particular order to form a poem. Sri Muruganar therefore suggested that Bhagavan should write twenty stanzas more to make it the conventional forty. Accordingly, Bhagavan composed twenty more stanzas. Out of these forty, avyakanta !anapati Muni selected two as the invocatory stanzas. Then Bhagavan wrote two more to complete the forty. Some of the stanzas were translations from Sanskrit, "ut as devotees wanted all the forty verses to "e original they were eliminated and new stanzas composed in their place. The verses were all arranged in a continuous order to form a poem. #ater, a supplement consisting of a second forty verses was added. So indifferent to authorship was Bhagavan that he did not write all those supplementary verses himself. $hen he came upon a suita"le one he used it %% mostly translations from Sanskrit %% and when not, he made one. The verses eliminated from the original forty verses were included in the supplement.&
& The supplement verses he composed are italicized. Those verses which he took from other te'ts are the (nvocation, verses &%), *, the final sentence of verse &+, &,%-., -/, -) and -*%/.. The original sources of these verses have "een 0uoted at the end of each verse. (n a few cases, the e'act origins have not "een confirmed.

These eighty verses are the most comprehensive e'position of the Maharshi1s teaching. A num"er of translations have "een made and commentaries written on them. They have "een pu"lished as separate "ooks "y the ashram under the titles 2lladu 3arpadu, Sad 4idya and Truth 5evealed. Bhagavan translated these verses into Telugu prose under the name of 2nnadi 3alu"adi and into Malayalam verse under the name of Saddarsanam.

&. 2nless 5eality e'ists, can thought of it arise6 Since, devoid of thought, 5eality e'ists within as 7eart, how to know the 5eality we term the 7eart6 To know That is merely to "e That in the 7eart. +. $hen those who are in dread of death seek refuge at the feet of the deathless, "irthless #ord Supreme, their ego and attachments die8 and they, now deathless, think no more of death.

The Text
&. Since we know the world, we must concede for "oth a common Source, single "ut with the power of seeming many. The picture of names and forms, the onlooker, the screen, the light that illumines %% all these are verily 7e. +. On three entities %% the individual, !od and the world %% every creed is "ased. That 9the One "ecomes the three1 and that 9always the three are three1, are said only while the ego lasts. To lose the 9(1 and in the Self to stay is the State Supreme.+

2 The first sentence may also be rendered thus: Can there be Knowledge of Reality other than existing as Reality?

-. 9The $orld is true18 93o, it is a false appearance18 9The $orld is Mind18 93o, it is not18 9The $orld is pleasant18 93o, it is not1 %% $hat avails such talk6 To leave the world alone and know the Self, to go "eyond all thought of 9One1 and 9Two1, this egoless condition is the common goal of all. /. (f Self has form, the world and !od likewise have form. (f Self is without form, "y whom and how can form :of world and !od; "e seen6 $ithout the eye, can there "e sight or spectacle6 The Self, the real <ye, is infinite. =. The "ody is made up of the five sheaths8- in the term "ody all the five are included. $ithout the "ody the world is not. 7as one without the "ody ever seen the world6 >. The world is made up of the five kinds of sense perceptions and nothing else. And those perceptions are felt as o"?ects "y the five senses. Since through the senses the mind alone perceives the world, is the world other than the mind6 ). Though the world and mind rise and fade together, the world shines "y the light of the mind. The ground whence the world and mind arise, and wherein they set, that @erfection rises not nor sets "ut ever shines. That is 5eality. ,. 2nder whatever name or form we worship (t, (t leads us on to knowledge of the nameless, formless A"solute. Aet, to see one1s true Self in the A"solute, to su"side into (t and "e one with (t, this is the true nowledge of the Truth. *. 9Twos1 and 9threes1 depend upon one thing, the ego. (f one asks in one1s 7eart, 9$hat is this ego61 and finds it, they slip away. Only those who have found this know the Truth, and they will never "e perple'ed./

3. The five sheaths include the mental. !Twos! are "airs li#e "leasure$"ain% #nowledge$ignorance& !threes! are triads li#e the #nower% #nowledge and the #nown.
&.. There is no knowledge without ignorance8 and without knowledge ignorance cannot "e. To ask, 9$hose is this knowledge6 $hose this ignorance61 and thus to know the primal Self, this alone is nowledge. &&. $ithout knowing the Self that knows, to know all o"?ects is not knowledge8 it is only ignorance. Self, the ground of knowledge and the non%Self, "eing known, "oth knowledge and ignorance fall away. &+. True nowledge is "eing devoid of knowledge as well as ignorance of o"?ects. nowledge of o"?ects is not true knowledge. Since the Self shines self%luminous, with nothing else for (t to know, with nothing else to know (t, the Self is

nowledge. 3escience (t is not. &-. The Self that is Awareness, that alone is true. The knowledge which is various is ignorance. And even ignorance, which is false, cannot e'ist apart from the Self. Balse are the many ?ewels, for apart from gold, which alone is true, they cannot e'ist. &/. 9Aou1 and 9he1 %% these appear only when 9(1 does. But when the nature of the 9(1 is sought and the ego is destroyed, 9you1 and 9he1 are at an end. $hat shines then as the One alone is the true Self. &=. @ast and future are dependent on the present. The past was present in its time and the future will "e present too. <ver%present is the present. To seek to know the future and the past, without knowing the truth of time today, is to try to count without the num"er 9One1. &>. $ithout us there is no time nor space. (f we are only "odies, we are caught up in time and space. But are we "odies6 3ow, then and always %% here, now and everywhere %% we are the same. $e e'ist, timeless and spaceless we. &). To those who do not know the Self and to those who do, the "ody is the 9(1. But to those who do not know the Self the 9(1 is "ounded "y the "ody8 while to those who within the "ody know the Self the 9(1 shines "oundless. Such is the difference "etween them. &,. To those who do not know and to those who do, the world is real. But to those who do not know, 5eality is "ounded "y the world8 while to those who know, 5eality shines formless as the ground of the world. Such is the difference "etween them. &*. The de"ate, 9Coes free will prevail or fate61 is only for those who do not know the root of "oth. Those who have known the Self, the common source of freewill and of fate, have passed "eyond them "oth and will not return to them. +.. To see !od and not the Self that sees is only to see a pro?ection of the mind. (t is said that !od is seen "y him alone who sees the Self8 "ut one who has lost the ego and seen the Self is none other than !od. +&. $hen scriptures speak of 9seeing the Self1 and 9seeing !od1, what is the truth they mean6 7ow to see the Self6 As the Self is one without a second, it is impossi"le to see it. 7ow to see !od6 To see 7im is to "e consumed "y 7im. ++. $ithout turning inwards and merging in the #ord %% it is 7is light that shines within the mind and lends it all its light %% how can we know the #ight of lights with the "orrowed light of the mind6

+-. The "ody says not it is 9(1. And no one says, D(n sleep there is no 9(1.D $hen 9(1 arises all :other; things arise. $hence this 9(1 arises, search with a keen mind. +/. The "ody which is matter says not 9(1. <ternal Awareness rises not nor sets. Betwi't the two, "ound "y the "ody, rises the thought of 9(1. This is the knot of matter and Awareness. This is "ondage, ?iva, su"tle "ody, ego. This is samsara, this is the mind. +=. 7olding a form it rises8 holding a form it stays8 holding and feeding on a form it thrives. #eaving one form, it takes hold of another. $hen sought, it takes to flight. Such is the ego%ghost with no form of its own. +>. $hen the ego rises all things rise with it. $hen the ego is not, there is nothing else. Since the ego thus is everything, to 0uestion 9$hat is this thing61 is the e'tinction of all things. +). 9That1 we are, when 9(1 has not arisen. $ithout searching whence the 9(1 arises, how to attain the self%e'tinction where no 9(1 arises6 $ithout attaining self%e'tinction, how to stay in one1s true state where the Self is 9That16 +,. Eontrolling speech and "reath, and diving deep within oneself %% like one who, to find a thing that has fallen into water, dives deep down %% one must seek out the source whence the aspiring ego springs. +*. Eease all talk of 9(1 and search with inward diving mind whence the thought of 9(1 springs up. This is the way of wisdom. To think, instead, 9( am not this, "ut That ( am,1 is helpful in the search, "ut it is not the search itself. -.. $hen the mind turns inward seeking 9$ho am (661 and merges in the 7eart, then the 9(1 hangs down his head in shame and the One 9(1 appears as (tself. Though it appears as 9(%(1, it is not the ego. (t is 5eality, @erfection, the Su"stance of the Self. -&. Bor him who is the Bliss of Self arising from e'tinction of the ego, what is there to do6 7e knows nothing other than this Self. 7ow to conceive the nature of his state6 -+. $hen the 4edas have declared, 9Thou art That1 %% not to seek and find the nature of the Self and a"ide in (t, "ut to think 9( am That, not This1 is want of strength. Because, That a"ides for ever as the Self. --. To say 9( do not know myself1 or 9( have known myself1 is cause for laughter. $hat6 Are there two selves, one to "e known "y the other6 There is "ut One, the Truth of

the e'perience of all. -/. The natural and true 5eality forever resides in the 7eart of all. 3ot to realize (t there and stay in (t "ut to 0uarrel 9(t is1, 9(t is not1, 9(t has form1, 9(t has not form1, 9(t is one1, 9(t is two1, 9(t is neither1, this is the mischief of maya. -=. To discern and a"ide in the ever%present 5eality is true attainment. All other attainments are like powers en?oyed in a dream. $hen the sleeper wakes, are they real6 Those who stay in the state of Truth, having cast off the unreal %% will they ever "e deluded6 ->. (f we think we are the "ody, then to tell ourselves, 93o, ( am That1, is helpful to a"ide as That. Aet %% since ever we a"ide as That %% why should we always think, 9( am That61 Coes one ever think, 9( am a man16 -). 9Curing the search, duality8 on attainment, unity1 %% This doctrine too is false. $hen eagerly he sought himself and later when he found himself, the tenth man in the story was the tenth man and none else :ten men crossed a stream and wanted to make sure they were all safe. (n counting, each one left himself out and found only nine. A passer%"y gave each a "low and made them count the ten "lows;. -,. (f we are the doers of deeds, we should reap the fruits they yield. But when we 0uestion, 9$ho am (, the doer of this deed61 and realize the Self, the sense of agency is lost and the three karmas slip away. <ternal is this #i"eration. -*. Thoughts of "ondage and of freedom last only as long as one feels, 9( am "ound1. $hen one in0uires of oneself, 9$ho am (, the "ound one61 the Self, <ternal, ever free, remains. The thought of "ondage goes8 and with it goes the thought of freedom too. /.. (f asked, 9$hich of these three is final li"erationF $ith form, without form, or with%and%without%form61 ( say, #i"eration is the e'tinction of the ego which en0uires 9$ith form, without form, or with%and%without%form61 (Translated by Prof. K. Swaminathan)