(Continued from ULLADU NAARPADU – Comments by ProfVK)
The famous Vedantic poem in Tamil by Bhagavan Ramana Maharishi
(consisting of two preliminary verses called Mangalam, 40 verses which form the main text , and another 40 verses called the Appendix)
Translation into English by Lakshmana Sharma
Detailed Commentary in Tamil by Lakshmana Sharma,
adapted into English by Profvk
Mangalam – 2
In Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, Bhagavan explains the first
managalam to a devotee:
The first stanza is the auspicious beginning. Why should the subject
matter of the piece be brought in here? Can knowledge be other than Being? Being is the core – the Heart. How then is the Supreme Being to be contemplated and glorified? Only to remain as the Pure Self is the
auspicious beginning. This speaks of attributeless Brahman according to the jnana marga (method of knowledge).
Introduction to Mangalam – 2:
By the first verse Mangalam – 1, the nirguNa-svarUpa (nirguna =attributeless) of brahman was indicated. That itself will show up as saguNa (= with attributes) for the devotees. In the situation where there is no mind brahman is nirguNa. When the mind is there the same brahman is saguNa. Then that itself becomes God Almighty. Those who show Bhakti or Love towards Him, finally deserve His Grace when they have offered their Self to Him, and receive the Self-Realisation Experience already mentioned. This is the truth that is the content of the 2nd verse in Mangalam:
MaraNa-bhayam mikku uLa am-makkal aRaN Aha
maraNa-bhavam illaa maheshan sharaName caarvar;
tam caarvoDu taam caarvutraar;
caavu eNNam caarvarO caavaadavar.
Translation (Lakshmana Sharma):
Men of pure minds who intensely fear death surrender themselves unto the Lord of all, the blissful One, the indwelling Self, who has no death or birth. By that (surrender) their ego, along with their attachments becomes extinguished. How can they, who (thus) have won abode in Immortality, have any thought of death?
Translation (Prof. K. Swaminathan):
When those who are in dread of death seek refuge at the feet of the deathless, birthless Lord Supreme, their ego and attachments die; and they, now deathless, think no more of death.
MaraNa bhayam = Fear of Death (maraNam = death)
Mikka uLa = Who have lots of
am makkaL = those people
araN Aha = ‘to get rid of’ : in this case, the contextual meaning would be: ‘in order to get rid of that fear of death (araN = barricade for protection)
maraNa-bhavam illaa = (He) who is deathless, birthless (bhavam = birth)
maheshan = the Great Lord
sharaName caarvar = do surrender only
tam caarvoDu = along with their possessiveness (*mamakaaram*)
tAM = (their) Egoistic self
cAvutraar = dies, vanishes.
cAvu eNNam = thought of death (cAvu = death)
caarvaro = Would they?
caavaadavar = they who are beyond death.
Commentary by Lakshmana Sharma :
Every one has the fear of death some time or other. But that becomes ineffective. A temporary dispassion that follows such fear of death usually vanishes after a further experience of life’s goodies. On the other hand those with a high sense of values do not forget the fear and they look for antidotes for it.
For men steeped in ignorance and worldly mAyA to rise to salvation, the miseries of worldly life themselves are steps. Bhagavan says: “When a person is dreaming during sleep, so long as the dream experiences are pleasurable, he does not wake up. Only miserable events in the dream wake him up. So also, in worldly life, so long as things appear pleasant, the worldly man does not wake up from the mAyic world to realise the Truth. The miseries of samsAra, the fear of death – these kinds of feelings are the ones that direct him to the goal. We know death is sure to come. But so long as it does not confront you, you don’t realise the severity of that fear. Therefore it is the knowledge that comes out of experience that life is full of miseries, that turns your path towards one of nivRtti (cessation of activity)”. Rarely a blessed one in a million turns to jnAna-path the moment he becomes aware even mentally of death. Such are the Buddha and our own Bhagavan Ramana.
When the mind thus turns to nivRtti path, that soul gets into the Grace of deahtless, birthless Lord. That Grace makes him look inward and takes him on to the Supreme. That is when the Ego of ‘I’ gets extinguished along with vAsanas of all kinds of bondage. What remains is the deathless Atman.
What is this Ego? It is the false conviction that the body is the Atman. So long as that remains, the impending death of the body will be considered as one’s own death. This verse shows that when the Ego is extinguished the very concept of death is uprooted.
Here is Bhagavan’s explanation of Mangalam – 2:
The second stanza is in praise of God with attributes. In the first,
to be as one Self is mentioned; in the present one, surrender to the Lord of all. Furthermore the second stanza indicates (1) the fit reader (2) the subject matter (3) the relationship and (4) the fruit. The fit reader is the one who is competent for it. Competence consists in non-attachment to the world and desire to be liberated. All know that they must die some time or other; but they do not think deeply of the matter. All have a fear of death: such fear is momentary. Why fear death? Because of the ‘I-am the-body’ idea. All are fully aware of the death of the body and its cremation. That the body is lost in death is well-known. Owing to the I-am-the-body notion, death is feared as being the loss of Oneself. Birth and death pertain to the body only; but they are superimposed on the Self, giving rise to the delusion that birth and death relate to the Self. In the effort to overcome birth and death man looks up to the Supreme Being to save him. Thus are born faith and devotion to the Lord. How to worship Him?
The creature is powerless and the Creator is All-powerful. How to approach Him? To entrust oneself to His careis the only thing left for him; total surrender is the only way. Therefore he surrenders himself to God. Surrender consists in giving up oneself and one’s possessions to the Lord of Mercy. Then what is left over for the man? Nothing – neither himself nor his possessions. The body liable to be born and to die having been made over to the Lord, the man need no longer worry about it. Then birth and death cannot strike terror. The cause of fear was the body; it is no longer his; why should he fear now? Or where is the identity of the individual to be frightened? Thus the Self is realised and Bliss results. This is then the subject-matter: freedom from misery and gain of Happiness. This is the highest good to be gained. Surrender is synonymous with Bliss itself. This is the relationship. Fruit is to reflect on the subject-matter and gain Knowledge which is ever-present, here and now. The stanza ends with “the immortal ones.”
(Talk no. 567)
Continued in ULLADU NAARPADU -Verse No.1