(Continued from ULLADU NAARPADU -Verse No.1)
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
Introduction to Verse #2:
The Theory of the Self that is taught here is not to be comprehended by the smartness of the intellect or by logic or by book-knowledge. Learning it that way will not lead you anywhere. The path of Self-Enquiry that will be detailed hereafter will help to vanquish the ego, mind as well as the appearance of the world and thus establish one in the Nature of the Self. That is the Knowledge of the Self says Verse #2.
Text of #2:
Mummudalai emmadamum muRkoLLum
Or mudale mummudalaai niRkumenRum
Mummudalum mummudale yennal ahamkaaram irukkumaTTe
Yaan keTTut-tannilaiyil niTRal talai.
Translation (Lakshmana Sharma)
All the faiths that prevail in the world affirm, to begin with, (the existence of) the world, the soul and God. The two contentions, namely that One Reality is sensed as threefold, and that there are three distinct entities, are upheld (as intellectual convictions) while the sense ‘I am the body’ persists. But the highest state is that of being firmly established in one’s own real Nature (as the Real Self), by giving up that delusion.
Translation (Prof. K. Swaminathan)
On three entities — the individual, God and the world — every creed is based. That `the One becomes the three’ and that `always the three are three’, are said only while the ego lasts. To lose the `I’ and in the Self to stay is the State Supreme.
All religions postulate the three fundamentals, the world, the soul, and God, but it is only the one Reality that manifests Itself as these three. One can say, ‘The three are really three’ only so long as the ego lasts. Therefore, to inhere in one’s own Being, where the ‘I’, or ego, is dead, is the perfect State.
Mummudalai: The three primalities
Em madamum : Every faith
muRkoLLum : takes as fundamentals.
Or mudale : Only one fundamental entity
Mummudalai : as the three entities
nirkum endRum : manifests ever;
mummudalum: all the three entities
mummudale : are really three entities
ennal : (this) statement (holds)
ahamkAram irukkumaTTe : only so long as the ego lasts.
Yaan : the ego of this self
keTTu : being lost or vanquished
tannilaiyil : in one’s own Nature
nitRal : being established, anchored
talai: is the foremost, important. (talai = head; topmost thing)
[Note by VK: Please note that my word-by-word translation matches with the translation of Osborne and not with the others].
Commentary by Lakshmana Sharma:
The individual (JIva), God (Ishvara), the Universe (Jagat) are the three things which are first talked about by every school of rligious thought. The difference between different schools arises in the question whether those three are different or the same. Two arguments exist; one that the three are the manifestations of the One and the other that the three are distinct truths. To whatever of these two one holds, his ego has not subsided. Ego is the ignorant belief that this body is the ‘I’. It is the one who has the ego that prefers the argument. So long as the ego lasts one has not understood the Truth by experience. He cannot comprehend the truth of these three. Only in the ego-less state all the truths come to light. That indeed is the state of jnAna. Therefore, whatever school one may belong to, — advaitin or dvaitin – his faith in that school is not jnAna. It is called *parokshha-jnAnaM*.
[Note by VK: ‘parokshha’ in Sanskrit means ‘invisible to the eye’;
Therefore ‘paroksha-jnAna’ means
‘second-hand knowledge’ or ‘indirect knowledge’.
‘aparokshha’ means visible, perceptible.
In other words, ‘aparokshha’ and
‘pratyaksha’ (= visible to the eye, directly perceptible)
mean the same thing)]
But the word ‘parokshha-jnAnam’ which consists of two words, is self-contradictory. The Atman is ‘nitya-aparokshhaM’, that is, ‘ever pratyakshhaM’. How can it be termed as ‘parokshhaM’?
Advaita knowledge is a Self-Experience; it is not a religion or school of thought as other schools are – this is Bhagavan’s opinion. Religion or school of thought is a creation of the mind. Other religions are objects of thought for the mind. Advaitam is not so. Only when the mind is vanquished, it becomes a direct perception. Only when the ego is vanquished, mind also vanishes; therefore until ego vanishes, there can be no jnAna. When ego vanishes, jnAna will be yours. This is the explanation of Bhagavan.
Further, to whatever school one belongs, one should try to rise up spiritually by the sAdhanas that school prescribes and encourages, rather than trying to establish by argument that the tenets of his school are the truths. Instead of concentrating the mind on the differences between different schools and religions, it is best to involve oneself in the methodologies prescribed.This will be clear from the following anecdote about Bhagavan.
Some one brought a religious work and submitted it to Bhagavan. Bhagavan scrutinised a few pages of it and then spoke to the devotee as follows:
“This work contains criticisms of many schools of religious thought, including Advaitam. Every school is glorified by a preliminary account – called ‘MaNDanaM’; and then follows a ‘khaNDanaM’ (criticism). But in writing the ‘MaNDanaM’ portion, the account instead of giving a truthful account introduces an objectionable item in it so that when the ‘khaNDanaM’ portion comes the school can be criticized. All these arguments constitute a waste of effort. What all schools and religions unanimously emphasize is: If the seeker eradicates from his mind all mental constructs like ‘I’ and ‘mine’, he can certainly obtain the highest level of spiritual evolution. There is no dispute on this. Therefore adherents of all schools and religions should devote themselves to following this universally acceptable sAdhanA. Why fight about what the nature of that salvation that may be obtained at the end of the sAdhanA would be? Let it be this way or that way! Should we have to decide now itself that it would be only this way and not that way? Why not wait to see it when you really reach it?
The punchline in this verse is its fourth line. It is the highest state obtainable. ‘To inhere in one’s own Being, where the ‘I’, or ego, is dead, is the perfect State’. There is nothing either higher than it or equal to it. This is indicated by the use of the word ‘talai’ (head, topmost part).
Qn. Relevant to Verse #1 and Bhagavan’s answer.
Recall that Verse #1 said that everything that you see is really Brahman. In Talks Bhagavan explains to a visitor who asked if the world is perceived even after Self-Realization:
M.: From whom is this question? Is it from a JnAni or from an ajnAni?
D.:From an ajnAni.
M.: Realise to whom the question arises. It can be answered if it arises
after knowing the doubter. Can the jagat or the body say that it is?
Or does the seer say that the jagat or the body is? The seer must be
there to see the objects. Find out the seer first. Why worry yourself
now with what will be in the hereafter? Sri Bhagavan continued: What does it matter if the jagat is perceived or not perceived? Have you lost anything by your perception of jagat now? Or do you gain anything where there is no such perception in your deep sleep? It is immaterial whether the world is perceived or not perceived. The ajnAni sees the JnAni active and is confounded. The jagat is perceived by both; but their outlooks differ. Take the instance of the cinema. There are pictures moving on the screen. Go and hold them. What do you hold? It is only the screen. Let the pictures disappear. What remains over? The screen again. So also here. Even when the world appears, see to whom it appears. Hold the substratum of the ‘I’. After the substratum is held what does it matter if the world appears or disappears? The ajnAni takes the world to be real; whereas the JnAni sees it only as the manifestation of the Self. It is immaterial if the Self manifests itself or ceases to do so.
(Continued in ULLADU NAARPADU – Verse No.3)