This is the official website of Sri Ramanasramam. A number of books on the teachings of the sage of Arunachala can be freely downloaded here.
(Reality in Forty Verses)
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)
Detailed Commentary in Tamil by Lakshmana Sharma,
adapted into English by Profvk
(Continued from ULLADU NAARPADU – Verse No.13)
Lakshmana Sharma’s Introduction to Verse No.14
The world, or the universe, consists of both the animate and the inanimate. Are all these unreal or probably only the animates are real – is the next question that arises. The reply is given by this verse.
Verse No. 14
tanmai uNDEl munnilai paDarkkaikaL tAm uLavAm;
tanmaiyin uNmaiyait tAn Ayndu tanmai aRin ,
munnilai paDarkkai muDivuRRu,
onRAy oLirum tanmaiyE tannilai tAn.
Translation (Lakshmana Sharma)
The two, namely ‘you’ and ‘he’ appear when the sense of ‘I’ has risen in respect of a body; if by the quest of the Self by oneself, by the question ‘What is the Truth behind this I’, the ego be extinguished, therewith are also lost the other two notions; that which then shines alone, understand, is the Real Self.
Translation (Prof. K. Swaminathan)
`You’ and `he’ — these appear only when `I’ does. But when the nature of the `I’ is sought and the ego is destroyed, `you’ and `he’ are at an end. What shines then as the One alone is the true Self.
If the first person, I, exists, then the second and third persons, you and he, will also exist. By enquiring into the nature of the I, the I perishes. With it ‘you’ and ‘he’ also perish. The resultant state, which shines as Absolute Being, is one’s own natural state, the Self.
Word by Word
tanmai uNDEl If there is the first person ‘I’
munnilai the second person ‘you’
paDarkkaikaL (and) the third person ‘he’
tAM uLavAm they also exist.
tAN (If) oneself
Ayndu researches into, enquires into
uNmaiyai the truth
tanmaiyin of oneself
tanmai (and) the first person ‘I’
aRin is extinguished
munnilai the second person ‘you’
paDarkkai (and) the third person ‘he’
muDivuRRu having come to an end
tanmaiyE that state (which)
onRAy as One (by itself)
tan nilaimai tAn is one’s own natural Self
Commentary by Lakshmana Sharma
The feeling as the first person ‘I’ is what rises as the Ego. That is when one recognises the second person ‘you’ and the third person ‘he’. This third person includes ‘it’ also, that is, all the inanimates. Of these three it is the first person ‘I’ that arises first. Only when that rises, the others arise. When that ‘I’ is not there, there is no question of the others. So this shows that the Ego is the root source for the appearance of ‘I’, ‘You’ and ‘He’.
The second line of the verse indicates the Enquiry into the Self and its end, the extinction of the Ego. Self-enquiry means enquiring into the truth of the first person ‘I’. That enquiry ends with the destruction of the Ego and that is Self-realisation.
We already saw that self-realisation is nothing but simply remaining as the Self. In that state, the Jiva-differences of ‘I’, ‘You’ and ‘He’ don’t exist. There is something then which shines as ‘I’ alone. That is the Atman, says the last line of the verse.
One important objection arises here.
[Note by VK: All students of advaita should note carefully
the point that is being raised and explained now.
This is a standard objection that arises
in the all-too-intellectual mind of the seeker
and is seriously discussed (without end!)
and is also pointed out as a flaw by critics of advaita.]
If the Atman is one and second-less, then when one attains mukti by his Self-realisation, every one should also have attained that mukti. But it doesn’t seem to be so. The reply to this can only be: Even now there is no bondage for anybody; there is no one in bondage. The Self is eternally free and liberated. This is the conclusion of all Vedanta. Therefore, from the viewpoint of a jnAni there is no ajnAni!
There is also another explanation usually given for this. But this is not the Absolute truth. It is just offered for the purpose of clarification for those who are at a lower level of spiritual understanding. The vijnAna-maya kosha is one of the five koshas. The Pure and Eternal One Self gets reflected in this vijnAna-maya and that is what is called the JIva, also the chid-AbhAsa.
Note by VK: (Chid-AbhAsa simply means
the reflection in the chit, the intellect.
AbhAsa means reflection)
It is this JIva that is bound and that needs Release. There are several such Jivas (or Chid-AbhAsas). Among these one vijnAna-maya gets extinguished by Self-Realisation. So that reflection is gone. But nothing has happened to the ‘reflections in the other vijnAna-mayas’, that is, to the other chid-AbhAsas. The ajnAni goes about with the conviction that they are as ever before. As long as each vijnana-maya exists, so long does the reflection in that vijnana-maya persist. The analogy for this is the several reflections of the moon in different pots of water. These pots are the analogies for the several bodies. The water in them is the analogy for the various intellects in the vijnAna-mayas. And the single moon in the sky is the analogy for the unique Self. The one moon has several reflections; so also the one Self has reflections in the form of several Chid-AbhAsas. When the water in one pot gets dried up or poured out, the reflection in that pot is gone, but the other reflections are still there. Thus even if the Atman is one, for the purpose of our phenomenal understanding one can say there are several Jivas.
All this was said only for the inferior intellect. In actuality the question raised has no basis. The correct reply for the question is: “Find out who it is that is asking the question”. It is because of Ignorance that we think there are other sentient beings besides ourselves. In the dream we see different Jivas as if they are distinct from us; but they are not. In the same way the Jivas that appear as different from us in the waking state also are neither distinct from us, nor true.
(To be continued in Verse #15)
I have been enjoying the quotes on this page collected by Professor Gabriel Robins for sometime now. Many of these are quite funny and insightful.
Here are just a few that I like. Go to the link below for more.
“Give me chastity and continence, but not yet.”
– Saint Augustine (354-430)
“I can write better than anybody who can write faster, and I can write faster than anybody who can write better.”
– A. J. Liebling (1904-1963)
“A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”
– Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)
“Don’t stay in bed, unless you can make money in bed.”
– George Burns (1896-1996)
“In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But in practice, there is.”
– Yogi Berra
“I’m living so far beyond my income that we may almost be said to be living apart.”
– e e cummings (1894-1962)
“Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws.”
– Plato (427-347 B.C.)
I’ve had a wonderful time, but this wasn’t it.”
– Groucho Marx (1895-1977)
“The nice thing about being a celebrity is that if you bore people they think it’s their fault.”
– Henry Kissinger (1923-)
“Anything that is too stupid to be spoken is sung.”
– Voltaire (1694-1778)
“Where are we going, and why am I in this hand basket?”
– Bumper Sticker
This concludes the series that shows details of Arunachala’s Inner Path used by devotees of Sri Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi for the sacred walk around this holy hill. This walking is called pradakshina, or in Tamil, girivalam.
This series shows the Inner Path in some detail all the way from Sri Ramanasramam, around Arunachala, and onto the streets on the Eastern side of Arunachala.
Part One shows the path from Ramanasramam. Part Two shows the walk around the southwest side of the hill. Part Three details the section of the path around Parvati Hill, at the west end of Arunachala. Part Four shows the path on the north side, under the Elephant. Part Five follows the path through the trees. This is part six, the final section of the Inner Path.
Below is a map of the entire Inner Path, that shows the six sections as well as some other landmarks along the way. The final section is in yellow.
The final section of the Path goes for a bit through trees and brush, near to (but not visible from) Pradakshina Road. It then goes behind a few houses of local villagers, then up a small hill to Pachaiamman Koil, then down the hill back to the road. And the way we walk, finally to Ramakrishna Hotel for breakfast of Indian coffee, vadas and dosas.
Starting from the Big Rock
Looking towards Arunachala, the peak rises behind the trees.
The Path continues straight ahead.
Arunachala through the trees.
Continue through the brush and small trees.
Here is a clearer view of the Arunachala peak. The trunk element of The Elephant rises on the right of the peak.
Continuing down the Path. This is a shortcut where Carol cleared the brush and now is the main part of the trail. Before only cows could get through here, and everybody else took a jog to the left.
We turn a bit right and there is a nice red and white Om painted on a rock. By now there is quite a bit of road noise, but the road is not yet visible.
A village woman walks ahead, with a container of dry branches on her head. This is fuel for the day’s cooking fire. So much of this brush is gathered that it does not have a chance to compost back into topsoil. This is a long standing issue in India, where much of the soil has been depleted by the last 2000 years of continual use.
Trash heaps line the path. And sometime piles of human waste, since the typical houses here have no toilets, and the people are used to going outside their houses to do their business. Watch where you step!
Behind these houses, you can see into their back yards. Here a man is standing in his undershorts in a brick-lined bathing area taking his morning bath.
The Path continues through more refuse. Paper products are burned, but the ubiquitous plastics have nowhere to go. Some towns are beginning to address this serious problem by banning plastic bags. The real problem is to educate and sensitize the people to “littering.”
Village children start to greet us. We go through here often and are known by many of them. It seems that children always want their picture taken. They will come and ask ‘photo’ or ‘camera.’ The children will often ask us for pens. Their schools don’t supply them, so there is no way to practice their writing skills. Amazingly, the little girl in the foreground here actually offered to give US two pens. What beautiful children, physically and spiritually.
More path through more trash.
Now we walk directly behind a few houses. Be respectful to the people here. This is their home. A silent smile is usually enough.
At this house Carol has been greeting the two kids with a ‘fist bump.’ She started doing this as a way to divert the children’s request for a pen, etc. It really seems that what they want is just some kind of contact, and the fist bumps provide an easy way. She calls them ‘Obama bumps’ after the photo of Obama and his wife taken during the election.
Proceeding through the village.
The skeleton of a dead rickshaw sits by the path.
This is a small thatched hut, some family’s home.
There are a number of cows here. Arunachala is in the background.
This long yellow sign is a predictable landmark. The Path turns to the right.
Here is Arunachala again. Clouds are forming around the peak.
The Path goes up and to the right.
Now Arunachala is shrouded in clouds. It is said that there are five faces of Siva that are visible in these eastern hillside rocks. This how you can be sure that it is Siva, since he, apparently, really has five faces.
Near the Path are newly built homes, with bright paint jobs. Much care was taken with these houses. The bright colors conform to the principles of Vaastu, the Indian equivalent of Feng Shui.
Now the Path goes over two concrete bridges.
Arunachala is nearly hidden by the hill in the foreground.
Below is the first glimpse of Panchiamman Koil, rising out of the trees.
Patties of cow manure mixed with straw are drying here. They are used a fuel for cooking fires.
More Vediyappan mounts and guardians.
This group also has an elephant as a mount.
In front of Panchaiamman Koil are two rows of Guardians. If you look closely, the two on the left are resting their feet on heads.
Outside Panchaiamman Koil is a small shrine.
Inside is an ancient figure of a male and female. Siva and Parvati, maybe?
Here is the front of Panchaiamman Koil. The vertical red and white stripe indicate that it is is temple. You will see these many times in South India, marking temples.
The Arunachala peak is entirely hidden here.
The road down the hill to the main street.
There are monkeys here today. This one is sitting on a rock. I wonder if monkeys meditate.
There is a tank down the hill from the temple. Usually in the morning there are men bathing in the tank.
On the other side of the road through the trees is another temple. There is a path here that goes a bit further around the mountain. After a rough bit and a scramble up a rock face, you come out to a small village built on the face of a very large hillside.
Down the road.
Often you will see this billy goat along the road here. He seems like the king of this hill.
We turn right at the first street. You could keep going straight down this hill. We think of this as the ‘scenic route.’
A nice Ganesh shrine in the doorway of this house insures that things go well within the house.
In the mornings, many women with water jugs are gathered around this tank, getting their day’s supply of water. This is a hard job. Naturally it is mainly done by the women.
Kids gather, asking, ‘photo, photo, photo.’
Sarees are spread out to dry.
They were probably just washed in this community clothes washing area.
Across the road is a sweet little shrine.
Many primitive Nagas (Snake Gods) are set out in front of the central shrine. All are dressed in their dhotis. This shrine is very well taken care of.
The road continues on.
We take the first left turn, down the hill.
This is a nice clean street to walk down.
It passes by a large tank. This has water year round.
A Ganesh shrine is next to the road. It was recently repainted, and is brightly colored.
Down the hill we go.
Now we come to the main street. Hotel Ramakrishna rises ahead.
Arunachala is obscured by the main buildings and phone/electricity lines.
Almost to the hotel. We can’t wait to eat breakfast!
First is coffee. We have coffee before the meal. Indians have it after. The staff here know us, and know to bring the coffee to begin with.
It is served in a metal cup and small pan. The waiter, Raja, pours it from one to the other to cool the coffee. If I tried it from this height, the coffee would be all over the table.
Then the dosas and vadas are served. Since the staff knows that we LOVE the chutneys, they bring us big bowls of it.
This concludes the inner path portion of Arunachala Pradakshina.
From here you can complete it by walking through town on the main street, or on back streets closer to the mountain. We usually have our rickshaw driver, Rajan, pick up us after breakfast and ride through town.
The Inner Path Pradakshina is something that gives many people a deep sense of the holy maintain, and its peace and tranquility. The walk can be made year round. In the summer months start as early as you can (6 am?) and take lots of water. Take your time. Be willing to explore. Near the path are many places of wonder, beauty and peace. Savor it all, if you can.