ULLADU NAARPADU (Forty Verses on Reality): Verse No.15 & 16

(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.14
See Post#48596 Of Harsha Satsangh

Lakshmana Sharma’s Introduction to Verse No.15

Thus it is confirmed that this universe composed of both animates and inanimates is just mithyA. Men keep enquiring about the origin and end of this universe, and about the past and future births of the Chid-AbhAsa (included in this universe), who is just like the son of a barren woman. It is the Truth of the self that has to be enquired into and understood; people not only do not do any such enquiry but also misunderstand the Truth. Instead they pursue their worldly enquiries. Verse No.11 has already called such enquiries worthless. The same is being said here in this verse in a different way. These enquiries start under the fundamental assumption that there is a concept of time consisting of the three periods of time, namely, past, present and future. To speak of Time and to speak of (present) Event are both the same. One should go into the underlying truth rather than get into enquiries about other things. This is what this verse says.

Verse #15

nigazhvinai paRRi iRappu edirvu niRpa;
nigazhkAl avaiyum nigazhve; nigazhvu onRe;
inRu uNmai teRAdu, iRappu edirvu tEra unal,
‘onRu’ inRi eNNa unal.

Sanskrit version (by Lakshmana Sharma)

[Note by VK: Please note that,
since there has been an interest expressed
in the Sanskrit version,
hereafter I shall be giving
the corresponding shloka in Sanskrit also]

Samshrityaiva hi vartamAnam-ubhayaM bhUtaM bhavishyat sthitaM
svE kAle’pi ca vartamAnam-mubhayaM, tadvartamAnaM trayaM /
satyevam pravihAya bodham-adhunA sad-vastuno’nveshhaNAt
bhUtAgAmivichAraNaM syAdeka-sankhyAm vinA //

Translation (Lakshmana Sharma)

Both past and future exist only in their dependence on the present; each in its own time is only present. Threfore all the three are present. That being so, research into the past and the future, without experience of the Reality in the present time won by the Quest, is (absurd) like counting without the number ‘one’.

Translation (Prof. K. Swaminathan)

Past and future are dependent on the present. The past was present in its time and the future will be present too. Ever-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 number `One’.

Translation (Osborne)

Only with reference to the present can the past and the future exist. They too, while current, are the present. To try to determine the nature of the past and the future while ignoring the present is like trying to count without the unit.

Word by Word (of the Tamil verse)

nigazhvinai paRRi: With reference to the present
iRappu : the past
edirvu : (and) the future
niRpa: exist.
nigazhkAl : While happening
avaiyum : they too
nigazhvE : are only the present.
nigazhvu onRe : There is only one, the present.
inRu :Right now
uNmai tErAdu : without knowing the truth (of Self )
iRappu edirvu : past and future
tEra unal : seeking to know
eNNa unal : (is equivalent to ) trying to count
onRu inRi : without (counting) (the first) one.

Lakshmana Sharma’s commentary in Tamil

The present means what is experienced then and there. When it is experienced it is considered as ‘present’ experience. Experience does change, so when we remember what was experienced, we call it the past. And when we expect some experience to happen, we call it the future. Both are only about what happens; one is called the past, and the other, the future. These differences are only imagined, says Bhagavan: all of them are only about ‘the present’. The True Present, that is, the existing Reality, is only the Atman. It is the Self which is the truth of all the three periods. It is not to be circumscribed by Time. That Time itself is only a mental construct will be explained in the next verse.

Therefore it is proper to know that existing Reality right now. Instead of knowing WHAT IS, to be researching into the states of the past and the future, will not lead to the Truth. Those researches and enquiries proceed on the assumption that the present false appearances are true. So they are fruitless.

The analogy for this is the counting without the first one. All counting has to start with the number ‘one’. Numbers are only expansions of ‘one’. Just as number ‘one’ is important for Mathematics, so also, for all enquiries, the most fundamental one is the knowledge of the Self.

Somebody asked Bhagavan: ‘How to find out how I was in my previous birth? And Bhagavan replied: ‘Before you enquire into your previous lives, find out whether the present life is true. Why not see now what is the Truth of yourself?’.

It therefore follows that all the researches into the material worldly things – by chemists, astronomers (who enquire into the planets of the universe) and physicists (who enquire into matter) — are all waste. What was there before the appearance of the universe? When did man appear in this world? Were his ancestors monkeys or humans? How did his religious beliefs originate? Did the early Man worship trees, plants and ghosts? Did the present Faiths originate from those blind faiths? — None of these enquiries are necessary for a seeker of mokshha. Not only this. The researches that philosophers carry out are also of the same category. Same story with enquiries into Metaphysics. All these, being done by the strength of one’s intellect and worldly experience without listening to the words of the Released Person on his experience, only tantamount to Ignorance.

Lakshmana Sharma’s Introduction to Verse No.16

Time and Space are only expansions of the Ego. Therefore they too are unreal. The next verse shows they don’t exist in turIya.

Verse #16

nAm anRi nAL Edu? nADu Edu?
nADungAl nAm uDambEl, nAL nATTuL nAm paDuvam.
nAm uDambo? nAm inRu anRu, enRum onRu;
nAdu ingu angu engum onRAl, nAm uNDu, nAl nADu il nAm

Sanskrit version (by Lakshmana Sharma)

kAlo desha imau pRthak kimahamo?’dhInAstayo:smo vayaM
dehA: syAma yadi svayaM; kimu vayaM dehA bhavAmo vada /
sarvatrApi ca sarvadApi ca vibhAty-AtmA samAno yataH
tasmAt-santa-mavehi kevalam-amuM tau dvau nigIrya sthitaM //

Translation (Lakshmana Sharma)

Do Time and Space exist apart from the Ego? If we were bodies, then we would be sub ject to them. (But) say, are we bodies? Because the true Self is the same everywhere and at all times; therefore learn that He is the sole Reality, consuming both (time and space).

Translation (Prof. K. Swaminathan)

Without us there is no time nor space. If we are only bodies, we are caught up in time and space. But are we bodies? Now, then and always — here, now and everywhere — we are the same. We exist, timeless and spaceless we.

Translation (Osborne)

Apart from us where is time and where is space? If we are bodies, we are involved in time and space, but are we? We are one and identical now, then, and forever, here, and everywhere. Therefore we, timeless, and spaceless Being, alone are.

Word by Word (of the Tamil Verse)

nAm anRi : Apart from us
nAL Edu? : where is Time?
nADu Edu? : where is space?
nADungAl while we search
nAm uDambEl : if we are (only) bodies,
nAM : we
paDuvam. : are caught up
nAL nATTuL : in Time and Space.
nAm uDambo? : Are we bodies?
nAM : we
inRu : today
anRu : in the past days
enRum : always
onRu. Are of the same form
nADu place
ingu : here
angu : there
engum : and everywhere
onRAl : since we are same
nAm uNDu we exist
nAL nAdu il dateless, placeless
nAm we.

Lakshmana Sharma’s commentary in Tamil

Time and Space are dependent on our Ego. When we are in the egoless sleep state there is no awareness of Time or Space. Therefore, both time and space are only thoughts, dependent on the mind. The moment we get the fundamental concept that ‘I am this body’, all thoughts arise including the concepts of time and space. Even the modern researchers in the science of this material world of time and space do agree that Time and Space are concepts of the mind.

But there is an experience of being bound by time and space. Why is this so? We are not examining our ignorant ‘knowledge’ that ‘I am this body’. We have to examine this notion and then enquire into ‘Who or what am I?’. And then we have to identify (ourself) with the infinite Atman. Because we do not do this, the finiteness of the body is assumed to be our own finiteness and thus arises the bondage. This bondage will vanish once we pursue this enquiry.

Once we start this enquiry, we will find that the real ‘I’ is something which is unaffected by Time and Space. And then we shall discover that it is the Atman that is the Truth and it is not delimited by Time or Space. The bottom line is that these two do not subsist in the experience of jnAna.

It is not correct to say that the Atman exists at all times and everywhere. What is true is that the Atman is timeless and spaceless. So it is not accessible to mind or speech. What is accessible to the mind or speech has to be subject to Time and Space.

(To be continued in Verse No.17)

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