(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.18

Lakshmana Sharma’s Introduction to Verse No.19

Anoter dual pair that constitutes an extension of the Ego is called Fate and Free Will. When man accomplishes something by the exercise of his intelligence he says it is the success of his will; when the accomplishment is not satisfactory he blames it on fate. He thinks the two are distinct opposites of each other. The truth of this is explained by Bhagavan in this verse.

Verse #19

Vithi mathi mUla vivekam ilArkkE
vithi mathi vellum vivAtham; vithi-mathikaTku
Or muthal Am thannai uNarnthAr avai thaNandAr.
cArvarO pinnum avai cARRu.

Sanskrit Version

Madhye devadhiyor-jayaM pratibhavet teshhAM vivAde ratiH
dhI-daiva-dvitayasya mUlam-aham-ity-ekaM na jAnanti ye /
anveshhAd-avagatya tatvam-ahamas-tAbhyAM vimukto muniH
samsakto bhavitA tayoH kimu punaH svajnAna-hIno yathA //

Translation (Lakshmana Sharma)

Only those love to dispute which of the two, fate and the will, will prevail, who have no experience of (the truth of) him, named ‘I’, who is the one root of both. Can that Sage that has become free of both, knowing the truth of the Ego by the Quest, ever again be entangled in these, like one that knows not the Self?

Translation (Prof. K. Swaminathan)

The debate, `Does free will prevail or fate?’ is only for those who do not know the root of both. Those who have known the Self, the common source of freewill and of fate, have passed beyond them both and will not return to them.

Translation (Osborne)

Only those who have no knowledge of the Source of destiny and free-will dispute as to which of them prevails. They that know the Self as the one Source of destiny and free-will are free from both. Will they again get entangled in them?

Word-by-word of the Tamil verse

vivAtham The debate (about)
vithi mathi vellum whether it is Fate or Freewill (vithi = Fate; mathi = Intelligence or Will)
ilArkkE is only for those who do not have
mUla vivekam Discriminatory knowledge of the root of
Vithi mathi Fate and Freewill.
uNarnthAr (For) those who have realised
tannai (their) Ego
Or muthal Am as the common source
vithimathikaTku of both Fate and Freewill
avai thaNanthAr and have renouced them,
cArvarO Would they get entangled
pinnum again
avai cARRu with them?

Commentary in Tamil by Lakshmana Sharma

It is the ajnAni, who has the I-am-the-body feeling, who thinks there is an apposition between Fate and Freewill. By that ignorance, he aims at a fruit of the action and does actions on that basis. Only when the expected result fails him, he thinks that Fate has been the obstacle. Note that if there were no Ego, one would not conceive of a result or reward for one’s action. And then there would be no distinction between Fate and Freewill. Those who think of this distinction as real are those who are overpowered by Ego. It is only they who enter into the debate of whether it is Fate or Freewill that prevails.
It is the Ego-mind which imagines a difference between Fate and Freewill. If one starts enquiring “For whom is this difference?” one will end up finding that the root of both is the ‘I’. Pursuing the truth of that, one discards the Ego and consequently all such differences. This is one of the main teachings of this work by Bhagavan.
The jnAni has neither any determination (sankalpa) to do something nor any indetermination (vikalpa) about doing or not doing something and so whatever he does he does not do it in anticipation of any kind of finish to it. Thus there is no place in his thinking for either Fate or Freewill. So this whole debate is meaningless for him.

(To be continued in Verse 20)

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