(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)