On the Act and Art of Translation
Sri Sadhu Om Swamigal's writings on Ramana
Bhagawan Sri Ramana Maharshi
Synopsis of the Story of the futility of
the vEdic and other actions to grant Self-Knowledge
Five Jewels in Praise of the Feet of Sri
On the eve of Sri Ramana Jayanti
Grateful Remembrance of Sri Bhagawan on
His Mahasamadhi Day
New Insights into Self-Enquiry
The Papadam Song by Sri Bhagawan
by Bhagawan Sri
Introductions and Appendix by SrI
Translation and Notes
Introductory Song to 'upadESa undiyAr', by
Prior History to upadESa undiyAr, by SrI
UPADESA UNDIYAR BY SRI BAGAVAN:Secret of
Explanatory Note on the twofold impact of
Secret of Worship
Summary of Work, Devotion and yOgA
discussed in verses 1 to 9 of upadESa undiyAr
Summary of verses 1-9 and Translation of
Summary of Verses 1-15 Upadhesa Undhiyar
Notes Verses 21 to 25
Appendix to the Upadhesa Undhiyar, by Sri
Introductory Song to
by SrI muruganAr
To the 'muruganAr' who said (to SrI ramaNA), "Please
grant, for the world to redeem (itself), the 'secret' of
the 'ordered method' for 'seeing' the 'goal', with the
delusion of 'work' having ceased", my Father
compiled and granted, 'upadESa undiyAr, a 'Lamp of
Translation of the introductory song to 'upadESa undiyAr'
composed by SrI muruganAr.
SrI muruganAr was a great householder disciple of SrI
BagavAn. He never swerved from the Teachings of SrI
BagavAn. He attained samADi chanting the 'aruNAcala
akShara maNa mAlai' composed by SrI BagavAn in adoration
of the Holy Hill of SrI aruNAcalA.
SrI muruganAr was a great Tamil Poet. He composed the
pristine pure 'non-dual' teachings of SrI BagavAn in the
form of '4-line' Tamil Songs. About 1000 of them, have
been published under the title 'The Compendium of the
Utterances of the Master' or 'guru vAcagak kOvai'.
Saint SrI sADu Aum says that this text of SrI muruganAr,
together with 'upadESa undiyAr' and 'ulladu nArpadu' of
SrI BagavAn, constitute the 'sacred trinity' in respect
of the Teachings of SrI BagavAn.
Saint SrI sADu Aum has written a commentary in Tamil on
'guruvAcagak kovai' of SrI muruganAr. This commentary is
the very 'hive of nectar', without the 'stinging bees of
History to upadESa undiyAr
by SrI murganAr
1 Those who abided doing penance in 'tAru vanA', on
account of (the tendencies derived from) their past
deeds, went to 'take shelter' (in work).
2 That there is no God other than work, they became
'hardened in enmity',
(towards God who ordains, which of the past deeds, and in
which order, must bear fruit in the current birth), on
account of their self-deceiving pride.
3 They saw the power
(lessness) of 'works',done decrying the Doer (the Lord),
who grants the fruits for works. They had their 'pride'
going away (from them).
4 When they melted crying 'Save and Shower Grace',
adjoining the 'Eye of Mercy', He (Lord SivA) granted
'Grace'. This is the (Spiritual) Instruction of (Lord)
5 The essence of
(spiritual) instruction (upadESa undiyAr),
if you 'consume', 'possess' and 'live by' it,
(there, in you) will arise 'Bliss'. (And,) The 'sorrow'
6 Lean upon this essence of (spiritual) instruction.
As you lean 'inwardly' (i.e. brood) upon (it),
(may you) adjoin it (the essence of spiritual
by your becoming one with it)!
(Then,) May 'bliss' adjoin (you)!
Cease! may sorrow cease! (for you).
(Verse 5 sets out the fruit of abiding by this essence of
spiritual instruction. Verse 6 recounts the same
by way of a 'blessing'.)
UNDIYAR BY SRI BAGAVAN
Secret of Work
1 Work yields fruit by the Command of the (One Great)
Doer (the Lord). Is work God? (No.) Because, work is
(without volition, and is) insentient.
2 The 'consequence' of work, ending in the middle (into
sleep), as the seed (of the 'tendency to engage in work
furthermore'), will 'make (you) fall' into the ocean of
work. (And thus, the 'consequence' of work, with the
'longing' for which you began your work) will not grant
3 (But,) Work (done) without desire (for the fruit
thereof), (and) dedicated to the (One Great) Doer (the
Lord), will 'bring the mind-stuff into a state of
fitness' (for merger into the Self). (And thus,) Will
show the path to liberation.
Note on the twofold impact of all works
We do all our works
with our conscious surface minds. As we do the work, it
ends in the middle of our doing, into a seed. This seed
gets formed in our conscious mind. And, it goes down and
gets lodged into the basement of our subconscious mind.
We are the Supreme Self, having assumed an individual
body. But, the Supreme Self with the entire universe as
Its body, is the Personal God, or ISvarA.
This ISvarA determines in which birth this seed has to
materialise into our outer circumstances. This
materialisation occurs only in a subsequent birth by the
Will of ISvarA. In very special cases, laid down in the
vEdAs, the same materialises in the current birth itself.
This He does in such a way that will enable us to turn
inward, enquire into the Self, resolve the seeds into the
Light of the Self, and attain Self-Realisation.
1 This seed becomes active 'only when it materialises'
into our outer circumstances, in some subsequent birth,
'in the form of the fruit of the action' from which this
seed was formed.
2 Until then, the seed keeps 'acting indirectly' on the
conscious surface mind, by constantly propelling the same
from below, into same or similar type of actions. Thus,
in the current birth it is in 'sleep' because it is yet
to manifest its fruit in some future birth. Also because,
it 'acts unawares' by propelling the conscious surface
mind from below it. Thus, our conscious surface mind can
be said to be constantly in a state of 'sleep-walking'
We can resolve the the seed into the Light of the Self in
any particular birth by performing Self-Enquiry. Suppose
we do not so resolve the seed. Then it will be carried
forward to the next birth. It will then exist in that
subsequent birth, as part of our subconscious mind.
Suppose we do not so resolve the seed in that subsequent
birth also. Suppose further that the seed is not ordained
by ISvarA to materialise into the outer circumstances in
that birth. Then it will be carried forward to the next
birth. It will then exist in that subsequent birth, as
part of our subconscious mind.
And so on, until it is either resolved by us, or it
materialises by the Will of ISvarA into the fruit of our
4 It is the 'certitude'
that (physical) worship (of a symbol of God), (barely
audible) mutter (of God's Name), and meditation (on God's
Name), constitute the function(/s) (respectively) of
body, speech, and mind. Each (succeeding) one is(!)
superior to the (preceding) one.
5 'All Forms of thought (projecting a world existing
apart), are(!) the Forms
of the Lord', thinking thus, (and) worshipping
(everything appearing in front), is a good worship of the
6 Superior to praising (aloud, so that others also will
hear such praise) is the utterance (of God's Name, in
such a low tone that oneself alone hears such utterance).
Superior to the repetition (of God's Name, rolling one's
tongue invisibly) within the mouth (so that oneself alone
hears such repetition), is the mental (repetition of
God's Name). This(!) (mental repetition) is the 'slowly
7 More than the 'thinking with break', like the (unbroken
continuous) 'fall' of river and/or ghee, only the
'meditating without break', is to think in a specially
8 More than the 'discernment (or the 'careful judgement')
' of the 'separateness' (of the Lord from us), only the
'discernment (or the insight)' of the 'non-separateness'
(of the Lord from us), by which He (the Lord) becomes the
'inner' (sanctum sanctorum), is the best amongst all (the
discernments or the efforts to see things clearly with
9 By the strength of 'discernment' (or the insight), to
abide in the 'discernment of the existence' (of the Lord
'non-separate' from us), (which is) beyond all
'discernments' (efforts to see things clearly with the
mind), is the principle of devotion to the Supreme.
of Work, Devotion and yOgA discussed in verses 1 to 9 of
Verse 6 - SUPERIOR IS THE MENTAL (REPETITION OF GOD'S
NAME). (BUT,) THIS(!) (MENTAL REPETITION) IS THE 'DELAYED
RIPENING OF MEDITATION'.
Verse 7 - 'MEDITATING WITHOUT BREAK', IS TO THINK IN A
'SPECIALLY INVESTIGATIVE' FASHION.
Verse 8 - ONLY THE 'DISCERNMENT (OR THE INSIGHT)' OF THE
'NON-SEPARATENESS' (OF THE LORD FROM US), BY WHICH HE
(THE LORD) BECOMES THE 'INNER' (SANCTUM SANCTORUM), IS
THE BEST AMONGST ALL (THE DISCERNMENTS OR THE EFFORTS TO
SEE THINGS CLEARLY WITH THE MIND).
Verse 9 - TO ABIDE IN THE 'DISCERNMENT OF THE EXISTENCE'
(OF THE LORD 'NON-SEPARATE' FROM US), IS THE PRINCIPLE OF
A. DESIRELESS WORK MUST PRODUCE IN US THE PERMANENT
INSIGHT TO PERCEIVE GOD WITHIN:
Work or effort dedicated to God without desire makes the
mind fit for merger into the Self (verse 3). Spiritual
Effort means the effort to see clearly with the help of
the mind, the process of merger into the Self. And, the
best spiritual effort is the insight by which we see God
as our inner sanctum (verse 8). If we constantly abide
with this insight, then we have Supreme Devotion to God
Therefore, we see that by the desireless action our mind
is made fit for merger into the Self (verse 3). And, this
fitness MUST give us the insight by which we see God as
our inner sanctum. And, this insight is the best
spiritual effort (verse 8). So desireless action
dedicated to God produces in us the best spiritual action
of insightfully perceiving God within ourselves. And, we
must make this insight permanent. Then, we have Supreme
Devotion to God (verse 9).
B. ONE CAN STRAIGHTAWAY START REPEATING THE NAME OF GOD
MENTALLY AND THEN MAKE SUCH REPEITION UNBROKEN:
There are three kinds of prayers. The usual type is to
pray aloud. Still better is to just mutter within
oneself. Still superior is the silent mental repeition.
But, even this silent mental repetition is only the
delayed ripening of meditation (verse 6).
Because, only the silent mental 'unbroken' repetition can
in fact be called a 'meditation', or a 'specially
investigative type of thinking' (verse 7).
Also because one can straightaway begin to repeat God's
Name silently within the mind. And then, reach upto the
stage of unbroken silent mental repetition, which is
It is not at all necessary to go through the stages of
praying aloud, and muttering within oneself. Because,
even in these two cases, the mind is the one which is
actually engaged in the process. Although with the help
of the words uttered loudly through the mouth, and with
the help of the words muttered in a low tone with the
mild rolling of the tongue within the mouth. Hence,
coming to silent mental repetition through loud prayer
and low muttering is called the delayed ripening of
NEXT IS THE 'CULMINATING GLORY' OF THE VERSE 10
OF UPADESA UNDIYAR BY SRI BAGAVAN.
of verses 1-9 and Translation of Verse 10
Verses 1-3 dealt with work. What was the essence? We have
to work without the desire for the fruit thereof. God is
the One Great Doer. Work gives fruit only by the command
of God. Therefore, we must dedicate all our work to God.
Then, such desireless work with devotion to God will make
the mind fit for merger into the Self.
Here God refers to ISvarA, who is the Self with the
entire universe as His Body. (verse 24). He has only
body-consciousness. And, no separate world-consciousness.
Whereas we are the Self with a small individual body.
And, we have this body-consciousness and a separate
So, this type of action dedicated to ISvarA is itself
devotion to God. Thus, this type of action merges our way
of action into the way of worship. And, integrates them
both into a single unified whole way of life.
But, verses 4-6 dealt with Devotion to God explicitly
without reference to our actions. What was the essence?
We can directly begin to meditate mentally on God's Name.
We must look upon everything appearing in front of us as
the Form of the Lord. Why? Because, the entire universe
is the body of ISvarA. And, all the forms we see as part
of our world, are within the one universe, which is the
body of ISvarA.
So, we see that ISvarA is the Lord of all our works. By
commanding the fruition of our works. He is also the Lord
of all our worship. Because, He is the very object to
whom we offer our Love and Devotion.
Verses 7-9 dealt with culmination of work into devotion
further. And also, the culmination of work and devotion
into knowledge. How?
Self-Enquiry is actually a special type of investigative
thinking. If we meditate without break on God's Name,
that becomes this investigative or enquiring type of
thinking. Thus, from here begins the road to the proper
Self-Enquiry. Thus, devotion to God here becomes
Self-Enquiry or a mode of knowledge.
Devotion --> Knowledge
Also, we must develop the insight that God is our inner
being. And, this insight is the best of all our mental
efforts. Here, our mental effort or work lays the first
stone for Self-Knowledge. Here, work becomes a mode of
And, to abide permanently in the insight that God is our
inner being is the principle of Supreme Devotion to God.
Here, our mental effort or work merges into Devotion to
Thus, to summarize,
Devotion --> Knowledge
| | | |
Thus, we see that everything finally merges into
Knowledge of the Self.
10 To contract and abide
in the source of origin (of the ego or the
body-consciousness) is (right) action, and (right)
devotion. That is (right) merging and (right) knowledge.
11 Like a bird
(inadvertently) getting (caught) into the 'net' (cast on
the ground), even the mind 'gets merged' (within), by
'compressing' the 'vital air' within. This is a 'means'
to 'merge' (the mind within).
12 The mind (the reflection of the Existence) and the
life (vital air), (with) the feeling and the action (as
their respective functions), yes! (there) exist (these)
two branches. (But,) The 'One' is their 'source' (of
their origin, the stem or the trunk).
13 Destruction and also lurking, yes! (these) two
(constitute the two methods of) subsidence (of the ego).
That (ego) which (merely) abides lurking, will rise
(again, from its state of lurking). (But,) if the form
(of the ego) dies, will not rise (again).
14 If you course along the (Self-) enquiring path, the
mind that subsides, when (you) withhold the vital air (or
the breath), its form will die.
15 With the form of the mind perishing, the great yogi
who firmly abides in the truth, has no work for Himself.
He adjoined His Natural State.
of Verses 1-15 Upadhesa Undhiyar
Verses 1-3 dealt with work. That is, Charya pada or Karma
Yoga. We have to work without the desire for the fruit
thereof. Work gives fruit only by the command of God.
Therefore, we must dedicate all our work to God. This
merges our way of action into the way of worship.
Karma Yoga ---> Bhakti Yoga
Desireless work dedicated to God makes the mind fit for
merger into the Self (verse 3). And, this fitness gives
us the insight by which we see God as our inner being.
And, this insight is the best spiritual effort (verse 8).
Here, work becomes a mode of knowledge.
Karma Yoga --> Knowledge
If we constantly abide with this insight, then we have
Supreme Devotion to God (verse 9). Here, our mental work
merges into Devotion to God.
Karma Yoga --> Bhakti Yoga
Verses 4-6 dealt with Devotion to God. That is Kriya Pada
or Bhakti Yoga. We must look upon everything appearing in
front of us as the Forms of God. We can straightaway
begin to repeat God's Name silently within the mind. And
then, reach upto the stage of unbroken silent mental
repetition, which is investigative thinking (verse 7).
And, Self-Enquiry is investigative thinking.
Investigating into the nature of our Real Self. Thus,
this unbroken silent mental repetition of God's Name
merges our way of devotion into the way of Knowledge.
Bhakti Yoga --> Knowledge
Verses 11-14 dealt with Raja Yoga. The mind's function is
feeling. The life force's function is works. And, these
two spring from the one source. Of the Supreme Self. We
can withhold the breath or the vital air or the life
force within. Then, even the mind will subside within.
Then, we must course the mind along the path of
Self-Enquiry. Then, its form will perish. And, it will
get destroyed within. Within the Supreme Self. Then, it
will not rise again (Verses 11-14). With the form of the
mind perishing, the great yogi who firmly abides in the
truth, has no work for Himself. He adjoined His Natural
State. Of the Supreme Self (Verse 15). Thus, here Raja
Yoga ends in Self-Knowledge.
Raja Yoga ---> Knowledge
Thus, to summarize,
Bhakti Yoga --> Knowledge
^^^ ^^^ ^^^
| | | | | |
Karma Yoga Raja Yoga
Thus, we see that everything finally merges into
Knowledge of the Self.
16 Leaving (aside and
behind) the external matters, only the mind's
investigating into its Light-Form (causal state), is(!)
the true perception.
17 Investigating unforgetfully into the mind's (Light-)
Form, there is nothing as the 'mind'. This is the
straight path for all.
18 Thoughts are(!) the mind. Of all (thoughts), 'I am
(this body)' thought, is(!) the root (thought). 'I am
(existing separately as) this (body)' is called as the
19 It you inwardly investigate as to wherefrom this 'I am
(this body) (thought)' rises, the head of 'I am (this
body) (thought)' lunges forward (into the Self). This is
20 With the one 'I (am the body thought)' reaching the
Self, that (other) One (than the ego) emerges(!) (from
within and behind) as 'I-I', of its own accord. That Self
is(!) the Totality.
So far, Sri Bhagawan
explained about three paths. Karma, Bhakti and Raja
Yogas. All of them pointed to Jnana Yoga. Now, He begins
to discuss Jnana Yoga.
The first step for Jnana Yoga is to leave aside the
external things. Then, we must investigate into the
Light-Form of the mind. Because, the mind is in its
subsided state in deep sleep. Or, the causal or
unmnaifest state. Its true form in that state is one of
Light. In dream state, it is in a subtle manifest state.
In waking, it is in gross manifest state. We must
investigate into these three states.
This, we must do without ever forgetting. Then, we will
find that there is nothing as the mind. Thoughts are the
mind. For all thoughts, 'I am this body' thought is the
root thought. We must investigate into the source from
which this root thought arises. Then, the head of this
root thought lunges forward into the Self. This is
'Knowledge-Investigation'. Or, Self-Enquiry. Or, Jnana
Yoga. Now, the Self emerges from within and behind. Of
its own accord, as the 'I-I'. And, it is the totality.
21 Because of the
removal of our non-existent self, (the ego, from its
waking state), even(!) in (and during) the 'I-(ego)-less'
sleep, even everyday(!), That (the Self), yes!, the
thing, which is the meaning of the word called the 'I'
(is the One, continuing Its Uninterrupted Existence).
22 Because body, sense, mind, life, and darkness, all
(these), are insentient, and (constitute the) Unreal
Existence, (these) are not the 'I', which is (the One)
23 To know Existence, there being no other Awareness,
Existence is Awareness. We exist as Awareness.
24 By existing Nature, the individual and (the Personal)
God, are One substance alone. Only the awareness of the
delimiting adjunct is different.
25 To investigate into oneself, giving up the delimiting
adjunct, is perceiving (the Personal) God, the Self.
Because of (the Personal God) shining as the Self.
Verses 21 to 25
Sri Bhagawan discussed Jnana Yoga. In verses 16-20. Now,
He proceeds further. To discuss the investigation into
the three states. Of waking, dreaming, and dreamlessly
sleeping. In fuller detail. Because, a constant
discrimination between these 3 states is an essential
foundation. For incessantly and unforgetfully practising
Self-Enquiry. And, abiding as the Self.
In waking, the ego exists in its fully expanded manifest
state. Holding on to a physical body. And, manifesting a
correspondingly physical world. In dream, the ego is in a
subtle state. Projecting a subtle body. And, manifesting
a correspondingly subtle world. In deep dreamless sleep,
the ego is removed. From its expansive manifest state.
Into a causal state. Thus, all the states of ego are
impermanent. And hence, ego is non-existent
in a real sense. Because, only that which abides
permanently can be said to be existent.
In deep dreamless sleep, no limitation of consciousness
is felt. By perception of a body as oneself. Hence, the
ego is not effective and functional then. Thus, in deep
dreamless sleep, we are egoless. But, our true existence
continues. Uninterrupted by body-consciousness. This we
experience everyday. This existence is the true meaning
of the word 'I'.
Body, sense, mind, life, and darkness, are all
insentient. That is, these have no awareness of their
own. They exist, function and shine in the Light of
Awareness of the Self. Thus, these constitute the Unreal
Existence. These are not the 'I'. Which is the One Real
To know Existence, there being no other Awareness,
Existence is Awareness. We exist as Awareness. By
existing Nature, the individual and the Personal God, are
One substance alone. Of the Supreme Self. Only the
awareness of the delimiting adjunct is different.
For us, the delimiting adjunct is our limited physical or
subtle body. Depending upon whether we are awake or are
dreaming. And, the ego rises by holding on to this body.
And as a result, we see a physical or subtle world, as
existing apart from ourself. Also, as a result of this,
we lose the awareness of the Self.
But, for the Personal God, the delimiting adjunct is the
entire manifested universe. That is His body. However, He
does not see any world existing as apart from Himself.
Since the entire universe is His body. And also, He is
ever aware of the Self.
We have to investigate into ourself. By giving up the
delimiting adjunct. Of our limited body-consciousness.
That is our perceiving the Personal God. Who shines for
ever as the Supreme Self.
26 To abide as the Self is to know the Self. Because, the
Self is (One) without two (the One bereft of all
duality). This is the 'Firm End filled with the Nature of
27 The Wisdom bereft of
knowledge and ignorance alone is Wisdom. This(!) is the
truth. There is not one (single thing) to know (as an
object of knowledge).
28 If one knows as to what one's nature is, then (oneself
is) is the beginningless and endless Existence. (And,
oneself is the) Vast Consciousness-Bliss.
29 Attaining to Transcendental Bliss, bereft of bondage
and liberation, to abide in this state, is to abide by
the Command of (the Personal) God.
30 If one (investigates into, becomes clarified, and)
ascertains (for oneself) as to which one inheres without
the 'I(-sense, or the ego)', that (investigation) alone
is askesis of Force (Concentrated Energy of Spiritual
Thus uttered Ramana, who is the (Supreme) Self.
to the Upadhesa Undhiyar
by Sri Muruganar
1 The rishis (of the Taruka forest), caressed the Feet of
the Lord (Siva), and worshipped (Him) (And,) resounded
(the place with His) Praise.
2 Upadhesa Undhiyar (text) is the support, [as the firm
Word (of guidance), the holy incantation, the attained
occupation, and the profit of the Self (all-in-one)] to
those in whom It merges, The uttered teacher-God
(two-in-one). (And,) The most auspicious One of the
mountain (of Arunachala, Sage Ramana).
3 Many years, many years, many-many-hundred-thousand [(s)
of years], Many years, and even many (more) years, May
(that sage Ramana) live upon this earth.
4 Those who musically sing (this Upadhesa Undhiyar text),
raising their voice, and those who fill their ears (with
such musical singing), May they live for many lives (in
5 Those who learn (this Upadhesa Undhiyar text), and
those who, having learnt and perceived, themselves firmly
abide by and in It, May they live for long many years.
THUS ENDS THE TRANSLATION OF THE TEXT UPADHESA UNDHIYAR
BY BHAGAWAN SRI RAMANA MAHARSHI