‘Sri Bhagavan [Sri Ramana Maharshi] once remarked that of all the commentaries on Ulladu Narpadu which then existed, Lakshmana Sarma’s Tamil commentary was the best.’
T. N. Venkataraman
(former president of Sri Ramana Ashram)
Many have said that Ulladu Narpadu (The Forty Verses on Reality) is the most important of Bhagavan Sri Ramana’s own written works.
Many have said, including Bhagavan Sri Ramana himself, that K. Lakshmana Sarma’s commentary on Ulladu Narpadu is the best available commentary. It was published under the title ‘Sri Ramana Hridayam’ and later translated into English by K Lakshnama Sarma himself under the title ‘Revelation’.
However many have informed me that they have not been able to locate a copy of this text and so not been able to benefit from it. This here is an attempt to make this text more widely available – I hope it is of benefit to you.
You can download as a PDF it here:
In the version of this text published by Sri Ramana Ashram, the entire commentary was included in a separate section after the verses. I have instead chosen to intersperse the commentary among the verses which I hope aids readability by preventing the reader having to flick back and forth through the text.
Words underlined in the commentary are words that Lakshmana Sarma (LS) himself chose to emphasise and not my own additions.
Throughout I have added a few comments in italiscised blue, but the aim has been to keep my comments to a minimum so the text speaks for itself.
I encourage you to read the text slowly in order to take in the depth of meaning. For most repeated readings will be necessary. And do not forget to put the teachings into practice.
I have seperately written a post in which LS himself explains the meaning of verse 18 of Ulladu Narpadu in greater detail, which may be of interest to you as this verse explains the nature of how the sage sees the world.
The accuracy, veracity and value of this work
Here are some reasons we should take this work to be an accurate and clear reflection of Sri Ramana’s teachings:
1) LS was a devotee of Bhagavan Sri Ramana for more than twenty years.
2) He was one of two people, the other being Sri Muruganar, who had the opportunity to study one-on-one with Bhagavan about the meaning of Bhagavan’s own written works.
3) Moreso, he was the only devotee who received extended and comprehensive instruction from the Master on the subject of Bhagavan’s master-work, Ulladu Narpadu.
4) Bhagavan repeatedly checked LS’s translation of Ulladu Narpadu from the original Tamil into Sanskrit verse by verse, and usually made him change the translation several times until he was satisfied that the meaning had been accurately conveyed. This process went on for 2-3 years.
5) Around 1931 a book purporting to be a commentary on Bhagavan Sri Ramana’s teachings was published. LS was unhappy to see that it had misrepresented Bhagavan Sri Ramana’s teachings. LS sought Bhagavan’s advice and thereafter proceeded to write a commentary on Ulladu Narpadu in Tamil in order that Sri Ramana’s teaching would be correctly understood.
6) This commentary was written and published during Bhagavan’s lifetime and Bhagavan often directed devotees to this particular commentary if they had questions regarding the meaning of the verses.
7) Bhagavan himself said that LS’s commentary was the best one available at the time.
8) Bhagavan personally requested that Ramana Ashram publish this work.
9) LS was a fluent in English, both speaking and writing, and the English translation of this work was done by himself.
The structure of the text
Ulladu Narpadu (40 verses on reality) was written in Tamil by Bhagavan Sri Ramana. K Lakshmana Sarma translated this text into Sanskrit and then wrote a Tamil commentary upon the text under Sri Bhagavan’s guidance which was published in 1936. How this was done has been described both above and below. K Lakshmana Sarma then translated these, namely the Sanskrit verses and his Tamil commentary, into English himself, and this is what is presented here in this text.
!Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya!
For the Sri Ramana Ashram translation of Ulladu Narpadu found in the Collected Works of Sri Ramana Maharshi, see here.