This is the first time I have made a video like this, so I hope you like it. It is made with love and devotion to Sri Ramana Maharshi.
I am eternally grateful to you Bhagavan. I bow down to You and prostrate at Your Feet. I give myself to You. My heart pours out love to You.
All the quotes in the video were written by Sri Ramana Maharshi himself (as opposed to being recorded or compiled by someone else – of course English translations from the original Tamil are presented here)
Vivekachudamani contains 580 verses. Ramana Maharshi evidently placed this text in high regard, so much so that he translated the entire text into Tamil for those who could not read or understand the original Sanskrit. He also selected what he felt were the ten most important verses, which are as follows:
The ten most Significant Verses From Sri Sankara’s Vivekachudamani
As selected by Sri Ramana Maharshi
1. Among things conducive to Liberation, devotion (Bhakti) holds the supreme place. The seeking after one’s real nature is designated as devotion. (Verse 31)
2. The Supreme Self, the eternal, indivisible, non-dual Consciousness, the Witness of buddhi and the rest, is other than the real (Sat) and the unreal (asat), and is the ultimate significance of the notion conveyed by the term ‘I’. It is the immediate Reality, the embodiment of Bliss. (Verse 351)
3. Different from matter (prakriti) and its modifications is the Supreme Self, of the nature of pure Knowledge. It is Absolute and directly manifests the entire gross and subtle universe, in waking and other states, as the substratum of the steady sense of egotism. It manifests Itself as the Witness of the intellect (buddhi). (Verse 135)
4. That which clearly manifests itself in the waking, dream and deep sleep states; that which shines inside uniformly and continuously as I-I; witnesses the ego, the intellect etc, which are of different forms and modifications; which shines as Eternal bliss (nitya ananda) and consciousness (chit), know this, within your heart, as your own Self. (Verse 217)
5. With a regulated mind and a purified intellect, directly know yourself as the essential Self, in the form ‘This I Am’. Cross the shoreless ocean of worldy existence (samsara) with its waves of births and deaths. Firmly established as Brahman, which is your own true essence, be blessed (Verse 136)
6. The self-shining witness (sakshi) of everything, this Atman shines eternally, in the sheath of the intellect (vijnanakosha). Making this Atman, which is distinct from the unreal, the aim of contemplation, meditate upon It as your own Self, eliminating all other thoughts (Verse 380)
7. Extremely subtle is the Truth of the Self Supreme, and it is not discernible to the gross vision (of the mind). It is knowable to the noble-minded of very pure intellect, through samadhi, brought about by an extraordinarily subtle mind. (Verse 360)
8. Thus purified by constant practice when the mind merges with Brahman, then Samadhi passes from the Savikalpa stage [where subject-object distinction exist] to the Nirvikalpa stage [where no subject-object duality exists], leading directly to the experience of the Bliss of Brahman, the Non-dual. (Verse 362)
9. By this [Nirvikalpa] Samadhi are destroyed all the knots of vasanas and all karma is destroyed. One‘s Real Nature (swarupa) manifests spontaneously and effortlessly, forever, everywhere and always, within and without. (Verse 363)
10. In the cave of the intellect, there is the Brahman, the Supreme non-dual Reality, distinct from [relative] truth (sat) and untruth (asat). One who dwells in this cave as Brahman has no rebirth*. (Verse 266)
*Tom: The literal rendering of this last line of verse 266 is a play on the word ‘cave’ and states ‘One who dwells in this cave as Brahman does not enter into the cave of the body’. The ‘word ‘cave’ is used in the Upanishads to describe the location of Brahman, whilst ‘cave of the body’ refers to the mother’s womb, which in turn refers to rebirth in samsara and continued suffering.
Sri Ramana Maharshi also said that the entirety of Advaita Vedanta can be found in in verse 170 of Vivekacudamani:
170. In dreams, when there is no actual contact with the external world, the mind alone creates the whole universe consisting of the experiencer, etc. Similarly in the waking state also, there is no difference. Therefore all this [phenomenal universe] is the projection of the mind.
In talk number 428 from the book Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, Ramana Maharshi selects 10 verses from Sivananda Lahari, a devotional work of 100 verses written by Sri Sankara. In it, Bhakti is described, and Ramana has provided his own free translations of the meaning of the verses. So, here in the following text we have in effect a combined statement on Bhakti from both Shakara and Ramana!
!Praise and blessings to Sri Ramana and Sri Shankara!
(1) What is bhakti?
Just as the ankola fruit falling from the tree rejoins it or a piece of iron is drawn to magnet, so also thoughts, after rising up, lose themselves in their original source. This is bhakti. The original source of thoughts is the feet of the Lord, Isvara. Love of His Feet forms bhakti. (Verse 61)
(2) Fruit of bhakti:
The thick cloud of bhakti, formed in the transcendental sky of the Lord’s Feet, pours down a rain of Bliss (ananda) and fills the lake of mind to overflowing. Only then the jiva, always transmigrating to no useful end, has his real purpose fulfilled. (Verse 76)
(3) Where to place bhakti?
Devotion to gods, who have themselves their origin and end, can result in fruits similarly with origin and end. In order to be in Bliss everlasting our devotion must be directed to its source, namely the Feet of the ever blissful Lord. (Verse 83)
(4) Bhakti is a matter only for experience and not for words:
How can Logic or other polemics be of real use? Can the ghatapatas (favourite examples of the logicians, meaning the pot and the cloth) save you in a crisis? Why then waste yourself thinking of them and on discussion? Stop exercising the vocal organs and giving them pain. Think of the Feet of the Lord and drink the nectar! (Verse 6)
(5) Immortality is the fruit of Devotion:
At the sight of him who in his heart has fixed the Lord’s Feet, Death is reminded of his bygone disastrous encounter with Markandeya and flees away. All other gods worship only Siva, placing their crowned heads at His feet. Such involuntary worship is only natural to Siva. Goddess Liberation, His consort, always remains part of Him. (Verse 65)
(6) If only Devotion be there – the conditions of the jiva cannot affect him.
However different the bodies, the mind alone is lost in the Lord’s Feet. Bliss overflows! (Verse 10)
(7) Devotion always unimpaired:
Wherever or however it be, only let the mind lose itself in the Supreme. It is Yoga! It is Bliss! Or the Yogi or the Bliss incarnate! (Verse 12)
(8) Karma Yoga also is Bhakti:
To worship God with flowers and other external objects is troublesome. Only lay the single flower, the heart, at the feet of Siva and remain at Peace. Not to know this simple thing and to wander about! How foolish! What misery! (Verse 9)
(9) This Karma Yoga puts an end to one’s samsara:
Whatever the order of life (asrama) of the devotee, only once thought of, Siva relieves the devotee of his load of samsara and takes it on Himself. (Verse 11)
(10) Devotion is Jnana:
The mind losing itself in Siva’s Feet is Devotion. Ignorance lost! Knowledge! Liberation! (Verse 91)
A learned Telugu visitor, who had composed a song in praise of Sri Bhagavan, read it out, placed it at His feet and saluted. After a time he asked for upadesa.
[Tom: Upadesa means spiritual teaching or instruction. The text Ramana refers to below, Upadesa Saram, means ‘The Essential Teaching’, and was written by Sri Ramana Maharshi himself. You can find the full text on the link below, together with a PDF version for download.]
Questioner: But oral and personal instruction is valuable.
Sri Ramama Maharshi: If there be anything new and hitherto unknown upadesa will be appropriate. Here it happens to be stilling the mind and remaining free from thoughts.
Questioner: It looks impossible.
Sri Ramama Maharshi: But it is precisely the pristine and eternal state of all.
Questioner: It is not perceived in our everyday active life.
Sri Ramama Maharshi: Everyday life is not divorced from the Eternal State. So long as the daily life is imagined to be different from the spiritual life these difficulties arise. If the spiritual life is rightly understood, the active life will be found to be not different from it.
Can the mind be got at by the mind on looking for it as an object? The source of the mental functions must be sought and gained. That is the Reality.
One does not know the Self owing to the interference of thoughts. The Self is realised when thoughts subside.
Questioner: “Only one in a million pursues sadhanas to completion.” (Bhagavad Gita, VII, 3).
Sri Ramama Maharshi: “Whenever the turbulent mind wavers, then and there pull it and bring it under control.” (Bhagavad Gita, VI, 26.) “Seeing the mind with the mind” (manasa mana alokya), so proclaim the Upanishads.
Questioner: Is the mind an upadhi (limiting adjunct)?
Sri Ramama Maharshi: Yes.
Questioner: Is the seen (drisya) world real (satya)?
Sri Ramama Maharshi: It is true in the same degree as the seer (drashta), subject, object and perception form the triad (triputi). There is a reality beyond these three. These appear and disappear, whereas the truth is eternal.
[Tom: Triputi here refers to the triad of subject/ object/ verb, or perceiver/ perceived/ perceiving or knower/ known/ knowing]
Questioner: These triputi sambhava are only temporal.
Sri Ramama Maharshi: Yes, if one recognises the Self even in temporal matters these will be found to be non-existent, rather inseparate from the Self; and they will be going on at the same time.
In the text Guru Vachaka Kovai are recorded some of the most important teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi. Here are verses 148 and 149 which come under the heading ‘The Truth of Vedanta’ in the text. I have also included commentary from Sri Sadhu Om, a direct disciple of Sri Ramana Maharshi’s:
The Truth of Vedanta
148. Those who know nothing but sense-pleasure,
To ruin and destruction doomed,
Resent transcendence of the senses
And call this fresh and fruitful wisdom
Tom’s comments: many seekers often resent the idea of turning away from sense pleasures, saying this is a dry or repressive path that is ‘anti-life’. Here Ramana calls this path ‘fresh and fruitful’ instead!
149. The experience of Vedanta comes
Only to those who are utterly
Without desire. Far, far it is
From those who still retain desires.
For such the penance is prescribed
Of longing for the Lord who knows
No desire, so as to end
Forever all desire.
Commentary from Sri Sadhu Om:
The term Vedanta is commonly understood to mean a particular system of philosophy, but its true meaning is the experience of Jnana which is gained as the conclusion [anta] of the Vedas.
The desire for sense objects, which are all 2nd or 3rd persons, is directly opposed to the desire for God, and so it is quite clear that God is not merely one among the many 2nd and 3rd personal objects, but that He must be the Reality of the 1st person. Therefore, we should understand that discarding all desires for 2nd and 3rd personal objects and having love for Self alone is the true devotion towards God.
Verse B 13 [which comes after verse 731] also asserts this same point.
731. The way of knowledge and the way of love
Are interwoven close. Don’t tear
Asunder these inseparables.
But practise both together holding
In the heart the two as one.
SRI BHAGAVAN 13: Meditation on the Self
Is devotion to the Lord
Supreme, since He abides as this,
Our very Self.
If you are seeking, you think you are doing this and that, but actually the Self is doing all. The Self is like a magnet. It’s magnetic force is always drawing you towards it. You are just being moved by the Self.
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Have faith in the Lord, lean on Him, give yourself to Him, be with Him, love Him and thank Him – that is enough for those who are drawn to this path – He, who is Within and All (and beyond male or female), will lead you Home
Question: Thank you for this post on Laya and Samadhi. What is the difference between ‘Laya’ and Samadhi? And what is the difference between Nirvakalpa Samadhi, and Nirvakalpa Sahaja Samadhi? Thank you. 🙏
Tom: There are several different definitions of each term, depending on the scripture and school (eg. yoga, vedanta, etc). However, in essence, when the mind has been made still but I-thought (ie. ego) has NOT been removed, that is laya, so the ego remains latent and does not end up being destroyed. Instead, once the samadhi is over, the ego sprouts up again and causes suffering. This ‘Laya’ is sometimes known as Nirvikalpa Samadhi.
Abiding as the self is to remain as the Self without the I-thought. This is called Mauna (Silence), and naturally, over time, leads to Moksha once the vasanas (egoic tendencies) are rooted out. This is because the root cause of suffering, namely ignorance or the ‘I thought’ is directly attacked in this practice. Moksha is also called Sahaja Samadhi (which roughly translated means ‘the natural state’), as it is unforced and natural, but there is no sense of egotism/I-thought.
Confusingly, these terms are often used in different ways, even within a single philosophical school such as Advaita Vedanta. Sometimes the word Laya is used to mean Moksha, for example, and Mauna, Self-Abidance and Nirvikalpa Samadhi are also equated at times. At these times it will be said that Nirvikalpa Samadhi does lead to Moksha.