Grace Alone is of Prime Importance | Sadhanai Saram | Sri Sadhu Om | Sri Ramana Maharshi

The following text is taken from the wonderful text Sadhanai Saram (The Essence of Spiritual Practice) written by Sri Sadhu Om. This text not only gives us the essence of Sri Ramana Maharshi’s teaching, but also directs us to the true Vedanta teachings. The notes are written by Sri Sadhu Om himself.

  1. The ego is only a trivial entity; besides, it is unreal (asat) and powerless (asakta). It is a mere adjunct which rises and subsides. Therefore, what foolishness it is to think, “The spiritual practice (sadhana) done by the strength of this ego will by itself bestow the goal of life; the supreme power of divine Grace is not of any consequence (and is not necessary in order for one to attain the goal)”!

Note: Not believing Grace, but thinking one’s own individual effort alone to be of very great consequence, is mere foolishness.

  1. Is not the unreal help which one unreal man renders to another unreal man, experienced by everyone in this world as real? Therefore, O Sadguru, the embodiment of Grace, the sole reality, is it impossible for You to save me by dispelling the unreal ego? What doubt or wonder is there in Your being able to help me thus

Note: A man or jiva is merely an unreal appearance, and hence whatever help he may seem to render to another man is also unreal. But when such unreal help rendered by an unreal man is experienced by everyone as real, why should we doubt the ability of the Sadguru, who alone is truly real, to render us the real help of destroying the unreal ego? Such help from the Sadguru will certainly be experienced by us as more real than the help that we feel is rendered to us by others.

  1. Unless our Lord, Sri Ramana, who is the form of God, Himself bestows His divine Grace, who can by his own effort attain that heroic state of firmly abiding as Self, having clearly known one consciousness other than the body to be the real “I”?

Ulladu Narpadu (40 verses on Reality) with commentary by K. Lakshmana Sarma ‘Who’| Revelation | Sri Ramana Hridayam | PDF download eBook

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)

Also see: Recommended Reading: Books for Enlightenment, Liberation and Self-Realisation

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.

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.

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.

Online Satsang with Tom Das | Advaita with loving devotion to Sri Ramana Maharshi | Online Non-duality meetings | Advaita Vedanta

Please join us – all are welcome and no prior knowledge is required. We meet online twice every week (every Thursday and Sunday). After the meeting there is an opportunity to stay and connect with other people attending the meeting. To join or find out more please see this link.

Exposing a false belief & the importance of Self-Enquiry | Sri Ramana Maharshi | Ending the ego

Some say that everything the ‘ego-me’ does simply perpetuates the ego-me, and thus the sense of separation and suffering that comes with the ego-me continues. If this is true, then there is nothing you can do to for ‘liberation to occur’ and for suffering to end. Note that this is a belief. Note that this is a conceptual view. Ask yourself: how do you even know this is true?

In order to know this is true, one would have to try every single practice in the world. It is a bit like saying no action can ever take you to the moon, as no action I’ve done so far has ever taken me to the moon. But it is possible to go to the moon!

Saying everything the ego does simply perpetuates the ego, is a bit like saying everything the body does simply perpetuates the body.

Just as there is a certain action the body can do that ends the body (ie. suicide), there is a certain effort of the ego-me that ends the ego-me (ie. self-enquiry).

Self-enquiry is ego suicide!

This is why Bhagavan Sri Ramana emphasised the need for practice and self-enquiry; see these teachings from Sri Ramana taken from Guru Vachaka Kovai (the second verse quoted summarises my points above, namely that there is a practise the ego can undertake that ends the ego):

385 When with the keen, unceasing quest
Of “Who am I?”
one penetrates
The centre of oneself, the body-bound
Ego fades away, true Being
Rises clear as I, as I,
And puts an end to all diversity,
Illusive as the blueness of the sky.

388 The jiva searching “Who in truth am I?”
Subsides as the true Self without an ‘I’.

[Tom: jiva means the (conceiving of oneself as a) separate body-mind entity. Jiva essentially refers to the ego ie. the false sense of being a body-mind entity]

391 Those who do not dive into the Heart
And there confront the Self in the five sheaths hid
Are only students answering out of books
Clever questions raised by books,
And not true seekers of the Self.

402 Delusive thought now like a cloud
Conceals the boundless bright awareness
Of the Self. Enquiring “Who am I?”
Dispels the darkness and the splendour
Of the sky of Self shines clear.

403 As a ball of iron heated in the fire
Glows like a ball of fire, the jiva
Once impure is now ennobled
By self-enquiry
and acquires
The very nature of the Self.

404 When the suffering fool turns inward,
Enquiring “Who am I?”
the radiant
Truth is seen, confusion cleared,
And silence wells up as the bliss of peace.

405 The jiva’s terrible suffering is
The turbid folly of the mind
Unschooled and ignorant of the Self.
Practise unceasingly within the wise
Enquiry, “Whose is this dire suffering?
Who am I?”

406 By the transmuting touch of daily,
Methodical, untiring self-enquiry
,
The base metal jiva shines forth clear
As Siva, freed from the mental rust,
The demon ego.

407 The jiva, son of God, forgetting
His real Being, cries “Alas” in anguish.
Then when he searches yearning inwards
He by experience knows the glory
Of oneness with the Self, his Father.

Please read the above verses carefully and slowly in order to fully gain their benefit.

Let us therefore first understand the proper technique of self-enquiry, and then let us be inspired and devoted to its practice.

Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya Om

🙏🙏🙏

Ending Suffering & What should be emphasised in the teaching

If place A is ego, duality and suffering, and place B is liberation and the end of suffering, then Self-enquiry is the vehicle that takes you from A to B.

While many teachers and teachings spend much time describing Place A and Place B, ie. Discussing the body, the mind, and the world, the nature of ego, ignorance, and the various mechanisms that create duality and suffering, and also discussing the nature of liberation or self-realization and what happens in liberation, etc, etc…

…we see that Bhagavan Sri Ramana emphasises actually getting onto the vehicle that takes us from one (apparent) shore to the other, namely self-enquiry:

393 One who has wisely chosen the straight path
Of self-enquiry can never go astray;
For like the bright, clear Sun, the Self
Reveals itself direct to whoso
Turns towards it

~ Sri Ramana Maharshi, Guru Vachaka Kovai

Let us therefore understand the practise of self-enquiry and let us be blessed with the motivation to undertake it! Know that there is a ‘discipline that leads to permanent freedom’!:

71 How piteous is the spectacle
Of people wandering in the world’s ways
Aimless, frisky like a goat’s beard
And chafing at the discipline
That leads to permanent freedom.

~ Sri Ramana Maharshi, Guru Vachaka Kovai

Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya Om

🙏🙏🙏

‘This’ vs ‘That’ | True vs False teachings | Sri Ramana Maharshi | Yoga Vasistha

The true teaching emphasises the Subject-Self, whereas false teachings* always come back to objects such as the body, the mind, feelings, emotions, the world, the breath, chakras, various experiences, knowledge in the mind, etc, etc.

The word ‘That‘ refers to the Subject, ie. the Self.
The word ‘This‘ refers to Objects, ie Maya, as described above

False teachings* emphasise ‘This’ whereas true teachings ultimately point to ‘That’.

‘This’ is Maya or illusion; ‘This’ is duality; ‘This’ is ignorance or ego.
‘That’ is Truth; ‘That’ is reality; ‘That’ is non-duality; ‘That’ is True Knowledge.

Only realisation of ‘That’ is non-duality.

In ‘That’, there is no ‘This’
Meaning in the Subject, or in Non-duality, there are no objects, or duality.

To say all of ‘this’ is one with ‘That’ is a mere conceptual proclamation of the ego-mind that has not yet realised the Self.

This is why Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi states in Guru Vachaka Kovai verse 932:

“The mukta [liberated sage] like the rest of us perceives
The world in all its vast variety
And yet he sees non-difference in it”,
So people say. This is not true.

In Yoga Vasistha it is said:

‘It is only as long as you are not fully enlightened that you experience apparent diversity’

and

‘What you call the body does not exist in the eyes of the sage’

and

‘Nothing, not even this body, has ever been created’

Therefore the True Teaching always ultimately recommends the apparent individual to turn away from objects and to turn towards the Subject and thereby discover its true nature as the Subject-Self which is of the nature of non-dual realisation in which the apparent individual no longer exists.

This is the teaching of Guru Ramana Maharshi.
This is the teaching of the Upanishads
This is the teaching of the Buddha
This is the teaching of all liberating Spiritual Teachings

Om Tat Sat

🕉

*False teachings are not necessarily ‘bad’ – in fact they are often helpful ‘stepping stones’ for most seekers and so have their place – however these teachings are not directly in themselves liberating.