Introduction (by Sri Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi)
This work is one of the upa-agamas and explains the supreme wisdom to be attained by mature souls and their mode of life, expounded by the Supreme Lord Siva to Devi Parvati. It is the essence of all Agama Sastras on matters of spiritual knowledge. This is verily the boat which can rescue the mortals struggling hard, sinking and rising, in the sorrowful ocean of samsara of endless cycles of births and deaths and take them by the direct path to the shore of liberation. Let all earnest seekers after Truth, instead of groping in the dark, bewildered, and losing their way, adopt the help of this straight path and reach the supreme state to bliss and peace.
Meditate in the Heart upon Lord Ganesa — the silent,non-dual, universal witness — who is the nectar of divine bliss and is full of grace, shining as the bountiful flowering of aspirants following the path of spiritual wisdom revealed in Devikalottara, which was expounded by Lord Ishwara into the ears of Goddess Ishwari.
Note: In the original Tamil verse, the word ‘kari’ means ‘elephant’, which denotes Lord Ganesa as per tradition, but the word ‘kari’ also means ‘witness’, which denotes the Universal Self, which is in line with Advaitic experience.
1. O Lord of all celestial beings! I yearn to know that path of supreme wisdom and the code of conduct by adopting which one can get liberation, so that all humanity may attain salvation. I request you to enlighten me on them, out of your grace. Ishwara :
2. O Queen among women! So that everyone may attain knowledge, I shall clearly explain to you today the highest knowledge and the discipline to be followed by which discerning seekers will attain liberation, which is free from any blemish and is difficult to describe.
3. O Lady with fair countenance! Understand that one who is not able to realise the Truth in his Heart by this knowledge of spiritual wisdom known as Kala Jnana, can never attain it even by studying countless crores of sastras (scriptures) spread out like the sky.
4. Therefore cast aside all fears (on following this path) and shed all doubts. Giving up attachment or desire for anything, be ardent in seeking the ultimate knowledge with wholehearted devotion and with a clear mind (without any trace of confusion).
5. Claiming nothing as ‘mine’, filled with compassion,giving protection to all living beings so that no creature fears you, yearning for liberation, absorbed in yoga (union of jiva and Para, fusion of individual self with the universal Self),study this work Devikalottara and follow wholeheartedly and steadfastly the single path shown therein.
6-7. If one is to describe the person who can bring under control his mind, which is restless and turbulent like a whirlwind, and maintain it in a tranquil state, he is verily Brahma (the God that does the creation), Siva (the saviour who shows the path to salvation) and Vishnu (the sustainer of the world); he is Indra, King of the devas, and Lord Subrahmanya (chief commander of all the celestial forces);he is Brihaspati, the guru of all devas; he is a supreme yogi, and one who has achieved the result of performing all austerities; he is a great scholar (who has mastered all the Vedas and sastras), and an outstanding man; he is one who has achieved the true spiritual goal.
8-9. The means by which this mind, which is restless and moves about quicker than the wind, can be brought under control, is indeed the means to obtain liberation; it indeed is what is good for those who seek the permanent Reality; it itself is Pure Consciousness and the state of firmness; moreover, it alone is the righteous duty to be followed by discerning aspirants; it alone is the pilgrimage to holy waters; it alone is charity; it alone is austerities. Know that there is no doubt about this.
10. When the mind moves even a little, that is samsara (worldly bondage); when the mind abides firmly and motionlessly (in the state of Self), that is mukti (liberation). This is certain. Therefore know that the wise man must hold his mind firm by supreme Self-awareness.
11. The happiness attained in this aloneness is the highest,boundless bliss. Which learned persons will not revel in that Supreme Reality, in which there is absolutely no action? Tell me.
12. Being rid of the worldly knowledge, the great hero who has acquired pure wisdom, in which there are no sense objects, and which is all pervading and without any form, will attain immutable moksha without fail, even though he may have no desire to attain liberation.
13. The consciousness (chaitanya) associated with the aspect ‘am’ is called Sakti. The universe shines by its light. The entire creation is Sakti’s sankalpa (thought). The state (of mind) which is completely devoid of all attachment is the pure (wisdom) to be attained.
14. The void which is the infinite and all-encompassing one whole without a second, which is just the effulgence of pure wisdom, which is completely devoid of visible phenomena and which consists of the aspect ‘I’ is the seed which fructifies as liberation, bestowing salvation by enabling one to unite with the Supreme.
15. Instead of following this direct path, do not ever contemplate even in the least upon chakras (located in six adharas, centres in the body), nadis (subtle nerves that produce the ten divine sounds such as Pranava), the deities associated with the lotus seats (in the adhara chakras, beginning with Vinayaka), the mantraksharas (potent sound syllables for the worship of these deities) and the diverse mandala murtis (the God-aspects, starting from those controlling the sun, Surya Mandala, the moon, Chandra Mandala, and fire, Agni mandala).Note: Some aspirants indulge in severe austerities and arduous practices, mastering several techniques and incidentally attaining extraordinary supernatural powers as well. All these are to be shunned as they do not lead to ultimate peace and joy. On the other hand, the path of Kala Jnana described here is a direct path to mukti.
16. Those who seek everlasting liberation need not endeavour to practise repetition and countless verse mantras (repeating potent scriptural words or texts to gain various ends), and methods of yoga such as breath-control (pranayama), breath retention (kumbhaka) and concentration.
17. There is no room for performing puja (worship of deities), namaskaram (paying homage like prostration), japa (incantation), dhyana (contemplation) and so on. Hear from me that the highest truth acclaimed in the Vedas can be known only through jnana; hence, there is absolutely no need to know anything outside of oneself.
18. For those whose minds are constantly expanding, clinging to external objects, factors will always arise causing increasing bondage. If the outward-wandering mind is turned inwards to stay in its natural state, know that one will not undergo any suffering in the world.
19. Unite with that one totality, which is all-pervasive,which has no inside or outside, which is bereft of all (concept of) directions such as above, below and in between, which assumes all the forms in creation and yet is itself formless,which can be known only by itself, and which is self-luminous.
20. People perform their actions having their own aims in mind, and they accordingly reap the consequences of their actions by attaining those aims. Therefore do not engage in such actions which are not free from flaws (leading to bondage). Turn the attention completely away from external objects and concentrate only upon that (the Self) which cannot be seen.
21. In our natural state, actions, cause and result of such actions, and all the various other theories propounded (in the scriptures) do not exist. In fact, even the diverse world does not exist. As such even the worldly individual who is attached to (the various attractions of) the world is also nonexistent.
22. This entire universe is nothing but the niralamba (the reality which exists without any support). Further, it shines being illumined by the niralamba. The yogi (with his mind turned inward) merges with this whole one by making every object in this world one with it. Know this.
23. If any person does not meditate on this great allpervading void, which is the space of consciousness (chidakasa), he will be a samsari (a worldly individual) forever in bondage to worldly attachments, like the silkworm in its self made cocoon. Understand this.
24. All living beings, of whatever genus, undergo great misery over and over again. Hear from me. In order to avert all this suffering and sorrow, meditate on the great void constantly without any break.
25. Good actions and good conduct have been prescribed only to guide the seeker towards the path of acquiring knowledge. Therefore, giving up even salamba yoga in which an object (such as a mantra or a form of God) is meditated upon in the mind, stay steadfast in your real state (sahaja swarupa), where the outside world is not perceived.Note: Actions prescribed include worship of Siva in one’s mind as well as outside. The various ceremonies prescribed in Agama Sastras for worshipping Siva in saguna form in a temple are covered in good conduct.
26. One who can destroy all the tattvas (principles) from patalaloka (the nethermost world) to Sakti (one of the highest tattvas), which are all interdependent, by the arrow of sunyabhava is a man of great valour. He has attained supreme wisdom which is beyond matter.Note: ln sunyabhava the individual is only aware of his conscious being while everything else is like a void (sunya) — without existence.
27. The mind, hankering after things of the world, is more restless than a monkey. If one controls it from wandering after external things and holds it in the void of non-matter one will attain liberation directly.
28. The full Consciousness (purna chit) which is not other than the true import of the word ‘I’, being non-different in all the principles (tattvas) and being other than the sense ‘I am the body’, is the all-pervading Reality.
29. This complete wholeness pervades inside and outside all creations like ether, merging with them, and is itself formless. Dear, those who are submerged in this supreme bliss become that supreme bliss themselves. See, how wonderful!
30. The expanding mind will attain peace, becoming still of its own accord, if it is deprived of something to hold on,just as fire gets extinguished gradually if not fed with fuel.
31. You must realise that the four states of infatuation,delusion, swoon (due to shock) and dreaming, as also sleeping and waking, are all to be dispelled.
32. If one meditates that the one Consciousness (chit) is different from the prana (life-force), which has subtly attached itself to this gross body, from the mind, from the intellect and from the ego, one will become established in that Consciousness.
33. Due to sleep and due to thoughts the mind always loses its sharpness, its foolishness increases, and it goes to ruin. Awakening this mind with effort, and without allowing it to wander, establish it in the state of Self. Persevere in this effort by fixing the mind again and again in its natural state.
34. When once the mind becomes steady, it should not be disturbed in any way. There is no need to think even in the least of anything else, entertaining any doubts. Fixing the mind firmly in that state (of Self-awareness), keep it still.
35. Make the mind, which always clings to some support (attaching itself to sense-objects), devoid of all such supports. Making the mind, which is restless in clinging to external supports, motionless, do not disturb that tranquillity even a little.
36. Meditate on the peerless Self which pervades all the various forms, yet remains without any blemish (being unaffected by them), just as ether, pervading all the creations made up of the five elements, remains unsullied at the time of their dissolution.
37. When one adopts the practice (sadhana) by means of which one’s mind, which is restless like the wind, is made still perpetually, then the purpose of taking birth as a human being is fulfilled. That is also the mark of a true scholar.
38. Do not practise meditation by fixing the mind on the six adhara chakras, the ones that are up or down or in the middle, or anywhere else. Giving up all such meditations, make the mind always devoid of any support (either inside or outside).
39. If the mind falls asleep, awaken it. Then if it starts wandering, make it quiet. If you reach the state where there is neither sleep nor movement of mind, stay still in that, the natural (real) state.
40. The state in which the mind is bereft of any support to cling to, ever faultless and pure, and devoid of worldly attachments, is the nature of liberation attained through knowledge. Keep this firmly in mind.
41. Dispelling all attachments completely, and fixing that mind in the Heart firmly, persist in your practice always in order to strengthen the awareness, which then shines forth with great effulgence and clarity.
42. Know that whoever meditates on that supreme void,and becomes established in it by virtue of constant practice,will definitely attain the great state which is beyond birth and death.
43. Gods and goddesses, merits, demerits and their fruits, which are likewise anya (other than oneself), objects of attachment and the knowledge of those objects — all these will lead one to bondage in mighty samsara.
44. All objects of attachments are said to be pairs of opposites (happiness and misery, good and bad, profit and loss, victory and defeat, and so on). When one rises above those pairs of opposites, one realises the Supreme. Such a yogi is a jivanmukta, liberated from bondage. On discarding the body, he becomes a videhamukta.
45. A wise man should not give up the body out of aversion to it. Know that when once the prarabdha karma (result of accumulated actions) which was responsible for the creation of the body ceases, the bodily burden will automatically fall off.
46. The Consciousness which shines as `I' in the Heart- lotus is pure (flawless) and perfectly steady (without a trace of movement). By destroying the ego, which rises (from that Consciousness), that Consciousness itself bestows the supreme joy of liberation. Be sure about it.
47. With great devotion meditating constantly that `I am that Siva the form of the one Consciousness that is always unsullied by any adjunct,' dispel all your attachments.
48. Giving up all notions about country, caste, blemishless community, asrama (status as a bachelor, family man, ascetic or one who has renounced the world) and associated matters, hold on to and practise always meditation upon the Self, your own natural state.
49. I alone am. No one belongs to me; nor do I belong to anyone else. I can see no one who can call me his; neither can I see anyone who is mine. I am all alone.
50. Know that the person who experiences the firm conviction, `I am the Supreme Brahman, I am the Master and Lord of the Universe!' is the real mukta (one who has attained liberation), and that the one following conflicting paths is in bondage.
51. The day one is able to see oneself with his inner eye as not the body, all his desires vanish, and he experiences perfect peace.
52. He who is described in the scriptures as the unborn and Lord, I am He, the Atman (Self), who is forever without form or qualities. There is absolutely no doubt about it.
53. I am pure Awareness, immaculate, perfectly liberated; and forever present everywhere. I am indeterminable. No one can grasp me or leave me. I am free from sorrow. I am always brahmamayam (of the nature of Brahman).
54. I am the Self which is Consciousness, absolute completeness, deathless and self-established, and which is other than this insentient body, limited between the top of the head and the sole of the foot, and which, beginning with the antahkaranas (the inner instruments such as mind and intellect) is bounded by the covering of the skin.
55. Thinking, `I am the Lord of all creations, moving or stationary, I remain as father, mother and father's father for the universe', aspirants for mukti contemplate with concentration and ardour only upon Me, who am that great turiya state (the substratum of the waking, dream and sleep states).
56. I am the one who is worshipped through sacrifices and penances by all celestial beings beginning with Brahma (the Creator), the heavenly damsels who are themselves sought after, humans, yakshas, gandharvas, nagas and other groups of superhuman beings, and also by many others. Know that everyone worships only Me.
57. By many kinds of rare austerities and charities, everyone worships only Me. Know that this vast creation, moving and stationary, and all objects, are nothing but Me, the Infinite One.
58. I am not the gross body, nor am I the subtle body. I am also not the causal body. I am the kinsman of the universe. I am the One who is of the nature of transcendental knowledge. I am moreover the eternal One, the Lord, the taintless One, the One who is devoid of the states (of waking, dream and sleep), the One who is devoid of the universe.
59. The beginningless Consciousness is unborn, whole and, residing forever in its natural home of the Heart-cave, is without form, world or impurity. It is beyond comparison and completely unattached. It cannot be comprehended by the mind nor can it be seen or felt by the senses.
60. Repeatedly see thus: `I am He, the eternal, omnipresent Reality which is Brahman'. Meditating thus for a long time, whoever abides imperturbably will become the Supreme Brahman, thereby attaining immortality.
61. Having thus explained the nature of knowledge to enable everyone to attain liberation, which is always available, I shall now proceed to describe the conduct to be adopted by seekers. Noble Lady, listen to them calmly.
62. O Queen among women! Know that bathing in holy waters, repeating holy names or words (mantras), performing daily homa (sacred offering in specially prepared fire), worship, other oblations in lustrous fire, or any other means (sadhana) to be followed after great study, are never required for him (the earnest aspirant seeking liberation).
63. Niyamas (strict rules of conduct such as what to eat, when to eat, how to eat, what to wear, where to sit and so on), worship of deities in sacred places, nama archanas (worship of deities by reciting sacred names), pitru karmas (oblations, etc., carried out for the sake of forefathers to help them reach a high state), pilgrimage to holy places which have come forth on earth, and observance of great vows, are all not for him (the earnest aspirant), if considered deeply.
64. He does not reap the fruit of actions, good or bad. Important dates and special observances zealously followed by the world are not for him. Give up all actions and all kinds of worldly codes of conduct.
65. Renounce completely all religious edicts and disciplines. Since all kinds of action result in bondage, give up all action plans, mental conflicts, and attachment to one's caste duties.
66. Even if the aspirant acquires many kinds of supernatural powers and magical powers such as visualising what is buried underneath the earth, and can demonstrate them before the world, he should give up mental attachment to them.
67. All these (powers) are only bondages to the individual soul. Further they drag one to follow a low path. The supreme joy of liberation does not lie in any of them, but only in the Infinite Consciousness.
68. One must engage unfailingly in yoga (the practice of Self-abidance) in all conditions, without allowing any special event to affect one adversely. If, due to doubts, delusion arises in the form of attraction to worship in holy places and temples (on account of past practices and vasanas), reject it immediately.
69. Listen to me, Lady! Know that only the wise man who never does anything which leads to the destruction of any form of life, such as insects, worms, birds or plants, is a person who is seeking true knowledge.
70. He (the true aspirant) should not pull out tender roots (of fragrant plants, which is often done for worship); he should not even pluck the leaves; he should not harm any living thing out of anger; he should not heartlessly pluck even flowers.
71-72. He should worship Lord Siva using only flowers that have fallen naturally. He should not indulge in vile practices such as marana (causing destruction through the use of certain mantras) uchadana (driving one out with the force of mantras), vidveshana (causing mutual hatred between friends), the well known sthambana (freezing one's capabilities), causing fever, putting into action evil spirits, causing agitation, wrongly taking control of others, attracting and infatuating others, and so on. Abandon the worship of stones, wooden objects and similar articles.
73. Having relinquished the great mudras which are adopted in order to fix the mind on the devatas (deities) residing in holy places and temples, and the associated sacrifices, get rid of the vasanas also which may haveaccumulated on account of such practices in the past, and cling only to the Self, the all-pervading real Consciousness.
74. Maintain a neutral attitude towards all things; do not get infatuated with anything; maintain equanimity whether in happiness or suffering; be the same to friends and enemies; treat alike a broken piece of mud pot and a piece of gold.
75. Know that a flawless yogi is one who does not ever allow himself to be swayed by desire for the pleasures of the senses, who frees himself at heart from mamakara (treating things as `mine'), who has a steadfast mind, who is free from desires and fear, and who always revels in the Self.
76. Being unaffected by either praise or slander, treating alike all creatures, he should always unfailingly maintain an equality of vision (sama drishti), considering all living beings in the world as himself.
77. Avoid unnecessary arguments and worldly associations. Do not create misunderstanding among others. Do not join religious bodies well versed in many scriptures (sastras). Give up both words of abuse and words of praise.
78. Gradually and completely get rid of jealousy, slander, pomp, passion, consequent hatred, desire, anger, fear and sorrow.
79. If a man is free from all the pairs of opposites and always lives in Solitude (established in himself alone), he gains perfect wisdom even while in the present body and shines forth with great effulgence.
80. Liberation is attained only by knowledge (jnana). By other powers (siddhis) such a fruit is unattainable. However, aspirants become enchanted with blemishful worldly enjoyments and thaumaturgic powers (siddhis) and go after them with desire.
81. Know that the pure flawless person will experience that blemishless Lord (the Supreme Brahman) and positively attain liberation whether attended by the supernatural powers or not.
82. The body is a form constituted of the five elements (earth, water, fire, air and ether). The one all-pervading Siva is also nicely seated there. Hence the entire universe, right from the indivisible all-pervading Sivam (the highest and most abstract tattva or principle) to this world, is the form of Shankara.
83-84. My dearest, earnest seekers who see the enlightened one and worship him with all the three instruments (mind, speech and body) in unison, offering him with heart-melting love, sweet-smelling sandal paste, fruits, flowers, incense, good water to bathe, clothes and food, will thus attain liberation. Know that those who worship that jnani reap the fruit of his righteous deeds and those who slander him reap the result of his sins.
85. I have revealed the truth about knowledge and the conduct pertaining thereto, as you have asked. This entire path is indeed Kalottara Jnana (the knowledge to be revealed at the final stage of maturity). Tell me, O Lady, if you want to ask anything more.
published by Sri Ramanasramam in 1988