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Upadesa Tiruvahaval

By Sri Muruganar

Page 1


Sri Muruganar composed most of Sri Ramana Sannidhi Murai, a work that praises Bhagavan in a series of long poems, in the late 1920s and early 1930s. 'Upadesa Tiruvahaval', the ninth poem of this sequence, is a single continuous verse of just under 200 lines in which Muruganar includes both the story of how he came to Bhagavan and many key teachings that Bhagavan gave him. 'Ahaval' is the Tamil metrical form in which the poem was written, so the title can be translated as 'The Holy Ahaval of Teachings'. 1

Lines 1 - 6

I have ended the confusion
of my bewildered, suffering mind.
A lowly cur,
I have merged with the gracious feet of my Master.
In the surging brilliance of his divine wisdom's splendour
the broad ocean of deadly desires has disappeared completely.

Lines 7 - 11

The dark prison, which bound my tortured soul
crumbled and I became his servant,
finding joyous life in the open sky of his ambrosial grace.
The knot which locked my spirit to my physical body
was sundered by the bright sword of my Master's glance
and was no more.

Line 12

I was a learned fool.
My flawed mind knew nothing till I came to dwell with him
whose glance filled my heart with the light of awareness.
Dwelling in that gracious state of peace,
whose nature is holy silence,
so hard to gain and know,
I entered into union with the deathless state
of the knowledge of reality.

Lines 13 - 14

As the deadly delusion of a body-bound ego faded,
a flower of pure light unfolded at his holy feet.
That radiance grew ever brighter with my love
until I realized the flawless knowledge of the Self,
manifesting as the unbroken awareness 'I-I' within my heart.

 

Page 2


Line 15

He became one with my very soul,
the supreme Lord, the flawless Brahman,
the life of all that is, the jewel of the Self,
turning my soul's night to day
with the fulsome rays of true wisdom's sun.

Line 16
He became one with my very soul,
the supreme Lord, the flawless Brahman,
the life of all that is, the jewel of the Self,
turning my soul's night to day
with the fulsome rays of true wisdom's sun.

Lines 57 - 62

Not stopping at that, when I further asked you, 'Please tell me how the bondage of birth and death may
be severed for me, your devotee,' you gave to us the divine work Ulladu Narpadu that clearly reveals the
means by which the bond of the false ego may be severed and reality shine as the Self.

Lines 63 - 66

'Desire itself is birth, and desire's extinction is liberation, where bliss supreme surges ever unabated!'
Praise be to you who, as my Guru, came to rule my entire clan, and from whose mouth these words of
grace flowered!

 

Page 3


Lines 67 - 68

Praise be to you who declared: 'Cling firmly to That which clings to nothing, so that a firm attachment
[to That] ensues.'

Lines 69 - 74

Praise be to you who merged me into consciousness' expanse with these golden words: 'Apart from you
there is no world; those co-dependent entities, God and the jiva, both are not! Accordingly you are
yourself the undivided reality!'
Praise be to you who stated: 'The world, the jiva and God, whilst apparently existing, are simply
thought forms, nothing more!'

Lines 75 - 76

'The place where ullal [thought] arises and subsides is ullam [the Heart].' Thus you gave out the meaning
of ullam. Praise be to you!

Lines 77 - 78

You declared: 'Since ulladu [reality] exists in ullam [the Heart] ulladu [reality] itself may be said to be
ullam [the Heart].' Praise be to you!

Lines 79 - 80

You also declared: 'As the experience "nam ullam" ["we are"] exists [there], it can be termed ullam [the
Heart].'

 

Page 4


Lines 81 - 82

You declared: 'Ullaporul [that which exists], which gets the name 'ullam', is not a thought form.' Praise
be to you!

Lines 83 - 92

You declared: 'Consciousness of reality and consciousness of the things around us do not exist apart
from that reality.' Praise be to you!

'Therefore, the place where everything exists is the Heart.' This you declared. Praise be to you!

You declared: 'Since those who have [truly] seen see nothing other than their own Self, thinking
[of something other than the Self] is inconsistent [with that state].' Praise be to you!

You declared: 'Unless one reaches the throne of the Heart, it is impossible to see the brilliant light
of reality.' Praise be to you!
You declared, 'If one dives within and reaches the place of its arising, thought, which is of the
nature of the individual self, will cease to be'. Praise be to you!

Lines 93 - 101

Therefore, individual selves, who have no other form than thought, can only imagine with the false mind
the reality that is free from thought forms, but they cannot think of it as it really is. Just as reality dwells
within the Heart, free from thought forms, when the individual self dwells, in the same way, within the
Heart, free from thought forms, that is meditation on reality. Thus did you explain it to us. Praise be to
you!

 

Page 5


Lines 102 - 118

'Only those whose minds are extremely shaken by the fear of death are fit to undertake the path of
crossing [the ocean of samsara]. They are the ripe and competent persons.' Out of love you declared this
to me, my Father.
Those who cling as their supreme refuge to the feet, girt with warrior's anklets, of the Lord who is
beyond birth and death, who chastised even the god of death for the sake of his devotee [Markandeya],
will, as the fruit of that clinging, be brought under his power. Their inner attachment, consisting of the
ego, will be destroyed, along with all the other attachments which depend on the ego. The seed of the ego
will not be able to sprout within them as before. They will become absorbed in the Heart, and will abide
as the truth of their own Self. It is inconsistent for the thought of death to arise in those whose ego is
dead. Thus did you declare. Praise be to you!
Thus, declaring 'That is the state of immortality,' did you graciously impart in words this ambrosial
teaching to the soul of myself, your devotee. Praise be to you!

 

Page 6


Lines 119 - 128

Maya/i>attainment of jnana. Thus did you declare to me, mean and pitiable as I was, giving me comfort and clear
understanding. Praise be to you!
You taught: 'To enquire what the mind is with the mind is the means to destroy the mind.' Praise be
to you!

You declared: 'Instead of directly realising the Self that lies within the five bodily sheaths, to search
to the very end of the many scriptures, which only give good advice, is pointless and a waste.' Praise be
to you!

Question: Is it any use reading books for those who long for release?
Bhagavan: All the texts say that in order to attain release one should render the mind
quiescent; therefore their conclusive teaching is that the mind should be rendered
quiescent; once this has been understood there is no need for endless reading. In order to
quieten the mind one has only to enquire within oneself what one's Self is; how could this
search be done in books? One should know one's Self with one's own eye of wisdom. The
Self is within the five sheaths; but books are outside them. Since the Self has to be enquired
into by discarding the five sheaths, it is futile to search for it in books. There will come a
time when one will have to forget all that one has learned.

Lines 129 - 134

'Bondage is merely the thought of the pairs of opposites,' you assured me, impressing it upon my mind.
Praise be to you!
Father, you bade me, worthless as I was, to utter with a collected mind the words: 'Siva! Siva!'
Praise be to you! [Adding], 'If you examine to whom those thoughts belong, bondage will cease.' Praise
be to you!

 

Page 7


Lines 135 - 138

You declared: 'If you investigate who is he that is in bondage, it will be found that there is no one in
bondage. Thus bondage is not, and consequently, liberation also is not.' Praise be to you!

Lines 139 - 142

'Realisation of the ever-present Self is the greatest attainment [siddhi],' you clearly told me. Praise be to
you!
'That is the true attainment, that is liberation and that is jnana,' you declared. Praise be to you!

This is a summary of some of the ideas that are contained in Ulladu Narpadu, verse 35. It should be
remembered that the teachings contained in Ulladu Narpadu were originally given to Muruganar,
generally in response to specific topics suggested by Muruganar himself.

To know and to be ā€“ with the mind subsided ā€“ the reality which is ever-attained, is the
[true]
siddhi. All other siddhis are siddhis that are acquired in a dream; when one wakes
up from sleep, will they be real? Will they who, by abiding in the true state, are rid of the
false [state], be deluded [by
siddhis]? Know and be you [the reality]. 8

Lines 143 - 154

You declared: 'As there is nothing whatsoever to cause fear [in the Self], it is foolish to get frightened.'
Praise be to you!
'Those who have known this state will subside [in the Self], and will not become embroiled in and
perplexed by this impermanent world.' Thus did you explain the state [of jivan mukti] and how it
connects with the body. Praise be to you!
Ignorant as I was, this did I clearly grasp. Praise be to you!
You declared: 'When anger arises, vent your anger upon the anger itself, for it is your enemy, and
destroy it.' Praise be to you!
'Do not associate [with others] simply because they praise you. Rather, value their abuse.' Praise be
to you!
You declared: 'Value the very ones who vilify you as though they were your dearest friends.' Praise
be to you!

 

Page 8


Lines 155 - 156

'The rights you have, others also have; the rights others do not have, you do not have either.'

Lines 157 - 160

Praise be to you, Lord of the Vedas, who declared on many occasions: 'The Heart where the ā€œIā€ thought
does not arise is the Self, the undivided supreme Reality', thus clearly revealing the nature of the middle
state.

Lines 161 - 174

'Those who have seen their own Self do not see others; those who see others do not see their own Self.'
Thus did you fully explain the glorious state of mauna, Glorious One, you who wear a warrior's noble
anklets!
'Banish your harmful anxieties by entrusting everything to the all-powerful Lord,' you declared.
Praise be to you!

You declared: 'Those who understand the true meaning of the scriptures will describe the world of
the senses and the beings within it as real, when viewed from the standpoint of cause, and unreal, when
viewed from the standpoint of effect. There is really no contradiction here. Both these views, made by
those of mature understanding, are consistent with each other.' Praise be to you!
You declared: 'As the mind [in following either of the views] does not become externalised, but
abides as the Self, the end result is also the same.' Praise be to you!

 

Page 9


Lines 175 - 184

Demonstrating that freedom from desire is the virtuous path, you drove away all my evil desires. Praise
be to you!
At the mere thought of you, you entered my Heart, becoming nectar for my mind. Praise be to you!
You revealed that the ambrosial essence of all learning is to know the state of the Self, the enduring
substratum of all the worlds that appear as an illusion before the mass of beings, and the nature of whose
phenomena cannot be ascertained even by the greatest minds. Praise be to you!

Lines 185 - 196

Glory to the teacher who confers the true attainment of jnana by destroying the infatuation that consists
in the forgetting [of the Self]!
Glory to you who revealed clearly that true attainment as my own Self, the indivisible light!
Glory to you who appeared first as God, then as Guru in the middle stage, and who finally dwelt as
my Self!
Glory to you who dwelt as my own Self, the ocean of bliss that is worthy of my devotion!
Glory to you, the teacher who, in an excess of love, took pity on me, worthless as I was, and
explained to me in words the nature of the true reality, a teaching which you conveyed to the mature ones
through the lofty state of mauna!

Lines 197 - 206

But did it end with this verbal teaching? No, you also bestowed your grace upon me, enabling me to
abide in that state. Praise be to you!
You dragged me into the Heart, so that I expired in the Siva-ocean of true jnana. Praise be to you!
As I lie dying in that ocean, what fitting recompense can I offer to your holy feet? Praise be to you!
May you gladly accept as that recompense the merging of my unruly mind with your ankleted feet.
Praise be to you!

May your golden feet flourish!
May your golden grace flourish!
Venkata, may your golden fame flourish!

 

Footnote


This is an English translation of Vol.9 of Sri Muruganar's Tamil poem "Sri Ramana Sannidhi Murai.. The translation presented here is the work of Robert Butler, T.V.Venkatasubramanian and David Godman made available with annotations in PDF format at David Godman's website.