Author Topic: Final Part - Updesa Saram Or (Upadesa Undiyar) Of Sri Ramana Maharshi  (Read 1879 times)


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laya-vinasane ubhaya-rodhane
laya-gatam punar bhavati no mrtam

Suppression of the mind in two ways comes,
Absorption and extinction; mind absorbed
Will live again, but mind which is destroyed
Will never more revive, for it is dead.

Micheal James Note: Subsidence [of mind] is of two kinds, abeyance [laya] and destruction [nasa]. That which is in abeyance [laya] will rise. [But] if the form dies, it will not rise.

Note: Sri Sundara Chaitanya Swami says Mano Nasam means only destruction of ignorance in the mind but not destruction of mind.

prana-bandhanal lina-manasam
eka-cintanan nasam etyadah

When, by the means of restraint of the breath,
The mind has been controlled, then make it flow
Along a single current, that achieved
Its form will then entirely disappear.

Micheal James Note: When one makes the mind, which has subsided by restraining the breath, go on the one path [of knowing and becoming one with Self], its form will die.


krtyam asti kim svasthitim yatah

For the Great Sage for whom all form of mind
Has disappeared and who is ever one
With the Reality, there is no Karma more,
For He, indeed, the True Self has become.

Micheal James Note: For the great yogi who is established as the reality due to the death of the mind form, there is not any action [to do], [because] He has attained His nature [His natural state of Self abidance].

Note: Sri Sundara Chaitanya Swami says even though he stay in silence for many years without jnana we cannot remove ignorance of mind.

Sri Tyagaraja swami says in one of his songs,

kalpana lenni kalavaadee maa raamudu
sankalpam leni vaade maa raamudu.

So there is nothing wrong in having thoughts but it is important not to have sankalpas.

Mind having good thoughts are fine but only ignorance thoughts are only to get vanished.


drsya-varitam cittam atmanah
cittva-darsanam tattva-darsanam

When mind has given the sense-objects up
Which are external and has drawn within,
And has perceived its own refulgent form,
Then verily alone True Gnosis is.

Micheal James Note: The mind knowing its own form of light [its true form of mere consciousness, the real Self], having given up [knowing] external objects, alone is true knowledge.

Note: Sri Sundara Chaitanya Swami says there is no need to stop waves to understand about ocean.

Similarly there is no need to supress/kill the mind but only required to understand the nature of mind.

Non-identification with waves in the first example and non-identification with mind is required.

If we want to know nature of pot there is no need to break the pot.

Mithya means which is neither true nor false and which is dependent on other thing.

Pot is Mithya as it is dependent on mud.

Jagat/World is Mithya as it is dependent on brahman.

Mind is Mithya as it is dependent on our nature i.e concsiusiness.

Mithya is Also truth but truth is not Mithya because truth is only one and not dependent on any other thing.

Waves are not independent of ocean but are only part of ocean.

But we cannot declare that ocean is nothing but waves.

So here mithya can be compared to Waves and Truth can be compared to Ocean.

As there is no need to stop the waves similarly there is no need to kill the mind to know our nature i.e sat-chit-ananda.

Problem is though we are satyam(truth) i.e ocean in the above example we think we are mithya(waves) and start thinking of all the problems of waves as we compare ourselves with waves and then we start trying to solve our problems related to waves.

Here waves relate to mind and our nature is ocean on which everything(mind,indriyas..) is dependent.


manasam tu kim margane krte
naiva manasam marga arjavat

When pondering with constant vigilance
Upon the actual nature of the mind
One finds that there is no such thing as mind;
This, of a truth, is the straight course for all.

Micheal James Note: When one scrutinizes the form of the mind without forgetfulness [that is, without pramada or slackness of attention], [it will be found that] there is no such thing as mind; this is the direct path for all.

Note: Sri Sundara Chaitanya Swami says problem is not because of thoughts.

If really problems solve by killing our mind then it can be solved by taking some injection like anaesthesia.

So solution is to know that we are not the mind and it mithya i.e dependent on our real naturre i.e sat-chit-ananda.

It is very important to know that Mind is Mithya but not truth.

Also Sri Sundara Chaitanya Swami here gives example of famous "Hindu marraige" of ramana maharshi.

<span style="font-style:italic;">Again, in a Hindu marriage function, the feasts continue five or six days. A stranger was mistaken for the best man by the bride’s party and they therefore treated him with special regard. Seeing him treated with special regard by the bride’s party, the bridegroom’s party considered him to be some man of importance related to the bride’s party and therefore they too showed him special respect.

The stranger had altogether a happy time of it. He was also all along aware of the real situation. On one occasion the groom’s party wanted to refer to him on some point. They asked for him.

Until then he was given all kind of facilities and given good treatment by the relatives of both parties in a marriage.Similarly we are giving good treatment to mind/ego thinking it to be our important guest.

He scented trouble and made himself scarce.So it is with the ego.If looked for, it disappears. If not, it continues to give trouble.How it is to be looked for is learnt from those who have already done so. That is the reason why the Master is approached.[/b]


vrttayas tvaham vrttim asritah
vrttayo mano viddhy aham manah

The mind is nothing but a lot of thoughts,
Of all these many thoughts ‘tis the thought ‘I’
That is the root. So we can see by that
The mind in truth is only the thought ‘I’.

Micheal James Note: The mind is only [the multitude of] thoughts. Of all [these thoughts], the thought ‘I’ [the feeling ‘I am the body’] alone is the root. [Therefore]what is called mind is [this root-thought] ‘I’.

Note: Sri Sundara Chaitanya Swami says aham-bhavana(ego) is between idam-bhavana(normal thoughts) and aham-chaitanyam(sat-chit-ananda).

Sri Sundara chaitanya Swami says there is no problem in Idam Vritti(normal thoughts) but Ahamkara Vritti should get eradicated.

He says Jnana cannot come from karma.

Radheya(karna) is actually kounteya in Mahabharata but he does not know because of ignorance.

Similarly we are aham-svarupam only but not aham-bhavana but we donot know because of our ignorance.


aham ayam kuto bhavati cinvatah
ayi pataty-aham nija-vicaranam

Whence, therefore, does this ‘I-thought’ have its birth?
With vigilant and ever active mind
Seek this, and crestfallen the ‘I’ becomes.
The search, itself, the quest of Wisdom is.

Micheal James Note: When one scrutinizes within thus, ‘What is the rising-place of ‘I’?’, the ‘I’ will die. This is Self-enquiry [jnana-vichara].


ahami nasabhajy-aham-ahamtaya
sphurati hrt svayam parama-purna-sat

This search pursued till ‘I’ has disappeared
There now vibrates the ‘I-I’ all alone,
The quest is finished, there’s no more to seek.
For this is really the Infinite Self.

Micheal James Note: In the place where ‘I’ [the mind or ego] merges, the one [existence-consciousness] appears spontaneously as ‘I-I’ [or ‘I am I’]. That itself is the Whole [purna].


idam aham pada’bhikhyam anvaham
ahami linake' py alaya-sattaya

This is eternally the true import
Of the term ‘I’. For in the deepest sleep
We do not cease to be. We still exist
Even though here there is no sense of ‘I’.

Micheal James Note: That [‘I-I’ or ‘I am I’, the whole] is always the import of the word ‘I’, because we exist [literally, because of the absence of our non-existence] even in sleep, which is devoid of ‘I’ [the thought ‘I’, the mind].

naham eka-sat tajjadam hyasat

As I am pure Existence, I am not
The body nor the senses, mind nor life,
Nor even ignorance, for all these things
Are quite insentient and so unreal.

Micheal James Note: Since the body, mind, intellect, breath and the darkness [of ignorance which remains in sleep] are all insentient [jada] and unreal [asat], they are not ‘I’, which is the reality [sat].

Note: Sri Sundara Chaitanya Swami says In one upanishad it is written beautifully that

<span style="font-style:italic;">"Andhaha anando bhavati" [/b]

which means in deep sleep blind person is also not blind.


sattva-bhasika cit kvavetara
sattaya hi cic-cittaya hy aham

As there is not a second consciousness
To know Existence, it must follow that
Existence is itself that consciousness;
So I myself am that same consciousness.

Micheal James Note: Because of the non-existence of another consciousness to know that which exists, that which exists [the reality or sat] is consciousness [or chit]. [That] consciousness itself is ‘we’ [the real Self].


isa-jivayor vesa-dhi-bhida
sat-svabhavato vastu kevalam

In their real nature as Existence both
Creatures and the Creator are the same,
The Unique Principle. In attributes
And knowledge only is a difference found.

Micheal James Note: By existing nature [that is, in their real nature, which is existence or sat], God and souls are only one substance [or vastu]. [Their] adjunct-knowledge [or adjunct-consciousness] alone is different.

Note: Sri Sundara Chaitanya Swami says both god and individual soul are counsciness(chit) only.

Both are like bulbs only but differ only in volts.God is like 1000 voltage bulb and we are like 60 voltage bulb.Both electricity is common.

Hence our aim should be to eradicate ignorance in us.

Our aim should be to know "i am brahman" and not to think that one day we will link with brahman.


vesa-hanatah svatma-darsanam
isa-darsanam svatma-rupatah

Realization of the Self alone,
Eliminating all its attributes;
Is God-Realization of a truth,
As it is He that shines forth as the Self.

Micheal James Note: Knowing oneself having given up [one’s own] adjuncts [upadhis], is itself knowing God, because He shines as oneself [as one’s own reality, ‘I am’].

atma-samsthitih svatma-darsanam
atma-nirdvayad atma-nisthata 

To be the Self that is to know the Self,
As there is no duality in Self.
This is Thanmaya-Nistha, or the state
Of absolutely being That in truth.
Micheal James Note: Being Self is itself knowing Self, because Self is that which is not two. This is abidance as the reality (tanmaya-nishta).

Note: Sri Sundara Chaitanya Swami says we should remove 'i am the doer' attitude.


jnana-varjita ' jnana-hina-cit
jnanam asti kim jnatum antaram

That knowledge is true knowledge which transcends
Knowledge and ignorance both equally.
And this alone is truth. For there is no
Subject or object there that can be known.

Micheal James Note: The knowledge which is devoid of both knowledge and ignorance [about objects], alone is [real] knowledge. This is the truth, [because in the state of Self-experience] there is nothing to know [other than oneself].


kim svarupam ity atma-darsane
avyaya' bhava’ ‘purna-cit sukham 

If one can only realize at Heart
What one’s true nature is, one then will find
That ‘tis Infinite Wisdom, Truth and Bliss,
Without beginning and without an end.

Micheal James Note:  If one knows what one’s own nature is, then [what will remain and shine is only] the beginningless, endless and unbroken existence-consciousness-bliss [anadi ananta akhanda sat-chit-ananda].


bandha-mukty-atitam param sukham
vindatiha jivas tu daivikah

Remaining in this state of Supreme Bliss,
Devoid of bondage and of freedom too,
Is found to be a state in which one is
Rapt in perpetual service of the Lord.

Micheal James Note: Abiding in this state [of Self], having attained the supreme bliss, which is devoid of bondage and liberation, is abiding in the service of God [or is abiding as enjoined by God].


aham apetakam nija-vibhanakam
mahad idam tapo ramana-vagiyam

By ardent quest and shedding ego’s veil
Realize the Self, the One that’s ego-less,
And function thus; the sole right penance this.
So teaches Bhagavan Sri Ramana,
Who is the SELF of everything that is.

Micheal James Note: ‘What [is experienced] if one knows that which remains after ‘I’ has ceased to exist, that alone is excellent tapas’ – thus said Lord Ramana, who is Self.

The five verses which follow are the final five verses of the first part of Sri Muruganar’s ‘Tiruvundiyar’, and they were appended by Sri Bhagavan to the main text of Upadesa Undiyar as concluding verses.


Touching the Feet of God [Lord Siva], all the rishis [the ascetics in the Daruka Forest] paid obeisance [to Him] and sang His praises. (‘Tiruvundiyar’ 1.133)


The supreme Guru who sang Upadesa Undiyar as an assurance to the devotees [who came to Him for salvation], is the auspicious Venkatan [Sri Ramana]. (‘Tiruvundiyar’ 1.134)


May He [Sri Ramana] shine gloriously on earth for many hundreds of thousand of years. (‘Tiruvundiyar’ 1.135)


May those who sin, those who hear and those who flawlessly understand [this Upadesa Undiyar] shine gloriously for many aeons. (‘Tiruvundiyar’ 1.136)


May those who learn [this Upadesa Undiyar] and those who, having learnt and understood it, abide there [in Self], shine gloriously for long aeons.( ‘Tiruvundiyar’ 1.137)

Sri Ramanarpanamastu




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Dear prasanth,

I have read your two parts on Upadesa Undiyar.  I have go through
them in more details, particularly where Michael James and Sri
Sadhu Chitanya Swami differ in their interpretations.  I shall be
writing a reply, after a thorough re-reading of the whole text and

Arunachala Siva.