Author Topic: Ramana Maharshi's Commentary On Sankara’s Atmabodha  (Read 2247 times)


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Ramana Maharshi's Commentary On Sankara’s Atmabodha
« on: September 12, 2010, 02:55:04 PM »
28th July, 1948

It seems that Mr. Minna Nuruddin, a competent Sanskrit scholar and Tamil poet had written and published a translation in Tamil verse on Sankara’s “Atmabodha”. He presented a copy of it to Bhagavan while on a visit to the Ashram.

Bhagavan glanced at them and sent them to the library. We could however see from his face that something was wrong. He sent to the library for Sankara’s “Atmabodha” in Nagari script and every now and then was looking into it. After doing so for two
days, he took a pencil and paper and began writing something of his own accord.

We were wondering what he was writing.On the 16th instant he translated the first two slokas into Tamil verse in venba metre and showed them to us. All of us said it would be good if all the other slokas also got translated. In spite of saying, “Why? Why?” he wrote some more during the next two days and said, “Though I have been disinclined and have been putting off writing them, they come to me from time to time, one after another and stand in front of me.

What am I to do?” I said, “If you write down whatever comes to you, the whole thing may be over in a month’s time. That will be good.” “Several people have written it,” said Bhagavan.

“Why should I do it?”

I said, “Will any of them be like Bhagavan’s writings?”

By the 19th, he wrote some more and said, “These appear to be suitable for children only, but I am unable to resist the urge to write.”

“Are we not all your children?” I said.

The 20th instant was Vyasa Purnima (full moon, Guru Purnima day). By then thirteen verses were completed.

Addressing Venkataratnam, Bhagavan said, “This won’t leave us now. Stitch them into a book,” and so saying he wrote a verse by way of introduction.

“Anmavin bodhamarul ashanam sankaran...” It means:

Could Sankara, who wrote the “Atmabodha”, be other than the Atma? Who else could it be than Himself that was in my heart and made me write this in Tamil?

By the 27th instant all the sixty-eight stanzas got translated into verse and on concluding the work Bhagavan said, “These stanzas were written in Malayalam Script in that small notebook which, as I said, was our first possession forty years ago, but somehow it never occurred to me then to translate them.”

A devotee said, “For everything the right time must come.”

Bhagavan with a smile said, “Yes, that is so. If I write one thing now another presents itself. How is it I feel I have read this before? Is it possible that someone has already written this?”

Muruganar: “No one has written it in venba metre. What surprise is there if one verse after another occurs to Bhagavan? It is said that in every kalpa* the Vedas appeared as though they were standing before Brahma. This also is like that.”

Bhagavan: “Yes. It is said that the Vedas are anadi (without a beginning). That is true.”

Source: Letters from Sri Ramanasramam VOLUMES I, II & Letters from and Recollections of Sri Ramanasramam By SURI NAGAMMA Translated by D. S. SASTRI


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Re: Ramana Maharshi's Commentary On Sankara’s Atmabodha
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2010, 04:20:32 PM »

Dear prasanth,

Very nice to see your post on Bhagavan Ramana's Atma Bodham.
Bhagavan Ramana was a lion in Venba metre and He could do the
best Tamizh versification of Sri Sankara's work.  In fact, when I
tried to read Atma Bodham of Sri Sankara, I could not, with my
poor Sanskrit knowledge, understand it properly.  Then I tried
Sri Ramakrishna Math's English prose rendering.  I understood it
better.  With that I read Bhagavan Ramana's Tamizh verses.  I
understood it since it was in simple Tamizh and each Sanskrit Verse
was made into Tamizh with one Venba verse.  It was very revealing
to me. 

For example, Sri Sankara uses the metaphor of one kataka nut,
which when powdered and mixed in water, it will remove the dirt
and the nut powder also would settle down at the bottom of the
vessel for easy filtering.  Bhagavan Ramana has used the exact
Tamizh name for this kataka nut!

As you posted, He has said:  The same Sankara [Atma] who is within
me too, is making me to compose the Tamizh verses!  This verse
itself is advaita Sivabodham principle.

Sadly it is one of the last works [or the last work] of Bhagavan
Ramana.  Thereafter, the sarcoma made Him to stop writing.

Arunachala Siva.