Author Topic: Sri Arunachala Pancharatnam (with comments by Sri Sadhu Om)  (Read 2093 times)


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Sri Arunachala Pancharatnam (with comments by Sri Sadhu Om)
« on: August 30, 2012, 10:26:52 PM »

karunāpūrna sudhābdhē
kabalitaghanaviśvarūpa kiranāvalyā
arunāchala paramātman
arunō bhava chittakañjasuvikāsāya

karunā - grace; āpūrna - overflowing fullness; sudhā - ambrosia; abdhē - O ocean; kabalita - is swallowed; ghana - solid; viśva - universe; rūpa - form; kirana - rays; āvalyā by series; arunāchala - O Arunachala; paramātman - supreme spirit, supreme self; arunah - sun; bhava - be; chitta - mind; kañja - lotus; su - good, auspicious, well (i.e. complete or full); vikāsāya - for the blossoming.

O ocean of ambrosia, the overflowing fullness of grace! O Arunachala, supreme spirit, by [whose] series of rays the solid form of the universe is swallowed! Be the sun for the complete blossoming of [my] mind-lotus.

arulnirai vāna vamudak kadalē
virikadirāl yāvum vizhungum – aruna
giriparamān māvē kilarulappu nandrāy
viripariti yāha vilungu

arul - grace; niraivu - fullness; āna - which is; amuda - ambrosia (amrita, the nectar of immortality); kadalē - O ocean; viri - spreading; kadirāl - by rays; yāvum - all, everything; vizhungum - who swallow; arunagiri - Arunagiri; paramānmāvē - O supreme spirit, supreme self; kilar - which is swelling; ula - mind, heart; pu - flower; nandrāy - well (i.e. completely or fully); viri - which will open, unfold, untie, expand, cause to blossom; pariti - sun; āha - as; vilungu - shine.

O ocean of ambrosia, which is the fullness of grace! O supreme spirit Arunagiri, who swallow everything by spreading rays! Shine as the sun which will open completely [my] mind-flower, which is swelling.

Explanatory paraphrase: O ocean of amrita (the ambrosia of immortality), which is the
fullness of grace! O Arunagiri, the supreme self (paramatma), who swallow everything (the
entire world-appearance) by spreading rays of the light of self-knowledge! Graciously shine
as the sun of self-knowledge that will cause my mind-lotus, which is swelling with love and
ready to blossom, to blossom fully.


From the opening words of the verse, it is clear that as soon as Sri Bhagavan sees Arunachala, he sees it as the ‘ocean of ambrosia, which is the fullness of grace’. What does he mean by the fullness of grace? In this connection he once said, “What is the fullness of God’s grace? Is it God appearing in name and form, or is it his bestowing moksha (liberation from birth and death)? No, it cannot be, because he does not bestow either his darsana (vision) or moksha upon all jivas (souls). He bestows moksha only upon a few souls, because others do not want it. Since moksha is bestowed only upon a few souls who sincerely want it and not upon others, even the bestowal of moksha cannot be said to be the fullness of grace. Only that which God is ever giving to all can be called the fullness of grace. What God is giving at all times to all jivas is only the shining of the light of self-consciousness as ‘I, I’ in the heart of each of one of them. This shining of the consciousness ‘I’ is bestowed upon all by the grace of God. If this light were not bestowed upon them, no jiva could do anything; they could not practise any devotion, nor could they attain self-knowledge. The shining of this self-light is the one great boon which is bestowed universally upon all jivas, not
only upon human beings but also upon animals, birds, devas and all other sentient creatures. Since this shining of ‘I’ is bestowed only by his grace, and since it is bestowed equally up on all jivas at all times, it alone can be called the “fullness of grace”. Therefore, when Sri Bhagavan addresses Arunachala as ‘ocean of ambrosia, which is the fullness of grace’, is it not clear that he sees Arunachala as the light of self-consciousness which is ever shining in the heart as ‘I’? Though Arunachala is thus by his grace ever shining in the heart of all beings as the
consciousness ‘I’, why do not all jivas realise him to be the fullness of grace? Because they never turn their attention towards the shining of ‘I’. If a jiva withdraws his attention from all second and third person objects and focuses it upon the first person3, which shines as the mere consciousness ‘I’, then the light of self-consciousness will shine forth with a fresh clarity in whose spreading effulgence the entire appearance of this seemingly solid world-picture will be swallowed. That is why in the second sentence of this verse Sri Bhagavan addresses Arunachala as “Arunagiri, the supreme self, who swallowed everything by spreading rays”.

How is the world-appearance thus swallowed by the effulgent light of self-knowledge? If a cinema show is going on in a tent in daytime, the pictures can be seen on the screen only because of the limited light of the projector and because of the background of artificial darkness caused by the tent. If a powerful wind were to blow away the tent, the bright sunlight would flood in, the darkness would vanish and thus all the pictures on the screen would be swallowed up. Similarly, the entire picture of the world, soul and God can be seen only because of the limited light of the mind (which is a reflection of the original light of Arunachala, the real self) and because of the background of the darkness of ignorance caused by forgetfulness of self. If our attention is focused keenly on self, the light of selfknowledge (the bright light of Arunachala) will dawn, the background darkness of ignorance or maya will vanish, and thus the whole picture of the world, soul and God will be swallowed up and disappear. This same idea is expressed by Sri Bhagavan in verse 114 of Guru Vachaka Kovai:
“If the small light [of a cinema projector] is merged and dissolved in the great light
[of the sun], the picture show will vanish. Likewise, if the mind-light is merged and
dissolved in the true light of consciousness, the false show of the appearance of
the three entities [the soul, world and God] will be dissolved…”
Such was the experience of Sri Bhagavan. When the fear of the death arose in him, his attention was focused keenly on self, and thus the light of self-consciousness shone forth so clearly that in its bright effulgence the entire world-appearance was swallowed, and that selfconsciousness alone remained shining as Arunachala, the supreme self. This experience is the true shining forth of grace described in verse 3 of Atma Vidya Kirtanam as “… minnum tanul anma prakasame; arul vilasame” (the light of self will shine within oneself; this is the shining forth of grace). Since this experience is possible only when by his light of grace Arunachala makes the heartlotus blossom, Sri Bhagavan concludes this verse as a prayer, “Shine as the sun [of selfknowledge] that will cause my mind-lotus, which is swelling [with love], to blossom fully”. What is meant here by the blossoming of the ‘swelling heart-lotus’ (kilar ulap-pu)? The mind, which functions as a knot (granthi) binding together as one the real self, which is consciousness (chit), and the body, which is insentient (jada), is here compared to a lotus. The state in which this knot is tightly closed, being firmly bound by the entanglement of strong worldly desires and attachments (asa-pasa), is compared to the state of a tightly closed immature lotus-bud. When by ripening bhakti this lotus-bud of the mind gradually becomes mature, the tight binding of worldly desires and attachments gradually becomes loose. This state of maturity in which the force of attachment (abhimana-vega) is thus weakened, is compared to the state of a lotus-bud which has swollen and is ready to blossom. The state of self-knowledge, in which the chit-jada-granthi is cut asunder, all its desires and attachments having been destroyed, is compared to the blossoming of the lotus. Therefore, Sri Bhagavan makes this prayer taking the standpoint of a devotee whose heartlotus has been well matured and ripened by devotion (bhakti) and is now ready to blossom fully. Just as a closed lotus-bud, however mature and ripe it may be, cannot blossom fully unless the light of the sun falls upon it, so the bud-like mind, however much maturity it may have gained by bhakti, cannot blossom with self-knowledge unless the light of the grace of Arunachala falls upon it. Indeed, just as the lotus-bud has been ripened to maturity only by the sunlight, so the mind has gained maturity only by means of the bhakti which was implanted and nurtured in it by the light of grace. From the beginning it was only the light of grace which enkindled in the mind a clarity of discrimination, and it was only by this clarity that the mind was able to give up its attachment to external objects and to gain everincreasing love to know self. Now, by means of this great love to know self, the mind has become fully mature and ripe for the dawn of self-knowledge, so at this point all it can do is to pray to Arunachala to complete his work of grace by making it blossom with self-knowledge. When Arunachala is such a powerful sun that he can swallow the entire universe and when he has already ripened the mind-lotus to maturity, will it not be easy for him now to make the ripened lotus-bud of that mature mind blossom with self-knowledge? Hence Sri Bhagavan concludes this first verse with a prayer, the same prayer which he had earlier made in verse 27 of Sri Arunachala Aksharamanamalai:
“Arunachala, sun of bright rays which swallows everything, make my mind-lotus blossom.”
Until the heart-lotus of the devotee is thus made to blossom by Arunachala’s spreading rays of light (viri kadir), his mind remains tightly enclosed within the covering of the five sheaths, and in the darkness created by this enclosure it can only see either darkness, as in sleep, or the shadow-projection of the world of names and forms, as in waking and dream. But when his heart-lotus is made to blossom by the grace of Arunachala, his mind is freed from the enclosing limitation of the five sheaths and thus it opens up to see the light of the pure ‘I’-consciousness shining brightly as the sun in the all-pervasive space of the heart, and hence the darkness of avarana (the veiling power of maya) and the shadow-world projected by vikshepa (the diversifying power of maya) are both swallowed by that bright light of selfknowledge.
Thus on scrutiny it is clear that in this verse Sri Bhagavan is talking only about his own experience of the shining of the light of self-consciousness ‘I’. But instead of saying directly, “Swallowing everything I alone exist”, he addresses Arunachala and sings in the form of a stotra, “Swallowing everything, O supreme self, you alone exist”. From this, is it not clear that other than Arunachala, the light of self-consciousness which ever shines in the heart as ‘I’, there is no separate entity as ‘Sri Ramana’? Thus this first verse stands as a proof of the fact that if anyone asks Sri Bhagavan to sing something without specifying any subject, what he will sing about is only the shining of ‘I’, which in his experience alone exists, having swallowed everything else.
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Re: Sri Arunachala Pancharatnam (with comments by Sri Sadhu Om)
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2012, 10:38:26 PM »
tvayyarunāchala sarvam
bhūtvā sthitvā pralīnamētacchitram
nrityasi bhōstē vadanti hridayam nāma

tvayi - in you; arunāchala - O Arunachala; sarvam - all; bhūtvā - having come into existence; sthitvā - having been sustained; pralīnam - is destroyed; ētat - this; chitram - picture; hridi - in the heart; aham - 'I'; iti - as; ātmatayā - as self, as spirit; nrityasi - you dance; bhōh - O [a form of address, linked to the word 'arunāchala' in the first line]; tē - to you; vadanti - they say; hridayam - heart; nāma - name.

O Arunachala! In you all this picture comes into existence, is sustained, and is destroyed. You dance in the heart as self (or spirit) as 'I', [and hence] they say 'heart' is name to you.

chittiramā mihdellām semmalaiyē ninbālē
yuttidamāy nindrē yodungidumāl – nittiyamum
nānen dridaya nadittiduvai yālunpēr
tānidaya mendriduvar tām

chittiram - picture; ām - which is; ihdu - this; ellām - all; semmalaiyē - O Red Hill [Arunachala]; ninbālē - only in you4; uttidam āy - having risen; nindrē - having stood; odungidum - subsides; āl - [an expletive]; nittiyamum - eternally, always; nān - 'I'; endru - as; idayam - heart; nadittiduvaiyāl - since you dance; un - your; pēr - name; tān - itself; idayam - heart; endriduvar - say that; tām - they.

O Red Hill! All this, which is a picture, rises, stands and subsides only in you. Since you dance eternally [in] the heart as 'I', they say that your name itself is 'heart'.

Explanatory paraphrase: O Red Hill (Arunachala)! All this world-appearance, which is a picture, rises, stands and subsides only in you. Since you dance eternally in the heart as the consciousness ‘I’, the real self, those who know the truth (the jnanis) say that your name itself is 'heart' (hridayam).

In the previous verse Sri Bhagavan revealed that by the all-pervasive effulgence of its grace, Arunachala swallows the entire world appearance. In this verse, by alluding to the cinema simile by which he used to explain the appearance of the world, Sri Bhagavan gives a clue to the reason why the world-appearance is swallowed by the light of grace. Just as the appearance and disappearance of a cinema picture takes place only on the screen, so the rising (creation), the standing (sustenance) and the subsidence (destruction) of the entire world-picture takes place only in Arunachala, the real self. Without Arunachala as a base, the world-picture could not have even its seeming rising, standing and subsidence. But Arunachala is not merely the screen on which this world-picture appears and disappears.

“… The picture of names and forms, the seen, the screen and the light – all these are he, who is self.” – Ulladu Narpadu verse 1

The world-picture can appear on the screen of self only when the light of self appears diffused and dim in the form of the mind-light. But when the light of self shines in all its fullness, it swallows the appearance of both the world-picture and the seer of that picture. “When the mind comes out from self, the world appears. Therefore when the world appears, self does not appear; when the self appears (shines), the world does not appear” says Sri Bhagavan in Nan Yar? (Who am I?). This experience of his is clearly revealed in these first two verses. Though the world-picture, the seer of that picture, the screen on which the picture is seen, and the light which illumines the picture are all only Arunachala, who is self, Arunachala is not the active cause (nimitta karana) for the appearance of the world. This is made clear by Sri Bhagavan in verse 85 of Guru Vachaka Kovai:

“Though self itself is seen as the world of many names and forms, it is not the doer, acting as the cause which creates, sustains and destroys the world.”

This is why in this verse Sri Bhagavan says the world-picture rises, stands and subsidies in you (ninbale) and not by you (ninnale). The efficient cause or nimitta karana of the worldappearance is only the mind, which is a dim and diffused light that seemingly comes into existence due to self-forgetfulness. When the clear and unlimited light of self-knowledge shines forth, it swallows the dim mind-light together with its effect, the world-appearance. In other words, to express it figuratively, so long as the lotus-bud of the mind remains closed, in the darkness caused by that closure the world-picture can rise and subside; but when the mind-lotus blossoms open by the grace of Arunachala, the clear light of self-consciousness floods in and pervades it entirely, thereby swallowing the world-picture. Since Arunachala is thus the bright fire of knowledge (jnana) which burns all the worlds to ashes, Sri Bhagavan refers to it here as the 'red hill' (sem-malai). Though to the gross extroverted attention Arunachala appears as a hill of insentient rock, it is in fact the "lord who stands as a mass of jnana (jnana-tiralay nindra peruman)"5 ever shining in the heart as the self-luminous light of consciousness ‘I’. So long as the mind is not swallowed by the bright light of Arunachala, the 'red hill', the appearance of the creation, sustenance and dissolution of the world continue. However, though these seeming changes of creation, sustenance and dissolution take place only in Arunachala, Arunachala exists eternally without undergoing or being affected in the least by any of these seeming changes, dancing motionlessly in the heart and as the heart in the form of the pure and adjunctless consciousness ‘I’. That is why Sri Bhagavan says in the second half of this verse, “Since you dance eternally in the heart as ‘I’, they say that your name itself is 'heart'”. Thus Sri Bhagavan clearly reveals that the true nature of Arunachala as experienced by those whose mind-lotus has blossomed fully, is only the eternal shining of ‘I’ in the heart. Though this ‘I’, which is called by sages as the heart, is experienced in its purity and full clarity only by those whose mind-lotus has blossomed, it is in fact shining eternally, both when the mind and the world-picture appear and when they are swallowed. Though it is said that this ‘I’ is shining or dancing in the heart, in truth the heart is not a place but self itself. Therefore what is called the ‘heart’ and the real self which shines as ‘I’ are not two different things, but are one and same reality. To make this truth clear, Sri Bhagavan concludes this verse by singing, “They say that your name itself is 'heart'”. In this context Sri Bhagavan would sometimes refer to the Chandogya Upanishad 8.8.3, where it is said, “This atman (self or spirit) verily is in the heart…hence it is the heart… ”, and to the Brahma Gitai 6.10, where it is said, “Due to his benevolently existing and shining as the special knowledge in each heart, which appear diverse, they call God himself as the heart…” To whom does Sri Bhagavan refer here as ‘they’ (tam)? Only to those sages whose mind-lotus has blossomed. In the experience of those sages there is no ‘in’ or ‘out’, no ‘time’ or ‘place’, no ‘appearance’ or ‘disappearance’; there is only the one non-dual reality which ever shines as ‘I am’ and which is known by various names such as self, God, heart and Arunachala. Thus in this second verse also Sri Bhagavan talks only about ‘I’. Therefore from these first
two verses it is clear that if anyone prompts Sri Bhagavan to write something without giving any subject, the one subject that he will write about is only ‘I’. Why? Because in his experience there is nothing more important than this. Leaving the subject of this ‘I’, he knows
that there is nothing worthy to know about or write about.
“Without knowing oneself what is the use if one knows anything else? If one knows oneself, then what else will exist to be known? …”
sings Sri Bhagavan in verse 3 of Atma Vidya Kirtanam. All right, then what is the means to attain knowledge of the real nature of ‘I’ as a direct
experience? The principal and direct means is only self-enquiry, which is the path of knowledge (jnana). Therefore in the next verse Sri Bhagavan takes up the subject of selfenquiry and reveals both the method of practice and the result of that practice. Thereafter in the last two verses, in accordance with the request of Ganapati Sastri, Sri Bhagavan touches upon the subjects of yoga, bhakti and karma (the paths of mind-control, devotion and unselfish action). But even while dealing with these subjects, he does not leave his central theme of ‘I’. How? Though in the fourth verse he makes a passing mention about restraining the breath, and though he uses the words ‘dhyanittu’ (meditating) and ‘yogi’, he makes clear in that verse that breath-restraint is only a means to make the mind stand still, that what is then to be meditated upon by that stilled mind is only Arunesa, who is the non-objectifiable reality which shines in the heart as ‘I’ when attention to all external objects is given up, and that only he who thus unites his mind with self is the real yogi. Then in the fifth verse, in which he deals with the subjects of bhakti and karma, from the opening words “by mind surrendered to you” he makes clear that the real bhakta or karma yogi is only he who no longer retains the mind; having thus surrendered his mind, the real bhakta has drowned in self as self, thereby losing completely his separate individuality. Thus the base on which Sri Bhagavan deals with all these subjects is only ‘I’.

To be continued...
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