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Nāṉ Ār? (Who am I?)

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Nāṉ Ār? (Who am I?)

  1. Introduction
  2. Tamil text and translation of Nāṉ Ār?
  3. Notes
  4. Print-friendly PDF copy of an earlier version of this page
  5. Spanish translation of Nāṉ Ār?
  6. Italian translation of Nāṉ Ār?

Introduction

In 1901, when Bhagavan Sri Ramana was just twenty-one years old and living in a cave on the holy hill Arunachala, a humble and self-effacing devotee named Sri Sivaprakasam Pillai began to visit him and asked him many questions about spiritual philosophy and practice. Bhagavan, who seldom spoke in those early times, answered most of his questions by writing either on the sandy ground, or on a slate or slips of paper that Sivaprakasam Pillai gave him.

Sivaprakasam Pillai copied many of these questions and answers in a notebook, but for more than twenty years he did not publish them. However in 1923, at the request of other devotees, he published a compilation of twenty-seven of them under the title நானார்? (Nāṉ Ār?), or perhaps நான் யார்? (Nāṉ Yār?), both of which mean ‘Who am I?’, as an appendix to the first edition of Śrī Ramaṇa Carita Ahaval, a Tamil poem in which he narrated the biography of Bhagavan.

During the ten years or so that followed this first publication of Nāṉ Ār? various versions of it were published, and various other versions of it exist in manuscript form in the notebooks of Sivaprakasam Pillai (as I explained in more detail in an incomplete series of articles that I wrote under the title The Various Texts of ‘Who am I?’, which appeared in five parts in The Mountain Path between December 1993 and June 1996). Each of these versions has a different number of questions and answers, with slight variation in their actual wording, and with a varying amount of content in some particular answers. The standard and most authentic version, however, is the essay version that Bhagavan himself wrote a few years after the first version was published, either in 1927 or earlier.

Bhagavan formed this essay version, which is called நானார்? (Nāṉ Ār?) and which consists of twenty paragraphs, by rewriting the most complete question-and-answer version (which consisted of thirty questions and answers and eleven miscellaneous paragraphs and which was printed probably three or four times between the years 1924 and 1936), and while doing so he made several improvements, removing all but the first question, rearranging the order in which the ideas in his answers were presented, and making some significant changes to the actual wordings.

Though this essay version is the only one that was actually written by Bhagavan and is therefore the version that is included in Śrī Ramaṇa Nūṯṟiraṭṭu (his Tamil collected works), there is another version that is sold as a separate booklet which contains twenty-eight questions and answers. This version, which is called நான் யார்? (Nāṉ Yār?), was first published in 1932 as the 4th edition, and was compiled by modifying the earlier thirty question-and-answer version in accordance with many of the changes that Bhagavan made when he wrote his essay version.

Though the existence of two titles, நானார்? (Nāṉ Ār?) and நான் யார்? (Nāṉ Yār?), for different versions of the same work may seem confusing, they both mean ‘Who am I?’, or more precisely ‘I [am] Who?’, because நான் (nāṉ) means ‘I’ and both யார் (yār) and ஆர் (ār) mean ‘who’. யார் (yār) is used most commonly, particularly in spoken Tamil, but though used less frequently ஆர் (ār) is often preferred in literary Tamil, particularly after a word ending in a consonant. Some of the earlier question-and-answer versions (including one in a manuscript dated 21.2.24) were called நானார்? (Nāṉ Ār?), whereas others were called நான் யார்? (Nāṉ Yār?), so we cannot say that நானார்? (Nāṉ Ār?) is a name that has always been used exclusively for Bhagavan’s essay version, but since his essay version has always been published under the title நானார்? (Nāṉ Ār?), it is more accurate to call it நானார்? (Nāṉ Ār?) rather than நான் யார்? (Nāṉ Yār?).

Of all the changes that Bhagavan made in his essay version, the most significant was to add an entirely new paragraph at the beginning of the essay. This opening paragraph serves as a suitable introduction to the subject ‘Who am I?’, because it explains that the reason why we need to investigate and know who or what we actually are is that happiness is our real nature, and we can therefore experience infinite and eternal happiness only by being aware of ourself as we actually are.

The first question that Sivaprakasam Pillai asked was ‘நானார்?’ (nāṉ ār?), or perhaps ‘நான் யார்?’ (nāṉ yār?), which means ‘Who am I?’, to which Bhagavan replied simply, ‘அறிவே நான்’ (aṟivē nāṉ), which means ‘Awareness alone is I’ (probably not orally but by writing with his finger on the sandy ground). The Tamil noun அறிவு (aṟivu) derives from the verb அறி (aṟi), which means to know, be aware, cognise, perceive, experience, ascertain or understand, so அறிவு (aṟivu) means knowledge in the broadest sense, and is therefore used to denote many different forms of knowledge, including awareness, consciousness, wisdom, intelligence, learning, understanding, sensory perception, anything that is known or experienced, and in some contexts it can mean either mind or one’s own real nature (ātma-svarūpa), because our nature is ‘knowledge’ in the sense of pure awareness. The exact meaning of அறிவு (aṟivu), therefore, is determined by the context in which it is used, and in this context it means pure awareness, which is our fundamental awareness of our own existence, ‘I am’. The suffix ஏ (ē) that he appended to அறிவு (aṟivu) is an intensifier that is commonly used in Tamil to add emphasis to a word, conveying the sense ‘itself’, ‘alone’ or ‘indeed’, and the word நான் (nāṉ) means ‘I’.

It is important to understand that what he means here by ‘அறிவு’ (aṟivu) is not awareness in the sense of awareness of phenomena, or even in the sense of that which is aware of phenomena, but only in the sense of pure awareness, which is the awareness that is never aware of anything other than itself. Awareness of phenomena, or what is aware of phenomena, is transitive awareness, which is ego or mind, and which is what he sometimes referred to as ‘சுட்டறிவு’ (suṭṭaṟivu), which literally means awareness that points out, indicates or shows, whereas pure awareness is intransitive awareness, which is what he sometimes referred to as ‘சுட்டற்ற அறிவு’ (suṭṭaṯṟa aṟivu), which literally means awareness that is devoid of pointing out, indicating or showing.

According to Bhagavan pure intransitive awareness alone is real awareness, because it exists and shines eternally without even undergoing any change, whereas transitive awareness appears in waking and dream but disappears in sleep, so it is an unreal appearance, whose source and foundation is intransitive awareness. That is, in order to be aware of anything other than ourself we must be aware, but in order to be aware we do not need to be aware of anything other than ourself. For example, in waking and dream we are aware and are also aware of things other than ourself, whereas in sleep we are aware without being aware of anything other than ourself. Being aware of anything other than ourself is transitive awareness (suṭṭaṟivu), whereas just being aware without being aware of anything other than ourself is intransitive awareness (suṭṭaṯṟa aṟivu).

This distinction between transitive and intransitive awareness is one of the fundamental principles of Bhagavan’s teachings, and it is explained by him, albeit without using these terms, in verse 27 of Upadēśa Undiyār and verses 10, 11, 12, 13 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu. Nowadays many people with a superficial understanding of advaita and/or Bhagavan’s teachings say that we are only awareness, or that everything is awareness, but because they fail to understand that real awareness is intransitive, and that transitive awareness is just an illusory appearance and therefore a mere semblance of awareness (cidābhāsa), what they mean by ‘awareness’ is only transitive awareness, which is the nature of ego or mind. Therefore in order to understand Bhagavan’s teachings clearly and correctly, it is necessary for us to understand the distinction between transitive and intransitive awareness and to be able to recognise from each context whether he is using ‘அறிவு’ (aṟivu) or any other term that means awareness in the sense of transitive awareness or intransitive awareness.

The need for us to understand the distinction between transitive awareness (suṭṭaṟivu) and intransitive awareness (suṭṭaṯṟa aṟivu) and to be able to recognise from each context whether he is using ‘அறிவு’ (aṟivu) in the sense of transitive awareness or intransitive awareness can be illustrated by contrasting his statement ‘அறிவே நான்’ (aṟivē nāṉ), ‘awareness alone is I’, in the penultimate sentence of the second paragraph with what he says in the first sentence of the third paragraph, namely ‘சர்வ அறிவிற்கும் சர்வ தொழிற்குங் காரண மாகிய மன மடங்கினால் ஜகதிருஷ்டி நீங்கும்’ (sarva aṟiviṟkum sarva toṙiṟkum kāraṇam āhiya maṉam aḍaṅgiṉāl jaga-diruṣṭi nīṅgum), ‘If the mind, which is the cause for all awareness and for all activity, ceases [or subsides], jagad-dṛṣṭi [perception of the world] will depart [or be dispelled]’. In both cases he uses the same word ‘அறிவு’ (aṟivu) to mean awareness, but in each case he is obviously referring to a different form of awareness, because if it were the same awareness in both cases, that would imply that the mind is the cause for ‘I’ in the sense of our real nature.

When he says ‘அறிவே நான்’ (aṟivē nāṉ), ‘awareness alone is I’, he implies that awareness is what we actually are, so the awareness he is then referring to is not the transitory awareness of phenomena, which appears in waking and dream but disappears in sleep, but the permanent awareness that shines in all three states without a break and without ever undergoing any change. Since that awareness shines in sleep without any awareness of phenomena, it is pure intransitive awareness, which is the source and foundation from which awareness of phenomena appears in waking and dream and into which it disappears in sleep. Therefore this pure intransitive awareness alone is real awareness, whereas awareness of phenomena is just an illusory appearance and hence a mere semblance of awareness (cidābhāsa).

On the other hand, when he says ‘சர்வ அறிவிற்கும் சர்வ தொழிற்குங் காரண மாகிய மன மடங்கினால் ஜகதிருஷ்டி நீங்கும்’ (sarva aṟiviṟkum sarva toṙiṟkum kāraṇam āhiya maṉam aḍaṅgiṉāl jaga-diruṣṭi nīṅgum), ‘If the mind, which is the cause for all awareness and for all activity, ceases [or subsides], jagad-dṛṣṭi [perception of the world] will depart [or be dispelled]’, the awareness he is then referring to is not real awareness (intransitive awareness) but only the transitory awareness of phenomena (transitive awareness), which is why he says that the cause for such awareness is mind. Mind (in the sense of ego, which is the perceiving element of the mind) is the cause for such awareness because it alone is what is aware of phenomena. In fact awareness of phenomena is the very nature of the mind, so whenever we appear as mind, as in waking and dream, we are aware of phenomena, and whenever we cease to be mind, as in sleep, we cease to be aware of phenomena.

This is why he says in this first sentence of the third paragraph that if the mind ceases perception of the world will depart, and since our rising as mind is what prevents us being aware of ourself as we actually are (our real nature or svarūpa), in the second and final sentence of this paragraph he says: ‘கற்பித ஸர்ப்ப ஞானம் போனா லொழிய அதிஷ்டான ரஜ்ஜு ஞானம் உண்டாகாதது போல, கற்பிதமான ஜகதிருஷ்டி நீங்கினா லொழிய அதிஷ்டான சொரூப தர்சன முண்டாகாது’ (kaṟpita sarppa-ñāṉam pōṉāl oṙiya adhiṣṭhāṉa rajju-ñāṉam uṇḍāhādadu pōla, kaṟpitam āṉa jaga-diruṣṭi nīṅgiṉāl oṙiya adhiṣṭhāṉa sorūpa-darśaṉam uṇḍāhādu), ‘Just as unless awareness of the imaginary snake goes, awareness of the rope, [which is] the adhiṣṭhāna [basis, base or foundation], will not arise, unless perception of the world, which is kalpita [a fabrication, imagination or mental creation], departs, seeing svarūpa [one’s own form or real nature], [which is] the adhiṣṭhāna, will not arise’.

The fact that what he meant by ‘அறிவு’ (aṟivu) when he replied ‘அறிவே நான்’ (aṟivē nāṉ), ‘Awareness alone is I’, is only pure intransitive awareness is confirmed by his answer to the next question that Sivaprakasam Pillai asked him, namely ‘அறிவின் சொரூப மென்ன?’ (aṟiviṉ sorūpam eṉṉa), ‘What is the nature of [such] awareness?’, to which he replied either ‘அறிவின் சொரூபம் சச்சிதானந்தம்’ (aṟiviṉ sorūpam saccidāṉandam), ‘The nature of [such] awareness is sat-cit-ānanda’, or more probably just ‘சச்சிதானந்தம்’ (saccidāṉandam), ‘sat-cit-ānanda’. The compound term sat-cit-ānanda, which is actually fused into one word, transliterated correctly as saccidānanda, is a well-known philosophical term of Sanskrit origin, which is widely understood and frequently used in Tamil and all other Indian languages, being a term used to describe the nature of the one absolute reality. Though it is composed of three words, it is not intended to imply that the absolute reality is composed of three distinct elements, but only that the single non-dual nature of the one absolute reality can be described in three different ways.

Sat basically means being or existing, but by extension also means what actually exists, the existing substance, reality, truth, existence, essence, real, true, good, right, or what is real, true, good or right, so in this context it means existence or reality in the sense of what actually exists and is therefore real. Cit means consciousness or awareness, from a verbal root meaning to know, be aware of, perceive, observe, attend to or be attentive, but rather than meaning just the quality of being conscious or aware (as the English words ‘consciousness’ or ‘awareness’ basically mean), it means what is conscious or aware (in other words, it denotes a substance — one that is inherently aware — rather than a mere quality), not in the sense of transitive awareness (namely what is aware of anything other than itself), but in the sense of pure intransitive awareness (namely what is aware of nothing other than itself). And ānanda means happiness, joy or bliss. Thus saccidānanda, or as it is more commonly spelt in roman script, sat-cit-ānanda, means existence-awareness-happiness: that is, existence that is both aware and happy, or awareness that both exists and is happy, or happiness that both exists and is aware — in other words, a single substance or reality that exists, is aware and is happy.

Thus through these two first answers Bhagavan revealed three important truths about the real nature of ‘I’. Firstly he revealed that our real nature is only awareness (in the sense of what is aware). Secondly he revealed that this awareness is not awareness of anything other than ourself, but is just sat-cit, our fundamental awareness of our own existence, ‘I am’. Thus he implied that what we actually are is only pure self-awareness, awareness that is aware of nothing other than itself, and hence self-awareness is our very being, and our being is itself our awareness of our being. In other words, there is absolutely no distinction between what we actually are (our being or existence: sat) and our awareness of our existence (cit). Our existence and our awareness of our existence are therefore one, and hence our real nature is only this fundamental awareness of our own existence, which we always experience as ‘I am’. Thirdly he revealed that this fundamental awareness of our own existence (sat-cit) is itself perfect happiness (ānanda). In other words, we are what actually exists (sat), what is eternally aware (cit), and what is infinitely happy (ānanda), and hence our existence, our awareness and our happiness are not three separate things, but are one indivisible non-dual whole, which is what he refers to elsewhere in நானார்? (Nāṉ Ār?) as ‘ஆத்மசொரூபம்’ (ātma-sorūpam or ātma-svarūpa), the ‘own form’ or real nature (svarūpa) of oneself (ātman).

When we are seemingly aware of otherness, as in we are in waking and dream, we experience a mixture of relative happiness and unhappiness, but when we are aware of nothing other than ourself, as we are in dreamless sleep, we experience absolute, unqualified happiness. Since we experience absolutely no duality or otherness in sleep — that is, since we are aware of nothing other than our own existence, ‘I am’ — what we experience then must be our real nature (svarūpa). Since we are aware that we exist in sleep, our real nature is both our existence (sat) and our awareness of our existence (sat-cit), and since we are aware that we are happy in sleep, our real nature is also happiness (ānanda), namely the happiness of being aware of nothing other than our own existence, ‘I am’, as he explains by means of a series of logical arguments premised on our own experience in the first paragraph.

When Bhagavan rewrote the original question and answer version of Nāṉ Ār? as the present essay, he highlighted the first question, ‘நானார்?’ (nāṉ ār?), which means ‘I [am] who?’, and his first two answers, ‘அறிவே நான்’ (aṟivē nāṉ), which means ‘awareness alone is I’, and ‘அறிவின் சொரூபம் சச்சிதானந்தம்’ (aṟiviṉ sorūpam sat-cit-ānandam), which means ‘the nature of [such] awareness is being-consciousness-bliss’, in bold type. The reason he did so is that the rest of the second paragraph, in which this question and two answers are contained, consists of ideas that were not actually a part of the answers that he gave to Sivaprakasam Pillai.

Before its publication, a draft of the original question and answer version was shown to Bhagavan for his approval, and when he read it he noticed that Sivaprakasam Pillai had expanded his original answer to the first question, adding a detailed list of things that we mistake ourself to be, but that in fact we are not. On seeing this, he remarked that he had not answered in such a detailed manner, but then explained that, because Sivaprakasam Pillai was familiar with nēti nēti, he had added such detail thinking that it would help him to understand his answer more clearly.

The term nēti nēti refers to the rational process of self-analysis described in the ancient texts of vēdānta, a process that involves the analytical elimination or rejection of everything that is not ‘I’. Nēti is a compound of two Sanskrit words, na, which means ‘not’, and iti, which is a quotative marker and therefore serves a similar function to quotation marks in English, so nēti nēti literally means ‘not’, ‘not’, but implies ‘not this, not this’. The ancient texts of vēdānta use these words nēti nēti when explaining why all the adjuncts that we mistake to be ourself, such as the body, senses, life-force, mind and ignorance-enveloped viṣaya-vāsanās (propensities, inclinations or desires to experience phenomena), are not ‘I’.

The rational and analytical process which is thus described in the ancient texts of vēdānta as nēti nēti or ‘not this, not this’ is essentially the same as the logical analysis of our experience of ourself that Sri Bhagavan taught us (which is described in chapter two of Happiness and the Art of Being). If we did not first critically analyse our experience of ourself in such a manner, we would not be able to understand either the reason why we should seek true self-knowledge, or what exactly we should investigate in order to know our real nature.

However, though Bhagavan taught us how we should critically analyse our experience of ourself in our three states of awareness, namely waking, dream and sleep, in order to understand that we are nothing other than our fundamental self-awareness, ‘I am’, which is the only thing that we experience in all these three states, and though this process of self-analysis is essentially the same as the process that is described in the ancient texts of vēdānta as nēti nēti, he would not himself have said, ‘மேற்சொல்லிய யாவும் நானல்ல, நானல்ல வென்று நேதிசெய்து தனித்து நிற்கும் அறிவே நான்’ (mēl solliya yāvum nāṉ alla, nāṉ alla v-eṉḏṟu nēti-seydu taṉittu niṟkum aṟivē nāṉ), ‘Eliminating everything mentioned above as not I, not I, the awareness that stands isolated [or separated] alone is I’, as Sivaprakasam Pillai wrote when he expanded his first answer, ‘அறிவே நான்’ (aṟivē nāṉ), ‘awareness alone is I’.

In this expanded sentence the adverbial participle that I translated as ‘eliminating’ is ‘நேதிசெய்து’ (nēti-seydu), which is a compound that literally means ‘doing nēti’, so qualifying ‘அறிவு’ (aṟivu), ‘awareness’, by adding the relative clause ‘மேற்சொல்லிய யாவும் நானல்ல, நானல்ல வென்று நேதிசெய்து தனித்து நிற்கும்’ (mēl solliya yāvum nāṉ alla, nāṉ alla v-eṉḏṟu nēti-seydu taṉittu niṟkum), ‘that stands isolated [or separated] eliminating [or doing nēti of] everything mentioned above as not I, not I’, is potentially misleading, because it could create the impression that simply by thinking ‘nēti nēti’ or ‘this is not I, this is not I’ we can separate our fundamental self-awareness from everything with which we now confuse it. In fact, many scholars who attempt to explain the ancient texts of vēdānta, which often describe this analytical process of nēti nēti or negation of all that is not our real nature, interpret it to be the actual means by which we can attain self-knowledge. However, the sages who first taught the rational process of self-analysis called nēti nēti did not intend it to be understood as the actual practice of self-investigation (ātma-vicāra) but only as the means to gain the understanding required in order for us to be able to investigate what we actually are.

So long as we assume that we are really this physical body, thinking mind or any other phenomenon or object of perception, we will imagine that we can know ourself by attending to such things, and hence we will not be able to understand what is really meant by terms such as ātma-vicāra, self-investigation, self-examination, self-scrutiny, self-enquiry, self-attention, self-attentiveness or self-remembrance. Only when we understand that we are nothing other than our fundamental self-awareness — our adjunct-free awareness of our own existence, which we experience just as ‘I am’, not as ‘I am this’ — will we be able to understand what actually is the ‘self’ or ‘I’ that we should investigate, scrutinise or attend to.

Once we have understood that we are not actually this physical body, thinking mind or any other object known by us, we should not continue thinking, ‘this body is not I’, ‘this mind is not I’, and so on, but should withdraw our attention from all such things, and focus it wholly and exclusively upon our simple self-awareness, ‘I am’. We cannot know our real nature by thinking of anything that is not ‘I’, but only by investigating, scrutinising or attending keenly to what is actually ‘I’ (what we really are), namely our fundamental self-awareness. Unless we withdraw our attention entirely from all other things, we will not be able to focus it wholly and exclusively on ourself, and unless we focus it wholly on ourself, we will not be aware of ourself as we actually are.

This is why in verse 16 of Upadēśa Undiyār Bhagavan emphasises the need for us to cease being aware of any phenomena in order to be aware of ourself as we actually are, namely as pure awareness, which is our own ‘ஒளி உரு’ (oḷi-uru) or ‘form of light’:

வெளிவிட யங்களை விட்டு மனந்தன்
னொளியுரு வோர்தலே யுந்தீபற
      வுண்மை யுணர்ச்சியா முந்தீபற.

veḷiviḍa yaṅgaḷai viṭṭu maṉantaṉ
ṉoḷiyuru vōrdalē yundīpaṟa
      vuṇmai yuṇarcciyā mundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: வெளி விடயங்களை விட்டு மனம் தன் ஒளி உரு ஓர்தலே உண்மை உணர்ச்சி ஆம்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): veḷi viḍayaṅgaḷai viṭṭu maṉam taṉ oḷi-uru ōrdalē uṇmai uṇarcci ām.

அன்வயம்: மனம் வெளி விடயங்களை விட்டு தன் ஒளி உரு ஓர்தலே உண்மை உணர்ச்சி ஆம்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): maṉam veḷi viḍayaṅgaḷai viṭṭu taṉ oḷi-uru ōrdalē uṇmai uṇarcci ām.

English translation: Leaving aside external viṣayas [phenomena], the mind knowing its own form of light is alone real awareness [true knowledge or knowledge of reality].

The body, mind (in the sense of all thoughts other than ego, the first thought ‘I’) and all the other adjuncts that we mistake to be ourself are among those things that he describes in this verse as ‘வெளி விடயங்கள்’ (veḷi viḍayaṅgaḷ) or ‘external viṣayas [phenomena]’, so what he implies here is that we must cease attending to or being aware of any such adjuncts in order to be aware of our ‘ஒளி உரு’ (oḷi-uru) or ‘form of light’, which is the pure awareness that we actually are.

The reason why we mistake ourself to be this body, mind and other such adjuncts is that we do not clearly know what we actually are. If we were aware of ourself as we actually are, we could not mistake ourself to be anything that we are not. Therefore the only practical means by which we can separate ourself from everything that we now mistake ourself to be is to be aware of ourself as we actually are, and as Bhagavan says in the final clause of the first paragraph (which he highlighted in bold type), in order for us to be aware of ourself as we actually are, ‘நானார் என்னும் ஞான விசாரமே முக்கிய சாதனம்’ (nāṉ ār eṉṉum ñāṉa-vicāram-ē mukkhiya sādhaṉam), ‘jñana-vicāra [awareness-investigation] called ‘who am I’ alone is the principal means’.

ஞானம் (ñāṉam) is a Tamil form of the Sanskrit word ज्ञान (jñāna), which means knowledge or awareness, like the Tamil word அறிவு (aṟivu), so ஞான விசாரம் (ñāṉa-vicāram) or jñāna-vicāra means ‘awareness-investigation’. Therefore, since awareness alone is what we actually are, jñāna-vicāra is the practice of investigating our real nature, as Bhagavan explains in verse 19 of Upadēśa Undiyār:

நானென் றெழுமிட மேதென நாடவுண்
ணான்றலை சாய்ந்திடு முந்தீபற
     ஞான விசாரமி துந்தீபற.

nāṉeṉ ḏṟeṙumiḍa mēdeṉa nāḍavuṇ
ṇāṉḏṟalai sāyndiḍu mundīpaṟa
     ñāṉa vicārami dundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: நான் என்று எழும் இடம் ஏது என நாட உள், நான் தலைசாய்ந்திடும். ஞான விசாரம் இது.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): nāṉ eṉḏṟu eṙum iḍam ēdu eṉa nāḍa uḷ, nāṉ talai-sāyndiḍum. ñāṉa-vicāram idu.

அன்வயம்: நான் என்று எழும் இடம் ஏது என உள் நாட, நான் தலைசாய்ந்திடும். இது ஞான விசாரம்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): nāṉ eṉḏṟu eṙum iḍam ēdu eṉa uḷ nāḍa, nāṉ talai-sāyndiḍum. idu ñāṉa-vicāram.

English translation: When one investigates within [or inwardly investigates] what the place is from which it [ego or mind] rises as ‘I’, ‘I’ will die. This is jñāna-vicāra [investigation of awareness].

What Bhagavan refers to in this verse as ‘நான் என்று எழும் இடம்’ (nāṉ eṉḏṟu eṙum iḍam), ‘the place from which one rises as I’, is our real nature (ātma-svarūpa), which is pure awareness, our adjunct-free self-awareness, ‘I am’. When we investigate our fundamental self-awareness, which is the source from which we have risen as this adjunct-bound ‘I’ called ego, this ‘I will die’: that is, it will cease to exist as such, because we will discover that what appeared as ego is actually nothing other than the pure adjunct-free self-awareness that we always actually are.

When we look carefully at a snake that we imagine we see lying on the ground in the dim light of night, we will discover that it is not actually a snake but is only a rope. Similarly, when we keenly observe our basic self-awareness, ‘I am’, which we now experience as ego, our limited awareness of ourself as a body, we will discover that we are not actually this finite body but only the one infinite non-dual self-awareness — our adjunct-free awareness of our own existence (sat-cit).

Therefore what Bhagavan means in this first paragraph by the term ‘நானார் என்னும் ஞான விசாரம்’ (nāṉ-ār eṉṉum jñana-vicāra), ‘awareness-investigation called who am I’, is investigation or keenly attentive observation of our fundamental awareness of our own existence, ‘I am’, in order for us to aware of ourself as we actually are. Such an investigation cannot be done by any means other than turning our entire attention back to face ourself alone. When our attention is turned outwards to know anything other than ourself, it is what is called ego or mind, but when it turns back to know ourself alone, it thereby subsides and merges back into the source from which it appeared, namely pure awareness, which is our real nature (ātma-svarūpa).

What Bhagavan teaches us in this final clause of the first paragraph, namely that for us to know ourself ‘நானார் என்னும் ஞான விசாரமே முக்கிய சாதனம்’ (nāṉ ār eṉṉum ñāṉa-vicāram-ē mukkhiya sādhaṉam), ‘jñana-vicāra [awareness-investigation] called ‘who am I’ alone is the principal means’, is reiterated by him in many other paragraphs. For example, he begins the sixth paragraph by saying, ‘நானார் என்னும் விசாரணையினாலேயே மன மடங்கும்’ (nāṉ-ār eṉṉum vicāraṇaiyiṉāl-ē-y-ē maṉam aḍaṅgum), ‘Only by the investigation who am I will the mind cease [to exist]’; he begins the eighth paragraph by saying, ‘மனம் அடங்குவதற்கு விசாரணையைத் தவிர வேறு தகுந்த உபாயங்களில்லை. மற்ற உபாயங்களினால் அடக்கினால் மனம் அடங்கினாற்போ லிருந்து, மறுபடியும் கிளம்பிவிடும்’ (maṉam aḍaṅguvadaṟku vicāraṇaiyai-t tavira vēṟu tahunda upāyaṅgaḷ-illai. maṯṟa upāyaṅgaḷiṉāl aḍakkiṉāl maṉam aḍaṅgiṉāl-pōl irundu, maṟupaḍiyum kiḷambi-viḍum), ‘For the mind to cease [subside or disappear], except vicāraṇā [self-investigation] there are no other adequate means. If made to cease [subside or disappear] by other means, the mind remaining [for a while] as if it had ceased, will again rise up [sprout, emerge or start]’; and he begins the eleventh paragraph by saying, ‘மனத்தின்கண் எதுவரையில் விஷயவாசனைக ளிருக்கின்றனவோ, அதுவரையில் நானா ரென்னும் விசாரணையும் வேண்டும். நினைவுகள் தோன்றத் தோன்ற அப்போதைக்கப்போதே அவைகளையெல்லாம் உற்பத்திஸ்தானத்திலேயே விசாரணையால் நசிப்பிக்க வேண்டும்’ (maṉattiṉgaṇ edu-varaiyil viṣaya-vāsaṉaigaḷ irukkiṉḏṟaṉavō, adu-varaiyil nāṉ-ār eṉṉum vicāraṇai-y-um vēṇḍum. niṉaivugaḷ tōṉḏṟa-t tōṉḏṟa appōdaikkappōdē avaigaḷai-y-ellām uṯpatti-sthāṉattilēyē vicāraṇaiyāl naśippikka vēṇḍum), ‘As long as viṣaya-vāsanās exist within the mind, so long is the investigation who am I necessary. As and when thoughts appear, then and there it is necessary to annihilate them all by vicāraṇā [investigation or keen self-attentiveness] in the very place from which they arise’.

Besides using these Sanskrit terms vicāra and vicāraṇā, both of which mean investigation, examination or scrutiny, Bhagavan used many other Tamil and Sanskrit words to describe the practice of self-investigation. For example, in the sixth paragraph he describes it not only as ‘நானார் என்னும் விசாரணை’ (nāṉar eṉṉum vicāranai), which means ‘investigation called who am I’, but also as அகமுகம் (ahamukham), which means I-facing, inward-facing or self-attentiveness, அந்தர்முகம் (antarmukham), which means inward-facing or introspection, and சும்மா விருப்பது (summā-v-iruppadu), which means ‘just being’, ‘silently being’, ‘peacefully being’, ‘motionlessly being’ or ‘being without doing anything’; in the tenth paragraph he describes it as சொரூபத்யானம் (sorūpa-dhyāna), a Tamil form of the Sanskrit term स्वरूपध्यान (svarūpa-dhyāna), which means self-contemplation or self-attentiveness; in the eleventh paragraph he describes it as சொரூபஸ்மரணை (sorūpa-smaraṇai), a Tamil form of the Sanskrit term स्वरूपस्मरण (svarūpa-smaraṇa), which means self-remembrance; and in the thirteenth paragraph he describes it as ஆன்மசிந்தனை (āṉma-cintanai), a Tamil form of the Sanskrit term आत्मचिन्तन (ātma-cintana), which means self-contemplation, ‘thought of oneself’ or ‘thinking of oneself’, and ஆத்மநிஷ்டை (ātma-niṣṭhā), which means self-abidance, ‘steadiness as oneself’ or ‘being firmly fixed as oneself’.

All these terms describe the same simple practice of just being keenly self-attentive, which is what he also described as keeping our mind or attention fixed firmly on ourself, as he did in the sixteenth paragraph when defining what he means by the term ‘ātma-vicāra’:

சதாகாலமும் மனத்தை ஆத்மாவில் வைத்திருப்பதற்குத் தான் ‘ஆத்மவிசார’ மென்று பெயர்;

sadā-kālam-um maṉattai ātmāvil vaittiruppadaṟku-t tāṉ ‘ātma-vicāram’ eṉḏṟu peyar;

The name ‘ātma-vicāra’ [refers] only to [the practice of] always keeping the mind in [or on] ātmā [oneself];

The Sanskrit term ātmā simply means oneself, so it can refer either to ourself as we actually are, which is what Bhagavan calls ātma-svarūpa (the ‘own form’ or real nature of oneself), or ourself as ego. In some contexts the distinction between ourself as we actually are and ourself as ego is relevant or significant, but in the context of ātma-vicāra it is not, because we ourself are one, so attending to ego is in effect attending to our real nature. If we mistake a rope to be a snake, when we look at what seems to be a snake what we are actually looking at is only a rope, as we will see if we look at it carefully enough. Likewise, what we now mistake to be ego is only our real nature, so if we keep our attention fixed firmly on ego, what we are actually attending to is our real nature, as we will see if we attend to ourself keenly enough.

The compound word சதாகாலமும் (sadākālamum) means always or at all times, மனத்தை (maṉattai) is the accusative form of மனம் (manam), which means mind, ஆத்மாவில் (ātmāvil) is the locative form of ஆத்மா (ātmā) and therefore means in oneself or on oneself, and வைத்திருப்பது (vaittiruppadu) is a compound of two words, வைத்து (vaittu), which is an adverbial participle that means putting, placing, keeping, seating, fixing or establishing, and இருப்பது (iruppadu), which is a participial noun formed from the verbal root இரு (iru), which means be or exist. When it is used alone, இருப்பது (iruppadu) means being or existing, but when it is appended to an adverbial participle to form a compound participial noun, it serves as an auxiliary verbal noun denoting a continuity of whatever action or state is indicated by the participle. Therefore the compound participial noun வைத்திருப்பது (vaittiruppadu) can be interpreted as meaning either ‘being keeping’ or ‘continuously keeping’ (or more freely as ‘keeping fixed’). However there is actually no essential difference between these interpretations, because the state in which we keep our mind continuously in or fixed on ourself (ātmā) is not a state of activity or doing but only the state of just being as we actually are.

Thus in this sentence Bhagavan clearly defines the exact meaning of the term ātma-vicāra, saying that it refers only to the practice of keeping our mind (or power of attention) firmly fixed on ourself, which is the state of just being as we actually are, namely as pure awareness, which means awareness that is aware of nothing other than itself. Attending to anything other than ourself is an action or doing, because it entails a movement of our mind away from ourself towards some other thing, whereas keeping our mind or attention fixed firmly on ourself is not an action but only a state of just being (summā-v-iruppadu), because it entails no movement of our mind away from ourself. Therefore, so long as we keep our attention fixed unwaveringly on ourself, we are resting peacefully as pure self-awareness, which is our real nature (ātma-svarūpa), or in other words, ourself as we actually are.

Thus the nature of this simple practice of ātma-vicāra is the nature of the goal that we seek to attain, namely the state of pure self-awareness (ātma-jñāna), in which we never rise or face outwards to be aware of anything other than ourself. By turning our attention back to face ourself alone we are trying to be aware of nothing other than ourself, which is the nature of pure awareness and therefore what we always actually are. This is why we cannot know ourself as we actually are by attending to anything other than ourself, and consequently why ātma-vicāra is the only means by which we can attain ātma-jñāna, which is not only the state of pure awareness but also the state of infinite and eternal happiness, which is what we are always seeking by whatever efforts we may make, but which we can never find so long as we are looking for it in anything other than ourself.

The translation that I give below is one that I have been gradually refining over the years ever since the late 1970s, when I assisted Sadhu Om in making the translation that has been published as appendix one in many subsequent editions of Part One of The Path of Sri Ramana. The references to Happiness and the Art of Being that I give here in footnotes to each of the paragraphs are a relic of the past, because though I discussed and explained the meaning of each paragraph of Nāṉ Ār? in that book, I have since then explained them many times and often more deeply and clearly in articles in my blog. Since I have quoted and discussed passages from Nāṉ Ār? so often in my blog, it would take a long time to compile a complete list of all such references, but if you would like to search my blog for all the places where I have quoted any particular sentence or passage from Nāṉ Ār?, you may do so using the following search tool:

No translation can be perfect, but in this translation, as in all my translations, I have attempted to express in English as clearly and as accurately as possible both the literal meaning (vācyārtha) and the intended meaning (lakṣyārtha) of Bhagavan’s words. Therefore I have often given alternative meanings for certain words in square brackets. Moreover, because Tamil grammar is very different to English grammar, and because the structure of a Tamil sentence is therefore very different to the structure of an English sentence, and ideas are expressed in Tamil in a manner that is quite unlike the way we express them in English, I have often had to add words in square brackets that are not explicitly present in the Tamil original, but whose sense is implied in the idiomatic manner in which Sri Bhagavan expressed himself in Tamil. Therefore I hope that this translation manages at least to some extent to convey the true depth of meaning that Bhagavan expresses in this profound and important text.

In the original Tamil, the paragraphs are not numbered, but for ease of reference I have added the number of each paragraph as a sub-heading.

நானார்?

Nāṉ Ār? (or Nāṉ Yār?)

(Who am I?)

Original Tamil prose by
Bhagavan Sri Ramana
with transliteration and English translation by Michael James

Paragraph One

சகல ஜீவர்களும் துக்கமென்ப தின்றி எப்போதும் சுகமாயிருக்க விரும்புவதாலும், யாவருக்கும் தன்னிடத்திலேயே பரம பிரிய மிருப்பதாலும், பிரியத்திற்கு சுகமே காரண மாதலாலும், மனமற்ற நித்திரையில் தின மனுபவிக்கும் தன் சுபாவமான அச் சுகத்தை யடையத் தன்னைத் தானறிதல் வேண்டும். அதற்கு நானார் என்னும் ஞான விசாரமே முக்கிய சாதனம்.

sakala jīvargaḷum duḥkham eṉbadu iṉḏṟi eppōdum sukham-āy irukka virumbuvadālum, yāvarukkum taṉ-ṉ-iḍattil-ē-y-ē parama piriyam iruppadālum, piriyattiṟku sukham-ē kāraṇam ādalālum, maṉam aṯṟa niddiraiyil diṉam aṉubhavikkum taṉ subhāvam āṉa a-c-sukhattai y-aḍaiya-t taṉṉai-t tāṉ aṟidal vēṇḍum. adaṟku nāṉ ār eṉṉum ñāṉa-vicāram-ē mukkhiya sādhaṉam.

Since all sentient beings want [or like] to be always happy without what is called misery, since for everyone the greatest love is only for oneself, and since happiness alone is the cause for love, [in order] to obtain that happiness, which is one’s own nature, which one experiences daily in [dreamless] sleep, which is devoid of mind, oneself knowing oneself is necessary. For that, jñāna-vicāra [awareness-investigation] called ‘who am I’ alone is the principal means.1

Paragraph Two

நானார்? ஸப்த தாதுக்களா லாகிய ஸ்தூல தேகம் நானன்று. சப்த, ஸ்பரிச, ரூப, ரஸ, கந்த மென்னும் பஞ்ச விஷயங்களையும் தனித்தனியே அறிகின்ற சுரோத்திரம், துவக்கு, சக்ஷுஸ், ஜிஹ்வை, கிராண மென்கிற ஞானேந்திரியங்க ளைந்தும் நானன்று. வசனம், கமனம், தானம், மல விசர்ஜனம், ஆனந்தித்தல் என்னும் ஐந்து தொழில்களையும் செய்கின்ற வாக்கு, பாதம், பாணி, பாயு, உபஸ்தம் என்னும் கன்மேந்திரியங்க ளைந்தும் நானன்று. சுவாஸாதி ஐந்தொழில்களையும் செய்கின்ற பிராணாதி பஞ்ச வாயுக்களும் நானன்று. நினைக்கின்ற மனமும் நானன்று. சர்வ விஷயங்களும் சர்வ தொழில்களு மற்று, விஷய வாசனைகளுடன் மாத்திரம் பொருந்தியிருக்கும் அஞ்ஞானமும் நானன்று. மேற்சொல்லிய யாவும் நானல்ல, நானல்ல வென்று நேதிசெய்து தனித்து நிற்கும் அறிவே நான். அறிவின் சொரூபம் சச்சிதானந்தம்.

nāṉ ār? sapta dhātukkaḷāl āhiya sthūla dēham nāṉ aṉḏṟu. śabda, spariśa, rūpa, rasa, gandham eṉṉum pañca viṣayaṅgaḷaiyum taṉi-t-taṉi-y-ē aṟigiṉḏṟa śurōttiram, tuvakku, cakṣus, jihvai, ghirāṇam eṉgiṟa ñāṉēndiriyaṅgaḷ aindum nāṉ aṉḏṟu. vacaṉam, gamaṉam, dāṉam, mala visarjaṉam, āṉandittal eṉṉum aindu toṙilgaḷaiyum seygiṉḏṟa vākku, pādam, pāṇi, pāyu, upastham eṉṉum kaṉmēndiriyaṅgaḷ aindum nāṉ aṉḏṟu. śuvāsādi ain-toṙilgaḷaiyum seygiṉḏṟa pirāṇādi pañca vāyukkaḷum nāṉ aṉḏṟu. niṉaikkiṉḏṟa maṉamum nāṉ aṉḏṟu. sarva viṣayaṅgaḷum sarva toṙilgaḷum aṯṟu, viṣaya-vāsaṉaigaḷ-uḍaṉ māttiram porundi-y-irukkum aññāṉamum nāṉ aṉḏṟu. mēl solliya yāvum nāṉ alla, nāṉ alla v-eṉḏṟu nēti-seydu taṉittu niṟkum aṟivē nāṉ. aṟiviṉ sorūpam saccidāṉandam.

Who am I? The sthūla dēha [the ‘gross’ or physical body], which is [formed] by sapta dhātus [seven constituents, namely chyle, blood, flesh, fat, bone, marrow and semen], is not I. The five jñānēndriyas [sense organs], namely ears, skin, eyes, tongue and nose, which individually [and respectively] know the five viṣayas [‘domains’ or kinds of sensory phenomena], namely sound, touch [texture and other qualities perceived by touch], form [shape, colour and other qualities perceived by sight], taste and smell, are also not I. The five karmēndriyas [organs of action], namely mouth, feet [or legs], hands [or arms], anus and genitals, which [respectively] do the five actions, namely speaking, going [moving or walking], giving, discharge of faeces and enjoying [sexual pleasure], are also not I. The pañca vāyus [the five ‘winds’, ‘vital airs’ or metabolic processes], beginning with prāṇa [breath], which do the five [metabolic] functions, beginning with respiration, are also not I. The mind, which thinks, is also not I. All viṣayas [phenomena] and all actions ceasing [as in sleep], the ignorance [namely the absence of awareness of any phenomena that then remains and] that is combined only with viṣaya-vāsanās [dispositions, propensities, tendencies, inclinations, impulses or desires to experience phenomena] is also not I. Eliminating everything mentioned above as not I, not I, the awareness that stands isolated [or separated] alone is I. The nature of [such] awareness is sat-cit-ānanda [being-consciousness-bliss].2

Paragraph Three

சர்வ அறிவிற்கும் சர்வ தொழிற்குங் காரண மாகிய மன மடங்கினால் ஜகதிருஷ்டி நீங்கும். கற்பித ஸர்ப்ப ஞானம் போனா லொழிய அதிஷ்டான ரஜ்ஜு ஞானம் உண்டாகாதது போல, கற்பிதமான ஜகதிருஷ்டி நீங்கினா லொழிய அதிஷ்டான சொரூப தர்சன முண்டாகாது.

sarva aṟiviṟkum sarva toṙiṟkum kāraṇam āhiya maṉam aḍaṅgiṉāl jaga-diruṣṭi nīṅgum. kaṟpita sarppa-ñāṉam pōṉāl oṙiya adhiṣṭhāṉa rajju-ñāṉam uṇḍāhādadu pōla, kaṟpitam āṉa jaga-diruṣṭi nīṅgiṉāl oṙiya adhiṣṭhāṉa sorūpa-darśaṉam uṇḍāhādu.

If the mind, which is the cause for all awareness [of things other than oneself] and for all activity, ceases [or subsides], jagad-dṛṣṭi [perception of the world] will depart [or be dispelled]. Just as unless awareness of the imaginary snake goes, awareness of the rope, [which is] the adhiṣṭhāna [basis, base or foundation], will not arise, unless perception of the world, which is kalpita [a fabrication, imagination or mental creation], departs, darśana [seeing or sight] of svarūpa [one’s own form or real nature], [which is] the adhiṣṭhāna, will not arise.3

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மன மென்பது ஆத்ம சொரூபத்தி லுள்ள ஓர் அதிசய சக்தி. அது சகல நினைவுகளையும் தோற்றுவிக்கின்றது. நினைவுகளை யெல்லாம் நீக்கிப் பார்க்கின்றபோது, தனியாய் மனமென் றோர் பொருளில்லை; ஆகையால் நினைவே மனதின் சொரூபம். நினைவுகளைத் தவிர்த்து ஜகமென்றோர் பொருள் அன்னியமா யில்லை. தூக்கத்தில் நினைவுகளில்லை, ஜகமுமில்லை; ஜாக்ர சொப்பனங்களில் நினைவுகளுள, ஜகமும் உண்டு. சிலந்திப்பூச்சி எப்படித் தன்னிடமிருந்து வெளியில் நூலை நூற்று மறுபடியும் தன்னுள் இழுத்துக் கொள்ளுகிறதோ, அப்படியே மனமும் தன்னிடத்திலிருந்து ஜகத்தைத் தோற்றுவித்து மறுபடியும் தன்னிடமே ஒடுக்கிக்கொள்ளுகிறது. மனம் ஆத்ம சொரூபத்தினின்று வெளிப்படும்போது ஜகம் தோன்றும். ஆகையால், ஜகம் தோன்றும்போது சொரூபம் தோன்றாது; சொரூபம் தோன்றும் (பிரகாசிக்கும்) போது ஜகம் தோன்றாது. மனதின் சொரூபத்தை விசாரித்துக்கொண்டே போனால் தானே மனமாய் முடியும். ‘தான்’ என்பது ஆத்மசொரூபமே. மனம் எப்போதும் ஒரு ஸ்தூலத்தை யனுசரித்தே நிற்கும்; தனியாய் நில்லாது. மனமே சூக்ஷ்மசரீர மென்றும் ஜீவ னென்றும் சொல்லப்படுகிறது.

maṉam eṉbadu ātma-sorūpattil uḷḷa ōr atiśaya śakti. adu sakala niṉaivugaḷaiyum tōṯṟuvikkiṉḏṟadu. niṉaivugaḷai y-ellām nīkki-p pārkkiṉḏṟa-pōdu, taṉi-y-āy maṉam eṉḏṟu ōr poruḷ illai; āhaiyāl niṉaivē maṉadiṉ sorūpam. niṉaivugaḷai-t tavirttu jagam eṉḏṟu ōr poruḷ aṉṉiyam-āy illai. tūkkattil niṉaivugaḷ illai, jagamum illai; jāgra-soppaṉaṅgaḷil niṉaivugaḷ uḷa, jagamum uṇḍu. silandi-p-pūcci eppaḍi-t taṉ-ṉ-iḍam-irundu veḷiyil nūlai nūṯṟu maṟupaḍiyum taṉṉuḷ iṙuttu-k-koḷḷugiṟadō, appaḍiyē maṉamum taṉ-ṉ-iḍattil-irundu jagattai-t tōṯṟuvittu maṟupaḍiyum taṉṉiḍamē oḍukki-k-koḷḷugiṟadu. maṉam ātma-sorūpattiṉiṉḏṟu veḷippaḍum-pōdu jagam tōṉḏṟum. āhaiyāl, jagam tōṉḏṟum-pōdu sorūpam tōṉḏṟādu; sorūpam tōṉḏṟum (pirakāśikkum) pōdu jagam tōṉḏṟādu. maṉadiṉ sorūpattai vicārittu-k-koṇḍē pōṉāl tāṉ-ē maṉam-āy muḍiyum. ‘tāṉ’ eṉbadu ātma-sorūpam-ē. maṉam eppōdum oru sthūlattai y-aṉusarittē niṟkum; taṉi-y-āy nillādu. maṉam-ē sūkṣma śarīram eṉḏṟum jīvaṉ eṉḏṟum sollappaḍugiṟadu.

What is called mind is an atiśaya śakti [an extraordinary power] that exists in ātma-svarūpa [the ‘own form’ or real nature of oneself]. It makes all thoughts appear [or projects all thoughts]. When one looks, excluding [removing or putting aside] all thoughts, solitarily there is not any such thing as mind; therefore thought alone is the svarūpa [the ‘own form’ or very nature] of the mind. Excluding thoughts [or ideas], there is not separately any such thing as world. In sleep there are no thoughts, and [consequently] there is also no world; in waking and dream there are thoughts, and [consequently] there is also a world. Just as a spider spins out thread from within itself and again draws it back into itself, so the mind makes the world appear [or projects the world] from within itself and again dissolves it back into itself. When the mind comes out from ātma-svarūpa, the world appears. Therefore when the world appears, svarūpa [one’s own form or real nature] does not appear; when svarūpa appears (shines), the world does not appear. If one goes on investigating the nature of the mind, oneself alone will end as mind [that is, oneself alone will finally turn out to be what had previously seemed to be the mind]. What is [here] called ‘tāṉ’ [oneself] is only ātma-svarūpa. The mind stands only by always going after [following, conforming to, attaching itself to, attending to or seeking] a sthūlam [something gross, namely a physical body]; solitarily it does not stand. The mind alone is described as sūkṣma śarīra [the subtle body] and as jīva [the soul].4

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இந்தத் தேகத்தில் நான் என்று கிளம்புவது எதுவோ அஃதே மனமாம். நானென்கிற நினைவு தேகத்தில் முதலில் எந்தவிடத்திற் றோன்றுகின்ற தென்று விசாரித்தால், ஹ்ருதயத்தி லென்று தெரிய வரும். அதுவே மனதின் பிறப்பிடம். நான், நான் என்று கருதிக்கொண்டிருந்தாலுங்கூட அவ்விடத்திற் கொண்டுபோய் விட்டுவிடும். மனதில் தோன்றும் நினைவுக ளெல்லாவற்றிற்கும் நானென்னும் நினைவே முதல் நினைவு. இது எழுந்த பிறகே ஏனைய நினைவுகள் எழுகின்றன. தன்மை தோன்றிய பிறகே முன்னிலை படர்க்கைகள் தோன்றுகின்றன; தன்மை யின்றி முன்னிலை படர்க்கைக ளிரா.

inda-t dēhattil nāṉ eṉḏṟu kiḷambuvadu edu-v-ō aḵdē maṉam-ām. nāṉ-eṉgiṟa niṉaivu dēhattil mudalil enda-v-iḍattil tōṉḏṟugiṉḏṟadu eṉḏṟu vicārittāl, hrudayattil eṉḏṟu teriya varum. adu-v-ē maṉadiṉ piṟappiḍam. nāṉ, nāṉ eṉḏṟu karudi-k-koṇḍirundāluṅ-gūḍa a-vv-iḍattil koṇḍu-pōy viṭṭu-viḍum. maṉadil tōṉḏṟum niṉaivugaḷ ellāvaṯṟiṟkum nāṉ-eṉṉum niṉaivē mudal niṉaivu. idu eṙunda piṟahē ēṉaiya niṉaivugaḷ eṙugiṉḏṟaṉa. taṉmai tōṉḏṟiya piṟahē muṉṉilai paḍarkkaigaḷ tōṉḏṟugiṉḏṟaṉa; taṉmai y-iṉḏṟi muṉṉilai paḍarkkaigaḷ irā.

Whatever it is that rises in this body as ‘I’, that alone is the mind. If one investigates in what place the thought called ‘I’ first appears in the body, one will come to know that it is in the heart [the innermost core of oneself]. That alone is the birthplace of the mind. Even if one continues thinking ‘I, I’, it will take and leave [one] in that place. Of all the thoughts that appear [or arise] in the mind, the thought called ‘I’ alone is the first thought [the primal, basic, original or causal thought]. Only after this arises do other thoughts arise. Only after the first person [ego, the primal thought called ‘I’] appears do second and third persons [all other things] appear; without the first person second and third persons do not exist.5

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நானார் என்னும் விசாரணையினாலேயே மன மடங்கும்; நானார் என்னும் நினைவு மற்ற நினைவுகளை யெல்லா மழித்துப் பிணஞ்சுடு தடிபோல் முடிவில் தானு மழியும். பிற வெண்ணங்க ளெழுந்தா லவற்றைப் பூர்த்தி பண்ணுவதற்கு எத்தனியாமல் அவை யாருக் குண்டாயின என்று விசாரிக்க வேண்டும். எத்தனை எண்ணங்க ளெழினு மென்ன? ஜாக்கிரதையாய் ஒவ்வோ ரெண்ணமும் கிளம்பும்போதே இது யாருக்குண்டாயிற்று என்று விசாரித்தால் எனக்கென்று தோன்றும். நானார் என்று விசாரித்தால் மனம் தன் பிறப்பிடத்திற்குத் திரும்பிவிடும்; எழுந்த வெண்ணமு மடங்கிவிடும். இப்படிப் பழகப் பழக மனத்திற்குத் தன் பிறப்பிடத்திற் றங்கி நிற்கும் சக்தி யதிகரிக்கின்றது. சூக்ஷ்மமான மனம், மூளை இந்திரியங்கள் வாயிலாய் வெளிப்படும் போது ஸ்தூலமான நாமரூபங்கள் தோன்றுகின்றன; ஹிருதயத்தில் தங்கும்போது நாமரூபங்கள் மறைகின்றன. மனத்தை வெளிவிடாமல் ஹிருதயத்தில் வைத்துக்கொண்டிருப்பதற்குத்தான் ‘அகமுகம்’ அல்லது ‘அந்தர்முகம்’ என்று பெயர். ஹ்ருதயத்திலிருந்து வெளிவிடுவதற்குத்தான் ‘பகிர்முக’ மென்று பெயர். இவ்விதமாக மனம் ஹ்ருதயத்திற் றங்கவே, எல்லா நினைவுகளுக்கும் மூலமான நான் என்பது போய் எப்பொழுது முள்ள தான் மாத்திரம் விளங்கும். நான் என்னும் நினைவு கிஞ்சித்து மில்லா விடமே சொரூபமாகும். அதுவே ‘மௌன’ மெனப்படும். இவ்வாறு சும்மா விருப்பதற்குத்தான் ‘ஞான திருஷ்டி’ என்று பெயர். சும்மா விருப்பதாவது மனத்தை ஆன்மசொரூபத்தில் லயிக்கச் செய்வதே. அன்றி, பிறர் கருத்தறிதல், முக்கால முணர்தல், தூர தேசத்தில் நடப்பன வறிதல் ஆகிய இவை ஞான திருஷ்டி யாகமாட்டா.

nāṉ-ār eṉṉum vicāraṇaiyiṉāl-ē-y-ē maṉam aḍaṅgum; nāṉ-ār eṉṉum niṉaivu maṯṟa niṉaivugaḷai y-ellām aṙittu-p piṇañ-cuḍu taḍi-pōl muḍivil tāṉ-um aṙiyum. piṟa v-eṇṇaṅgaḷ eṙundāl avaṯṟai-p pūrtti paṇṇuvadaṟku ettaṉiyāmal avai yārukku uṇḍāyiṉa eṉḏṟu vicārikka vēṇḍum. ettaṉai eṇṇaṅgaḷ eṙiṉum eṉṉa? jāggirataiyāy ovvōr eṇṇamum kiḷambum-pōdē idu yārukku uṇḍāyiṯṟu eṉḏṟu vicārittāl eṉakkeṉḏṟu tōṉḏṟum. nāṉ-ār eṉḏṟu vicārittāl maṉam taṉ piṟappiḍattiṟku-t tirumbi-viḍum; eṙunda v-eṇṇamum aḍaṅgi-viḍum. ippaḍi-p paṙaga-p paṙaga maṉattiṟku-t taṉ piṟappiḍattil taṅgi niṟgum śakti y-adhikarikkiṉḏṟadu. sūkṣmam-āṉa maṉam, mūḷai indiriyaṅgaḷ vāyilāy veḷippaḍum pōdu sthūlam-āṉa nāma-rūpaṅgaḷ tōṉḏṟugiṉḏṟaṉa; hirudayattil taṅgumbōdu nāma-rūpaṅgaḷ maṟaigiṉḏṟaṉa. maṉattai veḷiviḍāmal hirudayattil vaittu-k-koṇḍiruppadaṟku-t-tāṉ ‘ahamukam’ alladu ‘antarmukham’ eṉḏṟu peyar. hrudayattilirundu veḷiviḍuvadaṟku-t-tāṉ ‘bahirmukham’ eṉḏṟu peyar. i-v-vidham-āha maṉam hrudayattil taṅgavē, ellā niṉaivugaḷukkum mūlam-āṉa nāṉ eṉbadu pōy eppoṙudum uḷḷa tāṉ māttiram viḷaṅgum. nāṉ eṉṉum niṉaivu kiñcittum illā v-iḍam-ē sorūpam āhum. adu-v-ē ‘mauṉam’ eṉa-p-paḍum. ivvāṟu summā v-iruppadaṟku-t-tāṉ ‘ñāṉa-diruṣṭi’ eṉḏṟu peyar. summā v-iruppadāvadu maṉattai āṉma-sorūpattil layikka-c ceyvadē. aṉḏṟi, piṟar karuttu aṟidal, mu-k-kālam uṇardal, dūra dēśattil naḍappaṉa v-aṟidal āhiya ivai ñāṉa-diruṣṭi y-āha-māṭṭā.

Only by the investigation who am I will the mind cease [to exist]. The thought who am I [that is, the attentiveness with which one investigates what one is], having destroyed all other thoughts, will itself also in the end be destroyed like a corpse-burning stick [a stick that is used to stir a funeral pyre to ensure that the corpse is burnt completely]. If other thoughts rise, without trying to complete them it is necessary to investigate to whom they have occurred. However many thoughts rise, what [does it matter]? As soon as each thought appears, if one vigilantly investigates to whom it has occurred, it will be clear: to me. If one [thus] investigates who am I, the mind will return to its birthplace [oneself, the source from which it arose]; [and since one thereby refrains from attending to it] the thought that had risen will also cease. When one practises and practises in this manner, to the mind the power to stand firmly established in its birthplace increases. When the subtle mind goes out through the portal of the brain and sense organs, gross names and forms [the thoughts that constitute the mind and the objects that constitute this world] appear; when it remains in the heart [the core of our being], names and forms disappear. Only to [this state of] retaining the mind in the heart without letting it go outwards [does] the name ‘ahamukham’ [‘I-facing’ or self-attentiveness] or ‘antarmukham’ [‘inward-facing’, introspection or introversion] [refer]. Only to [the state of] letting it go outwards [does] the name ‘bahirmukham’ [‘outward-facing’ or extroversion] [refer]. When the mind remains firmly established in the heart in this manner, what is called ‘I’ [ego], which is the root [base, foundation or origin] of all thoughts, will depart and oneself, who always exists, alone will shine. Only the place where the thought called ‘I’ does not exist even a little is svarūpa [one’s own form or real nature]. That alone is called ‘mauna’ [silence]. Only to [the state of] thus just being [does] the name ‘jñāna-dṛṣṭi’ [‘knowledge-seeing’, the experience of true knowledge] [refer]. What ‘just being’ (summā-v-iruppadu) is is only making the mind subside [cease, dissolve or die] in ātma-svarūpa [the ‘own form’ or real nature of oneself]. Besides [this state of just being], knowing the thoughts of others, knowing the three times [past, present and future], and knowing what is happening in distant places cannot be jñāna-dṛṣṭi.6

Paragraph Seven

யதார்த்தமா யுள்ளது ஆத்மசொரூப மொன்றே. ஜக ஜீவ ஈச்வரர்கள், சிப்பியில் வெள்ளிபோல் அதிற் கற்பனைகள். இவை மூன்றும் ஏககாலத்தில் தோன்றி ஏககாலத்தில் மறைகின்றன. சொரூபமே ஜகம்; சொரூபமே நான்; சொரூபமே ஈச்வரன்; எல்லாம் சிவ சொரூபமாம்.

yathārtham-āy uḷḷadu ātma-sorūpam oṉḏṟē. jaga-jīva-īśvarargaḷ, śippiyil veḷḷi pōl adil kaṟpaṉaigaḷ. ivai mūṉḏṟum ēka-kālattil tōṉḏṟi ēka-kālattil maṟaigiṉḏṟaṉa. sorūpam-ē jagam; sorūpam-ē nāṉ; sorūpam-ē īśvaraṉ; ellām śiva sorūpam ām.

What actually exists is only ātma-svarūpa [the ‘own form’ or real nature of oneself]. The world, soul and God are kalpanaigaḷ [fabrications, imaginations, mental creations, illusions or illusory superimpositions] in it, like the [illusory] silver in a shell. These three appear simultaneously and disappear simultaneously. Svarūpa [one’s own form or real nature] alone is the world; svarūpa alone is ‘I’ [ego or soul]; svarūpa alone is God; everything is śiva-svarūpa [the ‘own form’ or real nature of śiva, the one infinite whole, which is oneself].7

Paragraph Eight

மனம் அடங்குவதற்கு விசாரணையைத் தவிர வேறு தகுந்த உபாயங்களில்லை. மற்ற உபாயங்களினால் அடக்கினால் மனம் அடங்கினாற்போ லிருந்து, மறுபடியும் கிளம்பிவிடும். பிராணாயாமத்தாலும் மன மடங்கும்; ஆனால் பிராண னடங்கியிருக்கும் வரையில் மனமு மடங்கியிருந்து, பிராணன் வெளிப்படும்போது தானும் வெளிப்பட்டு வாசனை வயத்தா யலையும். மனத்திற்கும் பிராணனுக்கும் பிறப்பிட மொன்றே. நினைவே மனத்தின் சொரூபம். நானென்னும் நினைவே மனத்தின் முதல் நினைவு; அதுவே யகங்காரம். அகங்கார மெங்கிருந்து உற்பத்தியோ, அங்கிருந்துதான் மூச்சும் கிளம்புகின்றது. ஆகையால் மன மடங்கும்போது பிராணனும், பிராண னடங்கும்போது மனமு மடங்கும். பிராணன் மனத்தின் ஸ்தூல ரூபமெனப்படும். மரணகாலம் வரையில் மனம் பிராணனை உடலில் வைத்துக்கொண்டிருந்து, உடல் மரிக்குங் காலத்தில் அதனைக் கவர்ந்துகொண்டு போகின்றது. ஆகையால் பிராணாயாமம் மனத்தை யடக்க சகாயமாகுமே யன்றி மனோநாசஞ் செய்யாது.

maṉam aḍaṅguvadaṟku vicāraṇaiyai-t tavira vēṟu tahunda upāyaṅgaḷ-illai. maṯṟa upāyaṅgaḷiṉāl aḍakkiṉāl maṉam aḍaṅgiṉāl-pōl irundu, maṟupaḍiyum kiḷambi-viḍum. pirāṇāyāmattāl-um maṉam aḍaṅgum; āṉāl pirāṇaṉ aḍaṅgi-y-irukkum varaiyil maṉam-um aḍaṅgi-y-irundu, pirāṇaṉ veḷi-p-paḍum-bōdu tāṉ-um veḷi-p-paṭṭu vāsaṉai vayattāy alaiyum. maṉattiṟkum pirāṇaṉukkum piṟappiḍam oṉḏṟē. niṉaivē maṉattiṉ sorūpam. nāṉ-eṉṉum niṉaivē maṉattiṉ mudal niṉaivu; adu-v-ē y-ahaṅkāram. ahaṅkāram eṅgirundu uṯpatti-y-ō, aṅgirundu-tāṉ mūccum kiḷambugiṉḏṟadu. āhaiyāl maṉam aḍaṅgum-pōdu pirāṇaṉ-um, pirāṇaṉ aḍaṅgum-pōdu maṉamum aḍaṅgum. pirāṇaṉ maṉattiṉ sthūla rūpam-eṉa-p-paḍum. maraṇa-kālam varaiyil maṉam pirāṇaṉai uḍalil vaittu-k-koṇḍirundu, uḍal marikkum kālattil adaṉai-k kavarndu-goṇḍu pōkiṉḏṟadu. āhaiyāl pirāṇāyāmam maṉattai y-aḍakka sahāyam-āhum-ē y-aṉḏṟi maṉōnāśam seyyādu.

For the mind to cease [settle, subside, yield, be subdued, be still or disappear], except vicāraṇā [self-investigation] there are no other adequate means. If made to cease [subside or disappear] by other means, the mind remaining [for a while] as if it had ceased, will again rise up [sprout, emerge or start]. Even by prāṇāyāma [breath-restraint] the mind will cease [subside or disappear]; however, so long as prāṇa [life, as manifested in breathing and other physiological processes] remains subsided mind will also remain subsided, [and] when prāṇa emerges it will also emerge and wander about under the sway of [its] vāsanās [propensities, inclinations, impulses or desires]. The birthplace both for mind and for prāṇa is one [namely ātma-svarūpa, the real nature of oneself, which is pure self-awareness]. Thought alone is the svarūpa [the ‘own form’ or actual nature] of the mind. The thought called ‘I’ alone is the first thought of the mind; it alone is ego. From where ego arises, from there alone the breath also rises up [sprouts, emerges or starts]. Therefore when the mind ceases [subsides or disappears] the prāṇa also [ceases], [and] when the prāṇa ceases the mind also ceases. The prāṇa is called [or said to be] the gross form of the mind. Until the time of death the mind keeps the prāṇa in the body, and at the moment the body dies, grasping it it goes [that is, grasping, stealing or forcibly taking the prāṇa, the mind departs]. Therefore prāṇāyāma is just an aid to restrain the mind [or to make it (temporarily) cease, subside or disappear], but will not bring about manōnāśa [annihilation of the mind].8

Note: The following three sentences were not part of the original essay written by Bhagavan in 1926 or 27 but were interpolated afterwards, either in the mid-1930s or later, after the sentence ‘ஆகையால் மன மடங்கும்போது பிராணனும், பிராண னடங்கும்போது மனமு மடங்கும்’ (āhaiyāl maṉam aḍaṅgum-pōdu pirāṇaṉ-um, pirāṇaṉ aḍaṅgum-pōdu maṉamum aḍaṅgum), ‘Therefore when the mind ceases [subsides or disappears] the prāṇa also [ceases], [and] when the prāṇa ceases the mind also ceases’:

ஆனால் சுழுத்தியில் மன மடங்கி யிருந்தபோதிலும் பிராண னடங்கவில்லை. தேகத்தின் பாதுகாப்பின் நிமித்தமும் தேகமானது மரித்து விட்டதோ வென்று பிறர் ஐயுறாவண்ணமும் இவ்வாறு ஈச்வர நியதியால் ஏற்பட்டிருக்கிறது. ஜாக்கிரத்திலும் சமாதியிலும் மன மடங்குகிறபோது பிராண னடங்குகிறது.

āṉāl suṙuttiyil maṉam aḍaṅgi-y-irunda-pōdil-um pirāṇaṉ aḍaṅga-v-illai. dēhattiṉ pādugāppiṉ nimittam-um dēham-āṉadu marittu-viṭṭadō v-eṉḏṟu piṟar aiyuṟā-vaṇṇamum i-vv-āṟu īśvara niyatiyāl ēṟpaṭṭirukkiṟadu. jāggirattil-um samādhiyil-um maṉam aḍaṅgugiṟa-pōdu pirāṇaṉ aḍaṅgugiṟadu.

However in sleep, even though the mind has ceased [subsided or disappeared], the prāṇa does not cease. It is arranged thus by the ordinance of God for the purpose of protecting the body, and so that other people do not wonder whether the body has died. When the mind ceases [subsides or disappears] in waking and in samādhi [a state of manōlaya or temporary dissolution of mind brought about by prāṇāyāma or other such yōga practices], the prāṇa ceases.

These three sentences were not in the manuscript of this essay handwritten by Bhagavan, which was reproduced in The Mountain Path, June 1993, pp. 44-47, nor were they included either in the essay version in the first edition (1931) of ஸ்ரீ ரமண நூற்றிரட்டு (Śrī Ramaṇa Nūṯṟiraṭṭu, his Tamil collected works) or in the 1932 editions of either the thirty or the twenty-eight question-and-answer versions. I also could not find them in any of the versions published prior to that that I have seen, nor in any of Sivaprakasam Pillai’s notebooks. The earliest edition in which I have seen them included was the 1936 edition of the twenty-eight question-and-answer version, so it was probably added first in that version and later in this essay version.

According to Bhagavan’s core teachings, the body and world are both mental creations, so they seem to exist only so long as they are perceived by ego, which is the root and core of the mind, and hence they do not exist when the mind has subsided in sleep. For those who are willing to accept this teaching, the idea that ‘in sleep, even though the mind has ceased, the prāṇa does not cease’ is not an issue, because if the existence of the body (and hence of the prāṇa that animates it) is dependent upon the existence of the mind, it is clear that in sleep ‘when the mind ceases the prāṇa also [...] ceases’, as he said explicitly in the previous sentence.

Therefore, if these three interpolated sentences were something that Bhagavan actually said, he presumably said so in reply to someone who objected to the previous sentence, arguing that when a person is sleeping others can see him or her breathing, in which case he would have said this as a concession to their limited understanding, seeing that they were not willing to accept his teaching that the body, prāṇa, world and all other phenomena seem to exist only in the view of ego, and hence they cease to exist whenever the mind ceases to exist, as in dreamless sleep.

Paragraph Nine

பிரணாயாமம் போலவே மூர்த்தித்தியானம், மந்திரஜபம், ஆகார நியம மென்பவைகளும் மனத்தை அடக்கும் சகாயங்களே. மூர்த்தித்தியானத்தாலும், மந்திரஜபத்தாலும் மனம் ஏகாக்கிரத்தை யடைகிறது. சதாசலித்துக் கொண்டிருக்கும் யானையின் துதிக்கையில் ஒரு சங்கிலியைக் கொடுத்தால் அவ்யானை எப்படி வேறொன்றையும் பற்றாம லதையே பற்றிக் கொண்டு செல்லுமோ, அப்படியே சதாசலித்துக் கொண்டிருக்கும் மனமும், அதனை ஏதோ ஒரு நாமம் அல்லது ரூபத்திற் பழக்கினால் அதையே பற்றிக் கொண்டிருக்கும். மனம் அளவிறந்த நினைவுகளாய் விரிகின்றபடியால் ஒவ்வொரு நினைவும் அதிபலவீனமாகப் போகின்றது. நினைவுக ளடங்க வடங்க ஏகாக்கிரத்தன்மை யடைந்து, அதனாற் பலத்தை யடைந்த மனத்திற்கு ஆத்மவிசாரம் சுலபமாய் சித்திக்கும். எல்லா நியமங்களிலுஞ் சிறந்த மித ஸாத்விக ஆகார நியமத்தால் மனத்தின் சத்வ குணம் விருத்தியாகி, ஆத்மவிசாரத்திற்கு சகாய முண்டாகிறது.

piraṇāyāmam pōla-v-ē mūrtti-d-dhiyāṉam, mantira-japam, āhāra niyamam eṉbavaigaḷum maṉattai aḍakkum sahāyaṅgaḷ-ē. mūrtti-d-dhiyāṉattālum, mantira-japattālum maṉam ēkāggirattai y-aḍaigiṟadu. sadā-calittu-k koṇḍirukkum yāṉaiyiṉ tutikkaiyil oru caṅgiliyai-k koḍuttāl a-v-yāṉai eppaḍi vēṟoṉḏṟaiyum paṯṟāmal adaiyē paṯṟi-k-koṇḍu sellumō, appaḍiyē sadā-calittu-k koṇḍirukkum maṉamum, adaṉai ēdō oru nāmam alladu rūpattil paṙakkiṉāl adaiyē paṯṟi-k-koṇḍirukkum. maṉam aḷaviṟanda niṉaivugaḷ-āy virigiṉḏṟapaḍiyāl o-vv-oru niṉaivum adi-bala-v-īṉam-āha-p pōgiṉḏṟadu. niṉaivugaḷ aḍaṅga v-aḍaṅga ēkāggira-t-taṉmai y-aḍaindu, adaṉāl balattai y-aḍainda maṉattiṟku ātma-vicāram sulabham-āy siddhikkum. ellā niyamaṅgaḷilum siṟanda mita sātvika āhāra niyamattāl maṉattiṉ satva guṇam virutti-y-āhi, ātma-vicārattiṟku sahāyam uṇḍāgiṟadu.

Just like prāṇāyāma, what are called mūrti-dhyāna [meditation upon a form of God], mantra-japa [repetition of a sacred word or phrase, usually consisting of or containing a name of God] and āhāra-niyama [restriction of diet, particularly the restriction of consuming only vegetarian food] are also only aids that restrain the mind [but will not bring about its annihilation]. Both by mūrti-dhyāna and by mantra-japa the mind gains ēkāgratā [one-pointedness]. Just as if one gives a chain in the trunk of an elephant, which is always moving [swinging about trying to catch hold of something or other], that elephant will proceed grasping it without grasping anything else, in exactly that way the mind, which is always moving [wandering about thinking of something or other], will, if one makes it habituated [to holding] on any one name or form, remain grasping it alone [without thinking unnecessary thoughts about anything else]. Because of the way in which the mind spreads out as innumerable thoughts [thereby scattering its energy], each thought becomes extremely weak. When thoughts reduce and reduce, for the mind which, gaining ēkāgra-taṉmai [one-pointed nature], has thereby gained strength ātma-vicāra [self-investigation] will easily be accomplished. By mita sāttvika āhāra-niyama [the restriction of consuming only sattva-conducive food in moderate quantities], which is the best among all restrictions, the sattva-guṇa [the quality of ‘being-ness’, calmness and clarity] of the mind increasing, for self-investigation help will [thereby] arise.9

Paragraph Ten

தொன்றுதொட்டு வருகின்ற விஷயவாசனைகள் அளவற்றனவாய்க் கடலலைகள் போற் றோன்றினும் அவையாவும் சொரூபத்யானம் கிளம்பக் கிளம்ப அழிந்துவிடும். அத்தனை வாசனைகளு மொடுங்கி, சொரூபமாத்திரமா யிருக்க முடியுமா வென்னும் சந்தேக நினைவுக்கு மிடங்கொடாமல், சொரூபத்யானத்தை விடாப்பிடியாய்ப் பிடிக்க வேண்டும். ஒருவன் எவ்வளவு பாபியாயிருந்தாலும், ‘நான் பாபியா யிருக்கிறேனே! எப்படிக் கடைத்தேறப் போகிறே’ னென்றேங்கி யழுதுகொண்டிராமல், தான் பாபி என்னு மெண்ணத்தையு மறவே யொழித்து சொரூபத்யானத்தி லூக்க முள்ளவனாக விருந்தால் அவன் நிச்சயமா யுருப்படுவான்.

toṉḏṟutoṭṭu varugiṉḏṟa viṣaya-vāsaṉaigaḷ aḷavaṯṟaṉavāy-k kaḍal-alaigaḷ pōl tōṉḏṟiṉum avai-yāvum sorūpa-dhyāṉam kiḷamba-k kiḷamba aṙindu-viḍum. attaṉai vāsaṉaigaḷum oḍuṅgi, sorūpa-māttiram-āy irukka muḍiyumā v-eṉṉum sandēha niṉaivukkum iḍam koḍāmal, sorūpa-dhyāṉattai viḍā-p-piḍiyāy-p piḍikka vēṇḍum. oruvaṉ evvaḷavu pāpiyāy irundālum, ‘nāṉ pāpiyāy irukkiṟēṉē; eppaḍi-k kaḍaittēṟa-p pōgiṟēṉ’ eṉḏṟēṅgi y-aṙudu-koṇḍirāmal, tāṉ pāpi eṉṉum eṇṇattaiyum aṟavē y-oṙittu sorūpa-dhyāṉattil ūkkam uḷḷavaṉāha v-irundāl avaṉ niścayamāy uru-p-paḍuvāṉ.

Even though viṣaya-vāsanās [inclinations or desires to experience things other than oneself], which come from time immemorial, rise [as thoughts or phenomena] in countless numbers like ocean-waves, they will all be destroyed when svarūpa-dhyāna [self-attentiveness, contemplation on one’s ‘own form’ or real nature] increases and increases [in depth and intensity]. Without giving room even to the doubting thought ‘So many vāsanās ceasing [or being dissolved], is it possible to be only as svarūpa [my own form or real nature]?’ it is necessary to cling tenaciously to self-attentiveness. However great a sinner one may be, if instead of lamenting and weeping ‘I am a sinner! How am I going to be saved?’ one completely rejects the thought that one is a sinner and is zealous [or steadfast] in self-attentiveness, one will certainly be reformed [transformed into what one actually is].10

Paragraph Eleven

மனத்தின்கண் எதுவரையில் விஷயவாசனைக ளிருக்கின்றனவோ, அதுவரையில் நானா ரென்னும் விசாரணையும் வேண்டும். நினைவுகள் தோன்றத் தோன்ற அப்போதைக்கப்போதே அவைகளையெல்லாம் உற்பத்திஸ்தானத்திலேயே விசாரணையால் நசிப்பிக்க வேண்டும். அன்னியத்தை நாடாதிருத்தல் வைராக்கியம் அல்லது நிராசை; தன்னை விடாதிருத்தல் ஞானம். உண்மையி லிரண்டு மொன்றே. முத்துக்குளிப்போர் தம்மிடையிற் கல்லைக் கட்டிக்கொண்டு மூழ்கிக் கடலடியிற் கிடைக்கும் முத்தை எப்படி எடுக்கிறார்களோ, அப்படியே ஒவ்வொருவனும் வைராக்கியத்துடன் தன்னுள் ளாழ்ந்து மூழ்கி ஆத்மமுத்தை யடையலாம். ஒருவன் தான் சொரூபத்தை யடையும் வரையில் நிரந்தர சொரூப ஸ்மரணையைக் கைப்பற்றுவானாயின் அதுவொன்றே போதும். கோட்டைக்குள் எதிரிக ளுள்ளவரையில் அதிலிருந்து வெளியே வந்துகொண்டே யிருப்பார்கள். வர வர அவர்களையெல்லாம் வெட்டிக்கொண்டே யிருந்தால் கோட்டை கைவசப்படும்.

maṉattiṉgaṇ edu-varaiyil viṣaya-vāsaṉaigaḷ irukkiṉḏṟaṉavō, adu-varaiyil nāṉ-ār eṉṉum vicāraṇai-y-um vēṇḍum. niṉaivugaḷ tōṉḏṟa-t tōṉḏṟa appōdaikkappōdē avaigaḷai-y-ellām uṯpatti-sthāṉattilēyē vicāraṇaiyāl naśippikka vēṇḍum. aṉṉiyattai nāḍādiruttal vairāggiyam alladu nirāśai; taṉṉai viḍādiruttal ñāṉam. uṇmaiyil iraṇḍum oṉḏṟē. muttu-k-kuḷippōr tam-m-iḍaiyil kallai-k kaṭṭi-k-koṇḍu mūṙki-k kaḍal-aḍiyil kiḍaikkum muttai eppaḍi eḍukkiṟārgaḷō, appaḍiyē o-vv-oruvaṉum vairāggiyattuḍaṉ taṉṉuḷ ḷ-āṙndu mūṙki ātma-muttai y-aḍaiyalām. oruvaṉ tāṉ sorūpattai y-aḍaiyum varaiyil nirantara sorūpa-smaraṇaiyai-k kai-p-paṯṟuvāṉ-āyiṉ adu-v-oṉḏṟē pōdum. kōṭṭaikkuḷ edirigaḷ uḷḷa-varaiyil adilirundu veḷiyē vandu-koṇḍē y-iruppārgaḷ. vara vara avargaḷai-y-ellām veṭṭi-k-koṇḍē y-irundāl kōṭṭai kaivaśa-p-paḍum.

As long as viṣaya-vāsanās exist within the mind, so long is the investigation who am I necessary. As and when thoughts appear, then and there it is necessary to annihilate them all by vicāraṇā [investigation or keen self-attentiveness] in the very place from which they arise. Not attending to anything other [than oneself] is vairāgya [dispassion or detachment] or nirāśā [desirelessness]; not leaving [or letting go of] oneself is jñāna [true knowledge or real awareness]. In truth [these] two [vairāgya and jñāna] are just one. Just as pearl-divers, tying stones to their waists and sinking, pick up pearls that are found at the bottom of the ocean, so each one, sinking deep within oneself with vairāgya [freedom from desire to be aware of anything other than oneself], may obtain the pearl of oneself [literally: obtaining the pearl of oneself is proper]. If one clings fast to uninterrupted svarūpa-smaraṇa [self-remembrance] until one obtains svarūpa [one’s own form or real nature], that alone is sufficient. So long as enemies [namely viṣaya-vāsanās] are within the fort [namely one’s heart], they will be continuously coming out from it. If one is continuously cutting down [or destroying] all of them as and when they come, the fort will [eventually] be captured.11

Paragraph Twelve

கடவுளும் குருவும் உண்மையில் வேறல்லர். புலிவாயிற் பட்டது எவ்வாறு திரும்பாதோ, அவ்வாறே குருவினருட்பார்வையிற் பட்டவர்கள் அவரால் ரக்ஷிக்கப்படுவரே யன்றி யொருக்காலும் கைவிடப்படார்; எனினும், குரு காட்டிய வழிப்படி தவறாது நடக்க வேண்டும்.

kaḍavuḷ-um guru-v-um uṇmaiyil vēṟallar. puli-vāyil paṭṭadu evvāṟu tirumbādō, avvāṟē guruviṉ-aruḷ-pārvaiyil paṭṭavargaḷ avarāl rakṣikka-p-paḍuvarē y-aṉḏṟi y-oru-k-kāl-um kaiviḍa-p-paḍār; eṉiṉum, guru kāṭṭiya vaṙi-p-paḍi tavaṟādu naḍakka vēṇḍum.

God and guru are in truth not different. Just as what has been caught in the jaws of a tiger will not return, so those who have been caught in the look [or glance] of guru’s grace will never be forsaken but will surely be saved by him; nevertheless, it is necessary to walk unfailingly in accordance with the path that guru has shown.12

Paragraph Thirteen

ஆன்மசிந்தனையைத் தவிர வேறு சிந்தனை கிளம்புவதற்குச் சற்று மிடங்கொடாமல் ஆத்மநிஷ்டாபரனா யிருப்பதே தன்னை ஈசனுக் களிப்பதாம். ஈசன்பேரில் எவ்வளவு பாரத்தைப் போட்டாலும், அவ்வளவையும் அவர் வகித்துக்கொள்ளுகிறார். சகல காரியங்களையும் ஒரு பரமேச்வர சக்தி நடத்திக்கொண்டிருகிறபடியால், நாமு மதற் கடங்கியிராமல், ‘இப்படிச் செய்யவேண்டும்; அப்படிச் செய்யவேண்டு’ மென்று ஸதா சிந்திப்பதேன்? புகை வண்டி சகல பாரங்களையும் தாங்கிக்கொண்டு போவது தெரிந்திருந்தும், அதி லேறிக்கொண்டு போகும் நாம் நம்முடைய சிறிய மூட்டையையு மதிற் போட்டுவிட்டு சுகமா யிராமல், அதை நமது தலையிற் றாங்கிக்கொண்டு ஏன் கஷ்டப்படவேண்டும்?

āṉma-cintaṉaiyai-t tavira vēṟu cintaṉai kiḷambuvadaṟku-c caṯṟum iḍam-koḍāmal ātma-niṣṭhāparaṉ-āy iruppadē taṉṉai īśaṉukku aḷippadām. īśaṉpēril e-vv-aḷavu bhārattai-p pōṭṭālum, a-vv-aḷavai-y-um avar vahittu-k-koḷḷugiṟār. sakala kāriyaṅgaḷai-y-um oru paramēśvara śakti naḍatti-k-koṇḍirugiṟapaḍiyāl, nāmum adaṟku aḍaṅgi-y-irāmal, ‘ippaḍi-c ceyya-vēṇḍum; appaḍi-c ceyya-vēṇḍum’ eṉḏṟu sadā cintippadēṉ? puhai vaṇḍi sakala bhāraṅgaḷaiyum tāṅgi-k-koṇḍu pōvadu terindirundum, adil ēṟi-k-koṇḍu pōhum nām nammuḍaiya siṟiya mūṭṭaiyaiyum adil pōṭṭu-viṭṭu sukhamāy irāmal, adai namadu talaiyil tāṅgi-k-koṇḍu ēṉ kaṣṭa-p-paḍa-vēṇḍum?

Being ātma-niṣṭhāparaṉ [one who is completely fixed in and as oneself], giving not even the slightest room to the rising of any cintana [thought] other than ātma-cintana [thought of oneself], alone is giving oneself to God. Even though one places whatever amount of burden upon God, that entire amount he will bear. Since one paramēśvara śakti [supreme ruling power or power of God] is driving all kāryas [whatever needs or ought to be done or to happen], instead of we also yielding to it, why to be perpetually thinking, ‘it is necessary to do like this; it is necessary to do like that’? Though we know that the train is going bearing all the burdens, why should we who go travelling in it, instead of remaining happily leaving our small luggage placed on it [the train], suffer bearing it [our luggage] on our head?13

Paragraph Fourteen

சுகமென்பது ஆத்மாவின் சொரூபமே; சுகமும் ஆத்மசொரூபமும் வேறன்று. ஆத்மசுகம் ஒன்றே யுள்ளது; அதுவே ஸத்யம். பிரபஞ்சப்பொருள் ஒன்றிலாவது சுகமென்பது கிடையாது. அவைகளிலிருந்து சுகம் கிடைப்பதாக நாம் நமது அவிவேகத்தால் நினைக்கின்றோம். மனம் வெளியில் வரும்போது துக்கத்தை யனுபவிக்கிறது. உண்மையில் நமது எண்ணங்கள் பூர்த்தியாகும்போதெல்லாம் அது தன்னுடைய யதாஸ்தானத்திற்குத் திரும்பி ஆத்மசுகத்தையே யனுபவிக்கிறது. அப்படியே தூக்கம், சமாதி, மூர்ச்சை காலங்களிலும், இச்சித்த பொருள் கிடைக்கிறபோதும், வெறுத்த பொருளுக்கு கேடுண்டாகும் போதும், மனம் அந்தர்முகமாகி ஆத்மசுகத்தையே யனுபவிக்கிறது. இப்படி மனம் ஆத்மாவை விட்டு வெளியே போவதும், உள்ளே திரும்புவதுமாக ஓய்வின்றி யலைகிறது. மரத்தடியில் நிழல் சுகமா யிருக்கிறது. வெளியில் சூரியவெப்பம் கொடுமையா யிருக்கிறது. வெளியி லலையு மொருவன் நிழலிற் சென்று குளிர்ச்சி யடைகிறான். சிறிது நேரத்திற்குப் பின் வெளிக்கிளம்பி வெப்பத்தின் கொடுமைக் காற்றாது, மறுபடியும் மரத்தடிக்கு வருகின்றான். இவ்வாறு நிழலினின்று வெயிலிற் போவதும், வெயிலினின்று நிழலிற் செல்வதுமாயிருக்கிறான். இப்படிச் செய்கிறவன் அவிவேகி. ஆனால் விவேகியோ நிழலைவிட்டு நீங்கான். அப்படியே ஞானியின் மனமும் பிரம்மத்தை விட்டு நீங்குவ தில்லை. ஆனால் அஞ்ஞானியின் மனமோ பிரபஞ்சத்தி லுழன்று துக்கப்படுவதும், சிறிது நேரம் பிரம்மத்திற்குத் திரும்பி சுக மடைவதுமா யிருக்கிறது. ஜக மென்பது நினைவே. ஜகம் மறையும்போது அதாவது நினைவற்ற போது மனம் ஆனந்தத்தை யனுபவிக்கின்றது; ஜகம் தோன்றும் போது அது துக்கத்தை யனுபவிக்கின்றது.

sukham-eṉbadu ātmāviṉ sorūpamē; sukhamum ātma-sorūpamum vēṟaṉḏṟu. ātma-sukham oṉḏṟē y-uḷḷadu; aduvē satyam. pirapañca-p-poruḷ oṉḏṟil-āvadu sukham-eṉbadu kiḍaiyādu. avaigaḷilirundu sukham kiḍaippadāha nām namadu avivēkattāl niṉaikkiṉḏṟōm. maṉam veḷiyil varum-pōdu duḥkhattai y-aṉubhavikkiṟadu. uṇmaiyil namadu eṇṇaṅgaḷ pūrtti-y-āhum-pōdellām adu taṉṉuḍaiya yathāsthāṉattiṟku-t tirumbi ātma-sukhattaiyē y-aṉubhavikkiṟadu. appaḍiyē tūkkam, samādhi, mūrccai kālaṅgaḷilum, icchitta poruḷ kiḍaikkiṟa-bōdum, veṟutta poruḷukku kēḍuṇḍāhum-bōdum, maṉam antarmukham-āhi ātma-sukhattaiyē y-aṉubhavikkiṟadu. ippaḍi maṉam ātmāvai viṭṭu veḷiyē pōvadum, uḷḷē tirumbuvadum-āha ōyviṉḏṟi y-alaikiṟadu. marattaḍiyil niṙal sukham-āy irukkiṟadu. veḷiyil sūriya-veppam koḍumai-y-āy irukkiṟadu. veḷiyil alaiyum oruvaṉ niṙaliṯ ceṉḏṟu kuḷircci y-aḍaikiṟāṉ. siṟidu nērattiṟku-p piṉ veḷi-k-kiḷambi veppattiṉ koḍumaik kāṯṟādu, maṟupaḍiyum marattaḍikku varugiṉḏṟāṉ. ivvāṟu niṙaliṉiṉḏṟu veyiliṯ pōvadum, veyiliṉiṉḏṟu niṙaliṯ celvadum-āy-irukkiṟāṉ. ippaḍi-c ceygiṟavaṉ avivēki. āṉāl vivēkiyō niṙalai-viṭṭu nīṅgāṉ. appaḍiyē ñāṉiyiṉ maṉamum birammattai viṭṭu nīṅguvadillai. āṉāl aññāṉiyiṉ maṉamō pirapañcattil uṙaṉḏṟu duḥkha-p-paḍuvadum, siṟidu nēram birammattiṟku-t tirumbi sukham aḍaivadum-āy irukkiṟadu. jagam eṉbadu niṉaivē. jagam maṟaiyum-bōdu adāvadu niṉaivaṯṟa-bōdu maṉam āṉandattai y-aṉubhavikkiṉḏṟadu; jagam tōṉḏṟum-pōdu adu duḥkhattai y-aṉubhavikkiṉḏṟadu.

What is called sukha [happiness, satisfaction, joy, ease, comfort or pleasantness] is only the svarūpa [the ‘own form’ or real nature] of ātmā [oneself]; sukha and ātma-svarūpa [one’s own real nature] are not different. Ātma-sukha [happiness that is oneself] alone exists; that alone is real. What is called sukha [happiness or satisfaction] is not found [obtained or available] in even one of the objects of the world. We think that happiness is obtained from them because of our avivēka [lack of judgement, discrimination or ability to distinguish one thing from another]. When the mind comes out [from ātma-svarūpa], it experiences duḥkha [dissatisfaction, discomfort, uneasiness, unpleasantness, unhappiness, distress, suffering, sorrow, sadness, pain or affliction]. In truth, whenever our thoughts [wishes or hopes] are fulfilled, it [the mind] turns back to its proper place [the heart, our real nature, which is the source from which it rose] and experiences only ātma-sukha [happiness that is oneself]. Likewise at times of sleep, samādhi [a state of manōlaya or temporary dissolution of mind brought about by prāṇāyāma or other such yōga practices] and fainting, and when anything liked is obtained, and when destruction [damage, elimination or removal] occurs to anything disliked, the mind becomes antarmukham [inward facing] and experiences only ātma-sukha. In this way the mind wanders about incessantly, going outside leaving oneself, and [again] turning back inside. At the foot of a tree the shade is pleasant [comfortable or delightful]. Outside the heat of the sun is severe [or harsh]. A person who is wandering outside is cooled [literally, obtains coolness or cooling] [by] going into the shade. After a short while emerging outside, [but] being unable to withstand [or bear] the severity of the heat, he again comes to the foot of the tree. In this way he remains, going from the shade into the sunshine, and going [back] from the sunshine into the shade. A person who does thus is an avivēki [someone lacking judgement, discrimination or ability to distinguish]. But a vivēki [someone who can judge, discriminate or distinguish] will not depart leaving the shade. Likewise the mind of the jñāni [one who is aware of one’s real nature] will not depart leaving brahman [that which alone exists, namely pure awareness, which is infinite happiness and one’s own real nature]. But the mind of the ajñāni [one who is not aware of one’s real nature] remains experiencing duḥkha [dissatisfaction or suffering] [by] roaming about in the world, and for a short while obtaining sukha [satisfaction or happiness] [by] returning to brahman. What is called the world is only thought [because like any world that we experience in a dream, what we experience as the world in this waking state is nothing but a series of perceptions, which are just thoughts or mental phenomena]. When the world disappears, that is, when thought ceases, the mind experiences happiness; when the world appears, it experiences duḥkha [dissatisfaction or suffering].14

Paragraph Fifteen

இச்சா ஸங்கல்ப யத்நமின்றி யெழுந்த ஆதித்தன் சன்னிதி மாத்திரத்தில் காந்தக்கல் அக்கினியைக் கக்குவதும், தாமரை மலர்வதும், நீர் வற்றுவதும், உலகோர் தத்தங் காரியங்களிற் பிரவிருத்தித்து இயற்றி யடங்குவதும், காந்தத்தின் முன் ஊசி சேஷ்டிப்பதும் போல ஸங்கல்ப ரகிதராயிருக்கும் ஈசன் சன்னிதான விசேஷ மாத்திரத்தால் நடக்கும் முத்தொழில் அல்லது பஞ்சகிருத்தியங்கட் குட்பட்ட ஜீவர்கள் தத்தம் கர்மானுசாரம் சேஷ்டித் தடங்குகின்றனர். அன்றி, அவர் ஸங்கல்ப ஸஹித ரல்லர்; ஒரு கருமமு மவரை யொட்டாது. அது லோககருமங்கள் சூரியனை யொட்டாததும், ஏனைய சதுர்பூதங்களின் குணாகுணங்கள் வியாபகமான ஆகாயத்தை யொட்டாததும் போலும்.

icchā-saṅkalpa-yatnam-iṉḏṟi y-eṙunda ādittaṉ saṉṉidhi-māttirattil kānta-k-kal aggiṉiyai-k kakkuvadum, tāmarai malarvadum, nīr vaṯṟuvadum, ulahōr tattaṅ kāriyaṅgaḷil piraviruttittu iyaṯṟi y-aḍaṅguvadum, kāntattiṉ muṉ ūsi cēṣṭippadum pōla saṅkalpa-rahitar-āy-irukkum īśaṉ saṉṉidhāṉa-viśēṣa-māttirattāl naḍakkum muttoṙil alladu pañcakiruttiyaṅgaṭ kuṭpaṭṭa jīvargaḷ tattam karmāṉusāram cēṣṭit taḍaṅgugiṉḏṟaṉar. aṉḏṟi, avar saṅkalpa-sahitar allar; oru karumam-um avarai y-oṭṭādu. adu lōka-karumaṅgaḷ sūriyaṉai y-oṭṭādadum, ēṉaiya catur-bhūtaṅgaḷiṉ guṇāguṇaṅgaḷ viyāpakam-āṉa ākāyattai y-oṭṭādadum pōlum.

Just like in the mere presence of the sun, which rose without icchā [wish, desire or liking], saṁkalpa [volition or intention] [or] yatna [effort or exertion], a sun-stone [sūryakānta, a gem that is supposed to emit fire or heat when exposed to the sun] emitting fire, a lotus blossoming, water evaporating, and people of the world commencing [or becoming engaged in] their respective kāryas [activities], doing [those kāryas] and ceasing [or subsiding], and [just like] in front of a magnet a needle moving, jīvas [sentient beings], who are subject to [or ensnared in] muttoṙil [the threefold function of God, namely the creation, sustenance and dissolution of the world] or pañcakṛtyas [the five functions of God, namely creation, sustenance, dissolution, concealment and grace], which happen by just [or nothing more than] the special nature of the presence of God, who is saṁkalpa rahitar [one who is devoid of any volition or intention], move [exert or engage in activity] and subside [cease being active, become still or sleep] in accordance with their respective karmas [that is, in accordance not only with their prārabdha karma or destiny, which impels them to do whatever actions are necessary in order for them to experience all the pleasant and unpleasant things that they are destined to experience, but also with their karma-vāsanās, their inclinations or desires to think, speak and act in particular ways, which impel them to make effort to experience pleasant things and to avoid experiencing unpleasant things]. Nevertheless, he [God] is not saṁkalpa sahitar [one who is connected with or possesses any volition or intention]; even one karma does not adhere to him [that is, he is not bound or affected in any way by any karma or action whatsoever]. That is like world-actions [the actions happening here on earth] not adhering to [or affecting] the sun, and [like] the qualities and defects of the other four elements [earth, water, air and fire] not adhering to the all-pervading space.15

Paragraph Sixteen

எந்நூலிலும் முக்தி யடைவதற்கு மனத்தை யடக்க வேண்டுமென்று சொல்லப்பட் டுள்ளபடியால், மனோநிக்ரகமே நூல்களின் முடிவான கருத்து என் றறிந்துகொண்ட பின்பு நூல்களை யளவின்றிப் படிப்பதாற் பயனில்லை. மனத்தை யடக்குவதற்குத் தன்னை யாரென்று விசாரிக்க வேண்டுமே யல்லாமல் எப்படி நூல்களில் விசாரிப்பது? தன்னைத் தன்னுடைய ஞானக்கண்ணாற்றானே யறிய வேண்டும். ராமன் தன்னை ராமனென்றறியக் கண்ணாடி வேண்டுமா? ‘தான்’ பஞ்ச கோசங்களுக்குள் ளிருப்பது; நூல்களோ அவற்றிற்கு வெளியி லிருப்பவை. ஆகையால், பஞ்ச கோசங்களையும் நீக்கி விசாரிக்க வேண்டிய தன்னை நூல்களில் விசாரிப்பது வீணே. பந்தத்தி லிருக்கும் தான் யாரென்று விசாரித்து தன் யதார்த்த சொரூபத்தைத் தெரிந்துகொள்வதே முக்தி. சதாகாலமும் மனத்தை ஆத்மாவில் வைத்திருப்பதற்குத் தான் ‘ஆத்மவிசார’ மென்று பெயர்; தியானமோ தன்னை ஸச்சிதானந்த பிரம்மமாக பாவிப்பது. கற்றவை யனைத்தையும் ஒருகாலத்தில் மறக்க வேண்டிவரும்.

ennūlilum mukti y-aḍaivadaṟku maṉattai y-aḍakka vēṇḍum-eṉḏṟu solla-p-paṭ ṭuḷḷapaḍiyāl, maṉōnigrahamē nūlgaḷiṉ muḍivāṉa karuttu eṉ ḏṟaṟindu-goṇḍa piṉbu nūlgaḷai y-aḷaviṉḏṟi-p paḍi-p-padāl payaṉ-illai. maṉattai y-aḍakkuvadaṟku-t taṉṉai yār eṉḏṟu vicārikka vēṇḍum-ē y-allāmal eppaḍi nūlgaḷil vicārippadu? taṉṉai-t taṉṉuḍaiya ñāṉa-k-kaṇṇāl-tāṉ-ē y-aṟiya vēṇḍum. rāmaṉ taṉṉai rāmaṉ-eṉḏṟaṟiya-k kaṇṇāḍi vēṇḍum-ā? ‘tāṉ’ pañca kōśaṅgaḷukkuḷ ḷ-iruppadu; nūlgaḷ-ō avaṯṟiṟku veḷiyil iruppavai. āhaiyāl, pañca kōśaṅgaḷai-y-um nīkki vicārikka vēṇḍiya taṉṉai nūlgaḷil vicārippadu vīṇē. bandhattil irukkum tāṉ yār eṉḏṟu vicārittu taṉ yathārtha sorūpattai-t terindu-koḷvadē mukti. sadā-kālam-um maṉattai ātmāvil vaittiruppadaṟku-t tāṉ ‘ātma-vicāram’ eṉḏṟu peyar; dhiyāṉam-ō taṉṉai saccidāṉanda birahmmamāha bhāvippadu. kaṯṟavai y-aṉaittaiyum oru-kālattil maṟakka vēṇḍi-varum.

Since in every text [of advaita] it is said that for attaining mukti [liberation] it is necessary to make the mind cease, after knowing that manōnigraha [restraint, subjugation or destruction of the mind] alone is the ultimate intention [aim or purpose] of [such] texts, there is no benefit [to be gained] by studying texts without limit. For making the mind cease it is necessary to investigate oneself [to see] who [one actually is], [but] instead [of doing so] how [can one see oneself by] investigating in texts? It is necessary to know oneself only by one’s own eye of jñāna [knowledge or awareness]. Does [a person called] Raman need a mirror to know himself as Raman? ‘Oneself’ is within the pañca-kōśas [the ‘five sheaths’ that seem to cover and obscure what one actually is, namely the physical body, life, mind, intellect and will]; whereas texts are outside them. Therefore, investigating in texts [in order to know] oneself, whom it is necessary to investigate [by turning one’s attention within and thereby] setting aside [excluding, removing, giving up or separating from] all the pañca-kōśas, is useless. [By] investigating who is oneself who is in bondage, knowing one’s yathārtha svarūpa [actual own nature] alone is mukti [liberation]. The name ‘ātma-vicāra’ [refers] only to [the practice of] always keeping the mind in [or on] ātmā [oneself]; whereas dhyāna [meditation] is imagining oneself to be sat-cit-ānanda brahman [the absolute reality, which is being-consciousness-bliss]. At one time it will become necessary to forget all that one has learnt.16

Paragraph Seventeen

குப்பையைக் கூட்டித் தள்ளவேண்டிய ஒருவன் அதை யாராய்வதா லெப்படிப் பயனில்லையோ அப்படியே தன்னை யறியவேண்டிய ஒருவன் தன்னை மறைத்துகொண்டிருக்கும் தத்துவங்க ளனைத்தையும் சேர்த்துத் தள்ளிவிடாமல் அவை இத்தனையென்று கணக்கிடுவதாலும், அவற்றின் குணங்களை ஆராய்வதாலும் பயனில்லை. பிரபஞ்சத்தை ஒரு சொப்பனத்தைப்போ லெண்ணிக்கொள்ள வேண்டும்.

kuppaiyai-k kūṭṭi-t taḷḷa-vēṇḍiya oruvaṉ adai y-ārāyvadāl eppaḍi-p payaṉ-illai-y-ō appaḍi-y-ē taṉṉai y-aṟiya-vēṇḍiya oruvaṉ taṉṉai maṟaittu-koṇḍirukkum tattuvaṅgaḷ aṉaittaiyum sērttu-t taḷḷi-viḍāmal avai ittaṉai-y-eṉḏṟu kaṇakkiḍuvadāl-um, avaṯṟiṉ guṇaṅgaḷai ārāyvadāl-um payaṉ-illai. pirapañcattai oru soppaṉattai-p-pōl eṇṇi-k-koḷḷa vēṇḍum.

Just as one who needs to gather [or sweep] up and throw away rubbish [would derive] no benefit by examining [investigating or analysing] it, so one who needs to know oneself [will derive] no benefit by, instead of collectively rejecting all the tattvas, which are concealing oneself, calculating that they are this many and examining their qualities. It is necessary to consider the world [which is believed to be an expansion or manifestation of such tattvas] like a dream.17

Paragraph Eighteen

ஜாக்ரம் தீர்க்கம், சொப்பனம் க்ஷணிக மென்பது தவிர வேறு பேதமில்லை. ஜாக்ரத்தில் நடக்கும் விவகாரங்க ளெல்லாம் எவ்வளவு உண்மையாகத் தோன்றுகின்றனவோ அவ்வளவு உண்மையாகவே சொப்பனத்தில் நடக்கும் விவகாரங்களும் அக்காலத்திற் றோன்றுகின்றன. சொப்பனத்தில் மனம் வேறொரு தேகத்தை யெடுத்துக்கொள்ளுகிறது. ஜாக்ரம் சொப்பன மிரண்டிலும் நினைவுகளும் நாமரூபங்களும் ஏககாலத்தில் நிகழ்கின்றன.

jāgram dīrgham, soppaṉam kṣaṇikam eṉbadu tavira vēṟu bhēdam-illai. jāgrattil naḍakkum vivahāraṅgaḷ ellām e-vv-aḷavu uṇmai-y-āha-t tōṉḏṟugiṉḏṟaṉa-v-ō a-vv-aḷavu uṇmai-y-āha-v-ē soppaṉattil naḍakkum vivahāraṅgaḷ-um a-k-kālattil tōṉḏṟugiṉḏṟaṉa. soppaṉattil maṉam vēṟoru dēhattai y-eḍuttu-k-koḷḷugiṟadu. jāgram soppaṉam iraṇḍil-um niṉaivugaḷ-um nāma-rūpaṅgaḷ-um ēka-kālattil nihaṙgiṉḏṟaṉa.

Besides the saying that waking is dīrgha [long lasting] and dream is kṣaṇika [momentary or lasting for only a short while], there is no other difference [between them]. To what extent all the vyavahāras [activities, affairs, transactions or events] that happen in waking seem to be real, to that extent even the vyavahāras that happen in dream seem at that time to be real. In dream the mind takes another body [to be itself]. In both waking and dream thoughts and names-and-forms [the phenomena that constitute the seemingly external world] occur in one time [or simultaneously].18

Paragraph Nineteen

நல்ல மன மென்றும் கெட்ட மன மென்று மிரண்டு மனங்களில்லை. மன மொன்றே. வாசனைகளே சுப மென்றும் அசுப மென்று மிரண்டுவிதம். மனம் சுபவாசனை வயத்தாய் நிற்கும்போது நல்ல மன மென்றும், அசுபவாசனை வயத்தாய் நிற்கும்போது கெட்டமன மென்றும் சொல்லப்படும். பிறர் எவ்வளவு கெட்டவர்களாய்த் தோன்றினும் அவர்களை வெறுத்தலாகாது. விருப்பு வெறுப்புக ளிரண்டும் வெறுக்கத் தக்கன. பிரபஞ்ச விஷயங்களி லதிகமாய் மனத்தை விடக் கூடாது. சாத்தியமானவரையில், அன்னியர் காரியத்திற் பிரவேசிக்கக் கூடாது. பிறருக் கொருவன் கொடுப்ப தெல்லாம் தனக்கே கொடுத்துக்கொள்ளுகிறான். இவ் வுண்மையை யறிந்தால் எவன்தான் கொடா தொழிவான்?

nalla maṉam eṉḏṟum keṭṭa maṉam eṉḏṟum iraṇḍu maṉaṅgaḷ illai. maṉam oṉḏṟē. vāsaṉaigaḷē śubham eṉḏṟum aśubham eṉḏṟum iraṇḍu vidam. maṉam śubha-vāsaṉai vayattāy niṟgum-bōdu nalla maṉam eṉḏṟum, aśubha-vāsaṉai vayattāy niṟgum-bōdu keṭṭa maṉam eṉḏṟum solla-p-paḍum. piṟar e-vv-aḷavu keṭṭavargaḷāy-t tōṉḏṟiṉum avargaḷai veṟuttal āhādu. viruppu-veṟuppugaḷ iraṇḍum veṟukka-t takkaṉa. pirapañca viṣayaṅgaḷil adhikam-āy maṉattai viḍa-k kūḍādu. sāddhiyamāṉa-varaiyil, aṉṉiyar kāriyattil piravēśikka-k kūḍādu. piṟarukku oruvaṉ koḍuppadu ellām taṉakkē koḍuttu-k-koḷḷugiṟāṉ. i-vv-uṇmaiyai y-aṟindāl evaṉ-dāṉ koḍādu oṙivāṉ?

There are not two minds, namely a good mind and a bad mind. Mind is only one. Only vāsanās [inclinations, propensities, impulses or desires] are of two kinds, namely śubha [agreeable, virtuous or good] and aśubha [disagreeable, wicked, harmful or bad]. When mind is under the sway of śubha vāsanās it is said to be a good mind, and when it is under the sway of aśubha vāsanās a bad mind. However bad other people may appear to be, disliking them is not proper [or appropriate]. Likes and dislikes are both fit [for one] to dislike [spurn or renounce]. It is not appropriate to let [one’s] mind [dwell] excessively on worldly matters. To the extent possible, it is not appropriate to intrude in others’ affairs. All that one gives to others one is giving only to oneself. If one knew this truth, who indeed would remain without giving?19

Paragraph Twenty

தானெழுந்தால் சகலமு மெழும்; தானடங்கினால் சகலமு மடங்கும். எவ்வளவுக்கெவ்வளவு தாழ்ந்து நடக்கிறோமோ அவ்வளவுக்கவ்வளவு நன்மையுண்டு. மனத்தை யடக்கிக்கொண் டிருந்தால், எங்கே யிருந்தாலு மிருக்கலாம்.

tāṉ eṙundāl sakalam-um eṙum; tāṉ aḍaṅgiṉāl sakalam-um aḍaṅgum. evvaḷavukkevvaḷavu tāṙndu naḍakkiṟōmō avvaḷavukkavvaḷavu naṉmai-y-uṇḍu. maṉattai y-aḍakki-k-koṇḍirundāl, eṅgē y-irundālum irukkalām.

If oneself rises [or appears] [as ego or mind], everything rises [or appears]; if oneself subsides [disappears or ceases], everything subsides [disappears or ceases]. To whatever extent sinking low [subsiding or being humble] we behave [or conduct ourself], to that extent there is goodness [benefit or virtue]. If one is [continuously] restraining [curbing or subduing] mind, wherever one may be one can be [or let one be].20

Notes

  1. The meaning of paragraph one is discussed in chapter 1 and chapter 2 of Happiness and the Art of Being (1st edition pp. 91 and 157-58; 2nd edition pp. 68-9 and 120).
  2. The meaning of paragraph two is discussed in chapter 2 of Happiness and the Art of Being (1st edition pp. 156-60; 2nd edition pp. 119-22).
  3. The meaning of paragraph three is discussed in chapter 3 of Happiness and the Art of Being (1st edition pp. 200-2; 2nd edition pp. 152-3).
  4. The meaning of paragraph four is discussed in chapter 3 and chapter 6 of Happiness and the Art of Being (1st edition pp. 202-5 and 371; 2nd edition pp. 153-6 and 282).
  5. The meaning of paragraph five is discussed in chapter 2 of Happiness and the Art of Being (1st edition pp. 213-26; 2nd edition pp. 161-71).
  6. The meaning of paragraph six is discussed in chapter 3, chapter 9 and chapter 10 of Happiness and the Art of Being (1st edition pp. 182-200, 216, 218, 444-5, 451-3, 505, 506-8 and 512; 2nd edition pp. 138-52, 164, 165, 337-8, 343-4, 385, 386-7 and 390).
  7. The meaning of paragraph seven is discussed in chapter 3 and chapter 4 of Happiness and the Art of Being (1st edition pp. 201-2 and 274; 2nd edition pp. 152-3 and 208-9).
  8. The meaning of paragraph eight is discussed in chapter 10 of Happiness and the Art of Being (1st edition pp. 491-4 and 496-8; 2nd edition pp. 374-7 and 379).
  9. The meaning of paragraph nine is discussed in chapter 10 of Happiness and the Art of Being (1st edition pp. 493-502; 2nd edition pp. 376-82).
  10. The meaning of paragraph ten is discussed in chapter 10 of Happiness and the Art of Being (1st edition pp. 510-5, 526 and 554-5; 2nd edition pp. 389-92, 401 and 422).
  11. The meaning of paragraph eleven is discussed in chapter 2, chapter 3 and chapter 10 of Happiness and the Art of Being (1st edition pp. 155-6, 222, 510 and 514-30; 2nd edition pp. 118-9, 168, 389 and 391-404).
  12. The meaning of paragraph twelve is discussed in chapter 9 of Happiness and the Art of Being (1st edition pp. 473-7; 2nd edition pp. 359-62).
  13. The meaning of paragraph thirteen is discussed in the introduction, chapter 3, chapter 9 and chapter 10 of Happiness and the Art of Being (1st edition pp. 24-6, 223-4, 460-1, 465-8, 471-2, 512-3 and 526; 2nd edition pp. 18-20, 169-70, 350, 354-6, 358-9, 390-1 and 401).
  14. The meaning of paragraph fourteen is discussed in chapter 1 and chapter 3 of Happiness and the Art of Being (1st edition pp. 92-4 and 203; 2nd edition pp. 69-71 and 154).
  15. The meaning of paragraph fifteen is discussed in chapter 4 of Happiness and the Art of Being (1st edition pp. 281-4; 2nd edition pp. 214-6).
  16. The meaning of paragraph sixteen is discussed in chapter 9 and chapter 10 of Happiness and the Art of Being (1st edition pp. 439-40, 526-7 and 533-54; 2nd edition pp. 334-5, 401 and 406-22).
  17. The meaning of paragraph seventeen is discussed chapter 2 of Happiness and the Art of Being (1st edition pp. 160-3; 2nd edition pp. 122-3).
  18. The meaning of paragraph eighteen is discussed in chapter 2 of Happiness and the Art of Being (1st edition pp. 129-36; 2nd edition pp. 99-104).
  19. The meaning of paragraph nineteen is discussed in chapter 10 of Happiness and the Art of Being (1st edition pp. 588-609; 2nd edition pp. 448-63).
  20. The meaning of paragraph twenty is discussed in chapter 10 of Happiness and the Art of Being (1st edition pp. 588 and 609-10; 2nd edition pp. 448 and 463-4).

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Nāṉ Yār? (Who am I?) – introduction and translation by Michael James

Spanish translation of Nāṉ Yār?

This English translation of Nāṉ Yār? has been translated into Spanish by Pedro Rodea, and a PDF copy of his translation is available here: Nāṉ Yār? (¿Quién soy yo?) – Spanish PDF. It is also included in his Spanish version of Śrī Ramaṇōpadēśa Nūṉmālai, which is available both as a printed book from Śrī Ramaṇōpadēśa Nūṉmālai in Spanish and as a PDF here: Śrī Ramaṇōpadēśa Nūṉmālai – Spanish PDF.

Italian translation of Nāṉ Yār?

This English translation of Nāṉ Yār? has been translated into Italian by Carlo Barbera, and a PDF copy of his translation is available here: Nāṉ Yār? (Chi sono io?) – Italian PDF. It is also available on Carlo’s blog: Nāṉ Yār? – Chi sono io?.