- The genesis of Upadēśa Undiyār
- Upadēśa Sāram: translations in Telugu, Sanskrit and Malayalam
- The practices discussed in Upadēśa Undiyār and Upadēśa Sāram
- The undiyār style of song
- Interpretation of Tamil verses
- Prefatory and introductory verses
The genesis of Upadēśa Undiyār
Upadēśa Undiyār (உபதேச வுந்தியார்), which was composed by Sri Ramana in 1927 at the request of Sri Muruganar, is one of the most important and useful texts that he wrote, but to understand its contents in a correct perspective it is necessary to know the context in which he wrote it.
In 1923, when he first came to Sri Ramana, Sri Muruganar began to compose the songs that would later become Śrī Ramaṇa Sannidhimuṟai, a collection of more than 1,850 verses that he sang in praise of Sri Ramana. Many of these songs were modelled on the style and bhāva (devotional attitude and feeling) of the songs of Tiruvācakam, a much-loved Tamil text composed in the ninth century by Manikkavacakar in praise of Lord Siva. One such song was Tiruvundiyār, in which Manikkavacakar had written about various traditional stories that recounts the līlās (playful deeds) of Lord Siva, so when Muruganar composed a song in the same style, he wrote about the līlās of various Gods, depicting each of those Gods as a manifestation of Sri Ramana.
Sri Muruganar actually composed two Tiruvundiyār songs, the first of which consisted of 137 verses (Sannidhimuṟai verses 1277 to 1413) about the līlās of various Hindu Gods, and the second of which consisted of 7 verses (Sannidhimuṟai verses 1414 to 1420) about the līlās of Buddha and Jesus. The final story that he wrote about in the first of these two songs was the story about Lord Siva subduing the pride of the so-called ‘rishis’ (ṛṣis) who were performing karmas (ritualistic actions) in the Daruka forest, and it was in the context of this story that he asked Sri Ramana to compose the verses that summarise the teachings that Lord Siva gave to those rishis.
That is, from verses 70 to 102 of his first Tiruvundiyār song Sri Muruganar had narrated most of this story, but he then came to the point where Lord Siva teaches the rishis about the means by which they should try to attain spiritual liberation, so he asked Sri Ramana to compose the verses summarising the teachings that Lord Siva gave them. Sri Ramana accordingly composed the thirty verses of Upadēśa Undiyār, which became verses 103 to 132 of Sri Muruganar’s first Tiruvundiyār song (verses 1379 to 1408 of Śrī Ramaṇa Sannidhimuṟai). While composing these thirty verses, which he did in one sitting, Sri Ramana discussed in detail with Sri Muruganar all the ideas which were to be presented one after another in a carefully arranged sequence, and in the course of these discussions the original drafts of verses 16, 28 and 30 were composed by Sri Muruganar and were then revised by Sri Ramana. Such was the close collaboration in which they worked together.
To conclude both this story of the rishis in the Daruka forest and the first of his Tiruvundiyār songs, Sri Muruganar then wrote five more verses, 133 to 137. In order to present Upadēśa Undiyār in context, Sri Ramana selected six verses from the preliminary part of the story (verses 70-71 and 99-102) to form its upōḏghātam (introduction), and he kept the final five verses (133 to 137) as its vāṙttu (felicitation). Sri Muruganar also wrote a separate verse as its pāyiram (prefatory verse). A translations of all these additional verses is given in the Prefatory and introductory verses and Felicitation sections below, and a translation of the main thirty verses along with detailed explanations is given on a separate page:
Upadēśa Sāram: translations in Telugu, Sanskrit and Malayalam
Subsequently, in response to requests from devotees who did not know Tamil, Sri Ramana composed translations of Upadēśa Undiyār in three other languages, first in Telugu, then in Sanskrit and finally in Malayalam, and these translations were called Upadēśa Sāram, the ‘Essence of Spiritual Instructions’. Because he composed all these three versions in verse, the constraints of the poetic metres in which he composed them meant that they are not exact translations of the Tamil original, but each corresponding verse does convey more or less the same idea.
The slight variations in the meaning of the corresponding verses in each of these other three languages does enable us to see in certain verses more shades of meaning or alternative interpretations, but generally speaking the meaning intended by Sri Ramana was expressed most clearly in his original Tamil verses. However, the Malayalam version is particularly interesting because he composed it in a four-line metre, which enabled him to elaborate upon or clarify some of the ideas he expressed in Tamil, whereas he composed the Telugu and Sanskrit versions each in a two-line metre, which meant he could not express in them some of his ideas as clearly as he had done in Tamil.
Considering the constraints imposed upon him by the metrical form in which he composed these three secondary versions, if we compare each of them with his Tamil original we can see that he did manage to turn these constraints as far as possible to our advantage, because though he was not able to express in exactly the same manner in each version the ideas that he had expressed in Tamil, in many places he nevertheless cast fresh light upon the lakṣyārtha or intended meaning of his Tamil verses by the words that he chose to use in each of these other languages.
The practices discussed in Upadēśa Undiyār and Upadēśa Sāram
Because the title Upadēśa Sāram means the ‘Essence of Spiritual Instructions’, many people assume that Sri Ramana composed it as the essence of his own teachings, whereas in fact he composed it as the essence of the teachings that Lord Siva gave to the rishis in the Daruka forest. If he had intended it to be the essence of his own teachings, he would not have mentioned most of the practices of karma, bhakti and yōga that he wrote about in the first fifteen verses, because they are far from being the essence of his teachings. However, when Sri Muruganar requested him to write the essence of Lord Siva’s teachings, it gave him a good pretext to explain that all such ancient practices must eventually lead an aspirant to the practice of self-investigation (ātma-vicāra), because it is only by investigating ourself that we can experience ourself as we really are, and it is only by experiencing ourself as we really are that we can be liberated from the bondage that results from self-ignorance — the ignorance due to which we now mistake ourself to be a finite entity consisting of body and mind.
That is, whereas the only practice that he discusses in the last fifteen verses of Upadēśa Undiyār is ātma-vicāra, in the first fifteen verses he discussed other practices in relation to ātma-vicāra, showing how each of them must lead to it. After saying in the first two verses that we cannot attain liberation or true self-knowledge by doing any karma or action, in the third verse he says that if action is done for the love of God and without any desire for its results, it will purify the mind and thereby ‘show the way to liberation’ — that it, it will enable the mind to recognise that ātma-vicāra is the only means to attain liberation. Then in verses 4 to 7 he mentions various actions that can be done by body, speech and mind for the love of God, and he grades those actions according to the degree of their efficacy in purifying the mind. In verse 8 he indicates that such practices must finally lead to ātma-vicāra by saying that rather than meditating on God as other than ‘I’, meditating on him as not other than ‘I’ is the best of all practices of bhakti (love for God).
Then in verse 9 he says that by mediating thus only on ‘I’ one will be established in one’s real being, which is the essence of supreme bhakti, thereby indicating that whereas all other practices of bhakti are actions (karmas), the practice of meditating only on ‘I’, which is ātma-vicāra, is not an action but a state of just being. That is, since our real nature is pure self-awareness — awareness of nothing other than ‘I’ — focusing our attention only on ‘I’ is not an action but an action-free state of just being as we really are. We cannot attain liberation or true self-knowledge by doing any karma or action, because what we really are is just action-free being, so we can experience ourself as we really are only by just being aware of nothing other than ‘I’, thereby refraining from engaging in any kind of action whatsoever. Therefore in verse 10 he says that subsiding and being thus in the source from which we had risen as an ego or mind is itself the correct practise of all kinds of spiritual practices: karma, bhakti, yōga and jñāna.
Except meditating only on ‘I’ with the firm conviction that God is nothing other than ‘I’, all practices of bhakti are karmas, because they entail attending to something other than ‘I’, which means that instead of remaining motionless in its source, ourself, our attention is moving away from ourself towards something else. Likewise, most of the practices of yōga are karmas, because they entail attending to the breath of to something else other than ‘I’, so in verses 11 to 14 Sri Ramana indicates that all yōga practices must finally lead to ātma-vicāra.
In verse 11 and 12 he explains why the mind subsides when the breath is restrained, and in verse 13 he says that subsidence of mind is of two kinds, laya (any temporary abeyance of mind such as sleep or a yōgic state of samādhi) and nāśa (complete and permanent annihilation of the mind). In this context the implication of verse 13 is that the subsidence of mind that can result from breath-restraint (prāṇāyāma) is only laya and not nāśa, as he explicitly states in the final sentence of the eighth paragraph of Nāṉ Yār? (Who am I?):
[…] ஆகையால் பிராணாயாமம் மனத்தை யடக்க சகாயமாகுமே யன்றி மனோநாசஞ் செய்யாது.
[…] āhaiyāl pirāṇāyāmam maṉattai y-aḍakka sahāyam-āhum-ē y-aṉḏṟi maṉōnāśam seyyādu.
[…] Therefore prāṇāyāma is just an aid to restrain the mind, but will not bring about manōnāśa [annihilation of the mind].
Therefore in verse 14 he teaches that in order to destroy the mind, which subsides only temporarily in laya when we restrain our breathing, we must send it on ஓர் வழி (ōr vaṙi), which means ‘the path of investigation’ or ‘the one path’. This one path of investigation is the path of self-investigation (ātma-vicāra), because as he often emphasised, this is the only means by which we can experience ourself as we really are and thereby destroy our mind, which is the cause of our bondage to finitude. Finally he concludes his discussion of yōga by emphasising once again in verse 15 that the state of manōnāśa (annihilation of the mind) is devoid of action (karma), because it is our natural state of just being.
Therefore, though Sri Ramana does discuss various practices of karma, bhakti and yōga in these first fifteen verses, we should not take this to mean that he was recommending or endorsing such practices, because he mentioned each of them only to show that none of them except ātma-vicāra is an adequate means to attain liberation. All practices other than ātma-vicāra entail attending to something other than ‘I’, so they are all actions (karmas) of various types, and as he emphasised in verse 2, no action can give liberation. If done with love for God, action can purify our mind and thereby lead us to the path of ātma-vicāra, which is the only means by which we can attain liberation directly, but what purifies the mind in such circumstances is not the action itself but only the love with which it is done.
The reason why guru, who is our own essential self, appears outwardly in human form is only to teach us that in order to attain liberation we must turn our attention inwards — that is, towards ‘I’ alone — and thereby experience ourself as we really are. Therefore, when guru has appeared in our life as Sri Ramana and taught us this simple truth, we need not practise anything else, because the only benefit of any other practice is that it can gradually purify our mind and thereby enable us to understand that the only means to liberation is ātma-vicāra.
Once we have understood this from Sri Ramana’s teachings, there is no need for us to practise any other means to purify our mind, because whatever further purification our mind may need will be achieved far more effectively and efficiently by the simple practice of ātma-vicāra, as is clearly indicated by the gradation that he specifies among the practices he mentions in verses 4 to 8. Indeed, in the Sanskrit version of verse 8 he specifically says that mediating on God as ‘I’ is more purifying than meditating upon him as something that is different to ‘I’, and in the Malayalam version of verse 9 he specifically says that remaining firmly in one’s real being by meditating only on ‘I’ is much more purifying than bhāvanā-bhakti (any type of devotional practice that entails bhāvanā: imagination of thought).
The undiyār style of song
Though each verse in an undiyār song is generally written or printed in three lines, the metre in which they are composed technically consists of two lines, with four feet in the first line and six in the second. However, for ease of printing and perhaps also for aesthetic purposes, the second line is usually split into two lines, with the second half of it indented to indicate that it is actually a continuation of the same metrical line.
The word that occupies the third and sixth feet of each second line in this style of song is always உந்தீபற (undīpaṟa), whence the name உந்தியார் (undiyār). உந்தீபற (undīpaṟa) is a compound of two words, உந்தி (undi) — with its final vowel lengthened for poetic purposes — and பற (paṟa). In this context உந்தி (undi) could be interpreted to be a noun meaning ‘companion’, the name of an ancient game (which probably involved jumping or dancing to the accompaniment of an undiyār song) or a participle form of the verb உந்து (undu), which means to push, thrust, fling or cast away, and பற (paṟa) means to fly or to move quickly. Therefore undīpaṟa could literally mean ‘fling and fly’, ‘O companion, fly’ or ‘play undi’. However, in the context of Upadēśa Undiyār the repetition of undīpaṟa twice in each verse has no particular meaning and is therefore not translated here, but it does lend a joyful tone to the teachings that Sri Ramana gave us in this song.
Interpretation of Tamil verses
For euphonic purposes, in a Tamil sentence the final letter or syllable of one word is often fused with the initial letter of the following word according to strict rules of coalescence, which is called संधि (saṁdhi) in Sanskrit and சந்தி (sandhi) or புணர்ச்சி (puṇarcci) in Tamil. In modern prose these rules are either observed or ignored in a rather arbitrary manner, but in poetry they are usually strictly observed.
To facilitate rhythmic recitation, each metrical foot in a Tamil verse is customarily written or printed as a separate undivided unit, so the first task that is required in order to methodically decipher the meaning of a Tamil verse is to separate the words in it, since each word is liable to be divided between two (or even more) metrical feet and may sometimes be divided between two lines. This separation of the words in a verse is called பதச்சேதம் (padacchēdam), which is a term of Sanskrit origin that literally means ‘word-division’ or ‘word-separation’ (pada-chēda).
Though there was formerly no punctuation in Tamil, in modern times it has become customary to use English-style punctuation in Tamil prose, whereas in poetry punctuation is generally not used except for the full-stop that is usually printed at the end of each verse (except in some songs in which the meaning of each verse is completed by the refrain, as is the case in the song Āṉma-Viddai composed by Sri Ramana), and except for a dash that is used in some metres for metrical and not punctuation purposes. Therefore even if a verse contains more than one sentence, the division between sentences is not indicated by any punctuation, so nowadays a padacchēdam will usually include punctuation to facilitate understanding.
The order of words in a Tamil verse is often not the natural order in which they would occur in a sentence of Tamil prose. For example, the basic order of words in a Tamil prose sentence is subject-object-verb (unlike in English, in which it is subject-verb-object), and a relative clause in Tamil prose will always come immediately before the noun that it qualifies (unlike in English, in which it would always come after that noun), but such rules of syntax need not be followed in Tamil poetry. Therefore if the order of words in a verse is not the natural prose order, the second task that is required to decipher its meaning clearly and unambiguously is to rearrange the words in the padacchēdam into their natural prose order. This syntactic rearrangement of words is called அன்வயம் (anvayam), which is a Sanskrit term that means ‘following’, ‘succession’, ‘association’, ‘logical connection’, ‘syntactic order’ or ‘construal’.
To show how the meaning of each verse is deciphered in this way, in the Prefatory and introductory verses and Felicitation sections below and in the translation of the main text in the separate Upadēśa Undiyār page I have given the padacchēdam for each verse in both Tamil and Latin script, and wherever the padacchēdam is not in natural prose order I have also given an anvayam. Therefore whenever no anvayam has been given for a verse, it is because the anvayam would be the same as the padacchēdam.
Because Tamil syntax is very different to English syntax, the order of clauses or words in an English sentence is rarely the same as their order in Tamil and sometimes more typically may be almost the reverse of it, so in some cases the order of words in an English translation of a verse may happen arbitrarily to be closer to the order of words in its padacchēdam than to their order in its anvayam. Therefore, though a well arranged anvayam is often a great aid in translating a verse accurately into English, in some cases it may appear that the anvayam is no more useful than the padacchēdam from the perspective of making a good English translation.
Prefatory and introductory verses
பாயிரம் (pāyiram): Prefatory verse
கன்மமய றீர்ந்துகதி காண நெறிமுறையின்
மன்மமுல குய்ய வழங்குகெனச் — சொன்முருகற்
கெந்தைரம ணன்றொகுத் தீந்தா னுபதேச
வுந்தியார் ஞானவிளக் கோர்.
kaṉmamaya ṯīrndugati kāṇa neṟimuṟaiyiṉ
maṉmamula huyya vaṙaṅguheṉac — coṉmurugaṟ
kendairam ṇaṉṯohut tīndā ṉupadēśa
vundiyār jñānaviḷak kōr.
பதச்சேதம்: ‘கன்ம மயல் தீர்ந்து கதி காண நெறி முறையின் மன்மம் உலகு உய்ய வழங்குக’ என சொல் முருகற்கு எந்தை ரமணன் தொகுத்து ஈந்தான் உபதேச வுந்தியார் ஞான விளக்கு ஓர்.
Padacchēdam (word-separation): ‘kaṉma-mayal tīrndu gati kāṇa neṟi muṟaiyiṉ maṉmam ulahu uyya vaṙaṅguha’ eṉa sol murugaṟku endai ramaṇaṉ tohuttu īndāṉ upadēśa-v-undiyār jñāna viḷakku ōr.
அன்வயம்: ‘உலகு கன்ம மயல் தீர்ந்து உய்ய, கதி காண நெறி முறையின் மன்மம் வழங்குக’ என சொல் முருகற்கு எந்தை ரமணன் தொகுத்து ஈந்தான் ஞான விளக்கு உபதேச வுந்தியார் ஓர்.
Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): ‘ulahu kaṉma-mayal tīrndu uyya, gati kāṇa neṟi muṟaiyiṉ maṉmam vaṙaṅguha’ eṉa sol murugaṟku endai ramṇaṉ tohuttu īndāṉ jñāna viḷakku upadēśa-v-undiyār ōr.
English translation: Know that Upadēśa Undiyār is a light of jñāna [true knowledge] that our father Ramana composed and gave to Muruganar, who said, ‘For [the people of] the world to give up the delusion of karma [action] and be saved [from self-ignorance], tell [us] the secret of the muṟai [orderly process, practice, method or nature] of the path [or means] to experience liberation’.
Comment: This verse is not a part of Tiruvundiyār, but was composed by Sri Muruganar separately as a prefatory verse to Upadēśa Undiyār.
The opening words of this verse, ‘kaṉma-mayal tīrndu gati kāṇa neṟi-muṟaiyiṉ maṉmam ulahu uyya vaṙaṅguha’, which mean ‘For the world to give up the delusion [confusion, madness or desire] of karma and be saved, tell [us] the secret of the practice of the path [or means] to experience liberation’, clearly encapsulate both the purpose and the benefit of this text, in which Sri Ramana teaches us that not doing any action (karma) but just being in sat-bhāva, our natural state of thought-free and therefore action-free self-conscious being, is the only means by which we can experience the infinite happiness of liberation or true self-knowledge and thereby escape from our present kaṉma-mayal or ‘delusion of action’ — our delusion that we are the doer of actions and that we can experience true happiness thereby.
உபோற்காதம் (upōḏghātam): Introductory verses
- தாரு வனத்திற் றவஞ்செய் திருந்தவர்
பூருவ கன்மத்தா லுந்தீபற
போக்கறை போயின ருந்தீபற.
dāru vaṉattiṯ ṟavañcey dirundavar
pūruva kaṉmattā lundīpaṟa
pōkkaṟai pōyiṉa rundīpaṟa.
பதச்சேதம்: தாரு வனத்தில் தவம் செய்து இருந்தவர் பூருவ கன்மத்தால் போக்கு அறை போயினர்.
Padacchēdam (word-separation): dāru vaṉattil tavam seydu irundavar pūruva kaṉmattāl pōkku aṟai pōyiṉar.
English translation: Those who were doing tavam [austerities or tapas] in the Daruka forest were going to ruin by [following the path of] pūrva-karma. (Tiruvundiyār 1.70)
Comment: The term pūrva-karma here refers to the ritualistic path of kāmya-karmas, actions done for the fulfilment of selfish desires, which is the path prescribed by the pūrva mīmāṁsā, a traditional school of thought that interpretes the Vēdas in its own way, emphasizing only the karma kāṇḍa (the ‘action section’), the earlier portions of the Vēdas (particularly the brāhmaṇas, the middle portion, which contain rules for interpreting the meaning of the mantras, the earliest portion, and for employing those mantras in the sacrificial rituals that they prescribe). The pūrva mīmāṁsā elevates action or karma to a level of such paramount importance that, as explained in the next verse, it even goes so far as to deny that there is any God except karma — that is, except the actions which are performed by an individual. This doctrine that there is no God except karma is emphatically repudiated by Sri Ramana in the first verse of Upadēśa Undiyār.
- கன்மத்தை யன்றிக் கடவு ளிலையெனும்
வன்மத்த ராயின ருந்தீபற
வஞ்சச் செருக்கினா லுந்தீபற.
kaṉmattai yaṉḏṟik kaḍavu ḷilaiyeṉum
vaṉmatta rāyiṉa rundīpaṟa
vañjac cerukkiṉā lundīpaṟa.
பதச்சேதம்: கன்மத்தை அன்றி கடவுள் இலை எனும் வல் மத்தர் ஆயினர் வஞ்ச செருக்கினால்.
Padacchēdam (word-separation): kaṉmattai aṉḏṟi kaḍavuḷ ilai eṉum val mattar āyiṉar vañja serukkiṉāl.
அன்வயம்: கன்மத்தை அன்றி கடவுள் இலை எனும் வஞ்ச செருக்கினால் வல் மத்தர் ஆயினர்.
Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): kaṉmattai aṉḏṟi kaḍavuḷ ilai eṉum vañja serukkiṉālval mattar āyiṉar.
English translation: Because of the deceptive pride [of believing] that there is no God except karma [their own ritualistic actions], they became excessively intoxicated [with self-conceit]. (Tiruvundiyār 1.71)
Summary of the story narrated in verses 72 to 98 of Tiruvundiyār 1: Therefore in order to bring these deluded ascetics to the path of liberation (mōkṣa), Lord Siva compassionately assumed the form of a mendicant and entered the Daruka forest accompanied by Lord Vishnu, who had assumed the form of a beautiful enchantress (mōhini). As soon as the ascetics saw the enchantress, they were overwhelmed with lust, which is so powerful that it can overthrow even the most dispassionate people, no matter how much austerity (tapas) they have practised, so long as they have not attained the true knowledge of reality. Hence, forgetting their nitya-karmānuṣṭhānas (daily ritual practices), the ascetics began to follow the enchantress, but she soon eluded them and disappeared. In the meanwhile, seeing the divine lustre of the mendicant, who was Lord Siva himself, the wives of the ascetics forgot themselves and began to follow him. Having come to know of this, the ascetics were enraged and started to perform an abhicāra-yāga (a sacrificial ritual intended to cause harm to others), from which arose a wild tiger, an elephant, a fire, a trident and other such weapons, which they set upon the mendicant in order to kill him. However the mendicant killed the wild animals, wore their skins as clothing and held the other weapons such as the trident and fire in his hands. Seeing that even the weapons that arose from that yāga, which they believed to be an extremely powerful karma, were thus rendered useless in front of the mendicant, the ascetics recognised him to be God.
- கன்ம பலந்தருங் கர்த்தற் பழித்துச்செய்
கன்ம பலங்கண்டா ருந்தீபற
கர்வ மகன்றன ருந்தீபற.
kaṉma phalandaruṅ karttaṟ paṙittuccey
kaṉma phalaṅkaṇḍā rundīpaṟa
garva mahaṉḏṟaṉa rundīpaṟa.
பதச்சேதம்: கன்ம பலம் தரும் கர்த்தன் பழித்து செய் கன்ம பலம் கண்டார்; கர்வம் அகன்றனர்.
Padacchēdam (word-separation): kaṉma-phalam tarum karttaṉ paṙittu sey kaṉma-phalam kaṇḍār; garvam ahaṉḏṟaṉar.
English translation: They saw the fruit of actions done spurning [disregarding or disparaging] God [the kartā or ordainer], who gives karma-phala [the fruit of actions], [and hence] they lost garva [their pride or arrogance]. (Tiruvundiyār 1.99)
Comment: As explained by Sri Ramana in the first verse of Upadēśa Undiyār, an action cannot bear fruit or give the desired result unless and until that fruit is ordained by God.
- காத்தரு ளென்று கரையக் கருணைக்கண்
சேர்த்தருள் செய்தன னுந்தீபற
சிவனுப தேசமி துந்தீபற.
kāttaru ḷeṉḏṟu karaiyak karuṇaikkaṇ
sērttaruḷ seydaṉa ṉundīpaṟa
śivaṉupa dēśami dundīpaṟa.
பதச்சேதம்: காத்து அருள் என்று கரைய, கருணை கண் சேர்த்து அருள் செய்தனன் சிவன் உபதேசம் இது.
அன்வயம்: காத்து அருள் என்று கரைய, கருணை கண் சேர்த்து சிவன் உபதேசம் இது அருள் செய்தனன்.
Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): kāttu-aruḷ eṉḏṟu karaiya, karuṇai-kaṇ sērttu śivaṉ upadēśam idu aruḷ-seydaṉaṉ.
Padacchēdam (word-separation): kāttu-aruḷ eṉḏṟu karaiya, karuṇai-kaṇ sērttu aruḷ-seydaṉaṉ śivaṉ upadēśam idu.
English translation: When they wept [repentantly], ‘Graciously protect [or save us]’, bestowing [upon them] the glance of his grace, Śiva graciously gave this upadēśa [spiritual teaching]. (Tiruvundiyār 1.100)
Comment: As indicated in this verse, the teachings (upadēśa) that Sri Ramana wrote in Upadēśa Undiyār were intended to be a summary of the teachings that Lord Siva gave to the deluded ascetics after vanquishing their pride.
- உட்கொண் டொழுக வுபதேச சாரத்தை
யுட்கொண் டெழுஞ்சுக முந்தீபற
வுட்டுன் பொழிந்திடு முந்தீபற.
uṭkoṇ ḍoṙuha vupadēśa sārattai
yuṭkoṇ ḍeṙuñsukha mundīpaṟa
vuṭṭuṉ boṙindiḍu mundīpaṟa.
பதச்சேதம்: உள் கொண்டு ஒழுக உபதேச சாரத்தை, உள் கொண்டு எழும் சுகம்; உள் துன்பு ஒழிந்திடும்.
Padacchēdam (word-separation): uḷ koṇḍu oṙuha upadēśa sārattai, uḷ koṇḍu eṙum sukham; uḷ tuṉbu oṙindiḍum.
அன்வயம்: உபதேச சாரத்தை உள் கொண்டு ஒழுக, சுகம் உள் கொண்டு எழும்; உள் துன்பு ஒழிந்திடும்.
Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): upadēśa sārattai uḷ koṇḍu oṙuha, sukham uḷ koṇḍu eṙum; uḷ tuṉbu oṙindiḍum.
English translation: When [we] imbibe and follow [this] upadēśa sāram [the essence or summary of the spiritual teachings given by Lord Siva], bliss will rise from within [and thereby] the miseries within will be destroyed. (Tiruvundiyār 1.101)
- சார வுபதேச சாரமுட் சாரவே
சேரக் களிசேர வுந்தீபற
தீரத் துயர்தீர வுந்தீபற.
sāra vupadēśa sāramuṭ cāravē
sērak kaḷisēra vundīpaṟa
tīrat tuyartīra vundīpaṟa.
பதச்சேதம்: சார உபதேச சாரம் உள் சாரவே. சேர களி சேர. தீர துயர் தீர.
Padacchēdam (word-separation): sāra upadēśa sāram uḷ sāravē. sēra kaḷi sēra. tīra tuyar tīra.
அன்வயம்: உபதேச சாரம் சார உள் சாரவே. களி சேர சேர. துயர் தீர தீர.
Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): upadēśa sāram sāra uḷ sāravē. kaḷi sēra sēra. tuyar tīra tīra.
English translation: May the sāra [essence, substance or import] of Upadēśa Sāram enter within [our heart]. May joy be attained completely. May suffering cease entirely. (Tiruvundiyār 1.102)
Explanatory survey of Upadēśa Undiyār
In the thirty verses of Upadēśa Undiyār (verses 103 to 132 of Tiruvundiyār 1, and verses 1379 to 1408 of Śrī Ramaṇa Sannidhimuṟai) Sri Ramana teaches us in a concise but extremely clear manner the exact means by which we can attain our natural state of true self-knowledge and thereby be liberated from the illusory bondage of karma or action, which appears to exist so long as we mistake ourself to be this mind and body, the instruments that do action.
He begins by saying in verse 1 that since action is jaḍa (non-conscious), it does not give fruit by itself but only in accordance with the ordainment of God, and then in verse 2 he teaches us that no action can give liberation, since every action leaves a ‘seed’ or vāsanā — a propensity or impulse to do such an action again — and thereby immerses and drowns us in the vast ocean of action.
However, though no action can be a direct means to liberation, in verse 3 he says that if we do action without any desire for its fruit but motivated only by love for God, it will purify our mind and thereby enable us to recognise the correct path to liberation. Thus he teaches us that the practice of niṣkāmya karma or ‘desireless action’ is not a separate yōga or spiritual path but is only a preliminary stage of the path of bhakti or ‘devotion’, because if we practise any form of niṣkāmya karma, what will purify our mind is not the karma itself, but only the love and desirelessness with which we do it.
Then in verses 4 to 7 he discusses the various kinds of niṣkāmya karma — actions that we can do by body, speech or mind without desire but only for the love of God — and he grades them according to their efficacy in purifying our mind. Actions that we do by mind are more purifying than those that we do by speech, and those that we do by speech are more purifying than those that we do by body. Thus the most effective action that we can do with love for God to purify our mind is dhyāna or meditation, and in verse 7 he says that uninterrupted meditation is more effective than intermittent meditation (that is, meditation that is interrupted by other thoughts).
However, so long as we meditate upon God as something other than ourself, our meditation is only a mental activity — a karma — because it involves a movement of our attention away from ourself towards the thought of God, which is other than ourself. Therefore in verse 8 he teaches us rather than anya-bhāva (meditation upon God as other than ourself), ananya-bhāva (meditation upon him as none other than ourself) is the best of all forms of meditation.
That is, meditation upon God as ‘I’, our own essential self, will purify our mind more effectively than meditation upon any other thing. Since such ananya-bhāva or self-meditation does not involve any movement of our attention away from ourself, it is not an action or karma, but is our true state of ‘just being’ — our natural state of clear thought-free self-conscious being, in which we do not rise as a mind (a separate object-knowing consciousness) to think of or experience anything other than ourself.
Since God is truly nothing other than our own essential self — our true self-conscious being, ‘I am’ — in verse 9 Sri Ramana says that being in our sat-bhāva (our ‘true being’ or ‘state of being’), which transcends bhāvanā (imagination, thinking or meditation as a mental activity), by the strength of our ananya-bhāva or self-meditation, is para-bhakti tattva — the essence, reality or true state of supreme devotion. In other words, though the path of bhakti or devotion begins with the practice of niṣkāmya karma (acts of love done without desire but as an expression of our love for God alone), it finally culminates in the thought-free and therefore action-free state of true being, which alone is the real form of God.
Sri Ramana then concludes this first series of verses by saying in verse 10 that subsiding and abiding thus in God, who is our true self and the source from which we have risen as this seemingly separate conscious entity that we call ‘mind’ or ‘ego’, is the true practice and goal not only of [niṣkāmya] karma and bhakti, but also of yōga (the path of rāja yōga, which consists of breath-restraint and various other exercises aimed at restraining and subduing the mind) and jñāna (the path of ‘knowledge’ or self-investigation, which is the direct means by which we can know ourself as we really are).
In verses 11 to 15 he explains the essence of rāja yōga, with particular reference to the practice of prāṇāyāma or ‘breath-restraint’. In verses 11 and 12 he explains that restraining the breath is a means to restrain the mind, because like two branches of a single tree, breath and mind share a common root or activating power, so when one subsides, the other will also subside. However, in verse 13 he points out that subsidence of mind is of two types, laya or abeyance, which is temporary, and nāśa or destruction, which is permanent.
He begins verse 14 with the words ஒடுக்க வளியை ஒடுங்கும் உளத்தை (oḍukka vaḷiyai oḍuṅgum uḷattai), which mean ‘mind, which subsides when [we] restrain [our] breath’, implying that the mind will subside only temporarily (that is, not in nāśa but only in laya) when the breath is restrained. He then says that when we send our mind on ஓர் வழி (ōr vaṙi), its form will cease, die or be destroyed (that is, it will subside not just in laya but in nāśa).
The word ஓர் (ōr) is both the root of a verb that means ‘investigate’, ‘examine’, ‘scrutinise’, ‘consider attentively’ or ‘know’, and a form of ஒரு (oru), which means ‘one’ or ‘unique’, so ஓர் வழி (ōr vaṙi) can mean either ஓரும் வழி (ōrum vaṙi), the ‘path of investigating’ or ‘path of knowing’ (that is, the path of investigating and knowing our essential self) , or ஒரு வழி (oru vaṙi), the ‘one path’ or ‘unique path’.
Thus, just as he teaches us in verse 8 that the paths of niṣkāmya karma and bhakti must lead to and eventually merge in the path of jñāna, which is the simple practice of ātma-vicāra or self-investigation, so he teaches us in verse 14 that the path of yōga must likewise lead to and eventually merge in the path of jñāna. In verse 8 he describes this practice of ātma-vicāra as ananya-bhāva, ‘meditation upon that which is not other [than ourself]’, and in verse 14 he describes it as ōr vaṙi, the ‘one path’ or ‘path of investigating and knowing [ourself]’.
As Sri Ramana often said, though various paths may help to purify our mind and thereby lead us close to the citadel of true self-knowledge, in order to actually enter that citadel we must pass through the only gateway, which is the practice of ātma-vicāra or self-investigation, because we cannot experience ourself as we really are unless we keenly scrutinise ourself with an intense love to discover who am I.
In verse 15 he concludes this series of verses about the path of yōga by saying that for the great ātma-yōgi, whose mind has thereby been destroyed and who is thus established permanently as the reality, no action exists to do. That is, like the actions that constitute the path of niṣkāmya karma and the initial stages of the path of bhakti, the actions that constitute the initial stages of the path of yōga must eventually lead us to the practice of ātma-vicāra, which alone will destroy our mind and thereby establish us in our natural state of action-free being.
Since our mind is the root cause of all karma or action, when it subsides all actions will subside along with it, and when it ceases to exist all actions will cease forever. Like our mind, which causes it to appear, action or ‘doing’ is an unnatural and unreal adjunct that we have superimposed upon our real nature, which is simple non-dual self-conscious being, ‘I am’. Therefore when our mind is dissolved and destroyed by the clear light of pure thought-free self-awareness — which we can uncover and expose only by means of the practice of ātma-vicāra or vigilant self-attentiveness — all karma or action will be dissolved and destroyed along with it.
Having thus exposed the unreality of karma and its inability to give true self-knowledge in the first fifteen verses, in the next fifteen verses Sri Ramana discusses in greater detail the action-free path of jñāna — which is ātma-vicāra, the simple non-dual practice of just being keenly and vigilantly self-attentive — and our natural state of being, which we can experience only by means of such self-attentiveness.
In verse 16 he gives us a clear and practical definition of true knowledge, saying that it is the non-dual knowledge that we will experience when our mind ceases to experience any வெளி விடயங்கள் (veḷi viḍayaṅgaḷ) — external viṣayas (objects or experiences), that is, anything other than ourself — and instead experiences only its own essential ஒளி உரு (oḷi uru) or ‘form of light’, that is, its true form of pure awareness, ‘I am’.
In verse 17 he asserts the unreality of our mind and teaches us the direct means by which we can experience its non-existence and the reality that underlies its false appearance, saying that when we scrutinise its form (that is, its oḷi uru or ‘form of light’) without forgetting — that is, without pramāda or self-negligence — we will discover that there is no such thing as mind at all. This is for everyone, he says, the நேர் மார்க்கம் (nēr mārggam) — the straight, direct, correct and proper path or means to experience true self-knowledge.
Whereas the oḷi uru or ‘form of light’ that he refers to explicitly in verse 16 and implicitly in verse 17 is the ultimate essence of the mind, in verse 18 he analyses the mind as we experience it in order to explain what its more immediate essence is, namely the thought called ‘I’, which is the ego. That is, he says that thoughts alone constitute the mind, and that of all thoughts the thought called ‘I’ is the மூலம் (mūlam), the root, base, foundation, origin or source, so what the mind essentially is is just this root thought called ‘I’, the ego.
That is, that which thinks all other thoughts is itself a thought — our primal thought called ‘I’. Whereas all other thoughts are non-conscious objects, which do not experience or know anything, this root thought ‘I’ is the conscious subject that thinks and experiences them. Since this thinking thought ‘I’ is the source and foundation of all other thoughts, and since it is therefore the only essential element of our mind — the only element that endures so long as our mind is active — what we call ‘mind’ is in essence just this first thought called ‘I’.
As he often explained, this primal thought called ‘I’ is not just our pure ‘I’, which is devoid of any adjuncts, but is a confused mixture of our pure ‘I’ and extraneous adjuncts such as our body, which we now mistake to be ‘I’. Our pure adjunct-free ‘I’ is the mind’s oḷi uru or ‘form of light’, which is its ultimate essence, because it is the only real element in it. However, when this real and essential element, ‘I’, which is not a thought, is mixed and confused with adjuncts, which are thoughts, it seems to be a thought, and hence Sri Ramana describes it as the thought called ‘I’.
Therefore superficially the ‘mind’s form’ (மனத்தின் உரு: maṉattiṉ uru) that he refers to in verse 17 could be taken to mean this primal thought called ‘I’, but more precisely and deeply it means our pure ‘I’, which is both the mind’s oḷi uru or ‘form of light’ and the only real and essential element in the ego or thought called ‘I’. Sri Ramana sometimes used to explain the practice of self-investigation (ātma-vicāra) as investigating or scrutinising the ego (which is another name for the thought called ‘I’), but he often clarified that when we investigate the ego what we should examine, scrutinise or attend to is only the essential ‘I’ in it and not any of its inessential adjuncts, so in effect scrutinising the ego or primal thought called ‘I’ is the same as scrutinising our pure ‘I’ or ‘form of light’, which is our real self.
Therefore the practice of மனத்தின் உருவை மறவாது உசாவுதல் (maṉattiṉ uruvai maṟavādu usāvudal) or ‘investigating the form of the mind without forgetting [that is, without pramāda, negligence, inadvertence, carelessness or slackness in our self-attentiveness]’ that he prescribes in verse 17 is the effort that we must make to vigilantly scrutinise the mind’s oḷi uru or ‘form of light’, which is the essential element ‘I’ in our ego or primal thought called ‘I’, which is in turn the essential form of our mind. This effort to investigate or scrutinise only ‘I’ is the true practice of ātma-vicāra or ‘self-investigation’, which he calls jñāna-vicāra or ‘knowledge-investigation’ in the next verse.
In verse 19 he explains both the practice and the result of ஞான விசாரம் (jñāna-vicāram) — ‘knowledge-investigation’ or scrutiny of our primal knowledge, ‘I am’ — saying that when we scrutinise within ourself what the source from which our mind rises as ‘I’ is, this false ‘I’ will die. The source from which our mind rises as ‘I’ is only our pure ‘I’, which is what we really are, so when we focus our entire attention only on it, we will experience ourself in complete isolation from all adjuncts, and thus we will experience ourself as we really are, thereby destroying the illusion that we are this mind that rises as the ego or primal thought called ‘I’.
In verse 20 he says that in the ‘place’ (the centre or the innermost core of ourself) where this false ‘I’ thus merges, the one reality will certainly ‘shine forth’ (that is, will be experienced) spontaneously as ‘I am I’, and that that, which is our real self, is itself the pūrṇa or whole (the infinite totality or fullness of sat-cit-ānanda — being, consciousness and happiness).
In verse 21 he says that this infinite reality that we will thus experience as ‘I am I’ is always the true import of the word ‘I’, because in sleep, even though our finite ‘I’ (our mind or ego) has ceased to exist, we ourself do not cease to exist. That is, since we exist even in the absence of our mind in sleep, and since we cannot actually be anything in whose absence we continue to exist, our real self (the true import of the word ‘I’) must be that which we are at all times and in all states. That is only our essential consciousness of being, ‘I am’, which exists permanently — in waking, dream and dreamless sleep — and which we will experience clearly only when we scrutinise our mind (our root thought called ‘I’) and discover that it truly does not exist as such, because its sole reality is this essential self-awareness, ‘I am’, which underlies and supports its illusory appearance (just as a rope is the sole reality that underlies and supports the illusory appearance of an imaginary snake seen lying on the ground in the dim light of dusk).
In verse 22 he says that since our ‘five sheaths’ — our body, life, mind and intellect, and the seeming ‘darkness’ or absence of knowledge that we experience in sleep — are all jaḍa (non-conscious) and asat (non-existent or unreal), they are not our real ‘I’, which is cit (what is conscious) and sat (being, existence, reality or what actually is).
In verse 23 he continues to discuss the subject of consciousness (cit) and being (sat), which are the nature of our real ‘I’, and affirms that they are not two separate things but are actually one absolutely non-dual reality. That is, he says that since there is no conscious thing other than what is to know what is, what is (being or sat) itself is what is conscious (consciousness or cit), and what is conscious alone is ‘we’ (our true self or essential being, ‘I am’).
In verses 24 to 26 he discusses the true nature of God, in what way we are related to him and how we can experience him as he really is. In verse 24 he says that in their true nature, which is being, God and souls are only one substance, essence or reality, and that what makes them appear to be different is only the souls’ awareness of adjuncts. That is, because we imagine certain inessential adjuncts, such as our body and mind, to be our real self, we experience ourself as being separate from God, who is actually none other than our essential being or true self, ‘I am’.
Therefore in verse 25 Sri Ramana teaches us that if we set aside all our adjuncts and experience ourself as we really are, that itself is knowing God, because God exists and shines as ‘I am’, our own essential self.
In verse 26 he clarifies what he means in verse 25 by the words ‘knowing [or experiencing] ourself’, saying that since self is absolutely non-dual, ‘knowing self’ is not a dualistic state of objective knowing, but is merely the state of ‘being self’. That is, since our real self is eternally self-aware, to know ourself as we really are we need not do anything, but simply need to be as we really are — that is, clearly aware of nothing other than ourself, our own essential being, ‘I am’.
Since knowing self is only being self, and since God is nothing other than self, Sri Ramana concludes this series of three verses by ending verse 26 with the words தன்மய நிட்டை ஈது (taṉmaya niṭṭhai idu), which mean ‘this [state of knowing and being our real self] is tanmaya-niṣṭhā [the state of being firmly established as tat, ‘it’ or ‘that’, the one absolute reality called God or brahman]’. That is, since God is our own real self, knowing and being self is knowing and being God. In other words, we can experience God as he really is only being as he really is, and we can be as he really is only by ceasing to be this mind or ego, the false finite consciousness that thinks and knows things that seem to be other than itself.
In verse 27 he further emphasises the absolutely non-dual and therefore ‘otherless’ nature of true self-knowledge, saying that the knowledge which is completely devoid of both knowledge and ignorance is alone true knowledge, and that this true self-knowledge is the sole reality, because nothing (other than ourself) actually exists for us to know. The knowledge that he refers to when he talks here of knowledge and ignorance as a pair of opposites is any kind of temporary or relative knowledge, because such knowledge comes into existence from a former state of ignorance and will sooner or later subside back into that ignorance. In other words, it is knowledge of anything other than ourself, ‘I am’, because any such knowledge was preceded by ignorance of that thing, and will merge back into the same ignorance as soon as it is forgotten or disappears from our awareness. Being temporary and dependent on certain conditions, such knowledge cannot be real knowledge. The only real knowledge is ‘I am’, because we can never experience a state in which we do not know ‘I am’, and hence ‘I am’ is the only permanent knowledge we experience. Since whatever is not permanent is not real but just an appearance, he says that other than ourself, ‘I am’, there is nothing real for us to know.
In verse 28 he emphasises the infinite and eternal nature of true self-knowledge, and also the fact that our real self is not only infinite being and infinite consciousness but also infinite happiness, saying that if we know ourself by scrutinising what the real nature of ourself is (who am I), then we will discover ourself to be beginningless, endless and unbroken sat-cit-ānanda (being-consciousness-bliss).
That is, since self-knowledge is our true nature, it has no beginning or end, either in time, space or any other dimension, and it has no break, interruption or division. Any dimension such as time or space, or any beginning, end or break in such a dimension, is only an imaginary fabrication created by our mind and therefore exists only in the distorted view of our mind, so when we know ourself as we really are and thereby discover this mind to be truly non-existent, we will know that no dimension or any beginning, end or break has ever actually existed. What we really are is eternal, infinite, indivisible and immutable.
Therefore, since the state of true self-knowledge (which is also called the state of ‘liberation’, since it is liberation from self-ignorance and from all the problems caused by self-ignorance) has no beginning, end or break, no state of self-ignorance (or ‘bondage’) has ever truly existed. Our present so-called ‘bondage’ of self-ignorance and the so-called ‘liberation’ from that ‘bondage’ that we seek to attain by knowing ourself as we really are, are both mere thoughts or ideas, which appear to be real only in the distorted perspective of our mind.
Liberation would be real only if the bondage from which we wish to be liberated were real, and bondage would be real only if the mind that is bound were real, but since this mind is an unreal fabrication (as indicated in verse 17), its present bondage and future liberation are both equally unreal. Therefore in verse 29 Sri Ramana teaches us that the supreme happiness of true self-knowledge transcends the false duality of ‘bondage’ and ‘liberation’, saying that abiding permanently in this state of true self-knowledge as para-sukha (supreme or transcendent happiness), which is devoid of both bondage and liberation, is abiding as God has commanded (or abiding in the service of God).
Finally Sri Muruganar concludes this poem by saying in verse 30 that Sri Ramana, who is our real self, has taught us that our natural state (of thought-free non-dual self-conscious being, ‘I am I’), which is what we will experience if we know that which remains after ‘I’ (our mind of ego) has ceased to exist, alone is true tapas (austerity, asceticism or self-denial).
Thus Upadēśa Undiyār (or Upadēśa Sāram, the ‘Essence of [all] Spiritual Instructions’, as it is called in Telugu, Sanskrit and Malayalam) is a clear, precise and complete exposition of the means by which we can experience our natural state of pristine, thought-free and absolutely egoless self-conscious being.
வாழ்த்து (vāṙttu): Felicitation
The following are the final five verses of Sri Muruganar’s Tiruvundiyār 1, and they were appended by Sri Ramana to the main text of Upadēśa Undiyār as concluding verses.
- இருடிக ளெல்லா மிறைவ னடியை
வருடி வணங்கின ருந்தீபற
வாழ்த்து முழங்கின ருந்தீபற.
iruḍiga ḷellā miṟaiva ṉaḍiyai
varuḍi vaṇaṅgiṉa rundīpaṟa
vāṙttu muṙaṅgiṉa rundīpaṟa.
பதச்சேதம்: இருடிகள் எல்லாம் இறைவன் அடியை வருடி வணங்கினர்; வாழ்த்து முழங்கினர்.
Padacchēdam (word-separation): iruḍigaḷ ellām iṟaivaṉ aḍiyai varuḍi vaṇaṅgiṉar; vāṙttu muṙaṅgiṉar.
English translation: Touching the feet of God [Lord Siva], all the ṛṣis [the ‘rishis’ or ascetics in the Daruka forest] paid obeisance [and] sang praise [to him]. (Tiruvundiyār 1.133)
- உற்றார்க் குறுதி யுபதேச வுந்தியார்
சொற்ற குருபர னுந்தீபற
சுமங்கள வேங்கட னுந்தீபற.
uṯṟārk kuṟudi yupadēśa vundiyār
soṯṟa gurupara ṉundīpaṟa
sumaṅgaḷa vēṅkaṭa ṉundīpaṟa.
பதச்சேதம்: உற்றார்க்கு உறுதி உபதேச வுந்தியார் சொற்ற குருபரன் சுமங்கள வேங்கடன்.
Padacchēdam (word-separation): uṯṟārkku uṟudi upadēśa-v-undiyār soṯṟa guru-paraṉ sumaṅgaḷa vēṅkaṭaṉ.
English translation: The supreme guru who sang Upadēśa Undiyār [as] an assurance to devotees [who came to him for salvation] is the auspicious Venkatan [Sri Ramana]. (Tiruvundiyār 1.134)
- பல்லாண்டு பல்லாண்டு பற்பன்னூ றாயிரம்
பல்லாண்டு பல்லாண்டு முந்தீபற
பார்மிசை வாழ்கவே யுந்தீபற.
pallāṇḍu pallāṇḍu paṯpaṉṉū ṟāyiram
pallāṇḍu pallāṇḍu mundīpaṟa
pārmisai vāṙgavē yundīpaṟa.
பதச்சேதம்: பல் ஆண்டு, பல் ஆண்டு, பல் பல் நூறு ஆயிரம் பல் ஆண்டு, பல் ஆண்டும் பார்மிசை வாழ்கவே.
Padacchēdam (word-separation): pal āṇḍu, pal āṇḍu, pal pal nūṟu āyiram pal āṇḍu, pal āṇḍum pār-misai vāṙga-v-ē.
English translation: May he [Sri Ramana] shine gloriously on earth for many years, many years, many years, many hundreds of thousands of years. (Tiruvundiyār 1.135)
- இசையெடுப் போருஞ் செவிமடுப் போரும்
வசையறத் தேர்வோரு முந்தீபற
வாழி பலவூழி யுந்தீபற.
isaiyeḍup pōruñ cevimaḍup pōrum
vasaiyaṟat tērvōru mundīpaṟa
vāṙi palavūṙi yundīpaṟa.
பதச்சேதம்: இசை எடுப்போரும், செவிமடுப்போரும், வசை அற தேர்வோரும் வாழி பல ஊழி.
Padacchēdam (word-separation): isai eḍuppōr-um, sevimaḍuppōr-um, vasai aṟa tērvōr-um vāṙi pala ūṙi.
அன்வயம்: இசை எடுப்போரும், செவிமடுப்போரும், வசை அற தேர்வோரும் பல ஊழி வாழி.
Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): isai eḍuppōr-um, sevimaḍuppōr-um ,vasai aṟa tērvōr-um pala ūṙi vāṙi.
English translation: May those who sing, those who hear and those who flawlessly understand [this Upadēśa Undiyār] shine gloriously for many aeons. (Tiruvundiyār 1.136)
- கற்கு மவர்களுங் கற்றுணர்ந் தாங்குத்தா
நிற்கு மவர்களு முந்தீபற
நீடூழி வாழியே யுந்தீபற.
kaṯku mavargaḷuṅ kaṯṟuṇarn dāṅguttā
niṯku mavargaḷu mundīpaṟa
nīḍūṙi vāṙiyē yundīpaṟa.
பதச்சேதம்: கற்கும் அவர்களும் கற்று உணர்ந்து ஆங்கு தான் நிற்கும் அவர்களும் நீடு ஊழி வாழியே.
Padacchēdam (word-separation): kaṯkum avargaḷ-um kaṯṟu uṇarndu āṅgu tāṉ niṯkum avargaḷ-um nīḍu ūṙi vāṙi-y-ē.
English translation: May those who learn [this Upadēśa Undiyār] and those who, having learnt and understood it, abide accordingly [as self] shine gloriously for long aeons. (Tiruvundiyār 1.137)
Translations by Sri Sadhu Om and Michael James
The earliest published translation of Upadēśa Undiyār by Sri Sadhu Om and me was a small book called Upadesa Undiyar of Bhagavan Sri Ramana, which was first published in 1986 and reprinted in 2004. Copies of this printed book are available from Sri Arunachalaramana Book Trust and from Sri Ramanasramam Book Stall, and a PDF copy of it is posted by David Godman on his website along with a brief introductory page.
A later translation by me with a more detailed commentary was published by Sri Ramanasramam in 2011 as the first part of a book called Upadesa Saram: The Complete Version in Four Languages Composed by Sri Bhagavan, which is available from Sri Ramanasramam Book Stall.
The translation and explanations given by me on the following page include some of the explanations I wrote in Upadesa Saram: The Complete Version in Four Languages Composed by Sri Bhagavan, but in a revised form and with many other more detailed explanations added: