Thursday, 24 March 2022

Upadēśa Sāraḥ: Sanskrit text, transliteration and translation (with the original Tamil text)

उपदेश सारः (Upadēśa Sāraḥ), ‘The Essence of Spiritual Teachings’, is Bhagavan’s Sanskrit translation or adaptation of one of the poetic texts that he originally wrote in Tamil, namely உபதேச வுந்தியார் (Upadēśa-v-Undiyār). Like all his original writings, both these versions of this poem are extremely deep and rich in meaning and implication, so in order to understand them clearly and correctly we need to do careful śravaṇa (hearing, reading or studying attentively), manana (considering and thinking deeply about what is meant and implied) and nididhyāsana (deep contemplation on that towards which all these teachings are ultimately pointing, namely our own real nature, which is sat-cit, our fundamental awareness of our own existence, ‘I am’).

For us to understand the full meaning and implication of this Sanskrit poem, the original Tamil text is an invaluable guide, so in this article before each Sanskrit verse I will give the Tamil verse from which Bhagavan translated and adapted it.

    Introduction
    உபதேச வுந்தியார் (Upadēśa-v-Undiyār) and उपदेश सारः (Upadēśa Sāraḥ): The Essence of Spiritual Teachings
  1. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 1
    Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 1: karma is insentient, so it gives fruit only as ordained by God
  2. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 2
    Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 2: karma is caused by vāsanās, so it does not give liberation
  3. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 3
    Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 3: action done for God purifies the mind, so it is an indirect means for liberation
  4. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 4
    Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 4: actions of body, speech and mind are progressively more purifying
  5. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 5
    Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 5: worshipping anything considering it to be God is worship of God
  6. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 6
    Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 6: doing japa mentally is more purifying than otherwise
  7. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 7
    Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 7: meditating uninterruptedly is more purifying than otherwise
  8. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 8
    Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 8: meditation on nothing other than oneself is most purifying of all
  9. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 9
    Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 9: being in one’s real state of being by self-attentiveness is supreme devotion
  10. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 10
    Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 10: being in one’s source is karma, bhakti, yōga and jñāna
  11. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 11
    Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 11: when breath is restrained mind will subside
  12. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 12
    Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 12: the root of mind and breath is one
  13. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 13
    Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 13: dissolution of mind is of two kinds, laya and nāśa
  14. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 14
    Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 14: only by self-investigation will the mind die
  15. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 15
    Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 15: when the mind is dead, there is no action but only one’s real nature
  16. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 16
    Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 16: seeing nothing but awareness is seeing what is real
  17. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 17
    Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 17: when one keenly investigates it, there is no mind
  18. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 18
    Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 18: mind is essentially just the ego, the root of all other thoughts
  19. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 19
    Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 19: when one investigates from where the ego rises, it will die
  20. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 20
    Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 20: when ego is annihated, the infinite whole will shine forth as ‘I am I’
  21. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 21
    Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 21: that infinite whole is always the true import of the word ‘I’
  22. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 22
    Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 22: the five sheaths are jaḍa and asat, so they are not ‘I’
  23. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 23
    Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 23: what exists is awareness, which is what we are
  24. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 24
    Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 24: God and soul are just one substance, but only their adjuncts differ
  25. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 25
    Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 25: seeing oneself without adjuncts is seeing God, because he is oneself
  26. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 26
    Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 26: being oneself alone is seeing oneself, because oneself is not two
  27. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 27
    Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 27: there is nothing to know, so real awareness is devoid of knowledge and ignorance
  28. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 28
    Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 28: one’s real nature is imperishable unborn full awareness-happiness
  29. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 29
    Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 29: the divine soul experiences supreme happiness beyond bondage and liberation
  30. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 30
    Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 30: one’s shining devoid of ‘I’ is great tapas
Introduction

We cannot adequately understand the teachings (upadēśa) given in this poem, particularly in the first fifteen verses, without knowing the context in which it was written, so in the article containing my translation of the complete Tamil text I have written a detailed introduction explaining the context in which he wrote this poem, and hence I suggest that this should be read along with this article.

Before giving my translation of this Sanskrit text I should admit that my knowledge and understanding of Sanskrit is fairly limited, but I believe my translation is nevertheless reasonably accurate, and I am confident that my interpretation of these verses is correct because of my understanding of the meaning and implications of the original Tamil verses. However, if any reader who understands Sanskrit better than I do has any suggestions about how I could improve my translation, or if you think that in any places I have not adequately understood the Sanskrit grammar or syntax, please let me know, so that I can make any improvements that may be necessary or appropriate.

I have a fairly broad knowledge of Sanskrit vocabulary, and understanding the meaning of any unfamiliar words is relatively easy for me with the help of several good Sanskrit dictionaries, but my weakness lies in my very limited understanding of Sanskrit grammar and syntax. To illustrate the level of my knowledge of Sanskrit grammar I can give some examples of what I have learnt while translating this text. I already knew that in the case of comparisons the fifth case (which is more or less equivalent to the ablative case, the basic meaning of which corresponds to the English preposition ‘from’) is used in the sense of ‘than’, but what I learnt about it while translating this text is that, since an effect originates from its cause, the fifth case is also used to convey a causal relationship, so in such cases it can be translated as ‘by’, ‘because of’ or ‘as a result of’. I also learnt that the suffix -तः (-taḥ) is used in the same sense as the fifth case, so depending on the context in which it is used, it can mean ‘from’, ‘than’, ‘by’, ‘because of’ or ‘as a result of’.

Another example of what I learnt is that, just as in English we sometimes use the preposition ‘on’ along with a participle to mean ‘when’, as for example in ‘On coming to know this, I realised my mistake’, in Sanskrit the seventh case (the locative case, the basic meaning of which corresponds to ‘in’, ‘on’ or ‘at’) is used with verbal nouns to mean ‘when’. For example, darśana means ‘seeing’, so its seventh case form darśanē means ‘on seeing’ or ‘when one sees’.

For anyone who is familiar with Sanskrit grammar, these examples of what I learnt will seem very basic and obvious, but I mention them here to show how limited my understanding is, and why I would therefore be grateful to anyone who reads my translation critically and points out to me any places where I seem to have not understood the grammar or syntax fully or precisely enough.

However, to translate or interpret a text like this correctly, what is required is not just a good understanding of the language, but more importantly a deep understanding of the subject matter. In this respect, I am confident that my translation of Upadēśa Sāraḥ is more correct and true to the meaning intended by Bhagavan than most other English translations that are available. While making this translation I referred to several other translations, and in all of them I found places where the meaning had been misinterpreted.
The cause for our falling in the vast ocean of action is our viṣaya-vāsanās
For example, in a book called Talks on Upadesa Saram (Essence of the Teachings) of Ramana Maharshi published in 1987 by Sri Gangadhareswar Trust, Rishikesh, which contains a transcription of recorded talks given by Swami Dayananda on Upadēśa Sāraḥ, he has seriously misinterpreted the meaning of several verses, obviously not because of any deficiency in his understanding of Sanskrit but because of a lack of deep, clear and practical understanding of Bhagavan’s teachings, which explain in a simple, clear, fresh, radical, deep and refined manner the practical implications of the essential teachings of the entire vēdānta.

The first example of how he failed to understand the meaning intended by Bhagavan can be found in his translation of verse 2, in the first line of which Bhagavan says ‘कृति महा उदधौ पतन कारणम्’ (kṛti mahā udadhau patana kāraṇam), ‘The cause of falling in the vast ocean of action’. In this Sanskrit verse, however, he does not specify what that cause is, leaving it to each reader to rely on their own understanding to infer what it is. Dayananda interprets the implication of this first line as ‘(Action) is the cause for (one to) fall in the vast ocean of (further) action’, which is like saying that water is the cause for one to fall in the ocean of water. Without action we could not fall in the ocean of action, because there would be no such ocean to fall in, but this does not mean that action is the cause for falling in it. When Bhagavan devotes half of this verse to mentioning the cause for us being immersed in action, he must have implied something deeper than ‘action is the cause of action’, so what is the cause he was referring to?

Since he says in the next sentence ‘फलम् अशाश्वतम्’ (phalam aśāśvatam), ‘Fruit is impermanent’, meaning that the fruit or moral consequence of any action is impermanent, because when it is experienced it thereby ceases to exist, just as a mango ceases to exist when it is eaten, some translators have interpreted the first sentence as meaning that the fruit of action (karma-phala) is the cause for us to fall in the ocean of action. For example, in a book called The Maharshi’s Way: A Translation and a Commentary on Upadesa Saram by D. M. Sastri this verse is translated as: ‘The fruits of action are not everlasting and they cause one to fall into the great ocean of karma, blocking spiritual progress’. However, this cannot be a correct interpretation, because in this context ‘fruit’ obviously means the effect of doing action, not its cause. Action cannot be caused by its own effect.

Since ‘fruit’ (phala) is a metaphor for the effect of action, a suitable metaphor for its cause would be ‘seed’, so in the Tamil original of this verse Bhagavan says ‘வினையின் விளைவு விளிவு உற்று வித்தாய் வினை கடல் வீழ்த்திடும்’ (viṉaiyiṉ viḷaivu viḷivu uṯṟu vittāy viṉai-kaḍal vīṙttiḍum), ‘The fruit of action perishing, as seed causes to fall in the ocean of action’. What he refers to here as ‘வித்து’ (vittu), ‘seed’, is viṣaya-vāsanās (inclinations to seek happiness or satisfaction in experiencing viṣayas, objects or phenomena) and their concomitant karma-vāsanās (inclinations to do whatever actions of mind, speech or body we believe will enable us to experience whatever viṣayas we are inclined to experience), as he makes clear in his Malayalam version of this verse, in which he wrote ‘vāsanākāra vittāy’, which means ‘as seed in the form of vāsanā’. Since vāsanās are volitional inclinations, they are the seeds that sprout as likes, dislikes, desires, fears and so on, so the implication is that it is our own will that causes us to be immersed doing action (karma).

That is, whenever we allow ourself to be swayed by any viṣaya-vāsanās, under their sway we direct our attention away from ourself towards viṣayas, and such movements of our attention away from ourself are thoughts or mental activities, which in turn give rise to actions of speech and body. Whatever actions we do by mind, speech or body under the sway of our viṣaya-vāsanās are what is called āgāmya, and such actions bear fruit, which are stored in sañcita, from which God or guru selects which fruit will be most beneficial for us to experience as prārabdha (destiny or fate) in each life. Therefore our own viṣaya-vāsanās are the seeds that cause us to fall in the vast ocean of action.
To see what is real, the mind must see its own real nature, which is pure awareness
A far more serious error (or to be more precise, a set of several serious errors) committed by Swami Dayananda is in his interpretation of verse 16: ‘दृश्य वारितम्, चित्तम् आत्मनः चित्त्व दर्शनम् तत्त्व दर्शनम्’ (dṛśya vāritam, cittam ātmanaḥ cittva darśanam tattva darśanam). The correct meaning of this is ‘Kept back from dṛśya [what is seen, perceived or known as an object], the mind seeing its own cittva [its real nature as pure awareness, ‘I am’] is tattva-darśana [seeing what is real]’, as is clear from the original Tamil verse: ‘வெளி விடயங்களை விட்டு மனம் தன் ஒளி உரு ஓர்தலே உண்மை உணர்ச்சி ஆம்’ (veḷi viḍayaṅgaḷai viṭṭu maṉam taṉ oḷi-uru ōrdalē uṇmai uṇarcci ām), ‘Leaving external phenomena, the mind knowing its own form of light [its fundamental awareness, ‘I am’] is alone real awareness [or awareness of what is real]’.

The syntax and meaning of the Tamil verse is simple and extremely clear. விட்டு (viṭṭu) is an adverbial participle that means ‘leaving’ or ‘letting go of’, so ‘வெளி விடயங்களை விட்டு’ (veḷi viḍayaṅgaḷai viṭṭu) is an adverbial clause that means ‘leaving [or letting go of] external viṣayas [objects or phenomena]’, and the main clause is ‘மனம் தன் ஒளி உரு ஓர்தலே உண்மை உணர்ச்சி ஆம்’ (maṉam taṉ oḷi-uru ōrdalē uṇmai uṇarcci ām), ‘the mind knowing its own form of light is alone real awareness’. In this main clause, the subject is ‘மனம் தன் ஒளி உரு ஓர்தலே’ (maṉam taṉ oḷi-uru ōrdalē), ‘the mind knowing its own form of light alone’, and the predicate is ‘உண்மை உணர்ச்சி ஆம்’ (uṇmai uṇarcci ām), ‘is real awareness’.

Likewise in the Sanskrit version ‘दृश्य वारितम्’ (dṛśya vāritam) is an adverbial clause that means ‘kept back from dṛśya [what is seen, perceived or known as an object]’, which implies the same as ‘வெளி விடயங்களை விட்டு’ (veḷi viḍayaṅgaḷai viṭṭu), ‘leaving [or letting go of] external viṣayas [objects or phenomena]’, and the main clause is ‘चित्तम् आत्मनः चित्त्व दर्शनम् तत्त्व दर्शनम्’ (cittam ātmanaḥ cittva darśanam tattva darśanam), ‘the mind seeing its own cittva [knowingness or awareness] is tattva-darśana [seeing what is real]’. In this main clause, the subject is ‘चित्तम् आत्मनः चित्त्व दर्शनम्’ (cittam ātmanaḥ cittva darśanam), ‘the mind seeing its own cittva’, which implies the same as ‘மனம் தன் ஒளி உரு ஓர்தல்’ (maṉam taṉ oḷi-uru ōrdal), ‘the mind knowing its own form of light’, and the predicate is ‘तत्त्व दर्शनम्’ (tattva darśanam), ‘seeing what is real’, which implies the same as ‘உண்மை உணர்ச்சி’ (uṇmai uṇarcci), ‘real awareness’ or ‘awareness of what is real’.

This is why I said that the correct meaning of the Sanskrit version of this verse, ‘दृश्य वारितम्, चित्तम् आत्मनः चित्त्व दर्शनम् तत्त्व दर्शनम्’ (dṛśya vāritam, cittam ātmanaḥ cittva darśanam tattva darśanam), is ‘Kept back from dṛśya [what is seen, perceived or known as an object], the mind seeing its own cittva [its real nature as pure awareness, ‘I am’] is tattva-darśana [seeing what is real]’. However, Swami Dayananda gives a significantly different interpretation of this verse, namely: ‘One’s mind withdrawn from perceptions is the appreciation of Awareness [one’s real nature] which is the appreciation of Truth’.

One relatively minor error in this interpretation, but nevertheless one that leads to other more serious errors, is that he has translated ‘चित्तम् आत्मनः’ (cittam ātmanaḥ) as ‘one’s mind’, meaning that he interpreted it as ‘आत्मनः चित्तम्’ (ātmanaḥ cittam), in which he takes आत्मनः (ātmanaḥ) to mean ‘one’s’. आत्मनः (ātmanaḥ) is both the fifth case (ablative) and sixth case (genitive) form of आत्मन् (ātman), which means oneself, myself, yourself, herself, himself or itself, and in this case it is used as the sixth case form, so in other contexts it could mean ‘one’s own’, but in this context it means ‘its own’, in which ‘it’ refers to चित्तम् (cittam), the mind, so as I explained above, ‘चित्तम् आत्मनः चित्त्व दर्शनम्’ (cittam ātmanaḥ cittva darśanam) means ‘the mind seeing its own cittva’, as is clear from the Tamil original of this phrase, ‘மனம் தன் ஒளி உரு ஓர்தல்’ (maṉam taṉ oḷi-uru ōrdal), ‘the mind knowing its own form of light’.

Bhagavan carefully chose this wording in both Tamil and Sanskrit, so it is extremely significant and deep in implication, because in this context mind means ego, which is the knowing element of the mind, being the only element of the mind that is endowed with awareness, and ego will be eradicated only when it sees or recognises itself as what it actually is, namely as pure awareness, which is what Bhagavan refers to here as ‘தன் ஒளி உரு’ (taṉ oḷi-uru), ‘its own form of light’, and as ‘आत्मनः चित्त्व’ (ātmanaḥ cittva), ‘its own cittva [knowingness or awareness]’. When the mind dissolves in sleep or any other state of manōlaya, what remains existing and shining is only pure awareness, but the mind is not thereby annihilated because it has already dissolved, albeit only temporarily, and it cannot be annihilated in its absence.

Since ego is just a false awareness of ourself, being what is always aware of itself as ‘I am this body, it can be eradicated only by being aware of itself as it actually is, namely pure awareness, which is what always shines within us as sat-cit, our fundamental awareness of our own existence, ‘I am’. Since pure awareness can never be an object, what knows pure awareness is only pure awareness, so when ego sees itself as pure awareness, it thereby ceases to be ego and remains as pure awareness, which is what it always actually is. That is, we seem to be ego or mind only so long as we look away from ourself towards anything else, but when we look only at ourself, thereby ceasing to be aware of anything else at all, we thereby remain as pure awareness. As pure awareness our nature is immutable, so it is clear that we have never been anything other than pure awareness, and hence we have never risen as ego. It is only in the view of ourself as ego that we seem to have risen as ego, but if we look at ourself carefully enough, we will see that we have never been anything other than pure awareness.

In order to see ourself as pure awareness, which means awareness that is not aware of anything other than itself, we as ego need to turn our entire attention back towards our fundamental awareness, ‘I am’, thereby withdrawing it from all other things. This turning of our entire attention back towards our fundamental awareness is what Bhagavan describes here as ‘மனம் தன் ஒளி உரு ஓர்தல்’ (maṉam taṉ oḷi-uru ōrdal), ‘the mind knowing its own form of light’, and as ‘चित्तम् आत्मनः चित्त्व दर्शनम्’ (cittam ātmanaḥ cittva darśanam), ‘the mind seeing its own cittva’, and our thereby withdrawing the mind from all other things is what he describes as ‘வெளி விடயங்களை விட்டு’ (veḷi viḍayaṅgaḷai viṭṭu), ‘leaving [or letting go of] external viṣayas [objects or phenomena]’, and as ‘दृश्य वारितम्’ (dṛśya vāritam), ‘kept back from dṛśya [what is seen, perceived or known as an object]’.

Therefore by interpreting ‘चित्तम् आत्मनः’ (cittam ātmanaḥ) to mean ‘one’s mind’ and by separating it syntactically from the other half of the same phrase, namely ‘चित्त्व दर्शनम्’ (cittva darśanam), which he translated as ‘the appreciation of Awareness’, Swami Dayananda failed completely to understand the deep and practical significance of this key phrase, ‘चित्तम् आत्मनः चित्त्व दर्शनम्’ (cittam ātmanaḥ cittva darśanam), ‘the mind seeing its own cittva’, which is the very heart of this verse. What this phrase makes clear is firstly that what needs to see cittva (pure knowingness or awareness) is the mind, because only when it sees cittva will it be annihilated, and secondly that the cittva it needs to see is its own cittva, because cittva is the fundamental awareness ‘I am’, which is the reality of mind or ego, the false adjunct-conflated awareness ‘I am this body’.

Both of these crucial points are obscured and lost in Dayananda’s faulty translation, so his translation should leave any thoughtful reader wondering who or what is to appreciate cittva, and what the relationship is between cittva and whatever is to appreciate it. Since cittva is pure awareness, it never sees anything other than itself, so cittva darśanam (seeing cittva) is its very nature. What needs to see cittva, therefore, is only ego or mind, but since cittva is not an object, ego can see cittva only by being cittva. However, ego does not become cittva, because cittva is immutable and can therefore never be the result of any becoming, so ego can be cittva only because cittva is its own real nature.

In other words, cittva is what we always actually are even when we seem to be ego, so when we see ourself as we actually are we do not become cittva but just remain as cittva, as we always actually are. This is why Bhagavan says in the Sanskrit version of this verse that the चित्त्व (cittva) the mind is to see is ‘आत्मनः चित्त्व’ (ātmanaḥ cittva), ‘its own cittva’, and in the Tamil original that the ஒளி உரு (oḷi-uru) or form of light that the mind is to know is ‘தன் ஒளி உரு’ (taṉ oḷi-uru), ‘its own form of light’.
We cannot see our own cittva merely by keeping our mind back from all dṛśya
Therefore misinterpreting and splitting up the phrase ‘चित्तम् आत्मनः चित्त्व दर्शनम्’ (cittam ātmanaḥ cittva darśanam), ‘the mind seeing its own cittva’, as Swami Dayananda did, is a very serious error, but an even more serious error is that he misinterpreted ‘दृश्य वारितम् चित्तम् आत्मनः चित्त्व दर्शनम्’ (dṛśya vāritam cittam ātmanaḥ cittva darśanam), ‘Kept back from dṛśya [what is seen], the mind seeing its own cittva’, as ‘One’s mind withdrawn from perceptions is the appreciation of Awareness [one’s real nature]’, because this implies that ‘दृश्य वारितम्’ (dṛśya vāritam), ‘kept back from dṛśya’, is itself ‘चित्त्व दर्शनम्’ (cittva darśanam), ‘seeing cittva’, one’s real nature. It is true that pure awareness (cittva) is our real nature (ātma-svarūpa), but we cannot know our real nature merely by withdrawing our mind from all objects of perception (dṛśya), as Dayananda implies in this translation of his. His interpretation of this verse is therefore quite contrary to Bhagavan’s teachings and shows that he has failed to understand the deep practical import of this verse, as I will explain in more detail below.

Bhagavan clearly expresses the central import of this verse in the main clause, ‘चित्तम् आत्मनः चित्त्व दर्शनम् तत्त्व दर्शनम्’ (cittam ātmanaḥ cittva darśanam tattva darśanam), ‘the mind seeing its own cittva [knowingness or awareness] is tattva-darśana [seeing what is real]’. Swami Dayananda translates part of this main clause, ‘चित्त्व दर्शनम् तत्त्व दर्शनम्’ (cittva darśanam tattva darśanam), ‘seeing cittva is tattva-darśana [seeing what is real]’, as ‘the appreciation of Awareness [one’s real nature] which is the appreciation of Truth’, so he acknowledges that चित्त्व दर्शनम् (cittva darśanam) is तत्त्व दर्शनम् (tattva darśanam), but he separates ‘तत्त्व दर्शनम्’ (tattva darśanam) as if it were a relative clause, and rearranging the order of the other words in this verse, he takes the main clause to be ‘आत्मनः चित्तम् दृश्य वारितम् चित्त्व दर्शनम्’ ( ātmanaḥ cittam dṛśya vāritam cittva darśanam), which he translates as ‘One’s mind withdrawn from perceptions is the appreciation of Awareness [one’s real nature]’.

As I explained above, ‘दृश्य वारितम्’ (dṛśya vāritam), ‘kept back from dṛśya’, is actually an adverbial clause, so it is not part of the main clause but an appendage. The subject of the main clause is ‘चित्तम् आत्मनः चित्त्व दर्शनम्’ (cittam ātmanaḥ cittva darśanam), ‘the mind seeing its own cittva’, so since the mind can see its own cittva (its fundamental awareness, ‘I am’) only by turning its entire attention back to face ‘I am’ alone, by seeing its own cittva it is thereby withdrawn and kept back from all dṛśya (whatever is seen, perceived or known as an object). Therefore keeping the mind back from dṛśya is certainly necessary, but it is not sufficient, because if we withdraw our mind from dṛśya without keenly attending to cittva, our fundamental awareness, ‘I am’, the mind will dissolve in laya, and as Bhagavan says in verse 13, ‘लयगतम् पुनः भवति’ (layagatam punaḥ bhavati), ‘What has gone in laya arises [or comes into being] again’.

Every day when we are too tired to continue being mentally active, we withdraw our mind from all objects of perception (dṛśya) and thereby fall asleep. Sleep is a state of laya, temporary dissolution of mind, so sooner or later the mind will rise again either in a dream or by returning to this waking state, which is also just a dream. Likewise if the mind is withdrawn from all dṛśya by means of prāṇāyāma (breath-restraint) or other yōga practices, it will dissolve in kēvala nirvikalpa samādhi, which is also just a state of laya, like sleep, so it will sooner or later rise again and wander under the sway of its viṣaya-vāsanās, as Bhagavan says in the eighth paragraph of Nāṉ Ār?:
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. […] 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. […] 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 [inclinations]. […] 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].
Therefore, though withdrawing and keeping the mind away from all dṛśya is necessary, it is not sufficient for achieving manōnāśa. It is necessary because attending exclusively to ourself entails withdrawing our attention from everything else, and we cannot achieve tattva darśanam and consequently manōnāśa except by turning our entire attention back within to face ourself alone, namely our fundamental awareness (cittva), ‘I am’, which is the mind’s ஒளி உரு (oḷi-uru) or ‘form of light’, as Bhagavan implies, for example, in verse 22 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, ‘மதிக்கு ஒளி தந்து, அம் மதிக்குள் ஒளிரும் பதியில் மதியினை உள்ளே மடக்கி பதித்திடுதல் அன்றி, பதியை மதியால் மதித்திடுதல் எங்ஙன்?’ (matikku oḷi tandu, a-m-matikkuḷ oḷirum patiyil matiyiṉai uḷḷē maḍakki padittiḍudal aṉḏṟi, patiyai matiyāl madittiḍudal eṅṅaṉ?), ‘Except by, turning [or folding] the mind back within, completely immersing it in God, who shines [as cittva or pure awareness] within that mind giving light to the mind, how to fathom God by the mind?’, and also in verse 27 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, ‘நான் உதிக்கும் தானம் அதை நாடாமல், நான் உதியா தன் இழப்பை சார்வது எவன்?’ (nāṉ udikkum thāṉam-adai nāḍāmal, nāṉ udiyā taṉ-ṉ-iṙappai sārvadu evaṉ?), ‘Without investigating the place where ‘I’ [ego] rises, how to reach the annihilation of oneself, in which ‘I’ does not [ever] rise [again]?’

‘நான் உதிக்கும் தானம்’ (nāṉ udikkum thāṉam), ‘the place where ‘I’ rises’, is our real nature (ātma-svarūpa), which is pure awareness, our fundamental awareness ‘I am’, and therefore what Bhagavan describes as the mind’s ‘ஒளி உரு’ (oḷi-uru), ‘form of light’, or ‘चित्त्व’ (cittva), ‘awareness’ or ‘knowingness’, so what he implies in this sentence of verse 27 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu is that we cannot achieve manōnāśa or ‘தன் இழப்பு’ (taṉ iṙappu), ‘annihilation of oneself’, except by investigating our own fundamental awareness (cittva), ‘I am’. Investigating this fundamental awareness ‘I am’ means turning our entire attention back towards ourself in order to see what we actually are, and seeing what we actually are is what he describes as ‘மனம் தன் ஒளி உரு ஓர்தல்’ (maṉam taṉ oḷi-uru ōrdal), ‘the mind knowing its own form of light’, and as ‘चित्तम् आत्मनः चित्त्व दर्शनम्’ (cittam ātmanaḥ cittva darśanam), ‘the mind seeing its own cittva’, so we cannot see what we actually are, namely our own ஒளி உரு’ (oḷi-uru), ‘form of light’, or ‘चित्त्व’ (cittva), ‘[fundamental] awareness’, without thereby withdrawing and keeping our mind away from all dṛśya (everything that is seen, perceived or known as an object).

Therefore it will be clear to anyone who understands Bhagavan’s teachings clearly and correctly that Swami Dayananda’s interpretation of this verse is not only incorrect but also diametrically opposed to all that he taught us about why we need not only to withdraw our attention from everything other than ourself, but to do so by focusing our entire attention on ourself alone. If we could achieve tattva darśanam and consequently manōnāśa merely by withdrawing our attention from everything other than ourself, we would achieve them simply by falling asleep, but obviously that is not the case, as is clear from our own experience. Therefore our own experience of rising again after falling asleep is sufficient proof that Swami Dayananda’s interpretation of this verse, namely ‘One’s mind withdrawn from perceptions is the appreciation of Awareness [one’s real nature] which is the appreciation of Truth’, cannot be correct.
The mind can see its own cittva only by being its own cittva, and it can be it only by being swallowed by it
In the book Upadesa Saram: The Complete Version in Four Languages Composed by Sri Bhagavan Mohan Rao translated the Sanskrit version of this verse very freely as: ‘If having set aside its pre-occupation with the objective world, the mind delves deep within, it will find itself to be of the nature of Consciousness, that is, the vision of ultimate Reality’. Though this is obviously not an accurate translation of the verse, it is a much better interpretation than Swami Dayananda’s, because it is not in any way contrary to Bhagavan’s teachings. However, it does not convey the actual meaning of the Sanskrit verse precisely enough, and in particular it fails to translate the subject of the main clause correctly, because the subject is the phrase ‘चित्तम् आत्मनः चित्त्व दर्शनम्’ (cittam ātmanaḥ cittva darśanam), which means ‘the mind seeing its own cittva [knowingness or fundamental awareness]’, whereas this is what Mohan Rao seems to have interpreted as ‘If the mind delves deep within, it will find itself to be of the nature of Consciousness’. Though this is a reasonable and correct inference to draw from this verse and from Bhagavan’s teachings as a whole, it is not the exact meaning of this hugely significant and deeply meaningful phrase.

The real nature of the mind is pure awareness or consciousness, which will become clear to us to the extent to which we look deep within ourself, and if we look within deep enough we will thereby sink into the innermost depth of ourself and dissolve there forever in the infinite clarity of pure awareness, which is what we always actually are. However, though this is a correct inference to draw from this verse, what Bhagavan actually says here is just: ‘दृश्य वारितम्, चित्तम् आत्मनः चित्त्व दर्शनम् तत्त्व दर्शनम्’ (dṛśya vāritam, cittam ātmanaḥ cittva darśanam tattva darśanam), ‘Kept back from dṛśya [whatever is seen or known as an object], the mind seeing its own cittva [knowingness or fundamental awareness] is tattva-darśana [seeing what is real]’. In order to see its own cittva the mind must look deep within itself, and when it looks deep enough within it will thereby be swallowed by its own cittva. When it is swallowed by it, the mind will thereby cease to be anything other than its own cittva, and since being cittva alone is seeing cittva, as Bhagavan implies in verse 26, ‘आत्म संस्थितिः स्वात्म दर्शनम्’ (ātma-saṁsthitiḥ svātma-darśanam), ‘Being oneself is seeing one’s own self’, it is only by being completely swallowed by its own cittva that the mind can see its own cittva, as he implies in the concluding sentence of verse 21 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu: ‘ஊண் ஆதல் காண்’ (ūṇ ādal kāṇ), ‘Becoming food is seeing’.

As I have explained already, every word in the phrase ‘चित्तम् आत्मनः चित्त्व दर्शनम्’ (cittam ātmanaḥ cittva darśanam), ‘the mind seeing its own cittva’, is significant, and one of these key words is आत्मनः (ātmanaḥ), which in this context means ‘its own’. Mohan Rao seems to have overlooked the fact that this is the sixth case (genitive) form of आत्मन् (ātman) and therefore means ‘its own’, because he translated it as ‘itself’, and thereby he failed to convey the exact meaning of this extremely significant phrase.
Since the five sheaths are all jaḍa and asat, they are not ‘I’, which is sat
Another verse that Swami Dayananda seems to have not understood correctly is verse 22: ‘विग्रह इन्द्रिय प्राण धी तमः न अहम् एक सत् तत् जडम् हि असत्’ (vigraha indriya prāṇa dhī tamaḥ na aham ēka sat tat jaḍam hi asat), ‘Body, mind, life, intellect and darkness are not I, ēka sat [the one existence or reality], because that [the body consisting of these five sheaths] is jaḍa [non-aware] and asat [non-existent]’. The Tamil original of this verse is: ‘உடல் பொறி உள்ளம் உயிர் இருள் எல்லாம் சடம் அசத்து ஆனதால், சத்து ஆன நான் அல்ல’ (uḍal poṟi uḷḷam uyir iruḷ ellām jaḍam asattu āṉadāl, sattu āṉa nāṉ alla), ‘Since body, mind, intellect, life and darkness are all jaḍa [non-aware] and asat [non-existent], they are not I, which is sat [what actually exists]’.

The first five words of this verse, ‘உடல் பொறி உள்ளம் உயிர் இருள்’ (uḍal poṟi uḷḷam uyir iruḷ), ‘body, mind, intellect, life and darkness’, and ‘विग्रह इन्द्रिय प्राण धी तमः’ (vigraha indriya prāṇa dhī tamaḥ), ‘Body, mind, life, intellect and darkness’, refer to the five sheaths (pañca-kōśa), though for poetic reasons they are not given in the usual order. That is, உடல் (uḍal) and विग्रह (vigraha) mean the physical body, the ‘sheath composed of food’ (annamaya kōśa); உயிர் (uyir) and प्राण (prāṇa) mean life, the ‘sheath composed of prāṇa’ (prāṇamaya kōśa), namely the breath and other physiological processes that animate the body; பொறி (poṟi) and इन्द्रिय (indriya) in this context mean mind in the sense of its grosser functions, the ‘sheath composed of mind’ (manōmaya kōśa); உள்ளம் (uḷḷam) and धी (dhī) mean the intellect (buddhi), the ‘sheath composed of discernment [understanding or intelligence]’ (vijñānamaya kōśa); and இருள் (iruḷ) and तमः (tamaḥ) mean darkness, which in this context refers to the will (cittam), the ‘sheath composed of happiness’ (ānandamaya kōśa), which is called ‘darkness’ because it consists of the dense, dark fog of viṣaya-vāsanās, inclinations or desires to seek happiness in things other than oneself.

Swami Dayananda translated this verse as ‘I am not the body, sense organs, physiological functions, the mind or the ignorance. They are inert and hence unreal. I am the One, nondual existence’, so it seems that he did not recognise that what Bhagavan is referring to here is the five sheaths. He therefore translated इन्द्रिय (indriya) as ‘sense organs’, and in his commentary he said that they are ‘five sense organs and the five organs of action’, but though these are the usual meaning of इन्द्रिय (indriya), in this context what Bhagavan means by this term is the mind or manōmaya kōśa, which is sometimes said to be the eleventh इन्द्रिय (indriya), though it is actually the first, because none of the other ten could operate without it. Since Dayananda did not understand that in this verse इन्द्रिय (indriya) means the mind or manōmaya kōśa, he translated धी (dhī) as ‘the mind’, and in his commentary he said ‘Dhī here includes manas, cittam, ahaṅkāra and buddhi, and therefore stands for what is known as antaḥkaraṇa’, but what Bhagavan actually means by धी (dhī) here is the intellect (buddhi) or vijñānamaya kōśa.

Swami Dayananda’s idea that धी (dhī) here includes ego (ahaṅkāra) is obviously not correct, because whereas the mind (manas), intellect (buddhi) and will (cittam) are all jaḍa (insentient or non-aware), being just objects perceived by ego, ego itself is not jaḍa, because it is what is aware of itself and all other things. What Bhagavan says in this verse is that all the five sheaths are not ‘I’ because they are jaḍa (non-aware) and hence asat (non-existent), and three of these five sheaths, namely the manōmaya kōśa, vijñānamaya kōśa and ānandamaya kōśa, are respectively the mind (manas), intellect (buddhi) and will (cittam).

Though ego is one of the four functions of the antaḥkaraṇa (the internal organ or instrument), unlike each of the other three functions, namely mind, intellect and will, it is not any of the five sheaths. It is what grasps the body consisting of these five sheaths as ‘I am this body’, so since ‘I am’ is sat-cit (existence-awareness, namely our fundamental awareness of our own existence) whereas the body and all the five sheaths of which it is composed are jaḍa, ego is what is called cit-jaḍa-granthi, the knot (granthi) formed by the entanglement of awareness (cit) with a body, which is non-aware (jaḍa). Therefore ego is neither the body nor sat-cit but a spurious conflation of these two, as Bhagavan points out in verse 24 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu:
சடவுடனா னென்னாது சச்சித் துதியா
துடலளவா நானொன் றுதிக்கு — மிடையிலிது
சிச்சடக்கி ரந்திபந்தஞ் சீவனுட்ப மெய்யகந்தை
யிச்சமு சாரமன மெண்.

jaḍavuḍaṉā ṉeṉṉādu saccit tudiyā
duḍalaḷavā nāṉoṉ ḏṟudikku — miḍaiyilidu
ciccaḍakki ranthibandhañ jīvaṉuṭpa meyyahandai
yiccamu sāramaṉa meṇ
.

பதச்சேதம்: சட உடல் ‘நான்’ என்னாது; சத்சித் உதியாது; உடல் அளவா ‘நான்’ ஒன்று உதிக்கும் இடையில். இது சித்சடக்கிரந்தி, பந்தம், சீவன், நுட்ப மெய், அகந்தை, இச் சமுசாரம், மனம்; எண்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): jaḍa uḍal ‘nāṉ’ eṉṉādu; sat-cit udiyādu; uḍal aḷavā ‘nāṉ’ oṉḏṟu udikkum iḍaiyil. idu cit-jaḍa-giranthi, bandham, jīvaṉ, nuṭpa mey, ahandai, i-c-samusāram, maṉam; eṇ.

English translation: The jaḍa body [consisting of five sheaths] does not say ‘I’; sat-cit does not rise; in between one thing, ‘I’, rises as the extent of the body. This [the spurious adjunct-conflated awareness that rises as ‘I am this body’] is cit-jaḍa-granthi, bondage, jīva, subtle body, ego, this saṁsāra and mind. Know.
Therefore ego is not jaḍa but a body-conflated form of awareness. However, since it is mixed and conflated with the jaḍa body and is therefore aware of things other than itself, which are all jaḍa (non-aware) and therefore asat (non-existent), ego is not real awareness but just a semblance of awareness (cidābhāsa). Nevertheless, though it is not real awareness, which is sat-cit, the pure awareness that shines as ‘I am’, it does contain this real awareness, ‘I am’, within itself as its own heart and reality. Therefore, if we as ego look deep within ourself to see who am I, we will thereby let go of all the five sheaths and remain just as sat-cit, ‘I am’, which is what we always actually are.
The ānandamaya kōśa is not the darkness of ignorance but the darkness of desire
तमः (tamaḥ) is the first case (nominative) form of तमस् (tamas), the basic meaning of which is darkness or gloom, which is also the meaning of the equivalent word that Bhagavan uses in the original Tamil verse, namely இருள் (iruḷ). In this context he uses both இருள் (iruḷ) and तमः (tamaḥ) to mean the ānandamaya kōśa, which consists of the dark fog of viṣaya-vāsanās. Like most other translators Swami Dayananda translated तमः (tamaḥ) as ignorance, which is one of the secondary meanings of तमस् (tamas), but though the ānandamaya kōśa is often described as the darkness of ignorance, we need to consider carefully why it is described so and how appropriate this description is.

Though Bhagavan describes the ānandamaya kōśa as ‘darkness’ (iruḷ or tamas), we need to distinguish this darkness from the primal darkness of avidyā, which is the darkness of self-ignorance, because the primal darkness is ego itself, not just one of the five sheaths. That is, the very nature of ego is avidyā or self-ignorance, because as ego we are always aware of ourself as ‘I am this body’ and consequently we are aware of the seeming existence of other things. Since the body (which in this context means all the five sheaths, as Bhagavan points out in verse 5 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu) is not what we actually are, being aware of ourself as ‘I am this body’ is self-ignorance (avidyā or ajñāna), and since nothing other than ourself actually exists, being aware of the appearance of other things is also ignorance, as he points out in the first two sentences of verse 13 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu: ‘ஞானம் ஆம் தானே மெய். நானா ஆம் ஞானம் அஞ்ஞானம் ஆம்’ (ñāṉam ām tāṉē mey. nāṉā ām ñāṉam aññāṉam ām), ‘Oneself, who is jñāna [pure awareness], alone is real. Awareness that is manifold [meaning awareness that is aware of many things] is ajñāna [ignorance]’.

Though ego is aware of itself as ‘I am this body’, the body is not what it actually is, so it is not any of the five sheaths that constitute the body, and hence it is distinct from the ānandamaya kōśa. Therefore, since ego is the primal darkness of avidyā, the darkness that is the ānandamaya kōśa is a secondary form of darkness. Since the ānandamaya kōśa is therefore not the primal darkness of avidyā, why is it often described as the darkness of ignorance, and is this an appropriate description of it? It is said to be the darkness of ignorance because it is generally said that what remains in sleep is only the ānandamaya kōśa, so it is associated with sleep, which from the perspective of the ego or mind in waking and dream seems to be a dark state of ignorance.

However, Bhagavan gives us a much deeper explanation about sleep than the one that is usually given in advaita texts, because he points out firstly that in sleep ego does not exist, as he implies in the first paragraph of Nāṉ Ār? by saying ‘மனமற்ற நித்திரையில்’ (maṉam aṯṟa niddiraiyil), ‘in sleep, which is devoid of mind’, and in verse 21 of Upadēśa Undiyār by saying ‘நான் அற்ற தூக்கத்தும்’ (nāṉ aṯṟa tūkkattum namadu), ‘even in sleep, which is devoid of I [ego]’, and secondly that in the absence of ego nothing other than ourself exists, as he says unequivocally in verse 26 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu: ‘அகந்தை உண்டாயின், அனைத்தும் உண்டாகும்; அகந்தை இன்றேல், இன்று அனைத்தும்’ (ahandai uṇḍāyiṉ, aṉaittum uṇḍāhum; ahandai iṉḏṟēl, iṉḏṟu aṉaittum), ‘If ego comes into existence, everything comes into existence; if ego does not exist, everything does not exist’.

In this context அனைத்தும் (aṉaittum), ‘everything’, means everything other than our real nature (ātma-svarūpa), which is pure awareness, so since ego does not exist in sleep, what exists and shines then is only our real nature, our fundamental awareness ‘I am’. Therefore in sleep there is no ānandamaya kōśa and no ignorance of any kind whatsoever, so it is only from the perspective of ego in waking and dream that sleep seems to be a state of darkness or ignorance, and a state from which ego has risen again.

The reason why the ānandamaya kōśa is generally said to remain in sleep is that since most people are unable or unwilling to understand the full implications of the fact that ego does not actually exist even when it seems to exist, they want to know why ego rises again from sleep and other states of manōlaya (temporary dissolution of mind), so saying that the ānandamaya kōśa remains in sleep and other such states, and therefore causes ego to rise again in waking or dream, is intended to satisfy the curiosity of such people. Since ego does not actually exist even when it seems to exist, wanting to know how it originally came into existence or how it comes into existence again after dissolving in sleep is like wanting to know how the son of a barren woman was born. Ego is the first cause, and hence the root cause of all other causes, so there cannot be anything that causes ego to rise or come into existence, and there need not be anything that causes it, because if we investigate it keenly enough, it will be clear that no such thing has ever actually existed or risen at all, as Bhagavan implies in verse 17: ‘मानसम् तु किम् मार्गणे कृते न एव मानसम्’ (mānasam tu kim mārgaṇē kṛtē na ēva mānasam), ‘When one investigates what the mind actually is, [it will be clear that] there is no mind at all’.

Therefore the ānandamaya kōśa is said to remain in sleep and sleep is said to be a dark state of ignorance only for the sake of those who lack deep and subtle understanding about the nature of ego, which is the sole cause for the illusory appearance of all other things, including the five kōśas and the three states, since all such things seem to exist only in the outward-facing view of ego. If instead of looking outwards we look back within to see who am I, we will see that there never was any such thing as ego, and therefore there never was anything else at all, not even any of the five kōśas or the three states.

Therefore if we have understood Bhagavan’s teachings deeply and correctly, we will be satisfied knowing that there is no need for us to seek any explanation for why or how ego rises again after dissolving in sleep. If at all we want to say that there is a reason why ego seems to exist now, that reason can only be avicāra (non-investigation), which is what is also called pramāda (self-negligence or failure to be keenly self-attentive). However, since avicāra is a problem that does not occur in sleep, where ego is absent, but only in waking and dream, where it seems to be present, avicāra cannot be what causes ego to rise from sleep.

Therefore, though Bhagavan often said that ego seems to exist only because of avicāra or pramāda, he did not mean that avicāra is what causes ego to come into existence, because avicāra is the very nature of ego and could not exist without it. However, though ego did not come into existence because of avicāra, avicāra is what sustains its seeming existence, so what can eradicate its seeming existence is only vicāra. This is all we need to know. Trying to know why or how ego came into existence (whether in the first instance or from sleep) is futile, because it has never actually come into existence at all, but since it seems to exist now, we need to understand that it seems to exist only because of avicāra and will therefore cease to exist only by means of vicāra.

Since the ānandamaya kōśa is described as the darkness of ignorance only because it is wrongly associated with sleep, which seems to be a dark state of ignorance only from the self-ignorant perspective of ego in waking and dream, this false association is not a satisfactory explanation for why Bhagavan refers to the ānandamaya kōśa in verse 22 as இருள் (iruḷ) and तमः (tamaḥ), ‘darkness’. Since ‘ānandamaya kōśa’ is another name for the will (cittam), which consists of vāsanās, the vast majority of which are viṣaya-vāsanās, a much more satisfactory and practical explanation for why he called it ‘darkness’ (iruḷ or tamas) is that it is not the darkness of ignorance but the darkness of desire, because it is an internal darkness in the form of a dense fog of viṣaya-vāsanās, inclinations or desires to seek happiness in things other than oneself.

This darkness of desire of course arises only because of the fundamental darkness of avidyā or self-ignorance, which is ego, but it is nevertheless distinct from it, because it is just a kōśa, a sheath or covering, whereas ego is what is always covering itself securely with all five kōśas by looking outwards at viṣayas instead of inwards at itself, thereby protecting itself, the darkness of self-ignorance, from being dissolved in the clear light of pure awareness, ‘I am’, which is always shining brightly within it. Instead of attaching itself to the five sheaths in this way by looking away from itself at other things, if ego looks back within to see its real nature, the pure light that is always shining clearly within it as ‘I am’, the fundamental darkness of self-ignorance (avidyā) will thereby be dispersed, and the secondary darkness of desire will dissolve along with it, thereby leaving the pure light of ‘I am’ shining alone forever in the infinite space of the heart as ‘I am I’.

Moreover, the reason why our will (cittam) is called ānandamaya kōśa, the ‘sheath composed of happiness’, is that vāsanās alone are what constitute it, and all vāsanās are inclinations or desires driven by our fundamental inclination to seek happiness. Therefore the name ‘ānandamaya kōśa’ implies that it is the sheath composed of vāsanās, which are various forms of our fundamental love to be happy. That is, happiness and our love to be happy are inseparable, because they are both our own real nature (svabhāva), as Bhagavan implies in the first sentence of the first paragraph of Nāṉ Ār?, so in this context ‘ānanda’ implies not only happiness but also love for happiness. Though love for happiness is infinite and therefore formless, when we rise as ego it manifests in us in the form of numerous vāsanās, each of which is essentially just an inclination or liking to experience happiness.
This text will reveal its profound import to us only to the extent to which we study it carefully, think deeply about its meaning and look deep within ourself
I have discussed these examples of various different ways in which some of the verses of Upadēśa Sāraḥ have been interpreted and understood in order to illustrate what an extremely deep and subtle text it actually is, and why we therefore need to study it carefully along with the original Tamil version, Upadēśa Undiyār, and think deeply about the meaning and implication of every word. Most importantly of all, however, we need to put into practice what Bhagavan has taught us, because real clarity can be found only by looking deep within our own heart, so it is only to the extent to which we go deep in the practice of self-investigation and self-surrender that his original writings in texts such as this will reveal to us their deep inner meaning and implications.

உபதேச வுந்தியார் (Upadēśa-v-Undiyār) and उपदेश सारः (Upadēśa Sāraḥ): The Essence of Spiritual Teachings

Upadēśa Undiyār verse 1:
கன்மம் பயன்றரல் கர்த்தன தாணையாற்
கன்மங் கடவுளோ வுந்தீபற
      கன்மஞ் சடமதா லுந்தீபற.

kaṉmam payaṉḏṟaral karttaṉa dāṇaiyāṟ
kaṉmaṅ kaḍavuḷō vundīpaṟa
      kaṉmañ jaḍamadā lundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: கன்மம் பயன் தரல் கர்த்தனது ஆணையால். கன்மம் கடவுளோ? கன்மம் சடம் அதால்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): kaṉmam payaṉ taral karttaṉadu āṇaiyāl. kaṉmam kaḍavuḷ-ō? kaṉmam jaḍam adāl.

English translation: Action giving fruit is by the ordainment of God. Since action is non-aware, is action God?

Explanatory paraphrase: Karma [action] giving fruit is by the ordainment of God [the kartā or ordainer]. Since karma is jaḍa [devoid of awareness], can karma be God?
Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 1:
कर्तु राज्ञया प्राप्य तेफलम् ।
कर्म किंपरं कर्म तज्जडम् ॥ १ ॥

kartu rājñayā prāpya tēphalam
karma kiṁparaṁ karma tajjaḍam


पदच्छेद: कर्तुः आज्ञया प्राप्यते फलम्. कर्म किम् परम्? कर्म तत् जडम्.

Padacchēda (word-separation): kartuḥ ājñayā prāpyatē phalam. karma kim param? karma tat jaḍam.

English translation: Fruit is obtained by the order of God. Is karma God? Karma is insentient.

Explanatory paraphrase: Fruit [of action] is obtained by the order of God. Is karma [action] God? Karma is jaḍa [non-aware or insentient].
Upadēśa Undiyār verse 2:
வினையின் விளைவு விளிவுற்று வித்தாய்
வினைக்கடல் வீழ்த்திடு முந்தீபற
      வீடு தரலிலை யுந்தீபற.

viṉaiyiṉ viḷaivu viḷivuṯṟu vittāy
viṉaikkaḍal vīṙttiḍu mundīpaṟa
      vīḍu taralilai yundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: வினையின் விளைவு விளிவு உற்று வித்தாய் வினை கடல் வீழ்த்திடும். வீடு தரல் இலை.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): viṉaiyiṉ viḷaivu viḷivu uṯṟu vittāy viṉai-kaḍal vīṙttiḍum. vīḍu taral ilai.

English translation: The fruit of action perishing, as seed causes to fall in the ocean of action. It is not giving liberation.

Explanatory paraphrase: The fruit of [any] action will perish [when it is experienced as part of prārabdha], [but what remains] as seed [namely viṣaya-vāsanās (also known as karma-vāsanās): inclinations to seek happiness or satisfaction in experiencing viṣayas (objects or phenomena) by doing actions of mind, speech and body] causes [one] to fall in the ocean of action. [Therefore] it [action or karma] does not give liberation.
Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 2:
कृतिम होदधौ पतन कारणम् ।
फलम शाश्वतं गतिनि रोधकम् ॥ २ ॥

kṛtima hōdadhau patana kāraṇam
phalama śāśvataṁ gatini rōdhakam


पदच्छेद: कृति महा उदधौ पतन कारणम्. फलम् अशाश्वतम्. गति निरोधकम्.

Padacchēda (word-separation): kṛti mahā udadhau patana kāraṇam. phalam aśāśvatam. gati nirōdhakam.

English translation: The cause of falling in the vast ocean of action. Fruit is impermanent. Liberation-obstructing.

Explanatory paraphrase: The cause of falling in the vast ocean of action [is seeds, namely viṣaya-vāsanās (also known as karma-vāsanās): inclinations to seek happiness or satisfaction in experiencing viṣayas (objects or phenomena) by doing actions of mind, speech and body]. The fruit [of any action] is impermanent. [Action is therefore] liberation-obstructing.
Note: The implication of the first line of this verse is discussed in The cause for our falling in the vast ocean of action is our viṣaya-vāsanās.

Upadēśa Undiyār verse 3:
கருத்தனுக் காக்குநிட் காமிய கன்மங்
கருத்தைத் திருத்தியஃ துந்தீபற
      கதிவழி காண்பிக்கு முந்தீபற.

karuttaṉuk kākkuniṭ kāmiya kaṉmaṅ
karuttait tiruttiyaḵ dundīpaṟa
      gativaṙi kāṇbikku mundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: கருத்தனுக்கு ஆக்கும் நிட்காமிய கன்மம் கருத்தை திருத்தி, அஃது கதி வழி காண்பிக்கும்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): karuttaṉukku ākkum niṭkāmiya kaṉmam karuttai tirutti, aḵdu gati vaṙi kāṇbikkum.

English translation: Desireless action done for God, purifying the mind, it will show the path to liberation.

Explanatory paraphrase: Niṣkāmya karma [action not motivated by desire] done [with love] for God purifies the mind and [thereby] it will show the path to liberation [that is, it will enable one to recognise what the correct path to liberation is].
Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 3:
ईश्व रार्पितं नेच्छ याकृतम् ।
चित्त शोधकं मुक्ति साधकम् ॥ ३ ॥

īśva rārpitaṁ nēccha yākṛtam
citta śōdhakaṁ mukti sādhakam


पदच्छेद: ईश्वर अर्पितम् न इच्छया कृतम् चित्त शोधकम् मुक्ति साधकम्.

Padacchēda (word-separation): īśvara arpitam na icchayā kṛtam citta śōdhakam mukti sādhakam.

English translation: Offered to God, not done with desire, mind-purifier, liberation-accomplishing.

Explanatory paraphrase: [Action that is] not done with desire [but] offered [entrusted or transferred] to God [is] mind-purifier [and thereby indirectly] liberation-accomplishing.
Video discussion: Upadēśa Sāraḥ verses 1 to 3



Upadēśa Undiyār verse 4:
திடமிது பூசை செபமுந் தியான
முடல்வாக் குளத்தொழி லுந்தீபற
     வுயர்வாகு மொன்றிலொன் றுந்தீபற.

diḍamidu pūjai jepamun dhiyāṉa
muḍalvāk kuḷattoṙi lundīpaṟa
     vuyarvāhu moṉḏṟiloṉ ḏṟundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: திடம் இது: பூசை செபமும் தியானம் உடல் வாக்கு உள தொழில். உயர்வு ஆகும் ஒன்றில் ஒன்று.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): diḍam idu: pūjai jepam-um dhiyāṉam uḍal vākku uḷa toṙil. uyarvu āhum oṉḏṟil oṉḏṟu.

English translation: This is certain: pūjā, japa and dhyāna are actions of body, speech and mind. One than one is superior.

Explanatory paraphrase: This is certain: pūjā [worship], japa [repetition of a name of God or a sacred phrase] and dhyāna [meditation] are [respectively] actions of body, speech and mind, [and hence in this order each subsequent] one is superior to [the previous] one [in the sense that it is a more effective means to purify the mind].
Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 4:
काय वाङ्मनः कार्य मुत्तमम् ।
पूज नंजप श्चिन्त नंक्रमात् ॥ ४ ॥

kāya vāṅmanaḥ kārya muttamam
pūja naṁjapa ścinta naṁkramāt


पदच्छेद: काय वाच् मनः कार्यम् उत्तमम् पूजनम् जपः चिन्तनम् क्रमात्.

Padacchēda (word-separation): kāya vāc manaḥ kāryam uttamam pūjanam japaḥ cintanam kramāt.

English translation: Worship, repetition and meditation, actions to be done by body, speech and mind, are progressively superior.

Explanatory paraphrase: Pūjana [worship], japa [repetition] and cintana [meditation], [which are] actions to be done by body, speech and mind [respectively], are [in this order] progressively superior [in their efficacy to purify the mind].
Upadēśa Undiyār verse 5:
எண்ணுரு யாவு மிறையுரு வாமென
வெண்ணி வழிபட லுந்தீபற
     வீசனற் பூசனை யுந்தீபற.

eṇṇuru yāvu miṟaiyuru vāmeṉa
veṇṇi vaṙipaḍa lundīpaṟa
     vīśaṉaṯ pūjaṉai yundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: எண் உரு யாவும் இறை உரு ஆம் என எண்ணி வழிபடல் ஈசன் நல் பூசனை.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): eṇ uru yāvum iṟai uru ām eṉa eṇṇi vaṙipaḍal īśaṉ nal pūjaṉai.

English translation: Worshipping thinking that all eight forms are forms of God is good pūjā of God.

Explanatory paraphrase: Considering all the eight forms [the aṣṭa-mūrti, the eight forms or manifestations of Siva, namely the five elements (earth, water, fire, air and space), sun, moon and sentient beings (jīvas)] [or all thought-forms, namely all forms, which are just thoughts or mental phenomena] to be forms of God, worshipping [any of them] is good pūjā [worship] of God.
Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 5:
जगत ईशधी युक्त सेवनम् ।
अष्ट मूर्तिभृ द्देव पूजनम् ॥ ५ ॥

jagata īśadhī yukta sēvanam
aṣṭa mūrtibhṛ ddēva pūjanam


पदच्छेद: जगतः ईश धी युक्त सेवनम् अष्ट मूर्ति भृत् देव पूजनम्.

Padacchēda (word-separation): jagataḥ īśa dhī yukta sēvanam aṣṭa mūrti bhṛt dēva pūjanam.

English translation: Worship of the world with the idea of God is worship of God having eight forms.

Explanatory paraphrase: Worship of the world with the idea [that it is] God is worship of God having eight forms [namely the five elements (earth, water, fire, air and space), sun, moon and sentient beings (jīvas)].
Upadēśa Undiyār verse 6:
வழுத்தலில் வாக்குச்ச வாய்க்குட் செபத்தில்
விழுப்பமா மானத முந்தீபற
     விளம்புந் தியானமி துந்தீபற.

vaṙuttalil vākkucca vāykkuṭ jepattil
viṙuppamā māṉata mundīpaṟa
     viḷambun dhiyāṉami dundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: வழுத்தலில், வாக்கு உச்ச, வாய்க்குள் செபத்தில் விழுப்பம் ஆம் மானதம். விளம்பும் தியானம் இது.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): vaṙuttalil, vākku ucca, vāykkuḷ jepattil viṙuppam ām māṉatam. viḷambum dhiyāṉam idu.

English translation: Rather than praising, loud voice, rather than japa within the mouth, what is done by mind is beneficial. This is called dhyāna.

Explanatory paraphrase: Rather than praising [God by chanting hymns], [japa or repetition of his name is beneficial]; [rather than japa done in a] loud voice, [japa whispered faintly within the mouth is beneficial]; [and] rather than japa within the mouth, mānasa [that which is done by mind] is beneficial [in the sense that it is a more effective means to purify the mind]. This [mental repetition or mānasika japa] is called dhyāna [meditation].
Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 6:
उत्त मस्तवा दुच्च मन्दतः ।
चित्त जंजप ध्यान मुत्तमम् ॥ ६ ॥

utta mastavā ducca mandataḥ
citta jaṁjapa dhyāna muttamam


पदच्छेद: उत्तम स्तवात्, उच्च, मन्दतः, चित्तजम् जप, ध्यानम् उत्तमम्.

Padacchēda (word-separation): uttama stavāt, ucca, mandataḥ, cittajam japa, dhyānam uttamam.

English translation: Rather than the best praise, loud, soft, mental repetition, meditation is best.

Explanatory paraphrase: Rather than the best praise [or praise of the most exalted, namely God] [by chanting hymns], [japa or repetition of his name is better]; [rather than japa done] aloud, [japa that is soft is better]; [and rather than japa that is] soft, mental japa, [which is] dhyāna [meditation], is best [in the sense that it is a more effective means to purify the mind].
Upadēśa Undiyār verse 7:
விட்டுக் கருதலி னாறுநெய் வீழ்ச்சிபோல்
விட்டிடா துன்னலே யுந்தீபற
     விசேடமா முன்னவே யுந்தீபற.

viṭṭuk karudali ṉāṟuney vīṙccipōl
viṭṭiḍā duṉṉalē yundīpaṟa
     viśēḍamā muṉṉavē yundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: விட்டு கருதலின் ஆறு நெய் வீழ்ச்சி போல் விட்டிடாது உன்னலே விசேடம் ஆம் உன்னவே.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): viṭṭu karudaliṉ āṟu ney vīṙcci pōl viṭṭiḍādu uṉṉal-ē viśēḍam ām uṉṉa-v-ē.

English translation: Rather than meditating leavingly, certainly meditating unleavingly, like a river or the falling of ghee, is superior to meditate.

Explanatory paraphrase: Rather than meditating [on God] interruptedly [because of being frequently distracted by other thoughts as a result of insufficient love for him], certainly meditating uninterruptedly [without being distracted by any other thoughts because of the intensity of one’s love for him], like a river or the falling of ghee, is a better way to meditate [or is superior, when considered] [in the sense that it is a more effective means to purify the mind].
Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 7:
आज्य धारया स्रोत सासमम् ।
सरल चिन्तनं विरल तःपरम् ॥ ७ ॥

ājya dhārayā srōta sāsamam
sarala cintanaṁ virala taḥparam


पदच्छेद: आज्य धारया स्रोतसा समम् सरल चिन्तनम् विरलतः परम्.

Padacchēda (word-separation): ājya dhārayā srōtasā samam sarala cintanam viralataḥ param.

English translation: Continuous meditation, like the flow of ghee, a river, is better than discontinuous.

Explanatory paraphrase: Continuous meditation [meditation on God that is steady, being uninterrupted by other thoughts], like the flow of ghee or a river, is better [in the sense that it is a more effective means to purify the mind] than discontinuous [namely meditation on God that is unsteady, being frequently interrupted by one’s thinking about anything other than him].
Upadēśa Undiyār verse 8:
அனியபா வத்தி னவனக மாகு
மனனிய பாவமே யுந்தீபற
     வனைத்தினு முத்தம முந்தீபற.

aṉiyabhā vatti ṉavaṉaha māhu
maṉaṉiya bhāvamē yundīpaṟa
     vaṉaittiṉu muttama mundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: அனிய பாவத்தின் அவன் அகம் ஆகும் அனனிய பாவமே அனைத்தினும் உத்தமம்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): aṉiya-bhāvattiṉ avaṉ aham āhum aṉaṉiya-bhāvam-ē aṉaittiṉ-um uttamam.

English translation: Rather than anya-bhāva, ananya-bhāva, in which he is I, certainly is the best among all.

Explanatory paraphrase: Rather than anya-bhāva [meditation on anything other than oneself, particularly meditation on God as if he were other than oneself], ananya-bhāva [meditation on nothing other than oneself], in which he is [considered to be] I, certainly is the best among all [practices of bhakti, varieties of meditation and kinds of spiritual practice] [in the sense that it is the most effective of all means to purify the mind, and is also the only means to eradicate ego, the root of all impurities].
Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 8:
भेद भावना त्सोऽह मित्यसौ ।
भाव नाऽभिदा पाव नीमता ॥ ८ ॥

bhēda bhāvanā tsō’ha mityasau
bhāva nā’bhidā pāva nīmatā


पदच्छेद: भेद भावनात् सः अहम् इति असौ भावना अभिदा पावनी मता.

Padacchēda (word-separation): bhēda bhāvanāt saḥ aham iti asau bhāvanā abhidā pāvanī matā.

English translation: Rather than separating meditation, non-separating meditation, that as ‘he is I’, is considered purifying.

Explanatory paraphrase: Rather than separating meditation [meditation on God as if he were something separate from oneself], non-separating meditation [meditation on him as not separate from oneself], [in which it is recognised that] he is I, is considered [by sages and scriptures to be] purifying.
Video discussion: Upadēśa Sāraḥ verses 3 to 8



Upadēśa Undiyār verse 9:
பாவ பலத்தினாற் பாவனா தீதசற்
பாவத் திருத்தலே யுந்தீபற
     பரபத்தி தத்துவ முந்தீபற.

bhāva balattiṉāṯ bhāvaṉā tītasaṯ
bhāvat tiruttalē yundīpaṟa
     parabhatti tattuva mundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: பாவ பலத்தினால் பாவனாதீத சத் பாவத்து இருத்தலே பரபத்தி தத்துவம்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): bhāva balattiṉāl bhāvaṉātīta sat-bhāvattu iruttal-ē para-bhatti tattuvam.

English translation: By the strength of meditation, being in sat-bhāva, which transcends bhāvanā, alone is para-bhakti tattva.

Explanatory paraphrase: By the strength [intensity, firmness or stability] of [such] meditation [ananya-bhāva or self-attentiveness], being in sat-bhāva [the state of being], which transcends [all] bhāvanā [thinking, imagination or meditation in the sense of mental activity], alone [or certainly] is para-bhakti tattva [the nature, reality or true state of supreme devotion].
Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 9:
भाव शून्यस द्भाव सुस्थितिः ।
भाव नाबला द्भक्ति रुत्तमा ॥ ९ ॥

bhāva śūnyasa dbhāva susthitiḥ
bhāva nābalā dbhakti ruttamā


पदच्छेद: भाव शून्य सत् भाव सुस्थितिः भावना बलात् भक्तिः उत्तमा.

Padacchēda (word-separation): bhāva śūnya sat-bhāva susthitiḥ bhāvanā balāt bhaktiḥ uttamā.

English translation: By the strength of meditation, standing firmly in the state of being, devoid of meditation, is the best devotion.

Explanatory paraphrase: By [or because of] the strength of meditation [on God as not separate from oneself], standing firmly in sat-bhāva [the state of being], [which is] devoid of meditation [in the sense of mental activity], is the best [foremost, highest, greatest or ultimate] devotion.
Upadēśa Undiyār verse 10:
உதித்த விடத்தி லொடுங்கி யிருத்த
லதுகன்மம் பத்தியு முந்தீபற
     வதுயோக ஞானமு முந்தீபற.

uditta viḍatti loḍuṅgi yirutta
ladukaṉmam bhattiyu mundīpaṟa
     vaduyōga ñāṉamu mundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: உதித்த இடத்தில் ஒடுங்கி இருத்தல்: அது கன்மம் பத்தியும்; அது யோகம் ஞானமும்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): uditta iḍattil oḍuṅgi iruttal: adu kaṉmam bhatti-y-um; adu yōgam ñāṉam-um.

English translation: Being, subsiding in the place from which one rose: that is karma and bhakti; that is yōga and jñāna.

Explanatory paraphrase: Being [by inwardly] subsiding in the place from which one rose [namely one’s own real nature (ātma-svarūpa), which is pure being-awareness (sat-cit), ‘I am’]: that is [the culmination of the paths of] [niṣkāmya] karma and bhakti [as explained in the previous seven verses]; that is [also the culmination of the paths of] yōga [as will be explained in the next five verses] and jñāna [as will be explained in the final fifteen verses].
Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 10:
हृत्स्थ लेमनः स्वस्थ ताक्रिया ।
भक्ति योगबो धाश्च निश्चितम् ॥ १० ॥

hṛtstha lēmanaḥ svastha tākriyā
bhakti yōgabō dhāśca niścitam


पदच्छेद: हृद् स्थले मनः स्वस्थता क्रिया भक्ति योग बोधाः च निश्चितम्.

Padacchēda (word-separation): hṛd sthalē manaḥ svasthatā kriyā bhakti yōga bōdhāḥ ca niścitam.

English translation: The mind standing as itself in the heart-ground is certainly kriyā, bhakti, yōga and bōdhā.

Explanatory paraphrase: The mind standing as itself in the ground [the place or source from which it rose], the heart, is certainly [the culmination of the paths of] kriyā [niṣkāmya karma or desireless action], bhakti [love or devotion], yōga [union] and bōdhā [jñāna, knowledge or awareness].
Video discussion: Upadēśa Sāraḥ verses 8 to 10



Upadēśa Undiyār verse 11:
வளியுள் ளடக்க வலைபடு புட்போ
லுளமு மொடுங்குறு முந்தீபற
      வொடுக்க வுபாயமி துந்தீபற.

vaḷiyuḷ ḷaḍakka valaipaḍu puṭpō
luḷamu moḍuṅguṟu mundīpaṟa
      voḍukka vupāyami dundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: வளி உள் அடக்க, வலை படு புள் போல் உளமும் ஒடுங்குறும். ஒடுக்க உபாயம் இது.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): vaḷi uḷ aḍakka, valai paḍu puḷ pōl uḷam-um oḍuṅguṟum. oḍukka upāyam idu.

English translation: When one restrains the breath within, like a bird caught in a net the mind also will be restrained. This is a means to restrain.

Explanatory paraphrase: When one restrains [curbs, calms or subdues] the breath within, like a bird caught in a net the mind also will be restrained [sink, subside, calm down, become quiet, be dissolved or cease being active]. This [the practice of breath-restraint or prāṇāyāma] is [therefore] a means to restrain [curb, calm, subdue, shut down or dissolve] [the mind].
Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 11:
वायु रोधना ल्लीय तेमनः ।
जाल पक्षिव द्रोध साधनम् ॥ ११ ॥

vāyu rōdhanā llīya tēmanaḥ
jāla pakṣiva drōdha sādhanam

पदच्छेद: वायु रोधनात् लीयते मनः जाल पक्षिवत्. रोध साधनम्.

Padacchēda (word-separation): vāyu rōdhanāt līyatē manaḥ jāla pakṣivat. rōdha sādhanam.

English translation: By restraining the breath, the mind subsides, like a bird in a net. A means of restraining.

Explanatory paraphrase: By [or as a result of] restraining the breath, the mind subsides [or dissolves], like a bird [caught] in a net. [This is] a means of restraining [the mind].
Upadēśa Undiyār verse 12:
உளமு முயிரு முணர்வுஞ் செயலு
முளவாங் கிளையிரண் டுந்தீபற
      வொன்றவற் றின்மூல முந்தீபற.

uḷamu muyiru muṇarvuñ ceyalu
muḷavāṅ kiḷaiyiraṇ ḍundīpaṟa
      voṉḏṟavaṯ ṟiṉmūla mundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: உளமும் உயிரும் உணர்வும் செயலும் உளவாம் கிளை இரண்டு. ஒன்று அவற்றின் மூலம்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): uḷam-um uyir-um uṇarvu-[u]m ceyal-um uḷavām kiḷai iraṇḍu. oṉḏṟu avaṯṟiṉ mūlam.

English translation: Mind and breath are two branches, which have knowing and doing. Their root is one.

Explanatory paraphrase: Mind and breath [or life, which includes breath and all other physiological functions] are two branches, which have knowing and doing [as their respective functions]. [However] their mūla [root, base, foundation, origin, source or cause] is one [so this is why when either one is restrained the other one will also be restrained, as pointed out in the previous verse].
Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 12:
चित्त वायव श्चित्क्रि यायुताः ।
शाख योर्द्वयी शक्ति मूलका ॥ १२ ॥

citta vāyava ścitkri yāyutāḥ
śākha yōrdvayī śakti mūlakā


पदच्छेद: चित्त वायवः चित् क्रिया युताः शाखयोः द्वयी. शक्ति मूलका.

Padacchēda (word-separation): citta vāyavaḥ cit kriyā yutāḥ śākhayōḥ dvayī. śakti mūlakā.

English translation: Mind and prāṇas are a pair of branches endowed with knowing and doing. Rooted in power.

Explanatory paraphrase: Mind and vāyus [the five prāṇas, namely breathing and other physiological functions] are a pair of branches endowed with knowing and doing [as their respective function]. [They are] rooted in [or spring from] [one] power [that is, they arise from one source, namely our real nature, which is cit-śakti, the power of pure awareness, ‘I am’].
Upadēśa Undiyār verse 13:
இலயமு நாச மிரண்டா மொடுக்க
மிலயித் துளதெழு முந்தீபற
      வெழாதுரு மாய்ந்ததே லுந்தீபற.

ilayamu nāśa miraṇḍā moḍukka
milayit tuḷadeṙu mundīpaṟa
      veṙāduru māyndadē lundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: இலயமும் நாசம் இரண்டு ஆம் ஒடுக்கம். இலயித்து உளது எழும். எழாது உரு மாய்ந்ததேல்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): ilayam-um nāśam iraṇḍu ām oḍukkam. ilayittu uḷadu eṙum. eṙādu uru māyndadēl.

English translation: Dissolution is two: laya and nāśa. What is lying down will rise. If form dies, it will not rise.

Explanatory paraphrase: Dissolution [complete subsidence or cessation of ego or mind] is [of] two [kinds]: laya [temporary dissolution] and nāśa [permanent dissolution or annihilation]. What is lying down [or dissolved in laya] will rise. If [its] form dies [in nāśa], it will not rise.
Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 13:
लयवि नाशने उभय रोधने ।
लयग तंपुन र्भवति नोमृतम् ॥ १३ ॥

layavi nāśanē ubhaya rōdhanē
layaga taṁpuna rbhavati nōmṛtam


पदच्छेद: लय विनाशने उभय रोधने. लयगतम् पुनः भवति. नो मृतम्.

Padacchēda (word-separation): laya vināśanē ubhaya rōdhanē. layagatam punaḥ bhavati. nō mṛtam.

English translation: Laya and vināśana are both stopping. What has gone in laya arises again. What has died does not.

Explanatory paraphrase: Laya [temporary dissolution] and vināśana [destruction or annihilation] are both rōdhana [states in which the mind has been stopped or prevented from rising] [in other words, rōdhana is of two kinds: laya and nāśa]. What has gone in laya arises [or comes into being] again. What has died [in nāśa] does not [ever rise again].
Upadēśa Undiyār verse 14:
ஒடுக்க வளியை யொடுங்கு முளத்தை
விடுக்கவே யோர்வழி யுந்தீபற
      வீயு மதனுரு வுந்தீபற.

oḍukka vaḷiyai yoḍuṅgu muḷattai
viḍukkavē yōrvaṙi yundīpaṟa
      vīyu madaṉuru vundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: ஒடுக்க வளியை ஒடுங்கும் உளத்தை விடுக்கவே ஓர் வழி, வீயும் அதன் உரு.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): oḍukka vaḷiyai oḍuṅgum uḷattai viḍukka-v-ē ōr vaṙi, vīyum adaṉ uru.

English translation: Only when one sends the mind, which will become calm when one restrains the breath, on the investigating path will its form perish.

Explanatory paraphrase: Only when one sends the mind, which will become calm when one restrains the breath, on ōr vaṙi [the investigating path or one path, namely the path of self-investigation, which is the one and only means to eradicate ego and thereby annihilate the mind] will its form perish. [However, the mind cannot be sent on this path of self-investigation if it has dissolved in laya, so if one practices breath-restraint in order to restrain the mind, one should take care to send the mind on this path of self-investigation (which means to direct one’s attention back towards oneself) when it has become calm but before it dissolves in laya.]
Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 14:
प्राण बन्धना ल्लीन मानसम् ।
एक चिन्तना न्नाश मेत्यदः ॥ १४ ॥

prāṇa bandhanā llīna mānasam
ēka cintanā nnāśa mētyadaḥ


पदच्छेद: प्राण बन्धनात् लीन मानसम् एक चिन्तनात् नाशम् एति अदः.

Padacchēda (word-separation): prāṇa bandhanāt līna mānasam ēka-cintanāt nāśam ēti adaḥ.

English translation: Settled down by restraining the breath, the mind will reach annihilation by thinking of the one.

Explanatory paraphrase: [Having] settled down by [or as a result of] restraining [binding or tying] prāṇa [the breath], the mind will reach [enter, achieve or attain] annihilation by [or as a result of] ēka-cintana [thinking of the one, namely ātma-svarūpa, the real nature of oneself, ‘I am’].
Upadēśa Undiyār verse 15:
மனவுரு மாயமெய்ம் மன்னுமா யோகி
தனக்கோர் செயலிலை யுந்தீபற
     தன்னியல் சார்ந்தன னுந்தீபற.

maṉavuru māyameym maṉṉumā yōgi
taṉakkōr seyalilai yundīpaṟa
     taṉṉiyal sārndaṉa ṉundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: மன உரு மாய மெய் மன்னும் மா யோகி தனக்கு ஓர் செயல் இலை. தன் இயல் சார்ந்தனன்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): maṉa uru māya mey maṉṉum mā yōgi taṉakku ōr seyal ilai. taṉ iyal sārndaṉaṉ.

English translation: When the form of the mind is annihilated, for the great yōgi who remains permanently as the reality, there is not a single doing. He has attained his nature.

Explanatory paraphrase: When the form of the mind is annihilated, for the great yōgi who [thereby] remains permanently as the reality, there is not a single doing [action or karma], [because] he has attained his [real] nature [which is actionless being].
Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 15:
नष्ट मानसो त्कृष्ट योगिनः ।
कृत्य मस्तिकिं स्वस्थि तिंयतः ॥ १५ ॥

naṣṭa mānasō tkṛṣṭa yōginaḥ
kṛtya mastikiṁ svasthi tiṁyataḥ


पदच्छेद: नष्ट मानस उत्कृष्ट योगिनः कृत्यम् अस्ति किम्, स्वस्थितिम् यतः?

Padacchēda (word-separation): naṣṭa mānasa utkṛṣṭa yōginaḥ kṛtyam asti kim, svasthitim yataḥ?

English translation: The mind annihilated, by the exalted yōgi what is there to be done, because of standing as self?

Explanatory paraphrase: [After] the mind has been annihilated, by the exalted yōgi what is there to be done [or is there anything to be done], because [they are] standing as self [or because they have attained their own state]?
Video discussion: Upadēśa Sāraḥ verses 11 to 15



Upadēśa Undiyār verse 16:
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.

English translation: Leaving external phenomena, the mind knowing its own form of light is alone real awareness.

Explanatory paraphrase: Leaving aside [awareness of any] external viṣayas [namely phenomena of every kind, all of which are external in the sense that they are other than and hence extraneous to oneself], the mind knowing its own form of light [namely the light of pure awareness, which is its real nature and what illumines it, enabling it to be aware both of itself and of other things] is alone real awareness [true knowledge or knowledge of reality].
Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 16:
दृश्य वारितं चित्त मात्मनः ।
चित्त्व दर्शनं तत्त्व दर्शनम् ॥ १६ ॥

dṛśya vāritaṁ citta mātmanaḥ
citva darśanaṁ tattva darśanam


पदच्छेद: दृश्य वारितम्, चित्तम् आत्मनः चित्त्व दर्शनम् तत्त्व दर्शनम्.

Padacchēda (word-separation): dṛśya vāritam, cittam ātmanaḥ cittva darśanam tattva darśanam.

English translation: Kept back from what is seen, the mind seeing its own knowingness is seeing what is real.

Explanatory paraphrase: Kept back from dṛśya [what is seen, perceived or known as an object], the mind seeing its own cittva [its real nature as pure awareness or knowingness] is tattva-darśana [seeing tattva: ‘thatness’, what actually exists or is real].
Note: The meaning of this verse is discussed in To see what is real, the mind must see its own real nature, which is pure awareness, We cannot see our own cittva merely by keeping our mind back from all dṛśya and The mind can see its own cittva only by being its own cittva, and it can be it only by being swallowed by it.

Upadēśa Undiyār verse 17:
மனத்தி னுருவை மறவா துசாவ
மனமென வொன்றிலை யுந்தீபற
      மார்க்கநே ரார்க்குமி துந்தீபற.

maṉatti ṉuruvai maṟavā dusāva
maṉameṉa voṉḏṟilai yundīpaṟa
      mārgganē rārkkumi dundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: மனத்தின் உருவை மறவாது உசாவ, மனம் என ஒன்று இலை. மார்க்கம் நேர் ஆர்க்கும் இது.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): maṉattiṉ uruvai maṟavādu usāva, maṉam eṉa oṉḏṟu ilai. mārggam nēr ārkkum idu.

English translation: When one investigates the form of the mind without forgetting, there is not anything called ‘mind’. This is the direct path for everyone whomsoever.

Explanatory paraphrase: When one investigates [examines or scrutinises] the form of the mind without forgetting [neglecting, abandoning, giving up or ceasing], [it will be clear that] there is not anything called ‘mind’. This is the direct [straight or appropriate] path for everyone whomsoever.
Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 17:
मान संतुकिं मार्ग णेकृते ।
नैव मानसं मार्ग आर्जवात् ॥ १७ ॥

māna saṁtukiṁ mārga ṇēkṛtē
naiva mānasaṁ mārga ārjavāt


पदच्छेद: मानसम् तु किम् मार्गणे कृते न एव मानसम्. मार्गः आर्जवात्.

Padacchēda (word-separation): mānasam tu kim mārgaṇē kṛtē na ēva mānasam. mārgaḥ ārjavāt.

English translation: When investigation is done what the mind actually is, there is no mind at all. The path because of straightness.

Explanatory paraphrase: When one investigates what the mind actually is, [it will be clear that] there is no mind at all. [This is] the path because of [its] straightness [or directness].
Video discussion: Upadēśa Sāraḥ verses 16 and 17



Upadēśa Undiyār verse 18:
எண்ணங்க ளேமனம் யாவினு நானெனு
மெண்ணமே மூலமா முந்தீபற
      யானா மனமென லுந்தீபற.

eṇṇaṅga ḷēmaṉam yāviṉu nāṉeṉu
meṇṇamē mūlamā mundīpaṟa
      yāṉā maṉameṉa lundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: எண்ணங்களே மனம். யாவினும் நான் எனும் எண்ணமே மூலம் ஆம். யான் ஆம் மனம் எனல்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): eṇṇaṅgaḷ-ē maṉam. yāviṉ-um nāṉ eṉum eṇṇam-ē mūlam ām. yāṉ ām maṉam eṉal.

English translation: Thoughts alone are mind. Of all, the thought called ‘I’ alone is the root. What is called mind is ‘I’.

Explanatory paraphrase: Thoughts alone are mind [or the mind is only thoughts]. Of all [thoughts], the thought called ‘I’ alone is the mūla [the root, base, foundation, origin, source or cause]. [Therefore] what is called mind is [essentially just] ‘I’ [namely ego, the root thought called ‘I’].
Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 18:
वृत्त यस्त्वहं वृत्ति माश्रिताः ।
वृत्त योमनो विद्ध्य हंमनः ॥ १८ ॥

vṛtta yastvahaṁ vṛtti māśritāḥ
vṛtta yōmanō viddhya haṁmanaḥ


पदच्छेद: वृत्तयः तु अहंवृत्तिम् आश्रिताः. वृत्तयः मनः. विद्धि अहम् मनः.

Padacchēda (word-separation): vṛttayaḥ tu ahaṁ-vṛttim āśritāḥ. vṛttayaḥ manaḥ. viddhi aham manaḥ.

अन्वय: वृत्तयः मनः. वृत्तयः तु अहं वृत्तिम् आश्रिताः. विद्धि अहम् मनः.

Anvaya (words rearranged in natural prose order): vṛttayaḥ manaḥ. vṛttayaḥ tu ahaṁ-vṛttim āśritāḥ. viddhi aham manaḥ.

English translation: Thoughts are mind. But thoughts depend on the I-thought. Know that ‘I’ is the mind.

Explanatory paraphrase: Vṛttis [thoughts] are mind. But vṛttis depend on the ahaṁ-vṛtti [the thought ‘I’]. Know that aham [‘I’, namely ego, the thought ‘I’] is the mind.
Upadēśa Undiyār verse 19:
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.

English translation: When one investigates within what the place is from which one rises as ‘I’, ‘I’ will die. This is awareness-investigation.

Explanatory paraphrase: When one investigates within [or inwardly investigates] what the place is from which one [or it] rises as ‘I’ [ego or mind], ‘I’ will die. This is jñāna-vicāra [investigation of awareness].
Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 19:
अहम यंकुतो भवति चिन्वतः ।
अयिप तत्यहं निजवि चारणम् ॥ १९ ॥

ahama yaṁkutō bhavati cinvataḥ
ayipa tatyahaṁ nijavi cāraṇam


पदच्छेद: अहम् अयम् कुतः भवति चिन्वतः, अयि, पतति अहम्. निज विचारणम्.

Padacchēda (word-separation): aham ayam kutaḥ bhavati cinvataḥ, ayi, patati aham. nija vicāraṇam.

English translation: By investigating from where this ‘I’ arises, ah, ‘I’ falls down. Self-investigation.

Explanatory paraphrase: By investigating from where this ‘I’ [namely ego, the thought ‘I’] arises, ah, ‘I’ falls down [in nāśa, never to rise again]. [This is] nija vicāraṇam [investigation of nija: what is innate, natural, constant, permanent or one’s own, namely ātma-svarūpa, one’s own real nature].
Upadēśa Undiyār verse 20:
நானொன்று தானத்து நானானென் றொன்றது
தானாகத் தோன்றுமே யுந்தீபற
     தானது பூன்றமா முந்தீபற.

nāṉoṉḏṟu thāṉattu nāṉāṉeṉ ḏṟoṉḏṟadu
tāṉāhat tōṉḏṟumē yundīpaṟa
     tāṉadu pūṉḏṟamā mundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: ‘நான்’ ஒன்று தானத்து ‘நான் நான்’ என்று ஒன்று அது தானாக தோன்றுமே. தான் அது பூன்றம் ஆம்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): ‘nāṉ’ oṉḏṟu thāṉattu ‘nāṉ nāṉ’ eṉḏṟu oṉḏṟu adu tāṉāha tōṉḏṟumē. tāṉ adu pūṉḏṟam ām.

English translation: In the place where ‘I’ merges, that, the one, appears spontaneously as ‘I am I’. That itself is the whole.

Explanatory paraphrase: In the place where ‘I’ [namely ego, the false awareness ‘I am this’] merges, that, the one, appears spontaneously [or as oneself] as ‘I am I’ [that is, as awareness of oneself as oneself alone]. That itself [or that, oneself] is pūṉḏṟam [pūrṇa: the infinite whole or entirety of what is].
Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 20:
अहमि नाशभा ज्यहम हंतया ।
स्फुरति हृत्स्वयं परम पूर्णसत् ॥ २० ॥

ahami nāśabhā jyahama haṁtayā
sphurati hṛtsvayaṁ parama pūrṇasat


पदच्छेद: अहमि नाशभाजि अहम् अहंतया स्फुरति हृत् स्वयम्. परम पूर्ण सत्.

Padacchēda (word-separation): ahami nāśa-bhāji aham ahaṁtayā sphurati hṛt svayam. parama pūrṇa sat.

English translation: On ‘I’ undergoing annihilation, the heart shines forth spontaneously as ‘I am I’. The supreme whole reality.

Explanatory paraphrase: When ‘I’ [ego] is annihilated, the heart [the real nature of oneself] shines forth spontaneously as ‘aham aham’ [‘I am I’]. [This is] parama pūrṇa sat [the supreme whole existence, being or reality].
Upadēśa Undiyār verse 21:
நானெனுஞ் சொற்பொரு ளாமது நாளுமே
நானற்ற தூக்கத்து முந்தீபற
     நமதின்மை நீக்கத்தா லுந்தீபற.

nāṉeṉuñ coṯporu ḷāmadu nāḷumē
nāṉaṯṟa tūkkattu mundīpaṟa
     namadiṉmai nīkkattā lundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: நான் எனும் சொல் பொருள் ஆம் அது நாளுமே, நான் அற்ற தூக்கத்தும் நமது இன்மை நீக்கத்தால்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): nāṉ eṉum sol poruḷ ām adu nāḷumē, nāṉ aṯṟa tūkkattum namadu iṉmai nīkkattāl.

English translation: That is at all times the substance of the word called ‘I’, because of the exclusion of our non-existence even in sleep, which is devoid of ‘I’.

Explanatory paraphrase: That [the one that appears as ‘I am I’, namely pure awareness, which is our real nature] is at all times the substance [or true import] of the word called ‘I’, because of the exclusion of our non-existence [that is, because we do not become non-existent] even in sleep, which is devoid of ‘I’ [namely ego].
Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 21:
इदम हंपदाऽ भिख्य मन्वहम् ।
अहमि लीनकेऽ प्यलय सत्तया ॥ २१ ॥

idama haṁpadā’ bhikhya manvaham
ahami līnakē’ pyalaya sattayā


पदच्छेद: इदम् अहम् पद अभिख्यम् अन्वहम् अहमि लीनके अपि अलय सत्तया.

Padacchēda (word-separation): idam aham pada abhikhyam anvaham ahami līnakē api alaya sattayā.

English translation: This is what the word ‘I’ always refers to, being undissolvable existence even when ‘I’ is dissolved.

Explanatory paraphrase: This [the heart, our real nature, which shines forth spontaneously as ‘I am I’ when ego is annihilated] is what the word ‘I’ always refers to, [because we remain] as undissolvable existence even [in sleep] when ‘I’ [ego] is dissolved.
Upadēśa Undiyār verse 22:
உடல்பொறி யுள்ள முயிரிரு ளெல்லாஞ்
சடமசத் தானதா லுந்தீபற
     சத்தான நானல்ல வுந்தீபற.

uḍalpoṟi yuḷḷa muyiriru ḷellāñ
jaḍamasat tāṉadā lundīpaṟa
     sattāṉa nāṉalla vundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: உடல் பொறி உள்ளம் உயிர் இருள் எல்லாம் சடம் அசத்து ஆனதால், சத்து ஆன நான் அல்ல.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): uḍal poṟi uḷḷam uyir iruḷ ellām jaḍam asattu āṉadāl, sattu āṉa nāṉ alla.

English translation: Since body, mind, intellect, life and darkness are all jaḍa and asat, they are not ‘I’, which is sat.

Explanatory paraphrase: Since [the five sheaths, namely] body, life, mind, intellect and darkness [the ānandamaya kōśa, the cittam or will, which is internal darkness in the form of the dense fog of viṣaya-vāsanās, inclinations or desires to seek happiness in things other than oneself] are all jaḍa [non-aware] and asat [unreal or non-existent], they are not ‘I’, which is [cit, what is aware, and] sat [what actually exists].
Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 22:
विग्र हेन्द्रिय प्राण धीतमः ।
नाह मेकस त्तज्ज डंह्यसत् ॥ २२ ॥

vigra hēndriya prāṇa dhītamaḥ
nāha mēkasa ttajja ḍaṁhyasat


पदच्छेद: विग्रह इन्द्रिय प्राण धी तमः न अहम् एक सत् तत् जडम् हि असत्.

Padacchēda (word-separation): vigraha indriya prāṇa dhī tamaḥ na aham ēka sat tat jaḍam hi asat.

English translation: Body, mind, life, intellect and darkness are not I, the one existence, because that is non-aware and non-existent.

Explanatory paraphrase: [The five sheaths, namely] the physical body, life, mind, intellect and darkness [the ānandamaya kōśa, the cittam or will, which is internal darkness in the form of the dense fog of viṣaya-vāsanās, inclinations or desires to seek happiness in things other than oneself] are not I, the one sat [what actually exists] [and cit, what is actually aware], because that [the body consisting of these five sheaths] is jaḍa [non-aware or insentient] and asat [non-existent or unreal].
Note: The meaning of this verse is discussed in Since the five sheaths are all jaḍa and asat, they are not ‘I’, which is sat and The ānandamaya kōśa is not the darkness of ignorance but the darkness of desire.

Upadēśa Undiyār verse 23:
உள்ள துணர வுணர்வுவே றின்மையி
னுள்ள துணர்வாகு முந்தீபற
      வுணர்வேநா மாயுள முந்தீபற.

uḷḷa duṇara vuṇarvuvē ṟiṉmaiyi
ṉuḷḷa duṇarvāhu mundīpaṟa
      vuṇarvēnā māyuḷa mundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: உள்ளது உணர உணர்வு வேறு இன்மையின், உள்ளது உணர்வு ஆகும். உணர்வே நாமாய் உளம்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): uḷḷadu uṇara uṇarvu vēṟu iṉmaiyiṉ, uḷḷadu uṇarvu āhum. uṇarvē nām-āy uḷam.

English translation: Because of the non-existence of other awareness to be aware of what exists, what exists is awareness. Awareness alone exists as we.

Explanatory paraphrase: Because of the non-existence of [any] awareness other [than what exists] to be aware of what exists, what exists (uḷḷadu) is awareness (uṇarvu). Awareness alone exists as we [that is, the awareness that actually exists, namely pure awareness, which is awareness that is aware of nothing other than itself, is what we actually are].
Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 23:
सत्त्व भासिका चित्क्व वेतरा ।
सत्त याहिचि च्चित्त याह्यहम् ॥ २३ ॥

sattva bhāsikā citkva vētarā
satta yāhici ccitta yāhyaham


पदच्छेद: सत्त्व भासिका चित् क्व वा इतरा? सत्तया हि चित्. चित्तया हि अहम्.

Padacchēda (word-separation): sattva bhāsikā cit kva vā itarā? sattayā hi cit. cittayā hi aham.

English translation: Where indeed is another awareness to illumine existence? As existence is certainly awareness. As awareness is certainly ‘I’.

Explanatory paraphrase: Where indeed is [any] cit [awareness] other [than sat] to illumine sat [existence, beingness or what actually exists]? [What shines] as sat [existence] is certainly cit [awareness]. [What exists] as awareness is certainly ‘I’.
Upadēśa Undiyār verse 24:
இருக்கு மியற்கையா லீசசீ வர்க
ளொருபொரு ளேயாவ ருந்தீபற
      வுபாதி யுணர்வேவே றுந்தீபற.

irukku miyaṟkaiyā līśajī varga
ḷoruporu ḷēyāva rundīpaṟa
      vupādhi yuṇarvēvē ṟundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: இருக்கும் இயற்கையால் ஈச சீவர்கள் ஒரு பொருளே ஆவர். உபாதி உணர்வே வேறு.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): irukkum iyaṟkaiyāl īśa-jīvargaḷ oru poruḷē āvar. upādhi-uṇarvē vēṟu.

English translation: By existing nature, God and soul are just one substance. Only adjunct-awareness is different.

Explanatory paraphrase: By [their] existing nature [that is, because the real nature of each of them is what actually exists (uḷḷadu), which is pure awareness (uṇarvu)], God and soul are just one substance. Only awareness of [their] adjuncts is [what makes them seem] different [that is, whereas the soul (jīva) is aware of itself as a certain set of adjuncts, namely the five sheaths that constitute whatever person it currently seems to be, and consequently attributes certain other adjuncts to God, God always remains just as pure awareness, in the clear view of which no adjuncts exist at all].
Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 24:
ईश जीवयो र्वेष धीभिदा ।
सत्स्व भावतो वस्तु केवलम् ॥ २४ ॥

īśa jīvayō rvēṣa dhībhidā
satsva bhāvatō vastu kēvalam


पदच्छेद: ईश जीवयोः वेष धी भिदा सत् स्वभावतः वस्तु केवलम्.

Padacchēda (word-separation): īśa-jīvayōḥ vēṣa-dhī bhidā. sat-svabhāvataḥ vastu kēvalam.

English translation: Between God and soul the difference is costume-thought. By existence-nature, substance is only one.

Explanatory paraphrase: Between God and soul the difference [separation or distinction] is [only] vēṣa-dhī [costume-thought, the thought or awareness of their respective costumes, disguises or assumed appearances, namely their upādhis or adjuncts]. By [or because of] sat-svabhāva [their real nature, which is just existence or being], vastu [their substance] is only one.
Upadēśa Undiyār verse 25:
தன்னை யுபாதிவிட் டோர்வது தானீசன்
றன்னை யுணர்வதா முந்தீபற
      தானா யொளிர்வதா லுந்தீபற.

taṉṉai yupādhiviṭ ṭōrvadu tāṉīśaṉ
ḏṟaṉṉai yuṇarvadā mundīpaṟa
      tāṉā yoḷirvadā lundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: தன்னை உபாதி விட்டு ஓர்வது தான் ஈசன் தன்னை உணர்வது ஆம், தானாய் ஒளிர்வதால்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): taṉṉai upādhi viṭṭu ōrvadu tāṉ īśaṉ taṉṉai uṇarvadu ām, tāṉ-āy oḷirvadāl.

English translation: Knowing oneself leaving aside adjuncts is itself knowing God, because of shining as oneself.

Explanatory paraphrase: Knowing [or being aware of] oneself without adjuncts is itself knowing God, because [God is what is always] shining as oneself [one’s own real nature, namely pure awareness, which is oneself without any adjuncts].
Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 25:
वेष हानतः स्वात्म दर्शनम् ।
ईश दर्शनं स्वात्म रूपतः ॥ २५ ॥

vēṣa hānataḥ svātma darśanam
īśa darśanaṁ svātma rūpataḥ


पदच्छेद: वेष हानतः स्वात्म दर्शनम् ईश दर्शनम्. स्वात्म रूपतः.

Padacchēda (word-separation): vēṣa hānataḥ svātma-darśanam īśa-darśanam. svātma rūpataḥ.

English translation: By giving up costume, seeing one’s own self is seeing God, because of the form of one’s own self.

Explanatory paraphrase: By giving up [one’s own] costume [disguise or assumed appearance, namely one’s upādhis or adjuncts], svātma-darśanam [seeing one’s own self] is īśa-darśanam [seeing God], because of [God being] the form [or real nature] of one’s own self.
Upadēśa Undiyār verse 26:
தானா யிருத்தலே தன்னை யறிதலாந்
தானிரண் டற்றதா லுந்தீபற
     தன்மய நிட்டையீ துந்தீபற.

tāṉā yiruttalē taṉṉai yaṟidalān
tāṉiraṇ ḍaṯṟadā lundīpaṟa
     taṉmaya niṭṭhaiyī dundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: தான் ஆய் இருத்தலே தன்னை அறிதல் ஆம், தான் இரண்டு அற்றதால். தன்மய நிட்டை ஈது.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): tāṉ-āy iruttal-ē taṉṉai aṟidal ām, tāṉ iraṇḍu aṯṟadāl. taṉmaya niṭṭhai īdu.

English translation: Being oneself alone is knowing oneself, because oneself is devoid of two. This is tanmaya-niṣṭhā.

Explanatory paraphrase: Being oneself [that is, being as one actually is without rising to know anything else] alone is knowing oneself, because oneself [one’s real nature] is devoid of two [that is, devoid of the fundamental duality of subject and object, knower and thing known, and also devoid of any possibility of being divided as two selves, one self as a subject to know the other self as an object]. This is tanmaya-niṣṭhā [the state of being firmly fixed or established as ‘that’ (tat), the one infinite reality called brahman].
Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 26:
आत्म संस्थितिः स्वात्म दर्शनम् ।
आत्म निर्द्वया दात्म निष्ठता ॥ २६ ॥

ātma saṁsthitiḥ svātma darśanam
ātma nirdvayā dātma niṣṭhatā


पदच्छेद: आत्म संस्थितिः स्वात्म दर्शनम् आत्म निर्द्वयात्. आत्म निष्ठता.

Padacchēda (word-separation): ātma-saṁsthitiḥ svātma-darśanam ātma nirdvayāt. ātma-niṣṭhatā.

English translation: Being oneself is seeing one’s own self, because of not being two. Self-abidance.

Explanatory paraphrase: Being [or standing firmly as] oneself is svātma-darśanam [seeing one’s own self], because of [oneself] not being two [that is, since we are not two, we cannot see ourself as an object, so we can see what we actually are only by being what we actually are, namely pure awareness, sat-cit]. [This is] ātma-niṣṭhatā [being firmly and steadily fixed, standing or abiding as oneself].
Upadēśa Undiyār verse 27:
அறிவறி யாமையு மற்ற வறிவே
யறிவாகு முண்மையீ துந்தீபற
     வறிவதற் கொன்றிலை யுந்தீபற.

aṟivaṟi yāmaiyu maṯṟa vaṟivē
yaṟivāhu muṇmaiyī dundīpaṟa
     vaṟivadaṟ koṉḏṟilai yundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: அறிவு அறியாமையும் அற்ற அறிவே அறிவு ஆகும். உண்மை ஈது. அறிவதற்கு ஒன்று இலை.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): aṟivu aṟiyāmai-y-um aṯṟa aṟivē aṟivu āhum. uṇmai īdu. aṟivadaṟku oṉḏṟu ilai.

English translation: Only knowledge that is devoid of knowledge and ignorance is knowledge. This is real. There is not anything for knowing.

Explanatory paraphrase: Only knowledge [in the sense of awareness] that is devoid of knowledge and ignorance [of anything other than oneself] is [real] knowledge [or awareness]. This [alone] is [what is] real [or true], [because in the clear view of oneself as pure awareness] there is not anything [other than oneself for one either] to know [or to not know].
Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 27:
ज्ञान वर्जिताऽ ज्ञान हीनचित् ।
ज्ञान मस्तिकिं ज्ञातु मन्तरम् ॥ २७ ॥

jñāna varjitā’ jñāna hīnacit
jñāna mastikiṁ jñātu mantaram


पदच्छेद: ज्ञान वर्जिता अज्ञान हीन चित् ज्ञानम्. अस्ति किम् ज्ञातुम् अन्तरम्?

Padacchēda (word-separation): jñāna varjitā ajñāna hīna cit jñānam. asti kim jñātum antaram?

English translation: Awareness devoid of knowledge and bereft of ignorance is knowledge. Is there another to know?

Explanatory paraphrase: Cit [awareness] devoid of jñāna [knowledge or awareness (in the sense of knowledge or awareness of other things)] and bereft of ajñāna [ignorance (in the sense of ignorance of other things)] is jñāna [knowledge or awareness (in the sense of true knowledge or real awareness)]. Is there another [anything other than awareness] to know [or what else is there to know]?
Upadēśa Undiyār verse 28:
தனாதியல் யாதெனத் தான்றெரி கிற்பின்
னனாதி யனந்தசத் துந்தீபற
      வகண்ட சிதானந்த முந்தீபற.

taṉādiyal yādeṉat tāṉḏṟeri hiṟpiṉ
ṉaṉādi yaṉantasat tundīpaṟa
      vakhaṇḍa cidāṉanda mundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: தனாது இயல் யாது என தான் தெரிகில், பின் அனாதி அனந்த சத்து அகண்ட சித் ஆனந்தம்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): taṉādu iyal yādu eṉa tāṉ terihil, piṉ aṉādi aṉanta sattu akhaṇḍa cit āṉandam.

English translation: If one knows what the nature of oneself is, then beginningless, endless and unbroken existence-awareness-happiness.

Explanatory paraphrase: If one knows what the [real] nature of oneself is, then [what will remain existing and shining is only] anādi [beginningless], ananta [endless, limitless or infinite] and akhaṇḍa [unbroken, undivided or unfragmented] sat-cit-ānanda [existence-awareness-happiness].
Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 28:
किंस्व रूपमि त्यात्म दर्शने ।
अव्य याऽभवाऽऽ पूर्ण चित्सुखम् ॥ २८ ॥

kiṁsva rūpami tyātma darśanē
avya yā’bhavā” pūrṇa citsukham


पदच्छेद: किम् स्वरूपम् इति आत्म दर्शने अव्यय अभव आपूर्ण चित् सुखम्.

Padacchēda (word-separation): kim svarūpam iti ātma-darśanē avyaya abhava āpūrṇa cit-sukham.

English translation: On seeing oneself, what one’s own real nature is, imperishable unborn full awareness-happiness.

Explanatory paraphrase: When one sees oneself [by investigating] what svarūpa [one’s own real nature] is, [what will exist and shine is only] avyaya [immutable and imperishable], abhava [unborn], āpūrṇa [full, whole or complete, implying what is infinite] cit-sukham [awareness-happiness].
Upadēśa Undiyār verse 29:
பந்தவீ டற்ற பரசுக முற்றவா
றிந்த நிலைநிற்ற லுந்தீபற
     விறைபணி நிற்றலா முந்தீபற.

bandhavī ḍaṯṟa parasukha muṯṟavā
ṟinda nilainiṯṟa lundīpaṟa
     viṟaipaṇi niṯṟalā mundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: பந்த வீடு அற்ற பரசுகம் உற்றவாறு இந்த நிலை நிற்றல் இறை பணி நிற்றல் ஆம்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): bandha vīḍu aṯṟa para-sukham uṯṟa-v-āṟu inda nilai niṯṟal iṟai-paṇi niṯṟal ām.

English translation: Standing in this state, thereby experiencing supreme bliss, which is devoid of bondage and liberation, is standing in the service of God.

Explanatory paraphrase: Standing [remaining, abiding or steadfastly being] in this state [of beginningless, infinite and indivisible sat-cit-ānanda], thereby experiencing supreme bliss, which is devoid of [the dyad or duality of] bondage and liberation, is standing in the service of God [or is standing as God directed].
Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 29:
बन्ध मुक्त्यती तंप रंसुखम् ।
विन्द तीहजी वस्तु दैविकः ॥ २९ ॥

bandha muktyatī taṁpa raṁsukham
vinda tīhajī vastu daivikaḥ


पदच्छेद: बन्ध मुक्ति अतीतम् परम् सुखम् विन्दति इह जीवः तु दैविकः.

Padacchēda (word-separation): bandha mukti atītam param sukham vindati iha jīvaḥ tu daivikaḥ.

English translation: The divine soul certainly experiences here supreme happiness, which transcends bondage and liberation.

Explanatory paraphrase: The divine soul [the soul that has seen itself without adjuncts, thereby remaining as its real nature, which is the real nature of God] certainly experiences here [and now] supreme [or ultimate] happiness, which transcends [or is beyond] bondage and liberation.
Upadēśa Undiyār verse 30:
யானற் றியல்வது தேரி னெதுவது
தானற் றவமென்றா னுந்தீபற
     தானாம் ரமணேச னுந்தீபற.

yāṉaṯ ṟiyalvadu tēri ṉeduvadu
dāṉaṯ ṟavameṉḏṟā ṉundīpaṟa
     tāṉām ramaṇēśa ṉundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: ‘யான் அற்று இயல்வது தேரின் எது, அது தான் நல் தவம்’ என்றான் தான் ஆம் ரமணேசன்

Padacchēdam (word-separation): ‘yāṉ aṯṟu iyalvadu tēriṉ edu, adu-dāṉ nal tavam’ eṉḏṟāṉ tāṉ ām ramaṇēśaṉ.

English translation: ‘I ceasing, what if one knows what remains, that alone is good tapas’: thus said Lord Ramana, who is oneself.

Explanatory paraphrase: ‘What [exists and shines alone] if one knows what remains after I [ego] has ceased to exist, [just being] that [namely egoless pure awareness] alone is good tapas [spiritual austerity or asceticism]’: thus said Lord Ramana, who is oneself [one’s own real nature].
Upadēśa Sāraḥ verse 30:
अहम पेतकं निजवि भानकम् ।
महदि दंतपो रमण वागियम् ॥ ३० ॥

ahama pētakaṁ nijavi bhānakam
mahadi daṁtapō ramaṇa vāgiyam


पदच्छेद: अहम् अपेतकम् निज विभानकम् महत् इदम् तपः. रमण वाक् इयम्.

Padacchēda (word-separation): aham apētakam nija vibhānakam mahat idam tapaḥ. ramaṇa vāk iyam.

English translation: One’s own shining devoid of ‘I’, this is great tapas. This is Ramana’s saying.

Explanatory paraphrase: One’s own shining [or shining as one’s own real nature] devoid of ‘I’ [ego], this is great tapas. This is [Bhagavan] Ramana’s saying.

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