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Upadesa Sarah (Upadesa Saram) - The Essence of the Spiritual Instruction

The Essence of the Spiritual Instruction

The English translation is excerpted from the book "The Essence of the Spiritual Instruction" by Sri Ramana Maharshi, with commentary by Nome. The commentary explains all the verses in the light of the Knowledge of the Self, the Reality. Below only the translation is provided:

श्री

उपदेशसारः ||

śrī

upadeśasāraḥ ||

The Holy

Essence of the Spiritual Instruction

Note: The word for “holy” also means glorious, radiant.

प्रारभ्यते ||

prārabhyate ||

Commences

कर्तुराज्ञया प्राप्यते फलम् |

कर्म किं परं कर्म तज्जडम् || १ ||

karturājñayā prāpyate phalam |

karma kiṁ paraṁ karma tajjaḍam || 1 ||

By the command of the Creator the result is obtained.

Is karma the Supreme? That karma is inert. (1)

Note: “by the command” can be translated as from the command.

“By the command of the Creator” can be translated as by the direction of the doer.

“Doer” can be translated as maker.

“karma” means action.

कृतिमहोदधौ पतनकारणम् |

फलमशाश्वतं गतिनिरोधकम् || २ ||

kṛtimahodadhau patanakāraṇam |

phalamaśāśvataṁ gatinirodhakam || 2 ||

The non-eternal result, the cause of the falling into the great ocean of action,

Is the obstruction of progress. (2)

Note: “non-eternal” can be translated as transient.

“progress” can be translated as motion.

ईश्वरार्पितं नेच्छया कृतम् |

चित्तशोधकं मुक्तिसाधकम् || ३ ||

īśvarārpitaṁ necchayā kṛtam |

cittaśodhakaṁ muktisādhakam || 3 ||

Offered to the Lord, done not with desire,

It is a purifier of the mind, useful for Liberation. (3)

Note: “done not with desire” can be translated as done not according to desire.

“it” is implied.

“useful for” can be translated as a practice for, accomplishing.

कायवाङ्मनः कार्यमुत्तमम् |

पूजनं जपश्चिन्तनं क्रमात् || ४ ||

kāyavāṅmanaḥ kāryamuttamam |

pūjanaṁ japaścintanaṁ kramāt || 4 ||

To be done with the body, speech, and mind,

Worship, japa, and contemplation are superior in that succession. (4)

Note: “to be done” can be translated as to be practiced.

“with” is implied.

“worship” is puja.

“japa” is repetition of a mantra.

“contemplation” can be translated as reflection, thinking.

“that” is implied.

“succession” can be translated as proceeding, order.

“in that succession” can be translated as because of the order.

The word for “superior” appears in the first line of the Sanskrit text and can be interpreted as pertaining to “the body, speech, and mind,” as well as to their respective practices.

जगत ईशधीयुक्तसेवनम् |

अष्टमूर्तिभृद्देवपूजनम् || ५ ||

jagata īśadhīyuktasevanam |

aṣṭamūrtibhṛddevapūjanam || 5 ||

Worship united with the understanding that the universe is the Lord

Is worship of God bearing eight forms. (5)

Service of the world united with the understanding of God

Is worship of God bearing eight forms. (5)

Worship with the mind united with the Lord of the universe

Is worship of God bearing eight forms. (5)

Note: “the universe” in the first translation is literally of the universe.

The word for “worship” in the first line also means service.

In the Tamil version, the first line states only “worshiping” according to Sri Sadhu Om and Michael James.

The word for understanding can also mean mind, meditation, spiritual thought.

“bearing” can be translated as wearing.

The eight forms are the earth, water, fire, air, space, the sun, the moon, and humankind.

उत्तमस्तवादुच्चमन्दतः |

चित्तजं जपध्यानमुत्तमम् || ६ ||

uttamastavāduccamandataḥ |

cittajaṁ japadhyānamuttamam || 6 ||

Superior to hymns of praise is loud or soft japa;

Mind-born japa-meditation is the best. (6)

Than the best hymns of praise, loud or soft,

Mind-born japa or meditation is better. (6)

Note: “Superior to hymns of praise” can also be translated as better than excellent praise, in which “better” is to be inferred.

“loud” can be translated as intense.

“or” in the first line is implied.

“soft” can be translated as gentle, slow.

“japa” in the first line is implied.

“Mind-born” can be translated as mental. Citta-jam, mind-born, also means love or heart-born.

“or” in the second line is implied.

आज्यधारया स्रोतसा समम् |

सरलचिन्तनं विरलतः परम् || ७ ||

ājyadhārayā srotasā samam |

saralacintanaṁ viralataḥ param || 7 ||

Like a stream of ghee or the even current of a river,

Continuous contemplation is superior to that which is intermittent. (7)

Note: “stream” can be translated as flow, current.

“or” is implied.

“even” can be translated as smooth, equivalent.

The first line can be translated as:

By a ghee-stream or by a smooth river current,

“continuous” can be translated as correct, straight, sincere.

“contemplation” can be translated as reflection.

“superior to” can be translated as better than, beyond.

“intermittent” can be translated as interrupted, with interstices, sparse.

भेदभावनात्सोऽहमित्यसौ |

भावनाऽभिदा पावनी मता || ८ ||

bhedabhāvanātso'hamityasau |

bhāvanā'bhidā pāvanī matā || 8 ||

Better than a conception of difference is that “I am He,” thus.

Meditation without difference is considered holy. (8)

Note: “Better” is implied.

The same word for “conception” in the first line is translated as “meditation” in the second line. In the first line, it can be translated as conception, meditation, or imagination.

“of difference” can be translated as with differentiation.

Therefore, the first phrase of the first line can be translated as Better than meditation with differentiation.

“I am He” is literally He I am.

“without difference” can be translated as without split, without separation.

“holy” can be translated as purifying.

In the Tamil version, the meaning in line two is, “is preferable” according to B. V. Narasimhaswami.

भावशून्यसद्भावसुस्थितिः |

भावनाबलाद्भक्तिरुत्तमा || ९ ||

bhāvaśūnyasadbhāvasusthitiḥ |

bhāvanābalādbhaktiruttamā || 9 ||

Devoid of bhava is being well-established in true Existence.

From the strength of meditation is the supreme devotion. (9)

Note: “bhava” (bhāva) means conception, thought, supposition, state, becoming, world.

“true Existence” can be translated as true Being.

“is being well-established in true Existence” can be translated as is the well-being of true Being, or as is the excellent position of Real Being.

“the supreme” can be translated as the highest.

हृत्स्थले मनः स्वस्थता क्रिया |

भक्तियोगबोधाश्च निश्चितम् || १० ||

hṛtsthale manaḥ svasthatā kriyā |

bhaktiyogabodhāśca niścitam || 10 ||

The mind in the place of the Heart is Self-abidance;

This is certainly action, devotion, yoga, and Knowledge. (10)

Note: “place” can be translated as ground.

“Self-abidance” can be translated as being the Self, being in one’s own natural state, being at ease.

“This is” is implied.

“action” can be translated as purificatory action, ritual.

“yoga” can be translated as union.

“certainly” can be translated as it is ascertained.

The Tamil text begins this verse with, “Absorption in the source,” according to B. V. Narasimhaswami.

वायुरोधनाल्लीयते मनः |

जालपक्षिवद्रोधसाधनम् || ११ ||

vāyurodhanāllīyate manaḥ |

jālapakṣivadrodhasādhanam || 11 ||

From control of prana, the mind dissolves;

Like a bird in a net, it is a means for control. (11)

Note: The word interpreted as “prana” means breath, air. “Prana” means vital air, life breath, vitality, animating life-energy.

“dissolves” can be translated as disappears, settles, adheres.

“a means” can be translated as a practice.

“control” can be translated as prevention, checking.

चित्तवायवश्चित्क्रियायुताः |

शाखयोर्द्वयी शक्तिमूलका || १२ ||

cittavāyavaścitkriyāyutāḥ |

śākhayordvayī śaktimūlakā || 12 ||

Mind and prana are Consciousness combined with activity

And are two branches rooted in sakti. (12)

Note: vāyavaḥ literally means relating to wind or air. It is interpreted here as “prana” and could be translated as breaths or prana-s.

“combined with” can be translated as connected to, endowed with.

The first line can be translated as:

Mind and prana are the connections of Consciousness and activity.

The first line can also be translated as:

Mind and prana are combined with (connected to) the activity of Consciousness.

“and are two branches” is literally of two branches or from two branches.

“sakti” means power.

“rooted in sakti” can be translated as of the same source of power. “same” is implied.

लयविनाशने उभयरोधने |

लयगतं पुनर्भवति नो मृतम् || १३ ||

layavināśane ubhayarodhane |

layagataṁ punarbhavati no mṛtam || 13 ||

Dissolution and utter destruction are both control.

The dissolved again becomes, not the dead. (13)

Note: “are both control” can be translated as are two kinds of control.

प्राणबन्धनाल्लीनमानसम् |

एकचिन्तनान्नाशमेत्यदः || १४ ||

prāṇabandhanāllīnamānasam |

ekacintanānnāśametyadaḥ || 14 ||

From the binding of the prana, the mind is dissolved.

From one thought, that reaches destruction. (14)

Note: “binding” can be translated as suppressing.

“is dissolved” can be translated as merges.

“From one thought” can be translated as from thinking of the One, from contemplating the One, from a singular contemplation.

“reaches” can be translated as enters into, comes to.

In the Tamil version, instead of “from one thought,” the second line begins with the one path or the path of knowing or the path of becoming one, according to Sri Sadhu Om and Michael James.

नष्टमानसोत्कृष्टयोगिनः |

कृत्यमस्ति किं स्वस्थितिं यतः || १५ ||

naṣṭamānasotkṛṣṭayoginaḥ |

kṛtyamasti kiṁ svasthitiṁ yataḥ || 15 ||

For the exalted yogi, with mind destroyed,

Is there anything to be done, since his Self-abidance? (15)

For the exalted yogi, with mind destroyed,

Because of his Self-abidance, is there anything to be done? (15)

With mind destroyed, for the exalted yogi,

What is there to be done? For which reason is his Self-abidance. (15)

Note: “exalted” can be translated as excellent.

mānasa, translated as “mind,” means belonging to the mind or in the mind.

“Self-abidance” can be translated as abidance in his own natural state.

The word translated as “since,” “because,” and “for which reason” can be translated as of which, as, because of which.

दृश्यवारितं चित्तमात्मनः |

चित्त्वदर्शनं तत्त्वदर्शनम् || १६ ||

dṛśyavāritaṁ cittamātmanaḥ |

cittvadarśanaṁ tattvadarśanam || 16 ||

The seen warded off, the mind is of the Self.

The revelation of Consciousness is the revelation of the Truth. (16)

The seen warded off, the mind is of the Self,

Is the revelation of Consciousness. This is the revelation of Truth. (16)

Note: “The seen” can be translated as the perceivable, the objective.

“warded off” can be translated as prevented.

“The seen warded off” can be translated as turned away from the seen.

“revelation” can be translated as perception.

“the mind is of the Self” can be translated as the mind itself, though this translation is potentially applicable only in the second interpretation.

In the second interpretation, “this is” is inferred.

In the Tamil version, the equivalent of the first line says: The mind knowing its own form of light, according to Sri Sadhu Om and Michael James or its own effulgent form according to B. V. Narasimhaswami.

मानसं तु किं मार्गणे कृते |

नैव मानसं मार्ग आर्जवात् || १७ ||

mānasaṁ tu kiṁ mārgaṇe kṛte |

naiva mānasaṁ mārga ārjavāt || 17 ||

What, then, is the mind? Upon seeking,

There is not, indeed, the mind. This is the direct path. (17)

Note: “seeking” can be translated as investigating, searching.

“upon seeking” can be translated as upon having made the searching, on the investigation being made.

“This is” is implied.

“direct” can be translated as straight.

वृत्तयस्त्वहंवृत्तिमाश्रिताः |

वृत्तयो मनो विद्ध्यहं मनः || १८ ||

vṛttayastvahaṁvṛttimāśritāḥ |

vṛttayo mano viddhyahaṁ manaḥ || 18 ||

Modes of the mind, now, are dependent on the “I” mode.

Modes are the mind; know the “I” is the mind. (18)

Note: “of the mind” is implied.

vṛtti means mode or condition of the mind and, thus, by interpretation, a notion or a thought or an activity of the mind. vṛtti can also be translated as mood of the mind.

“the ‘I’ mode” can be translated as “I” notion.

अहमयं कुतो भवति चिन्वतः |

अयि पतत्यहं निजविचारणम् || १९ ||

ahamayaṁ kuto bhavati cinvataḥ |

ayi patatyahaṁ nijavicāraṇam || 19 ||

From where does this “I” come to be? From one who knows,

Oh! the “I” falls. This is Self-inquiry. (19)

Note: “come to be” can be translated as become.

“knows” can be translated as comprehends, is attentive, thus fixes his mind.

“This is” is implied.

“Self-inquiry” can be translated as constant inquiry, one’s own inquiry, inquiry into the Innate.

अहमि नाशभाज्यहमहंतया |

स्फुरति हृत्स्वयं परमपूर्णसत् || २० ||

ahami nāśabhājyahamahaṁtayā |

sphurati hṛtsvayaṁ paramapūrṇasat || 20 ||

Upon the destruction of the “I,” as “I,” “I,”

Shines the Heart, by itself, the supreme, perfect fullness of Being. (20)

Note: bhāji means participating in, connected to, resorting to, relating to, in which is conspicuous. So, “Upon the destruction of the ‘I’” can be translated as connected with the destruction of the “I” or as in which the destruction of the “I” is conspicuous.

“by itself” can be translated as of its own.

इदमहंपदाभिख्यमन्वहम् |

अहमिलीनकेऽप्यलयसत्तया || २१ ||

idamahaṁpadābhikhyamanvaham |

ahamilīnake'pyalayasattayā || 21 ||

This is viewed as the word “I;” every day,

Even upon the dissolution of “I,” it is undissolved as Being. (21)

This is viewed as the “I” portion; every day,

Even upon the dissolution of “I,” it is undissolved as Being. (21)

The first line may also be translated as:

This is viewed as the word “I” following (along with) “I.”

This is viewed as the “I” portion following (along with) “I.”

This “I” word is viewed according to “I.”

This “I” portion is viewed according to “I.”

The second line may also be translated as:

Upon the dissolution of the “I,” though, the undissolved Being is.

Upon the dissolution of the “I,” though, it is undissolved Being by nature.

Upon the dissolution of the “I,” though, it is undissolved on account of Existence.

Note: “viewed as” can be translated as called by.

The word for “word” and “portion” also means abode, characteristic, state.

anvaham, “every day,” can also be interpreted as anu-aham, following I, along with I, according to I.

“Upon the dissolution” can be translated as in dissolution.

“dissolution” can be translated as merger.

ahami-līna-ke'pi means upon “I” dissolution whatsoever.

“Being” can be translated as Existence.

According to all of the English translations of the Tamil text, in reference to “everyday,” the Tamil version says, “even in sleep.”

विग्रहेन्द्रियप्राणधीतमः |

नाहमेकसत्तज्जडं ह्यसत् || २२ ||

vigrahendriyaprāṇadhītamaḥ |

nāhamekasattajjaḍaṁ hyasat || 22 ||

The body, the senses, the prana, the intellect and ignorance

Are not I, the one Being. That is inert, for it is unreal. (22)

Note: “intellect” can also be translated as intelligence.

“ignorance” can be translated as darkness.

“Being” can be translated as Existence.

“for” can be translated as indeed.

“it is” is implied.

“unreal” can be translated as nonexistent.

The entire collection of the body, etc., is treated as a single unreality, tat “that.”

सत्त्वभासिका चित्क्ववेतरा |

सत्तया हि चिच्चित्तया ह्यहम् || २३ ||

sattvabhāsikā citkvavetarā |

sattayā hi ciccittayā hyaham || 23 ||

The illuminator of Existence is Consciousness. Where is there another?

As Existence is, indeed, Consciousness, as Consciousness, indeed, is “I.” (23)

Note: The second line can be translated as:

Existence, by nature, is indeed Consciousness. Consciousness, by nature, is indeed “I.”

ईशजीवयोर्वेषधीभिदा |

सत्स्वभावतो वस्तु केवलम् || २४ ||

īśajīvayorveṣadhībhidā |

satsvabhāvato vastu kevalam || 24 ||

Of both the Lord and the individual, the assumed appearance and intelligence are the difference.

Being’s own Existence is the Reality that alone is. (24)

Of both the Lord and the individual, activity and intelligence are the distinction.

The true own Existence is the Reality that alone is. (24)

Of both the Lord and the individual, the thought of the assumed appearance is the difference.

Being’s own Existence is the Reality that alone is. (24)

Note: “difference” and “distinction” can be translated as separation.

In the Tamil version, the phrase that pertains to difference translates as, “Adjunct knowledge alone is different,” according to Sri Sadhu Om and Michael James.

वेषहानतः स्वात्मदर्शनम् |

ईशदर्शनं स्वात्मरूपतः || २५ ||

veṣahānataḥ svātmadarśanam |

īśadarśanaṁ svātmarūpataḥ || 25 ||

The abandonment of the assumed appearance is the revelation of one’s own Self.

The revelation of the Lord is the state of the nature of one’s own Self. (25)

Note: “abandonment” can be translated as relinquishment.

“revelation” can be translated as perception.

“one’s own” can be translated as the true.

आत्मसंस्थितिः स्वात्मदर्शनम् |

आत्मनिर्द्वयादात्मनिष्ठता || २६ ||

ātmasaṁsthitiḥ svātmadarśanam |

ātmanirdvayādātmaniṣṭhatā || 26 ||

Complete abidance as the Self is the revelation of one’s own Self.

Because there are not two of the Self, there is firm Self-Abidance. (26)

Note: “revelation” can be translated as

perception.

“one’s own” can be translated as the true.

“there is” is implied.

The second line can be translated as:

Because there are not two kinds of Self, there is firm Self-abidance.

ज्ञानवर्जिताऽज्ञानहीनचित् |

ज्ञानमस्ति किं ज्ञातुमन्तरम् || २७ ||

jñānavarjitā'jñānahīnacit |

jñānamasti kiṁ jñātumantaram || 27 ||

Knowledge abandoned, ignorance abandoned, Consciousness is.

Is there knowledge to know difference? (27)

Knowledge abandoned, ignorance abandoned, Consciousness

Is Knowledge. Is there another to know? (27)

Knowledge excluded, ignorance excluded, Consciousness is

Knowledge. Is there any difference to know? (27)

Note: “abandoned” can be translated as excluded.

“difference” can be translated as another.

The word for “difference” or “another” can also mean interior, intimate, the heart, the supreme soul. So, an interpretation of the second line could be: Is there knowledge to know the interior? The Tamil text does not seem to lend itself to this interpretation.

किं स्वरूपमित्यात्मदर्शने |

अव्ययाभवापूर्णचित्सुखम् || २८ ||

kiṁ svarūpamityātmadarśane |

avyayābhavāpūrṇacitsukham || 28 ||

For the sake of clarity, some editions of the Sanskrit text print the second line as:

अव्ययाऽभवाऽऽपूर्णचित्सुखम्

avyayā'bhavā''pūrṇacitsukham ||

“What is the true nature?” thus. Upon the revelation of the Self,

It is immutable, birthless, making perfectly full, Consciousness-Happiness. (28)

“What is one’s own nature?” thus. In the perception of the Self,

It is imperishable, non-entity, satiating, Consciousness-Happiness. (28)

Note: “true nature” can be translated as one’s own nature.

“upon” can be translated as in.

“revelation” can be translated as perception.

“immutable” can be translated as imperishable.

“birthless” can be translated as non-entity.

“making perfectly full” can be translated as satiating.

बन्धमुक्त्यतीतं परं सुखम् |

विन्दतीह जीवस्तु दैविकः || २९ ||

bandhamuktyatītaṁ paraṁ sukham |

vindatīha jīvastu daivikaḥ || 29 ||

Beyond bondage and liberation, the supreme happiness,

He finds here that the jiva is certainly the Divine. (29)

Beyond bondage and liberation,

The divine living being finds here, then, the Supreme Happiness. (29)

Beyond bondage and liberation is the Absolute Happiness;

The living being finds now, certainly, the Divine. (29)

Note: “the supreme happiness” may be interpreted as the Supreme, Happiness.

“here” may be translated as “now.”

“the jiva” means the individual, the life.

“certainly” may be translated as but, then.

“Supreme” may be translated as Absolute.

अहमपेतकं निजविभानकम् |

महदिदं तपो रमणवागियम् || ३० ||

ahamapetakaṁ nijavibhānakam |

mahadidaṁ tapo ramaṇavāgiyam || 30 ||

Free from “I,” the innate Light,

This is great tapas; this is the saying of Ramana. (30)

Free from “I” is the innate Light;

This is great tapas; this is the saying of Ramana. (30)

Free from “I” is the constant Light;

This is great tapas; this is the saying of Ramana. (30)

Note: “Free from ‘I’” can be translated as “I” gone.

“innate” can be translated as constant.

nija-vibhānakam can also be interpreted as the Light of the Self, or the Light of one’s own Self.

Tapas (tapaḥ) is intense meditation or fiery austerity.

“the saying” can be translated as the spoken word, the speech.