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The Essence of the Spiritual Instruction


Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi



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The Upadesa Sarah (Upadesa Saram) by Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi.

Translated with Commentary by Nome.


Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, abiding in the eternal Silence of the Self, composed The Essence of Spiritual Instruction for the supreme good of all in response to the supplications of the devoted Muruganar. The poet-devotee was writing in Tamil the story of the wayward rishis who dwelled in the Daruka forest and practiced rites for the attainment of powers that they desired. Their egos humbled by Siva and perceiving the error of their approach, they humbly sought spiritual instruction from Siva. Siva graciously bestowed the instruction, and it is these teachings that Muruganar requested Sri Bhagavan, Siva himself, to reveal in verse form. So, the Maharshi composed thirty verses in Tamil. Later, Sri Bhagavan translated them into Sanskrit. The Tamil version is entitled Upadesa Undiyar, and the Sanskrit version is entitled Upadesa Sarah and is also referred to as Upadesa Saram.


This work is the English translation of the Sanskrit Upadesa Sarah. With  each verse there is a ten-point commentary emphasizing the profound  significance of the verse for those practicing Self-inquiry in the quest of nondual Self-Knowledge.


An appendix that contains just the Sanskrit text with transliteration is included for ease of recitation and similar purposes.


First Edition, 2011, Pages xii + 60, Paperback
ISBN: 9780981940939


Blog post: The Essence of the Spiritual Instruction


An excerpt from the book:


Verse 3:

Offered to the Lord, done not with desire,
It is a purifier of the mind, useful for Liberation.

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.



  1. The Lord, the Supreme Self of all, is Bliss.
  2. That happiness is alone desired in all desires.
  3. The object associated with desire is inert. The essence of the desire is for the bliss, which is within.
  4. One who knows this abandons desire, abides unattached, and is happy within
  5. The same thing that binds in ignorance becomes a means to, or an expression of, spiritual freedom in wisdom. Freedom is in the Lord. The experience of action changes from binding to liberating by offering.
  6. That which is offered to the Lord does not bind, for it is not based upon misidentification and attachment.
  7. An impure mind is one that believes its own imagination, in which the forms of misidentification and attachment are conceived and adhered to, which pursues happiness elsewhere, and which is confused due to its own extroversion. A pure mind, introspective and keenly discerning, loses its form and remains happily only as pure Consciousness.
  8. Egoism is the veil. Offering all to the Lord, who is the Master without other, leaves no scope for the ego. Whatever diminishes the ego is purifying and is a fit, joyous offering to the Lord.
  9. The action, itself, does not purify, but the Knowledge essence, which discerns the all-importance of God and the utter unimportance of the ego, clears the mind of attachment to the external so that an inquiry that reveals the Truth of the Self commences to shine.
  10. Offering is characterized by the relinquishment of “I” and “mine” and Liberation by their nonexistence.