What is Nonduality
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SRI BHAGAWAN RAMANA MAHARSHI
Ra Kumar Sankar, translator
Sri Bhagawan's Tamil
Non-dualistic masterpiece "Existence Forty"
was given the title because, it contains 40 verses on the One Existence of the Self.
Sri Bhagawan added one word at the beginning of each verse.
These words at the beginning connect the succeeding verses with the preceding verses
both in terms of the syntax as well the semantics.
And thus, He rendered all the 40 verses into a single verse.
This makes the recitation of the whole text easy for those inclined to memorise and recite.
This then is the unique method of composition of the
great compact non-dualistic scriptural masterpiece "Existence Forty" by Sri Bhagawan.
Introductory Verse 1
1 With Muruganar saying (to Sri Bhagawan),
2 "For us to Escape from Sorrow and Attain to (Immortal) Life,
(Please) Tell us the Nature of the Truth and the Method of Merging into It",
3 by (His) Natural Light-Form that paves the way for the Ignorance of the Illusory World,
4 the Dreamy Ramana (to whom the world was, as it were, a dream),
(having been) delighted (by hearing the appropriate request from Sri Muruganar),
decisively uttered the "Existence Forty".
Introductory Verse 2
Think, " 1 'Existence is One', only thus, (Him)self (having) instructed,
2 (and having) rendered those 40 (many) 'Existence Forty' veNpAs
(one type of Tamil 4-line verses, complying with Tamil poetic grammar)
into One kaliveNpA (one verse subtype of the veNpA verse type) and
3 (Bhagawan Sri) Ramana appropriately granted (that One kaliveNpA),
4 in a manner that those saying 'Existence is not One, but many' may assimilate."
Introducing Auspiciousness Verse 1
" 1 Apart from Existence, does the (Ever-)Present Awareness abide ?
2 Because the (Ever-)Present Truth abides in the 'Heart' without thinking,
3 who is 'he', (the one, who is) thinking of the (Ever-)Present Truth, called 'The Heart' ?
4 Thinking (of the Truth) is only '(being) That (which is) abiding
in the Heart as (It) Exists' "
(thus) perceive (and)....
Introducing Auspiciousness Verse 2
... -- Inwardly
" 1 abiding with the 'fear of death crossing measure', those people,
2 as (a) 'shield' (against that 'measureless' fear of death),
will adjoin only the ('Safety' of the Lotus) Feet of Mahesa,
(He, the One) without the 'becoming of death'.
3 With their (such) adjoining, (them)selves (having) attained to death,
4 will (they, having become one, with) the Deathless Eternal One,
adjoin the 'thought of death' ?
... -- (Outward-)Vision-adjoining(-)
" 1 Because (-)we see (a) world,
2 admitting (the) One Source with (a) manifold Power is Essential. -
3 The (apparently-real, awe-inspiring, most-beautiful) Drawing of Name and Form,
(One of us,) the Seer (of that Drawing), the adjoining Canvas, the Filling-Light,
4 'all that' is 'He, the Self'...."
... ('The)World(,) - (the) Creator (and the) Soul
" 1 (these) three primals (entities), every metaphysical instruction will first uphold.
2 'Only the One Primal (Entity) abides becoming (the) three primals (entities)', (or)
'At all times, (all the) 3 primals (entities) are only (the) 3 primals (entities)',
3 to say (thus), is only as long as (there) is the ego (body-consciousness).
4 With the (ego of) 'I am (this body', having) ceased,
to abide in the Self-State, is(!) (the) foremost (State)...
... -- Doubtlessly,
" 1 '(the) world is true (or) false appearance,
(the) world is(!) (or, is) not to be known,
(the) world is (or) is not bliss',
2 thus stating (is of) what (avail ?)
3 Giving up the (attention to) the world
(and) enquiring (into) the Self,
(with the differentiation of 'the) one-two' ceased,
4 that State, with the self (of 'I-am-this-body-notion') ceased,
is(!) of 'One-Nature' to all..."
... only by flesh -- packed,
" 1 the form, if (one)self is, (the) world (and) God, are of that nature (gross).
2 If (one)self is not the form, (and) if (one) pours forth the form,
3 who-who (He, She and It) is the One, coming to sight (the form) ?
Does a View exist apart from the Eye (, the Viewer) ?
4 That Eye (,the Viewer) alone is the Endless Eye (, the View).
... -- If (you) think,
" 1 because the body is of the form of five sheath(/s_,
2 (all) the five (sheaths) will abide constituting (the) 'body' -
3 Without (the) body, does the world abide ?
4 Leaving (aside) the body, does '(any)one having seen the world' abide ? "
... -- (the) seen-
" 1 -world is of the form of (the) 5 senses (and) is not (any) other.
2 That(/ose) 5 sense(/s) are(!) the knowledge for the 5 sense-organ(/s).
3 For, (the) one mind perceives the world through the 5 sense-organs,
4 proclaim, asking (as to whether) the world is(!) apart from the mind...
... (the) frontally - abided
1 world-(and its)-perception, though rising (and) sinking simultaneously,
2 world will shine by perception (it)self - world-(and its)-perception,
3 as the abode for (their) rising and sinking, shining without rising (and) sinking,
4 That Fullness alone is the Real (Self).
... -- (the) indicative- 1 -name-whichever-assigning, (the indicative-)form-whichever-worshipping,
2 though that is a way for seeing That Truth in the merging-Huge-Vastness,
3 perceiving the Truth of the Self in the Truth of That Real-Truth, (and)
4 compacting and merging (therein alone !) is seeing in Truth, (thus) perceive...
... -- (the) smell-(of)-blemish- 1 -diads (and) triads, always abide attached to (the) one (ego),
2 'Wherefrom is that one (ego)?' thus seeing within (one's) attention,
3 those (diads and triads) will slip away, those seeing (thus) alone,
4 (have) seen the Truth, (and they) will not confound (themselves with the ego),
... Like darkness -- speedily-accruing-densely 1 ignorance (that similarly accrues) without, knowledge is(!) not,
2 knowledge without, that ignorance becomes non-existent,
3 'that (/those) - knowledge-and-ignorance,
for whom (are speedily-accruing-densely) ?', thus (enquiring),
4 (the) knowledge that knows (the) Self,
that Source (of knowledge-and-ignorance), alone is(!) Knowledge.
... -- For knowing,
1 knowledge-adjoining, (the) Self, without knowing, 2 knowing (the) other, not being ignorance -- is (it) Knowledge ? 3 (The) Basis of (the-)knowledge-(and-the)-other(than-Self),
the Self, Knowing,
4 knowledge-(and)-ignorance will cease(!)
... -- Fully,
1 knowledge-(and)-ignorance, (having) become non-existent, is(!) Knowledge.
2 (The-)knowing 'that', does not become True Knowledge - For knowing
3 (and) for declaring (that knowing), without any other, because of shining,
4 (It, the Self) is(!) Knowledge (and) not Void, (you) know thus...
... -- " (The) Fullness of
1 Knowledge that is(!) the Self, alone is True. (The) Variety of
2 knowledge is(!) ignorance. Even that guise (insubstantial) of ignorance -
is not apart from (the) Self that is(!) (the Fullness of) Knowledge.
3 Even the many ornaments (them)selves are a guise (insubstantial, for gold).
4 'Do (these) exist apart from the (constituent) gold that is(!) True ?, Say'. "
... " 'Body (am) I' -- thus, that
1 self if (it) exists, the second and third persons (them)selves will abide as existing.
2 Investigating (into) the Truth of the Self -- if the ('Body am I') self ceases,
3 the second and third persons ceasing, as the One shining,
4 (the) Self alone, (is it)self the State of OneSelf...
... " Perpetually -- -anchored-abiding-
1 -Present, attached to (that Present), the Past and the Future stand (abiding).
2 While occurring, even those (Past and Future) are the Present alone -
The Present is One only.
3 Without investigating into the Truth now,
to 'arise and rush (out)' to 'investigate' into the Past and the Future,
4 is (much akin) to 'arise and rush (out)' to 'count'
without (reckoning the number) one (for the count)...
... " To perceive (the Time and the World as the other) -- (the) abided-Truth
1 'We', apart from, where is the Time, where is the World ? While investigating,
2 if we are the body(/ies), we will fall within Time (and) World. --
Are we the body(/ies) ?
3 We are 'one' this day, that day (and on) all days,
(in) the world here, there (and) everywhere, yes.
4 We exist, we, (the ones) without Time (and) World...
"... (the) Corpse, -- that is(,) This
1 body, is 'I' only *, for those not perceiving the Self (and)
for those (who have) perceived the Self.
2 Of the measure of the body alone is 'I', for those not perceiving (the) Self -
Inside the body,
3 for those (who have) perceived the Self, only boundlessly shines the 'I'.
This alone (is)
4 (the) difference between them", think thus.
* To be read as "This body, that is the corpse, is 'I' only".
The Tamil poetic construction appears thus, due to the unique syntax of Tamil.
"... --- Frontally(-appearing)-
1 -world is True for those without (and) with (Self-)Awareness.
2 World is the Limit(!), for those not perceiving the Truth. --- For the world,
3 as the Substratum, with Form having ceased, will Fill,
the Truth of those (who have) perceived the Truth.
4 That is(!) the difference (between) these (the ones not perceiving the Truth and the ones who have perceived the Truth)."
"... --- '(The) Different
1 Fate-Free-Will-Source (the Ego) -Discrimination' only for those without,
2 '(the) Fate-Free-Will-(one) winning (over the other)-debate' --
For the 'Fate-Free-Will',
3 (the) One Source, (the) Self (which is), those (who) perceived,
will not go (have recourse) to them (Fate and Free-Will),
4 Will they then adjoin them (Fate and Free-Will) ?"
The ego performs actions holding on to different bodies in different births.
The One Personal God whose body is this universe (Ishwara),
determines at the time of each new embodiment of the ego,
His selection from the accumulation of the impressions of the actions of the ego,
to bear fruit during the course of each such subsequent embodiment of the ego.
Therefore, the doer and the enjoyer is the same ego,
although in different bodies in different births.
The ego is the doer or the one exercising the free-will.
The same ego is the experiencer of 'the fruits of actions selected by Ishwara',
or 'the fate', in its subsequent embodiments.
Only for those lacking this discriminatory sense, there can be the debate,
"Does fate win over free-will or does free-will win over fate ?".
Both free-will and fate exist only in relation to the ego.
And, for this ego, the Source is the Supreme Self.
The Self is absolutely non-dual and is never the doer or the experiencer.
Hence, those abiding in the Self, will not have recourse to this debate.
Because, for having recourse to this debate,
one must first of all have ego or the body-consciousness.
If the experiencer of the Self will not proceed to delimit the Self by holding on to the body,
will he adjoin the debate of one of them (fate or free-will) winning over the other,
such debate being the extension of one's own delimited body-consciousness ?
"... --- Those (things) adjoining (one's view)
1 (the) seeing (-)self, leaving (aside from its attention it)self,
and (the seeing) self seeing God (apart from itself),
2 (is the) apparent mind-filled view. (The Supreme) Self -- he(/she) who sees
3 alone, has beheld, God, the Source of (the seeing) self,
with the (seeing) self departing,
4 on account of (the seeing) self, not existing apart from God (the Supreme Self)...
""... 'As the Soul --- (one)self considering
1 (the) Self, (one)self seeing, (is, the) Lord (Him)self, seeing,
2 thus (being stated) many text Truth, what (is its meaning?)',
if (you thus) asked, (then, the answer is) -- "(The) Self (It)self
3 seeing (is) 'who, the He' ? For the Self being One,
if (It) cannot be seen, (the) Lord
4 seeing (is) 'who, the He' ? (For the objectively seeing ego to truly see, is)
to become the Prey (to the Eternal Seer, the Self) See...""
"Any things --- seeing,
1 to (the)intellect light giving, that intellect within, will shine (the Self).
2 (The) intellect, (deep) inside (the Spiritual Heart),
preventing (from rising up and rushing out) -- in the Abode (of the Self),
3 burying except, the Abode (of the Self), by the intellect,
4 to delimit how, stir (your intellect thus)...
" --- Because of not being sentient,
1 'I am', thus this body will not utter. At (during) sleep,
2 'I am not', thus whosoever does not utter -- As 'I (am this body)'
3 after rising, all will rise (to the vision of this delimited 'I am this body' thought).
'This (delmited 'I am this body' thought or 'ego') where-
4 (-from) does arise?', thus with subtle intellect upon regarding, --
(this 'ego' limited to the body) will slip away.
"1 'Insentient body' will not say 'I'. 'Existence-Awareness' (, the Self) will not 'arise'
(as the 'ego-self' delimited by the 'insentient body').
2 (With the insentient) 'Body' as the 'delimiter', one 'I' will 'arise' -- in between
(the sentient Self and the insentient body), this (one, called variously as), 3 (the) 'Sentience-Insentience-Knot', 'Bondage', '(Individual) Soul',
'Subtle Body', 'Ego',
4 'This Transmigratory Existence', (and) 'Mind'.", think (thus.)
"...What -- (a) magical functioning (!)
1 Holding fast to form, (the ego) exists, yes.
Holding fast to form, (the ego) endures.
2 Holding fast to form, (and) feeding (thereupon),
(the ego) aggrandises (itself) much -- Leaving aside (one) form,
3 (the ego) will hold fast to (another) form. If searched for, will take to heels,
4 the ghost-ego, without (a fixed) form," (you) reckon thus.
"... --- That (which) is(!) the embryo,
1 the ego, if (it) is (existing), everything arises (i.e. rises up into existence).
2 The ego, if (it) is not, everything is not (existing). --- The ego alone
3 is(!) all-things, therefore, 'What is this?', to seek (it) thus alone
4 is casting aside (renouncing) all-things",
"... Like (the) capital --- (first-)adjoining, 'this-(body-am)
1 -I(-sense)-not-arising' existing-state (is the),
'We as That' existing-state.
2 '(This body am-)I(-sense)-springing that-place' not-seeking --
(This body am-)I-(sense)-not-arising
3 self-loss adjoining is who, the he ? Not-adjoining (the self-loss selfless state), Self-That-Is
4 Self-State-In abiding is who, the he ? " utter...
Capital is the first thing that adjoins a business.
Likewise, 'This body am I sense' or the ego, first adjoins us, when we wake up.
Prior to waking up, we existed without this ego arising.
And, that is the State in which we exist as That Supreme Self.
We have to seek that place wherefrom this ego springs up.
Without seeking that ego-Source, we cannot adjoin the state of egoless ego-loss.
Without adjoining That egoless state,
we cannot abide in the State of the Self,
in which the Self is That Supreme Being.
"... --- first
1 -arising ego rising-abode(,) in-water
2 (the-)fell thing-to-see desiring --- drowning-like(,)
3 (the-)merging-intellect -with(,) speech -breath hidden -holding(,) inwards
4 -sinking(,) perceive must(,) know (thus)."
"...Corpse-like --- leaving-body
1 I-as by-mouth not-uttering-inwardly -sinking-mind-with
2 I-as-where will-spring-thus attending-alone --- Wisdom-Path
3 is(!)-(leaving-)aside (such attention),
not-this-I am-That-thus thinking-an-aid (in the Wisdom-Path)
4 is(!)-that (Self-)Enquiry does-become ?"
"...Because of that (total-inward-ego-source-attention alone constituting Self-Enquiry) --- by the Supreme Method(!) (of Self-Enquiry, )
1 Who-am-I(?) thus-mind-the-inner having-attended(-and)-Heart having-approached(!)
2 (he-the-ego-)who-I-am, his-beginning subsidence-attaining-to, -- as 'I-I',
3 will-arise-one of-own-accord, even-if-(thus-)rising,-'I(-I'), (is-an-utterly-)different-Truth,
4 (is-)Whole-(and-)That Alone-is(!) the-Truth."
"...(Speedily) arising(, aggrandizing-) --- (and) appeared(!) - 1 (ego-)self (having been) erased(,) (to the) arisen- (as it were,
to prominent Existence) Self-Filling-Blissful-One,
2 which one (task) abides 'to perform' ? -- Apart from the Self,
3 'other', not even 'one', (they) know. Their state,
4 'of this type'," thus thinking is 'he, who' (who exists) ?
"...'As the Supreme- -- uttered- 1 -That (is) You(!)', thus with those Vedas sounding, 'Self
2 (is) what ?', thus (the) Self not (having been) ascertained (& abided) -- 'That am I,
3 This I am not', thus to think, is due to the lack of steadfastness, 'Always
4 That alone as the Self, on account of abiding'."
"... -- Apart-from-that
1 'The Self I know not, 'The Self I knew',
2 to say thus, is an opportune moment for ridicule --
What (skeptical sense implied)?
3 'To make the Self as the seen, is (are) there two self(ves) ? 'As-One,
4 everyone's experience-knowledge, yes! thus (agreeing)."
"... (The)One -- (I-am-this-body-)thought-to-cease,
1 always- for-everyone- as-Nature -Existing-(the-)Thing(the-Self),
2 (the-one-thought-)merging- Heart|-within- perceived-(the-)State -- not-abiding(-in),
3 'exists-not-exists' 'form-formless'-thus,
4 to-fight, (which is the) illusion (of) ignorance,
(may it) subside! "
"... -- Mind-becoming-fugitive,*
1 as-invariably-settled existing-thing enquiring-into-and-abiding-in (is-)fulfillment-other-
2 fulfillment(/s)-all-(are) illusory-appearance-filling -fulfillments-alone
3 (upon-)enquiring, (are-)those-True?
4 those(-for-whom)-ceased will-they-slacken(from-the-Truth-State-abidance) ?-
(No)-You know-thus and abide."
* escaping from confinement in the physical frame,
hiding and becoming ready to quickly disappear
"... -- Delusion-Overflowing,
1 'We (are) the body' thus, if (we) think, '(We are) not (the body),
We are That (Supreme Self)'-thus, thinking-that(ego),
2 'We-as-That' to-abide (is-)a-good-aid. -- We-always
3 'We-(are)-That'-thus think-why(?)
'I am a Man' thus, will (that ego) think ?
4 We-as-That(Supreme Self) abiding-that on-account-of."
"... 'Unknowingly -- alone'-attempting
1 'spiritual-effort in'-(it-is)duality 'attainment-in' (it-is)nonduality,
2 uttering argument-that Truth-(is-)not -- Lovingly
3 self-searching during-also (and) self-attained period-also
4 self-the-tenth 'One, He'-other-than-who else(-is) ?
"... Seed- -- -like
1 action-source-we 'if-are', action-fruit enjoy-shall-we.
2 'Action-source who-is(?)', enquiring(-thus) -- (upon-)knowing-(the-)Self,
3 doer- ship-going(-away), action(s)-three also-will-slip(-away).
4 'Ever-present Liberation State-(of)'- is-this(!)-alone.
"... -- Becoming 'He, the Mad One',
1 'Devotee-am-I'(,) thus-saying(,)-only-so-long
bondage-liberation thoughts (abide).
2 'Devotee-is-who ?', thus-Self -attending-occasion(,) --- as the Source,
3 He, the Eternally-Liberated One, (the-)Self-Anchored-Abiding,
4 liberation-thought frontally-will-(it)-stand ? ..."
"... 'to the mind -- According,
1 Form(,) Formless(,) Form-Formless(,) (thus, the) three (are the)
2 to-attain-Liberation(-types)', thus (if you say), (I) will utter -- Form(,)
3 Formless, Form-Formless (Liberation-types), investigating ego,
4 form-ceasing (is) Liberation, perceive (thus.)
~ ~ ~
"... This ('Existence Forty' Text is) -- Gracious-Ramana('s)
1 (all the) existing forty (venpAs or one type of Tamil verses)
merging (into-one)kali venpA (another type of Tamil Verse)
2 (the One) Existence -revealing -(and, the) Light.
This 'Existence Forty' Text is Gracious Ramana's all the existing
40 venPAs or one type of Tamil verses, merging into another type of Tamil Verse, styled 'kali venpA'.
And, It is the Light revealing the One Existence.
More translations by Sankar