Sunday, May 11, 2008

Sri Guru Ramana Prasadam

Here is another sequence of verses from Muruganar’s Sri Guru Ramana Prasadam, translated by Robert Butler.

In addition to translating many of Muruganar’s works, Robert has also translated verses from the Sangam era of Tamil poetry. Even though these poems are about 2,000 years old, there is a fresh and timeless quality to them. They are mostly secular love poems comprising a narrative between a lover and his beloved, but if you like Robert’s translating style, you might want to take an hour off and immerse yourself in their enduring beauty. The link is:

Attaining the life of grace


Through the power of the virtuous state of absorption in mauna, reality’s form, which ruled me in my heart as That [Brahman], a life of grace blossomed for me, in which there is never anything either favourable or unfavourable, and where everything is entrusted to him who dwells as That.


The noble light of truth flared up, in which I realised my true nature as the authentic pure reality, so that the onslaught of my deluded desires, full of striving, disappeared. Thus it was that within my heart I attained the life of grace, which is to dwell unwearyingly in mauna.


When I lost myself to the power of Sivam [the consciousness of Siva] that impels me towards itself, totally eliminating the bondage of my deluded mind, an authentic existence lived in true awareness came sharply into focus, so that I experienced a love in which I myself was that glorious Sivam that shines within the heart as the life of life itself.


Henceforth for me there is only bliss and no sorrow. Now that I have experienced love at my good Lord’s gracious feet, the desires which attended that illusory existence, lived on the level of the flawed and untrustworthy mind, have ceased and the supreme has merged with me as my own essential existence.


Through his grace he became my master, granting me a life in Sivam, as the demon of my ego, along with my bewildered mind, died away and disappeared. Then, through the knowledge I gained through being immersed in him, the vision that surrounded me in the form of the world became simply the form of the Self.


Peace, free of the mind’s affliction, rose up from within as his holy feet became my deeply compassionate support; and through that peace the profoundly pure state of absolute grace that is the ultimate conclusion of the Vedas was fittingly revealed within my heart as the truth of my own self.


His noble feet imparted to me the gracious teaching that abolished the state of deception in which I languished, forgetful of my true nature, so that I came to dwell in the ambrosial sweetness of full realisation. And it was through that realisation that I attained the station which alone merits to be sought, which is to be united with those same gracious feet.


Freeing me from fear he graciously revealed to me the true vision of the Self, Sivam, as the deeply subtle transcendental expanse of supreme grace, Chitrambalam. Forthwith within my heart that vision gave me the clear assurance that all other knowledge was a false creation of the mind.

[Chitrambalam denotes both the subtle, transcendental expanse of supreme grace and the hall in the temple at Chidambaram where Siva performs his divine dance.]


It is said that a vision is seen [in the absolute state], but actually in that state the one who saw the vision himself became that vision. That which has merged with him as that pure seeing is indeed the absolute oneness, the glorious reality that is worthy of being attained.


When he granted me true realisation, which was to dwell closely at the grace-bestowing feet that ruled me, final liberation, a vision of jnana granted through grace, flared up delighting my sight and entirely swallowing up the world in the non-dual nature of the Self so that in my heart it became the supreme.


Like a honeybee I dwelt in mauna at his lotus feet which reach up to the celestial sphere where Lord Siva’s grace bestows jnana. And so my body, breath, consciousness and senses all were merged in the sweet tranquility of his divine nature as Sivam.


Through the power of his feet, those inextinguishable lamps that graciously bestow jnana, he pierced my desolate existence to the core, and as the lofty and unfailing gaze of Sivahood spread through me, I experienced the incomparable bliss of authentic being.


When the lofty power of grace, impossible to describe, took hold of me, true existence suffused me, as the delusion of the divided mind – in which the Self that exists as ‘I–I’ is limited and split in two by the idea ‘I am this’ – disappeared completely.


Through the grace of my Lord the highest reality unfolded within my devotee’s heart as his holy feet [the Self] flourished in the place of my head [the ego]. And through that grace the irreversible nature of my allegiance to him became manifest as liberation from birth and as inexhaustible bliss.


Amidst the delusion of the pairs of opposites, preoccupied by questions of self and other, knowledge and ignorance, my true nature was illuminated by the radiance of the supreme reality, so that the Self, shining forth as ‘I–I’, was revealed in the love-filled state of blissful mauna.


Through inner renunciation, free of all desires except for the lofty desire for the flood of divine grace, purity arose within my soul, and as my mind, becoming perfectly pure, conducted its inquiry, the greater life of grace that nothing can mar, the reality of the Self, manifested within my heart.


Ramprax said...

Thank you very much for your invaluable posts. Reading them is like satsanga for me. Your works are a great source of inspiration for aspirants like me.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your musings with us David. Reading these verses suggest a state of indescribable peace and yet, for some, like me who have had no glimpse of that non-dual state, who have never lost the feeling of doership except in deep sleep, it leads to despondency because we've tried practicing the teachings but have failed miserably and as a result have to continue to go through suffering wondering if we'll ever get redemption. Have you ever been despondent to get out of the scorching state of duality David? Could you post an entry on how you practiced, how your practice has evolved over the years, what your feelings and thoughts were when you had glimpses of peace and when you didn't get those glimpses, what kept you motivated to continue practicing, how your attitude towards people and the world has changed, if at all, over the years? Thanks!


David Godman said...

Thanks for your comment. I have never felt any inclination to write about myself.

However, your plea did not go entirely unheard. It prompted me to assemble today's contribution to the blog - my recollections of Sadhu Natanananda and some verses of his that might appeal to you.

Built, not born :-/ said...

Thank you for this blog. RM is the only teacher, along with Krishnamurti, whose words continue to pierce me. However, at this point in life and with due respect, I wonder more and more: Why does the Lord permit suffering on the scale we see, whatever the purpose or necessity? And what difference does it actually make if we engage in and practise teaching such as these? If we are ignorant we suffer and blindly strive, and if we are not then we suffer and blindly strive for liberation from ignorance. What does any of it accomplish?

David Godman said...

Thanks for your comment and your query. Since you have asked specifically about suffering, I will address this issue in a few days' time in a separate entry. It's a complicated question, and it will take some time to assemble all the necessary references. Please bear with me.

David Godman said...

Thanks for your comment. I have never felt any inclination to write about myself.

However, your plea did not go entirely unheard. It prompted me to assemble today's contribution to the blog - my recollections of Sadhu Natanananda and some verses of his that might appeal to you.