Friday, May 20, 2011

Sorupananda: Sorupa Saram

In the first installment of this four-part series I mentioned that Bhagavan had included Sorupa Saram, the only known work of Sorupananda, on a list of six books that Annamalai Swami should read. Seven years ago The Mountain Path (2004, pp. 75-103) published a translation of this work by T. V. Venkatasubramanian, Robert Butler and myself. Later that year I posted the translation on my site, with extra biographical details:

I have decided to repost it here since there may be readers of this blog who havent yet come across the work.

There are two components to the text: original verses by Sorupananda, and interpolated questions, answers and comments which were added by a later, unknown commentator. These additional remarks have always been associated with the work and are now regarded as being an integral part of the text.

Benedictory Verse Addressed to the Self


May the unique Self, which appears as various objects in the same way that gold takes the shape of the mould into which it is cast, be our support and guide for composing this work, Sorupa Saram, which proclaims that the nature of the world is only consciousness.



Since the three kinds of differences do not exist, everything is only consciousness. The certainty of the existence of consciousness is stated in this way.

Since there is nothing at all that is different from consciousness, the five elements, along with the five senses and the five organs of sense, all these are consciousness only. Whatever is in the beginning, in the middle and in the end – all these are also consciousness. The indescribable illusion is also consciousness. The one who perceives everything and the act of perceiving are also consciousness.


Question: Is there a logical way of concluding that everything is consciousness alone?
Answer: Yes, there is.

All the world’s diversity, which derives from the misperceptions of the mind and which appears to be real – is it not the witnessing consciousness alone? Hence, everything – beginning with liberation and including purity and impurity, joy and misery, that which is and that which is not – is only being.


Question: If all is being, do objects appear as one’s own Self, which is being-consciousness-bliss.

Answer: Yes, they do.

In whichever direction I look there is absolute perfection. The real nature of all the holy waters is blissful consciousness. The real nature of all the verses praising the Lord is bliss. Apart from me, what other form can exist?


Question: Is the above statement merely verbal or is it experienced?

Answer: It is experienced as well.

My Guru instructed: ‘Sir, the world appearance and its substratum – all these are you. There is no one who does not say “I”. Therefore enquire thoroughly into the “I”.’ If this is known intently and thoroughly [one can say] ‘I myself am pure consciousness’. Hence, I am the primal entity.


Question: Which entity had this experience of the Self, and when did the experience arise?

Answer: It is experienced by myself and the experience is ever-present.

I saw my real nature as pure consciousness. I see only myself, and not the great multitude of the world. Simply because I had not looked at myself thoroughly, did I at any time cease to exist?


Question: If everything is only the Self, why are the names many?

Answer: The many names do not make the Self multiple.

Since everyone abides as ‘I’ and declares himself to be ‘I’, right up to Iswara there is nothing other than ‘me’. The same person is addressed differently as son, brother and father; but for that reason will the body of the person become different?


Question: If so, the known and the knower will be different.

Answer: No, they won’t be different.

It is my Self who remained as the [seer] ‘I’. Those objects that were rejected as ‘not I’ – these too are my Self. It is like someone who goes to sleep at night as himself, manifests [in dream] as the form of [the seer and] the world and then wakes up as himself.


Question: What is the inherent nature of the Self that shone as everything?

Answer: It is ‘shining by itself as itself’.

The Self that shines as the body, as the beloved soul, as all the actions, as ignorance, as the enjoyment of true knowledge, as the blissful reality and as the one consciousness – that indeed is my own real nature.


Question: Is it possible to give a true name to the Self that shines by itself.

Answer: As it is a transcendental experience, it is not possible to give it a name.

They will describe it as bliss, as transcendence, and as the witness of all that remains at the culmination of the four Vedas. What designation might I apply to my real nature, which all the treatises on jnana are unable to track down?


Question: If it is transcendent, there is no scope for enquiry. It is therefore necessary to indicate and signify it in some way.

Answer: As it is everything and as it is nothing, it is beyond description.

Is it ‘I’? Is it That? Am I That? Is That ‘I’? Is it shining jnana? Is it the source of all sounds [nadanta]? Is it mauna? Is it the pure state [suddha]? Is it a void? The self-shining natural state is all these and none of them.


Question: If it is said like this, none can realise the Self, and so there can be no realisation. Hence, a name should be given.

Answer: The following are the names given by the Vedas.

Abundance of knowledge; abundance of love; abundance of perfect bliss; abundance of being; abundance of consciousness; abundance of tranquillity; abundance of purity; the wonderful abundance beyond the scope of the Vedas; the abundance of pure consciousness that is the source of all.


Question: Are all these descriptions experienced?

Answer: They are experienced and also transcended.

My son! I became and dwelt as the indescribable experience, transcendental joy, and everything else. I felt no need to declare, ‘I have rid myself of the misery-causing karma’. I recovered my Self and have been freed.


Question: What is the benefit arising from this experience?

Answer: It is becoming the ruler of the kingdom of liberation.

I obtained the supreme lordship that is never lost. I burned up the pair of opposites – happiness and misery. I gave up the life of the body-forest, which tormented the mind. I entered and occupied the house of liberation.


Question: What play will this king witness on his stage?

Answer: He will witness the dance of the three avasthas [waking, dreaming and sleeping].

In the waking state I will witness the dance of the five organs of action and the five organs of sense. In dream I will witness the dance of the mind. In thought-free sleep I will dance the object-free void-dance. However, I will [always] remain as the exalted essence [the Self].


Question: Where was this experience when you were regarding happiness and misery as ‘I’?

Answer: Then, too, I was remaining as the Self. I was nothing else.

Who was the one who remained as [the ego] ‘I’? If I see him, I will not allow him to take up the form of the body. Only the ‘I’ whose form is consciousness is the real ‘I’. All other ‘I’s will get bound to a form and go through birth and death.


Question: The Self is immutable. Will it not get bound if it gets involved in activities?

Answer: As the Self remains a witness, like the sun, it will not get bound.

Even if I bear the burdens of the family and have them follow me like a shadow, or even if the cloud called ‘maya’ veils, I am, without doubt, the sun of knowledge, self-shining as pure light and remaining as the witness [of the world].


Question: But the jnani is not remaining motionless like the sun.

Answer: He also remains actionless.

Whatever comes, whatever actions are performed, in whatever I may delight, I am only pure consciousness, remaining aloof and aware, without becoming any of them.


Question: All things move because the Self makes them move. Hence, is there bondage for the Self?

Answer: Like the rope that makes the top spin, there is no bondage for it.

In the same way that a top is made to spin by a rope, desires fructify in my presence. But, like the rope that is used to spin the top, I will not merge with them. I have rid myself of their connection. I became my own Self. My bondage is indeed gone.


Question: But what is the way by which knowledge and ignorance was destroyed?

Answer: In one’s own experience of the Self neither attainment of knowledge nor removal of ignorance is seen.

By what did ignorance get destroyed? Through what did knowledge gained through enquiry arise? How was the clarity, known as the experience of true knowledge, obtained? Other than my Self, what do I know?


Question: If the dawn of knowledge and the removal of ignorance are not known, how can we call such a one a jnani?

Answer: With ignorance removed from knowledge, like unreal from real, becoming both and becoming neither – this indeed is the nature of the jnani.

When, ultimately, the real shone as ‘I’, did the unreal, which became ‘I’, go anywhere? I myself became the base of both the real and the unreal, but remained beyond the reach of the conflicting pair of real and unreal.


Question: Previously it was stated, ‘I am the possessor of the body, but not the body’. Now it is said, ‘I will remain different from the body and also be the body’. Which is true?

Answer: The truth is remaining in but aloof from the body, like the kernel in the mango seed that remains within the seed shell, but aloof from it.

Oh, I said, ‘I am the body!’ I regarded wealth as mine! I felt, ‘I am the enjoyer!’ Are all these not false? Though I remained as everything, beginning with the body, the real ‘I’ always remained aloof without associating with anything, like the mango kernel in the seed of the sweet mango.


Question: Is remaining like this [attached and detached] only in the period of ignorance, or also in the period of knowledge?

Answer: It is in both.

The periods of jnana and ajnana were seen and passed like the periods in which intellect had not developed and in which intellect had developed. Everything that was a superimposition during practice has now become false.


Question: Is there birth and death during the period of ignorance that exists prior to this experience?

Answer: As these are illusory, they do not exist.

Oh, where was I born? What did I worship as God? Where did I seek refuge? When I became the blissful essence, the reality, experiencing unbroken bliss, were not all these [known to be] false?


Question: In what condition was the Self before the dawning of this experience?

Answer: When I am redeemed by realisation of the truth, I am not confused any more.

I lived as ‘someone’. I laboured in vain for ‘somebody’. I underwent change, taking a thousand names. Now, enough of this! I have seen my Self, that which is hard for me to discover. Oh, now I am free!


Question: What is obtained and experienced if one sees the Self?

Answer: The mind dissolves in love and one becomes sat-chit-ananda.

I made the deceitful mind melt and dissolve. I knew myself as I really am. Since I am the substratum for everything, I became and dwelt as myself, the clear ambrosia of sat-chit-ananda.


Question: Is the statement ‘The world is only the Self’ figuratively true and not literally true?

Answer: Anything seen cannot exist apart from the eye. Similarly, the world does not exist apart from the Self.

Can there be anything seen that is apart from the eye? Can there be anything heard that is apart from the ear? Did any of the other four elements manifest independently of space? Though the world may appear like a flowing mirage-river, when thoroughly examined, can the world exist apart from the Self?


Question: Seer and seen appear different.

Answer: This is just like seeing gold as various ornaments. They are not different.

Here, other than myself, nothing else exists. I swear to this. A gold ornament does not exist separate from the gold. In the same way that one can change the shape of gold and give it different names, I described myself in various ways.


Question: What is the nature of this experience?

Answer: It is the transcendence that arises, dissolving thoughts, and in which everything shines as the Self.

It is beyond the reach of speech and it is beyond the reach of the mind. It is the clear ambrosia with which one does not get satiated, even when it overflows. Like saliva that secretes on the tongue, it springs forth from within me. Like a dumb pot it remained as ‘I’, without being another.

[A dumb pot is a spherical, baked mud pot, without a mouth, that absorbs water through its porous skin.]


Question: When everything exists as Sivam, why should one become Sivam?

Answer: This is to enable the removal of all differences of ‘one’ and ‘two’ and to become perfect jnana.

Do not question, ‘What is the bliss of Siva? What is Siva-nature? What is Siva’s activity?’ It is only the fullness of consciousness that does not get divided, does not unite, and does not become different.


Question: What is to be rejected as asat [unreal], and what is to be accepted as sat [reality]?

Answer: Reject objects that are known as asat and accept consciousness as sat. This is tranquillity.

All the tattvas [principles] that one knows are foreign to oneself. While rejecting these objects as ‘not-Self’, realise the Self through the consciousness that remains as the one who rejects objects. This is tranquillity.


Question: If tranquillity is the one true thing, what is the witness?

Answer: Tranquillity is itself everything, beginning from the witness right down to svanubhava [one’s own experience]. It is Sivam, the state of realisation.

Tranquillity is itself the witness-Self. The witness-Self is itself Brahman. Brahman is fullness. The pure fullness realised by enquiry is itself the ever-present svanubhava. This is the state of realisation, which is itself Sivam.


Question: Even if the mind subsides, sayujyam [oneness, intimate union] is attained only when maya is destroyed.

Answer: The destruction of the mind is itself the destruction of maya, and hence it is sayujyam.

I have seen the way of the birth of the mind that leads to the birth of the world and the birth of the doer, the ego ‘I’. The non-subsidence of the mind is itself maya. The firmness of those who destroy this maya is sayujyam.


Question: If this is sayujyam, where will the past karmas go?

Answer: In this experience they will disappear without leaving a trace.

I rid myself of the fear that arises from the misery of imagining, ‘I underwent an endless succession of births and deaths’. All of the ancient world has become the vast, empty expanse that is my own Self, since everything other than my Self is false.


Question: When there is such an experience, why perform karma?

Answer: When this experience has not arisen, actions are performed.

Until I became the endless, blissful experience through the superior discrimination that regards all worship and similar things as the ‘not-Self’, I worshipped the gods at the prescribed times and observed all the vows.


Question: Who will attain this experience?

Answer: Only those who are pure and who have the prescribed qualifications will attain it.

The experience of reality – eternally abiding and shining as oneness, as freedom from impurity, as fullness, and as truth – is attained only by those who are most qualified, pure, who have a steady mind, and who are undergoing their final birth.


Question: What are the marks of a pure one?

Answer: They are as follows:

[The answer is the content of verses 37-42]

They will not utter harsh words; they will not hate anyone; they will be of cheerful countenance; whatever things they relish, they will not use them for themselves but will offer them to the great ones; they will not associate with evil persons; they will not curse anyone; their eyes will not blaze with anger. These are the ones who will rid themselves of birth.


They will not value as real those things that are destructible; they will never speak out, saying, ‘This is good and this is bad’; they will not grieve over events of the past; they will not condemn anything; they are the exalted ones.


They will not speak contemptuously of the ordinances of the Vedas; they will not remain without chanting and melting with devotion as long as they live; they will not forget death; they will not get attached to this world through weakness of mind; they are the ones who will not be born again.


They will not experience at all sudden movements of the mind; they will only desire to know the path of salvation; their minds will not get immersed in attachments, saying greedily, ‘This is my wealth, my house, my wife and my children’. Such are the mature ones.


Will they care for things that are valued by others as desirable and not desirable? When one really looks, those who become tranquil and eternal, who experience truth and abide in the final state are few in number.


Those who do not see anything other than their Self here and in the hereafter, who are beyond both and without any division, will they degrade themselves by not regarding as trivial this phantom-like world appearance that is an illusory play of the sankalpas?


Question: Sastra vasana [a latent desire for scriptural knowledge], or the vasanas of knowledge and ignorance – will these too not arise in those jnanis even through forgetfulness?

Answer: As these are vasanas, they will not arise.

During every superimposing avastha the liberated one clearly knows that the illusion of sound and the illusion of real and unreal are only the illusion of the mind, because [he knows that] the superimposed avastha that appears and disappears is false.


Question: If this is so, for such ones what is the worship of God for?

Answer: Worship is only seeing the Self.

The great tapasvin devotedly worships with the flower of tranquil space and with the mantra of aloneness the deity [who abides as] the expanse of consciousness in the temple of the body. Who can equal those who live forever, revering such jnanis?


Question: Why does everyone not perform this worship?

Answer: Because of ignorance.

When the three prime fruits [mango, jackfruit and banana] along with rice pudding made with milk are right in front of them, they will long for food vomited by a dog. Without knowing that we ourselves are the great essence, the basis of all things and all powers, they become slaves of the mighty.


This concerns the fate of those who insult jnanis.

They do not know fairness and rectitude; they do not know the phantom-like nature of the world; they do not know themselves; they do not realise the disgrace that arises from their ignorance. They are dark within themselves and without any reason insult those who are good, the righteous. Which way will these people go?


Question: Are all books, other than those that speak of supreme bliss, not true?

Answer: No, they are not true.

The five flowers [of Kama] are his arrows. The six-legged beetle is the bowstring. The soft sugarcane is his bow. This bodiless cupid is a valorous warrior. He will infect everyone with powerful lust. All this is false. Similarly, is all this barren world-appearance true? You yourself reply.


Question: Are time and so on false?

Answer: To those who are not attached to anything, they are certainly false.

Be it time, or God, or karma, or illusory observances, the workings of the mind, the great enthusiasm that accomplishes things – to him who is not attached in any way, where is the question of taking them to be either good or bad?


Question: Are they [time and so on] at least necessary for the body?

Answer: Since the body is not-Self, they are not needed.

Why are they born, those cunning ones who do not seek their Self? What is this body that has come into being through food? Who is the ‘I’? How many were the bodies that were discarded before? Innumerable were the bodies that were taken with delight again and again.


Question: But are all these [jivas] reflected consciousness?

Answer: As there is no knowledge without the Guru enabling one to know, they are only reflected consciousness.

To reveal the unreal as unreal and to make the real real, truly a Guru was needed. Alas! All the jivas, becoming kings and achieving greatness, are only reflected consciousness.

Achieving greatness can be taken to mean ‘arrogantly strutting around’. It can also be translated as ‘flourishing and becoming like little children’.]


Question: Why should the one Brahman appear differentiated as many, as reflected consciousness?

Answer: To those who do not see it as one, it appears as many.

What is the truth of the world reflection that appears in the one [Brahman] but does not appear as one? Like the scenes that appear to the vision of a bewildered person, the world appears as many only to those with defective knowledge and who therefore do not see it as the one reality.


Question: When all is one like this, what is the reason for not seeing it as one?

Answer: I do not know the reason for not knowing the Self that exists as one’s own Self.

What a wonder it is that one seeks the Self without knowing the Self! What can I say of this? Know that this is like a person in this world standing [neck-deep] in water having his thirst unquenched. What else can we say?


Question: What is the way to see the Self?

Answer: By abiding still in the Self. This is the essence of enquiring into the scriptures.

You who, babbling the scriptures, become haughty! You who accumulate karma with your caste and lineage! Can you not become sattvic, know your Self through your Self, give up unceasing activity and remain still?


Question: Can devotion to God be jnana?

Answer: There can be no devotion apart from the devotee.

Those who are wallowing, identifying with the body, will perform puja, wave lights and bring their palms together in salutation before the idol of the god with much longing, but they will not enquire whether the true God is the worshipper or the idol.


Question: Is it not necessary to go and see the car festival?

Answer: No. The one who sees the car festival should be seen.

They will go, see, and salute the car on the auspicious day of the car festival. Alas! Leaving their Self, whom are they going to worship? The god seen in the car is not fullness. Does anyone not know this?


Question: If so, is yoga good?

Answer: For knowing consciousness it is not necessary.

They will practise the highly respected yoga, remaining in a corner and controlling their breath and speech. For seeing and abiding as supreme consciousness, why this sadhana? They are attempting to eat and live here for a long time by making the body strong.


Question: In that case, can sannyasa be good?

Answer: True bliss, which is present in those who renounce the ego, is not there in sannyasa. How, then, can it be good?

Without any difficulty they will take up a begging bowl in their hands; they will shave their heads and wear only a loincloth; and they will appear to be great ones. But will they also experience the bliss of sleeping without sleeping that is experienced by those who have renounced the ego.


Question: In that case, are scriptural study and spiritual practice not necessary?

Answer: To those who have seen the Self, which is their true import, they are not necessary.

To see one’s Self, what sastra is needed? What sadhana is necessary? Is not all this a mad game? Those who regard as real the illusion that has arisen – like the imaginary imp created to scare simple-minded people – will not see the Self.


Question: Is not sadhana necessary to know the Self?

Answer: What use is a sadhana that does not enable one to see the sadhaka?

The objects, which are seen to be many, such as male, female and neuter, and the seer who remains as one – all this is only the manifestation of the excellence of consciousness. Can they exist apart from consciousness? However much sadhana they practise, how will it be of use for those who do not know this clearly?


Question: Why do they suffer instead of enquiring and realising the Self?

Answer: They suffer because what they have known to be one by studying has not been experienced.

What does it matter [to the realised one] who lives and in what way? What does it matter [to the realised one] who goes where and in what manner? His solitary state is like that of a bat in its roost. He will be detached in every way and will sleep experiencing the blessed state that never leaves. Bliss is only for him.


Question: Is it not necessary to know the nature of God and creation?

Answer: Since Sivam is non-dual, it is not necessary.

They will say that Iswara is infinite and that jiva is finite. They will say that jiva is like the eye and that Iswara is like the sun. These two definitely cannot be non-dual. Pure consciousness, which is neither of these two, alone is Sivam.


Question: Then what is the way to attain Sivam?

Answer: The way to see one’s Self is by rejecting everything else as maya.

The inert semen became the foetus and then became alive by mixing with the conscious principle. It appears to be real. When this happens, he who contemplates his real nature, regarding all this as illusory, is Sivam.


Question: Will not those who know the past, present and future become Sivam?

Answer: Only those who have seen the Self, which is beyond time, are Sivam, not those who know the three periods of time.

The self-effulgent Self destroys both night and day, the two that determine yesterday, today and tomorrow. Hence, he alone is Sivam who has become the Self and who consequently worships the auspicious day that remains perpetually as the one unique day.


Question: If one renounces the jnana sastras, how can one attain the bliss of liberation?

Answer: Liberation is only delighting in the Self through tranquillity and without anxiety. When this is attained, what is the use of books?

One may know the jnana sastras, or take up good sannyasa, or attempt to experience mauna samadhi, but the indescribable delight of liberation is simply to become the Self, remaining free of all anxiety, experiencing bliss.


[Continued from verse 64.]

He may be endowed with learning, or established in great yoga, or his body and senses may be active, but he who does not merge with supreme grace will not know tranquillity and will not obtain the final reward, the bliss of liberation that never fails.


Question: If so, do they not have to experience even prarabdha?

Answer: If one remains without movement as the Self, like the column supporting the windmill, the prarabdha will exhaust itself.

You base, ignorant ones, wallowing in the three types of prarabdha. If you understand that those who accepted alms will now be donors, you can be like the column that supports the windmill.

[Bhagavan: Prarabdha [the actions the body has to perform in this life] is of three categories, iccha, anichha, and parechha [personally desired, without desire and due to others’ desire]. For him who has realised his Self, there is no iccha-prarabdha. The two others, anichha and parechha remain. Whatever he does is for others only. If there are things to be done by him for others, he does them but the results do not affect him. Whatever be the actions that such people do, there is no punya [merit] and no papa [sin] attached to them. (Letters from Sri Ramanasramam, 3rd June 1946, p. 65.)
The column that is necessary for the existence and operation of the windmill remains unaffected. Only the sails of the windmill move. Similarly, the Self is unaffected by prarabdha. Only the body is affected by it.]


Question: But will not this experience come to everyone?

Answer: If one becomes inward-turned instead of being externalised, this experience will come for everyone.

I declare: ‘If their minds are directed inward, attending to the light [the Self], and do not become outward-turned, all those upon this earth are capable of seeing the Self, just as I have seen my Self.’


Question: Don’t jnanis have to perform karma?

Answer: Since they have seen the truth of both action and the one who performs the action, they do not have to perform activities.

He who has clearly seen in his mind both the performer of actions and the actions themselves, who has thus redeemed himself and become the reality, will he perform, without fail in every birth, every action at the prescribed time?

[This is a rhetorical question for which the assumed answer is ‘no’.]


Question: Will the jnanis hate the karmis [the performers of activities] when they see them?

Answer: They will delight in seeing the karmis, in the same way that they witness conjuring tricks, but they will not hate them.

Seeing the deceitful ones who cannot see and enjoy reality as it is and who cannot melt by experiencing it, I rejoiced. However many illusory lotus flowers bloom, is there any anger on the part of the moon?


Question: How did this experience arise?

Answer: It was obtained providentially through the grace of the Guru.

Like a sweet mango fruit appearing under the thorny karuvelam tree, the divine lotus feet of the Guru – who has the power to bestow the grace to transform me into the reality that is sought by everyone, everywhere – came to me who was replete with evil, taking birth over and over again.


Question: Is getting this experience so difficult?

Answer: It is extremely difficult.

Where is my [state of] remaining as the ego? Where is my attachment? Where is my desire to rule heaven and earth? Siva! Siva! Where is the jnana Guru? Where is liberation? How can I express this?

[The wide disparity between his previous wretched state and the state of knowledge makes the author wonder at the greatness of the Guru’s grace that accomplished the transformation, and how little he deserved it.]


Question: What is the benefit of this experience?

Answer: It is obtaining the Self that is beyond the mind.

I did not obtain anything other than my Self. I had my Self in my possession all the time. Separate from me, there is no bondage or release. If one sees [this], even the mind that enquires into these is non-existent.


Question: As soon as one obtains this experience, who should be worshipped?

Answer: The Guru, one’s own Self and the body should be worshipped, seeing them as the reality.

I will worship as my own Self the gracious Guru who showed everything to be like a conjuror’s trick, or the Self that is realised after thus scrutinising everything, or the body-temple that came [into being] to terminate the evil of birth.


Question: How to get rid of the vasana of the gross body?

Answer: It should be rejected by seeing it as the form of food.

You body who remain as the sheath of food! If you do as I tell you, you will experience bliss as long as you live. I swear to this. Do not go near evil and useless vasanas. Whatever comes according to prarabdha, remain a mere witness.


Question: How to remove [or be rid of] the senses of perception?

Answer: They should be removed by seeing them as the Self.

O senses! You cherished and nourished me all these years. Now I have become blissful consciousness. Even you, who [appear to] become different from me, I have come to know as my Self. Henceforth, remain one with me, without becoming divergent.


Question: How to be rid of desires?

Answer: Through desire for realisation of the truth.

O desire! Though I suffered much through you, on account of your help I dwelt in the Self. I reached the Sadguru through you. In liberation I have, along with you, become the Self. I swear to this.


Question: How to destroy anger?

Answer: Through tranquillity.

O anger! Through you I rid myself of my deficiency. Because of the weariness experienced by your rising that invariably produced misery, I rid myself of this danger and dwelt in supreme tranquillity. Even in dream, do not rise up in lamentation, but remain calm.


Question: How to get rid of avarice?

Answer: By abiding peacefully in the Self.

O avarice! I took you as my relation. Those who do not know the truth say that your form is only sin. You will exert yourself hard merely to accumulate. O sinner! Because of you I am now possessed by peace.


Question: How to dissolve the mind?

Answer: It should be dissolved in the Self, which is its basis.

O mind! I myself am you. You yourself are me. Despite being so, deceitfully you forgot me. That I am surrendered to you is also true. But do not remain different from me, the reality.


[The same answer continues in verses 80, 81 and 82.]

My mind! You roamed about, laboured hard and learned many arts, seeking a way to make a living. You sought and gave me a Sadguru. To you who were so considerate to me, what help did I render in return?


O mind! Just as I once remained, assuming your form, now you have come and merged with me as my own form. Is there anyone like you who values the virtue of gratitude? Dwell henceforth in the loving care of the supreme state, without returning to your prior form.


O mind! You remained, right from the beginning, without renouncing love towards me. Through that love you gave me the benefit of cultivating all the virtues of a devotee, beginning with forbearance. You removed desire and its progeny. Now, like me, you remain still through good and proper discernment.


Question: Will the mind subside through the above means?

Answer: If it is firmly established in the experience of the Self, it will then shine as consciousness and remain still.

As my mind roamed about, I too was similar to it, thus allowing myself to remain in an unquiet state. With my mind remaining still and motionless, I too remained similar to it, shining and dwelling like gold.


Question: Are there no likes and dislikes in this experience?
Answer: Since everything is experienced as the Self, these do not exist.

Whatever is to come, let it come. Whatever is to leave, let it leave. I will not reject even a life of living on alms as defective. Neither do I desire even the state of Brahma. I became all actions.


Question: Will he worship God?

Answer: He has no worship other than the worship of seeing everything as his own Self.

What I extol everywhere is only my Self. What I worship everywhere as God – that too is only my Self. In all places, sitting, lying down and running are all performed only in my Self. I myself am the enjoyer and that which is enjoyed.


Question: Is this the experience of all jnanis?

Answer: There is no experience other than this experience of the Self.

He who has attained liberation will see, as not different from his Self, all this world that rises in the Self, which remains in the Self, and which merges in the Self. Will he see it as opposed to his Self?


Question: Will likes and dislikes arise in him?

Answer: As everything has become his Self, they will not arise in him.

For what will he desire? For what will he rise as ‘I’? For what will he experience envy and malice? He will dwell as the unmoving support for everything, as the sum of all things animate and inanimate, like the great Meru mountain that is the axis for the seven worlds.


Question: Will not this experience cease?

Answer: Even if the creations of Iswara falter, this experience will not cease.

Even if the cardinal points change, even if the moon emits heat, fire becomes cold, or the sun travels north to south, the Self-state of the liberated one who has enquired thoroughly into the primal state will not cease.


Question: How to determine those with such experience?

Answer: They remain unruffled in joy and misery. They should be known by taking this as the hallmark.

Only he is a jnani whose mind does not get agitated, who does not identify with and desire objects before him, and whose state of purity never wavers whether he lives on alms in poverty or enjoys the illusory state of being Brahma.


Question: Will they not care for praise and slander?

Answer: No, they will not.

Some may utter praises and worship, or evil and cruel ones may utter words of slander and insult, but the jnani’s mind will not associate with them. He will remain without thoughts, like the sky that remains the same whether the sun rises or a vast collection of clouds appear.


Question: What is food for the jnani?

Answer: Whatever happens to come to him is food for him.

Whatever experiences present themselves to him, and in whatever measure, he will undergo those experiences. Like the sun that spreads its rays, he will remain free of bondage in the unique and natural state.


Question: Will not the ego-nature, beginning with desire, touch these jnanis?

Answer: As they have attained total destruction of vasanas, it will not.

Desire, anger and so on will not touch the liberated one – who has become the form of consciousness and the witness of the world – since he has uprooted and destroyed all the base vasanas, and is therefore without sankalpas.


Question: Do they not need to stay in a holy place, or take baths in holy waters, and so on?

Answer: The place where they reside is the holy place. Their look is holy water.

The place where the unique jivanmukta – who exists everywhere equally – resides is itself the holy place. His look itself is holy water. The service to his lotus feet is itself liberation.


Question: What are the eternal attributes of a jnani?

Answer: They are soft words, and so on.

They are soft-spoken; their look is free of desire; they experience everything to be sat alone; they have a measured gait, and their mind is filled with a joy that never diminishes. The characteristic of a jnani is to be ever firm in these.


Question: What does the jnani think?

Answer: There are only thoughts that everything is the Self.

The jivanmukta is he who has become one [with the reality] through the experience ‘I have seen myself everywhere; I have seen everything in me’; who possesses intensely and clearly the experience of having learned ‘unlearning’, and who has renounced everything.


Question: What is proper conduct and what is prohibited conduct for jnanis?

Answer: Actions they undertake are proper conduct; actions they abandon are prohibited actions.

The jnani has become one, tranquil and blemishless. Everything, beginning with space [and including the other elements] is his own form. The actions he abandons are prohibited actions, and the actions he takes up are proper actions.


Question: What are the disciplines and pujas for the jnani?

Answer: They are meditating on the Self, and so on.

Meditating on consciousness is bathing for a jnani. Whatever external appearances he delights in, that is noble discipline. Whatever he obtains as alms and eats without ego, that is his supreme puja. His faultless movements are pure samadhi.


Question: The actions that should be performed, and the actions that should be avoided: are these not necessary for jnanis?

Answer: As they remain as Sivam, they do not exist for them.

To the jnani who has become Sivam, having seen all the universe as his Self and as the form of consciousness, for him, what is there that should be sifted and rejected, and what is there that should be accepted as proper?


Question: What is the state attained by those who criticise the conduct of jnanis?

Answer: It is the hell of transmigration.

Know that those cruel ones, who view as faulty the life of the jnani who has attained supreme bliss, will experience crore upon crore of births like the silkworm that never gets detached from its cocoon.


Question: What is the benefit obtained by those who worship them?

Answer: It is becoming the non-dual Self.

Those who are able to obtain the grace of the jnani – who remains as the eternal, formless, blemishless, blissful and pure non-dual reality, and for whom everything is his own Self – will become jnanis.


Question: How will the jnani shine?

Answer: He will shine as everything and as different from everything.

They have rid themselves of the blemish of the mind; they have rid themselves of the mind; they have rid themselves of the entity within the mind; they have transcended the shore of jnana; they have rid themselves of the blissful state of consciousness, the supreme; they have rid themselves of the experience of Sivam. They have also rid themselves of all concepts.

The Benefit of Studying this Work


Those who are able to enjoy through their two ears the savour of Sorupa Saram, which describes the experience attained at the proper stage of ripeness, will be able to see the entire world as their own Self.


Subramanian. R said...

Sorupa Saram:

Dear David,

I went through Sorupa Saram and for some verses, I have listed Sri
Bhagavan's teachings/actions that are comparable to what is stated
in these verses. I have given here in brief. This can be elaborated in due course.

1. Benedictory Verse: Only Self is prayed to. No god of form. Like ULLadu Narpadu, first benedictory verse. In fact the second benedictory verse was composed because Kavyakanta wanted it as per practice.

2. Verse 14; Ruler of kingdom of liberation. Though liberation is an experience, saints and poets use metaphors. Satyamangalam Venkataramana Iyer also says in Ponnolir Pathu, Verse 6 - He stood
as the ruler of Jnana-kingdom.

3. Verse 19 - rope and top. The simile is quite new. Sri Bhagavan and Muruganar have used philosopher's stone and base metal.

4. Verse 22 - kernel in mango seed. This is again a new idea. Many poets have used to tarmarind fruit and the outer cover.

5. Verses 37-42:

a. They will not utter harsh words, they will not hate. Sri Bhagaan once told about the death of a person who was not known for his good deeds and wanted Sri Bhagavan's opinion. Sri Bhagavan said: O, that man, he used to wear spotlessly white dhoti. He was neat and clean as neatness could be.

b. They will never speak out saying -this is good and that is bad. This labelling of anything was also never done by Sri Bhagavan. Once a cooly and another
lady cooly had been amorously talking and giggling during construction work. Chinnaswami dismissed them then and there .
Sri Bhagavan never interfered in such matters. Next day, while coming down from the Hill, He found
a dog and a bitch vigorously copulating. He looked at the devotees nearby and asked:
Who is going to dismiss them?


Subramanian. R said...

Sorupa Saram: continues...

Verses 37-42:

No contempt for ordinances of Vedas. Sri Bhagavan had the same attitude. During Vedaparayana, He used to sit with inward looking gaze and listened to the parayana intently.

No sudden movements of mind. Sri
Bhagavan had no mind; so no movements. But sometimes, He expressed joy, like in the morning breakfast of aviyal and kanji.

No care for things that are valued by others. Many examples could be given. Sandal wood walking stick; imported Parker pen etc., etc.,

They do not see anything other than the Self. This has been clarified beautifully in Verse 5 of Sri Arunahchala Pancharatnam.

Verses 44-45: Sri Bhagavan has said the same thing in Devikalottaram verses.

Verse 49 - Time and Space. These are mind-dependent. When there is no mind, where is time and space. Rappahalatra veRu veLi veettinil ramithudvom arunachala... Pokkum varavum il pothu veLi veettinil un porattam kattu arunachala...

Verse 52 - Neck deep in water and a person shouting that he is thirsty. Sri Bhagavan and Muruganar have given the Ganga example.

Verse 56: Is yoga necessary. Not
necessary for knowing Consciousness. Sri Bhagavan has said the same thing.

Verse 57 - Sannyasa. True sannyasa is internal renunicatin, said Sri Bhagavan.

Anonymous said...

Mr.David wrote:
I found an interesting verse in Tattuvaraya's 'Amrita Saram' about the nature of prarabdha.

If the body is a result of karma, then it would mean that the body existed before to perform the karma. If karma is eternal, then liberation will never be attained. The fundamental cause of prarabdha is ignorance. (verse 80)

Back to same old never dying topic of Karma and Pre-destiny.I guess Body and Karma arise at the same time.

Bhagawan also said the personal I/Ego, Eeshwara and the world all arise and dissolve at the same time.Can we add Karma to this list.I feel Eeshwara is not true in the case of a caveman.He did not have a concept of God.Eeshwara came into his dictionary of Names much much later.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Anon.,David,

Prarabdha is ignorance in the sense
that it exists only so long as the chit-jada-granthi exists.

"If the agent [doer] upon whom the prarabdha karma depends, namely the ego, which has come into existence between the body and the Self, merges in its source and loses its form, will the karma which depends upon it [body] alone survive?" {Sri Bhagavan in Upadesa Manjari Ch.3 answer 90.

This is also described in Verse 1146 of Guru Vachaka Kovai: Prarabdha will never fail to to take its course, in the case of a body that has been born to exhaust it. But the jivanmukta who has severed the chit-jada knot, and thereby become distinct from the body, has transcended prarabdha. [Tr. David Godman.]

Subramanian. R said...

Sorupa Sara, Verse 35:

Karmas are being performed only till
experience has not arisen. [In other
words, once the experience is attained, karmas are no longer required, since the ego is lost once and for all.

Once Muruganar brought a big jack fruit, for distribution of the pieces on the death anniversary of his mother. Sri Bhagavan looked at him and laughed: Have you not still left these things [ceremony, ceremonial observances]? Muruganar left the practice of doing something for annual death ceremonies thereafter.

Subramanian. R said...

Sorupa Saram: Verse 90;

Will they not care for praises and slander.

The Jnanis will not take into consideration both. They are ever in the bliss of Self.

Once when Sri Bhagavan was in the Hill, one mischievous urchin urinated from behind on His back. Sri Bhagavan did not say anything. He simply cleaned His back with His towel. Another man, a bogus swami came with green chillies paste, and then applied the paste on His body. Sri Bhagavan did not react. He simply kept quiet. He felt some burning sensation in the beginning and thereafter He felt very cool. One good young boy came and looked at Sri Bhagavan and wept. He then said: I shall take you to my boss. You do not have any job, is it not? My boss will pay you one pice per day, in the beginning. Thereafter looking at your performance, he will increase it to more pices! Sri Bhagavan looked at the boy in all compassion. The boy then left. Sri Bhagavan has also said in one of His poems: All slander to Jnanis, such slanderers would take all His sins [if any[ and all those who praise Him, will collect all His Punyas.

Subramanian. R said...

Sorupa Saram - Verse 17:

Will the Jnani get bound by his activities?

No. Since he is witnessing like the sun, he will not be bound.

Once when someone, as was usual, wanted to be with Him in Tiruvannamalai, leaving the family, Sri Bhagavan said: See, your family is in mind. So even if you come here, you will be thinking of the family. Prarabdha will not leave you.

Take my case. I left the family and came here. Nevertheless, a big family has developed around me. {Pointing to the devotees}.

You can still be with your family, do your activities and still be without attachment and the sense of ego.

Subramanian. R said...

Sorupa Saram - Verse 40:

Are the time [and so on] false?

To the one who is not attched to anything, these are false.

For a Jnani, who has no attachment to anything, the world etc., he has transcnded the time and space. Because he is Atma Swrupam, there is no time or space.

ULLadu Narpadu says, Verse 16:

NaamanRi naaLethu naadethu naadungal
namudambe naaL nattuL naam paduvam.

Without us, there is no time nor space. If we are only bodies, we are caught up in time and space. But are we bodies? Now, then and always, - here, now and everywhere, -- we are the same. We exist limitless, and spaceless we.

Sri Bhagavan used to give the example of sushupti often. In deep sleep, even for ordinary mortals like me, where is time and space? What do I know about where I am sleeping [Tiruvannamalai or Bangalore] - the Space and what time is it? - Time. Only when I wake up, I see, it is Wednesday and I am in Tiruvannamalai. And then comes other thoughts, I have to leave today. I should vacate the guest house by evening. Oh!

Subramanian. R said...

Sorupa Saram - Verse 53:

'When one is seeing the Self is only abding in the Self.'

Sri Bhagavan has said the same idea in many of His conversations.
Once someone asked: Bhagavan! What will you do if Siva comes in front of you? Sri Bhagavan replied: Please do not have this business of coming and going. Please be within me.

Regarding dabbling about castes etc., they are all delusions. Sri Bhagavan beautifully describes this in NavamaNi Maalai, Verse 3.

Subramanian. R said...

Sorupa Saram:

Is it not necessary to know about God and creation?

Since the Self is non dual. there
is no need to know.

Many devotees came and asked Sri
Bhagavan, about creation theories.

Sri Bhagavan said, What is the use of knowing about creation theories? Vedas have described them to enable one to know beyond the Param behind all these creations. Once you realize the
Param, all these theories would appear to you as unreal and waste. People talk about Indraloka and Chandraloka. What will be there. There too, someone will be sitting like me and some others will be sitting like you all. Someone like me will be talking and some others like you will be listening. Is it all the purpose of life?