Forty Verses on Reality
Could there be a being-consciousness existing apart from that
which (eternally) is? Since that Reality exists in the Heart, free of
thought, who could meditate upon that Reality called the Heart?
You should know that to remain within the Heart, as it is, is truly
to meditate (upon the Heart).1
When those who are in dread of death seek refuge at the feet of
the deathless, birthless Lord supreme,
their ego and attachments die;
and they, now deathless, think no more of death.
1. since we know the world, we must concede for both a common
source, single but with the power of seeming many. The picture
of names and forms, the onlooker, the screen,
the light that illumines, – all these are verily He.
Ulla-dala dulla-vunar ullado vulla-porul
Ulla-lara vullatte ulla-dal – ulla-menum
Ulla-porul ullalevan ullatte ulla-padi
Ullade ullal unar-vaye – ulle3
Marana-baya mikkula-vam makkalara naga
Marana-bava milla magesan – chara-name
Sarvar-tan sarvodu-tan savuttrar savennan
Sarvaro sava davar-nittar – parvai-ser
1. Namulagan kanda-lal nanavan sakti-yula
Ormudalai oppal oru-talaiye – nama-vuru
Chittira-mum par-panum cherpada-mum aroli-yum
Attanai-yun tanam avanulagu – karta-nuyir
2. On three entities – the individual, God and the world, –
every creed is based. That ‘the One becomes the Three’ and
that ‘Always the Three are Three’, are said only while the ego
lasts. To lose the ‘I’ and to stay in the Self is the State Supreme.
3. ‘The world is true!’ – ‘no, it is a false appearance’; ‘The world
is mind!’ – ‘no, it is not’; ‘The world is pleasant!’ – ‘No, it is
not’. What avails such talk? To leave the world alone and know
the Self, to go beyond all thought of one and two, this egoless
condition is the common goal of all.
4. If Self has form, the world and God likewise have form. If Self
is without form, by whom and how can form (of world and
God) be seen? Without the eye, can there be sight or spectacle?
The Self, the real eye, is infinite.
5. The body is made up of the five sheaths;
in the term body all the five are included.
Without the body the world is not.
Has one without the body ever seen the world?
6. The world is made up of the five kinds of sense perceptions
and nothing else. And those perceptions are felt as objects by
the five senses. Since through the senses the mind alone
perceives the world, is the world other than the mind?
7. Although the world, which stands before us, and the mind
arise and subside together, it is through the mind that the world
shines forth. That which is the perfection that shines without
appearing or disappearing as the place where both the world
and the mind appear and disappear, is indeed the Real.4
2. Mummuda-lai emma-damu murkol-lum ormu-dale
Mummuda-lai nirku-mendru mummuda-lum – mum-mudale
Yennal-ahan karam irukku-matte yan-kettu
Tannilai-yil nittral talai-yagun – konne
3. Ulagumei-poit tottram ulagari-vam andren-dru
Ulagu-sukam andren drurait-ten – ulagu-vittut
Tannai-yorn dondri-randu tanattru nanattra
Annilai-yell arkkum oppa-mune – tunnum
4. Uruvan-tan ayin ulagu-param attram
Uruvan-tan andrel uvattrin – uruvat-taik
Kannuru-dal yava-nevan kannalar katchi-yundo
Kannadu-tan anda-milak kanname – yennil
5. Udal-pancha kosa uruvada-nal aindum
Udalennun chollil odun-gum – udalandri
Undo ulagam udalvit tulagat-taik
Kandar ularo kazharu-vai – kanda
6. Ulagaim pulan-gal uruve-ran dravvaim
Pula-naim porik-kup pula-nam – ulagai-manam
Ondraim pori-vayal orndidu-da lanmanattai
Andri ulagundo arai-nere – nindra
7. Ulagari-vum ondrai udit-todungu menum
Ulaga-rivu tannal olirum – ula-garivu
Tondri-marai darkida-nait tondri-maraiya dolirum
Pundra-mam ahde poru-lamal – yendra-dam
8. Under whatever name or form we worship It, It leads us on to
knowledge of the nameless, formless Absolute. Yet, to see one’s
true Self in the Absolute, to subside into It and be one with It,
this is the true knowledge of the truth.
9. ‘Twos’ and ‘threes’ depend upon one thing, the ego. If one
asks in one’s Heart, ‘What is this ego?’ and finds it, they slip
away. Only those who have found this know the truth, and
they will never be perplexed.5
10. There is no knowledge without ignorance; and without
knowledge ignorance cannot be. To ask, ‘Whose is this
knowledge? Whose this ignorance?’ and thus to know the
Primal Self, this alone is knowledge.
11. Without knowing the Self that knows, to know all objects is
not knowledge; it is only ignorance. Self, the ground of
knowledge and the non-Self, being known, both knowledge
and ignorance fall away.
12. True knowledge is being devoid of knowledge as well as
ignorance of objects. Knowledge of objects is not true
knowledge. Since the Self shines self-luminous with nothing
else for It to know, with nothing else to know It, the Self is
knowledge. A void6, It is not.
13. The Self that is awareness, that alone is true. The knowledge
which is various is ignorance. And even ignorance, which is
false, cannot exist apart from the Self. False are the many jewels,
for apart from gold, which alone is true, they cannot exist.
8. Yeppa-yarit tevvuru-vil yet-tinumar per-uruvil
Apporu-laik kan-vazhiya dayinu-mam – meip-porulin
Unmaiyil-tan unmai-yinai orndo-dungi ondru-dale
Unmaiyir kanal unarn-diduga – vinmai
9. Irattai-gal muppudi-gal endrum-ondru pattri
Irup-pavam avvon-dre dendru – karut-tinul
Kandar kazhalu-mavai kanda-vare unmai
Kandar kalan-gare kanirul-pon – mandum
10. Ari-yamai vittari-vin dram-arivu vittav
Ari-yamai indra-gum anda – arivum
Ariya-maiyum arkken-dram mudalan tannai
Ari-yum arive ari-vam – ariba
11. Ari-vurun tannai ariya dayalai
Ariva dari-yamai andri – arivo
Ari-vayar kadarat tannai ariya
Ari-vari yamai arume – arave
12. Ari-vari yamai-yum attra-dari vame
Ari-yuma dunmai ari-vagadu – ari-darku
Ari-vittar kanniya-min draya-virva dal-tan
Ari-vagum pazhan drari-vai – seri-vaya
13. Jnana-mam tane-mei nanava jnana-man
Jnana-mam poyyam-ajn jnanamume – jnana-man
Tannai-yandri indrani-gal tam-palavum poimei-yam
Ponnai-yandri undo pugaluda-nan – ennu-mat
14. ‘You’ and ‘he’ – these appear only when ‘I’ does.But when the nature of the ‘I’ is sought and the ego is destroyed,
‘you’ and ‘he’ are at an end.
What shines then as the One alone is the true Self.
15. The past and future depend for their existence upon the present
which is experienced daily. Whilst they are occurring, these too
are the present. The present alone exists. To attempt to understand
the past and future without having ascertained the truth of the
Now is like trying to count without the number one.7
16. Without us there is neither 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, timeless and beyond space.
17. To those who do not know the Self and to those who do, the body
is the ‘I’. But to those who do not know the Self the ‘I’ is bounded
by the body; while to those who within the body know the Self
the ‘I’ shines boundless. Such is the difference between them.
18. To those who do not know and to those who do, the world is
real. But to those who do not know, Reality is bounded by the
world; while to those who know, Reality shines formless as the
ground of the world. Such is the difference between them.
19. The debate, ‘Does free will prevail or fate?’ is only for those
who do not know the root of both. Those who have known
the Self, the common source of free-will and of fate, have passed
beyond them both and will not return to them.
14. Tanmai-undel munnilai padark-kaigal tam-ulavan
Tanmai-yin unmai-yait tanayndu – tanmai-yarin
Munnilai padark-kai mudi-vuttrondrai-olirum
Tanmaiye tannilai-mai tanida-mum – mannum
15. Nigazh-vinaip pattri yirap-pedirvu nirpa
Nigazh-kal avaiyu nigazhve – nigazh-vondre
Yindrun-mai tera dirap-pedirvu tera-vunal
Ondrindri yennal unalunara – nindra-porul
16. Namandri naledu nadedu nadun-gal
Namudambel nal-nattui nam-paduvam – namudambo
Namindran drendru-mondru nadin-gan gengu-mondral
Namundu nanadil namu-nam – amiv
17. Udal-nane tannai unarark kunarn-darkku
Uda-lalave nantan una-rarku – uda-lulle
Tannunarn-dark kellai-yarat tanoliru naniduve
Inna-vardam beda-mena yennu-vai – munnam
18. Ula-gun-mai yagum unar-villark kul-larkku
Ula-gala-vam unmai una-rarkku – ulagi-nukku
Adara maiuru-vattra-rum unarn-dar unmai
Ida-gum bedam-ivark kennuga – beda
19. Vidi-madi mula vivekam ilarkke
Vidi-madi vellum viva-dam – vidi-madi gatku
Or-muda-lan tannai unarn-dar avai-tanan-dar
Char-varo pinnu-mavai chattruvai – char-bavai
20. To see God but not the Self that sees is only to see a projection
of the mind. It is said that God is seen by him alone who sees
the Self; but one who has lost the ego and seen the Self is none
other than God.
21. When scriptures speak of ‘seeing the Self’ and ‘seeing God’,
what is the truth they mean? How to see the Self? As the Self is
one without a second, it is impossible to see it. How to see
God? To see Him is to be consumed by Him.
22. Without turning inwards and merging in the Lord, in His
light that shines within the mind and lends it all its light,
how can we know the Light of lights with the borrowed light of the mind?
23. Since it is insentient, this body does not say ‘I’.
And no one says: ‘When I am asleep I do not exist’.
After the ‘I’ arises, all else arises. When (one) investigates with
a keen mind whence this ‘I’ arises, it will disappear.8
24. The body, which is matter, says not ‘I’. Eternal awareness neither
arises (nor disappears). Between the two, bound by the body,
arises the thought of ‘I’. This is the knot of matter and awareness.
This is bondage. This is jiva, the subtle body or ego. This is
samsara. This is the mind.
25. Holding a form it arises; holding a form it stays; holding and
feeding on a form it thrives. Leaving one form, it takes hold of
another. When sought, it takes to flight. Such is the ego ghost
with no form of its own.
20. Kanum tanai-vittut tankada-vulaik kanal
Kanum mano maya-man katchi-tanaik – kanu-mavan
Tan kada-vul kanda-nan tan-mudalait tan-mudal-poit
Tan kada-vul andriyila dal-uyirat – tan-karu-dum
21. Tannait-tan kanal talai-van tanaik-kanal
Ennum pannul-unmai ennai-enin – tannait-tan
Kanal-evan tanond-rar kana-vona dettralai-var
Kanal-evan unadal kanevai-yun – kanum
22. Madik-koli dan-dam madik-kul oli-rum
Madi-yinai ulle madakki – padi-yil
Padit tidu-dal andrip padi-yai madi-yal
Madit-tidu-dal enngan madi-yai – madi-yila-dal
23. Na-nendrid degam navila durak-kattu
Na-nindren draru navil-vadilai – nanondru
Ezhun-dapin ellam ezhu-minda nanengu
Ezhu-mendru nun-madi-yal enna – nazhu-vum
24. Jada-vudal na-nennadu satchit tudi-yadu
Udal-alava nanond-rudik-kum – idaiyi-lidu
Chit-jadak granti-bandam jiva-nutpa mei-yagan-dai
Icchamu-sara manam ennenne – vicchai
25. Urup-pattri undam urup-pattri nir-kum
Urup-pattri undu-miga ongum – uru-vittu
Urup-pattrun tedi-nal ottam pidik-kum
Uru-vattra pei-agan-dai orvai – karu-vam
26. When the ego arises, all things arise with it.
When the ego is not, there is nothing else.
Since the ego thus is everything, to question ‘What is this thing?’
is the extinction of all things.
27. We are’That’ when ‘I’ has not arisen. Without searching
whence the ‘I’ arises, how to attain the self-extinction where
no ‘I’ arises? Without attaining self-extinction, how to stay in
one’s true state where the Self is ‘That’?
28. Controlling speech and breath and diving deep within oneself
– like one who, to find a thing that has fallen into water,
dives deep down – one must seek out the source whence the
aspiring ego springs.
29. Cease all talk of ‘I’ and search with inward-diving mind whence
the thought of ‘I’ springs up. This is the way of wisdom. To
think instead, “I am not this, but I am That “, is helpful in the
search, but it is not the search itself.
30. When the mind turns inward seeking ‘Who am I?’ and merges
in the Heart, then the ‘I’ hangs down its head in shame and
the one ‘I’ appears as Itself. Though it appears as ‘I-I’, it is not
the ego. It is reality, perfection, the substance of the Self.
31. For him who is the bliss of Self arising from extinction of the
ego, what is there to do?
He knows nothing other than this Self.
How to conceive the nature of his state?
32. When the Vedas have declared, ‘Thou art That’ (tatvamasi)
– not to seek and find the nature of the Self and abide in It,
but to think ‘I am That, not This’ – is want of strength.
Because That abides forever as the Self.
26. Ahan-dai unda-yin anait-tum unda-gum
Ahan-dai indrel indra-nait-tum – ahan-daiye
Yavu-mam ada-lal yadi-dendru nadale
Ovu-dal yavu-mena or-mudal-pol – mevu-minda
27. Na-nudiya dulla-nilai namadu-vai ulla-nilai
Na-nudik-kum stana-madai nada-mal – nanudi-yat
Tannizhap-paic charva-devan cha-ramar tanadu-van
Tan-nilai-yil nirpa-devan chat-trudi – munnar
28. Ezhum-bum ahan-dai ezhu-midattai niril
Vizhunda porul kana vendi – muzhugu-dal-pol
Kurnda madiyal pecchu muccha-dakkik kondulle
Azhn-dariya ven-dum ari-pinam-pol – tirnduda-lam
29. Na-nendru vayal navila-dul-lazh manat-tal
Na-nendren gundu-mena nadu-dale – jnana-neri
Yaman-dri andri-duna namadu-ven drunnal-tunai
Yamadu vichara-mam ava-danal – mi-muraiye
30. Nana rena mana-mul nadi-yula nannave
Nanam avan-talai nana-mura – na-na-nat
Tondru-mondru tana-gat ton-drinu-nan andru-porul
Pundra-madu tanam porul pongit – ton-drave
31. Tannai azhit-tezhunda tan-maya nanda-rukku
Ennai ula-don dri-yattru darkut – tannai-yaladu
Anni-yam ondrum ariyar avar-nilai-mai
Inna-den drunnal evan-paramap – pannum
32. Adu-niyen dram-marai-gal artti-davun tannai
Edu-vendru tan tern-diradu – adu-nan
Idu-van-dren drennal-uran inmaiyi-nal endrum
Aduve tanai amarva-dale – aduvu-maladu
33. To say ‘I do not know myself’ or ‘I have known myself’
is cause for laughter. What? Are there two selves,
one to be known by the other? There is but One,
the truth of the experience of all.
34. The natural and true Reality for ever resides in the Heart of
all. Not to realize It there and stay in It but to quarrel: ‘It is’,
‘It is not’, ‘It has form’, ‘It has not form’; ‘It is one’,
‘It is two’, ‘It is neither’ – this is the mischief of maya.
35. To discern and abide in the ever-present Reality is true
attainment. All other attainments are like powers enjoyed in a
dream. When the sleeper wakes, are they real? Those who stay
in the state of truth, having cast off the unreal – will they
ever be deluded?
36. If we think we are the body, then to tell ourselves, ‘No, I am
That’ (aham Brahmasmi), is helpful to abide as That. Yet since
we ever abide as That, why should we always think, ‘I am That?’
Does one ever think to himself, ‘I am a man’?
37. ‘During the search, duality; on attainment, unity’ – this
doctrine too is false. When eagerly he sought himself and later
when he found himself, the tenth man9 in the story was the
tenth man and none else.
38. If we are the doers of deeds, we should reap the fruits they
yield. But when we question, ‘Who am I, the doer of this deed?’
and realize the Self, the sense of agency is lost and the three
karmaS slip away. And Eternal is this Liberation.
33. Ennai Yariye-nan ennai arinden-nan
Ennal nagaip-puk kida-nagum – ennai
Tanai-vidaya makka-iru tan-undo vondrai
Anai-var-anu budi unmai-yalor – ninai-varave
34. End-rum evark-kum iyal-bai ula-poru-lai
Ond-rum ulat-tul unarndu-nilai – nindri-dadu
Undin druru-varu-ven dron-driran dan-dren-dre
Chan-dai-yidal mayaic chazhak-kozhiga – vondi-yulam
35. Chit-tamai ulporu-lait tern-dirut-tal siddi-pira
Siddi-yelan chop-pana-mar siddigale – niddi-rai-vittu
Orndal avai-meiyo unmai-nilai nin-dru poim-mai
Tirn-dar tiyan-gu-varo tern-dirum – kurndu-mayal
36. Nam-udalen drenni-nala namadu-ven drennu-madu
Nam-aduva nirpa-darku nattrunaiye – yamen-drum
Nam-aduven dren-nuvade nan-mani-dan endre-numo
Nam-aduva nirku-mada nal-ariya – demuya-lum
37. Sadak-katil e-duvitan saddi-yattil addu-vidam
Odu-kindra vada-madum unmai-yala – adara-vait
Tan-tedum kalum tanai-adainda kalat-tun
Tan-dasaman andri-yar tanvit-tup – pondra
38. Vinai-mudal nama-yin vilai-payan druyp-pom
Vinai-mudal aren-dru vinavi – tanai-yariyak
Kart-tat tuvam-poyk karuma-mun-drun kazhalum
Nit-tama mukti nilai-yide – matta-nai
39. Thoughts of bondage and of freedom last only as long as one
feels, ‘I am bound’. When one inquires of oneself, ‘Who am I,
the bound one?’ the Self, Eternal and ever free, remains. The
thought of bondage goes; and with it goes the thought of
40. If asked, ‘Which of these three is final liberation: With form,
without form, or with and without form?’ I say, “Liberation is
the extinction of the ego which enquires ‘with form, without
form, or with and without-form’?”
This work, Ulladu Narpadu, which Sri Ramana in his grace
(composed and) linked as one kalivenba is the Light which reveals
39. Bhadda-nan ennu-matte banda-mukti chin-tanai-gal
Bhaddan aren-dru tan-naip park-kun-gal – cidda-mai
Nitta-muktan tanirka nirkader banda-chindai
Muktti-chindai mun-nirkumo manat-tukku – ottangu
40. Uruvam aruvam uruva-ru-vam mun-dram
Uru-mutti ennil uraip-pan – uru-vam
Aru-vam uru-varu-vam ayum ahandai
Uru-vazhidan mukti una-ndu – arul Ramanan
Ulladu narpadum ondru-kali venba-vam
Ulladu kattum oli.
1. Orig. trans. reads: Unless Reality exists, can thought of it arise? Since, void of
thought, Reality exists within as Heart, how to know the Reality we term the
Heart? To know That is merely to be That in the Heart.
4. Orig. trans. reads: Though the world and mind rise and fade together, the world
shines by the light of the mind. The ground whence the world and mind arise, and
wherein they set, that Perfection rises not nor sets but ever shines. That is Reality.
7. Orig. trans. reads: Past and future are dependent on the present. The past was
present in its time and the future will be present too. Ever-present is the
present. To seek to know the future and the past, without knowing the truth of
time today, is to try to count without the number ‘One’.