Forty Verses on Reality Supplement (Complete)
That which is the Support, the Soul, the Source, the Purpose and the Power of all this world, the Reality behind all this Appearance, That indeed exists. Let That, the Truth, abide in our Heart.
1. In the company of sages, attachment vanishes; and with attachment, illusion. Freed from illusion, one attains stability, and then liberation while yet alive. Seek therefore the company of sages.
2. Not by listening to preachers, nor by study of books, not by meritorious deeds nor by any other means can one attain that Supreme State, which is attainable only through association with the sages and the clear quest of the Self.
3. When one has learned to love the company of sages, what for are all these rules of discipline? When a pleasant, cool southern breeze is blowing, what need is there for a fan?
4. Fever is overcome by the cool light of the moon; want, by the good wish-yielding tree; and sin by the Holy Ganges. These three — fever and want and sin — all flee at the holy sight of the peerless sage.
5. Holy rivers, which are only water, and idols, which are made of stone and clay, are not as mighty as the sages. For while they make one pure in course of countless days, the sage’s eyes by a mere glance purify at once.
6. Disciple: Who is God?
Master: He who knows the mind.
D: My Self, the Spirit, knows my mind.
M: Therefore you are God; and also the sruti declares that there is only one God, the Knower.
7. M: By what light do you see?
D: The sun by day, the lamp by night.
M: By what light do you see these lights?
D: The eye.
M: By what light do you see the eye?
D: The mind.
M: By what light do you know the mind?
D: My Self.
M: You then are the Light of Lights.
D: Yes, That I am.
8. In the centre of the Heart-Cave there shines alone the one Brahman as the `I, I’, the Atman. Reach the Heart by diving deep in quest of the Self, or by controlling the mind with the breath, and stay established in the Atman.1
9. In the lotus of the Heart is pure and changeless Consciousness in the form of the Self. When the ego (“I am the body” idea) is removed, this Consciousness of Self bestows liberation of soul.
10. The body is like an earthen pot, inert. Because it has no consciousness of `I’, and because daily in bodiless sleep we touch our real nature, the body is not `I’. Then who is this `I’? Where is this `I’? In the Heart-cave of those that question thus, there shines forth as `I’, Himself, the Lord Siva of Arunachala. 2
11. Who is born? It is only he who asks `Whence am I born?’ that is truly born in Brahman, the Prime Source. He indeed is born eternally; He is the Lord of saints; He is the ever-new.
12. Cast off the notion, `This vile flesh am I,’ and seek the ceaseless bliss of Self. To seek the Self while cherishing this perishing flesh is like trying to cross a stream by clinging to a crocodile. 3
13. The way of charity, penance, sacrifice, dharma, yoga and bhakti; and the Goal of Heaven, Reality, Peace, Truth, Grace, Silence, Stability, Deathless Death, Knowledge, Renunciation, Liberation, Bliss — all this is only ceasing to think that the body is the Self.
14. What is action, or devotion, or union, or knowledge?
It is to inquire, `Whose is this action, or indifference, or separateness, or ignorance?’ Inquiring thus, the ego vanishes. To abide as the Self, wherein these eight have never been, this is True existence.
15. Not realizing that they themselves are moved by an energy not their own, some fools are busy seeking miraculous powers. Their antics are like the boasting of a cripple who says to his friends: `If you raise me to my feet, these enemies are nothing before me.’
16. Since the stilling of the mind is true liberation and miraculous powers are unattainable without an act of the mind, how can they whose mind is set on such powers enter the bliss of liberation which is the ending of all activity of the mind?
17. While God sustains the burden of the world, the spurious ego assumes its burden, grimacing like an image on a tower, seeming to support it. If the traveller in a carriage, which can carry any weight, does not lay his luggage down but carries it painfully on his head, whose is the fault?
18. Between the two sides, below the chest, above the stomach, there are six organs of various colours. Of these, one, looking like a lily bud, is the Heart, at two digits’ distance to the right of the centre.
19. Its mouth is closed. Within its cavity is seated a heavy darkness, filled with all desires; all the great nerves are centred there; the home it is of breath, mind, light of knowledge.
20. The Lord whose home is the interior of the Heart-Lotus is extolled as Lord of the Cave. If by force of practice the feeling `I am He, I am the Lord of the Cave’ becomes firmly established, as firmly as your present notion that you are the ego is established in the body, and thus you stand forth as that Lord of the Cave, the illusion that you are the perishable body will vanish like darkness before the rising sun.
21. When Rama asked, `Which is the great mirror in which we see these images of things? What is it that is called the Heart of all the beings in the world?’ Vasishta answered, `When we reflect we see that all the beings in the world have two different hearts.’
22. One of these is worth acceptance, the other worth rejection. Listen how they differ. The organ called the heart placed somewhere in the chest of the physical body is worth rejection. The Heart which is of the form of Pure Awareness is worth acceptance; it is both within and without — it has no inside or out.
23. That indeed is the essential Heart and in it all this world abides. It is the mirror in which all things are seen. It is the source of all wealth. Hence Awareness may be termed the Heart of all beings. The Heart is not a part of the perishable body inert like a stone.
24. Therefore by the practice of merging the ego in the pure Heart which is all-Awareness, the tendencies of the mind as well as the breath will be subdued.
25. By constantly meditating in the Heart, `That pure unconditioned Awareness that is Siva, That am I,’ remove all attachment of the ego.
26. Having investigated the various states of being, and seizing firmly by the mind that State of Supreme Reality, play your part, Oh hero, ever in the world. You have known the Truth which is at the Heart of all kinds of appearances. Without ever turning away from that Reality, play in the world, Oh hero, as if in love with it.
27. Seeming to have enthusiasm and delight, seeming to have excitement and aversion, seeming to exercise initiative and perseverance, and yet without attachment, play, Oh hero, in the world. Released from all bonds of attachment and with equanimity of mind, acting outwardly in all situations in accordance with the part you have assumed, play as you please, Oh hero, in the world.
28. He who by Knowledge of the Atman is established in the Truth, he who has vanquished the five senses — call him the fire of knowledge, the wielder of the thunderbolt of Knowledge, the Conqueror of Time and the Hero who has slain death.
29. Just as on the earth with the coming of spring the tree shines in fresh beauty of foliage, even so he who has seen the Truth will shine with growing lustre, intelligence and power.
30. Like one to whom a tale is told while his thoughts are wandering far away, the mind which is free from attachment is inactive while it acts. But the mind immersed in attachments is active, though it does not act, like the sleeper lying motionless here, who in his dream climbs a hill and tumbles down.
31. As the movement of the cart, its standing still and its being unyoked are to the passenger asleep in the cart, even so are action, contemplation and sleep to the Sage asleep in the cart of his body.
32. For one who seeks waking, dreaming or sleep there is a state beyond these three, a wakeful sleep, a fourth state called the turiya. But because this turiya state alone is real and the three apparent states are illusory, the `fourth’ state is indeed the transcendental state.
33. The statement that the jnani retains prarabdha while free from sanchita and agami is only a formal answer to the questions of the ignorant. Of several wives none escapes widowhood when the husband dies; even so, when the doer goes, all three karmas vanish. 4
34. For unlearned folk there is only one family consisting of wife, children and dependants. But in the mind of those with much learning there are many families of books, theories and opinions as obstacles to yoga.
35. What is the use of letters to those lettered folk who do not seek to wipe out the letters of fate by inquiring, `Whence are we born?’ What else are they but gramaphones, O Lord of Arunachala? They learn and repeat words without realizing their meaning.
36. The unlettered are easier saved than those who are learned but unsubdued. The unlettered are free from the clutches of the demon Pride, they are free from the malady of many whirling thoughts and words; they are free from the mad pursuit of wealth; they are free from many, many ills.
37. Though a man looks on the world as a wisp of straw and holds all sacred lore in his hand, it is hard for him to escape from bondage if he has yielded to vile Flattery, the harlot.
38. Without thinking of oneself as apart from others,without swerving from one’s true state, if one abides always in one’s Self, who is there alien to one? What matters it what people say of one? What matters it if one praises or blames oneself?
39. Keep advaita within the Heart. Do not ever carry it into action. Even if you apply it to all the three worlds, Oh Son, it is not to be applied to the Guru.
40. I shall declare truly the essence of the final doctrine of the Vedanta: when the ego dies and becomes That, the Self of Pure Awareness, That alone abides.
1 In 1915 when Bhagavan was living in Skandasramam, a young devotee, Jagadiswara Sastri, wrote on a piece of paper in Sanskrit the words hridaya kuhara madhye (in the interior of the Heart-cavern). He then went out on some business. When he returned he found to his surprise a complete Sanskrit verse beginning with those words and learned that Bhagavan had written it. This verse was later translated into Tamil by Bhagavan and incorporated in the Forty Verses Supplement. Kavyakanta Ganapati Muni also included this verse in his Sri Ramana Gita, ch. II, v. 2
2 The Maharshi originally composed this verse in Sanskrit and then later translated it into Tamil.
3 The first two lines of the original verse were composed by the Maharshi and the second two are from the Vivekachudamani, v. 84
4 Sanchita is karma accumulated in the past; Agami is karma to be worked out in the future; Prarabdha is karma working out in the present.