Sat Darsana (Presence of Reality)
Sri Ramana Maharshi
“Ulladhu Narpadhu” was written in Tamil by Sri Ramana Maharshi, the great Sage of Arunachala, which means “Reality That Is”. The verses have been translated in English as “Forty Verses on Reality”.
This work by Ramana Maharshi lucidly depicts and systematically explains Reality in detail. It serves as inimitable guidance to devotees seeking Liberation from bondage called Self-Realization.
“Ulladhu Narpadhu” was later rendered into Sanskrit as “Sat Darsana”, verse for verse, by his great disciple and well known scholar, Vasishtha Muni (Kavyakantha Ganapati Sastri) who added two more verses at the end, about this text.
Here are the Verses in Sanskrit and the Meaning in English.
सत्प्रत्ययाः किन्नु विहाय सन्तं?
हृद्येष चिन्तारहितो हृदाख्यः|
तस्य स्मृतिस्तत्र दृढैव निष्ठा ॥१॥
i. If Reality did not exist, could there be any knowledge of existence? Free from all thoughts, Reality abides in the Heart, the Source of all thoughts. It is, therefore, called the Heart. How then is one to contemplate it? To be as it is in the Heart, is Its contemplation.
मृत्युंजयं मृत्युभिया श्रिताना-
अथ स्वभावादमृतेषु तेषु
ii. Those who know intense fear of death seek refuge only at the feet of the Lord Who has neither death nor birth. Dead to themselves and their possessions, can the thought of death occur to them again? Deathless are they.
वाच्यः प्रभुः कश्चिदपारशक्तिः।
चित्रेऽत्र लोक्यं च विलोकिता च
पटः प्रकाशोऽप्यभवत्स एकः ॥३॥
1. From our perception of the world there follows acceptance of a unique First Principle possessing various powers. Pictures of name and form, the person who sees, the screen on which he sees, and the light by which he sees: he himself is all of these.
तत्त्वाभिधानेन मतं समस्तम्।
इदं त्रयं तावदहंमति स्यात्
2. All religions postulate the three fundamentals, the world, the soul, and God, but it is only the one Reality that manifests Itself as these three. One can say, ‘The three are really three’ only so long as the ego lasts. Therefore, to inhere in one’s own Being, where the ‘I’, or ego, is dead, is the perfect State.
सत्यं मृषा वा चिदिदं जडं वा
दुःखं सुखं चेति मुधा विवादः।
र्निष्ठाऽविकल्पा परमाखिलेष्टा ॥५॥
3. ‘The world is real.’ ‘No, it, is a mere illusory appearance.’ ‘The world is conscious.’ ‘No.’ ‘The world is happiness.’ ‘No.’ What use is it to argue thus? That State is agreeable to all, wherein, having given up the objective outlook, one knows one’s Self and loses all notions either of unity or duality, of oneself and the ego.
अरूप आत्मा यदि कः प्रपश्येत्
सा दृष्टिरेकाऽनवधिर्हि पूर्णा ॥६॥
4. If one has form oneself, the world and God also will appear to have form, but if one is formless, who is it that sees those forms, and how? Without the eye can any object be seen? The seeing Self is the Eye, and that Eye is the Eye of Infinity.
तदन्तरा किं भुवनं चकास्ति?।
देहं विना पञ्चविधं तवेतत्
पश्यन्ति के वा भुवनं? भणन्तु॥७॥
5. The body is a form composed of the five-fold sheath; therefore, all the five sheaths are implied in the term, body. Apart from the body does the world exist? Has anyone seen the world without the body? Tell me.
शब्दादिरूपं भुवनं समस्तं
सत्तेन्द्रियाणां मनसो वशे स्या-
न्मनोमयं तद्भुवनं वदामः ॥८॥
6. The world is nothing more than an embodiment of the objects perceived by the five sense-organs. Since, through these five sense-organs, a single mind perceives the world, the world is nothing but the mind. Apart from the mind can there be a world?
धिया सहोदेति धियाऽस्तमेति
लोकस्ततो धीप्रविभास्य एषः
धी लोकजन्मक्षयधाम पूर्णम्।
सद्वस्तु जन्मक्षयशून्यमेकम् ॥९॥
7. Although the world and knowledge thereof rise and set together it is by knowledge alone that the world is made apparent. That Perfection wherein the world and knowledge thereof rise and set, and which shines without rising and setting, is alone the Reality.
परस्य नामाकृतिभिः सपर्याः।
निष्ठैव सद्दर्शनमित्यवेहि ॥१०॥
8. Under whatever name and form one may worship the Absolute Reality, it is only a means for realizing It without name and form. That alone is true realization, wherein one knows oneself in relation to that Reality, attains peace and realizes one’s identity with it.
किञ्चित्समाश्रित्य विभाति वस्तु।
तन्मार्गणे स्याद्गलितं समस्तं
न पश्यतां सच्चलनं कदापि ॥११॥
9. The duality of subject and object and trinity of seer, sight, and seen can exist only if supported by the One. If one turns inward in search of that One Reality they fall away. Those who see this are those who see Wisdom. They are never in doubt.
विद्या कथं भाति न चेदविद्या
विद्यां विना किं प्रविभात्यविद्या।
द्वयं च कस्येति विचार्य मूल-
स्वरूपनिष्ठा परमार्थविद्या ॥१२॥
10. Ordinary knowledge is always accompanied by ignorance, and ignorance by knowledge; the only true Knowledge is that by which one knows the Self through enquiring whose is the knowledge and ignorance.
बोधः स किं स्यात्परमार्थबोधः।
बोधस्य बोध्यस्य च संश्रयं स्वं
विज्ञानतस्तद्वितयं विनश्येत् ॥१३॥
11. Is it not, rather, ignorance to know all else without knowing oneself, the knower? As soon as one knows the Self, which is the substratum of knowledge and ignorance, knowledge and ignorance perish.
निद्रा न विद्या ग्रहणं न विद्या
गृह्णाति कश्चिन्न यथार्थबोधे।
च्चिदेव विद्या विलसत्यशून्या ॥१४॥
12. That alone is true Knowledge which is neither knowledge nor ignorance. What is known is not true Knowledge. Since the Self shines with nothing else to know or to make known, It alone is Knowledge. It is not a void.
सिद्ध्येत्पृथक् सत्यचितो न भिन्ना।
भूषाविकाराः किमु सन्ति सत्यं
विना सुवर्णं पृथगत्र लोके ॥१५॥
13. The Self, which is Knowledge, is the only Reality. Knowledge of multiplicity is false knowledge. This false knowledge, which is really ignorance, cannot exist apart from the Self, which is Knowledge-Reality. The variety of gold ornaments is unreal, since none of them can exist without the gold of which they are all made.
स्थितिर्ज्वलन्ती सहजाऽत्मनः स्यात्॥१६॥
14. If the first person, I, exists, then the second and third persons, you and he, will also exist. By enquiring into the nature of the I, the I perishes. With it ‘you’ and ‘he’ also perish. The resultant state, which shines as Absolute Being, is one’s own natural state, the Self.
भूतं भविष्यच्च भवत्स्वकाले
तद्वर्तमानस्य विहाय तत्त्वम् ।
हास्या न किं स्याद्गतमाविचर्चा
विनैकसंख्यां गणनेव लोके ॥१७॥
15. Only with reference to the present can the past and the future exist. They too, while current, are the present. To try to determine the nature of the past and the future while ignoring the present is like trying to count without the unit.
क्व भाति दिक्कालकथा विनास्मान्
दिक्काललीलेह वपुर्वयं चेत् ।
न क्वापि भामो न कदापि भामो
वयं तु सर्वत्र सदा च भामः ॥१८॥
16. Apart, from us where is time and where is space? If we are bodies, we are involved in time and space, but are we? We are one and identical now, then, and forever, here, and everywhere. Therefore we, timeless, and spaceless Being, alone are.
देहात्मभावे ज्ञजडौ समाना-
वेकस्य देहे हृदि दीप्त आत्मा।
आक्रम्य देहं च जगच्च पूर्णः
परस्य मेयं तनुमात्रमात्मा ||19||
17. To those who have not realized the Self, as well as to those who have, the word ‘I’ refers to the body, but with this difference, that for those who have not realized, the ‘I’ is confined to the body whereas for those who have realized the Self within the body the ‘I’ shines as the limitless Self.
अज्ञस्य विज्ञस्य च विश्वमस्ति
पूर्वस्य दृश्यं जगदेव सत्यम्।
सत्यं प्रपूर्णं प्रविभासरूपम् ॥२०॥
18. To those who have not realized (the Self) as well as to those who have the world is real. But to those who have not realized, Truth is adapted to the measure of the world, whereas to those that have, Truth shines as the Formless Perfection, and as the Substratum of the world. This is all the difference between them.
विधेः प्रयत्नस्य च कोऽपि वाद-
विधेः प्रयत्नस्य च मूलवस्तु
सञानतां नैव विधिर्न यत्नः ॥२१॥
19. Only those who have no knowledge of the Source of destiny and free-will dispute as to which of them prevails. They that know the Self as the one Source of destiny and free-will are free from both. Will they again get entangled in them?
अवीक्ष्य तन्मानसिकेक्षणं स्यात्।
न द्रष्टुरन्यः परमो हि तस्य
वीक्षा स्वमूले प्रविलीय निष्ठा ॥२२॥
20. He who sees God without seeing the Self sees only a mental image. They say that he who sees the Self sees God. He who, having completely lost the ego, sees the Self, has found God, because the Self does not exist apart from God.
आत्मानमीक्षेत परं प्रपश्ये-
दित्यागमोक्तेः सुलभो न भावः।
नात्मैव दृश्यो यदि का कथेशे
स्वयं तदन्नीभवनं तदीक्षा॥२३॥
21. What is the Truth of the scriptures which declare that if one sees the Self one sees God? How can one see one’s Self? If, since one is a single being, one cannot see one’s Self, how can one see God? Only by becoming a prey to Him.
धिये प्रकाशं परमो वितीर्य
स्वयं धियोऽन्तः प्रविभाति गुप्तः ।
धियं परावर्त्य धियोऽन्तरेऽत्र
22. The Divine gives light to the mind and shines within it. Except by turning the mind inward and fixing it in the Divine, there is no other way to know Him through the mind.
न वक्ति देहोऽहमिति प्रसुप्तौ
न कोऽपि नाभूवमिति प्रवक्ति।
यत्रोदिते सर्वमुदेति तस्य
धियाऽहमः शोधय जन्मदेशम्॥२५॥
23. The body does not say ‘I’. No one will argue that even in deep sleep the ‘I’ ceases to exist. Once the ‘I’ emerges, all else emerges. With a keen mind enquire whence this ‘I’ emerges.
देहो न जानाति सतो न जन्म
देहप्रमाणोऽन्य उदेति मध्ये ।
24. This inert body does not say ‘I’. Reality-Consciousness does not emerge. Between the two, and limited to the measure of the body, something emerges as ‘I’. It is this that is known as Chit-jada-granthi (the knot between the Conscious and the inert), and also as bondage, soul, subtle-body, ego, samsara, mind, and so forth.
स्वयं विरूपः स्वविचारकाले
25. It comes into being equipped with a form, and as long as it retains a form it endures. Having a form, it feeds and grows big. But if you investigate it this evil spirit, which has no form of its own, relinquishes its grip on form and takes to flight.
भावेऽहमः सर्वमिदं विभाति
लयेऽहमो नैव विभाति किञ्चित्।
तस्मादहं रूपमिदं समस्तं
तन्मार्गणं सर्वजयाय मार्गः ॥२८॥
26. If the ego is, everything else also is. If the ego is not, nothing else is. Indeed, the ego is all. Therefore the enquiry as to what this ego is, is the only way of giving up everything.
सत्या स्थितिर्नाहमुदेति यत्र
विना न नश्येद्यदि तन्न नश्येत्
स्वात्मैक्यरूपा कथमस्तु निष्ठा ॥२९॥
27. The State of non-emergence of ‘I’ is the state of being THAT. Without questing for that State of the non-emergence of ‘I’ and attaining It, how can one accomplish one’s own extinction, from which the ‘I’ does not revive? Without that attainment how is it possible to abide in one’s true State, where one is THAT?
कूपे यथा गाढजले तथान्त-
र्निमज्ज्य बुद्ध्या शितया नितान्तम्।
प्राणं च वाचं च नियम्य चिन्वन्
28. Just as a man would dive in order to get something that had fallen into the water, so one should dive into oneself, with a keen one-pointed mind, controlling speech and breath, and find the place whence the ‘I’ originates.
मौनेन मज्जन्मनसा स्वमूल-
चर्चैव सत्यात्मविचारणं स्यात्।
एषोऽहमेतन्न मम स्वरूप-
मिति प्रमा सत्यविचारणांगम्॥३१॥
29. The only enquiry leading to Self-realization is seeking the Source of the ‘I’ with in-turned mind and without uttering the word ‘I’. Meditation on ‘I am not this; I am That’ may be an aid to the enquiry but it cannot be the enquiry.
गवेषणात्प्राप्य हृदन्तरं तत्
नाहंकृतिस्तत्परमेव पूर्णम् ॥३२॥
30. If one enquires ‘Who am I?’ within the mind, the individual ‘I’ falls down abashed as soon as one reaches the Heart and immediately Reality manifests itself spontaneously as ‘I-I’. Although it reveals itself as ‘I’, it is not the ego but the Perfect Being, the Absolute Self.
अहंकृतिं यो लसति ग्रसित्वा
किं तस्य कार्यं परिशिष्टमस्ति।
किञ्चिद्विजानाति स नात्मनोन्य-
त्तस्य स्थितिं भावयितुं क्षमः कः॥३३॥
31. For Him who is immersed in the bliss of the Self, arising from the extinction of the ego, what remains to be accomplished? He is not aware of anything (as) other than the Self. Who can apprehend his State?
न वेद्म्यहं मामुत वेद्म्यहं मा-
मिति प्रवादो मनुजस्य हास्यः।
स्वात्मैकतायां हि धियां न भेदाः ॥३५॥
32. Although the scriptures proclaim ‘Thou art That’, it is only a sign of weakness of mind to meditate ‘I am That, not this’, because you are eternally That. What has to be done is to investigate what one really is and remain That.
आह स्फुटं तत्त्वमसीति वेद-
भूयो विचारो मतिदुर्बलत्वं
तत्सर्वदा स्वात्मतया हि भाति ॥३४॥
33. It is ridiculous to say either ‘I have not realized the Self’ or ‘I have realized the Self’; are there two selves, for one to be the object of the other’s realization? It is a truth within the experience of everyone that there is only one Self.
स्वभावसिद्धेऽनुपलभ्य निष्ठाम् ।
34. It is due to illusion born of ignorance that men fail to recognize That which is always and for everybody the inherent Reality dwelling in its natural Heart-centre and to abide in it, and that instead they argue that it exists or does not exist, that it has form or has not form, or is non-dual or dual.
सिद्धस्य वित्तिः सत एव सिद्धिः
स्वप्नोपमानाः खलु सिद्धयोऽन्याः।
स्वप्नः प्रबुद्धस्य कथं नु सत्यः
सति स्थितः किं पुनरेति मायाम् ॥३७॥
35. To seek and abide in the Reality that is always attained, is the only Attainment. All other attainments (siddhis) are such as are acquired in dreams. Can they appear real to someone who has woken up from sleep? Can they that are established in the Reality and are free from maya, be deluded by them?
सोऽहं विचारो वपुरात्मभावे
स्वात्मैक्यसिद्धौ स पुनर्निरर्थो
36. Only if the thought ‘I am the body’ occurs will the meditation ‘I am not this, I am That’, help one to abide as That. Why should we for ever be thinking, ‘I am That’? Is it necessary for man to go on thinking ‘I am a man’? Are we not always That?
द्वैतं विचारे परमार्थबोधे
त्वद्वैतमित्येष न साधुवादः।
पश्चाच्च लब्धे दशमत्वमेकम् ॥३९॥
37. The contention, ‘Dualism during practice, non-dualism on Attainment’, is also false. While one is anxiously searching, as well as when one has found one’s Self, who else is one but the “Tenth Man”?
Note: The story of the “Tenth Man”.
This refers to a traditional story of a party of ten fools who were travelling together. They had to cross a river, and on reaching the other shore they wanted to check and see if all of them had reached the shore safely. Each one was counted in turn, but each one counted the nine others and forgot to count himself. So they foolishly thought that the tenth man had drowned and began to lament and mourn him. Just then a traveller came past and asked them what the matter was. They explained. He immediately understood the situation and their mistake. In order to convince them that all ten of them were safe, he made them walk past him one by one, giving each one a blow as he passed and telling them to count the blows. They then realized their mistake and knew the truth.
करोमि कर्मेति नरो विजानन्
बाध्यो भवेत् कर्मफलं च भोक्तुम्।
विचारधूता हृदि कर्तृता चेत्
कर्मत्रयं नश्यति सैव मुक्तिः॥४०॥
38. As long as a man is the doer, he also reaps the fruit of his deeds, but, as soon as he realizes the Self through enquiry as to who is the doer his sense of being the doer falls away and the triple karma2 is ended. This is the state of eternal Liberation.
बद्धत्वभावे सति मोक्षचिन्ता
बन्धस्तु कस्येति विचारणेन।
सिद्धे स्वयं स्वात्मनि नित्यमुक्ते
क्व बन्धचिन्ता क्व च मोक्षचिन्ता ॥४१॥
39. Only so long as one considers oneself bound, do thoughts of bondage and Liberation continue. When one enquires who is bound the Self is realized, eternally attained, and eternally free. When thought of bondage comes to an end, can thought of Liberation survive?
then, can the thought of bondage arise and where the thought of liberation.
मुक्तिस्त्रिरूपेति विदो विदन्ति।
इदं त्रयं या विविनक्त्यहंधी-
स्तस्याः प्रणाशः परमार्थमुक्तिः ॥४२॥
40. If it is said, that Liberation is of three kinds, with form or without form or with and without form, then let me tell you that the extinction of three forms of Liberation is the only true Liberation.
महर्षिणा श्रीरमणेन शुद्धम्।
मनूद्य वासिष्ठमुनिर्व्यतानीत् ॥४३॥
Sat Darshana, the pure philosophy of the Ultimate Reality, was composed by Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi in Tamil. This magnificent work was rendered into Sanskrit – the language of the Devas – by Vasishtha Muni, a great disciple of Sri Ramana.
सत्तत्त्वसारं सरलं दधाना
मुमुक्षुलोकाय मुदं ददाना।
These words of Sri Ramana Maharshi shine forth as a beam of light, shedding its light of wisdom all around. It expounds the essence of the Truth in an easy way giving delight to the seekers of Self-realisation. This work, which has come out of the words of Sri Ramana, is divine, indeed.
Sanskrit Verses courtesy of Sri P.R. Ramamurthy