the late 1920s Muruganar began to record the verbal
teachings that Bhagavan was giving out to visitors
and devotees. These upadesas were recorded
by Muruganar in the form of Tamil verses. When
a sufficient number had been collected, they were
arranged in thematic order. Bhagavan went through
this collection of his statements very carefully,
making innumerable changes and corrections. In
the early 1980s I found a proof copy of the first
edition in the Ramanasramam achives that Bhagavan
himself had extensively corrected and reworked.
In addition to making these corrections, Bhagavan
also composed new verses that he added at appropriate
places in the text.27
The entire work was published in Tamil under the
title Guru Vachaka Kovai, meaning 'A Collection
of the Guru's Sayings'.
readers of books on Bhagavan will be familiar
with a translation of this work by Professor K.
Swaminathan. It was serialised in The Mountain
Path over many years and was eventually published
in its entirety in 1992. This translation tried
to bring out the poetry of the original verses
as well as the profound meaning. In making my
own selection for this chapter I have utilised
a different, upublished translation by Sadhu Om28
and Michael James, but I have subsequently modified
many of the verses to improve the clarity of the
English. Since all these verses began as verbal
replies by Bhagavan, I have attempted to cast
the sentences in such a way that they sound like
the Sadhu Om and Michael James version, the poetry
of the original verses is sacrificed for greater
accuracy in translation. I think this is a reasonable
position to take since most non-Tamilian devotees
will be more interested in what Bhagavan actually
said, rather than how Muruganar rendered his words
into Tamil poetry. There are three main divisions
of verses in Guru Vachaka Kovai: The Quest,
Continued Practice, and Experience of Reality.
The selection I have chosen comes from the second
section, Continued Practice.
66 The Individual I
He who does not have the knowledge 'I am, I am',
and who behaves as if he is a fleshy body, 'I
am so and so', will vainly suffer when the body
dies because he will be caught in the net of the
dream-like delusion that he too is dying.
The flawless Supreme Reality, true knowledge,
shines as the primal one and perfect whole. To
rise as an individual separate from the Lord,
who cannot be defined as 'He is this', even in
order to worship him, is wrong.
Reality is the unbroken space of jnana.
To rise forcibly as a jumping and suffering false
'I', different from that reality, is to commit
the sin of slaying the highest dharma and
cutting it into two pieces.
In the reality that shines as one, devoid of knowledge
and movement, how is it possible for foreign rule
to arise except by making an empty imagination
of a mental world that is different from God?
The nature of bondage is merely the rising, ruinous
thought 'I am different from the reality'. Since
one surely cannot remain separate from the reality,
reject that thought whenever it rises.
'Do nothing for which you will repent. If you
do it is better not to do such a thing again.'
If you leave the state of being in the Self, do
not think any thought. If you do it is better
not to do such a thing again.42
Don't become disheartened by thinking, 'When shall
I obtain the bliss of yoga, the state of the Self?'
because the true state of Self-knowledge is always
the same, shining timelessly without spatial coordinates
such as near and far.