Over the last few days a couple of readers have asked me about the contents of the Tamil parayana that was chanted during Bhagavan’s lifetime. I have located a list of the items, which I will give later in today’s post.
The first thing to note is that it was called ‘Tamil parayana’ to distinguish it from the Veda parayana which also took place in Bhagavan’s presence every day. However, not all the items were in Tamil; portions of it were in Telugu, Malayalam and Sanskrit. As I mentioned before, there was a fifteen-day cycle of chanting, with different works being chanted on each of those fifteen days. Here is a list that I found on page 108 of The Works of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi in his own Handwriting. This book is actually a facsimile of a notebook that was used by Sivananda Swami, one of Bhagavan’s attendants, for chanting. Bhagavan wrote out all the parayana works for Sivananda Swami because Sivananda Swami felt that he could not do the work himself without making a lot of mistakes.
Day one: Arunachala Tevarams by Jnanasambandhar, Tirunavukkavasu (Appar) and Sundaramurti.
Day two: Sri Arunachala Tattuvam, Mahatmyam and Aksharamanamalai.
Day three: Sri Arunachala Navamanimalai, Patikam, Ashtakam, Appala Pattu and Atma Vidya by Bhagavan.
Day four: Upadesa Undiyar (Tamil) and Upadesa Saram in Malayalam, Telugu and Sanskrit.
Day five: Ulladu Narpadu Kalivenba and Anubandham.
Day six: Sat Darsanam (the Malayalam version of Ulladu Narpadu) with Anubandham.
Day seven: Devikalottaram.
Day eight: Atma-Sakshatkara Prakaranam, Guru Stuti and Hastamalakam.
Day nine: Sri Bhagavad Gita Saram in Tamil, Malayalam and Sanskrit.
Day ten: Atma-Bodham and Ekatma Panchakam. These are not included in The Works of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi in his own Handwriting because they were composed by Bhagavan after he had written out the notebook for Sivananda Swami.
Day eleven: selected verses in Sanskrit and Tamil from Vivekachudamani, Sivananda Lahari and Thayumanavar. The Tamil renderings of the verses from Vivekachudamani were composed by Sri Bhikshu Sastrigal, and the Tamil renderings of the verses from Sivananda Lahiri were composed by an unknown devotee.
Day twelve: Sri Ramana Stuti Panchakam by Sathyamangala Venkataramaiyer.
Day thirteen: Sri Ramana Sadguru Malai and Deva Malai, verses 1-28, by Sivaprakasam Pillai.
Day fourteen: Sri Ramana Deva Malai, verses 29-42, and Vinnappam by Sivaprakasam Pillai.
Day fifteen: Sri Ramana Padamalai by Sivaprakasam Pillai, and verses in praise of Tiruchuzhi by Manikkavachagar and Sundaramurti.
Here are the ten verses that Bhagavan selected from Thayumanavar, a Tamil poet-saint who lived between AD 1705 and 1742. The first nine are from Akarabuvanam-Chidambara Rahasyam, verses 15-23. The final verse is Payappuli, verse 14. Bhagavan once said that this final verse was his favourite Thayumanavar verse. Since it bears a remarkable resemblance to Ulladu Narpadu, verse 30, I have put the Collected Works version of that verse at the end in bold type. The translations of all the other verses are by T. V. Venkatasubramanian, Robert Butler and myself. If anyone is interested, I can also post the selections from Sivaprakasam Pillai.
In all people, as soon as the ego-sense known as ‘I’ arises to afflict them,
the world-illusion, manifesting as multiplicity, follows along behind.
Who might have the power to describe the vastness
of the ocean of misery that grows out of this:
as flesh; as the body; as the intellectual faculties;
as the inner and the outer; as the all-pervasive space;
as earth, water, fire, and air; as mountains and forests;
as the multitudinous and mountainous visible scenes;
as that which is invisible, such as remembering and forgetting;
as the joys and sorrows that crash upon us, wave upon wave, in maya’s ocean;
as the deeds that give rise to these;
as the religions of manifold origin that [try to] put an end to them;
as their gods, as their spiritual aspirants, and as the methods
described in many a treatise that bear witness to their practices;
and as the doctrinal wrangling amongst them?
It is like trying to count the fine grains of sand on the seashore.
In order to teach me to discern the truth
of how all these woes, impossible to measure –
which spontaneously accumulate, multiplying bundle by bundle –
were insubstantial, like the spectacle of a mountain of camphor
that disappears entirely at the touch of a flame,
he associated with food, sleep, joy, misery, name-and-place,
and wearing a bodily form similar to my own,
he came as the grace-bestowing Mauna Guru
to free me from defilement, in just the same way that a deer
is employed to lure another deer.
Coming thus, he claimed my body, my belongings, my very life
as his possessions, and teaching the path of rejection, he declared:
‘The five senses, the five elements, the organs of action, and all the rest,
you are not. You are none of these.
Nor are you any of the qualities that pertain to these.
You are not the body, nor are you knowledge and ignorance.
You are chit, the real, which is like a crystal,
reflecting the qualities of whatever is placed before it,
and yet having no connection with it.
It is my inherent nature to enlighten you
when I find that you are ripe for it.’
‘If you desire to gain the vast, supreme reality
that is the temple of refreshing grace,
inseparable from all that is, becoming pure consciousness
and obtaining the indestructible state whose nature is bliss,
listen as I explain to you the proper means:
May you live long, winning in your heart
the reality that is devoid of all qualities!
May you attain the state of bliss-consciousness,
so that all the dense accumulation of ignorance disappears!
May you liberate yourself from bondage!’
Through his grace, he imparted to me the state of mauna,
the true knowledge in which bondage is abolished:
‘For that state, there is no thought, no “I” sense,
no space, no time, no directions, no pairs of opposites,
nothing lost, nothing other, no words,
no phenomena of night and day,
no beginning, no end, no middle, no inner or outer.
‘When I say: “It is not, it is not”, this is not a state of nothingness.
It is pure identity; it is the nature that eternally endures,
a state that cannot be expressed in words.
It is the swarupa which engulfs everything,
so that neither ‘I’ nor anything else appears.
As the day consumes the night, it consumes ignorance entirely.
Easily overcoming and swallowing up your personal consciousness,
it transforms your very self, here and now, into its own Self.
It is the state that distinguishes itself as self-luminous silence.’
‘Other than the nature that is its own Self,
it allows nothing else to arise.
Because there is no other consciousness,
should anything attempt to arise there
it will, like a camphor flame, vanish.
The knower, devoid of both knowledge and objects known,
falls away, without falling, since it still remains.
But who can tell of its greatness, and to whom?
By dint of becoming That, one exists only as That.
That alone will speak for itself.’
‘If we call it “That”, then the question will arise, “What is That?”
Therefore did Janaka and the other kings
and the rishis, foremost among whom is Suka,
lived happily, like bees intoxicated with honey,
entirely avoiding any mention of “That”.
Remain in this state.’ Thus did he speak.
Grant me the abundance of your grace
so that, in the nirvikalpa state of total tranquillity,
I may know and attain the condition of supreme bliss,
in accordance with your rule.
I shall not sleep or take up any other work
until I attain this state.
The unique source [tan], fullness [purnam],
prevailed within, in my Heart
so that the ‘I’ which deemed itself
an independent entity
bowed its head in shame.
Conferring matchless bliss,
consuming my whole consciousness
and granting me the state of rapture,
it nurtured in me the condition of mauna.
This being so, what more is there to be said?
When the mind turns inwards seeking ‘Who am I?’ and merges in the Heart, then the ‘I’ hangs down his 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.