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' Atma-Upadesa ~ Teaching About or of the Self '

VERSE 7
To wake never more, ever sleepless to remain, as awareness;
If for this today you are not fit, then in the service
Of those silent ones who ever dwell awake to AUM,
Absolved from birth, steadily fix the form.

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' Atma-Upadesa ~ Teaching About or of the Self '

VERSE 5
People here on earth, they sleep, wake and think
Various thoughts; watching over all of these with intent eye
There dawns a priceless light, which never shall dim again;
Led onward by this, one should forward wend.

VERSE 6
One has to wake, then go to sleep, of food partake, or mate,
Thus do promptings dissipating keep coming round;
Whoever could there be, therefore to wake
Unto that reality's one and changeless form?

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Atma-Upadesa ~ Teaching About or of the Self

VERSE 3
These phenomenal aspects five such as the sky
Which as emergent from outside is here seen to be,
By contemplation one should bring to non-difference
As the sea is to the waves that rise in rows thereon.

VERSE 4
Knowledge, its meaning known, and the personal knowledge
Subjective, together make but one primal glory;
Within the unrarified radiance of this great knowledge
One should merge and become that alone.

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ONE HUNDRED VERSES OF SELF - INSTRUCTION
ATMOPADESA - SATAKAM

INTRODUCTION

ONE HUNDRED philosophical verses constituting a wisdom text of rare value written by the Guru Narayana (1854-1928) in Malayalam are presented here for the first time in a modern English translation with suitable comments by one of his disciples.

The text is entitled Atma-Upadesa, which means 'teaching about or of the Self'. The subject of the work is contemplative self-realization or knowing oneself as better understood in the Socratic context as pertaining to the central problem of wisdom itself.

VERSE 1
Rising even above knowledge, what within the form
Of the one who knows, as equally without, radiant shines,
To that Core, with the eyes five restrained within,
Again and again prostrating in adoration, one should chant.

VERSE 2
The inner organ, the senses, and counting from the body
The many worlds we know, are all, on thought, the sacred form
Of the supreme Sun risen in the void beyond;
By relentless cogitation one should attain to this.

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Anukampa Dashakam (Ten verses on Compassion)

Oh Sea of Mercy! Grant us such Compassion that even to an ant no harm be caused and also (grant) within us a mind which never wanders away from your Divine Form. - (1)

By kindliness comes joy.
To a heart devoid of love comes all sorrows.
Darkness (of heart) expels love and is the core of sorrow and seed to everything (all sufferings). - (2)

Kindliness, Love, Compassion – these three in essence are one.
It is life’s (guiding) star.
“Only those with kindliness are (really) living”.
May these words be chanted (remembered). - (3)

Devoid of kindliness, he is just a foul body of bones, skin, veins, etc. and fruitless like the water flowing in the desert (mirage) and a flower without fragrance. - (4)

There comes the six vikaras (bodily manifestations – existence, birth, growth, change, decay and death) but not to the (underlying) Awareness.
On leaving the form of human body, Compassion continues to stay in the form of glory. – (5)

Is the Reality that drives the chariot proclaiming the Supreme Truth (Lord Krishna),
Or the Ocean of Compassion and patience (The Buddha),
Or the Guru who wrote lucid bhashyas (commentaries) on Advaita (Adi Shankara),
this Compassion embodied one? - (6)

Is he (this Compassion embodied one)
the Almighty appearing in human form
Or righteousness manifesting in divine human form
Or the holy Son of God (Jesus Christ)
Or the merciful (Prophet) Nabi, the pearl, the gem? – (7)

Is he (this Compassion embodied one)
the divinity who removed fever with holy ashes and performed wonderful deeds (Tirujnana Sambandhar),
Or the Perfected One who wandering in agony and singing abated the abdominal pain (Appar/Tirunavukkarasar)? – (8)

Is he (this Compassion embodied one)
the great king of sages who once dictated the renowned scripture (Tiruvachakam) taken down by Hara (Lord Shiva) himself (Manikkavacakar),
Or the great devotee of the Supreme Lord who vanished physically before death (Sundarar)? – (9)

Is the Kamadhenu (the wishfulfilling cow) functioning on earth taking on human form,
Or the great astonishing tree (Kalpa Taru) who is the deity of charity,
this Compassion embodied one? - (10)

The Truth conveyed by the great scriptures and the truth taught by the Guru or Muni is one in nature.
On reflection, the essence of all scriptures is found to be one.

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Anukampa Dashakam (Ten verses on Compassion)

Is he (this Compassion embodied one)
the divinity who removed fever with holy ashes and performed wonderful deeds (Tirujnana Sambandhar),
Or the Perfected One who wandering in agony and singing abated the abdominal pain (Appar/Tirunavukkarasar)? – (8)

Is he (this Compassion embodied one)
the great king of sages who once dictated the renowned scripture (Tiruvachakam) taken down by Hara (Lord Shiva) himself (Manikkavacakar),
Or the great devotee of the Supreme Lord who vanished physically before death (Sundarar)? – (9)

Is the Kamadhenu (the wishfulfilling cow) functioning on earth taking on human form,
Or the great astonishing tree (Kalpa Taru) who is the deity of charity,
this Compassion embodied one? - (10)

The Truth conveyed by the great scriptures and the truth taught by the Guru or Muni is one in nature.
On reflection, the essence of all scriptures is found to be one.

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Anukampa Dashakam (Ten verses on Compassion)

Is he (this Compassion embodied one)
the Almighty appearing in human form
Or righteousness manifesting in divine human form
Or the holy Son of God (Jesus Christ)
Or the merciful (Prophet) Nabi, the pearl, the gem? – (7)

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Sree Narayana Guru

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Anukampa Dashakam (Ten verses on Compassion)

Is the Reality that drives the chariot proclaiming the Supreme Truth (Lord Krishna),
Or the Ocean of Compassion and patience (The Buddha),
Or the Guru who wrote lucid bhashyas (commentaries) on Advaita (Adi Shankara),
this Compassion embodied one? - (6)

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Sree Narayana Guru

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Anukampa Dashakam (Ten verses on Compassion)

There comes the six vikaras (bodily manifestations – existence, birth, growth, change, decay and death) but not to the (underlying) Awareness.
On leaving the form of human body, Compassion continues to stay in the form of glory. – (5)

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Sree Narayana Guru

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Anukampa Dashakam (Ten verses on Compassion)

Devoid of kindliness, he is just a foul body of bones, skin, veins, etc. and fruitless like the water flowing in the desert (mirage) and a flower without fragrance. - (4)

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Anukampa Dashakam (Ten verses on Compassion)

Kindliness, Love, Compassion – these three in essence are one.
It is life’s (guiding) star.
“Only those with kindliness are (really) living”.
May these words be chanted (remembered). - (3)

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Sree Narayana Guru

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Anukampa Dashakam (Ten verses on Compassion)

By kindliness comes joy.
To a heart devoid of love comes all sorrows.
Darkness (of heart) expels love and is the core of sorrow and seed to everything (all sufferings). - (2)

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Sree Narayana Guru

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Anukampa Dashakam (Ten verses on Compassion)

Oh Sea of Mercy! Grant us such Compassion that even to an ant no harm be caused and also (grant) within us a mind which never wanders away from your Divine Form. - (1)

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Gadya Prarthana (A Prose Prayer)

All that are seen (objects of perception) are of the forms – Sthula (gross), Sukshma (subtle) and Karana (causal) and they rise from and set into the Supreme Self. Therefore, there is nothing other than the Supreme Self. The nature of the Supreme Self which destroys – scorches away all the vices, which enlightens my intellect and guides me through the right path, that divine form of the Supreme Self which ought to be meditated upon, on that I meditate.

Oh Supreme Self! May Thy Grace be upon me so that I can constantly meditate upon Thee like this and gain Thy Supreme Bliss.

Oh Lord! Nothing seen (perceived) by the eyes (senses) are permanent.
Even the body is non-existent like a water bubble.
There is nothing to say except that everything is like a dream.
We are not the body but Awareness.
Even before the body was born, We – The Awareness were there.
Now even if all these cease to exist, We will remain effulging like this.
Birth, death, poverty, disease, fear – all these won’t affect us.
May I contemplate on the divine words thus being instructed and on the instructor of these divine words while eating, sleeping and ceaselessly at all times.

May Thee extract all my sins and give me Thy Supreme Bliss.
May Thy Grace be upon me so that my stay on earth is spent without hardship and eventually Thy Supreme Feet is attained.

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Janani Navaratnamanjari (A Nine-Jeweled Bouquet to the Mother)

From the One (non-dual) Great Consciousness
Came thousands of triads (knower – known – knowledge)
Resulting in the sudden oblivion of Self-knowledge,
And there arose desire for food, etc. (worldly objects)
Leading to complete drowning in the sea of miseries.
When shall my heart, O Mother,
Merging in the plane of Nada (Aum) which delivers liberation,
Alloy and cool off in the luminous Center of Consciousness
Such that the triads (above mentioned) are destroyed? - (1)

The display (of the objective world) caused by the non-existent maya
Does not exist apart from Awareness.
Wind (air), rocks (earth), seas (water), fire and the void (ether) too,
Are all but the One Primordial Awareness.
Its lightness (i.e. easiness of its attainment) if spoken of,
(There) Conflicting Karmas (actions) do not exist and the mind does not conflict.
The attainment of this Reality is all I want,
O Mother of immaculate consciousness
Who is sought by everyone! - (2)

The knowledge (one among the triad of knower – known- knowledge)
which rises and sets, (i.e. not constant)
Was born in the beginning, perceiving which the body and the mind sways,
Resulting in darkening (veiling of Awareness) in a thousand ways
And fettering to each of the impressions (samskaras),
(in the end, the knowledge again) dissolves into that Glory (Supreme Self).
Even on perceiving in this way (the cycle of samsara i.e. birth and death),
Awareness does not dawn.
A bee plunged in the core of the lotus (Heart) that blooms in the Unbroken (Non-Dual) Experience,
Enjoying the honey (Bliss) therein is the Self-realized Pure One. – (3)

On enquiry, waves turn out to be (nothing but) water;
Snake turns out to be (nothing but) rope;
And pot turns out to be (nothing but) clay;
Similarly is the world (it does’t exist apart from its source – Brahman).
Devoid of enquiry, everything (the world) exists (as a separate entity).
At your feet which is the root (cause of everything), give me solace,
Grant this boon at once alongwith your vision,
No other refuge do I have, O Mother of Raja Yoga! - (4)

O Mother who art enveloped by the Great Primal Consciousness!
The chaotic world of water, air, and fire (etc.) which you create
by your divine dance (lasya) are all just names.
By an elegant cloth woven out of delicate threads of time, etc.
You have veiled your entire form.
Therefore, no one realizes that which is Real,
O The One whose abode is the Upanishads! - (5)

What manifests as the fish is Thee (you),
What manifests as the deer is Thee,
O Mother! Thou are the snakes, the mountains, the birds, etc.
The earth, rivers, women and men, heaven and hell are all Thou.
In (these) names and forms, this ‘I’ existing as the knower assuming diverse nature is also Thee, O the One whose form is Nada (Aum)!
Oh! Everything is but a play! - (6)

To strike (down) my sin, Awareness is the arrow,
My love for thy lotus-feet is the string,
An iron-like mind is the bow
And the meditator on the ‘I’ is victorious (over ignorance).
Mother! Thou are the one who grants the victory,
By which the sin-stained ‘I’ gets illumined (revealed as Consciousness),
And so does the burdensome body (get illumined),
The world also gets illumined,
Everything gets illumined. (i.e. On Self-Realization, everything – the ‘I’, the body, the world, etc. are all revealed to be nothing but Pure Consciousness or Awareness) – (7)

In the beginning, Thou (You) existed as Sat (Being),
Then as Chit (Consciousness), both of which combined as Muth (Moda – Ananda – Bliss),
And (Thou existed) also as the Hrit (Heart), the knower of these three (Sat-Chit-Ananda).
(Thou exist) As ether, wind, etc. (the five elements), as the eye, etc. (the senses),
For the food-like collection of the expansive objects (of perception),
Thou do manifest as the consumer (of these food-like objects),
O Mother, Thou art so magnificent as to be unattainable even in the experiential state of the Siddhas (Adepts). - (8)

Elements such as the earth, etc. have no existence (of their own) and are but mere illusions.
These (elements) are manifestations of Awareness.
Their existence here in this world is imposed by Thee.
Thine (Your) abode which cannot be the object of perception for the tongue, etc. (senses) is the all-pervading luminous Ether (Chidakasha).
Who is there to know Its Glory!
O Mother! I am unable to even extol It! – (9)

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Janani Navaratnamanjari (A Nine-Jeweled Bouquet to the Mother)

Elements such as the earth, etc. have no existence (of their own) and are but mere illusions.
These (elements) are manifestations of Awareness.
Their existence here in this world is imposed by Thee.
Thine (Your) abode which cannot be the object of perception for the tongue, etc. (senses) is the all-pervading luminous Ether (Chidakasha).
Who is there to know Its Glory!
O Mother! I am unable to even extol It! – (9)

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Janani Navaratnamanjari (A Nine-Jeweled Bouquet to the Mother)

In the beginning, Thou (You) existed as Sat (Being),
Then as Chit (Consciousness), both of which combined as Muth (Moda – Ananda – Bliss),
And (Thou existed) also as the Hrit (Heart), the knower of these three (Sat-Chit-Ananda).
(Thou exist) As ether, wind, etc. (the five elements), as the eye, etc. (the senses),
For the food-like collection of the expansive objects (of perception),
Thou do manifest as the consumer (of these food-like objects),
O Mother, Thou art so magnificent as to be unattainable even in the experiential state of the Siddhas (Adepts). - (8)

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Janani Navaratnamanjari (A Nine-Jeweled Bouquet to the Mother)

To strike (down) my sin, Awareness is the arrow,
My love for thy lotus-feet is the string,
An iron-like mind is the bow
And the meditator on the ‘I’ is victorious (over ignorance).
Mother! Thou are the one who grants the victory,
By which the sin-stained ‘I’ gets illumined (revealed as Consciousness),
And so does the burdensome body (get illumined),
The world also gets illumined,
Everything gets illumined. (i.e. On Self-Realization, everything – the ‘I’, the body, the world, etc. are all revealed to be nothing but Pure Consciousness or Awareness) – (7)

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Janani Navaratnamanjari (A Nine-Jeweled Bouquet to the Mother)

What manifests as the fish is Thee (you),
What manifests as the deer is Thee,
O Mother! Thou are the snakes, the mountains, the birds, etc.
The earth, rivers, women and men, heaven and hell are all Thou.
In (these) names and forms, this ‘I’ existing as the knower assuming diverse nature is also Thee, O the One whose form is Nada (Aum)!
Oh! Everything is but a play! - (6)

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Janani Navaratnamanjari (A Nine-Jeweled Bouquet to the Mother)

O Mother who art enveloped by the Great Primal Consciousness!
The chaotic world of water, air, and fire (etc.) which you create
by your divine dance (lasya) are all just names.
By an elegant cloth woven out of delicate threads of time, etc.
You have veiled your entire form.
Therefore, no one realizes that which is Real,
O The One whose abode is the Upanishads! - (5)

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Janani Navaratnamanjari (A Nine-Jeweled Bouquet to the Mother)

On inquiry, waves turn out to be (nothing but) water;
Snake turns out to be (nothing but) rope;
And pot turns out to be (nothing but) clay;
Similarly is the world (it does’t exist apart from its source – Brahman).
Devoid of enquiry, everything (the world) exists (as a separate entity).
At your feet which is the root (cause of everything), give me solace,
Grant this boon at once alongwith your vision,
No other refuge do I have, O Mother of Raja Yoga! - (4)

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Sree Narayana Guru

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Janani Navaratnamanjari (A Nine-Jeweled Bouquet to the Mother)

The knowledge (one among the triad of knower – known- knowledge)
which rises and sets, (i.e. not constant)
Was born in the beginning, perceiving which the body and the mind sways,
Resulting in darkening (veiling of Awareness) in a thousand ways
And fettering to each of the impressions (samskaras),
(in the end, the knowledge again) dissolves into that Glory (Supreme Self).
Even on perceiving in this way (the cycle of samsara i.e. birth and death),
Awareness does not dawn.
A bee plunged in the core of the lotus (Heart) that blooms in the Unbroken (Non-Dual) Experience,
Enjoying the honey (Bliss) therein is the Self-realized Pure One. – (3)

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Sree Narayana Guru

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Janani Navaratnamanjari (A Nine-Jeweled Bouquet to the Mother)

From the One (non-dual) Great Consciousness
Came thousands of triads (knower – known – knowledge)
Resulting in the sudden oblivion of Self-knowledge,
And there arose desire for food, etc. (worldly objects)
Leading to complete drowning in the sea of miseries.
When shall my heart, O Mother,
Merging in the plane of Nada (Aum) which delivers liberation,
Alloy and cool off in the luminous Center of Consciousness
Such that the triads (above mentioned) are destroyed? - (1)

The display (of the objective world) caused by the non-existent maya
Does not exist apart from Awareness.
Wind (air), rocks (earth), seas (water), fire and the void (ether) too,
Are all but the One Primordial Awareness.
Its lightness (i.e. easiness of its attainment) if spoken of,
(There) Conflicting Karmas (actions) do not exist and the mind does not conflict.
The attainment of this Reality is all I want,
O Mother of immaculate consciousness
Who is sought by everyone! - (2)

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Brahmavidya Panchakam (Five verses on the Brahman Lore)

By discrimination between the eternal and the ephemeral,
Attaining to high dispassion, the well-versed one,
Shining with the six-fold qualifications of shama, etc.,
Becomes desirous of liberation here in this world.
He, then, approaching a great Knower of the Absolute – Guru,
And pleasing him with prostrations, services, etc.,
Should ask thus, “‘Who am I?’, ‘Wherefrom came the world?’
O Master! O Lord! Do Thou convey.” – (1)

Thou verily art Brahman, and not the senses,
Neither the mind nor the intellect,
Neither the chitta nor the body,
Others such as the prana, I-sense, etc. too
Are unreal and super-imposed by avidya on the Self.
Being drishya (seen), inert is this whole world,
Neither born of anything apart from you,
Nor manifesting by itself,
Apparent like the mirage,
May this be well-discerned! – (2)

That, by which the living and the non-living are pervaded
Like the pot, jug, etc. by clay substance,
That, within which this (world) shines,
That, which this in essence is,
That, from which this was born,
That, in which this exists,
That, which continues as Pure Being Unborn even during dissolution,
That, which follows everything (Omnipresent),
Know That to be the Reality, the Eternal,
To which the pure in mind pay their obeisance. – (3)

She, who after having created this (world) from her own nature,
Entered into it Herself,
She, by whom this is held,
She, by whom the living being acts externally as ‘I’,
As the experiencer in the dream-state,
And as ‘Prājna’ in deep sleep,
She, whose self-fragment pulsates as ‘I’ in each heart,
She, to whom glory is declared by the people,
She, who is complete in each stride,
Listen! Thou indeed art She! – (4)

‘Consciousness indeed am I’, ‘That thou art’,
‘That Brahman is this Self’ – thus singing ever,
Do thou roam around blissfully with a peaceful mind
Resulting from the dawn of knowledge of the Brahman,
Where then is prarabdha for thou?
What sanchita and where is agami for thou?
Karma itself is non-existent,
On thou, superimposed are all these,
Thou therefore art Being-Consciousness Non-dual Omnipresence alone. – (5)

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Brahmavidya Panchakam (Five verses on the Brahman Lore)

‘Consciousness indeed am I’, ‘That thou art’,
‘That Brahman is this Self’ – thus singing ever,
Do thou roam around blissfully with a peaceful mind
Resulting from the dawn of knowledge of the Brahman,
Where then is prarabdha for thou?
What sanchita and where is agami for thou?
Karma itself is non-existent,
On thou, superimposed are all these,
Thou therefore art Being-Consciousness Non-dual Omnipresence alone. – (5)

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Brahmavidya Panchakam (Five verses on the Brahman Lore)


She, who after having created this (world) from her own nature,
Entered into it Herself,
She, by whom this is held,
She, by whom the living being acts externally as ‘I’,
As the experiencer in the dream-state,
And as ‘Prājna’ in deep sleep,
She, whose self-fragment pulsates as ‘I’ in each heart,
She, to whom glory is declared by the people,
She, who is complete in each stride,
Listen! Thou indeed art She! – (4)

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