Of all the works of Bhagavan, this work is arguably the most fundamental and important text, and I think it would be no exaggeration to say that unless one has imbibed to a considerable extent the full import of these forty-two verses (two maṅgalam verses and forty verses of the main text) by carefully studying and reflecting deeply on the meaning of each of them and the close and coherent connections between the ideas expressed in them, and of course by trying as much as possible to follow the simple path of self-investigation that he teaches in them, it is not possible for one to adequately grasp and appreciate the real depth and radical import of his teachings, because many of the key principles of his teachings are expressed nowhere as clearly and coherently as they are in these verses.
The original and authentic essay version of 'Who am I?' written by Sri Ramana himself, in which he explains that happiness is our real nature, and we can therefore experience infinite and eternal happiness only by being aware of ourself as we actually are, and goes on to explain the required practice of self-investigation and other aids that support it.
In this work, Bhagavan Ramana explains that oneself is the only one (that is, the only one existing reality) and also clarifies the practice of self-investigation (ātma-vicāra).
A five-verse poem composed by Sri Ramana in answer to the request of Sri Muruganar to complete a poem (for which Muruganar had written the refrain and sub-refrain stating that ātma-vidya is easy) in which he confirms the truth that ātma-vidya is indeed extremely easy.
அப்பளப் பாட்டு (Appala-p-pattu), the ‘Appalam Song’, is a Tamil song that Sri Ramana composed for his mother one day in about 1914 or 1915, when she asked him to help her make some appalams (a thin crisp wafer made of gram flour and other ingredients, also known as parpata, pappadam, poppadum or pappad, which can either be fried or toasted over a naked flame or in hot embers). He responded by composing this song, in which he compares each of the ingredients, implements and actions required to make an appalam to the qualities and practices required for us to experience true self-knowledge.
ஸ்ரீ அருணாசல அக்ஷரமணமாலை (Śrī Aruṇācala Akṣaramaṇamālai), the ‘Bridal Garland of Letters to Śrī Aruṇācala’, is a song composed in the metaphorical language of bridal mysticism or madhura bhava (the affectionate attitude of a girl seeking union with her lover, the lord of her heart) and consists of 108 couplets, each of which begins with a consecutive letter of the Tamil alphabet and ends with ‘Aruṇācalā'. In these 108 verses, Śrī Ramaṇa pours out his intense love for God in the form of the sacred hill Aruṇācala, praising his boundless grace and praying to him for the imperishable state of absolute oneness with him, which can be gained only by means of true self-knowledge, since the true form of God or Aruṇācala is nothing other than our own essential self, the pure consciousness of being that we always experience as ‘I am’. Though Śrī Ramaṇa had actually surrendered himself and merged completely in the egoless state of true self-knowledge at the age of sixteen, on the day in 1896 that he was overwhelmed by an intense fear of death, which was about eighteen or nineteen years before he composed Śrī Aruṇācala Akṣaramaṇamālai, in many of these verses he sings from the perspective of a devotee who is still struggling to overcome his ego and its finite desires and thereby to surrender himself entirely to the infinite love of God. However, though many of these verses are therefore prayers, in some of them Śrī Ramaṇa clearly praises the grace of Aruṇācala for destroying his mind or ego and thereby absorbing him completely in the non-dual state of immutable union or true self-knowledge.
A spontaneous outpouring of eleven verses from the heart of Śrī Ramaṇa, the first nine of which are beautiful prayers, and the last two powerful assurances, in which he reveals how Aruṇācala will unfailingly destroy the ego of anyone who is attracted to him, thinking him to be the supreme reality, by drawing his or her mind selfwards and thus subduing all its mischievous activity and making it motionless like itself.
This work, though composed by Bhagavan Ramana in the outward form of a hymn praising God in the form of Aruṇācala, is actually a clear and extremely profound expression of the philosophy and practice of the non-dual science of true self-knowledge.
This work consists of nine verses composed in different metres at various times, which were later collected together to form this song. The first three of these nine verses are praises, in the first two of which Śrī Ramaṇa reveals certain aspects of the spiritual significance of the form and name of Aruṇācala, and in the third of which he assures us that if in our search for the clarity of true self-knowledge we long for the grace of Aruṇācala, we will certainly attain his grace and thereby drown forever in the ocean of infinite happiness. The next four verses are heart-melting prayers for the grace of Aruṇācala and for the blessed state of ever-increasing love for him, and in the last two verses Śrī Ramaṇa reveals his own personal experience of his grace, which had bestowed upon him ‘his own state’ (or the ‘state of self’) and thereby saved him from drowning in the deep ocean of worldly maya or delusion.
In this work, Bhagavan Ramana starts with a prayer to Aruṇācala, the light of self-consciousness, to make his heart-lotus blossom fully, then reveals in the second verse that the word ‘heart’ is a name for Aruṇācala, our own real self, which ever shines in our heart as ‘I’, and in the final three verses explains the four yogas and connects them with one subject that alone really interested him, namely knowing the real light of self and merging in it.
Upadēśa Taṉippākkaḷ is a collection of twenty-seven separate verses of instruction composed by Sri Ramana and collected and arranged in proper order by Sri Sadhu Om. Eight verses of Upadēśa Taṉippākkaḷ (namely verses 1, 8, 11, 17, 21, 23, 24 and 25) are translations or adaptations of verses from ancient Sanskrit texts, and verse 22 is a condensed adaptation of a verse from a Tamil text called Prabhulinga Līlai, but the other eighteen verses are all Sri Ramana’s own original compositions. In addition, this showcase includes two videos: one in which Michael discusses two verses by Sri Ramana on the significance of Arunachala and Deepam day and in the other Sri Ramana's verse on his real nature (Aruṇācalaramaṇan).
Guru Vācaka Kōvai (குருவாசகக் கோவை: guru-vācaka-k kōvai) is the most profound, comprehensive and reliable collection of the sayings of Sri Ramana, recorded in 1255 Tamil verses composed by Sri Muruganar, with an additional 42 verses composed by Sri Ramana. The title Guru Vācaka Kōvai can be translated as The Series of Guru’s Sayings, or less precisely but more elegantly as The Garland of Guru’s Sayings. In this title, the word guru denotes Sri Ramana, who is a human manifestation of the one eternal guru — the non-dual absolute reality, which we usually call ‘God’ or ‘brahman’ and which always exists and shines within each one of us as our own essential self, our fundamental self-conscious being, ‘I am’ —, the word vācaka means ‘saying’, and the word kōvai is a verbal noun that means ‘threading’, ‘stringing’, ‘filing’ or ‘arranging’, and that by extension denotes a ‘series’, ‘arrangement’ or ‘composition’, and is therefore also used to denote either a string of ornamental beads or a kind of love-poem. This showcase presents each verse with Sri Sadhu Om's explanatory paraphrase in both Tamil and English (translated by Robert Butler) on a musical background.