Sree Narayana Guru's

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The ancient sages have proclaimed that our life is a pilgrimage towards liberation (Moksha). They have prescribed two paths to achieve this, i.e. Jnana Marga (the path of knowledge) and Karma Marga (path of action). For the common householder Karmamarga is more appropriate. In the Karmamarga four Purusharthas (sublime goals or aims or purpose in life) have been specified, namely, Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha. Karmamarga teaches us to perform our actions based on Dharma. When it is done with devotion, it becomes Upasana. Therefore this path is also called Upasana Marg (path of worshipful action)


The Jnanmarga is more suited to a person who has renounced the world. Since this is the path of contemplation, it is also called Vichara Marga. Atmopadesa-satakam is the work of a Jnanamargi (a follower of the path of contemplation and attained liberation).


The foundation of Jnanamarga is the Mandukya Upanshad. Therefore before we try to savour (enjoy) this experience of Bliss, let us get acquainted with this Upanishad.


This Upanishad states that the Atman has four planes (states) of consciousness, namely, Jagrat (waking), Swapna (dream), Sushupti (dreamless sleep or deep sleep) and Turiya (the Super-conscious state of illumination). These four planes are the four states contained in the word AUM. A, U, M and ~ (Amatra). Amatra refers to the unbroken sound that results when the three matras A, U, M merge into one Omkaram. Please look at this concept as picturised below:


The first three states are planes of experience or perception. (In the fourth state there is neither perception nor the idea of God). The first 3 states lead to the knowledge of the fourth, Turiya. Now, you may wonder, why the forth plane is drawn vertically. To understand this now look at the sentences given below.


In the first three states of consciousness, ‘I’ (the subject) is present and is a witness to the first three states. (Avasthathrayasakshi i.e. witness of the three states). This witness or ‘I’ is the fourth state or Turiya. So it is not really the fourth. It is the base of the first three states. Hence it is drawn vertically by the side to show it comprises the other three.


Now let us examine closely the relationship between Mandukya Upanishad and Atmopadesa-satakam.


Tribhuvanasima katannu tinnivinnum

triputi mutinnu telinnitunna dipam

kapatayatikku karasthamakuvile-



Going beyond the boundaries of the three

worlds, with all-filling glory, the light, rid of three fold view, that ever brighter shines.

 It will never come to the reach of a pseudo-

hermit. Remember, the Upanisadic secret

 declares like this.


In sloka 14 of Atmopadesa-satakam, the Guru employs the word Thribhuvanaseema (the limit of the three planes), which refers to the three states Jagrat, Swapna and Sushupti. When the limits of these three states are overcome the light of Turiya gets illuminated.


Occasionally instead of treating the planes Jagrat, Swapna and Sushupti as three, the Guru refers them as two i.e. waking state and sleep state. Don’t we dream (daydream) even when we are awake? The power or force of Awareness (Brahman) is called Maya. Maya is treated as a godess and hence the use of the word ‘Mayavanita’ in sloka 54.



punarunarumpozhutum sphurikkuvila;

anudinaminnane rantumadimaya-

vanitayilninnu purannu maritunnu.


The wakeful state does not exist in sleep. Not even a trace of sleep remains in waking state. Day by day in this manner, these two states having emerged from the primal maya woman, arise and alternate.


In most stanzas, Guru has considered the planes of experience as one entity and called it Ulakam (the manifested world). Example– sloka94.


Ulakavumullatumaykkalarnnu nilkkum

nila valutayoru nitiketitatre,


caramitilennu cariccitum pramanam.


The world and the Truth exist intermixed. This state is a great injustice done to us. Truth is indeterminate, beyond the grasp of word and mind. How can any right reason operate in it?

In order to clarify the concept of the ‘world’ the picture shows a person looking at an urn (vessel) . Here the person is the ‘one who sees’ (subject) and the urn is the ‘object’ seen. The word ‘Ullathu’ has been used for Truth or Awareness or Atman. In Vedanta Truth is only one i.e. Atman. (Ekam satyam na dwithiyam- Truth is one there is no second- Asatya-darsanam-10.)


Now let us look at some more examples:




Mandukya Upanishad (III. ii. 9) says Brahmaveda Brahmaiva Bhavati i.e the knower of Brahman becomes Brahman. Such Brahmajnanis are called Prathyaksha Brahmam (perceived Brahman). A true Guru may be such a Jnani. Those who continue to live in this world even after attaining this knowledge of Brahman are called Jeevanmukta (liberated even in this life).




The Truth is One. It is perceived and spoken of in different names and forms by the sages. This is from the Rig Veda. Truth has many names like Turiya, Atman, Paramtman, Brahman, Satchidanandam, and so on, but it is ‘ONE’. Besides this in the saguna form (Brahman with attributes) it has endless names. The plane of ‘name and form’ is called Asat (non-being or non-existent, which is the basis of material world.


Brihadaranyaka Upanishad I. iii. 28. says:


Asato ma sadgamaya

tamaso ma jyotirgamaya

mrtyorma amrtam gamaya.


(From the Unreal lead me to the Real

 From darkness lead me to Light

 From death lead me to Immortality)


The Atman is Sat (eternal unchanging Being). ‘Asat’ are the names and forms of ‘Sat’, the basis of the material world. ‘Asatoma Sat gamaya’ means lead me from the plane of Asat (manifest world) to the plane of Atman (unmanifest Brahman). The second line means from the plane of ignorance (darkness) lead me to the plane of Knowledge (light). The third line also convey the same meaning. From death lead me to immortality. In the plane of Sat ‘death’ does not exist. (In other words Asat, Thamas and Mrityu are the products of desire, which exists in the lower planes with names and forms. Sat, Jyothis and Amrutam leads us to the plane of Reality)


Looking at this mantra from this point of view, there is only one statement made in this stanza and not three. The same concept has been stated in three ways. That is all.


Now look at Guru's composition Chijjada-chintanam (slokas 7&8.)


Arule tirumeniyaninnitumi-

yirule veliyeyitaye potuve,

karale, karalinkalirikkumarum-

porule, puri munnumericcavane.


O Grace that round Thy sacred Presence wraps

O darkness-light, O nook and public space,

O core and what within the core as treasure dwells

O Burner of the cities three! (7)


Here the ‘three cities’ are Jagrat, swapna and sushupti. When these three states are destroyed what is left is the 4th state (Turiya). This means Lord Siva sits in the state of Turiya after destroying the other three states.



tirumeni cidambaramennarulum

puri tannilirunnu puram porice-



Holding aloft the flambeau how Thy Presence divine

Descending, while reigning still in thought’s blue dome,

As that city of fame- Chidabaram- is called,

Could yet the cities three burn down, a marvel that is! (8)


In stanza 8, Ambaram means Akasam or ether or all pervasive space. The all pervasive space in the plane of Atman is Chidambaram. It is from this abode or plane Siva (the Lord of Chidambaram) destroyed the three states, Jagrat, swapna and sushupti.


Now let us look at Yogadarsanam sloka 1 from Darsanamala.


Satatam yojayati yad-

yunakti ca cidatmani


sa yoga iti samsitah.


(That which always unites

 and also gets united with chidatma,

which is in the form of restraining mind,

 that is praised as yoga.)


What Guru calls as Manonirodha-roopoyam is the same as what Maharshi Patanjali (in Yogasutra) calls as ‘Yogaschittavrittinirodha’. i.e. Yoga is the restraint of mental modifications. It is not enough only to control the Chittavrittis (activities of the mind or thoughts) but the controlled mind should join (merge) and be made to merge with the Chidatma (Absolute consciousness-Brahman) to be called Yoga.


Darsana means 'view'. Guru's darsana means, Guru's viewpoint or vision which he sees from the fourth plane. That is how the Guru is able to see all beings in Atman, and Atman in all beings.(Isavasya-6.) If a devotee wants to have the same insight or darsana, he has to see it from the plane where Guru stands.


With my humble prayer that let every devotee be fortunate enough to have that insight, with the blessings of Guru, I submit this appreciation before the devotees.


JNANA(Science of Consciousness)



These are one hundred verses of teaching about or of the Self, written by Guru Narayana of south India. The original verses are in Malayalam, the local language.


Self or Atman is above empirical knowledge. It is present within and without. It is like a mathematical entity. Therefore it can be known only through contemplation.


Sree Narayana Guru advises that Atman can be known, not through the senses, but from within oneself. He wants us to close our five senses and prostrate repeatedly before starting the study and then start reading this poem. This means, the people who are tempted by external objects cannot get insight into this subject.


Stanza 1.


arivilumeriyarinjitunnavan tha-

nnuruvilumothu purathumujjvalikkum

karuvinu kannukalanchumulladakki-

tterutere veenu vanangiyotidenam.


Rising even above knowledge of the knower, what within his form, as equally outside, shines radiantly, to that core, with the eyes five restrained within, prostrating in adoration, one should chant again and again.



Atmopadesa-satakam has been started with the word ‘Arivu’ (knowledge, Awareness). This word has been liberally employed in place of Atma (the Self) in this work. It must be recognized that the knowledge mentioned in the first stanza refers to ‘common knowledge’. The other meaning ‘Supreme Knowledge’ or ‘Awareness’ has been introduced in the fourth stanza. In this stanza the word ‘Karu’ is used to indicate the soul.



The Awareness (Karu) mentioned here shines both in the man’s inner Self (Atma) and also in his external world. Awareness is like fire. Hence it is described as illuminating or shining. To get Awareness, one has to look inwards or introspect. In fact, it is an internal realization or a pilgrimage. Hence it is said that the five senses which are directed externally must be closed. ‘Theru therey’ should be understood as ‘without losing time’. It means, all these years were wasted somehow. At least now, try to attain your goal without squandering away your time.


To find the truth about Atma, the grace of god is essential. Hence the advice to go on one’s knees and contemplate. Only one who has conquered his ego can become humble. An egoist cannot understand and reach this principle. This has been clarified in sloka 12 (valiyorahantha vara varam tharenam). The word “othidenam” refers to the way Vedas are chanted to get divine knowledge. Hence this is equivalent to Vedic studies. This has been mentioned also in stanza 53 (mayamatiyaruvan mananam thutarannitenam).


Control your five eyes:


This is a cardinal advice, which those who want to gain knowledge about Self have to understand with full concentration. From where did all these creations take place? Who am I really? With such hundreds of questions a seeker of truth approaches his Guru (preceptor ). The Guru gives the advice ‘tat twam asi’ (That Thou Art) and directs the search for the answers (truth) to his internal self. In other words, the Guru suggests that he should close his five eyes (external sense organs). Thus a seeker of the Truth reaches his destination through a pilgrimage by controlling his external senses.


Just like water, the natural tendency of the senses and the mind is to flow towards lower things, just like animals. If they are not controlled, man will also descend to the same fate as the piglets in a sty. But if they are detracted from the names and forms (objects) and directed towards the Atma, there are endless possibilities. Just as Guru, the Nara (man) can become Narayana (divine man). Only by directing his mind and senses inwards a man becomes pure. Just as crude oil is refined, a man has to refine himself by such introspection. Otherwise he will degrade to the level of an animal, just as what is said in stanza 6 ‘One has to wake, then go to sleep, has to eat food or mate’. What differentiates man from other animals, is his ability to control his desires and feelings. Is ‘lust’ not a natural and basic instinct? If it is not controlled, what is the difference between a man and an animal?


Stanza 2.


karanavumindriyavum kalembaram to-

ttariyumaneeka jagathumorkkilellam

paraveli thanniluyarnna bhaanuman tan-

thiruvuruvaanu thiranju theridenam.


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 sky beyond. By relentless search one should attain to this.



This stanza dwells on the aspect that everything, like the mind, external senses, and body, which are within the ambit of knowledge of man, are really that ONE Principle (Paramathma). ‘Paraveli’ means ‘chidakasam’. There are three planes of perception, the plane of the body (mahakasam), the plane of the mind (chittakasam) and the plane of the Self (chidakasam).




In this stanza, the Supreme Truth has been described as the “Sun in the plane of Self”. We are all familiar with the sun in our sky. As far as we are concerned this sun is only ONE without a second. The Truth that we are going to learn in this scripture also refers to the principle of ONE. In order to familiarize with the ‘ONE’, the Sun has been used as a simile. “thiranju theridenam” means it should be understood by finding it through search.




The sun mentioned here is imaginary . Therefore the divine form of sun is also hypothetical. Such hypothetical or abstract usages can be seen also in stanza 24 (atmaroopam), in sloka 48 (sattathanu), in sloka 69 (atmapratima) and in sloka 86 (ritharoopam). In the plane of Satchitananda (Truth-consciousness-bliss), there is no form, body, or image. What exists here is only Satchitanandam (Awareness)


In the 10th stanza of ‘Apavadadarssanam’ Gurudeva says, ‘Everything is Satchitanandam. There is no plurality. One, who sees plurality in this world, goes through the cycle of birth and death’.


Sarvam Khalvidam Brahma” (All this is, indeed, Bhraman). This stanza has delved into this Upanishad Principle, i.e., whatever is seen as creations is the creator Himself. Daivadasakam stanza 5 also echoes this fact. In the eyes of duality we see only creations. In non-duality (advaita) there is no two like the creator and the creations. Here duality refers to the undeveloped state and non-duality to the developed state. Spirituality is a pilgrimage from duality to non-duality. In advaita the world of names and forms (manifested world) becomes meaningless.


Stanza 3


veliyilirunnu vivarthamingu kaanum

velimuthalaya vibhutiyanchumorthal

jalanidhi thanniluyarnnidum tharanga-

valiyathupoleyabhedamay varenam.


These phenomenal aspects such as the sky, which as existing 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.



All creations (names and forms) are embodiments of the 5 elements (viz earth, water, fire, air and space) or their combinations. The names and forms are those that indicate manifestations. ‘vibhoothi anchum’ refers to the 5 elements. The human body is composed of these 5 elements (Panchabhootas). ‘Veliyil’ means outside the Brahmatatva. One who is reposed in Brahmatatva (in Awareness) is known as a Bramajnani (one who knows Brahman).


Vivartham (appearance).


If one sees a rope in dim light and mistakes it for a snake it is called vivartham (appearance). Appearances are due to Maya (delusion / illusion) or ajnanam (nescience). In this case the veiling power of Maya conceals the rope and the projecting power of Maya showed it as a snake to the viewer.



The Upanishad principle ‘Sarvam Khalvidam Brahma’-‘All this is indeed Brahman’, is dealt with here in another way. The creations are not different from the creator. Names and forms (creations) are the waves in the ocean of Satchitananda. Just as the rows of waves are not different from the ocean, it must be realized that names and forms (manifestations) are not different from Satchitananda (Awareness).




Mundaka Upanishad-III.ii.9 says “Brahmaveda Brahmaiva Bhavathi” (One who knows Brahman, becomes Brahman itself).

The Gurusthuthi


        Guru Brahma Guru Vishnu

        Guru Devo Maheswarah

        Guru sakshat Param Brahman

        Thasmai shri Gurave namah.


also says the same.



There are many who rake disputes on the issue whether Sree Narayana Guru is a Hindu or not. Those who do this have not understood ‘Who a Guru is’. The Guru is a Hindu to a Hindu, Christian to a Christian, Muslim to a Muslim, a rationalist to a believer in rationalism, a revolutionary to a revolutionary, and a social reformer to a social reformer. Therefore the way we see a Guru depends on our perception. At first the person does not understand the Guru. It is like the story of the blind men and the elephant; each had his own perception of the elephant. When we use the word Guru, it means ‘Knower of the Truth”. Guru is Brahman with a form (Pratyaksha Brahmam). Any other interpretation other than this falls short of its real meaning.




arivumarinjitumarthavum pumanta-

nnarivumoradi mahassu mathramakum;

viralathavittu vilangumammahatha-

marivilamarnnathu mathramayitenam.


Knowledge, the object known, and the knowledge of the knower, together make one primal glory. Within the radiance of that great omnipresent Awareness, one should merge and become that alone.



Knowledge, knower and the known as a whole is called ‘triputi’ (the triad). Triputi or the concept of three exists is duality. When these three get destroyed in the Primal Glory (divine light), the Self reaches the plane of Awareness. The same concept appears in stanza 14 (With all-filling glory, the light, that ever brighter shines, rid of three fold view). The primal glory is the same as Super Consciousness or Jnanam (Awareness). It is Omnipresent. It is in you, in me, in the pillar and in the rust (dust). This Omnipresent Awareness is fire. Since it has radiance, it is called shining.



Just as a toy made of salt merges in the sea, when it tries to fathom its depth, the seeker of Truth who goes after Satchitananda (to know it), merges with it and become one and That alone. That is non-duality. Then there are no two entities- God and the devotee. This has also been stated in stanza 7 as ‘Do not wake anymore, and without sleeping, remain as Awareness.’


Saguna and Nirguna Brahman

(The Supreme with and without attributes)


In the illustration, the Brahman with a form and attribute is shown with a picture inside. The vertical figure, without a picture, represents Brahman without form or attributes.



Guru has used the word Awareness to mean Atma (Self) for the first time, in this stanza. Just as an artiste in a Kathakali performance enters the stage step by step, Guru, has brought Awareness, the prime performer into the scene.




ulakarurangiyunarnnu chinthacheyyum

palathumitokkeyumuttuparthu nilkkum-

vilamathiyatavilakkudikkayum pin-

polikayumillithu kandu poyitenam.


People in this world, they sleep, wake and think various thoughts. There dawns a priceless lamp, which never shall dim again, led by this, one should go forward.



People sleep at night. They wake in the morning. In between, they think of many things. That is the basic nature of man. The priceless lamp that looks at all these as the universal witness is Atma (Self). It does not rise or set at all. It means, it has no beginning or end. With this knowledge,continue your journey towards liberation, as a pilgrimage to merge with Awareness and become That alone.



In the second stanza, Awareness has been described as the sun that has risen in the plane of Self. Since the sun, known to the common man, rises in the morning and sets in the evening, there is a likelihood of thinking the same about the sun of Awareness. It is perhaps, due to this reason, the Guru has again emphasized that the priceless lamp does not rise or set.


Must be observed and proceeded


Life is a journey towards liberation through the path of Dharma (social righteousness). On the two sides of this path there are scenes relating to possessions and desires (Artha and Kama). For a celibate, who has chosen the path of contemplation these are just passing glimpses. The one who gets entangled in the world of possessions and desires, falls to the level of a frog in the well. A person may see these sights but should not look at them. He should not entertain the thought of possessing them. When one only sees and proceeds there is no attachment to them. But when he thinks ‘Why not I have these (worldly pleasures or possessions)’ attachment starts. That becomes a bond. It causes a hindrance to the journey towards liberation. Hence the advice, to just see and proceed.




 unaranaminniyuranganam bhujichee-

 tanamasanam punaraenamennivannam

 anayumaneka vikalpamakayala-

 runaruvathulloru nirvikara roopam.


One has to wake, then go to sleep, has to eat food or mate, thus do temptations keep coming, one after other. Who could there be, therefore to wake, unto that Reality’s one and changeless form.



Waking, sleeping, consuming food, hugging, and other activities are natural animal instincts. Most people spend their time on these activities and many other false notions about life. They do not perceive anything beyond possessions and desires. That means such people sleep cozily under the cover of ignorance. No one wakes from the sleep of desires or infatuations. Awareness has no transformation. It has no particular affinity or hatred towards anything.


Who wakes up to understand


Is it enough if man progresses in life just by waking, sleeping and hugging, like animals? If this is so, then will he not also degrade himself to the level of a caged animal? This is the relevance of Guru’s question, ‘Who could there be, therefore to wake?’


The sages have affirmed that human life is unique. It is in this life that man gets a chance to seek and find Truth. Without wasting a lifetime going after possessions and desires, and controlling the 5 senses, if a man looks inwardly, there are endless possibilities. Naran (the common man) can even become Narayanan (the divine man). But nobody recognizes this Truth, and nobody comes forward to know it. Hence Guru has asked the rhetorical question ‘Who wakes?’ to indicate, ‘nobody wakes’.






pranavamunarnnu pirappozhinju vazhum

munijanasevayil moorthi nirthitenam.


Do not wake anymore, and without sleeping, remain as Awareness. If you are not fit for this today, then keep yourself in the service of those contemplatives, who live awakened to AUM and free from births.


Here, the plane of experience has been divided into two as (1) the waking state, and (2) the sleeping state. Waking indicates Rajas (activity),



and sleeping indicates Tamas (inertia). Do not go into Rajas or Tamas, but remain as Awareness, i.e. remain in Satva (pure state), just as you use a balance to maintain equilibrium.



If you are not fit for this, then engage in the service of those who have understood AUM (Pranava mantra) and become Jeevanmukta (liberated while still alive).


The path of contemplation, and the path of devotion


In this stanza ‘Do not wake anymore, and without sleeping, remain as Awareness’. refers to the Vichara marga or Jnana marga (path of contemplation or path of knowledge). Vicharamarga is the path of understanding spiritual principles or Truth by contemplation. In this path you are advised to be aware of Truth (Awareness). If you are not suited for this, then the advice is Upasana marga (the path of worship and karma). Upasana marga involves duality i.e. God and devotee as two entities. Those who have understood the Pranava manthra (AUM) are those who have understood the Truth (Brahmajnanis) and have become liberated in this life itself. (Brahmaveda Brahmaiva Bhavati- Anyone who knows Brahman becomes Brahman. Mundaka Upanishad-III.ii.9). Depending on his ability, one can choose anyone of the two paths. Of these two, the path of contemplation is definitely superior. Atmopadesa-satakam is a composition dealing with the Vichara marga.


There are some people who question why, Guru, who believes in advaida, has installed idols. The answer to this is to see Guru not as an advaitin, but as Guru itself. He is a visionary who has known Truth and is capable of showing the Truth to others. The path of advaita (non-duality) is not suitable to all. The path of worship and karma is prescribed to them. The Guru does not see people as believers in non-duality or as believers in duality. He sees all as humans. For the benefit of mankind, Guru has utilized the spiritual power and energy to install idols, whenever requested by devotees (to meet their needs). But he has chosen the Satvic idols and dismissed demonic ones.




olimutalam pazhamanjumundu narum

nalikayileri nayena mariyadum

kilikaleyanchumarinju keezhmarikkum

velivuruveentiyakom vilangitenam.


Enjoying the five fruits, such as light (form), mounted on a foul-smelling gun barrel (body), and cunningly flying to one after other, are five birds (senses). Having cut and brought them down, that radiant inner awareness should fill one’s entire being.


The fruits of fire (‘oli’-light) and others refer to the five elements, (earth,



water, fire, air, space). The barrel that stinks with these elements is the human body. The five birds that fly cunningly are the five sense organs (eye, ear, nose, tongue and skin). These should be controlled by withdrawing them from sensual objects. This control is referred to as ‘having cut and brought them down’. This Inner awareness should fill in one’s Self with radiance.



Nalika’ refers to the barrel of the gun. The body has been compared to the obnoxious odour emanating gun barrel; when it is filled with gunpowder and fired. The human body, like the gun barrel, is a long tube extending from the mouth to the anus. It stinks because the ignorant people eat both what should be eaten and what should not be. The approach of other sense organs is also similar. It sees both what should be seen and what should not be. It hears what should be heard and what should not be. It tries to know what should be known and what should not be. Thus they become foul smelling. We are accustomed to the word “naarri” used to call those people (in a derogatory sense) who poke their nose into unnecessary things. The jnani eats what should be eaten, and avoids those foods that are prohibited to be eaten, sees what should be seen and avoids what should not be. This is called vivekam (discriminatory skill). This discriminative nature and the resultant actions have no place in the life of an ignorant man. Therefore he ends up as a man of no consequence. His life is a failure or waste.




irupuravum varumaravasthayeppoo-

thorukodivannu padarnnuyarnnumevum

tharuvinadikku tapassucheytu vazhum

naranu vara narakam ninachidenam.


The alternating two states of waking and sleeping, with the blossoming creeper (dream) on it, make one tree. Remember that hell does not come to the man, dwelling in contemplation, beneath that tree.



Here the first two lines refer to the states of waking and sleeping. The ‘widespread wine in blossom’ is dream. The tree is the tree of illusion (Maya), also referred to in stanza 51 as ‘Mayamaram’. One who dwells in contemplation under this tree sits inAwareness. There is no question of hell for him. The usage of the phrase ‘pootha oru kodi vannu padarnnuyarnnu mevum tharu’ (the tree with widespread wine in blossom) can be compared to the concept of Aswatha tree mentioned in chapter 15 of Bhagavad Geeta. This is also the stanza that racks the brains of commentators.


When commenting on this stanza, relating it to Yogasastra (the science of body and mental discipline), one cannot ignore what Guru has said as Jnanayoga and Karmayoga in his other work, Darsanamala.


 jnanam karmeti loke asmin

dvidha yogah samasatah

anayor yogavistarah

 sarvah parisamapyate.




(In short we can say that in this world there are two types of yoga, Jnana and Karma. These two contain all the details of Yoga.)


Irupuravum Varumaru Avastha

(The alternating two states of waking and sleeping)


By splitting this as ‘Varum Aaru Avastha’ (coming six types of states) it has become a difficult concept to tackle. This has to be understood just as the usage of ‘Varumaru Illa’ in sloka 5 of Anukamba-dasakam. It is only a peculiar Malayalam usage.


varum aaru vidhm vikaravum

varumaru illa arivinnitinnu ner

uruvam udal vittu keerthiyam

uruvarnniganukamba ninnidum.


(Those phases six that life do overtake


Invade not wisdom’s pure domain;


Likewise the Mercy quality, when human


form has gone,


As good reputation’s form endures.)




irulilirippavanaru cholka ni” ye-

nnoruvanurappathu kaettu thanumevam

arivathinayavanodu “neeyumaare”

nnarulumathin prathivakyamekamaakum.


’’Who sits there in the dark? Declare’’ says one. Upon hearing the first, himself intent to know, in turn asks ‘’who may you even be’’. For both, the word of response is but One.




Two persons who are in dark, cannot see each other. Hence, when one of them asks ‘Who are you’, the other replies ‘It is I’. Since they are brothers-in-atman, they can recognize each other by the voices. When both have the same replay ‘I’, they are ONE. In other words ‘you’ and ‘I’ become same. The next stanza is a continuation of this stanza.





ahamaham” ennarulunnathokkeyara-

 yukilakame palathallathekamaakum


thukayilaham porulum thutarnnitunnu


The repeated I,I contemplated from within is not many but remains One. As the vanishing egoism being multiple, with their totality, the Self-substance also continues.



When one recognizes his Self (Awareness) the ego disappears. This is


what is meant by the phrase ‘the vanishing ego’. The sense of I (ego) exists in all, as ‘I, mine, my’. Hence, there are many egos or egoistic people. Hence we get the wrong impression that there are many Atmas (Selfs). Therefore we say ‘my’ soul or my ‘Self’. That is not correct. We should say ‘I am Atma’ (Aham Brahmasmi), since Atma is ONE and not two.


Akalum Ahanta

(The vanishing ego)


With the realization of Self, the I-sense (ego) distances itself and disappears. When the salt-doll, which went to fathom the depth of the ocean, merged with the ocean, there was no doll or its identity.


In stanza 52, 61, 86 and 50 Atmopadesa-satakam Gurudeva has clarified the concept that when one merges with the Truth (Awareness) the names and forms and their ego disappear.




tholiyumelumpu malam duranthamantah-

kalakalumenthumahanthayonnu kanka !

poliyumithanya pollinju poornamakum

valiyorahantha vara varam tharenam.


See the pride, the skin, bone, refuse and the evil ending inner urges, carry with them. This, which perishes is not related (to Atman). It vanishes completely. Oh, grant me a boon that, the ego of a higher level does not come in its place.



The human body is composed of the skin, bones, the refuse matter, and the baser (ignoble) inner desires. These inner urges (desires relating to worldly objects) distances one from Awareness, and gives endless sorrow. Hence, the use of the phrase ‘the evil ending inner urges’. Though this is the actual state of affairs, man without realizing this, spends his life with egoistic tendencies, saying ‘my body, my beauty, my house, my car’ and so on.


This ego is different from Awareness. When man gets Awareness (knowledge of the Supreme Self), this ego is fully destroyed, and becomes non-existent. Hence the prayer ‘Grant me a boon that, the ego of a higher level does not come in its place’. Any type of ego is a hindrance in the search for Truth.


The ego of a higher level


Many people show off proclaiming ‘I am a sage’ or ‘I am a Yogi’ (one who has controlled his senses, etc.), or ‘I am an accomplished person’, ‘I am a recluse’, and so on. The egos of such people are tougher than that of a common man. Similarly if a celibate boasts ‘I am Brahman’, it is also bloated ego. When one understands ‘Everything, indeed, Brahman’ along with ‘I am Brahman’, then there is no room for ego. The ego of pseudo-hermits and self-proclaimed jnanis are more severe in their nature. Such egos will act as an obstruction to attaining knowledge about Brahman.




thrigunamayam thiruneeraninjoreesa-

nnakamalarittu vanaghiyakshamari

sakalamazhinju thaninju kevalathin-

mahimayumattu mahassilanitenam.


Having offered the inner flower of ‘I’ to that Lord, smeared with sacred ashes, of the three gunas, having cooled down the senses, unwind everything, and become calm, even the desire for samadhi gone, sink into the effulgent glory.



The Lord, smeared with sacred ashes, of the three gunas’ refers to Lord Siva who has conquered or destroyed the three gunas (Satva, Rajas, Tamas). ‘Offering the inner flower’ refers to performing pooja by offering (giving up) one’s ‘I’ sense. When a person gives up his ego, it becomes an absolute or unconditional offering or submission to God. Such a total submission is called Saranagathi (path of refuge). ‘Aksham ari’ means the sense organs having cooled down. Having realized, that without the Grace of God one cannot reach the Truth, and having given up the approach using the sense organs, the sensual tendencies become subdued, and having given up the ego-sense, and, even the desire for samadhi gone, one should merge fully with the divine glory. Daivadasakam, stanza 10, says we must get deep into ‘azhamerum nin mahassam aazhi’ (Satchitananda sagara- ocean of Awareness).


Here the devotee submits himself fully to God, saying now I leave it to your wish, whether I should lead the life of a householder (Karma yogi) or that of a contemplative (Jnana yogi). Pidanandi stanza 1 also refers to this mental state. Saranagathi is the ultimate in devotion. Here, a devotee unloads, all the burdens of his heart, in front of the Lord saying ‘I have given up my ego-sense’. When there is no ego, there is no burden of the heart that goes with the ego.




thribhuvana seema kadannu thinghivighum

thriputi mutinju thelinjitunna deepam

kapatayathikku karasthamaakuveele-

nnupanishadukthi rahasyamorthidenam.


Going beyond the boundaries of the three worlds, with all-filling glory, the light, that ever brighter shines, rid of three fold view.


It will never come to the reach of a pseudo-


hermit. Remember, the Upanisadic secret declares like this.



The three worlds’ refer to the three states of consciousness, Jagrat (waking), Swapna (dreaming), and Sushupti (deep dreamless sleep). The lamp that shines when these three states have been subdued is Turiya (Awareness). The ‘three fold view’ refers to the knower, knowledge and object known (stanza-4). When ‘the lamp shines’, the concept of (existence of) the three (Triputi) ends. Hence the Guru has called the Turiya state as ‘when the three states are subdued or destroyed’. In sloka 52 the Guru has clarified this point once again. ‘On that day, the sky will glow as radiant sound. All visible objects will become extinct in that’.


The pseudo-hermit


A person who tries to hoodwink others is a pseudo-hermit (false prophet). He has his eyes set on others, on sensual objects and desires. Without controlling one’s senses, one cannot acquire True Knowledge (Jnanam). The lamp that shines after conquering the ‘three states’ is not within the reach of the pseudo-hermit.



The Upanishadic secret declares like this


One has to recall the Secret Truth mentioned in the Upanishads. The Upanishads deal with the path of Knowledge (how to acquire knowledge about the Brahman through contemplation). The Atmopadesa-satakam also advises on this Truth enshrined in the Upanishads. The Atmopadesa-satakam is at times called as ‘the essence of all Upanishads’ (sarvopanishad sarasangraham).




parayute paalu nukarnna bhaghyavanma-

rkoru pathinayiramandoralpaneram

arivapara prakrithikadheenamaya-

lara notiyayiramandupole thonnum.


To the blessed ones who have sucked the milk of transcendent, ten thousand years is just a moment. But if knowledge succumbs to lower prakrti (consisting of names and forms), half a second seems like a thousand years.



Para’ refers to the fourth state (Turiya) and ‘Apara’ to sensual objects. One who is able to suck the milk of Para (Satchitananda-sagara) is a gifted one. He does not know about the passage of time, since nothing bores Him or disturbs Him. But the one who goes after the names and forms gets whirled by Prakriti (nature-Maya). Sloka 43 says ‘As if caught by nature and whirled round in vicious circles, the men of good action too, keep turning round’. Hence everything becomes like hell for him. Time does not seem to move. Even half a second appears as thousand years.




adhikavisala marupradheshamonnay

nadhi perukunnathupole vannu nadham

sruthikalil veenu thurakkumakshiyennum

yatamiyalum yathivaryyanayidenam.


As if a vast desert becomes over-flooded by river water all at once, the words falling in to the ears, open the eyes. Do therefore daily become the best of contemplatives, gifted with Self-control.


The vast desert refers to the mental state of a seeker of Truth in search of it. ‘The words’ indicates the priciple of Srutis (sacred scriptures). The Upanishads, Bagavad Gita and Brahma sutras are the Vedic scriptures (usually called the Prasthanathrayas). In olden days these were learnt by hearing them from a Guru by word of mouth. The words of a Guru, who is a knower of Truth, are equivalent to sacred scriptures (Srutis). This is so because ‘One who knows Brahman is Brahman itself’ (Mundaka Upanishad III.ii.9.)


Just as a river swells fast, The Sun of Knowledge also rises fast, and the transformation is almost instant. If a river overflows its banks it makes a desert fertile. Similarly, a seeker of Truth, who wanders here and there with an intense thought process, becomes a jnani (wise one) at one stroke. This is called ‘instant realization’. In other words (for) those who are eligible for the path of contemplation, liberation comes suddenly. Liberation means freedom from ignorance, which makes him a jnani (a man of Awareness). He becomes a visible Brahman (Pratyaksha Brahma). The rest of his life he spends as a Jeevanmukta. All genuine Gurus are Jeevanmuktas.


The eyes that open


Here the eyes refer to the mind’s eye (Manakkannu) divine insight. If this eye is to open, the sound should fall in the ears from the Guru’s mouth. Only a Guru, a knower of Truth can provide divine insight by opening this eye. See what is said in Sri Gurustrotra. (Ajnana thimiradhasya…)


Do therefore daily become the best of contemplatives, gifted with self control


The seeker of Truth is advised to continue with his efforts to become a great contemplative by knowing the Truth (Brahman).


This stanza is about the experience of Bliss. When a seeker of Truth, gets the vision of Truth (gets enlightened), he goes through an experience of Bliss (unlimited joy). This has been clarified by Guru in this composition, in a number of places. For instance, in stanza 97, Guru has indicated the phrase ‘anubhaviyathariveela’ (this cannot be known except through the experience).


Instant realization


By using the phrases ‘As if a vast desert becomes over-flooded by river water all at once’, and ‘Like ten thousand suns coming all at once, the wisdom’s function comes’ (stanza-35) Guru says this transformation will occur instantly. In scriptures this is called ‘instant realization’ (Sadyomukti) as compared to sequential or stage wise realization (Kramamukti).




azhalezhumanchitalarnnu randu thattay

chuzhalumanadi vilakku tookkiyathma

nizhaluruvayeriyunnu neyyato mun-

pazhakiya vaasana varthi vrithiyathre.


Having two tiers, and five petals each, filled with suffering, rotating, beginingless, hangs the lamp of Self, burning as a shadow form, with the oil of prior habit traits, and function as the wick.



The five petals refer to the 5 sense organs. The two tiers (levels or planes) are the waking state and the sleeping state. These two states occur in turns, one after another. Therefore this has been referred as ‘rotating’ or ‘whirling’. ‘The eternal lamp’ means the countless names and forms (manifestations).The Atma (Awareness) shines as a shadow form. The past vasanas or traits is the oil. The mental modification function as the wick.


Shadow forms


Though the lamps of names and forms are seen as manifestations, they do not really exist. Therefore they are called shadow forms. What is mentioned in ‘Kundalini-pattu’ as ‘deham nijamalla’ has the same concept.


This body here no truth it has;


Owner another in it resides.


Such wisdom do thou gain, and thus


Dance, snake, dance!




The oil of prior habit traits’ refers to the previous birth. Such propensities can come only from the earlier births. In ‘Jathilakshanam’ stanza 9, there is a reference to rebirth.


arivan karuvan cheyta


karuvarnniniyum mari

varumee vannatokkeyum.


Here Awareness is compared to a potter. Just like a potter makes different forms from the mud, Awareness with the help of its own Maya is making endless names and forms. Forms they come, stay for some time and perish. Then they appear in a different form. Thus rebirth takes place.


Those who die without reaching the stage mentioned in Darsanmala are bound to have rebirths. Nirvanadarsanam (stanza-9) says:


heyopadeyata nahya-

syatma va svaprakasakah

iti matva nivatteta

vrttir na avarttate punah


This world does not have the two aspects, i.e. to be accepted or to be rejected. By meditating on the self illuminating Atma, one has to get away from all Sankalpa-Vikalpa (sankalpa means intentions or self-willed thoughts and vikalpa means false notions), and from all activities. That means one has to achieve liberation. If this is done the waves of thought will not repeatedly arise in the mind. (i.e. will get liberation without rebirth)


Shadow form and the Installation of mirror


Guru says that creations we see are mere shadows. There cannot be a shadow without an object as its source or base. When one sees an image in a mirror, the mirror forms the base. Since names and forms (objects) are shadows , which is the mirror that reflects them? The world of names and forms are seen on the base of Awareness or Sactchidanandam. That means God is the mirror. The idols are images (or reflections) of God. Since God is the reflecting source, the ordinary mirror has been used as a representation (metaphor) for it. In the effulgence of Advaita philosophy, that is the best representation. Guru has clarified that God is the mirror even in his composition ‘Atmavilasm’.




ahamirulallirulakil andharay na-


arivathinal ahamandhakaaramalle-



The 'I' is not darkness.If it were so, we would have remained in a state of blindness, unaware of 'I' , 'I' . Because of such awareness, in order to know that ‘I’ is not darkness, this should be told to everyone




I’ is not darkness (ignorance). The Mahavakya ‘Aham Brahmasmi’ brings out this fact. If ‘I’ where darkness, we would not have remained with the perception of ‘I’ ‘I’. Since we recognize it, it ceased to be ignorance. This truth should be conveyed to all.


This should be told to everyone


In Guru’s time, an objection or argument was put forward by the upper caste Hindus that a sudra by caste has no right to Vedic scriptures. When Sri Narayana Guru, a sudra (lower caste Hindu), mastered the scriptures and became a knower of Truth, the fallacy of this argument was established (proved). As regards Guru, the human race is one caste or kind. Therefore, it is proper to teach these holy scriptures to anyone who is genuinely interested (in knowing the Truth) irrespective of his caste (or birth).




adi mutiyattamathundithundathunde-

nnadiyidumadima satthayullatellam

jadamithu sarvamanityamam jalathin-

vadivine vittu tharangamanyamamo ?


Bottom, top, tip, that is real, this is real, that is real- all things conflicting like this, and having Prime Substance with it, are all names and forms, all change and pass. Apart from the form as water, is there any reality for the wave?



Men quarrel about various names and forms (objects) by talking of the bottom, the top, the tip, ‘this is real’, ‘that is real’ and so on. Difference of opinion is an inherent human trait. All these quarrelling names and forms are transient and not permanent in their nature. Yet all these have a primordial substance behind them. That is Awareness. The wave is not different from water (but its form). Similarly, all these disputed objects are not different from Satchitanandam.


Names and forms, all change and pass


All names and forms (manifestations) are not permanent. They change and pass off. It is similar to the phenomenon of temporary rise and fall of the waves in water. In stanzas 50, 52, 61 and 82, Guru has clarified this concept.




ulakinu veroru satthayillathunde-

nnulakarurappathu sarvamoohahenan

 jalanu vilesayamennu thonniyalum

nalamiyalum malarmaala naagamamo?


There is no other reality for the world. People saying the contrary is all without proper thought. Though an ignorant person could mistake it, for a snake, could a fresh flower-garland, ever become a serpent?




The names and forms make the world. The world is not another Reality. The Reality is only Awareness. Even if people say so, these are thoughtless utterances. Even if a garland of flowers appears as a snake to an ignorant man, (man in darkness) it does not make the garland a snake. In dim light if a rope is mistaken for a snake, it does not make the rope a snake. This is a mental aberration. With the onset of Knowledge (Awareness), this confusion disappears. Ref stanza 52


(All visible objects will become extinct in that.)





In stanzas 21-25, Guru discusses matters relating to Dharma (social righteousness). In this world with multitudes of people, there are certain rules or principles, which have to be respected (followed) by everyone. These are called duties (Dharma). These principles or values change with time. Therefore the greatest importance should be given to the advise of the most recent Guru, who makes the necessary modification in relation to time to make it relevant (practicable). The followers of Guru who are vocal about Manusmriti should understand this point. They should study and practice Sree Narayana Dharma. Sree Narayana smriti is Manava Dharma (equally applicable to all human beings irrespective of caste or kind). Guru has taken the relevant portions of Manusmriti and deleted the others to suit our times.


priyamoru jathiyithenpriyam tvadiya-

priyamapara priyamennanekamayi

priyavishayam prathi vannitum bhramam tan-

priyamaparapriyam ennarinjidenam.


Endearment is only of one kind. This is dear to me, this is dear to the next man, this is dear to the other man- thus objects of endearment are differentiated, and confusion comes. What is dear to oneself is dear to another also. This should be acknowledged.




Endearment is only of one kind. Something becomes really ‘dear’ (worthy of endearment) only when it is held dear by the person and others. If one’s action, though to his liking, is not to the liking by another, it does not become an adorable (lovable) act. Guru says, that if we start differentiating the ‘likings’, as ‘my liking’, and ‘your liking’ then it will end up in utter confusion. What one likes should be also dear to another. What is called as an act for the good of mankind should bring happiness to others. This is the right thing to do.




 priyamaparanteyathenpriyam svakiya


nayamathinale narannu nanma nalkum-

kriyayaparapriya hethuvayvarenam.


The other man’s happiness is my happiness. My own happiness is the other man’s happiness. So the Dharmic principle is- the action that is good for the mankind (one person), should bring happiness to the other.




Here Guru has clarified how to perform one’s actions, without resulting in wrongful deeds. The core principle of Dharma rests in ‘Our actions should be responsible for the happiness of others’. (Paropakaram punyam). All vocations chosen for one’s livelihood, should be good (beneficial) for the person for whom the work is undertaken, i.e. the ultimate consumer (beneficiary). When one sells toddy or brews liquor to sell, it results in intoxication to the consumers of these products and finally destroys their lives. Therefore Guru has given the advise ‘Alcohol (liquor) is poison, don’t produce it, don’t consume it, don’t offer it to others’.




aparanu vendiyaharnisam prayathnam

kripanatha vittu kripalu cheythidunnu

krpananadhomukhanay kidannu cheyyu-

nnapajaya karmamavannuventi mathram.


The compassionate man does things, day and night, giving up self-centered interest for the sake of others. The mean person, with head bent down, does unsuccessful actions, which are self-centered only.


The compassionate person strives honestly day and night for the benefit of others. But the crook has no desire to know who has come and is not even prepared to give him a look. Hence the words ‘with the head bent down (stooped)’. A thief never looks at you (eye to eye). His action is solely on his benefit and purpose. He is not concerned about the misery or loss he causes to others. Hence his deeds are ‘failures’. He may be able to earn wealth or satisfy his desires. But, being ignorant of what is Dharma (righteousness), he fails to reach the goal of liberation, and in course of time, degrades himself to the level of an animal. That is why his actions are called failures. By performing prescribed duties, observing the principles of Dharma, and proceeding in that path, a man attains liberation. This is mentioned also in stanza 4.




avan ivan ennariyunnatokkeyortha-

lavaniyil adimamayorathmaroopam

avanavanathma sukhathinacharikku-

nnavayaparannu sukhathinay varenam.


That man’’ “this man’’- thus, all that is known in this world, if contemplated, is only Self’s single form. What each performs for the happiness of the self, should be conducive to the happiness of others.




Though the concept of ‘this man’, ‘that man’ appears in the plane of names and forms (manifest world), in the plane of Atma all these are seen as One- the one and only one- that is, Awareness. Hence all are soul-brothers (spiritually bonded). Atmaroopam- is a figure of speech. This is similar to the words used in sloka 2 (thiruvuru), in sloka 48 (satha thanu), in sloka 69 (atmapratima) and sloka 86 (rtaroopam). Guru has amplified the reason for recommending the principle of Dharma. When everyone becomes spiritual-brothers, one’s liking is also the other’s, and a brother’s sorrow becomes one’s own sorrow. This has already been elaborated in stanza 22 as ‘the action that is good for one person, should bring happiness to the other.’


There is no concept of differentiation in the eyes of Guru. Today even men and women are on a warpath of genders. The feminist give leadership to this fight calling it women’s lib(eration). This does not jell with the Guru’s views.


According to scriptures God has created man as ‘masculine’ and woman as ‘feminine’(Ref- Pindanandi-1). A man cannot become a woman or a woman a man. Man and woman are not created to fight with each other on the basis of differences. A man should be a good man and a woman, a good woman. Both should live as compliment to each other, like the concept of Arthanareeswara (a harmonious union of male and female principles). What we need is not war of genders but a man-woman combination as equals. In Guru’s view there is no relevance for any type of class-wars (including man vs. woman). Instead of class-wars Guru recommends class- cooperation.


The people who argue for women’s freedom often quote Manusmriti saying that there was no freedom for woman at the time of Manu. They should understand one thing. India, that is Bharat, was not a country, where woman had no freedom. We must not forget that Swayamvarams (a woman’s freedom to choose her husband) were conducted in India in olden days. When Manu said ‘na sthree swatantryamarhati’, what he meant was that a woman need not live by her own means. She has to be protected. A woman should be in the care of her father in the teens, protected by her husband in her youth, and looked after by her sons in her old age. She should not be a destitute at any time.


What each performs for the happiness of the self, should be conducive to the happiness of others


Whatever profession or work is chosen for one’s livelihood, it should be undertaken with the benefit to others in our mind. That is, it should bring happiness to others. The teacher, the auto rickshaw driver and the barber do their jobs according to this principle. But the work of the toddy-tapper, or the brewer of liquor, or the dealer in narcotics (drugs) are against this principle of human welfare. Hence Guru once said ‘With one toddy tapper’s knife, we can make four razors’.


Guru has further clarified how to perform deeds without resulting in wrongful actions. A deed that does good to the doer and others is a noble action. It is the right one to do and is Dharma. When he has purity in his thoughts, speech and actions, man starts to live in the plane of God’s grace. If the actions are not pure, then whatever is achieved through prayers or offerings will all get lost due to their malefic intentions. To fill water in a leaking vessel is a wasteful act. When one takes stock of his gains and loss, in a final analysis, he will find that the loss is more than the gains.




oruvanu nallatum anyanallalum che-

rpporuthozhil athmavirodhiyorthidenam

paranuparam parithapamekidunno-

reri narakabdhiyil veenerinjidunnu.


Remember an action good for one person and brings misery to another is opposed to the Self. Those who give great suffering to another will fall into the burning sea of hell and perish.



This stanza deals with those actions and principles that result in wrongful deeds. Even if an action, results in a gain to the doer, if it creates misery or loss to the consumer (another) it is opposed to the Atma (Self), and thus becomes a vicious action. The Atma is all in all. Hence Atma-virodhi (enemy of Atma) means the devastation of everything. This is what happens when one produces liquor and sells. The seller earns money. But what happens to the one who consumes it. His health suffers. He loses money and his self-respect. When the breadwinner’s money, health and respect are lost, the whole family perishes. When many such families perish, the community is ruined. Thus it becomes the cause of ruin of everything.


Those who give great suffering to another will fall into the burning sea of hell and perish


What you sow, you reap. If you sow joy, you reap joy. If it is sorrow, you reap sorrow. Respect begets respect. Despise gets despise in return. This is similar to the law of physics ‘For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction’. Wrong deeds can be remedied by appropriate noble deeds. Even the ‘incarnation’ of God have not been able to violate this law of Karma. (What you sow, so you reap).


Untouchability and social ostracism


Guru has exposed the hypocrisy of some bad practices like untouchability and social ostracism. Such acts seem to please one group and cause distress to another. Hence these are malefic actions (practices). Such actions have been responsible for the downfall of this country. Just like the ‘Bharanda-pakshi’ mentioned in the Panchatantra which has two heads. Bharat is a Bharanda-pakshi with hundred crores of heads. Even if with one of its heads, the bird eats poison, it will die. If the proponents of the caste system, understand this fact, at least now, it will do good to them also.


Those who start caste-war in the name of Guru, by using terms like ‘forward communities’ ‘backward communities’ should also understand this truth (fact). Even if the upper castes have exploited the lower castes in the past, Guru has not said to anyone that they should retaliate. Any revenge or reprisal is an act that ‘pleases’ one and brings sorrow to the other. Even if one refers to the ancestors, such actions will bring mal-effects upon that person. According to Vedanta, we are all ‘brothers-in-Atma. Hence there is no place for revenge. At best we can reject them. Only God can sit in judgment for human actions and decide what a person deserves for his actions. This can be seen from the example of ‘Indamthurithi Nambuthiri’ who led the upper castes during the Vaikkom Satyagraha. His house has now become the office of the toddy-tapper’s union. If the followers of the Guru also indulge in such actions, which can result in undesirable consequences, it will also lead them to their ruin.


Man should discriminate between right and wrong actions, and then choose the right ones, and avoid the wrong. This is the nature (mark) of a jnani. One who does both right and wrong without discrimination, is like a lunatic. Man should show his discriminating power in all cases and all times. He should see what should be seen and avoid what should not be. He should hear what should be heard and avoid others. He should eat what should be eaten and shun what should not be. Therefore, a person with discrimination (ability to know what is right and what is wrong) does only what should be done and avoids those which are prohibited (evil).


There is another point, which we should keep in mind, when we talk about Dharma. If one sees Adharma (violation of righteousness or wrongful actions) and turns a blind eye to it, it is as good as supporting the same. Even if one cannot face a violator, all of us are duty-bound to create an awareness of Dharma amongst the public. If this is done the general level of Dharma will rise and at the same time the power of Adharma (evil doings) will decline.


Those artists or reformists who make noise in the name of freedom of expression should also understand a few lessons from Guru. The freedom of expression is not an unlimited freedom. Such reformations or changes are permissible. But any change should not be such that it benefits one and creates problem for another. That is not Dharma, and it is not permissible.


We can see the Veda Vyasa’s statement in this context, “Helping another is a virtue, harnessing another is a sin”. (Paropakaram punyam, papam para peedanam).




avayavamokkeyamarthiyaniyay ni-


avanivan ennathinal avanninaykku-



Holding all the limbs together, and remaining as a bolt, the limb-owner envelopes the spiritual being. For this reason, man believes “that man’’ and “this man’’, solely due to the weakness of non-discrimination.



The hands, legs, eyes, ears and such organs are situated in their appropriate places, as if they have been fitted using nuts and bolts. The owner of such organs (i.e. a human body) covers his Atma like a veil. That is why the body is said to have enclosed the Atma. The 7th stanza in Isavasya Upanishad says ‘the face of Truth is covered with a golden disc’. The human body with its ego is ignorant. Hence he knows only names and forms. Then he starts saying ‘this man’, ‘that man’, ‘the other man’ and so on. But the Jnani ‘sees all beings in Self, and Self in all beings’ (Isavasya Upanisad- 6). Having this view, he has no doubt or uncertainty.


The limb-owner envelopes the spiritual being


When Guru says that the body has covered the soul, he is referring to the human soul, just as his indication to Jeevatma in Kundlini-pattu in the couplet:


This body here no truth it has;


Owner another in it resides’


Such wisdom do thou gain, and thus


Dance, snake, dance! (13)


Later he refers to Paramatma in another couplet as:


What swallows all, with rival none


Such is the omnipresent Awareness


Which swallow thou, and steadily


Dance, snake, dance!


The Paramatma and Jeevatma should be understood as a net and its meshes. Then we can infer that these are not two, but one entity.




 irulil irrunnariyunnatakumathma-

varivatu tanadha namaroopamayum

karanamotindriya karthr karmamayum

varuvatu kanka mahendra jalamellam.


The Atman knows, sitting in the dark. That is Awareness. See it comes here as name and form, as senses with inner organ, as actor and action, like great Indra’s magic.


The Atma perceives everything sitting in darkness. Darkness refers to the body. But the Atma is the embodiment of Knowledge. Hence it is called Awareness. This Awareness manifests itself as the mind, the sense organs, the doer and the deed. If one ponders on this, all these will seem like a Great Magic (a conjuror’s trick). All names and forms (manifestations) are waves in the ocean of Awareness. Just as the waves are not different from the ocean, names and forms are not different from Awareness. If we think about these, we cannot but conclude all these appear to be a Great Magic. Just as the magician’s display of tricks by making manifold objects, these appear to be true, but in reality they don’t exist.




adi mudiyattati thottu mauliyantham

sphutam ariyunnatu thurya bodamakum

jadam ariveelatu chinda cheytu chollu-

nnidayil irunnarivallarijidenam.


Without bottom or top, from the bottom to the crest, what is known vividly is Turiya consciousness. The name of form (brain) cannot know. It thinks and speaks, sitting in between. That is not true knowledge at all.



Without bottom or top, from its base to the peak, what is known is Turiya consciousness. In the concept of ‘Awareness’ Lord Siva has no beginning or end. But when He is seen as idol, with attributes or form there is bottom and top. But to know the Lord without beginning or end is Satchitananda. The inert matter (brain) does not realize this. That which knows this is Jnanam (Chit, Awareness). This inert brain sits in between and speaks (to confuse us). That is not Awareness. This must be borne in mind.


Sitting in between


Here what is said as ‘sitting in between’ is the same as ‘sitting outside’ in stanza 3. True knowledge is not what the brain says after thinking. They are not the thought that emerges from the mind. Real knowledge is, knowing the Super Consciousness or Awareness.




manamalar koytu mahesa pooja cheyum

manujanu mattoru vela cheythidenda

vanamalar koytumatallayaykil maya-

manuvuruvittumirikkil mayamarum.


Plucking the mind-flower, who worships the Grand God, for him there is no other thing to do. If this is not possible, let him pluck wild flowers and offer, or let him repeat a mantra- that is also maya. Then the maya will disappear.


The scriptures do not advocate that all should resort to idol worship. Those who cannot install God within their hearts, install Him outside and then worship Him. It is said that ‘Plucking the mind-flower, who worships the Grand God’- has installed the Great Lord in his mind only. His mind is fully in God (submitted to Him). There is no ego-sense. His mind revels in Bliss. Those who cannot do this, are advised to perform worship (pooja) by offering wild flowers and chant the mantras (divine names or praise). The first part of this stanza recommends the Vichara Marga (path of contemplation) and the later part, Upasana Marga (the path of worship and Karma). The path of ‘Neti, Neti’ (‘not this, not this’ as the Vedas define Brahman-Vichara marga) is most suited to the person who has renounced the world.


Upasana means ‘sitting near’. The devotee sits near God, when he has God installed in his mind. Those deeds that are performed with the thought of God (in mind) are Upasana. The devotee, who understands God as all pervading, performs all his actions with the assumption that he is performing a Guru-pooja. A devotee’s actions, which are performed with the thought of Guru-pooja, become pure in nature. It will bring great results.




 jadamariveelarivinnu chintayillo-

titukayumillarivennarinju sarvam

vitukil avan visadantaranganay me-

 lutakil amarnnuzhalunnatilla nunam.


The inert does not know. Awareness has no thought and it does not hold any discourse, knowing Awareness to be all, and then renouncing, his inner state becomes boundless, indeed, thereafter he never suffers confined within a body.




The inert matter does not have real knowledge. It knows only names and forms (manifested world). Only Chit (Awareness) is capable of acquiring real knowledge (of Brahman). Awareness has no thoughts and does not give sermons. Awareness is only a witness, beyond the three states (waking, dream and sleep). One who liberates himself from all bonds, becomes a man of pure consciousness. Certainly, he will never suffer by being encased in a body (he attains Moksha) and he will not be tormented by mental problems.


Pain and sorrow exist only in the plane of the body and mind. There are no sorrows in the plane of Atma, when one forgets the existence of the body and mind. The mantra 6 in Isavasya Upanishad says ‘ ‘ The person who has attained this level of Awareness has no desires or sorrows. Only those who go after sensual objects (pleasures) suffer from sorrows and infatuations. i.e, there is no mental illness at this level.





anubhavamadhiyil onnirikkil alla-

tanumitiyillithu munnamakshiyale

anubhaviyatatukondu dharmiyunte-

nnanumitiyal ariveelarijhitenam.


Inference is not possible without prior experience. As this is not previously experienced by the senses, understand that, the existence of the agent of external action, cannot be known by inference.




On seeing smoke, we infer that there is fire. The reason behind this inference is earlier experience of seeing smoke with fire. Since we do not have practical experience about Awareness (Satchidananda ,Brahman) we cannot know it by inference. The qualities of names and forms are known through our external senses. But Awareness has no form. Hence it is not visible to the eyes.


One has to understand the qualities of Dharmi (Awareness) from a Guru, who is a knower of Truth. Then he has to proceed through the path of contemplation (Vichara marga) or through worshipful action (Upasana marga) to get this knowledge. The role of a Guru is like a person who advises a fisherman about the availability of various types of fishes in the river or sea. A Guru is a visionary or expert who shows the way (Margadarsi). The skill of the disciple lies in getting into water, catching fish, and getting back to the bank, without any mishap. In all these, the Grace of God has an important role. One should proceed step by step with piety. This is the sense behind this. A true devotee progress leaving everything to the Grace of God. This has been described beautifully in Pindanandi (stanza-1). ‘I submit everything. Oh, Sambho, having thought and understood that everything will take place according to Your will’.




arivatu dharmiyeyalla dharmamami-

yaruliya dharmiyadrisyamakayale

dhara muthalayavayonnumilla tangu-

nnoru vativamarivullatorthitenam.


What we know here is only Dharma (attributes), and not the agent of Dharma. Because the One who does Dharma is not visible. Earth and other names and forms do not exist. Remember that the Awareness that supports all these is the only Reality.




Usually, what we perceive through the five senses are names and forms i.e. the attributes of objects, not the Awareness. This is because the Awareness is invisible and it cannot be known by the five senses. Adi Sankara says ‘Jagan Mithya’ (the world is unreal). Hence earth and other forms do not exist. ‘Mithya’ means that which is unreal, separated from the real (Atma). If we see a wave as separate from the sea, it does not carry conviction.


The Awareness that supports all these is the only Reality


This is the same as Sankaracharya’s phrase ‘Brahma Satyam’ (Absolute is the only real). Satyam means that which exists always, (Kalathrayateeta- beyond the three tenses) without a beginning or end (eternally). Many (so called) leaders indulge in creating discordance between the followers of Adi Sankara and that of Sree Narayana Guru by quoting the scriptures. Guru has (always) said that he follows Adi Sankara with regard to the holy scriptures. Guru stands apart only on the ground that he gave a humanistic form (adopted a humanistic approach) to the principles of Advaita and brought it to a plane of action (Dharma). The new form of Dharma (way of righteous living) is Sree Narayanadharma. ‘It is not to argue and win, but to learn and teach’- These words of Gurudeva must be understood clearly, by those who wish to create discord amongst his followers.




arivu nijasthitiyingarinjitanay

dhara mutalaya vibhutiyayi tane

mariyumavasthayileri mari vattam

tiriyumalatasamam thirinjitunnu


To know its own nature here, Awareness has become earth and other names and forms. It takes form and perishes in a cyclical manner, like a firebrand keeps turning round.




The earth, and other names and forms (nama-roopa) are the 5 elements and their combinations. To make its nature known, it (Awareness) takes forms like the earth and other creations, and then it perishes and appears again in a cyclic manner. Sankaracharya has said (in Bhajagovindam) –‘Punarapi jananam punarapi maranam, punarapi janani jadare sayanam’-i.e. births and deaths come again and again with the same sense. Just like water which falls as rains, and fills the rivers, which in turn falls into the sea, from which the steam rises to form the rain clouds to fall again as rain, the cycle of births and deaths repeat. (Stanza 9 of Jathilakshanam conveys the same concept).


Though we see all these happening, if we think carefully, it is like the whirling firebrand. When we spin a firebrand round with speed, we see a circle (halo) of fire (light). Such a circle does not exist. Only the firebrand exists. Similarly in the manifest world, though every thing appears as real, the only thing that is truly real is Awareness. Then if you ask, “What is this, we see?” there is no right answer to that question. Therefore you should know the real state of things. All these are God’s play (leela)




aranotiyadiyaraliyarnnitum te

rurulatil eriyurunditunnu lokam

arivil anadiyatay natannitum tan

thiruvilayatal itennarinjitenam


Mounting on the rolling chariot, the wheels of which have half-a-second and such others, as spokes, the world rolls on. Know this to be the Divine frolic, beginingless, which is ever going on, in Awareness.




This world is a manifestation of names and forms. It rolls in a chariot, with time as its wheels (Kalachakra). Half seconds (or similar fleeting moments) are its spokes. We must realize that this endless play is going on in Awareness. This is called Thiruvilayadal (Divine play). It is like a drama –Kaali natakam.




Awareness or Sachidananda is full (perfect). You may ask, why something that is perfect in itself adopts names and farms and emerges differently. This is called Divine Play (or God’s frolic). In Jananinavaratnamanjari, this drama has been described beautifully.


All creations are part of the cast in God’s drama. Each one has to enact a particular character. Only when each member of the cast plays (performs) his role well, the drama becomes a hit (success). In the drama of life, each one’s role is to identify his Dharma (duties) and perform it as best as he can, with the thought of God in his mind. Guru has said the same thing in the 2nd stanza of Isavasya Upanishad (Otherwise performing selfless works, one should live here till his death.) When deeds are performed with devotion, they would be purest. No devotee dares to belittle God or Guru, through thoughts, words or deeds.




oru patinayiramaditeyar onnay

varuvatupole varum vivekavritti

 arivinae mootumanitya mayayami

yirulineyeernnezhumadi suryanatre


Like ten thousand suns coming all at once, the wisdom’s function comes. That is the primal Sun, which comes out tearing the veil of maya-darkness. Maya covers Awareness, and is transient.




Like thousand suns shining all at once, the function of wisdom comes’- this refers to the experience of Bliss with the blossoming of Jnana (wisdom). One has to experience this Bliss to be convinced. Further wisdom dawns at one stroke. Maya with its power of veiling covers Awareness. It conceals the Truth. This is the same Maya referred to in Isavasya Upanishad (The face of truth that is covered with a golden disc). Maya is Anityam (transient). When the Real (Awareness) sets in, the unreal (Maya) disappears, just as darkness goes off (with light). Maya is darkness and Awareness is the sun that can remove this darkness. This is the primal sun that tears off the veil of Maya (darkness) and rises above it, as mentioned in this stanza. Even here, there is a reference to Sadyomukti (instant liberation). The 16th stanza has dealt in detail about instant and gradual (stepwise) realization. Here it says, the ignorant will become wise at one stroke. Then for the rest of his life he becomes a Jeevanmukta (liberated even when alive) or a Sthithaprajnan (one who is firmly rooted in Truth)


In the following stanzas as ’36-40’, Guru has further classified Awareness.




arivinu saktiyanantamunditella

marutiyitam ‘sama’ ‘anya’ yennivannam

iru pirivay itil anya samyamarnnu

llurivil amarnnu thelinjunarnnitenam


The powers of Awareness are endless. They can be divided into two- the ‘same’ and the ‘other’. Merging the ‘other’ with ‘sameness’, one should remain awake, to that clear state of inner core




Awareness has unlimited powers. It can be classified as two (1) Those which make it ‘together’ are called Sama (same) (2) those which make it different are called Anya (other). Sama can be interpreted as that which takes it near to Awareness. Anya created separation and may be called Avidya (nescience). In Isavasya Upanishad the words Vidya and Avidya has been used to indicate these powers, which is actually Maya (delusion). In Mayadarshanam (stanza 1) the Gurudeva has clarified this point.


What ‘is not’ is Maya. It appears in various forms as Vidya (Supreme Knowledge), Avidya (nescience), Para (divine related Maya) Apara (Knowledge of the empirical world or ego related Maya), Tamas (darkness /ignorance), Pradhanam (underdeveloped nature, a part of Prakriti). Prakriti (primordial matter / nature)’.


Merging the power that creates ‘separateness’ with that which creates sameness, one should arise from the sleep of ignorance, with the inner core (Atma) becoming enlightened.


Stanza- 37


vishamatayarnnezhumanya vennukolvan

vishamamakhanda viveka saktiyennye

 vishamaye vennatinal vivekamakum

vishaya virodhiniyotananjitenam


The confusing ‘other’ is very difficult to win, without the power of undivided wisdom. Winning over the confusing is wisdom. Merge with the One, which is against the sense’s interest in names and forms.




The ‘other’ is the one that creates confusion. Without the power of undivided wisdom, it is difficult to overcome this confusion. The power of undivided wisdom means the discriminating power “to see all things in Self and Self in all being”(Isa Up.). It is the forms and names (manifestations) that create confusion. If one overcomes them, it becomes Atmajnanam (Self- Knowledge/ Awareness). It is also the power of discrimination. One should merge with that which detests sensual objects (pleasures) i.e. Awareness.


The concept mentioned in ‘Winning over the confusing is wisdom. Merge with the One, which is against the sense’s interest in names and forms.’ in sloka 37 and in ‘Merging the ‘other’ with ‘sameness’, one should remain awake, to that clear state of inner core’ in sloka 36 are the same. It is like saying the one should remove the ‘other’ (which creates the phenomenon of multiplicity). The ‘thorn of diversity’ has to be removed with the ‘thorn of uniformity’. Both Sama and Anya are creations of Maya. Having removed the thorn, we discard both of them. This action means merging with that which is opposed to sensual objects.




palavidhamay ariyunnatanyayonnay

vilasuvatam samayennu melilotum

nilayeyarinju nivarnnu samyamelum

kalayil alinju kalarnnirunnitenam


What is known as many is the ‘other’. That which shines as one is the ‘same’. Having known that state, which is going to be spoken of, and with confidence, remain dissolved and blended in that state of sameness.



What we know as many forms is ‘Anya’ (differentiation). It is the sensual objects (names and forms), which we know as different. They create the sense of separation. What shows (everything) as one is Sama, which has been used as an epithet for Atma (Awareness), since it is Awareness that creates sameness (oneness). This is what is said in Isa Upa. 7. Samadrishti means vision of equality that is the control of divergent thoughts by withdrawing them from worldly affairs. In the plane of (supreme) consciousness, all are equal. One should remain dissolved in and become the same in that state of Oneness.


Stanza- 39


aruliya saktikalettutarnnu rantam

pirivivayil samatan viseshamekam

virati vara vishama viseshamonni-

tharamiva randu tharattilayidunnu.


To continue further, of these forces just mentioned, in the second division, the attribute of the ‘same’ is one, and the endless attributes of ‘other’- one kind. Thus these are of two kinds



Both Sama and Anya have been further divided as Samanyam (common) and Visesham (special). Vishama means that which creates distortion, and this is in reference to Anya. Since Anya (differentiation) is endless in nature it is described as ‘virathivara’ (without stop or end)


Stanza- 40


 samayilumanyayilum sadapi vanni-

 ngamaruvatundatatin visesha sakti

 amithayathakilumake randivattin-

bhramakalayal akhilam prameyamakum.


In ‘sameness’ and in the ‘other’, each one’s qualifying force always comes and establishes. Though not proportionate, by the rotating function of these two, the world of names and forms become established



Sama and Anya are Maya (powers of knowledge). Both these have unlimited special powers. As regards the one who sees, the sensual objects are endless. Since these two powers rotate or operate in turns, the world of names and forms gets established and becomes known.



Stanza- 41


itu kutam” ennathil adhyamam “ite”nnu-

llatu vishama kutamo viseshamakum

mati mutalaya mahendra jalamunda-

vatinitutan karuvennu kandidenam.


In ‘this is a pot’, the initial ‘this’ is common which leads you into trouble and ‘pot’ is its specific attribute. Understand this is the basic cause from which the mind and similar magic of Great Indra come and manifest.




As soon as we wake up in the morning, we start with the sense of ‘I’. Only when we open our eyes and look around, we see other objects. The ‘pot’ has been referred here as an example. When we say ‘this is a pot’, the word ‘this’ itself fixes our eyes on the pot. Thus the word ‘this’ leads us to confusion. When we start saying ‘what is this?’, ‘what is that?’, ‘this looks good’, ‘what is the price of this?’, ‘what is the way to get one like this?’, and so on we have moved into the world of objects. Just as Seetadevi got into trouble when she was fascinated by the golden deer, the concept of ‘this’ leads us into trouble.


Mathi’, means the mind and its functions like thinking ‘I must do this’, ‘I must achieve this’, and such thoughts related to the future. This is also Maya. Hence, it is said try to understand (the cause behind) the great magic of the mind and similar things (that lead us to confusion).




idamarive” nnatil adyamam “ite”nnu-

llathu sama thante viseshamanu bodham

mati muthalayavayokke mari mel sad-

gati varuvan itinebbhajichitenam.


In ‘this is Awareness’ the initial ‘this’ is same, while its attribute is Consciousness. For the mind and all else to vanish, and for the path of Awareness to come, one should contemplate on this




In the phrase ‘This is Awareness’, the first ‘this’ refers to ‘same’ and its attribute is Awareness. Our mind leads us to sense objects. What takes us nearer to Awareness is ‘sadgati’ (the path of truth or liberation). Only when the mental modifications and similar things are removed, liberation is possible. To achieve ‘This’ contemplate on ‘This’ (Awareness).




 prakrithi pitichu chuzhattitum prakaram

sukrtikal polumaho chuzhannidunnu !

vikrti vitunnatinayi velacheyvee-

lakrti phalagrahamattarinjitenam.


As if caught by nature and whirled round in vicious circles, the men of good action too, keep turning round. Non-action will not counteract mis-action. One should know (Awareness) by selfless action




Prakriti is primordial matter (or nature) proved by the manifest world (Maya). Not only the ignorant but even the virtuous can be seen caught in the web of Maya, and whirled around just like a deer which seeing a mirage, mistakes it for water and runs around to drink it. ‘Vikriti’ refers to an ignorant or confused person. He does what is required and also what is not required. Even inaction does not remove his ignorance and make him knowledgeable. One must know Awareness by selfless action.


Those actions which are performed with their fruits in mind create bondage. They are called actions of desire (Kamyakarma). To think we can attain liberation by such actions is as foolish as to think that blood can be washed away with blood. Only by selfless action (Nishkamakarma) an ignorant man can attain salvation. God decides and gives the fruits of our actions. These should be treated as his blessings and accepted with contentment. Where there is no ego (‘I’ sense) there is no room for the thought ‘I should get the fruits of my action’.




pala matha saravumekamennu para-

tulakil oranayil andharennapole

pala vidha yukti paranju pamaranma-

ralavathu kantalayatamarnnitenam.


Not knowing that the essence of various religions is the same, in this world, fools roam, advancing various arguments, like the blind men and the elephant. Having seen this, without roaming like that, settle down in Awareness.




Just like the blind men who perceived the elephant differently, the ignorant wander aimlessly, with various views about religions. Instead of this, they should accept the fact that the essence of all religions is one.


Settle down in Awareness


In stanza 100, it is said ‘One should gently, gently merge in SAT-AUM’. This means one should have Satvaguna (pure or noble attributes). Those who talk aimlessly without understanding the facts have Rajo and Thamo gunas. Just like the two sides of a scale stand in equilibrium, they should realize the truth, and upgrade (merge) in to Satvaguna.




oru matamanyanu ninnyamonnilothum-

karuvaparante kanakki noonamakum

dharayil itinte rahasyamonnutan e-

nnarivalavum bhramamennarinjitenam.


One faith is despicable in another’s view. The most important teaching in one is defective in another’s critical view. This confusion will persist, until he recognizes that the secret of all these is one alone.


Some people from other religions talk disparagingly the worship of Sivalinga by Hindus. At the same time Hindus find shortcomings in the Christian belief that only faith is necessary. They say faith alone is not enough but also realization of Truth is a requirement to achieve salvation. All these are mental aberrations. These controversies will continue in this world, until people realize the ultimate secret truth, that the essence or message of all religions is one and the same.


Guru’s statements ‘that the essence of various religions is the same’ in stanza 44 and ‘the secret of all these is one alone’ in stanza 45, have been misinterpreted by some as secularism. But this is not correct. It is a vision of equality of all religions. Secularism means dissociated from religion, different from religion. In that sense it may be even termed as atheism. Guru’s teaching is not something different from religion, but that of one religion.


A government can be secular. But to keep all people away from their faiths is not possible. Most people are believers in God (theists). They can learn to see others as equals and have religious tolerance. The absence of differentiation between individuals is the bedrock of Vedanta. (Sarvadharma samabhavana). How can there be a view of differentiation for the one who sees ‘all beings in the Self, and the Self in all beings’ (Isavasya Up 7)


The Semitic religions advocate religious differences, because each of them proclaims only their religion as the true one. Thinking deeply, we can see that this is a form of extremism. If everyone starts proclaiming this, and tries to force or establish their beliefs, it will result in ethnic and caste wars. Christianity talks about love (Love thy neighbour as thyself), but this they consider as applicable only to the Christians. In their view, followers of all other religions are non-believers (pagans). Pagans are not destined to go to heaven. If others want to escape (from hell) they must convert themselves to Christianity. Similarly when the followers of Islam talk about brotherhood, they limit its application to their own religion. They call non-Muslims as kaafirs (non-believers). Islam’s approach is either to convert kaafirs into Islam or kill them. In these two major religions we do not see even an iota of what Guru calls as religious tolerance (equality among religions). A person, even though a believer in God, is branded as a pagan or kaafir, because he does not belong to their religion. This narrow-minded view has sown the seeds of religious strife and intolerance. Such casteism and fundamentalism were alien to Indians, who were spokesmen of religious tolerance and equality amongst faiths till the Muslims came as invaders. Since Muslims consider Hindus as kaafirs they resort to terrorist activities in the form of Jihad (holy war).


The basis (or doctrines) of equality of all religions can be seen in the 7 and 8 stanzas of Isavasya Upanishad. (Guru’s translation)


He who sees all beings in the Self itself, and the Self in all beings, feels no hatred. (for him what is there to be contempt or disrespected.)’ (7)


When to the man of realization all beings become the very Self, then what delusion and what sorrow can there be for that seer of Oneness?’ (8)




porutu jayippatasaddhyamonninoto-

nnoru mathavum porutal otunguveela

para matavadiyitorthidate pazhe

porutu polinjitumenna budhi venam.


It is impossible to fight and win. By fighting no faith can be abolished. Without remembering this, the opponent of another faith, fights in vain and perishes. One should be intelligent to know this.


No religion can be destroyed by force or suppression. (winning by force or fighting is impossible). No religion will give up against force. The Arabs and the Jews in Middle East, are fighting today in the name of religion. No one wins, no one looses. When it comes to religious beliefs, victory by force is not possible. Without realizing this, one argues or fights against other religions destroys himself unnecessarily. But the religions do not get destroyed.




oru matamakuvatinnurappatella-

varumitu vadikal aarumorkkuveela

paramatavadamozhinja panditanma-

rariyumitinte rahasyamingasesham.


All men plead for a single faith to prevail, which no disputant ever recognizes. Those wise ones free from other-faith-dispute, know the secret of faith in full.


Everyone talks the same thing- ‘we all should become followers of single religion.’ The Pentecostal says everyone should become Pentacosts. Does this not make everyone of one common faith? The problem is not in this. Everyone wants his religion to be that one single religion. There lies the hitch or obstacle. The people who have given up the arguments and animosities against other religions are those who have really understood the meaning of ‘one religion’.




tanuvil amarnna sariri thante satta-

tanuvil “atente” “titente”tennu sarvam

tanutayozhinju dharichitunnu saksha-

lanubhavasalikalamitorkkil arum.


The self within the body, from its existential body, understand everything, as ‘that is mine’ and ‘this is mine’, forgetting body identity. On considering this, it is evident that everyone really experiences this (Awareness).




The one that is enclosed in a body is Atma (Awareness). It is also called Jeevatma (human soul). This Atma, living in the body that supports it, perceives all forgetting body identity. This is a truth that is experienced by day-to-day experience.


Forgetting body identity


When a person talks of ‘his’ body he has an inner feeling that ‘I am not (the) this body’. Similarly when one talks of my hand, my leg, my intelligence, my mind, and so on. This is the realization of oneness (in Awareness) forgetting the body identity. Such a belief (feeling) comes when (as) he believes he is Atma. If we ponder on this, everyone experiences the presence of Atma in his daily life. ‘Satta tanu’ is a figure of speech employed here.


Having discussed about religion, Guru says in the next stanza, that everyone works for the happiness of his Atma (Self). Before doing this he has introduced Atma here in stanza 48.




akhilarumatmasukhattinay prayathnam

sakalavumingu sadapi cheytitunnu

jagathiyil immatamekamennu chinti

chaghamanayatakatar amarthitenam.


Every man makes effort in everyway, all the time, for the happiness of the Self. Therefore in this world, know this as one faith. Understanding thus and without becoming subjected to sin, the inner self should be merged




Effort means work or vocation. Everyone works constantly for the happiness of his Self. Thus everyone is a worker. This is what Guru calls as one religion. In respect of Guru, the distinctions like employer, employee does not exist. Some work using their bodies (physical work). Others, with their brain (mental activity). If a man who does physical work gets body ache, the man engaged in mental work gets headache. That is the only difference. In a workplace, all workers (physical and mental) are members of the same family of workers (working class). No one is an enemy of another. Therefore, there is no room for a class war here. In the place of class-war Guru recommends class-cooperation.


As workers, everyone strives to achieve happiness of the Self. Considering work to achieve happiness of the Self as the one religion for the world, everyone should realize this, and without committing sins merge with the inner Self.


A devotee should consider work as a worship or Gurupooja.




nilamotu neeratupole kaattu tiyum

veliyumahamkrti vidhyayum manasum


vulakumuyarnnarivayi maaritunnu.


The earth, together with water, air, fire and sky, the ego, the right knowledge and the mind, also all worlds including waves and ocean, they all transform into Awareness, at a higher plane.


Sarvam Khalvidam Brahma’ (Every thing, indeed is Brahman); ‘Sarvam hi Sachitanandam’ (Everything is Satchitanandam). The principles embodied in these sentences are clarified here. The five elements (earth, water, fire, air, space), ego, consciousness, the mind, waves, seas and whatever else is there, all become Awareness at the higher plane. The three planes are, the plane of the body, the mental plane and the plane of Atma (Awareness). Amongst these, the plane of Awareness is the highest. The same concept is amplified in stanza 61 last two limes.


Ignorance, along with the sky and other many sets of names, merge with the Awareness, at a higher level’.




arivil irunnorahantayadyamunday

varumitinotoridanda  vamayayum

varum ivarandulapangal pole maya

maramakhilam marayeppatarnnitunnu


From Awareness the ‘I’ sense first emerged. Then comes the ‘This’-ness with it as counterpart. These, like two creepers, spread over and completely cover the tree of Maya.




At night, in sleep everything is non-existent. The I-sense emerges first on waking. This comes out of Awareness. Hence it is said that ‘from Awareness an ego emerged first’. After this, only when one looked outside with the eyes open, he started seeing, this, that, and other things, one by one. Many names and forms such as this chair, this table, this pen, this pot and such endless list of things emerged. These are waves arising from the sea of Awareness. The ‘I-sense’ (ego) and the ‘this-sense’ (other objects) completely cover the tree of delusion (Mayamaram) like two vines.


The tree of Maya


On thinking about this, one can connect the tree of Maya, with the Aswatha tree mentioned in the 15th chapter of Bhagavad Gita. In sloka 9, what is meant by ‘the alternating two states of waking and sleeping, with the blossoming creeper (dream) on it, make one tree’ is also the tree of illusion or Mayamaram.




dhvanimayamay gaganam jvalikkumanna

lanayumatinkal asesha drisya jalam

punaravite triputikku poorthinalkum

svanavumatangumitam svayam prakasam


On that day, the sky will glow as radiant sound. All visible objects will become extinct in that. There after, the sound that provides fullness to the three-fold knowledge, becomes silent and self-effulgent




This is an attempt to describe the inexplicable experience of Bliss. On the day Awareness dawns, this is experienced. This stanza also indicates instant realization. Since the transformation takes place suddenly the words ‘that day’ has been used. At times even after reading and understanding certain things, the doubts are not cleared. They have to be experienced to understand them. One should pay great attention to Guru’s words ‘Without experiencing this Bliss one does not know ‘ in stanza 97. We should proceed along the path indicated by Guru. With the grace of God, one can experience the Bliss mentioned here. (The consciousness that everything is One- nonduality).




etil ezhumadima sakti ingukaanu –

nnitu sakalam perumadi beejamakum

matiyatilakki marannidate maya

matiyaruvan mananam thutarannitenam


That primordial power that rises from this, is the seed that gives birth to all we see here. Fixing the mind in that, never forgetting (the Truth), contemplation should continue, for the Maya-mind to end




The sound that provides fullness to the three fold knowledge’ mentioned in stanza 52, refers to Moola Prakriti (Primal Maya). The Maya damsel creates everything. This is also mentioned in stanza 54. ‘Fixing the mind on that’ means in Maya. Mantra (sacred word) is also Maya. To get rid of Maya one should continually contemplate inwardly. It is just like using a thorn to remove another thorn and then discarding both.




unarumavasthayurakkil illurakam

punar unarumpozhutum sphurikkuveela

anudinamingane randumadi maya-

vanithayil ninnu purannu maridunnu.


The wakeful state does not exist in sleep. Not even a trace of sleep remains in waking state. Day by day in this manner, these two states having emerged from the primordial maya-damsel, arise and change alternately.




Sleeping at night and waking up in the morning is a routine. These two states arise from the primal Maya, alternately. It may be said that Atma is the ‘male’, and Maya the ‘female’. The Atma creates with the help of Mayasakti.




netiya kinavitu nidra pole nityam

ketumitu pole kinavumiprakaram

ketumati kanukayilla kevalathil

peduvathinal anisam bhramichidunnu


This (the waking state) is a long dream. Like sleep, this perishes everyday. Dream also perishes in the same way. The one with the perishing mind does not see like this. He is confused, as he merges with the pure Oneness forever




By ‘perishing mind’, there is a reference to the one with a perishing mind- i.e. an ignorant person. Mind perishes when one merges with Awareness. Since he merges with the pure ‘Oneness’, he gets confused as to whether the Self is real or the world is real. ‘Netiya kinavu’ refers to the waking state. This perishes (vanishes) in sleep. Similarly when one wakes up, the dreams also disappear. Hence he is confused not knowing what is real.


Guru says what is seen as a dream in sleep (unreal) is also true of what is seen in the waking state, since they are also dreams (appearances). i.e. both are unreal. This is the Vedantic principle ‘Jagan Mithya’ (The world is unreal). The fact that in sleep we merge into Satchitananda (Awareness) is also mentioned here. This has been dealt with in the Chandogya Upanishad (VI.viii.1).


Uddalaka, son of Aruna, said to Svetaketu, his son, ‘O good-looking one, learn from me about deep sleep. O good-looking one, when a man is spoken of as, ‘He sleeps’, then he becomes merged in Existence. He attains his own Self. Therefore they speak of him as, ‘swapiti- He sleeps’, for he attains his own Self.’




katalilezhum thirapole kayamoro-

nnutanutaneri uyarnnamarnnitunnu

mutivitinengithu hanta ! moolasamvid-

katalilajasravumulla karmmamatre


Like waves arising in the ocean, bodies arise one by one, to disappear again. Alas, where is the end to this? Know this is an action, taking place, without break, in the ocean of Awareness.


The body is like the waves in the sea. Waves rise and fall continuously. Therefore the question ‘Where is the end to this?’ has been put here. This is but the action, taking place, without a break in the ocean of Awareness. The body and other names and forms are equivalent to the waves in the ocean of Awareness. They are temporary phenomena that appear and vanish.




The creations are not different from the creator. This Vedantic principle has been expounded here. The same concept has been introduced in simple language in stanza 5 of Daivadasakam.




alayarumazhiyilundananta maya-

kalayitu kalyayanandi kaaryyamakum

salilarasadi sareeramenti nana-

vulakuruvayuruvyi ninnitunnu


Within the waveless ocean, there exist the endless parts of Maya. This is potent and becomes endless objects. In the form of water, taste and the like, many different names and forms it assumes. (This is Truth).




The waveless (calm) ocean is Awareness. When ‘Truth’ is realized, the waves subside, i.e. Maya (delusion) vanishes. Therefore the origin of Maya is Sachidanandam. It is said that “in the waveless ocean” (Sachidanandam) there is part of Maya (i.e. Maya is part and parcel of this Ocean). This Maya is action (Karma). She is responsible for the creation of endless objects. The five elements and its combinations (as the bodies) exist in various forms in the world of Maya. Without Maya, God cannot create anything. Therefore Maya is referred to as Jagat Janani (Mother of the world).




navanavaminnaleyinnunale matte-

divasamitingane chinta chaitidate


bhramamoru bhedavumillarinjitenam.


Without thinking in terms of, ever new, of yesterday, today, tomorrow or even another day, all that we endlessly count and measure, are only illusions. Know that there is no difference in it.




In the normal course, man’s brooding has the nature of creating mental differences. By saying, ‘this is new’, he tries to keep everything as different from the old. Similarly he breaks time into parts as yesterday, today and tomorrow, to understand it. Thus he endlessly counts and measures everything and then gives a value (meaning) to them. But all such measurements are just confusion (mental aberrations). He should understand that there are no differences, as it appears to him.


From where do these differences like yesterday, today and tomorrow arise? It is due to the revolution of the earth round the Sun. If one where to view from high up in the space, he can see only sunlight everywhere. There is no day or night and hence no yesterday, today or tomorrow. i.e. they do not exist, though we continue to use these terms. The state of names and forms is also similar. Hence whatever we count or measure is a product of mental confusion. It is a long dream (illusion).


In fact, man is able to see the world of names and forms only in this confused manner, just as a deer gets confused with a mirage, as if it is water.




arivine vittadha njanumillayenne-

ppiriyukilillarivum prakasamathram;

arivariyunnavanennu randumortha-

loruporulamathililla vadamaetum.


Apart from Awareness, I have no existence. As distinct from me, Awareness also not there. Only mere light. Both Awareness and the knower, when contemplated are, but, one Truth . There can be no debate about it.




There is no existence for names and forms, different from Awareness. If there is no sense of ‘I’, who will know Awareness? If this happens it is equivalent to the absence of Awareness. But the fact is that Awareness does not become nonexistent. Awareness exists always as a light. The real form of the knower is Awareness. Hence Awareness cannot be separated. If we were to think deeply, both the knower and Awareness form ‘One’ Truth. There is no doubt about it.


Ekam satyam na dvit¢yam (Asatyadar¿anam-10)




(Jananeenavaratna manjari-6)


Sarvam hi sachidanandam- (Apavadadarsanam-10)


In all the above cases, Guru has clarified this concept (in different ways). ‘Sarvam Khalvidam Brahma’, and ‘Tht Tvam Asi’, the Mahavakyas from the Vedas also convey the same message.




arivineyum mamataykkadheenamakki-

pparayumitin paramartthamorthidate

parakilumapparatatva mennapol ye-



Even Awareness is spoken of as subjected to the ego, without considering its ultimate truth. Even if spoken of, like that ultimate reality, the Awareness will not become separate from its knower.




There is a tendency among some people to say ‘My Awareness’ ‘My Atma’ and so on. They say this without understanding the Truth. It is not (correct to say) my Awareness. But ‘I am Awareness’ (Aham Brahmasmi). This is the real Truth. To say that the knower and Knowledge (Awareness) as immutable (beyond doubt) is as saying that Great Principle (Mahavakya)- Aham Brahmasmi. Though we say ‘my hand’ ‘my heart’ etc, in the case of Atma, there is no such possessive concepts. (Asatyadarsanam-10 says, Ekam Satyam-na dwiteeyam). Therefore when we talk about Awareness, we have to say ‘Aham Brahmasmi’ (I am Brahman). In stanza 99, the Guru has clarified this concept.





veli vishayam vilasunnu veruvera-

yalavitumindriyamarnnu tante dharmam

jalatayatingu digambaradi nama-

 valiyotuyarnnarivayi maaridunnu.


The Dharma of Awareness, with the judging senses, plays on external objects one after another. Ignorance, along with the sky and other many sets of names, merge with the Awareness, at a higher level.


The world of names and forms is Dharma. What appears as Dharma, is Dharmi (Awareness). The Awareness using the sense organs in the body, measures (judges), the external objects, one by one. How many? How large? How good it is? all these are understood by the senses through this action. In the normal course, the senses seek enjoyment from the external objects.




Jalatha’ means ignorance in the form of body or objects. This ignorance, rises to a higher level of Awareness i.e. the plane of Super Consciousness, starting with the names and forms such as place and sky. Stanza 50 has clarified the same concept. When the sun of Awareness (Vidya) rises the darkness of ignorance (Avidya) disappears.




paravasanay paratattvam entetenno-

rkkarutarutennu kathippatonninale

varumarivetu vara kathippatale

 paramapadam parichinta  cheytitenam


What knowledge comes from merely saying, overpowered by the sense, that the absolute truth is not ‘mine’. It will not come by lip service. One should continuously contemplate on the supreme state.




Just by repeating ‘I should not remember as my Atma’ ‘my atma’, this Awareness does not come. Instead, one should recognize the great principle ‘I am Brahman’. This is not something to be read and understood. It should be realized through intense contemplation on the Sacred Principles. That is why this method is called the ‘path of contemplation’.




arivil irunnaparatvamarnnitatee-

yarivineyingariyunnatenniye than

paravasanay ariveela pandithan than

parama rahasyamitaru paarthitunnu


Apart from knowing this Awareness, without becoming separate from it, one does not know, struggling in frustration. Who sees, his own Supreme secret?




Other than knowing Awareness through the firm belief ‘I am not different from Awareness’, a so-called learned one cannot know this principle by depending on something else. He may know many things. He is hotheaded with the belief that he has known everything with his intellect. But ‘one’s own Supreme secret’ (i.e. Awareness) cannot be understood by hot-brain alone. Lord Guruvayoorappan considered Poonthnam’s Bhakti (devotion) supreme to Bhattathiri’s Vibhakti (erudition).




prativishayam pratibandhameri mevu-

nnitine nija smrtiye nirakarikku

ati visadasmritiyal atheetavidhya-

nidhi teliyunnitinilla neethihani.


The temptations of objects troubling man, more and more, one after another, can be overcome, only by fixing the mind on the Self. By means of extremely clear memory, the treasure of ultimate-wisdom is gained. There is no exception to this.




So long as the senses are focused on external objects and endless desires, the hindrances (to liberation) will only increase. By fixing the mind on Self, one can remove these hindrances.


Extremely clear memory


You are Awareness. But being confined in the body, you have forgotten this fact. If you want to realize this, ordinary memory is not enough, but you require extremely clear (sharp) memory.




orukuri namariyathatonnumingi-

lluru maraval arivilunarnnithellam


 yarumayeyarariyunnaho ! vichitram.


Nothing exists here, that we have not known once. Nobody knows all these, awakened in Awareness, as the forms cover them. Being boundless, who knows this wonder dear? Alas! It is strange.




Nothing exists in this world that we have not known once before. In the light of ‘Sarvam Khalidvam Brahma’, ‘Sarvam hi Satcitanandam’, everything is what we already know. But everywhere names and forms cover Awareness (Satchitanandam). Awareness stands before us covered with the veil of ignorance. This same concept can be seen in Isavasya Upanishad as ‘the face of Truth is covered with a golden disc’ (15). Awareness is endless, eternal, and the dearest. Therefore the word ‘aruma’ (dear) has been used here. Who knows? Really no one knows. What a wonder (It is so strange!)




ira mutalayavayennumiprakaram

varuminiyum varavattu nilpatekam

arivatu namatuthanne mattumella-

varumatuthan vativaarnnu ninnidunnu.


The tempting objects and all such, always come again evermore. That which remains free from coming is only one. That is Awareness. We are (I am) that. All others also remain as its form.




These sense objects charm humans, just as the golden deer did to Sita. The only thing that does not appear before our eyes and deceive us is Awareness- that is Atma (Self). We are (I am) that. (Aham Brahmasmi). All others also remain as the forms of Awareness (Sarvam Khalidam Brahma). It is made clear that Awareness (Super consciousness) exists in me, you, in the pillar and even in dust (i.e. in all God’s creations). Guru has used ‘we’ instead of ‘I’, since there is no I-ness in him.


Stanza- 67


gananyil ninnu kavinjatonnu sadha-

ranamiva randumozhinjoranya roopam

ninavilumllatu nidrayinkalum me-

linanagarattilumengumilla nunam


That which is beyond comprehension is one. The other is ordinary. Other than these two, there is no other form at all, either in memory, in sleep, or in the upper plane (heaven).




In respect to Awareness, there are only two states; either you are aware (Jnani) or you are not (ignorant- Ajnani). There is no state in between these two. Awareness is immeasurable and beyond comprehension. Everything else is mundane. We don’t find any state than the above two, whether it be in waking state, sleep or heaven.


Sree Narayana Guru is beyond assessment. Because he is Brahman itself (which is immeasurable). (Brahmaveda Brahmaiva Bhavati, Mundaka Up III.ii.9). This concept also appears in Asatyadarsanam stanza 10- as “Ekam Satyam - na dwiteeyam”. Therefore those who study about Guru, is not able to assess him (his knowledge). He is Brahman with a form. Such a Guru has no need to look for auspicious time to install an idol. When Guru was asked about the auspicious time of installing an idol in a place near Trivandrum, he replied, ‘The child is born. You can cast the horoscope. Children are not born choosing auspicious time.’ It is not advisable for the devotees of Guru to follow (imitiate) Him in such matters. Guru is a Jnani. A devotee is not one. When the devotee becomes a Jnani he is entitled to do so.


Stanza- 68


aravavatakriti polahanta randa-

 yarivilumangiyilum katakkayale,


 nnorukuriy ennunarena moohasali


Like the snake-rope paradigm, the ego enters both into Awareness and the object. Out of it one is noble, and the other mean. This the intuitive man should understand.




The person, who mistook a rope for a snake in dim light, did not see the rope (the real), when he saw the snake (the unreal). When he saw the rope (realization) he did not see the snake (disappearance of ignorance). The appearance of the snake created fear. That knowledge which created fear is Anarya (false). When he saw the rope his fear disappeared. That is Arya (Truth)


Arya and Anarya


The one who see the world of names and forms does not see Sachitananda, and vice-versa. The names and forms (the manifest unreal world) lead us to sorrow or create fear. Such knowledge is Anarya (mundane). The knowledge of Sachitananda (Supramundane) leads us to immortality (liberation). Therefore it is the Truth and the noble (Arya). The intuitive man should understand this. ‘He should wake from the sleep of ignorance’.




srutimutalam turagam  totuthoratma-

 pratimayezhum karanapraveenan alum

rati rathameriyahanta ramya roopam-

prati purame perumaritunnajasram


Mounted therein the chariot of desire, with the hearing and such as horses yoked, carrying the Self-image in it, driven by the master of intellect- the ego is continuously chasing each pleasing form seen outside.




The five senses (eyes, ears, nose, tongue, skin) are referred to as horses. The mind is the charioteer and desire the chariot. The Self-image is in the chariot as witness (rider). The ego is constantly going after pleasurable objects seen in the outside world.


The word Self-image has been described symbolically in different ways in stanza 2 (thiru-uru), stanza 24 (atma-roopam), stanza 48 (satha-thanu) and in stanza 86 (rta-roopam). When a person wakes up in the morning his first perception is about himself (I). When he opens his eyes and looks around, he sees other objects one by one. Then he competes (with others) to possess and enjoy such objects of his fancy, and runs around to achieve this. This is often called ‘rat-race’ which takes place in the world of the ignorant. (Mayalokam)




oru rati tanneyahantayindriantah-

 karanakalembaram ennitokkeyayi

viriyumitinnu viramamengu vera

marivavan ennarivolamorthitenam


The one desire alone is expanding into the ego, the senses, the mind, the body and all that is. Where is an end to this? Till the knower thinks that he is different from Awareness.




Desire for sensual objects is the work of Maya. Maya manifests itself as the sense organs, intellect and the body. So long as a man does not realize the end of Maya, the Awareness, this delusion will continue to exist. This is a fact to be borne in mind. So long as the knower differentiates himself from the Awareness he cannot escape from the clutches of Maya. ‘Both Awareness and the knower, when contemplated are, but, one Truth. There can be no debate about it’. (stanza 59.) Only by realizing this, one can cross the sea of Maya.





savanamozhinju samatvamarnnu nilpee-                             

lavaniyil aarumanadi leelayathre


lavanatiratta sukham bhavichidunnu.


No one in this world remains free from action, in a state of sameness. This is an eternal play. Who knows this Omnipresent as a whole, there comes boundless happiness to him.




Actions (karma) exist only in the plane of names and forms. Where they don’t exist, there is no action. It is impossible to keep one’s balance in the world of names and forms (Maya). This is an eternal play of God (Maya leela, Maya vinodam)




The Atma is omnipresent. It exists in me, you, in the pillar and even in the rust. Therefore it is called eternal. One who knows Awareness becomes one with it. (Brahmaveda Brahmaiva Bhavati). Awareness is boundless. Therefore the Bliss of Awareness is also boundless (eternal).




kriyayorukooritavidya kevalam chi-

 nmayi marukooritu vidhya mayayale

niyatamitingane nilkkilum pirinja-

dvaya para bhavana turyamekitunnu.


On one side it is action, which is ignorance. The other side is pure consciousness. That is Awareness. Although these two are naturally divided so, by Maya, the noble non-dual vision brings about Turiya.




Vidya is associated with the Awareness and Avidya is associated with Karma (sense objects). If Vidya is the inside (internal) part, Avidya is the outside (external) one. If you ask a common man whether he wants the inside or outside, he will answer ‘I want both’. The problem here is, the common man has Avidya but no Vidya. Let us refer to what Guru has said in Isavasya Upanishad ‘Those who worship avidya (rites) enter into blinding darkness; but into greater darkness than that enter they who are engaged in vidya’(9). ‘He who knows these two, vidya and avidya, together, attains immortality through vidya, by crossing over death through avidya.’(11)


Vidya and Avidya are like the two sides of a coin. This is like a 100 rupee note. If it is printed only on one side it has no value. The state of man is also the same. It is not enough to have only Vidya or only Avidya. That is why it is said that a man enters darkness with both Vidya and Avidya, when he has only one of them.


Man needs both Vidya and Avidya. Avidya for his sustenance to meet his livelihood (food). Vidya to achieve perfectness. Without realizing this, those who go after Avidya descend to the level of demons (Asuras), who go after wealth and other objects of desire. Therefore it is said that the knowledge of (both) Advaita leads to Thuriya (Awareness).




oru porulinkal anekamundanekam

porulil orardhavumenna bhuddhiyale

arivil atangumabhedamay itella-

varumariveelati gopaneeyamakum


There are many in one thing. One single meaning resides in many objects. In a similar way everything includes inseparably in ONE. That is Awareness. Not all know this great secret.




In Awareness there are many names and forms. When one realizes that these names and forms are also contained in Awareness, they get merged into it. All are not aware of this. It is a great secret. What was said in Stanza 22 Isa up 7 ‘He who sees all beings in the Self, and the Self in all beings’ is repeated here





potiyoru bhoovil asankhyamappotikkul-

ppetumoru bhoovitinilla bhinnabhavam

jadamamarunnatu pole chithilum chi-

thutalilumingitinalitorkkil ekam


Innumerable particles are there on earth. Within the particle also there is a world. There is no difference in it. The objects merge in Awareness, and the Awareness in objects also. Therefore if contemplated, they are one.



The earth is composed of fine particles. These particles can be converted into atoms, electrons, protons or neutrons. Finally, from the state of matter we reach the state of energy. In that case there is no definite answer to the question whether the earth is matter or energy. Guru says, matter exists in energy and energy in matter. Therefore the Awareness and the body (matter) are not two. That means ‘Everything is Brahman (Sarvam khalvidam Brahma)’, ‘Everything is Satchitanandam (Sarvam hi Satchitanandam)’.




prakritijalam tanuphenam aziyatma-

vahamahamennalayunnatoormmi jalam

 akamalararnnarivokke muthu tan tan

nukaruvatamamrtayatingu nunam.


Nature is water, body is foam and Awareness is the ocean. The straying ‘I’ ‘I’ is the series of waves. The knowledge that is attained from within is a pearl. What one absorbs in oneself, is the nectar, indeed.


The Awareness is the ocean. The water in the ocean is Prakriti (Maya). The body is the foam. The ego sense represents the row of waves. Whatever comes from inside the ocean (from the bottom) are gems. The Bliss one enjoys is nectar.


We have heard about the mythological story that nectar was obtained by churning the (mythical) ocean of milk. When we close our senses to external stimuli and contemplate inwardly (to know the truth), it is equivalent to churning the ocean of milk. We cannot say that the ocean of Awareness contains salt water. Hence the words ‘ocean of milk’ are used. When we say Lord Narayana dwells in the ocean of milk (Ksheera-sagaram), it means he is in Satchitananda Sagaram (The ocean of Supreme Bliss)




The ocean of milk and Vaikunta are synonymous. Vaikunta means a place without sorrow. There is no room for sorrow in Sachitananda.


The same truth is conveyed when we say Siva’s abode in Kailas. Kailas is a tall mountain. It is a place high, which is not easily accessed by the common man. Turiya is the highest place that is not easily accessed by the common man



Brahmaloka (world of Brahma) also refers to the fourth state of Turiya. Thus all spiritual concepts discussed here are the same, whether it is called Vaikunta, Kailas or Brahmaloka. (ekam sat , vipra bahuda vadanthi- Rig Veda.)


Guru Brahma Guru Vishnu

Guru Devo Maheswarah

 Guru sakshat Param Brahman

 Thasmai shri Gurave namah.


This Gurusthuti, describes Guru as Brahma, Vishnu, Mahadeva and Parabrahma. They all refer to the one and the same.




manal alavattu chorinja vapiyin me-

laniyaniyay alaveesitunnavannam

anrta parampara veesiyantharatma-

 vineyakame bahuroopamaakkitunnu.


As countless grains of sand ceaselessly dropped onto the water in a pond, and ripples form one after other, so, by generating endless illusions, the inner Self is transformed into various forms.




When lot of sand is dropped in to a pond, it makes continuous ripples. These ripples are equivalent to the manifest world. Water represents the ocean of Awareness, and the sand is symbolic of Karma. All are traits (desires) that emerge from Karma. Due to these inherent traits, man is born again and again (Ref. stanza 17.). Maya is responsible for this. The Jnani crosses the Maya (Samsara-sagara) and becomes liberated from the cycle of births and deaths.


The inner Self is transformed into various forms


The ego, intellect, mind, and the sense organs create illusions. Thus they enter the plane of names and forms (world of Maya). Man runs after these sense objects and gets entrapped in the web of Maya.




paramoru vinnu paranna sakthi katta-

marivanalan jalamaksha mindriyarttham

dharaniyitingane yanchu tatvamay ni-

nneriyumithinte rahasyamekamaakum.


The transcendental Awareness is the sky. The all-expansive power is the wind. Knowledge is fire, senses are water, and the object of desire the earth, these as five principles, that keeps ever luminous, has its secret in One alone




Guru has further elaborated the principle of the five elements involved in the creation of the world. The Supreme Reality is the sky. The all-expansive (strong) power is the wind. The knowledge is the fire. The sense organs represent water. The object of senses is the earth. The manifest world keeps burning from these five principles (elements). It is that ONE (Awareness), that becomes effulgent as names and forms. Hence the secret behind the effulgence of these five elements is that ONE, alone.




maranavumilla purappumilla vazhvum

nara suraradhiyumilla naamaroopam

 maruvil amarnna mareechineeru pol ni-

lporu porulam porulallithorthitenam.


There is no death, or birth, or existence. Man, devas and all such are also not there. They are only names and forms. What exists here is only like the mirage in the desert. It does not really exist. This should be remembered




As a matter of fact, there is no birth, death, life, man or god. These are only names and forms. They emerge like a mirage, and are false. One must remember they are not the Reality. The principle of ‘Jagan Mithya’- the world is unreal, has been mentioned here. We can see the doctrine of ‘Ajathi Vadam’ (the argument that nothing is born), described in Mandukya karika by Sree Gaudapadacharya, in the above stanza. Nothing is born of it, or from something else. Similarly nothing is born as Sat or Asat or their combination (Satasat). This means nothing is born. Nothing dies. All these are mere illusions.




janisamayam sthitiyilla janmiyanya-

 kshanamatilillitirippateprakaram ?

 hananavumingane tanneyakayale

 jananavumillitu chitprabhavamellam


At birth-time there is no fixed state. Who is being born is not there at next moment. How these two states exist? Death is also like this. So no birth here. Everything is the illusion appearing on pure Awareness


At the moment of birth, there is no fixed state, because one is only being born. Later the state of being born, is also not there. He has born. None of these have a permanent state. Death is also similar in its nature. Therefore on thinking deeply, one can see everything as the illusion created in the Awareness. They are the Mayaleela (entertainment through Mayasakti) of the Paramatma. The concept of the illusory world was referred to in stanza 55. (This (the waking state) is a long dream. Like sleep, this perishes everyday). This truth has been clarified again in Advaitadeepika stanzas 5 and 10.




sthiti gathi pole virodhiyaya srshti-

 sthiti layamengoru dhikkilothu vazhum?

gatiyiva moonninumengumillithorthal

 kshiti muthalayava geeru mathramakum.


Ever contrary like rest and motion, how can creation, existence and dissolution co-exist in one place? There is no validity for these anywhere. When this is considered, earth and other objects are, mere names alone.



Rest and motion are contrary to each other, and cannot co-exist. Similarly, creation, sustenance and destruction cannot co-exist in one place. On thinking deeply, we can know that these do not exist at all. Earth and other objects are just names. This is also mentioned in Jananinavamanjari 5th stanza. (Bhuvanam alapamatram akhilam)




prakriti pirinjorukooru bhoktr roopam

sakalavumay veliye samullasikkum

ihaparamamoru kooridanthayale

vikasitamamitu bhogyavisvamakum


Nature divides, on one side as the enjoyer,and the other, that ever fascinates outside, as expansion of 'this'-ness, becomes the world of enjoyable objects




Prakriti is Maya. The enjoyer and the enjoyment are due to the power of the Atma in the form of Maya. Mayadevi is also called ‘Jagajanani’ ‘Creator of the world’. This is also mentioned in stanza 70. (The one desire alone is expanding into the ego, the senses, the mind, the body and all that is.)


Stanza- 82


arani katanjezhumagni poleyara-

yvavarilirunnatirattezhum vivekam,

paramachidambaramarnna bhanuvay ni-

nneriyumithinnirayayidunnu sarvam


Like the fire that emerges out of churning sticks that boundless wisdom that arises from contemplatives, burns as the Sun in the sky of Awareness, everything becomes the fuel to its flames.




The churning sticks (the sticks used in yagas to make fire by rubbing against each other) have fire inherent in them. But we can’t see it. But from that fire a huge conflagration can be created to perform a cosmic dance to engulf the world. Similarly Awareness is also a fire. If that gets illuminated, the boundless wisdom that emerges through contemplation will effulge brightly like the Sun, in the sky of Awareness and consume everything. This sun is called the Sun in the Jnanakasam (sky at the level of Awareness) in a figurative sense.


Stanza- 83


utayumirikkumudikkumonnu mari-

thutarumithingudalin svabhavamakum

mudiyilirrunnariyunnu moonnumatma-

vitararumonnithu nirvikaramakum.


To break, to exist and to rise is the nature of forms here. When one goes, another takes its place. The Self knows all these three, watching from the top. It is One, formless and without sadness.




The names and forms are not eternal. They break, exist, rise, and change to continue as another. This is the characteristic of objects. The common man believes that all these are being witnessed by some power from above. That is Awareness. The Awareness is devoid of sorrow and has no form. In stanza 61, it was said ‘merge with the Awareness, at a higher level’. The plane of Awareness is the highest level.




arivathinal avanivikaramunde-


niravadhiyay nilayattu nilpatella-

marivilezhum prakrthi svaroopamakum.


As different forms of earth are seen, it is said that they exist. This is not true, when contemplated, what really exists is earth alone. The countless objects seen here, without stability are all innate forms of nature, arising in Awareness.




The earth consists of soil. Pots and other things are transformation of soil (in to other forms). Since we can see them, we say they exist. On deeper thoughts, this will be found as false. Only soil or clay exists. Similarly the multitude of names and forms that arise from Awareness are forms of nature. They have no independent existence. The principle ‘Brahma Satyam, Jagan Mitya’ (Absolute is the only real, the world is unreal) has been described here.




nizhaloru bimbamapekshiyate nilpi-


nizalumathallithu nerumalla vidva-

nezhutiyidum phanipole kaanumellam


No shadow exists independent of its actual form. As there is no original form, anywhere for the existing world, it is neither shadow nor real. Everything that is seen is like a snake painted by a clever painter.




To cast a shadow there must be an object or form. The Awareness has no form. Hence the world is neither a shadow nor a reality. Yet the world creates fear in ignorant people. We see everything as a snake painted by a clever artist. Even though the earth is an illusion it can create dread (like ‘the snake in the rope’ example mentioned earlier). Both in stanza 32 and 55, there are references to the unreal nature of the world.




tanu mutalayatu sarvamonnil onni-

llanrtavumayatinale yanyabhagam


puna rtaroopavumay polinnitunnu.


The body and all similar things have no being one in another. For that reason they are untrue, and separate. As from day to day this remains without setting, once again it merges with the Truth.




The body and other objects do not have another one within them. Each one is separate and unreal. Therefore, they are different from Awareness. Since everyday, these merge with Awareness without perishing, the forms in nature are really Awareness. Only Jnani can merge his Self (soul) with Awareness (Supreme soul), because he sees ‘Atma in all beings’. In parts of stanza 61, stanza 52, stanza 12 and stanza 50 the dissolution of the unreal with the Real has been dealt with.




taniyeyitokkeyumuntu tammiloro-


tanu mutalayatu sathumallayortha-



Taking each object separately, it exists. Mutually each type excludes the other. Considered in this way, body and such are neither real nor unreal. That is indescribable




If we were to examine each object separately, they exist. But each one is not in the other. For instance, there is no tree inside the pot and there is no person inside the tree. Thinking on these lines, body and other objects are not real. But they are not also unreal. (They are neither Sat nor Asat). All these (phenomena) becomes beyond description and definition.


Stanza- 88.


sakalavumullathutanne tattvachintha-

grahanitu sarvavumekamay grahikkum

akamukhamay ariyaykil mayayam van-

pakapalatum bhramamekidunnu param.


All that seen, is Awareness. The philosopher will understand all this as one. When not viewed through the inward eye, Maya, the great troublemaker creates much confusion.



According to Vedanta, the only thing that exists is Supreme Consciousness (Ekam Satyam- na dwiteeyam). Therefore when we say all these are real, we mean all these are Awareness. The philosopher (tattvachintagrahan- one who has understood this principle) will see ‘All beings in the Self, and the Self in all beings’. (Isa up.7.) That is the understanding as ONE. But the world of objects creates confusion. If we do not close our senses to external stimuli, and see with our inward eye, the senses create illusions and entrap us in the web of Maya. This has been said in stanza 43.




arivil irunnasadastiyennasankhyam

poriyilakibbhuvanam sphurikkayale

arivine vittoru vastuvanyamille-

nnariyanamiyarivaika roopyamekum.


Innumerable sparks arise, though unreal as real, from Awareness, causing the appearance of world. So apart from Awareness there is no other thing. This one should know. This knowledge brings the state of oneness.



Just like the innumerable sparks flying from a (burning) fire, the unreal world shines from the Real. (Asad asthi-as if it is there, actually not there). Therefore we should know that other than Awareness, there is nothing. This knowledge will lead us to the sense of Oneness. It will create the perception of Advaita. It is from the Real (Awareness) the unreal world of names and forms emerged. The same concept can be seen in stanza 70.




anrtamorastitaye maraykkukille-

nnanubhavamundu sadastiyennivannam

anupadamastitayal itavrtam sad-

ghanamatinale kalembaradi karyyam.


The unreal cannot conceal the Real. Such is the experience, asserting the reality of what exists. At every step by being-ness, all are enveloped. Therefore the body and other things are, pure Awareness.




The unreal (ignorance) cannot hide the Real (Awareness). Just as darkness cannot cover light, with a false impression of existence, the manifest world is covered. Thus the manifest world are forms of Reality and hence full of Reality. The Jnani sees the Self in everything (Isa.Up.) In the 6th stanza of Janani-navaratna-manjari, this concept has been introduced which is similar to ‘At every step with beingness, all are enveloped.’




priyavishayamprathi cheytitum prayatnam

niyatavumangane thanne nilkkayale


dvayamithutan sukhamarnnu ninnidunnu.


Effort is made continuously for the attainment of tempting objects. Natural order also is the same. So, the dear, unborn, unspent, un-measureable, one without a second- alone remains as the source of happiness.




Man strives continuously to posses what he likes. The law of nature is also the same. Awareness (Atma) is the dearest thing. It is dear, unborn, indestructible, immeasurable and without a second.




vyayamanayante velikku velacheyyum-

niyamamirippatukondu nityamakum

priyamakame piriyateyunditinnee

kriyayoru kevalabahyalingamakum.


Man always does external actions. Because a dear value, eternal and inseparable, definitely resides within. Action is only an external symbol of it




Man is always engaged in worldly (external) actions. He does so since he feels it will provide pleasure. But eternal Bliss comes only from Awareness. The ignorant are oblivious to this. They believe that pleasure exists in tasty food and intoxicating liquor. Therefore they get entrapped in a vicious circle.


The ignorant have a fear that they may have to separate from the Awareness (Atma) at the time of death. This is a baseless fear. This fear arises since he thinks ‘he’ is the body. By knowing that ‘he’ is the Awareness, he can free himself from this fear. The Jnani knows that at death, what is separated is the body. (I am Awareness). Hence he is not afraid of death (which is an illusion).




chalamutalatta thanikku thanteyatma-

 vilumadhikam priya vastuvillayanyam

 vilasitumatmagatapriyam vitatee

 nilayil irippathukontu nityamatma


Even when the body is paralysed, Self remains as the dearest of all. As the attachment to self remains so continuously in this state, the Self is eternal




When the body is paralyzed, man continues to hold dear to his Self. Even when he is bedridden with total exhaustion, man is afraid to die. Behind this fear of the ignorant man lies his unwillingness to separate from the Self. The Self is always the dearest to him. This endearment to one’s Self proves that Atma is eternal.


Stanza- 94.


ulakavumullatumaykkalarnnu nilkkum-

nila valutayoru neetiketitatre

arutiyitan arutatavangmano go-

charamitilengu charichhitum pramanam.


The world and the Truth exist intermixed. This state is a great injustice done to us. Truth is indeterminate, beyond the grasp of word and mind. How can any rule operate in it?




What is real is Awareness (Atma). The manifest world remains in a state where we are not able to distinguish between the real and the unreal. This is a great injustice done to us. Reasoning becomes impossible (inoperative) to determine that which is beyond the description of words and thoughts.


Stanza- 95.


vipulatayarnna vinoda vidhya maya-

vyavahitayay vilasunna visva veeryyam

ivalival ingavateernnayayitum ta-



The universal energy operates here, as expansive divine play, with the help of Maya. Again and again she manifests here. Her limbs are the countless cosmic bodies.




The Universal energy operates as a great divine display under the guise of Maya. (Thiruvilayattam stanza 34). Maya manifests herself in many forms. Her limbs are the innumerable cosmic bodies. This same concept can be observed in stanza 70.




anuvumakhandavumasti nasthiyenni-

ngane vilasunnirubhagamayi randum

anayumanantharamasthi nastiyennee-

yanubhavavum nilayattu ninnupokum


The atom and the indivisible, both as being and non-being, plays on either side. They vanish. Being unstable the states of being and non-being also cease




The atom (manifested world) and the indivisible (Awareness) play on either side as being and nonbeing. The experience of common man tells him that the manifest (names and forms) exists and the Awareness does not exist. In other words the Awareness, which is real is not comprehended, but the manifest world (which appears as real) is seen as existing. With the advent of Jnana the feeling of being and nonbeing vanishes. In stanza 72 we can see a reference to the ‘vision of Unity’.




anuvarivin mahimavil angamilla-

tanayumakhandavumannu poornamakum;

anubhaviyathariveelakhandamam chid-

ghanamitu maunaghanamritabdhiyakum.


The atom will disappear, within the glory of Awareness, leaving no trace of its parts. On that day the indivisible also will attain perfection. Without experiencing this Bliss one does not know, this unbroken pure consciousness, the deep-silence-filled ocean of nectar.




The manifest world (anu- atom) will dissolve completely leaving no trace, in the pristine glory of Awareness. Then, nothing, but Awareness will become clear. This has to be experienced to appreciate it. It is not enough to read and understand. The sweetness of honey can be known only by tasting it, and not inferring by reading about it. There is a reference in stanza 14 and 52, about the dissolution of the manifest world.




ithuvare namoru vastuvingarinjee-

lati sukhamennanisam kathikkayale

mati mutalayava mariyalumatma

svatayazhiyatarivennu chollitenam


We have not known anything here so far, as we have kept saying as great happiness every day. Even if mind and such disappear, Atman must be said as Awareness, one without destruction.




On waking up everyday we are used to saying ‘I had a pleasant sleep, I did not know anything at all’. Here the pleasure was derived from Awareness. Even if the attachments to objects vanish, it is necessary to have the knowledge that Awareness is indestructible.




arivahamennatu rantumekamama-

varanamozhinjavananyanundu vadam

arivinae vittahamanyamakumenna

lariviney ingariyanumarumilla


Both Awareness and ‘I’ are one, to him, for whom the veil is removed. To the other there are arguments still. If the ‘I’ is taken as separate from Awareness, then there is no one here to know Awareness.




Awareness and ego are really one, though we treat them as two (Aham Brahmasmi (I am Brahman). This is realized by one who has uncovered (removed) the veiling power of Maya. Some may raise umpteen arguments on this issue. So long as the ‘I’ is perceived as independent of Awareness, Awareness will never be known.


Instead of meditating on ‘Aham Brahmasmi’, many followers of Guru often think ‘Aham Sudra (I am Sudra) or ‘I am a backward class’. Often we see nothing other than this in their thoughts, speech and actions. This is like chanting ‘Hiranyaye Namah’ instead of ‘Om Narayanaya Namah’. This is a fundamental folly. What Guru conceived (and propagated) as ‘one caste or race’ is the ‘human caste’ and not upper caste, lower caste, scheduled caste, and such other divisions.




atumitumalla sadarttamallaham sa-

ccidamrtamennu telinju dheeranai

sadassaditi pratipathiattu satho-

miti mruduvay mruduvay amarnnitenam


Neither ‘that’, nor ‘this’, nor an object of existence I am, but existence, consciousness, bliss, thus attaining clarity, emboldened, discarding attachment to being and non-being, one should gently, gently merge in SAT-AUM.




I’ is neither this nor that. Aham (I) is not an object. Aham is not visible. It is not the manifest world. It is Pure Awareness. It is the Witness. Thus with a clear mind and courage; discarding all attachments to being (Sat) and non-being (Asat), one should effortlessly merge in SAT AUM (Awareness).




The dissolution is the practical side of this science of spirituality. Achieve this now in this life itself. I pray to Guru for this achievement to take place.