Guru Vachaka Kovai (The Sayings of Sri Ramana)
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Guru Vachaka Kovai (The Sayings of Sri Ramana)

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Item Code: NAK698
Author: Sri Muruganar
Publisher: Sri Ramana Kendram
Language: English
Edition: 2013
ISBN: 9789350879405
Pages: 474
Cover: Paperback
Other Details: 8.5 inch x 5.5 inch
Weight 600 gm
About the Book

Guru Vachaka Kovai (The Garland of Guru's Saying) is the most profound and comprehensive collection of the saying of Sri Ramana Bhagvan, recorded in 1255 Tamil verses composed by Sri Muruganar, with additional 42 verses composed by Sri Ramana. Each of the stanzas composed by Sri Muruganar embodies one of the actual sayings of Sri Bhagavan, and all of them were shown to Sri Bhagavan, who approved them and wherever necessary corrected them.

The whole work is divided into three sections, the first consisting of 85 chapters forming an analysis of the truth, the second consisting of 84 chapters dealing with the practice of truth, and the third consisting of 62 chapters dealing with the experience of the truth.

Guru Vachaka Kovai is a work which deserves to be deeply and repeatedly studied by every devotee of Sri Bhagavan and every seeker of reality, for it contains many rare and valuable spiritual treasures.


Guru Vachaka Kovai is the most profound, comprehensive and reliable collection of the sayings of Sri Ramana, recorded in 1255 Tamil verses composed by Sri Muruganar, with an additional 42 verses composed by Sri Ramana.

The title Guru Vachaka Kovai can be translated as The Series of Guru's Sayings, or less precisely but more elegantly as The Garland of Guru's Sayings. In this title, the word guru denotes Sri Ramana, who is a human manifestation of the one eternal guru - the non-dual absolute reality, which we usually call 'God' and which always exists and shines within each one of us as our own essential self, our fundamental self-conscious being, 'I am' -, the word vachaka means 'saying', and the word kovai is a verbal noun that means 'threading', 'stringing', 'filing' or 'arranging', and that by extension denotes a 'series', 'arrangement' or 'composition', and is therefore also used to denote either a string of ornamental beads or a kind of love-poem.

It has been rightly said by Sri Sadhu Om in his preface to Guru Vachaka Kovai (The Garland of Guru's Sayings) that Upadesa Undiyar, Ulladu Narpadu and Guru Vachaka Kovai are the true Sri Ramana Prasthanatraya, the three fundamental scriptures of Sri Bhagavan's revelation. And all these three great works owe their existence primarily to the inspired poetic and spiritual genius, Sri Muruganar.

It was Sri Muruganar who earnestly beseeched Sri Bhagavan to write in a few Tamil verses the upadesa given by Lord Siva to the rishis in the Daruka forest, who had been led astray from the path to Liberation by following the path of kamya karmas prescribed in the Purva Mimamsa In reply to this earnest entreaty of Sri Muruganar, Sri Bhagavan composed the Tamil work Upadesa Undiyar, which He afterwards wrote in Telugu, Sanskrit and Malayalam under the title Upadesa Saram.

It was again Sri Muruganar who elicited Ulladu Narpadu by praying to Sri Bhagavan, "Graciously reveal to us the nature of Reality and the means of attaining it so that we may be saved". Though Ulladu Narpadu began to form around a nucleus of twenty stray verses which Sri Bhagavan had composed earlier, within three weeks (that is, between 21-7-1928 and 11-8-1928) Sri Bhagavan composed more than forty new verses, and all but three of the Sri Muruganar earlier verses were deleted and added to the Supplement {anubandham). Moreover, all the verses were carefully revised and arranged in a suitable order by Sri Bhagavan with the close co-operation and assistance of Sri Muruganar.

Whereas Upadesa Undiyar and Ulladu Narpadu consist entirely of stanzas composed by Sri Bhagavan, Guru Vachaka Kovai - the treasure-house of Sri Bhagavan's sayings collected and strung together as a garland of Tamil verses - consists mostly of stanzas composed by Sri Muruganar. Of the 1282 stanzas, 1254 were composed by Sri Muruganar and only 28 by Sri Bhagavan. However, each of the stanzas composed by Sri Muruganar embodies one of the actual sayings of Sri Bhagavan, and all of them were shown to Sri Bhagavan, who approved them and wherever necessary corrected them. On some occasions when Sri Muruganar submitted one or more newly composed stanzas to Him, Sri Bhagavan found that He could express the same idea in a more beautiful form or in a more terse manner, and hence He would compose a new stanza of His own, which would also be included in Guru Vachaka Kovai3. Thus each stanza of Guru Vachaka Kovai presents in a well-wrought and finely polished setting a pearl that fell from Sri Bhagavan's lips, and the whole work forms a systematic and detailed exposition of His teachings and carries His imprimatur.

The verses of Guru Vachaka Kovai were not composed in any systematic order or at any one time. They were composed now and then during the twenty-seven years that Sri Muruganar lived with Sri Bhagavan, whenever he happened to hear Him give any important teaching. Most of the verses were arranged in a suitable order and given suitable chapter-headings by Sri Sadhu Natanananda, to whom the work owes its present form consisting of three sections, each divided into many chapters.

Guru Vachaka Kovai was first published in June 1939, at which time it consisted of 876 verses, 24 being the compositions of Sri Bhagavan. A bound volume of the proofs of this first edition which is preserved in the Ashram archives shows not only that the proofs were corrected by Sri Bhagavan, but also that during the time of proof correction some more verses were added by Him in appropriate places4. And in his book Sri Ramana Reminiscences, pages 34 to 41 and page 62, G.V. Subbaramayya records that while correcting the proofs of Guru Vachaka Kovai, Sri Bhagavan used to explain the meaning of the verses to the assembled devotees.

However, because the verses of Guru Vachaka Kovai were couched in a very high and abstruse style of classical Tamil, having an intricate syntax akin to the poetry of the ancient Sangam period, their profound import and beauty could be understood and relished only by a few Tamilians who were well-versed both in classical Tamil and in the teachings of Sri Bhagavan.


Obeisance to the Guru1
1The Name and Origin of this Work1
2The Benefit or Fruit of this Work2
3The Submission to the Assembly3
5The Author4
Benedictory Verses5
1The Truth or Reality of the World6
2The Unreality of the World14
3The Allurement of the World16
4The Aridity of the World17
5Playing One's Role in the World18
6Vivartha Siddhanta (The Doctrine of Simultaneous Creation)18
7The Doctrine of 'Ajata'24
8The Purpose behind the Diverse
Theories of Creation25
9The Part Played by God25
10The Three Prime Entities [God, World and Soul]28
13Association with the Unreal32
14The Pandit35
15The Poet37
16The Vanity of Learning37
17The Greatness of Vedanta39
18The Workings of Prarabdha40
19The Power of Prarabdha40
20The Nature of the Ego and of Self41
21The power of Vasanas41
22The Ego-Knot42
23The Might of the Ego43
24The Ego's Play45
25Treason Against Self48
26Heaven and Hell49
27The Terror of Hell50
28The Conquest of Hell (Naraka)51
29The greatness of Aham-mukha (Self-Attention)52
30The Kingdom of God54
31Siva (The Supreme)55
32The Oneness of Hara and Hari (Shiva and Vishnu)56
33Shiva and Shakti56
34Shiva Puja (Worshipping Shiva)57
35The Truth of Namaskaram58
36Idol Worship58
37Vibhuti (Holy Ash)59
38Shiva's Divine Bull60
39Shakti and Shanti (Power and Peace)60
40Mahat and Anu (Atom) (The Macro and the Micro)61
41Desire for Siddhis61
43Kaya and Kalpa65
44The Attainment of Bodily Immortality65
45Vairagya (Dispassion)66
46Jnana and Vairagya68
47The Nature of Chittam69
48Chitta Suddhi (Purity of Mind)69
50The Jiva 's Dwelling Place70
51The Heart72
52The Guru76
53The Guru's Grace79
54Some Assurances84
55The Guru's Uchishtam88
56Guru Puja (Worshipping the Guru)89
57The Greatness of the Guru95
58Association with Sadhus96
59The Greatness of the Devotees97
60Brahma Vidya97
61The Truth In All Religions98
62The Vision of Limitlessness99
63The Loss ofIndividuality101
64The Pure 'I' (Suddhahankara)104
65The Shining Forth of Self104
66Getting Rid of Miseries106
67Desirelessness (Nirasa)106
68Bondage and Freedom108
70The True Tapas116
71A Research on True Knowledge119
73The Attainment of Self126
74The Conclusive Knowledge to be Obtained' or 'The Well-established Knowledge'127
75The Experience of Happiness130
77The Real Thing134
78The Loss of Doership135
79The Attainment of Actionlessness139
81The Attitude Towards Enemies142
82The Simplicity of Life143
83The Crime of Excess144
85What is Worthy to be Done146
1Greatness of Instruction148
2The Mahavakyas149
3The Greatness of the Upanishads150
5Upasana through Silence154
6The Delusion of Arguments154
7The Uselessness of Measurements155
8Indirect Knowledge156
9The Oneness of Jiva157
10Knowledge and Ignorance158
12Waking and Dream163
13The Different States167
14The Two Karmas - Good and Bad169
15Dyads and Triads171
16The Enjoyment of Sense-pleasures172
17Mind, the Maya176
23The Wonder of Maya186
24The Evil of Fame186
25The Evil of Arrogance187
26The Birth of Misery188
27The Soul188
28The Powerlessness of the Soul190
29The Truth of the Objects Seen190
30Objective Attention193
31The Severance of Objective Attention194
32The Truth of Love196
34The Five Functions of God201
35The Actions of the Soul and God203
36The Creation of the Soul and God204
38The State Devoid of Tendencies207
39The Truth of Fasting208
40Diet Regulation209
41Acharas or Cleanliness209
43Control of the Karanas or Instruments of Knowledge211
44The Conquest of the Karanas212
45Asana or Posture213
46The Power of Yoga213
47Breath Control216
48The Secret of Action218
50The True Temple222
51The Holy Name223
53The Non-difference of Bhakti and Jnana226
54Bhakti and Vichara226
55One-Pointed Devotion229
56Meditation and Enquiry230
57Meditation upon Self231
58Meditation upon Space232
59Meditation upon Time233
61The only Sadhana237
62Aids to Enquiry237
63The Limit of Sadhana239
64Self-Abidance and Discrimination240
65Being Still241
66The Individual 'I'241
67Retreating to the Source245
68The Conduct of a Sadhaka246
70The Conduct of a Disciple250
71Kindness to Jivas252
72Duty to Ancestors254
73Doing Good to Others254
74Compassion to Living Beings255
75The State of Equality258
77Not Uttering Falsehood250
79The Greatness of Renunciation262
80The True Renunciation265
81The Oneness of Mind266
82Annihilation of the Ego266
83Knowledge of the Reality271
1Direct Knowledge277
2The Ever-Direct Experience278
3Nirvikalpa Samadhi283
7Mind Control291
8The Dead Mind295
10The State Transcending the Fourth301
11Akhanda Vritti302
12Severance of the Knot303
13Having Done What is to be Done304
14The Non-Existence of Misery307
15The Pervasiveness of Sleep309
16Conscious Sleep311
17Non-Dual Knowledge312
18Divine Grace314
19Existence-Consciousness- Bliss318
20The Greatness of the Reality324
21All is Brahman326
22Harmony Among Religions328
23The Childlike State329
24Union with Self330
25The Greatness of Consciousness333
26The Greatness of the Infinite335
27The Space of jnana337
28The Space of Consciousness341
30The State of Self343
31The Power of Self347
32The Nature of Self349
33The Greatness of Self358
34The Supremacy of Self361
35The State of Fearlessness365
39Beginningless Freedom From Impurity369
40The Life Lived in Accordance with Reality370
42One who Abides in the Natural State376
43One who Firmly Abides as Pure Consciousness378
44One who has Severed the Knot379
45The Greatness of the Sage383
46The Glory of the Great One386
47One whose Vasanas are Dead386
48The Liberated One388
49The Jnani398
50The Action of Jnanis401
51The Nature of Those who Abide as Self404
52The Greatness of Silence406
53The Pure Silence412
54Supreme Devotion420
55The Attainment of Jnana423
57The Nature of Liberation426
58The Supreme Truth428
59The Perfect Reality432
60Transcendence of Thought434
61Narration of the Experience435
62The State of Equality438
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