Sri Ramana Gita, composed by Sri Kavyakantha Ganapati Muni, embodying the teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, which has been hailed to be on the same level as the most famous ancient works of a like nature, is, however, unique in the treatment of its subject-matter meeting all the needs of the modern enquirer, clearing his doubts and in some parts of the subject entering into minute details. It is particularly unique in its stressing of the Heart and of the method of mind-control. Above all, the Teacher has drawn on his own experience and thus placed the seal of certainty upon the teachings.
This latest edition of this important book incorporates, for the first time, besides the Sanskrit text and English translation, English transliteration of the Sanskrit text and Tamil translation.
This is a book of instruction of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi who shines as the embodied Light of Jnãna (Knowledge) at Arunachala (Tiruvannamalai). Its contents are not touched upon to this preface in the hope that intelligent readers would themselves study and understand them. This work itself is in the form of aphorisms of the great science of Yoga who can summarise it still further? We can only state that the secrets of Mantra Yoga, Raja Yoga, Jnana Yoga and Bhakti Yoga have been ably revealed here.
After the name of its great Teacher (Sri Ramana), this work has been entitled Sri Ramana Gita.
Just as in Bhagavad Gita Bhagavan Vasudeva is the Teacher and Bhagavan Krishna Dwaipayana following him is the composer of the work, so here Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi is the Teacher, and following him, Vasishtha Ganapati Muni is the composer of the book. There is however, one distinction. Many are the questioners here; the author also is one of them.
That these series of questions and answers did not take place on a single day has been made clear by the author in this chronology of each conversation. It may be clearly understood :hat both when the questioners asked questions and when Sri Bhagavan gave replies and also discoursed of his own accord, the author was present on the spot and rendered them into slokas (Sanskrit verses) then and there:
The author has clearly specified his own questions, by the use of the first person singular (‘I’). The second verse in the second chapter Sri Bhagavan himself composed. Through the remaining verses in that chapter, the author analysed the contents of that verse.
The fifth and sixth chapters are Bhagavan Sri Maharshi ‘s own teachings. In the other chapters the replies follow the questions.
Now we shall say a little of what is known about the Teacher and the author, and so conclude. The Teacher, Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, was born in the year Pramarthi,’ in the month of Dhanus (Sagittarius), under the star Punarvasu. In the year Durmukhi, in the month of Simha (Leo), he attained Self-realisation purely by Divine Grace, left his home, and came to Arunachala2 where he is still shining in his incessant, natural Self-abidance.
He was born at Trisulapura (Tiruchuzhi) in the Pandya province, of the illustrious Brahmin, Sri Sundaram Iyer of Parasara line and Alagammal. He became Paramahamsa (Sage of the highest order) in his boyhood itself direct from Brahmacharyasrama.
What Sri Maharshi has taught does not depend upon scriptural learning, not upon anumana (logical inference) and pramana (precedent authority). He has taught only what he has himself experienced or seen with his inner eye of meditation. He is adored as Guru (Master) by many belonging to the three cults (Advaita, Dwaita and Visishtãdwaita). Many of his enlightened disciples look upon Sri Maharshi resplendent in His incessant, natural Self-abidance, as the incarnation of Lord Guha (Skanda). The author himself who is chief among the disciple has praised the Master as such. What can be known only through spiritual vision, we are not in the least competent to prove. We can only sat that we also believe it.
The author Sri Ganapathi Muni is the son of Sri Narasimha Sastri of the line of Vasishtha, resident of Kumudopala (Kaluvarayi) in the month of Vrischika (Scorpio) under the star Makha. In the year Plavanga he became a disciple of Sri Maharshi. This great man of tapas merged in the Light Eternal in the year Dhatru on the seventh day in the bright half of the month Sravana.
There is not the least doubt that an earnest study of this work will truly give one of the clear knowledge of the path of yoga. It is indisputable that its publication will be of immense help to the seekers of knowledge and practices of Yoga.
The first English translation of Sri Ramana Gita was done by Sri Munagala Venkataramiah (Swami Ramanananda Saraswati) author of ‘Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi’ and published in 1935.
A second edition revised with the assistance of Mr. David Mc Iver came out in 1946.
A fresh translation by Professor G.V. Subbaramayya, along with the Sanskrit text, was published text, was published in 1959. Another rendering by Sri Krishna Bhikshu, along with the Sanskrit text, came out in 1966.
In preparing the present translation, Sri Visvanatha Swami and Professor K. Swaminathan have utilized all the previous translations as well as the Sanskrit commentary of Sri T.V. Kapil Sastri (1946), and have endevoured to bring the English rendering into the closest possible conformity with the Sanskrit original.
Sri Ramana Gita is so called because it contains the teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi. The instructions were communicated on different occasions to different gatherings of disciples. The second sloka in the second chapter alone was composed by Sri Bhagavan himself and all the rest, with obvious exceptions, are redactions of the sage’s teachings by that holy and eminent scholar, Sri Kavyakantha Ganapathi Muni. He has placed the public under a debt of gratitude by his lucid exposition of recondite matter in his chaste, smooth and rhythmic Sanskrit style. His reverential approach to the Master and his expert handling of the difficult theme not only compel grateful admiration but also place this work on the same level as the most famous ancient works of a like nature. There are Gitas and Gitas. The Avadhuta Gita, Ashtavakra Gita and Ribhu Gita, are of the highest order and stand by themselves. Commentaries on them can be through one’s own realisation oiily. Srimad Bhagavad Gita is the best known and deservingly too. There are also other Gitas like Ganesa Gita, Devi Gita and Siva Gita. Sri Ramana Gita, is peculiar in the treatment of its subject-matter meeting all the needs of the modern enquirer, clearing his doubts and in some parts of the subject entering into minute details. It is unique in its stressing of the Heart and of the method of mind-control. Furthermore, the Teacher has drawn on his own experience and thus placed the seal of certainty upon the teachings.
Although there is only one sloka of the Ramana Gita actually written by Ramana Maharshi himself, yet this whole work is direct inspired by his ineffable Presence. This is more than to say by his thought, for Presence includes the whole manifestation which for a few years to come will be known as the Enlightened One of Arunachala, Ramana Maharshi.
This Gita is essentially a practical guide. By following the simple instructions here given, the seeker for Self-realisation will certainly find it more rapidly than by other methods.
This however, is not to say that the achievement is other than supremely difficult, asking the utmost concentration of steady purpose of mind. If one in a thousand succeed in this life, others will realise themselves in later lives. No words are here wasted as is often the case, but we are at once told where and how we are to concentrate in order to attain the end — Self-realisation.
Physiologists will be surprised to learn that the Heart, the Self — ‘I’ is placed on the right, not on the left side of the chest.’ There is no discussing of this matter in the scientific mode. This Heart has been seen and is seen there, steadily glowing, by the Maharshi, and this will suffice for absolute certainty in the mind of the serious seeker. He will know where in his body he is to “dive deep” though well aware that a mere section of that part of the physical body would reveal nothing to confirm his conviction, in the sense of a glowing centre.
Many practical questions bearing on release are asked and answered in the following few pages. Indeed nothing essential to him who wishes to avoid otiose discussions and go straight to the goal, is omitted. Everything essential is dealt with in the following statement:
“The world is not other than the mind; the mind is not other than the Heart and that is the whole truth.”
But such a statement, as it stands, of course, needs the explanation supplied in the Ramana Gita which follows. Comparisons with other sacred books, which have occurred to me in profusion, seem on the whole to be out of place here. The inspirer of this Gita is still living,* alert, easy of access and willing to confer the ineffable boon of his presence and of answering any questions put to him by the seeker. What more can be required? Very many thousands of his own countrymen have already sought Arunachala and a few Europeans have also been initiated. Should those, who have it in their power to visit the Asramam, delay, they will have only themselves to blame in future lives.
Never perhaps in the world’s history was the supreme Truth — Reality Sat, placed within such easy reach of so vast a multitude. In previous cases there have been difficulties and dangers of all sorts to confront. Here and now, through no special merit of our own, we may approach Reality. The sole difficulty is that of paying for the journey; there is no danger, and the reward is Knowledge of the Self. To say anything more would be absurd, because there is beyond Self.
Brahma Sutras (81)
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