31.9 ULLADU NARPADU BY RAMANA MAHARSHI: VERSE NO.7
COMMENTARY BY LAKSHMANA SHARMA
RENDERED INTO ENGLISH BY PROFVK
Introduction to Verse No.7
So the world is a mental construct. But that raises the question: Is the Mind real? If the mind is real, then the world that appears to it may be argued as real. Of course if mind is not shown to be real, then the unreality of the world is a certain conclusion. This is what is taken up in this verse.
ulagu aRivum ondRAy udittu oDungumEnum
ulagu aRivu tannAl oLirum.
ulagu aRivu tOnDri maRaidarku iDanAy
tOnDri maRaiyAdu oLirum pUnDRamAm akdE poruL.
Translation (Lakshmana Sharma)
The two, the universe and the mind, arise and set as one; yet this inert universe is lighted up by the mind alone; know that that infinite Being whose nature is Pure Consciousness and in which the two (the universe and the mind) arise and set, but which itself neither rises nor sets, is alone Real.
Translation (Prof. K. Swaminathan)
Though the world and mind rise and fade together, the world shines by the light of the mind. The ground whence the world and mind arise, and wherein they set, that Perfection rises not nor sets but ever shines. That is Reality.
Although the world and knowledge thereof rise and set together it is by knowledge alone that the world is made apparent. That Perfection wherein the world and knowledge thereof rise and set, and which shines without rising and setting, is alone the Reality.
Word by word
ulagu aRivum: The universe and the mind (intellect)
udittoDungumEnum: rise and set (fade)
ulagu: The universe
oLirum: shines, is lighted
aRivu tannAl: by the mind (intellect).
pOnDramAm : The Infinite Fullness
oLirum: (which) shines
tOnDri maRaiyAdu: without rising or setting
iDanAy : (but is) the base
tOnDri maRaidaRku for the rising and setting (of)
ulagaRivu : the universe and the mind
akde poruL: that (Fullness) is alone the Reality.
Commentary (Lakshmana Sharma)
The universe is a construct of the mind said the previous verse; in other words, the universe is contained in the mind. This is recalled by this verse in its second line. So ‘ulagu oLirum aRivu tannAl’. After this comes ‘ulagaRivu’. The meaning of this is not just ‘the universe and the mind’. In the context after the second line, this could be taken as ‘the knowledge that expands itself into the universe’ Note: uru = personification). Since the universe is not distinct from the mind (knowledge), the locus of the rising and setting of the intellect that causes it is also the locus of the rising and setting of the univese.
Thus #s6 and & 7 together say that except for the Reality that is the Atman, the mind as well as its construct, namely the universe are unreal. Earlier what was said by Bhagavan in his explanation of ‘uLLadaladu uLLavuNarvu uLLado?’ (cf. Mangalam – 1) as the definition of Reality, is again reiterated here. The substratum which forms the base for the rising and setting of the universe and the mind shines always, without rising or setting. Since that is shown here to be the Reality, it follows that the universe and the mind which have the property of rising and setting are unreal.
In addition, it also follows that since the universe and the mind rise and set together as one, in actuality they are one. The mind (intellect, knowledge) does not have the purity of non-appearance of the universe. Similarly the universe does not appear without the presence of the mind (intellect, knowledge). Therefore these two are each an expansion of something else. That is the Ego, whose characterisitic will be explained later.
The Reality which is the base for everything is nothing but the only existing reality that is Brahman. It is self-luminous. Not like the universe which requires to be lighted by something else. Also it is not associated with the world-appearance like the mind. It is pure. To explain that there is nothing else which is real, it is said to be the Complete Fullness (pUrNam).