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Shloka No.1 

विश्वम् दर्पण-दृश्यमान-नगरी तुल्यम् निजान्तर्-गतं

पश्यन्-नात्मनि मायया बहिरिवोद्भूतम् यथा निद्रया /

यः साक्षात्-कुरुते प्रबोध-समये स्वात्मानम्-एवाद्वयं

तस्मै श्री-गुरु-मूर्तये नम इदं श्री-दक्षिणा-मूर्तये  //

vishvam darpaNa-dRRishyamAna-nagarI tulyam nijAntar-gataM
pashyan-nAtmani mAyayA bahirivodbhUtam yathA nidrayA /
yaH sAkshhAt-kurute prabodha-samaye svAtmAnam-evAdvayaM
tasmai shrI-guru-mUrtaye nama idaM shrI-dakshhiNA-mUrtaye //

Tr. To Him who, by mAyA, who sees in Himself `the universe which is inside Him as if it were outside, just as in a dream, like unto a city that is seen in a mirror, to Him who apprehends on awakening, His own Self as the One without a second, to Him of the form of the Guru, (the ancient of all) the blessed dakshinA-mUrti, is this prostration.

Note: The words that are shown in bold in this and the succeeding verse-translations correspond to the (English translation of the) meaningful addition by Ramana MahaRshi to each of these shlokas in his masterly close adaptation of the hymn in Tamil verse form, almost in the same metre.


Shlokas 1, 2 and 3 dwell on the origin of the universe and its philosophical implications. In this verse there are two analogies cited. One is that of the dream, and the other that of the appearance of reflection in a mirror. Each serves a purpose. The dream analogy says that unless we wake up from the dream we cannot see the falsity of the dream. The mirror analogy says that even as we experience the reflection before us we know its falsity; so also even as we experience the presence of this universe 'outside' of us, we must realise their falsity, because it is only a projection of the real Self within. There is another point of distinction between the dream analogy and the mirror-reflection analogy. In the dream analogy what is really 'within' appears as 'outside'. In the analogy of the mirror-reflection what is really outside of the mirror appears as 'within' the mirror. We have to extrapolate both the analogies and understand that the universe is actually within us but appears as outside of us by the sheer force of the projecting power of mAyA.

The purport of this verse is to tell us that Brahman is the Truth, the visible universe is only an appearance and to that extent it is unreal. When one thing appears to us as something else it is false knowledge of the thing. By reason of the mAyA power we have this false knowledge and think that the universe is something other than Brahman. But when the Realization dawns on us by the grace of the Guru we will then realize that there is nothing other than Brahman.

Over to Shloka 2

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