Upadesa Saram - in 30 verses

1. By the law or will of the Creator, the fruits of actions are realized. How is action then supreme? It is not. It is inert.

2. The results of actions are impermanent and pass away. Yet, their seeds form an ocean of Karma which becomes a barrier in the progress of a seeker.

3. Work which is performed as an offering to the Almighty, and done without any expectation of the fruits thereof, helps in purification of the mind and thereby leads one to Liberation or Realization.

4. Among the actions performed by the body, voice and mind - puja (ritualistic worship), japa (chanting) and contemplation (inner meditation) - each is superior to the other in an ascending order.

5. Worshipping any of the eight forms, thinking they are all forms of God, is good worship (puja) of God.

6. Singing the Lord's praises is good, but better than that is loud chanting of japa, while superior to loud chanting is soft japa. However, best of all is silent, mental japa (simply being aware of your awareness, Being).

7. Like an unbroken flow of oil, or a stream of water, continuous meditation (awareness of your awareness) is better than that which is interrupted.

8. Meditation without duality, that is meditating as 'I am HE', is superior to meditation which assumes a separation between the Bhakta (devotee) and the beloved Lord (consciousness).

9. A state of void, free from thought, is gradually attained, making abidance in the background state of 'I AM' complete. This is supreme devotion.

10. Fixing the mind in the Heart (Source) is true Karma (action), Bhakti (devotion), Yoga (action) and Jnana (knowledge).

11. Through breath-control, the movement of the mind is contained, just as a bird is restrained when caught in a net.

12. The mind and pranas, which carry out various thought processes and actions within the body, emerge from one common source.

13. Mind control can be achieved through two modes - either through absorption/abeyance or through complete destruction.

In the case of the first mode, the mind emerges again as it is merely absorbed in the void and hence temporarily held in abeyance.

In contrast, through the second mode, when the mind is destroyed, it can never emerge again.

14. When the mind is held in suspension through breath control, it must then be completely destroyed through one-pointed attention to that ONE reality.

15. What action remains for an exalted Yogi whose mind has been completely destroyed and who is ever established in the Self?

16. When attention is withdrawn from objects and focused exclusively on the Self (your consciousness, awareness), Truth is revealed.

17. When one inquires: "What is the mind?", he finds out that there is no mind. This is the direct path to Reality.

18. Mind is nothing but a bundle of thoughts. These thoughts depend upon the I-thought alone. Hence the mind is nothing but this I-thought.

19. Ask the question: "From where does this I-thought arise?" On inquiring deeply, the I-thought will vanish. This is Self-Inquiry.

20. When the I-thought or Ego is destroyed, the real I (consciousness) springs forth on its own in the spiritual Heart and shines as 'I-I', in all its fulness.

21. And this unbroken continuous 'I-I' is the real I, as the I-thought (egoic I) disappears and dissolves in deep sleep.

22. This real 'I-I' is the only Truth or Reality. Neither the body, nor the senses, nor the vital air (prana), nor breath, nor intellect, nor ignorance may be considered real as they are all gross, inert, insentient and illusory.

23. Is there any other thing apart from Consciousness that illumines existence? Indeed, existence itself is Consciousness and Consciousness is 'I AM' (the awareness I exist).

24. Between the jiva (the individual) and Ishwara (Unity), there is a difference only with respect to the body and the intellect (gross and subtle bodies), but from the standpoint of True Nature, the Absolute Reality (consciousness) alone is.

25. When the various conditionings of body-mind and identifications with name and form are shed, the Self is realized. The vision of the Lord as Self is true Self- Realization.

26. Since the Self is non-dual, establishing oneself in the Self (aware of your awareness) alone is the vision of the Self, and that alone is abidance in the Self.

27. Consciousness transcends all dualities and is devoid of the thought of knowledge, as well as the thought of ignorance. Is there any knowledge other than Self Awareness itself, to know the Self?

28. "What is the nature of 'Me' - the Self ?" Thus inquiring one realizes the Self as Indestructible, Unborn, Perfect and of the nature of Consciousness and bliss.

29. The individual who has realized the Divine State (his own real nature) gains supreme happiness and bliss, beyond bondage and freedom, here, in this very world.

30. Self-Inquiry, devoid of ego, is a great penance. Realize this truth articulated by Sri Ramana.

The above insights of Sri Ramana (1879 - 1950), are known among spiritual seekers the world over and prized for their great inspirational power, which transcends all religious differences.

Amongst scholarly circles in the spiritual community of India, Sri Ramana is considered the most important mystic on the world stage during the 20th century because of the unprecedented timeliness of his emphasis on self-inquiry for direct Self-realization (of one's true nature). At the age of 17 he attained a profound experience of the true infinite Self without the guidance of a Guru and thereafter remained conscious of his identity with the Infinite at all times.

After some years of silent seclusion he finally began to reply to questions put to him by spiritual seekers all over the world. He followed no particular path or traditional system of teaching, but rather spoke directly from his own experience of non-duality. Sri Ramana wrote virtually nothing; his teaching took the form of conversations with visitors seeking his guidance (as transcribed by followers).