This book is a translation of Muruganar's vritti urai — extended -omrnentary on Sri Ramana's Akshara Manamalai — The arital Garland of letters. Sri Muruganar was himself highly i.ritually evolved, a jnani himself according to many; he was n accomplished poet, and was deeply versed in the literature f Tamil, especially that of the bhakti tradition of Tevaram and anikkavacagar. Moreover he had the opportunity over many ears to ascertain from Bhagavan himself the often elusive inner eanings of many of the verses. These qualities combine to ake of this Commentary a rare jewel in the Ramana literature, -lucidating as it does the true Advaitic import of a work hitherto egarded as purely a devotional work. Published in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the composition of Akshara Manamalai, this translation is designed as a companion volume to the existing Tamil edition, replicating it closely not only in content but also in style and format. It is hoped that, coming 71 years after the publication of the original Tamil work, this translation will finally bring Muruganar's vritti urai to the wider audience it so richly deserves.
Arunachala Ramana, the Supreme Self, dwelling blissfully as pure consciousness in the lotus cave of the Heart of Hari, and all embodied souls.
It is a fact well known to all the many devotees who were close companions of Sri Ramana Bhagavan that all the works he composed were simply words of grace that arose in response to the requests of his devotees. For each of Sri Bhagavan's works, there is an individual story of its origin. Here we shall consider the origins of Arunachala Aksharamanamalai, the first of his grace-filled utterances. When Bhagavan was living in Virupaksha cave on the slopes of Arunachala, some of the devotees who were with him were requesting him to compose a hymn of praise, to sing whilst they were collecting bhiksha. Bhagavan, in whom all mental activity had subsided into unbroken supreme mauna, in which there is no arising of the 'I' under any circumstances, replied, `When there are so many glorious hymns of praise, like Tevaram and Tiruvacakam, what need is there for a new one?' and remained silent. Even though those other hymns were available, the devotees themselves had made the request out of the keen desire to have a hymn composed in Bhagavan's own words. However no such thought manifested as the divine will of Bhagavan.
Such being the situation, one day, when Bhagavan was setting off on pradakshina of Arunagiri, one devotee, with the idea that the request they had made previously might at some time be granted, took pencil and paper and went along with him. It was decreed, by the play of divine grace, that that very day should be the appropriate time for the fulfilling of his devotees' prayers. The inspiration to write the Arunachala-Siva hymn flared up in Sri Bhagavan. The hymn began with the very name of Arunachala, whose radiance had been kindled within his heart 'from the very innocence of youth.' Bhagavan wrote down on the paper the devotee had brought with him the luminous words of grace, which arose, welling up and welling up again in his heart. It was there, on Arunachala, in the deeply peaceful solitude of those wooded slopes, in inner seclusion, that he revealed for the first time, in an ecstasy of profound devotion, replete with the flavour of a rare eroticism, the wondrous play of supreme love that took place between Arunachala and himself. The irrepressible flood of tears of bliss that surged and rose up at that time soaked the paper on which he was writing, masking his vision to the point that he could hardly see to write. Bhagavan marvelled, wondering whence this flood had arisen in such a manner. On his way round the mountain, sitting down here and there, he wrote down a little at a time, the luminous words of grace that arose from his heart, so that by the time he had finished the pradakshina, Bhagavan had completed this exalted hymn of praise, called Arunachala Aksharamanamalai, consisting of 108 mantraic verses.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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