Sri Muruganar In the late s Muruganar, an accomplished Tamil poet who had lived with Bhagavan for several years, began to collect the verbal teachings of his Guru, Ramana Maharshi. He recorded them in four-line Tamil verses. No questions were recorded, just the answers and statements on a wide variety of spiritual topics. By the late s, Muruganar had completed over of these verses, virtually all of which recorded a direct teaching statement that Bhagavan had uttered. In a decision was made to publish these teachings in book form.
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Each of the stanzas composed by Sri Muruganar embodies one of the actual sayings of Sri Bhagavan, and all of them were shown to Sri Bhagavan, who approved them and wherever necessary corrected them. The whole work is divided into three sections, the first consisting of 85 chapters forming an analysis of the truth, the second consisting of 84 chapters dealing with the practice of truth, and the third consisting of 62 chapters dealing with the experience of the truth. Guru Vachaka Kovai is a work which deserves to be deeply and repeatedly studied by every devotee of Sri Bhagavan and every seeker of reality, for it contains many rare and valuable spiritual treasures.
Preface Guru Vachaka Kovai is the most profound, comprehensive and reliable collection of the sayings of Sri Ramana, recorded in Tamil verses composed by Sri Muruganar, with an additional 42 verses composed by Sri Ramana. And all these three great works owe their existence primarily to the inspired poetic and spiritual genius, Sri Muruganar. It was Sri Muruganar who earnestly beseeched Sri Bhagavan to write in a few Tamil verses the upadesa given by Lord Siva to the rishis in the Daruka forest, who had been led astray from the path to Liberation by following the path of kamya karmas prescribed in the Purva Mimamsa In reply to this earnest entreaty of Sri Muruganar, Sri Bhagavan composed the Tamil work Upadesa Undiyar, which He afterwards wrote in Telugu, Sanskrit and Malayalam under the title Upadesa Saram.
It was again Sri Muruganar who elicited Ulladu Narpadu by praying to Sri Bhagavan, "Graciously reveal to us the nature of Reality and the means of attaining it so that we may be saved". Moreover, all the verses were carefully revised and arranged in a suitable order by Sri Bhagavan with the close co-operation and assistance of Sri Muruganar. Of the stanzas, were composed by Sri Muruganar and only 28 by Sri Bhagavan.
However, each of the stanzas composed by Sri Muruganar embodies one of the actual sayings of Sri Bhagavan, and all of them were shown to Sri Bhagavan, who approved them and wherever necessary corrected them. On some occasions when Sri Muruganar submitted one or more newly composed stanzas to Him, Sri Bhagavan found that He could express the same idea in a more beautiful form or in a more terse manner, and hence He would compose a new stanza of His own, which would also be included in Guru Vachaka Kovai3.
The verses of Guru Vachaka Kovai were not composed in any systematic order or at any one time. They were composed now and then during the twenty-seven years that Sri Muruganar lived with Sri Bhagavan, whenever he happened to hear Him give any important teaching.
Most of the verses were arranged in a suitable order and given suitable chapter-headings by Sri Sadhu Natanananda, to whom the work owes its present form consisting of three sections, each divided into many chapters. Guru Vachaka Kovai was first published in June , at which time it consisted of verses, 24 being the compositions of Sri Bhagavan. A bound volume of the proofs of this first edition which is preserved in the Ashram archives shows not only that the proofs were corrected by Sri Bhagavan, but also that during the time of proof correction some more verses were added by Him in appropriate places4.
And in his book Sri Ramana Reminiscences, pages 34 to 41 and page 62, G. Subbaramayya records that while correcting the proofs of Guru Vachaka Kovai, Sri Bhagavan used to explain the meaning of the verses to the assembled devotees. However, because the verses of Guru Vachaka Kovai were couched in a very high and abstruse style of classical Tamil, having an intricate syntax akin to the poetry of the ancient Sangam period, their profound import and beauty could be understood and relished only by a few Tamilians who were well-versed both in classical Tamil and in the teachings of Sri Bhagavan.
Guru Vachaka Kovai