S.S. Cohen arrived at Ramana Maharshi’s Ashram in 1936. With a keen intellect and burning aspiration he immediately grasped the import of the Master’s teachings, experienced His gracious response and dedicated the rest of his long life to the Self-radiant experience of Truth.
In Forty Verse, S.S. Cohen turns the spot light of his sharp intellect and spiritual maturity in the direction of the Master’s quintessential work, Ulladu Narpadu, Forty Verses on Reality, and illumines these teachings with directness and simplicity.
It was not without much hesitation that l acceded to the suggestion of one or two of my friends to prepare a simplified translation of Sri Bhagavan’s ULIADU NARPADU, or Forty Verse on Reality, which newcomers to Sri Ramanasram, especially the English-speaking foreigners who come in increasing numbers, might more easily understand.
It is generally admitted that Sri Bhagavan’s ideas are often beyond the reach of the common reader and the beginner. They are made more difficult by his Tamil mode of expression and by the spontaneity with which he wrote the individual verses, for it was not his intention t0 produce a compact philosophical system or thesis. He wrote the verses as they occurred to him, and they were later arranged by a disciple in the order in which we see them in print.
When undertaking this venture I placed before me six different English translations, chose the versions common to the majority of them, and wrote these clown in almost conversational English. I avoided technical terms and difficult words so far as this could be done, while remaining faithful to the original. When I had a doubt due to lack of agreement between the different translators, I sought the help of Tamil scholars in Vellore.
I also wrote brief notes on each verse, developing the verse’s main points so that in some places the notes read like a paraphrase, but without learned quotations or long dissertations. For all that the seekers (sadhakas) need and want is to understand the spirit of Bhagavan’s utterances and apply it in their spiritual practice (sadhana).
In these forty verses, as the reader will observe, Bhagavan has touched on all the salient points of his teaching, constantly stressing the great value and efficacy of the we/mm, or investigation into the nature of the investigator himself All the Masters of the Upanishads maintain that man is not the elements out of which his body is made, but “tl1e mind, or intelligent principle, or being, which uses the body’. That is the serene, blissful Self, the absolute, second less Reality, which all are seeking consciously and unconsciously in different ways — devious or straight, wrong or right — and of which the sadhaka endeavours to have a direct and full Knowledge.
The synopsis which follows not only gives the gist of every verse, but is also intended to help the reader to locate a specific subject. It takes the place of an index, which seems out of place in a small work like this.
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