Sri Ramana Paravidyopanishad is Vedanta Saram, the Supreme Science of the Self as taught by Sri Ramana Maharshi. It contains the Sanskrit text, English translation and commentary.
The author, Sri Lakshmana Sarma, came into the fold of Bhagavan Sri Ramana in 1927. Revering him as the embodiment of both Lord Dakshinamurti and Sri Adi Sankara, he surrounded to him completely. For more than twenty years he moved closely with the Master, and under his personal guidance delved deeply into his teachings.
Once he played with the Sage about his inability to understand classical Tamil in order to appreciate his work “Ulladu Narpadu” (Forty Verses on Reality). Bhagavan then taught him the elements of Classical Tamil language, after which Sri Sarma began composing verse translations in Sanskrit and submitting them to Bhagavan for his approval. If his approval was not forthcoming, he would continue to recast the entire verse to ensure correctness and consent. Bhagavan once commended his efforts and remarked that it was a great tapas for him to go on revising his translation any number of times until his approval was obtained. The present work is an example of this tapas.
Sri K. Lakshmana Sarma was born in 1879 at Pudukkottai (the same year in which Bhagavan Sri Ramana was born). He passed Intermediate studies at Pudukkottai, obtained a Degree of Bachelor of Arts at Tiruchirappalli and obtained a Law Degree in Madras. From his early school days he evinced much interest in Sanskrit and attained proficiency in the language.
Sri Sarma worked as a civil lawyer for the Government and as an Official Receiver. He was also a courageous social reformer and from 1918 was committed to Mahatma Gandhi’s Freedom Movement. While residing in Pondicherry from 1920-25, he developed and promoted the system of Nature Cure, of which he became a respected authority. His magnum opus on the subject, Practical Nature Cure, is a standard Text book. He also founded the English monthly, The Life Natural.
In 1927 Sri Sarma came into the fold of Bhagavan Sri Ramana. Revering him as the embodiment of both Lord Dakshinamurti and Sri Sankaracharya, he surrendered to him completely. He lived with Bhagavan for more than twenty sears, during which period, under the Master’s guidance, he delved deeply into his teachings.
Once he pleaded with Bhagavan about his inability to understand classical Tamil in order to appreciate his work Ulladu Narpadu”. Then Bhagavan taught him the elements of classical Tamil language, while learning one verse at a time. Sri Sarma composed verses in Sanskrit and submitted them to Bhagavan for his approval. If his approval was not forthcoming, he would continue to recast the entire verse to ensure correctness and consent. Bhagavan once commended his efforts and remarked that it was a great tapas for him to go on revising his translation any number of times until Bhagavan’s approval was obtained.
Sri Lakshmana Sarma preferred the pen-name of ‘WHO’, so as to leave open the choice as to who was the writer, Bhagavan or himself— so surrendered was he to the Master. He has authored the famous work Maha Yoga, which contains the teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi. This popular book has been translated into many languages the world over. Other books authored by Sri Sarma are Sri Ramana Hridayam/Revelation and Guru Ramana Vachanamala in Sanskrit and English and a Tamil commentary on “Ulladu Narpadu”. The present work Sri Ramana Paravidyopanishad is essentially Vedanta Saram, the Supreme Science of the Self as taught by Sri Ramana Maharshi.
Sri Lakshmana Sarma, after a long life of dedication, passed away at the ripe age of 85 in 1965.
Here is a remarkable work called by the Author “Sriramanaparavidyopanishad — The Supreme Science as taught by Sri Ramana.” The Author Sri Lakshmana Sarma (‘WHO’), who was born in the same year as Bhagavan Sri Ramana, was fortunate to have spent more than Twenty years in close association with Bhagavan. During this period, he imbibed the teachings of Bhagavan, made a deep study of it with his background of Vedantic Knowledge and even had the privilege of learning personally from Bhagavan the full import of ‘Ulladu Narpadu’, the Tamil composition of Bhagavan containing an exposition of the nature of the Ultimate Reality and its Realization in the brief compass of forty verses. The wisdom contained in this exalted work and the oral teachings given by Bhagavan from time to time, which Sri Lakshmana Sarma was convinced as being identical with the teachings of the Upanishads or the Vedanta, was ably and logically presented in the excellent work MAHAYOGA or The Upanishadic Lore in the Light of the Teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana”, first published in 1937. The present work serialized in 42 instalments during 1956- 61 in the journal “Call Divine” dedicated to Bhagavan’s teachings, somehow was not published in book form till date.
This work is as complete a treatise on the teachings of Bhagavan as Mahayoga was. The only differences are:
1. It is a poetic work in Sanskrit consisting of 701 Verses composed in mellifluous Upajati Metre.
2. Though it is not divided into chapters or subjects as MAHAYOGA was, it contains a concise, complete, authentic and logical exposition of the philosophical background of Bhagavan’s Teachings together with the Practice shown by Bhagavan for the Realization of the Self or the Ultimate Reality.
3. While Mahayoga contains, in addition to the gist of Bhagavan’s Works and Teachings, the author’s own expositions of the various topics dealt with, the present work almost entirely consists of Bhagavan’s Teachings expressed through his various works and talks with devotees; but they have been presented concisely and precisely in sweet Sanskrit language in poetic form.
4. One can easily discern the logical flow of the subjects and their explanations from beginning to end, making the work a complete guide to every sadhaka who wishes to pursue the direct path of Self-enquiry for Enlightenment.
The uncompromising conviction of Sri Sarma on the identity of Upanishadic (or Vedantic) teachings and their path to Self-realization (as expounded by Sri Sankaracharya) with Bhagavan’s own teachings and Realization, is powerfully brought out in this Sanskrit composition. In fact, this work accomplishes the same purpose in respect of Bhagavan’s teachings as Vivekachudamani of Sri Sankaracharya achieves in respect of the teachings of the Upanishads.
Rightly has it been called “Sriramanaparavidyopanishad” which can be paraphrased as “The True Knowledge concerning the Supreme Spirit or the Ultimate Reality as taught by Sri Ramana”. Science, as understood by modern language, is a branch of knowledge involving systematized observation and experiment. Here, the word “Science” has been used for observation made by the inward turning of the mind to find one’s own True Nature and the practical realization of the Truth that is the Self through such Quest. The diving within to accomplish this purpose, after the restraints of all thought-constructs through such Quest, is the only practical method taught by Bhagavan for Self-realization and Liberation.
The value of this work which has been presented by Sri Sarma with clarity, completeness and precision can be appreciated by any Sadhaka who reads this wonderful work and makes it a part of his daily svadhyaya (or scriptural study). It will be superfluous to add anything to this preface over and above what Sri Sarma has expounded with such clarity and precision in this work. May the community of Sadhakas be enlightened by going through this exalted work and understanding and practicing the Teachings contained in it. Sri Sarma’s own Translations and explanations, which are short and to the point, will enable the readers to comprehend fully the entire Teachings.
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