Ramana Puranam – 4

The concluding portion of ‘Ramana Puranam’, a section that runs approximately from line 233 to 240, contains teachings, written by Bhagavan himself, that have never before beenpublished in English. A partial translation of Sri Ramana Sannidhi Murai was published by Sri Ramanasramam several years ago, but it did not contain either Ramana Puranam’ or some of the other longer poems that appeared in the original work.

In the introduction to this translation of ‘Ramana Puranam’ Kanakamma mentioned that Muruganar composed the first two hundred lines and Bhagavan the remaining three hundred. The exact dividing line is no longer known since Muruganar himself took the trouble to obliterate any reference to this division of labour. However, there is a slight change in style from this point on, and this has led the editors to the conclusion that this may be the point at which Bhagavan began his work. Within the portion that we are attributing to Bhagavan (233 to 240) there are a few lines that were written by Muruganar himself after ‘Ramana Puranam’ was first printed in 1938. These were inserted into the text later and published for the first time in the 1974 edition of Sri Ramana Sannidhi Murai. However, these insertions are very minor.

One should remember in the lines that follow that Bhagavan is merely attempting to finish a work that Muruganar began, a work that was intended to praise Bhagavan in a style that resembles that of Manikkavachagar’s ‘Siva Puranam’. For this reason it is quite unlike any of Bhagavan’s other written works.

Bhagavan completed the work in the rather flowery literary style that Muruganar had adopted. He even included several quotations from the Tirukkural because he knew that Muruganar had a great liking for that particular work. ‘Siva Puranam’, the template for this work, is a poem in praise of the divine. There is no philosophy there, nor are there any instructions for sadhana. It is pure panegyric. Though Bhagavan adhered closely to Muruganar’s style of poetry in this composition, he did take the liberty of extending the range of the contents by occasionally introducing philosophical themes, some of which parallel verses he had composed for his own written works. However, since he was aware that the work was intended to be thematically similar to ‘Siva Puranam’, he also included topics that were found in Manikkavachagar’s original text. Overall, though, most of the lines continue the earlier theme – praise of Siva-Ramana.

Some people might think it odd that Bhagavan would complete a poem whose principal theme was praise of himself. However, as the following story by Viswanatha Swami indicates, if Bhagavan ever praised ‘Ramana’, he was actually praising the all-pervading substratum that Ramana had completely identified with:

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