Posted by: satramana | May 31, 2011

The Essence of Spiritual Instruction

SAT’s new book, The Essence of Spiritual Instruction, known by many as Upadesa Sarah or Upadesa Saram in Sanskrit, by Sri Ramana Maharshi has just been released. Although many fine translations and commentaries have preceded this English translation and commentary, Nome’s commentary takes up a slightly different approach to this scripture.


cover art essence

Reading the introduction to this book is necessary in order to appreciate the full scope of the commentary and to understand and experience this spiritual instruction.


The following is an excerpt from the introduction to this book.

“Appending a commentary to a text may serve various and multiple purposes. Among these are:

an explanation of the words and phrases of the verses so that there is no misunderstanding concerning the terms employed;

an explanation of the basis of the verses, whether that be a description of the tradition or the revelation of the essential, spiritual, realized Knowledge, inclusive of how this is the continuous thread throughout a text;

the description of the results of practicing and realizing that which is stated in the verses, with explanations of the reasons why the results have such a connection;

and a demonstration of corresponding passages from scriptures and other sages, or even from the same sage, in order to clarify the meaning of those passages, clarify the meaning of the present verses, or show the continuation of, and correlation with, the timeless Truth that is expressed therein.

A commentary may also present doubts that could arise for the seeker accompanied by explanations that resolve such doubts to thereby reveal the verity, scope, and depth of the verse and the Knowledge expressed or implicit in it. These approaches are ultimately for the singular purpose of the realization of absolute Self-Knowledge within.

The ostensible meaning of the verses of Upadesa Sarah is plain and has already been thoroughly dealt with in other commentaries. Consequently, this is not emphasized here, and the approach taken in this commentary is different because of its specific focus. The emphasis is upon the profound significance of each verse for those already practicing Self-inquiry.

The approach presented in this commentary is the elucidation of both the basis and the results, or implications, of each verse. Each verse is treated in the light of Self-Knowledge, revealing that knowledge from which the verse comes forth, that is, the basis of declaring what the verse tersely proclaims, and, if this and the verse are comprehended, that which must necessarily be the case in light of such. In other words, the explanation is of why the content of the verse is stated, and, if one knows this reason, or basis, experientially and what is revealed by the verse, what one thus realizes. Thus, the focus is upon the root and the fruit.

The explanations are set forth as ten succinct, pithy points pertaining to each verse. The enumeration is for ease of reading and does not represent an ascending or descending order. Similarly, the points that may be considered the root and those that may be considered the fruit are freely mingled. All of the ten points refer to the verse they follow, each verse being considered distinct, as well as conjoined to the preceding or succeeding verses. The brevity of expression is intentional. If the meaning or the relevance to the verse is not immediately understood, meditation upon it in the form of inquiry to know oneself will yield the necessary clarity.

References to other works that contain records of Sri Bhagavan’s teachings in order to demonstrate their correlation with the Upadesa Sarah verses and the commentary points, as well as references to other scriptural passages that expound the same teachings, have not been included in this commentary. Such references would have been too numerous; indeed, they could be a book in themselves.

Self-inquiry in the light of Sri Bhagavan’s instruction will completely resolve any doubt so that abidance in the Self, as the Self, which is Self-Knowledge, unwaveringly remains.

This translation into English from Sanskrit is an attempt to provide a very literal translation, even to the extent of the preservation of the order of the words where feasible, similar to the approach taken in Saddarsanam and An Inquiry into the Revelation of Truth and Oneself. Alternative translations are provided for words and phrases in the notes immediately following each verse, and, in some cases, alternative translations for the entire verse are presented. In cases in which words that appear in the English translation are implied, but do not actually appear, in the Sanskrit text, this is indicated in the notes. The commentary includes the meaning of the alternative translations as well as the meaning selected for the primary translation. It is hoped that this manner of translation, along with the commentary, will help readers to dive deep into the sublime, profound teachings of Sri Bhagavan and thus realize the Self. An appendix that contains just the Sanskrit text with transliteration that incorporates the division of the words, except in instances of vowel sandhi, is included for ease of recitation and similar purposes.”


This book is available through the sat bookstore or by visiting us on the web at <>


As with all of SAT Publications, they are made possible by the contributions of many Ramana devotees, in proofreading, assisting in translation, and in funding. Below are images of a few of SAT’s members who have contributed to this endeavor in this manner.


Raman Muthukrishnan and Sangeeta Raman receive copies from Nome at the recent Self-Knowledge Retreat held at SAT for their contribution to the book.



Here, Ganesh Sadasivan receives a copy for his contribution.



And Myra Taylor receiving a copy for her contribution.



Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya

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