Lamp of non-dual knowledge, On of the few books highly spoken of by Bhagavan Sri Ramanamaharshi.
Originally Sri Shankaracharya and other great Sages had written several works like the commentary on the Vedanta Sutras and thus furnished the methods for those engaged in Self enquiry to accomplish their purpose.
From those, Sri Karapatra Swami later condensed the salient points into Sanskrit verse in a work of twelve chapters, called Sri Advaita Bodha Deepika.
Still later, some great man seems to have translated this into Tamil prose. For some unknown reasons only some eight chapters of the same are found published. They are:
1. Adhyaropa = Super imposition.
2. Apavada = Its removal.
3. Sadhana = The means of accomplishment.
4. Sravana = Hearing, reading, talking about God.
5. Manana = Reflecting on sravana.
6. Vasanakshaya = Annihilation of latencies.
7. Sakshatkara = Direct Realisation.
8. Manonasa = Extinction of the mind.
In this work the author has explained how Ignorance obscures the true nature of the Self which is non-dual only; how by its veiling aspect it covers It (the Self) with two effects — ‘that It does not exist’ and ‘that It does not shine forth’, how by its other aspect, in the shape of the mind, projecting individuals, Iswara and the world and presenting them as real, thus giving rise to illusion; how one fully qualified is alone fit to obtain this knowledge; how a bare scholar of the shastras cannot be fit; how enquiry is the chief means for knowledge; how this enquiry consists in hearing of, reflecting upon and contemplation of TRUTH, and Samadhi; how the indirect knowledge gained by hearing puts an end to the idea that ‘It does not exist’ and the direct knowledge gained by reflection, which means enquiry ‘WHO I AM’ and seeking within, destroys the wrong notion that ‘It does not shine forth’; how the knowledge of THOU in THAT THOU ART is identical with the knowledge of THAT; how by meditation the different latencies perishing which were the obstacles on the way and the mind which is the limiting adjunct (upadhi) of the individual perishes too and by the eventual unobstructed realisation of BRAHMAN (God) the Seeker becomes free from the bondage of the three kinds of Karma which form the cycle of births and deaths; how in truth there is neither bondage nor release for the SELF and in what way to extinguish the mind.
Thinking that this will be helpful to Seekers of Liberation Sri Ramanananda Saraswathi (formerly Munagala Venkataramiah) a devotee of Bhagavan has by the grace of Sri Ramana rendered into English the eight chapters of the work now available. The last four chapters, Savikalpa Samadhi, Nirvikalpa Samadhi, Jivan Mukti, and Videha Mukti not being found in Tamil, Telugu or Sanskrit Manuscripts could not be translated into English. Information on the missing chapters is earnestly sought and will be gratefully acknowledged by the publisher.
Our grateful thanks are due to H. H. Smt. Shanta Devi Maharani of Baroda and H. H. the Maharaja of Travancore for sending us the original Sanskrit Manuscripts of this work from the State Libraries for Maharshi’s consultation and return.
This book is one of the few esteemed by Sri Maharshi and this translation was thoroughly revised in His Presence. So we are encouraged to present this small volume to the public with full confidence that the reader will benefit by it.
1. I salute the holy feet of the Supreme Lord, the Refuge of all the universe, the One Means to kill the samsara (the cycle of births and deaths), the Eternal God Ganesa of elephant face!
2. I meditate on the holy master known as Chidambara Brahman, the very being of the non-dual Supreme Self, Its very Bliss and the foremost yogi among men by whose light glance I, a fool blinded by the massive darkness of beginningless Ignorance, gained the precious jewel of Jnana (Wisdom)!
3. I meditate on that holy master, by contact with the dust of whose lotus feet men are able easily to cross the shoreless ocean of samsara, as if it were only a span.
4-5. To those who are fitted (by all) their sins having been burnt off by austerities (practised) in several past births, their minds made pure, their intellects discriminating the real from the unreal, themselves indifferent to the pleasures of either this or the other world, their minds and senses under control, passions held down, actions given up as a worthless burden, faith firm and minds tranquil, eagerly seeking release from bondage, this work — SRI ADVAITA BODHA DEEPIKA — is presented in twelve short chapters.
6. Many different works on Advaita have already appeared from Masters of yore, like Sri Sankaracharya and Vidyaranya; yet as a fond parent loves to hear the broken words of the lisping child, so also good people with large hearts can read this work as well, imperfect as it may be.