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Our email address is editor @realization.org.

Copyright 2001 Realization.org.

 

 
 
  CLASSICS
 

Ellam Ondre
By Vijai R. Subramaniyam

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Editor's Introduction

 

THIS IS AN EXTREMELY obscure book about Advaita Vedanta written in Tamil in the nineteenth century. We have added it to our site because Ramana Maharshi recommended it very strongly to people he knew personally.

It came to our attention while reading the memoir of Annamalai Swami, who was Ramana's personal attendent and supervisor of construction at Ramana's ashram. He says:


On another occasion, when I asked Bhagavan [Ramana] to select some reading material for me, he gave me a short-list of six books: Kaivalya Navanitam, Ribhu Gita, Ellam Ondre, Swarupa Saram and Yoga Vasishta.

He laid particular stress on Ellam Ondre, telling me, "If you want moksha [liberation] write, read and practise the instructions in Ellam Ondre."1

  1. This quotation is from pages 98-99 of Living By The Words of Bhagavan by David Godman published in 1995 (second edition) by Sri Annamalai Swami Ashram Trust in Tiruvannamalai. Although Godman is credited as author of the book, he is really the editor, and the actual author is Annamalai Swami.

The editor of Annamalai's memoir gives two citations for Ellam Ondre in the bibliography:

Ellam Ondre: by Vijai R. Subramaniyam, pub. Pinnalur Ramalingam Pillai, 1935.

All is One: a translation of Ellam Ondre by 'Who,' pub. Colombo, Sri Lanka, 1950.

We think the translation reproduced here is the one cited in Annamalai's book. If so, the translator is "Who," also known as K. Lakshmana Sarma, a devotee of Ramana's.

We obtained the text of this translation from The Maharshi, a newsletter published by Arunachala Ashrama, where it appeared in four consecutive issues starting in September-October 1998. The first installment included the following letter from Eurico M. S. Saraiva of Lisbon which explains how the newsletter got hold of the text:

A French devotee who could not speak English and was living in Sri Ramanasramam during my last visit asked me to go with him to the Annamalai Ashram for a visit on some personal matter. While I was there translating for this devotee I notice Annamalai Swami's book, "Living by the Words of Bhagavan," for sale. I immediately purchased it and while reading through it found the reference to "All is One." I somehow became keen on knowing more about this book and asked in the Sri Ramanasramam Book Depot if an English translation of this Tamil book was available. Even though it was also noted to be recommended by Sri Bhagavan in "Day by Day with Bhagavan," no one could give me any information about it.

Four or five days before my departure something made me remember that probably in the Annamalai Ashram I could find out some information about the book. The Ashram manager told me it was only available in Tamil and that the last English translation had been printed privately some time around 1950. However, he had a photo copy of that translation and allowed me to copy it for myself.

Around the same time, a French devotee with whom I had earlier discussions about the book came to me and showed me the French translation. In spite of it being printed in Pondicherry, she had purchased it in Paris.

I am now sending it to you because I think that we should make an effort to publish it for the benefit of devotees and Advaita students, even if it is in the form of a small inexpensive brochure. It appears that this 19th Century, anonymous composition was highly valued by Sri Maharshi and, for this reason alone, I am sure many will be interested in studying it.

In attributing this text to Who and Subramaniyam, we relied entirely on the documents cited above. If they are mistaken, then our attributions are incorrect.

 

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This page was published on May 20, 2000.

 

 

 

 


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