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The first edition of Sri Ramana Sannidhi Murai was published in January 1933. Though it contained over 1,200 verses, there was an important omission. Tiruvachakam begins with a ninety-five-line poem entitled ‘Siva Puranam’ in which Manikkavachagar praises Siva, but Sri Ramana Sannidhi Murai had no equivalent poem as an introduction. Kanakamma has described how this lacuna was remedied:
In the first edition of Ramana Sannidhi Murai there was no poem corresponding to ‘Siva Puranam’ of Tiruvachakam. Since this work was patterned on Tiruvachakam, it seemed incomplete to that extent. So Muruganar started composing a poem on the same lines. His inspired pen quickly wrote two hundred lines. At this stage a doubt arose in his mind as to what would be the appropriate title for this [work]. The obvious title could be ‘Siva Puranam’, since Siva’s name is dear to his devotees and Ramana was the embodiment of Lord Siva. But the verses were extolling the glory of the Lord as Ramana. So why not call it ‘Ramana Puranam’? Thus tossed by doubt Muruganar left the place, leaving the lines at Ramana’s feet.
When he returned in the evening Ramana handed back the poems. A great surprise was in store for Muruganar. Ramana had distinctly written ‘Ramana Puranam’ not only at the top of the work but also at the top of each and every page. He had not stopped with that. He had himself composed three hundred more lines and completed the work....
When the second edition of Sri Ramana Sannidhi Murai was [about to be] published these verses were also added. Muruganar had included a footnote to indicate that the first two hundred lines had been composed by him and the remaining three hundred by Bhagavan. After correcting the proof he handed over the matter to Ramana. While going through it Ramana saw the footnote and remarked, ‘Are only these [lines] written by Bhagavan?’ Muruganar at once saw his error. Were not the earlier ones too a product of Ramana’s grace? He at once prostrated to Bhagavan and with profuse tears said ‘Nothing is written by me. Everything flows from your grace.’ He then promptly deleted the footnote. (Ramana’s Muruganar, pp. 12-13)
‘Ramana Puranam’ was completed in early 1938, and it was included in the second edition of Sri Ramana Sannidhi Murai that was published in April 1939 by Ramanapadananda, a devotee who undertook the responsibility of publishing most of the poetry that Muruganar wrote during Bhagavan’s lifetime.
The concluding portion of ‘Ramana Puranam’, a section that runs approximately from line 233 to 540, contains teachings, written by Bhagavan himself, that have never before been published 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.
The slide show comprises photos of Muruganar, the author of the first part of Ramana Puranam.
On the left: Muruganar with his publisher, Ramanapadananda, in the 1930s.
On the right: Muruganar in the 1960s.
David Godman Books
Books by David Godman on Ramana Maharshi, his devotees and his teachings
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