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Teachings from Upadesa Saram

A collection of teachings from Upadesa Saram of Ramana Maharshi

Actions done with an attitude of dedication to the Lord, without attachment to the result, purify the mind and are a means to attain liberation.

The results of actions are impermanent and pass o. Yet, their seeds form an ocean of Karma which becomes a barrier in the progress of a seeker.

The actions performed by the body — ritualistic puja, japa (chanting) and contemplation (inner meditation) — each is superior to the other in an ascending order.

Singing the Lord’s praises is good but better than that is loud chanting of Japa, while superior to loud chanting is soft Japa. However, best of all is silent, mental Japa.

Like an unbroken flow of oil or a stream of water; continuous meditation is better than that which is interrupted.


"Actions done with an attitude of dedication to the Lord, without attachment to the result, purify the mind and are a means to attain liberation."

This statement reflects the essence of various spiritual philosophies, particularly those found in Hinduism and other Eastern traditions. Let's break it down and expand on its meaning:

  1. Actions done with an attitude of dedication to the Lord: This refers to performing actions with a sense of devotion or surrender to a higher power or divine entity. In Hinduism, this might be devotion to a specific deity, such as Shiva, Vishnu, or the Divine Mother, depending on one's personal beliefs. The idea is to cultivate a mindset of offering one's actions as a form of worship or service to the divine.

  2. Without attachment to the result: This emphasizes the concept of performing actions selflessly, without being attached to the outcome or results. It means acting without being overly concerned about personal gain, recognition, or success. This attitude helps to reduce egoistic desires and fosters a sense of detachment from the fruits of one's actions.

  3. Purify the mind: By engaging in actions with dedication and without attachment to results, one purifies their mind. This purification involves cleansing the mind of impurities such as selfish desires, ego, greed, and attachment. Through the process of selfless action, individuals can cultivate virtues such as humility, compassion, and equanimity, leading to mental clarity and inner peace.

  4. Means to attain liberation: Liberation, or moksha, is the ultimate goal in many spiritual traditions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. It refers to liberation from the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth (samsara) and the attainment of spiritual enlightenment or union with the divine. The practice of performing actions with dedication and detachment is considered a fundamental means to attain this liberation. By purifying the mind and cultivating spiritual virtues, individuals gradually free themselves from the bondage of karma and attain a state of transcendence.

In summary, this statement encapsulates the principle of karma yoga, the path of selfless action, as outlined in Hindu philosophy. It underscores the importance of performing actions as a form of devotion, without attachment to personal gain, and how such actions lead to mental purification and ultimately liberation from the cycle of suffering.