When you see a book or pamplet that says “by Sri Ramana Maharshi” on the cover, or one that contains records of his conversations, you might assume that the words inside are his. Unfortunately things aren’t so straightforward.
To take one example, some of the conversations in Talks With Ramana Maharshi were paraphrased and written down by an observer from memory because it was against the rules to take notes in the hall. In some cases several hours passed before he could put the words on paper. This is not a recipe for accuracy.
I won’t give any further examples because I’m about to recommend a document that explains these issues better than I can. David Godman, who is probably the world’s foremost expert on the Ramana literature, has written an article that discusses the authenticity of each text and says which ones are most accurate and which ones less so. If you want to get a true understanding of Ramana’s teachings, David’s recommendations are invaluable.
The authenticity of Bhagavan’s writings and dialogues
by David Godman