The Forum dedicated to Arunachala and Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi

Ramana Maharshi => General topics => Topic started by: Subramanian.R on May 11, 2016, 02:21:23 PM

Title: Mastan - David Godman: - Mountain Path, July - Sept. 2005:
Post by: Subramanian.R on May 11, 2016, 02:21:23 PM
Mastan, one of Bhagavan's early devotees, was born in 1878 in Desur, a small village about forty miles
from Tiruvannamalai.  He came from a Muslim weaving family but was drawn to Bhagavan by Akhilandamma,
a widow of the village who made regular trips to Tiruvannamalai to see Bhagavan and cook for Him.

When he was young he would spontaneously fall into a Samadhi like state while he was working on the
family loom.  His hands and feet, which were plying the machinery of his trade, would stop and he would
become absolutely still.  His parents, Hussain and Salubi, thought that he was falling asleep on the job.
Whenever they saw him in this condition, they would hit him, bring him back to his waking state, and tell
him to get on with his work.  These episodes seem to have been a recurring feature of his childhood.

Not much more is known about Mastan's life until the day he accompanied Akhilandamma on his first
visit to Tiruvannamalai in 1914.  This is how Mastan described the meeting when he spoke to Kunju

When I came to Bhagavan, He was seated like a rock...His unwavering gaze was filled with grace,
compassion and steady wisdom.  I stood by His side. After giving me a look, He opened the gate
of my Heart and I was also established in His state.  I stood like that for eight hours, absolutely without
fatigue, but filled with total absorption and peace.  Bhagavan in those days used to open our Heart
with a simple gracious look, and it transformed us.  There was no need for any questions since He made
us, by His look, like Himself. 


Arunachala Siva.             
Title: Re: Mastan - David Godman: - Mountain Path, July - Sept. 2005:
Post by: Subramanian.R on May 12, 2016, 02:01:58 PM
The Samadhi experiences happened more than once.  Bhagavan himself once mentioned them to
Viswanatha Swami:

"Among those who show up in a normal human body, and who subsequently stay on and become
devotees, there is a huge range of spiritual attainment: complete beginners mix with highly advanced
souls.  The most advanced are ripe fruits, just waiting to fall.  They only have come into the presence of
a Jnani in order to plunge into a deep experience of the Self.  One such devotee was Mastan.

"He was such a ripe soul, when he came to Virupaksha Cave to see me he would sometimes go into deep
Samadhi before he had even entered the cave.  As soon as he touched the railings of the gate, he would
have a paralyzing experience of the Self.  He would stand, rooted to the spot, unable to move, for six
or seven hours.  This happened several times. Usually, these experiences would happen before he had
even seen me since I would be inside the cave, unaware of what was going on at the gate.

"Mastan was in an entirely different category to most of the people who came. He was highly spiritual,
although outwardly he looked like an ordinary man.  He was a kind generous man who was always
looking for an opportunity to help other people.  He never showed any self importance.  On the contrary
he liked to stay in the background, unnoticed and unappreciated by ordinary people."
(The Power of The Presence, Volume 3)


Arunachala Siva.                         
Title: Re: Mastan - David Godman: - Mountain Path, July - Sept. 2005:
Post by: Subramanian.R on May 13, 2016, 10:35:28 AM
These Samadhi states did not give him a full and permanent experience of the Self.  When his mind re-
asserted itself, he went to Sri Bhagavan for advice:

Once, while I was on my way to see Bhagavan, I prayed for His grace.

On my arrival at Virupakasha Cave, He asked, 'Do you like Saguna Upasana (meditation or worship of form),
or do you like Nirguna Upasana (meditation or worship of the formless)?'

I replied, 'I only want Nirguna Upasana.'

Bhagavan then told me, 'Fix the mind in the Heart. If you keep your attention at the source from where
all thoughts arise, the mind will subside at the source and reality will shine forth.'

I had already come across similar teachings in Maharaja Turavu and Sukar Kaivalyam.  I had seen these
instructions in several other books.  I took a firm decision that this was the way for me.  After this meeting
with Bhagavan I had no further doubts about this. No doubts at all.

In 1914, shortly after Mastan had become a devotee, he and Akhilandamma decided to open a Math
in the village of Desur that would function as a choultry, a place where visiting Sadhus and pilgrims
could be accommodated and fed.  Many of the Sadhus from Sri Ramanasramam came to stay there,
particularly when they were sick and needed someone to look after them.

When the building was completed, Mastan regularly did Parayana of Bhagavan's works there.  By this
time Mastan had more or less abandoned his career as a weaver, although he did go back to work occasionally
to weave cloth that was used to make Bhagavan's Kaupinas.


Arunachala Siva.                 
Title: Re: Mastan - David Godman: - Mountain Path, July - Sept. 2005:
Post by: Subramanian.R on May 14, 2016, 10:46:30 AM
Bhagavan once remarked, with great joy, 'Mastan's craft, though it did not give food either to him or to
his parents, gives me clothes.'

Mastan has recorded one other meeting he had with Bhagavan:

For some time, while I was meditating at night for about an hour, I used to hear the sound of a big
bell ringing. Sometimes a limitless effulgence would appear.  In 1922, when I visited Bhagavan at His
new asramam at the foot of the Hill, I asked Him about this.

He advised me, 'There is no need to concern ourselves about sounds such as these.  If you see from
where it rises, it will be known that it arises on account of a desire (sankalpa) of the mind.  The light, too,
only appears from the same place.  If you see to whom it appears, mind will subside at the source and only
reality will remain.'

Mastan continued to visit Bhagavan throughout the 1920s, although his visits were less frequent than in earlier years.  During this period. devotees from Ramanasramam would often visit nearby town where Bhagavan's
devotees stayed.  If Mastan came to hear about this, he would try to get there first. Viswanatha Swami has
described what would happen on these occasions.


Arunachala Siva.                   
Title: Re: Mastan - David Godman: - Mountain Path, July - Sept. 2005:
Post by: Subramanian.R on May 15, 2016, 11:38:48 AM
On some of these trips Mastan would somehow find out in advance where we were going. We would
arrive at a town, Polur for example, and find him waiting for us. Once he had discovered our whereabouts,
he would make us sit while he went out begging for us.  We did not want to be served in this way, but
Mastan was very insistent. He told us on these occasions that he was 'the devotee of devotees', a role
and a title that he took on himself.

He would say, 'I want to serve the devotees of Bhagavan.  You must stay here while I find food for you.

Mastan would generally return with a huge amount of food, far more than we could possibly eat.  After
we had eaten as much as we could, we would share the leftovers with any local people who lived nearby.
If we were living in caves or other out of the way places, we would give the left overs to monkeys.

As he fed us Mastan would make one persistent request: 

'Please tell me some stories about the glory of our Master.  Tell me everything He has said during the time
I was not with Him.  To me, every word  Bhagavan speaks is holy.  The words that come out of His holy
mouth are so powerful, merely listening to them can give liberation to ripe souls.


Arunachala Siva.               
Title: Re: Mastan - David Godman: - Mountain Path, July - Sept. 2005:
Post by: Subramanian.R on May 16, 2016, 11:54:58 AM
Mastan continued to be based near Desur until 1931, the year he passed away.  Akhilandamma was
present when Mastan died. This is her description of his final moments:

He was sick and bedridden for about a week.  During those days he spoke of many things not of this
world, as if he were actually seeing them.

He said, 'There, Nandikeswara (Nandi the bull, the vehicle of Siva) is descending. He is very affectionately
licking all over my body!  Look!  The Siva ganas (celestial followers of Siva) are dancing here!  See!  They
are beckoning me to come to their world.  Look at those lotus ponds where celestial swans are swimming!'

We thought that this was nothing but delirium, but on the last day a very strange thing happened, and
we cannot lightly dismiss it as delirium.  On this day he suddenly got up from his bed and stood up,
looking as if someone, face to face, had been calling him.

Then, in great excitement, he exclaimed, 'Mother Apeetakuchamba, have you come yourself to escort me?'

The next moment he fell down dead.  I immediately sent a message to Bhagavan.


Arunachala Siva.             
Title: Re: Mastan - David Godman: - Mountain Path, July - Sept. 2005:
Post by: Subramanian.R on May 17, 2016, 11:37:06 AM
When Bhagavan learned of Mastan's passing away, he sent Kunju Swami to our village with full instructions
on how to make a Samadhi for Mastan.  There is a Tamizh book that faithfully gives the details of how saints
who have followed Lord Siva have to be buried. (Tirumandiram).  In accordance with these details,
Bhagavan drew up a plan of the dimensions of the Samadhi and sent it along with Kunju Swami. It seemed
very strange to us that a Muslim should be given a Saiva Saint's burial and stranger still that Bhagavan,
who did not generally encourage ceremonial rites, actually laid down in the minutest detail the rites to be
followed in the Samadhi of Mastan.

Whatever the reason, just as Bhagavan stipulated, we made a tomb for Mastan in our village.  It is a village
whose population is predominantly Jain. These inhabitants of the village felt that having a Hindu Samadhi
in their midst would be very inauspicious.  When they first heard of it, there was even talk of their abandoning
the village completely.  However, in the time that has passed since Mastan's Samadhi was constructed,
the village has thrived and grown rich.  Nowadays the Samadhi is a visible deity to all the people from the village, whatever their caste or religion.  What a wonder!


Arunachala Siva.               
Title: Re: Mastan - David Godman: - Mountain Path, July - Sept. 2005:
Post by: Subramanian.R on May 18, 2016, 11:11:39 AM
Bhagavan only ordered this type of Samadhi for three of His devotees.  His Mother, Lakshmi, the cow,
and Mastan. Since Bhagavan publicly declared that the first two realized the Self, one can make a strong
case for saying that Bhagavan felt that Mastan was also in this state at the time of his death.  If this is true,
the final realization must have occurred sometime between 1922, when Mastan was still asking questions
about his Sadhana, and 1931, the year he passed away. 

Chockalingam, a local resident, has spoken about the tradition that the Samadhi has wish fulfilling powers,
something that Akhilandamma referred to in the final paragraph of her account:

'In the years that followed his Samadhi everyone noticed that the family affairs and businesses of people
who had helped Mastan, prospered, whereas those who were opposed to him found that their fortunes
declined.  Everyone could see what was happening, so people started coming to the Samadhi to ask for
blessings.  Even today, many people still come here to pray for their desires to be fulfilled.'

A few days after Mastan passed away, Akhilandamma went to Tiruvannamalai to tell Bhagavan about
Mastan's final days and the vision he had on his death bed.

After hearing the story, Bhagavan commented, 'May be the universal mother, Apeetakuchamba, personally
came to take him.  All his descriptions tally with the world of Siva.  Mastan was an unassuming devotee.
He had a wealth of hidden spiritual experiences. It is a matter for gratification that he passed away in your
care and under your supervision.'


Arunachala Siva.