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331

These are the last verses composed by Sri Bhagavan.  They were written at the instance of of a devotee, Smt. Suri
Nagamma.  This is among the parayana verses of Sri Bhagavan for today, Wednesday.  Sri Bhagavan wrote them in
Telugu, but to a Tamizh metrical form called Venba, and then translated them into Tamizh.  Since there was already a
composition of Adi Sankara called Atma Panchakam, Sri Bhagavan decided to call His composition Ekanma Panchakam.
(Atma of Sanskrit is written as Anma in Tamizh) 

1.

When, forgetting the Self, one thinks
That body is oneself and goes
Through innumerable births
And in the end remembers
The Self, know this is only like
Awaking from a dream where in
One has wandered all over the world.

2.

One is ever the Self. To ask oneself
" Who and whereabouts am I?"
Is like the drunken man's enquring
" Who am I?"  and   "Where am I? "


3.

The body us within the Self. And yet
One thinks one is inside the inert body,
Like some spectator who supposes
That the screen on which the pictures thrown
Is within picture.

4.

Does an ornament of gold exist
Apart from the gold? Can the body exist
Apart from the Self?
The ignorant one thinks "I am the body";
The enlightened knows "I am the Self".

5.   

The Self alone, the Sole Reality,
Exists for ever.
If yore of the First Teachers*
Revealed it through unbroken silence
Say who can reveal it in spoken words?

(* Sri Dakshinamurti)

tr. Prof. K. Swaminathan.

Arunachala Siva.     

332

(The author is Meenkshi Losardi)

Sri Lakshmana Sharma believed to that for man to attain the highest level of perfection and happiness of which he is
capable, culture and civilization are necessary and in so far as they serve this end, they are good and praiseworthy.
It is when a culture degenerates that the right life values are lost and man loses integrity as well as the happiness
which comes from doing what is appropriate. 

He believed that Culture has its foundations in the Supreme Spirit and though beyond the world, is the source of man
himself.  When there is an intimate connection with the Source, then culture is truly culture, not some hollow pretence that
seemingly feeds man's spirit.  The axiom of that Being is the Original Source is the theme of all the Upanishads and the
teachings of all the Sages, the Perfect Ones who have lived and maintained the ancient tradition and culture.  (Call Divine,
January 1960).

He thought that the essence of culture was character, which is best cultivated through religion, and that it was for us to
learn how to pursue religion successfully by the guidance of great world teachers and sages, who have attained egolessness.
The constructive culture necessary for the attainment of the right ends of life could be facilitated by the encouragement of
proper conduct, unselfish devotion and a genuine quest for what is Real.

It was  Sri Bhagavan Himself who said that the best service anyone could do was to strive to become perfect, by becoming
free of the ego.

Lakshmana Sharma dedicated his long and varied life to this quest for culture and civilization by harmonizing the teachings of
his Sadguru, Sri Ramana Maharshi, to those of The Life Natural, which was the dynamic vision and application of his philosophy
and the teachings of the Upanishads and Gita.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                 

333

(Tr. Sri V. Narayanan; Published by Kamakoti Kosasthanam, Chennai.)

1. I bow down to that first great Teacher (Sri Dakshinamurti) who is immaculate, whose lotus hand is in the Chinmudra
pose, who bestows on His devotees all their desires, and who is overflowing with endless bliss.

2. I now begin to say a few sweet words of praise, in order that I may rest in my own Self.  I whose divine greatness
has been awakened by the teaching of my Guru (preceptor) Paramsivendra.

3. The Supreme Soul shines pure and awake, devoid of all mutations (vikalpas); it is unique, eternal and free from passion.
It is an indivisible whole, untouched by Maya and free from the gunas.

4. He who was sleeping under the influence of Maya and who during his sleep had dreams by the thousands;  he is now
awakened by the words of his Guru and delights in the ocean of Bliss.

5. By the grace of his good Guru, the wise man rejoices silently and much pleased at heart, and with his mind submerged
in his own nature, as Existence, Knowledge and Bliss.

6. The good Sannyasin is unique, rejoicing at will in the utmost regions of incomparable Bliss, with his heart's passions
completely cooled by its proximity to the surging waves of Grace flowing from his good teacher, Guru.

7. The good Ascetic, from whose heart darkness has been dispelled by the sun like radiance of his good Guru's Grace,
is sporting in the boundless ocean of Bliss.

8.  The Sage rests quiet, visualizing the Atman that remains after he has by his buddhi (intellect) uncreated (by involution)
the five elements, inverting the order of their creation (evolution).

9.  He wanders about, with his desires crushed and with his pride, self esteem and envy all gone, realizing in his mind
that this universe in its entirety is insubstantial and proceeds from Maya.

10.  He sports like a child, plunged in the Ocean of Pure Bliss and delighted with the diverse actions of men, without any
feeling 'You' and 'I'.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                 

334
General Discussion / Muruga and His Consorts:
« on: July 02, 2013, 01:42:42 PM »

The Tamizh version of Skandam is the Kanda Puranam, the magnum opus of Kachiappa Sivachariyar, who lived some 1000
years ago, in Kanchipuram.  It is believed that the Muruga deity in the temple Kumara Kottam inspired him to write this work
and personally authenticated it at every stage. 

Worship of Muruga and His consorts VaLLi and Deivayanai, is popular among the people of South India.  There are many legends
surrounding the birth and life of Muruga and of His consorts. 

According to the boon granted to the demon Soorapadman, no force, except Siva's own powers can kill him.  Pride and power
fueled the demon's atrocities that became unbearable.  Indra propitiated Siva for assistance to alleviate the situation.  As the time
for the annihilation of the demon draws near, Siva decides to create a being out of His own prowess for this purpose.  Muruga is
born of the third eye of Siva.

Lord Vishnu visits Kailasa and is impressed by the child Muruga.  Legend has it that two tear drops emerging from Vishnu's
eyes got transformed into the celestial damsels, Amritavalli and Sundaravalli.  Both of them desired to marry Muruga and they were
born as Deivayanai and VaLLi respectively.

Deivayanai is adopted by Indra. After Muruga vanquished Soorapadman and brings peace to the celestial beings and the universe,
Indra is grateful to Him and offers Deivyanai in marriage.  The wedding takes place in TirupparankunRam near Madurai, in the
traditional manner according to Vedic rites.  Narada, Vishnu, and Brahma were also present.

VaLLi is adopted by a hunter's family and grows up as Muruga devotee.  Muruga comes as a hunter to woo VaLLo when she guards
the fields.  He then comes in the guise of an old man and marries her after revealing His identity.

The three fundamental forces that make the universe functional are Ichcha Sakti (power of the mind), Kriya Sakti (power of the
senses) and Jnana Sakti (power of the intellect), say the scriptures.  VaLLi, Deivayanai and Muruga represent these powers
respectively.

(courtesy: The Hindu, dated 2nd July 2013)

Arunachala Siva.                             

335

The author is N.A. Mohan Rao.

A scripture is considered most valuable to us if it serves two purposes.  One, it enlightens us on the nature of ultimate
Reality, and two, it indicates some plausible way of verifying that Reality in our own experience.  Bhagavan Sri Ramana
Maharshi's Upadesa Saram (The Essence of Instruction, in Tamizh Upadesa Undiyar) fulfills these criteria to obvious perfection.
Free from any hyperbole, unlike some of our ancient texts, it speaks in a strictly contemporary tone, appealing to modern
psyche with its consistency of focus and logical rigor.

Upadesa Saram presents the Ultimate Reality as non dual in line with the highest traditions of advaita.  The trinity of God, the
world and the individual are held to possess no separate identities, and are at best seen as passing projections of a single,
transcendent Reality.  The individual can realize this by systematically following a set of disciplines, called Sadhana.  He or she
then find themselves to be non different from that Reality and so it is said to have 'realized' his true Self.  Since he finds this
Self to be non dual, he is no more bound by the former compulsions of dualistic life, inclusive of death.  He is therefore said to
be 'liberated'.

Two Method of Sadhana:

A cursory study of Upadesa Saram reveals two alternative methods for Sadhana.  We may refer to them as 'conventional yoga'
and Self Inquiry.  They are dealt with in verses 1-15 and 16-22 respectively.  The last eight verses (23-30) present an insight
into the nature of Reality or the realized state.

'Conventional Yoga' comprises three stages, namely karma yoga, bhakti yoga and jnana yoga in that order.  The pranayama
component of Raja Yoga can be taken as an additional option within the ambit of Jnana Yoga.  The three regular yogas are
dealt with in Verses 1-3, 4-7, and 8-15 respectively.  The overlapping role of pranayama in Jnana Yoga is covered in verses
11-14. (Only those who are unable to obtain one pointedness of mind during meditation, and who have no opportunity to
meditate in the immediate presence of a realized Master, need go in for pranyama. Even they are advised to give it up once
the skill is gained in arresting breath.)*

* Day by Day entry 24.12.1945 and 10.5.1946.                           
The Technique of Maha Yoga, N.R. Narayana Iyer.
Self Inquiry (Vichara Sangraham, T.M.P.  Mahadevan.

The method of Self  Inquiry is summed up in its essence in Verses 16-20. Some further elaboration is provided in Verses 21-22.
The present essay is an expansion on ideas presented in these verses with due attention paid to Sri Bhagavan's teachings
on numerous other occasions.  Supplementary information from other sources is appended wherever appropriate.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.

336

Sri Ramana was a Sage without the least touch of worldliness, a Saint of matchless purity, a witness to the eternal truth
of Vedanta. It is not often that a spiritual genius of the magnitude of Sri Ramana visits the earth.  But when such an event
occurs, the entire humanity gets benefited and a new era of hope open before it.

                              -  (Dr. T.M.P. Mahadevan, Sri Ramana Maharshi and His Philosophy of Existence.)

T.M.P. Mahadevan (1911-1983) was one of India's preeminent 20th century philosophers.  In academia the names
Mahadevan and Advaita were synonymous.  Author of 55 books, almost all of which were on Advaita and two of which were on
Sri Ramana Maharshi.  Mahadevan was both by training and temperament an Advaitin through and through.  Mahadevan viewed
Advaita as the summum bonum of life and the paradigm through which he viewed all culture and philosophy.  He loved Advaita,
he lived Advaita, and he left behind a legacy of Advaita scholarship.  Mahadevan wrote: Advaita, to the exposition of which I have
dedicated by entire life , is not a school of philosophy, nor can it be limited to what we nowadays call 'philosophy'.  Advaita is
the symbolic name for the principle of non duality...both Ramana Maharshi and Chandrasekhara Sarasvati of Kanchi are
contemporary witnesses to the experience of non dual truth, of unity which goes by the name of Advaita.  To the understanding
and expositin of this experience which is the culmination of all inquiry and research, I have offered all my attention, be it
academic, human or spiritual. It is that which sustains me.'  (Dr.T.M.P. Mahadevan, A Philosopher looks back.).                   

Dear Readers.  This cannot be stressed enough and it behooves us to deeply contemplate Mahadevan's assertion that Advaita
is not essentially a school of philosophy; an 'ism' (even though there is a philosophy known as Advaita and Mahadevan himself
was known as a preeminent Advaita philosopher!  In his maturity, Mahadevan was adamant in oft repeating that Advaita is
a symbolic name for the principle of non duality, the state of a fully enlightened being.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva. 

337

One early morning, in the Pachaiamman Temple at Tiruvannamalai, Sri Vasishta Ganapati Muni and other disciples were
all sitting in front of Sri Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi who was, as usual, sitting, completely indrawn.  The Muni saw a sparkling
light come down from the sky and touch the forehead of he Maharshi six times,  This vision made the Muni realize that the
Maharshi was none other than an incarnation of Lord Subrahmanya.  Immediately the poet in the Muni blossomed forth in eight
verses in the beautiful sAdUlavikriditA meter. Later on as occasion demanded, the Muni composed many verses adoring the
Maharshi and these were collected along with the initial eight verses as Sri Ramana Chatvarimsat.

Ganapati Muni also wrote one verse at the end of his letters written by him when he was away from Tiruvannamalai,
at various places like Sirsi (Karantaka), Gokarnam and Kharagpur.  In fact, he wanted to write 100 verses like this but
as fate would have it, he passed away.

The total verses came to Forty and these were collected and put in order by Sri Bhagavan under the title Sri Ramana
Chatvarimsat. Forty Verses in Adoration of Sri Ramana.

These forty verses are daily recited in the presence of Sri Bhagavan and continue to to be be recited in every morning at
His Shrine.

The verses describe both the human and the divine characteristics of the Maharshi, making no distinction between Him and
Lord Skanda.  As these verses deal with an Avatara Purusha and Jivanmukta and are composed by a great spiritual stalwart
of no mean attainments, each verse acts like a Mantra in invoking the presence of the Maharshi and is a veritable boon to
every sincere aspirant.

Invocation:

vande sriramanarser Acharya padApjam |
yo me darsayad isAm bhAntam dhvAntam atitya ||

I bow down at the Lotus feet of the Master, the Seer, Sri Ramana who showed me god shining beyond darkness.

(The Seer us one who sees the Reality, the Truth. He has he vision. Not only he sees, he has the power to make others
see in the same way. 

1. kathAyA nijayA kalusam haratA
     karunAnidhinA runa saila jusA  |
    khaga vAhana bhAsita tattva vidA
    vrsa vAhana mauna rahasya bhrtA  ||

Treasure house of compassion, He resides at the foot of Aruna Hill.  By His own conversation, He removes the turbidity.
He knows the essential  truth of the expositions of the one who rides on the swan.  He carries in Him the secret of the
silence of he one mounted on the bull.

one who rides on the Swan refers to Brahma. Skanda taught him the purport  of Pranava.

one who rides on the Bull is Siva.  Siva as Sri Dakshinamurti spoke in silence.  Sri Bhagavan also knows the secret
of silence as Siva's son Skanda.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.               
                     

338
On Sri Bhagavan's Jayanti, the first of January 2010, a senior devotee of Sri Bhagavan and an old Asramite, T.R. Kanakammal,
was absorbed in Arunachala.  Mountain Path offers a tribute to this blessed soul.

*

The Last  Day.

Sri Bhagavan has written, 'Bless me that I may die without losing hold of Thee or miserable will be my fate,  O Arunachala!'
Thus goes the ninety sixth couplet from the Aksharamana Malai.  But few have been the recipients of such blessed grace.

A divine play, perfectly scripted by the Master, was slowly unfolding in Srii Bhagavan's very presence in the precincts of His shrine,
where joyous Jayanti celebrations were on.  (I and my wife were present on that day in the Asramam Samadhi Hall). Devaraja
Mudaliar highlights the abundant grace that Sri Bhagavan, the very embodiment of compassion, showered on His devotees on
Jayanti days more than ever.

It was a doubly auspicious day.  It was the day of Ardra - when Siva rose as a column of light between Vishnu and Brahma.
Rarely do Ardra and Punarvasu fall on the same day.  It was also according to the Western calendar, New Year's Day, the first
of January 2010.

The event that happened that morning at the Samadhi Hall shrine, in an atmosphere permeated with the presence of Sri Bhagavan,
was so natural as to lend it grace and dignity,  In retrospect it seems as if Sri Bhagavan had been preparing Kanakammal for her
grand and graceful exit. Her advanced age, she was 88 years old, saw her struggle through several illnesses. But a few incidents
stand out as significant.

Once about fifteen years ago, in a momentary black out, when she fell on a burning stove and sustained a burn, she brushed
aside all inquiries saying, 'Karma burnt me; Grace saved me.' (Vinai suttadhu; AruL kattathu).  Though recurring bouts of ill health
necessitated her leaving Tiruvannamalai for Chennai, her resolve was very firm to be back as soon as she was well enough to live
on her own.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.       
       

339

In the Vision of Acharaya Sankara and Bhagavan Ramana:

(by Sadhu Tanymaya Chaitanya):

Preamble and Purpose:

ADHYASA is the immediate cause of all the afflictions of samsara, transmigratory existence.  The sorrows of phenomenal life
are experienced universally by all.  It is natural for any intelligent sadhaka (mumukshu) to seek absolute release from the
tyranny of samsara than settle for piece meal solutions.  One must therefore inquire into the cause, namely, adhyasa. 
This is the primary malady, and the understanding of its origin and dynamics helps one to pursue the valid means for its
remedy.  Adhyasa, in its fundamental sense, means 'superimposition' and etymologically derives from 'adhi aaste' where
'adhi' indicates 'above' or 'upon' and 'aaste' means 'rests', 'stays', or 'exists'.  The rope snake analogy is a classical illustration
of adhyasa where, out of ignorance, a non existent snake is seen o 'rest above' a real rope which then 'exists' for the perceiver
who has committed the mistake.  Projecting silver upon nacre ( a sea shell) and ghost upon a post are other typical examples.

The word 'adhyasa' is pregnant with suggestions of a unique philosophical paradigm in our world-view and encapsulates
some core concepts of the Advaitic vision of spiritual life. An attempt is made here to classify some of these ideas embedded
in 'adhyasa' such as Mutual Superimposition, Subjective Projection, Perpetual Error, Illegitimate Transference of Attributes,
Ill-founded Cognition, and Erroneous Identification, in order to arrive at a holistic perspective of sadhana.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.         

340
Cow Lakshmi, darling of Sri Bhagavan and the 'daughter' of the Asramam, attained Videha Kaivalyam on 18.06.1948.  It was
a Tamizh Year of Sarvadhari.  The Tamizh month was Aani.  It was the fifth day of Aani, Friday, under the asterism Visakam Star. As per
'tithi', it was the twelfth day of Sukla paksha (waxing moon fortnight).  Today is the 65th anniversary of her liberation.  Special pujas
will be done at her Samadhi, at the far end of the Asramam.  A new sari will be adorned on her statue, with turmeric paste and garlands.

The cow donated to the Asramam in 1926 by one Arunachalam was named Lakshmi, by Sri Bhagavan Himself. She had nine deliveries
in all, four of which were on the jayanti days of Sri Bhagavan.  At the time of one such delivery, Kunju Swami remarked: 'It is
auspicious that the cow has delivered the calf on Bhagavan's birthday.'  Sri Bhagavan interrupted him to say, 'Correct yourself
Kunju, my birthday celebrations are taking place on the day Lakshmi calved.'

Sri Bhagavan would visit the cow shed regularly.  Lakshmi also became greatly attached to the Maharshi and would, of her own
accord walk from the shed into the Old Hall when the Hall was full of devotees.  One day the cow came to the Hall, put her head
on the Maharshi's shoulder and wept.  He gently stroked her head and said, 'Who has hurt you?  Stop crying. I am here to befriend
you.'  Lakshmi stopped crying, gave the Maharshi a few licks and went away comforted.

Lakshmi would walk into the Hall from her shed a few minutes after the birth of her new calf and stand before the Maharshi. 
He would then address her, 'Lakshmi, you have come to tell me that you have a new baby.  I will come to the shed and see
your child.'

Lakshmi continued through the years as one of the favored devotees of Sri Bhagavan.  Whenever she visited Sri Bhagavan, He
would pay attention to her, stroke her, and feed her with plantains (mountain variety), rice cakes (iddlis) etc., The possessive
way in which she approached Sri Bhagavan and the attention bestowed on her made many devotees believe that there was
some special bond between them in an earlier birth.  It seemed hard to explain in any other way, the great solicitude and tenderness
that Sri Ramana always showed in  His dealings with her.

Many old timers at the Asramam believed that Lakshmi was reincarnation of an old lady by the name Keerai Patti, who had known
Sri Ramana from His earliest days in Tiruvannamalai and had occasionally prepared food for Him almost up to her death in 1921.
Sri Ramana has also referred to the fact of reincarnation without committing Himself.

It is believed that Lakshmi brought a lot of luck and prosperity to the Asramam, a fact which was mentioned by Sri Bhagavan
Himself.

On the day of her passing away, Maharshi sat beside her, took her head into His arms and gently stroked her neck.  He fixed
His gracious gaze on her.  She passed away peacefully and was given a ceremonial bath and burial in the Asramam premises.

A Samadhi shrine built over the grave with her true to life statue (though of a smaller size) is worshipped by the devotees to
this day. An epitaph written by the Maharshi in Tamizh verse confirms her nirvana.     When a devotee asked the Maharshi
whether the use of the word Vimukti (liberation) in the epitaph was conventional or it really meant nirvana, the Maharshi
replied that it meant nirvana.

(Source:  Face to Face With Sri Ramana Maharshi, Sri Ramana Kendram, Hyderabad.)

Arunachala Siva.                   

341


Widows at the Ramanasramam:

To illustrate the social and emotional affliction caused by widowhood and its role and its role as spiritual catalyst, I shall provide
a brief profile of the women who came to Sri Ramanasramam and opted to live, work and die there.  Many of these widows who
began by serving in the Asramam kitchen, are today remembered as diarists, essayists, poets and interpreters. 

A recurrent pattern in the lives of the women who came to seek refuge at Sri Ramanasramam is destitution, widowhood, and
great personal suffering.  Sri Bhagavan Ramana's presence provided the healing touch, restored their sense of dignity and
purpose in life and turned them gently onto the path of spirituality.  Initially, they came to seek at the feet of Sri Ramana spiritual
solace rather than spiritual enlightenment.  The metamorphosis of these women into spiritual aspirants occurred slowly but surely.
Instances of women coming to Sri Ramanasramam on a spiritual quest were rare but not wholly unknown. 

Echammal, (Mandakolathur Lakshmi Ammal) was a sad woman. Before she turned twenty five she had lost in quick succession
her husband, son and daughter.  In the prime life she was widowed, childless, and destitute.  There was nothing but pain and
darkness in her life.  Narasimhaswami, recounting her life, says that she could not bear to even open her window, for if she did
she would at once look upon the school where her daughter had passed several happy years of study.  Echammal began to go
on pilgrimages to assuage her grief.  She met many sages but none could help her.  When she returned to her village in 1906,
she was told about the silent young yogi on Arunachala Hill.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.         

342

I originally came from Tiruvannamalai.  I worked in a bank and eventually retired as the Chairman of a bank.  Though I started
visiting the Asramam in 1926, at the age of twelve years, it was only from 1939 onwards, that I was a regular visitor to Sri
Ramanasramam.  So I was fortunate in being associated with Sri Bhagavan for over 70 years. 

I saw a photo of Sri Bhagavan in a friend's house and afterwards I was very eager to see Sri Bhagavan.  One day, I reached
Tiruvannamalai by train in the early morning, walked to the Asramam and arrived at 6.30 am.  I prostrated before Sri Bhagavan.
He asked me from where I had come.  I told him that I was studying in Sethupathi High School at Madurai and came for Sri
Bhagavan's darsan.  I got into the habit that, whenever I went out, permission would first be taken of Sri Bhagavan before
leaving the Asramam. I wanted to see the place where the Kartigai Deepam was lit.  Sri Bhagavan told me to on the straight route
and not to follow any shorter cuts.  After passing Skandasramam, we took an apparently shorter route.  There we met monkeys and
cobras on the way.  Frightened by this, we returned to the straight path, as instructed by Sri Bhagavan.  Then we understood the
value of His instructions as we would encounter obstructions if we did not follow Sri Bhagavan's advice.

I was married to Lalita who was born and brought up in the Asramam.  My marriage was fixed in Sri Bhagavan's Presence. My
wife had a close acquaintance with Him even from her childhood.  She realized that He was a Sannyasi like others but also
her relative so to speak.             

Our first child was unable to walk until the age of two.  When we brought the child to the Asramam.  Sri Bhagavan stroked the
child's legs and on the third day she walked and on the fourth day, she starting running !  The child came and told Sri Bhagavan
that she spoke well.  Sri Bhagavan lovingly gave her some sugar candy and a blessing, in return.  In the Old Meditation Hall,
Sri Bhagavan would feed the monkeys and squirrels with peanuts.  Even though there were people crowding the dhyana hall,
animals would fearlessly come into the room.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.   

343


Early in the morning on Deepam Day, 7th December 2003, a little known devotee left his physical body in Tiruvannamalai,
where he had lived for more than 54 years in the supreme state of Atma Jnana bestowed upon him by the Grace of Sri
Bhagavan. 

The reason that he was so little known, even among fellow devotees, can only be attributed to the divine Will of Sri
Bhagavan, which can never be fathomed or explained by our limited human intellects.  If at all any semblance of individual
could be attributed to this self effacing devotee, he appeared to have chosen to live in such circumstances as would shield
him from all but the barest minimum of public attention.  Those who knew him respected that seeming choice and avoided
publicizing him in any way.  But now that the human form has been cast off, I believe it is not inappropriate that I share
with fellow devotees a little of what I know about him.

The devotee I am writing about was in his former life named Ramaswami, but for more than forty years past he has been known
as Sri Tinnai Swami, because he lived on and seldom moved away from the TINNAI (masonary bench in Tamizh) in the verandah
of the house of the family of late Sri C. Pazhamalai Nathan, who gave him food and shelter and attended to his few physical
needs.

Sri Tinnai Swami was born in Coimbatore on the 12th December 1912, in a family of lawyers and doctors belonging to the small
Telugu Brahmin community of that town.  As a young man he was employed  for many years as a Bio Chemist in Madras Medical
College, during which time, he married and had four sons.  Until his mid-thirties there was no indication in his outward life of the
great inner and outer transformation that was to happen later.       

In the mid 1940s, he came to Tiruvannamalai on three occasions to have darsan of Sri Bhagavan, each time staying for just
a brief while, but these first three visits appear to have caused no immediate change in his outward life.  The first hint of an
outward change in his life occurred later, possibly at the end of 1948.  At that time an opportunity had arisen in his department
for a biochemist to be selected to go to America for higher studies or research, and at first he was the candidate selected.
Soon, however, his selection was reversed, and a junior colleague was selected in his place. Knowing that this change had
happened unjustly through some political influence, he resigned his job in Madras Medical College as a matter of principle.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.

344
Saguna and Nirguna.

From time immemorial, Indian spirituality has had two dominant strands.  Saguna worship, the adoration of the Divine with a
particular name and form.  And a yearning for Nirguna, an inquiry and feeling into that which is nameless, immeasurable, and
indescribable.  More than just being forms of worship, they are corollaries respectively of two fundamentally different philosophies
of life and approaches to spirituality -- one leading to action in the world and the other to pure contemplation.  In this article, we
attempt to show that they are both complimentary and it is at the Saguna - Nirguna interface that Life and Yoga find the their
fulfillment. 

Whither Saguna?

The term Saguna means 'the one with qualities and attributes'  Thus the divine is conceived and meditated upon as having certain
qualities which evoke adoration as well as being a form that is delectable.  In so far as all qualities are based on sensory perception,
triggering of brain reactions to that perception and the associations based on what has already been experienced and programmed
in the brain, it would seem that Saguna worship is confined to the realm of likes and dislikes and pain and pleasure.  Clearly in
this track there is subject-object relationship between the human and the Divine.  Further, since life in general is dogged by
uncertainty, humans turn to the Divine as the redeemer, as one who would protect them from physical pain, emotional turmoil,
and the nagging insecurities of day to day life and help them fulfill their agenda, that is, whatever they seek to achieve either
for themselves or those to whom they are attached.  Given this general notion of Saguna worship, one may inquire, what power
and potential does it have, to lead man away from a life of spiritual mediocrity, into realm untouched and to a state of divine
awareness and Ananda.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.

345

Today is the punarvasu star day of the Tamizh month of Vaikasi (Baisaki).  In this month, the punarvasu star comes for the
second time.  The earlier punarvasu day was during first week of Vaikasi. 

Today there will be special pujas for Sri Ramaneswara Mahalingam.   Sri Bhagavan was born in Margazhi (Dhanur) punarvasu
day.  Sri Rama was born in Chitra (Chaitra) punarvasu day.  Sri Bhagavan and Sri Rama are having same qualities and characteristics
says B.V. Narasimha Swami.  Sri Ramaneswara Mahalingam will be adorned with golden casket today.  punarvasu is a star with
a golden color. 

Sri Muruganar has sung songs titled punarvasu vaNNam in Sri Ramana Sanndihi Murai.  I shall however today give one verse
from Tiruk kaN nokkam, Eye gazing the Eye i.e looking at Sri Bhagavan's compassionate eyes. 

verse No. 1617 of Sri Ramana Sannidhi Murai, tr. David Godman:

He is the Siddha
who performs the dance of supreme Jnana,
and bestows upon us the life of grace, saying:
'See, this great and vastly spacious world
is a mere trick of sight!'
thus rendering heaven, earth, and nether world
a prey to the supreme firmament of true Jnana !'
With Him who bears an eye upon his forehead,
with Venkata, let us play kaNNokkam !

***

Arunachala Siva.       

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