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Messages - Subramanian.R

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7231
6. As Thou danceth in gay abandon, droplets from the Ganga escape from Thy matted locks and rain on
the worlds to hallow them.  And when Thou embark upon the fierce dance, the karparda gets dishevelled
and the locks are let lose.

You impart Grace on the self effacing votaries with the toe nail of Thy bent left foot.

7.  O Sambhu, Lord, dispenser of auspiciousness; stealer of sin, Great God;  who renders one immoral;
granter of goodness and well being; terminator of worldly existence, pray, protect me!

8.  Eraser of desire; having the sun for the chariot's wheel, having an ocean of a quiver; snake decked;
sun eyed, holding the petite deer; having the Ganga locked in the locks; seated in the hearts of the self
disciplined, dispeller of the fear of transmigration and  appearing as the Linga - may we realize that Siva!

9. Sporting the baby deer in the hand; traversing the heart space; vibrating the celestial drum; bearing
countless world like the miniscule seeds in the Oudambara fruit and destroying them; causing the reflection
of Thy extended feet twain unto the hearts of those who have longed for Thee for long; father of broad
bellied Ganesa; the killer of death;  Siva, having bindu -  the space between eyebrows --as the royal seat
of deep significance; with a lustrous moon like face and a body as fair as the Kunda flower;  eulogized
by hordes of pramathas;  remover of worldly fears;  the best among the celestial beings; repository of
compassion; wearing the best among serpents as ornaments; dispeller of lust;  containing the celestial
poison - please protect me.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.
                         

7232
General topics / Re: Tevaram - Some select verses.
« on: May 30, 2016, 09:53:56 AM »
Verse  23:


தொண்டர்மனங் களிசிறப்பத்
    தூயதிரு நீற்றுநெறி
எண்டிசையுந் தனிநடப்ப
    ஏழுலகுங் களிதூங்க
அண்டர்குலம் அதிசயிப்ப
    அந்தணர்ஆ குதிபெருக
வண்டமிழ்செய் தவம்நிரம்ப
    மாதவத்தோர் செயல்வாய்ப்ப.

The minds of the devotees overflowed with joy;
The way of the Holy Ash held unique sway
Over the eight directions;
The Yagas of the Brahmins began to prosper;
The tapas of munificent Tamizh met with fulfillment;
The deeds of the seers were crowned with fruition;


Arunachala Siva.

7233
General topics / Re: Tevaram - Some select verses.
« on: May 30, 2016, 09:52:00 AM »
Verse  22:


அருக்கன்முதற் கோளனைத்தும்
    அழகியஉச் சங்களிலே
பெருக்கவலி யுடன்நிற்கப்
    பேணியநல் லோரையெழத்
திருக்கிளரும் ஆதிரைநாள்
    திசைவிளங்கப் பரசமயத்
தருக்கொழியச் சைவமுதல்
    வைதிகமுந் தழைத்தோங்க.   


Now came the time when the sun arid the signs of the zodiac
Were at their beauteous zenith in their utmost strength;
The hour was propitious; the bright star Aadirai
Invested all the directions with its splendor;
Alien religions stood denuded of their pride;
Saivism and Vaidikam began to flourish again;

Arunachala Siva.

7234
General topics / Re: Tevaram - Some select verses.
« on: May 30, 2016, 09:49:37 AM »
Verse  21:



ஆளுடையா ளுடன்தோணி
    அமர்ந்தபிரான் அருள்போற்றி
மூளுமகிழ்ச் சியில்தங்கள்
    முதன்மறைநூல் முறைச்சடங்கு
நாளுடைய ஈரைந்து
    திங்களினும் நலஞ்சிறப்பக்
கேளிருடன் செயல்புரிந்து
    பெரிதின்பங் கிளர்வுறுநாள்.   



Hailing the grace of the Lord and His Consort
Enshrined in Tonipuram,
They performed in great joy all the rites
Prescribed by the Vedas,
In the presence of their kin, during the ten months,
To usher in great well-being.
Thus their days rolled on in bliss.   


Arunachala Siva.

7235
General topics / Re: Tevaram - Some select verses.
« on: May 30, 2016, 09:47:30 AM »
Verse  20:


பெருத்தெழும்அன் பாற்பெரிய
    நாச்சியா ருடன்புகலித்
திருத்தோணி வீற்றிருந்தார்
    சேவடிக்கீழ் வழிபட்டுக்
கருத்துமுடிந் திடப்பரவும்
    காதலியார் மணிவயிற்றில்
உருத்தெரிய வரும்பெரும்பே
    றுலகுய்ய உளதாக.   


With ever-increasing love, he adored the feet
Of the Lord and His Great Consort enshrined in Tonipuram;
In fulfillment of his wish beloved wife
Grew visibly gravid with a child
That would redeem all the world.


Arunachala Siva.

7236
General topics / Re: Tevaram - Some select verses.
« on: May 30, 2016, 09:45:11 AM »
Verse 19:


மனையறத்தில் இன்பமுறு
    மகப்பெறுவான் விரும்புவார்
அனையநிலை தலைநின்றே
    ஆடியசே வடிக்கமலம்
நினைவுறமுன் பரசமயம்
    நிராகரித்து நீறாக்கும்
புனைமணிப்பூண் காதலனைப்
    பெறப்போற்றுந் தவம்புரிந்தார்.   


He desired that he should get a son
To gladden his righteous domestic life;
On the dancing feet of the Lord he set this thought
And wrought tapas to come by a divine son--
Who decked with beauteous jewels--,
Would do away with the alien religions
And re-establish the glory of the Holy Ash.

Arunachala Siva.

7237
General topics / Re: Tevaram - Some select verses.
« on: May 30, 2016, 09:43:08 AM »
Verse  18:


மேதினிமேற் சமண்கையர்
    சாக்கியர்தம் பொய்ம்மிகுத்தே
ஆதியரு மறைவழக்கம்
    அருகிஅர னடியார்பால்
பூதிசா தனவிளக்கம்
    போற்றல்பெறா தொழியக்கண்
டேதமில்சீர்ச் சிவபாத
    இருதயர்தாம் இடருழந்தார்.



While so, the world at large teemed with the falsity
Of the Samanas and the Saakyas;
The righteous Vedic way of life was on the wane;
The glory of the holy ash even amidst the devotees
Of Siva shone but dimly: witnessing these,
The flawless Sivapaada Hridaya was sunk in misery.

Arunachala Siva.

7238
General topics / Re: Tevaram - Some select verses.
« on: May 30, 2016, 09:40:41 AM »
Verse  17:


மரபிரண்டும் சைவநெறி
    வழிவந்த கேண்மையினார்
அரவணிந்த சடைமுடியார்
    அடியலால் அறியாது
பரவுதிரு நீற்றன்பு
    பாலிக்குந் தன்மையராய்
விரவுமறை மனைவாழ்க்கை
    வியப்பெய்த மேவுநாள்.   


Both were from the ancient clans of Saivism;
They knew nought but the feet of the Lord
Whose matted hair is decked with serpents;
Fostering an adoring love for the holy ash
And poised in the Vedas they lived in exemplary manner.

Arunachala Siva.

7239
General topics / Re: Tevaram - Some select verses.
« on: May 30, 2016, 09:38:50 AM »
Verse  16:


மற்றவர்தந் திருமனையார்
    வாய்ந்தமறை மரபின்வரு
பெற்றியினார் எவ்வுலகும்
    பெறற்கரிய பெருமையினார்
பொற்புடைய பகவதியார்
    எனப்போற்றும் பெயருடையார்
கற்புமேம் படுசிறப்பால்
    கணவனார் கருத்தமைந்தார்.


His divine help-meet also hailed from the Vedic clan;
Her greatness could gain for her all the worlds;
This beautiful woman was called Bhagavati;
Chaste and submissive, her life was married harmony.

Arunachala Siva.

7240
General topics / Re: Tevaram - Some select verses.
« on: May 30, 2016, 09:36:39 AM »
Verse  15:


அப்பதியின் அந்தணர்தங்
    குடிமுதல்வர் ஆசில்மறை
கைப்படுத்த சீலத்துக்
    கவுணியர்கோத் திரம்விளங்கச்
செப்புநெறி வழிவந்தார்
    சிவபாத விருதயர்என்று
இப்புவிவா ழத்தவஞ்செய்
    இயல்பினார் உளரானார்.   


And in that city was a holy man,
The very first of the Brahmin-clan;
He hailed from the Kauniya-gotra
Sanctified by the Vedas
To add luster thereunto;
Sivapaada Hridaya was his name whose life
Was verily a tapas for this world to prosper.

Arunachala Siva.   

7241
General topics / Re: Tevaram - Some select verses.
« on: May 30, 2016, 09:34:22 AM »
Verse  14:

பிரமபுரம் வேணுபுரம்
    புகலிபெரு வெங்குருநீர்ப்
பொருவில்திருத் தோணிபுரம்
    பூந்தராய் சிரபுரமுன்
வருபுறவஞ் சண்பைநகர்
    வளர்காழி கொச்சைவயம்
பரவுதிருக் கழுமலமாம்
    பன்னிரண்டு திருப்பெயர்த்தால்.



Bhiramapuram, Venupuram, Pukali,
Great Venguru, beauteous and peerless Tonipuram,
Poontharaai, Sirapuram, Puravam,
Sanbai city, ever-growing Kaazhi, Kocchaivayam,
Adorable and beauteous Kazhumalam;
These are the twelve names of the city.

Arunachala Siva.

7242
General topics / Re: Tevaram - Some select verses.
« on: May 30, 2016, 09:31:43 AM »
Verse  13:


மடையெங்கும் மணிக்குப்பை
    வயலெங்கும் கயல்வெள்ளம்
புடையெங்கும் மலர்ப்பிறங்கல்
    புறமெங்கும் மகப்பொலிவு
கிடையெங்கும் கலைச்சூழல்
    கிளர்வெங்கும் முரலளிகள்
இடையெங்கும் முனிவர்குழாம்
    எயிலெங்கும் பயிலெழிலி.   

The sluiced streams teem with heaps of gems;
The fields abound in schools of carp;
By their sides are seen heaps of flowers;
Beyond them is beheld the splendor of Yagas;
The rapture of scriptures fills the schools;
The golden bees hum in ease;
Bright are the gardens with the presence of saints;
Towers and turrets are shrouded in clouds.

Arunachala Siva.

7243


Bhagavan added further sanctity to the Mother's samadhi by living in the small building that had been erected over it for a period of 5(?) years. He only moved out of it in 1928 when the devotees constructed the old hall on an adjacent piece of land.
 
In the mid-1920s Bhagavan himself decided that a more substantial building was needed to house the Mother's samadhi. He decided to utilize some badly baked bricks that had been abandoned by some brick makers who had set up a temporary kiln near the ashram. Some devotees in town were called in to help move the bricks. One night they formed a human chain, with Bhagavan as one of the links, and transferred all the bricks one by one to the ashram. The following day a mud-and-brick wall was constructed around the samadhi. Bhagavan himself did all the work on the inside of the wall while a professional mason worked on the outside. The 'temple' was completed by erecting a thatched roof on top of the wall. This construction, the forerunner of the temple that now stands on the same site, remained unchanged for more than ten years.

In the 1930s Sri Ramanashram began to develop and expand. The cowshed, the dining room and the kitchen, the storeroom, the patasala, the old office and the bookstore were all built in a burst of activity between 1929 and 1938. At the end of this period the only remaining large, uncompleted project was a plan to build a proper stone temple over the Mother's samadhi. Since the construction of such a temple would be enormously expensive, many devotees were opposed to the plan on the grounds that it would be a white elephant that the ashram could ill afford. At Bhagavan's sixtieth birthday celebrations, which took place in January 1939, there was a long debate between those devotees who wanted a big temple and those who thought that the ashram's funds would be better invested in building more accommodation for visitors. The anti-temple group also wanted to acquire large tracts of land on which the ashram's food could be grown. Bhagavan remained aloof from the debate and no one at that time really knew what his own views on the subject were.

Although Bhagavan delegated most day-to-day management decisions to Chinnaswami, the ashram manager, he exercised a strict control over all the ashram's building projects. It was Bhagavan alone who decided when buildings should be constructed, where they should be built, on what scale they should be constructed, and even who should be put in charge of building them. He personally drew up the plans for many of the large buildings that now exist in the Asramam, and he refused even to look at alternative plans and blueprints that had been drawn up by professional engineers and architects. It was clear, therefore, that no action could be taken until Bhagavan himself gave the word.
 
Throughout the 1930s Annamalai Swami had been supervising all the major building projects in the Asramam. Each day he would receive his instructions directly from Bhagavan, and each evening he would go back to Bhagavan to tell him how much had been completed and how much still remained to be done. Chinnaswami therefore decided that Annamalai Swami was the best person to find out what Bhagavan's intentions really were.

He approached him and said, 'Bhagavan always tells his buildings plans directly to you. Please ask him what we should do about the Mother's Temple. Ask him whether we should build it simply or on a large scale.'

When Annamalai Swami conveyed the query to Bhagavan, Bhagavan finally disclosed his decision:
'If it is constructed well, and on a large scale, I shall be happy.'

Chinnaswami, who had been in doubt about Bhagavan's intentions, was delighted because he had been wanting to build a big temple over his mother's Samadhi for many years. He immediately began to make preparations for the construction.

Since it was not ordinary building work, a qualified outsider had to be brought in. After careful consideration, the whole project was entrusted to Vaidyantha Sthapati, an expert in temple architecture and engineering. He brought with him many accomplished stone-masons who had had a lot of experience in temple construction.

When the project started, the ashram only had enough money to pay for a small portion of the work. Bhagavan knew that funds were in short supply but he made it clear that he wanted the temple to be financed out of unsolicited donations. He repeatedly told Chinnaswami and all the other devotees that they should never ask for funds on the ashram's behalf. Chinnaswami, however, felt that the temple could not be built without an aggressive fund-raising drive, so he went against Bhagavan's wishes and made several attempts to raise money. One typical effort, which was followed by a typical Bhagavan response, was described by T. P. Ramachandra Iyer in Bhagavan Smrtulu:
 
There was once a shortage of funds while the temple was being built. Money was needed immediately. At that time a man called Chaganlal Yogi came from Bombay for the first time. On seeing him Chinnaswami suggested to me: 'We need Rs 50,000 for the temple. So why don't the three of us go to Jamnalal Bajaj for the money and bring it? Introduce Chaganlal Yogi to me so that we can start.'

Chaganlal Yogi felt that the proposal was unacceptable. But because he was a newcomer and was feeling rather shy, he felt that he had no alternative but to accept. Chinnaswami made all the arrangements for his luggage but before we could depart we had first to cross the hurdle of telling Bhagavan about our mission. Chinnaswami never came before Bhagavan to speak; he always used to send a messenger if information had to be passed on to Bhagavan. On this occasion he selected me and asked me to tell Bhagavan about our journey.

'How can I tell Bhagavan such a thing?' I asked. 'You come with me.'  Chinnaswami did not even have the courage for that so we had to collect some other people. We all went to Bhagavan while he was having a rest alone in the afternoon. We stood before him for some time but he didn't even look at us. His gaze was fixed elsewhere.

Each of us wanted one of the others to speak. Finally, Mouniswami told him what we wanted. For a long time Bhagavan made no response, but eventually he spoke: 'I have told you not to beg in my name. Now I am telling you again. Be satisfied with what you have. What is to happen will happen.

'If you now go and ask for money, will not the donors ask you whether you have my agreement or not, and whether I gave you permission for this? What do you intend to tell them if they ask questions like this?'
 
Chaganlal Yogi had got the excuse he was looking for. He told Bhagavan, 'Unless we tell them that you consented to this, none of them will given even a paisa.'

What more could they do? They slipped out one by one, and Chinnaswami's journey was cancelled.
After this incident Bhagavan remarked, 'Did the construction of all these buildings occur because of my begging? It all happened in the way it was destined to happen. Nothing happens purely as a result of anyone's own efforts.'

Bhagavan's attitude to the construction work, and to the financing of it, is also brought out in the following stories which were narrated to me by Annamalai Swami:

Because all the stone masons who were working on the temple were paid on a daily basis, I was asked to supervise some of them to ensure that the ashram got value for money. Although I knew nothing about temple construction, I had had enough experience of supervising workers to see that the stone-masons were deliberately working very slowly. Since they were classified as skilled workers, they were getting a very high daily wage for doing very little. It seemed to me that they were deliberately taking about three days to do one day's work. I told them that they were cheating the ashram, and I tried to persuade them to work more honestly, but they refused to change their ways.

One of them told me, 'All you people are eating and sleeping here for nothing. Why are you troubling us about work? It is no loss to you if we work slowly.'

After a few unsuccessful attempts to get them to work, I reported the matter to Bhagavan.
I told him, 'The temple workers are working very slowly. In the evening Chinnaswami pays them whatever I have written on the wages list. I don't like to waste the ashram's money on dishonest workers, but I have no authority to dismiss them. If I write each day that they must be paid for work that they have not done, am I not also cheating the Asramam?'

 Bhagavan replied, 'Don't worry about this matter. If they cheat like this and get money that they have not earned out of the ashram, this money will not stay with them. Ultimately they will find that their only possessions are their hammers and chisels. The wages that they have received dishonestly will go to waste. They cannot cheat Bhagavan, they can only cheat themselves.'

Then, after pausing for a while, he added, 'We should not worry about the financial aspect of the work because God will supply all the money that we need.'

As usual, Bhagavan's faith was justified. The temple put a severe strain on the Asramam's finances but we always managed to keep the work going. On some days the Asramam had to depend on donations received during the day to pay the wages in the evening. At the start of the day we would hire workers, even though we knew that we had no money to pay them. During the day donations would arrive in various ways and by evening there would always be enough to pay the workers.'

Bhagavan made daily visits to the temple to watch the progress of the construction and to inspect the quality of the workmanship. If any of the work was not up to standard, he would call attention to it and request that the necessary improvements be made. On one visit, for example, he pointed out that there was too much space between the flagstones around the garbhagraha (the inner shrine), and on another occasion he requested that some cracks in the wall be property pointed with cement. Bhagavan occasionally initiated jobs himself. For example, when the walls of the garbhagraha had been completed, Bhagavan decided that the name of the temple should be inscribed on the front wall. Annamalai Swami, who was asked to help with this work, told me how it was done:
     
If one looks over the entrance to the garbhagraha one can see two elephants carved out of stone. Under their feet is a carved stone scroll. The full name of the temple, 'Mathrubuteswaralayam', meaning 'the temple of God in the form of the Mother', is carved in stone on this scroll. Bhagavan himself wrote out this name for me in big Sanksrit letters. His idea was that I should make a stencil and then paint the letters on the scroll. Later, one of the sthapatis would carve out the name by chiseling out the area covered by the painted letters.

I sat in Bhagavan's presence in the hall, carefully cutting out the name. I kept all my attention on the work because I knew that I would not be able to get away with even the smallest of mistakes. Bhagavan was watching me all the time I was working. At about 3 p.m. Bhagavan used to go out of the hall to urinate. At that time, on that day, he stood up and started to move towards the door. Everyone in the hall, except for me, stood up. I was in the middle of cutting out a letter; but I didn't want to risk spoiling it by taking my scissors away from the paper.

I heard a man muttering behind me, 'Bhagavan has stood up but this man has no respect. He is still sitting on the floor. He hasn't even stopped working.'
 
Bhagavan must have also heard this man because he seemed to change his mind about going outside. Instead, he came and sat next to me on the floor. He put his hand on my shoulder and watched intently as I finished cutting out that letter. Then, without bothering to take his expected trip outside, he got up and sat on his couch again. After that there were no more complaints about my disrespect.

When the cutting was over, I painted the letters on the scroll under the elephants' feet. As I was working there, the chief sthapati tried to stop me.

He called up to me: 'Stop doing that! I am the only man who is competent to write letters like that. How can you do these things properly?'

Bhagavan came to my rescue again. He had been standing nearby, watching me paint the letters. He silenced the sthapati by saying, 'He did not do it on his own authority. I myself told him to do it.'

The construction of the temple, which was concluded at the beginning of 1949, took approximately ten years. When it was finished the temple complex included a large stone hall that was originally intended to replace the old hall that Bhagavan had lived in since 1928. A large stone sofa was installed there for him to sit on, but when it came time to make the move, Bhagavan clearly indicated that he didn't want to either sit or live there. When he was first shown where his new sofa would be located, he complained that if he sat there, the monkeys and squirrels would not longer have access to him. And later, when a sculptor was carving a stone statue of him, he deflected a request that he move into the new hall by saying, 'Why don't you get the stone Swami to sit on the stone sofa?' He was finally persuaded to sit in the new hall, but even after the move he still continued to complain. After some time in his new residence he noticed a group of villagers trying to summon up courage to come in and see him. On that occasion he protested that the hall had been built on such a grandiose scale, poor people who wanted darshan would be too intimated by the size and grandeur of the building to enter it. Bhagavan eventually stayed in the new hall for about six months. The remaining few months of his life were spent in the mahanirvana room.

Although the main purpose of the Mother's Temple and the adjoining new hall was to provide an appropriate structure over the samadhi of the Mother, Chinnaswami had long nurtured an idea that Bhagavan's samadhi could also be incorporated into it. It seems that he had a plan to inter Bhagavan's body in a shrine that would be slightly to the north of the new hall. Chinnaswami had planned to make a large doorway in the northern wall that would connect the new hall with this shrine. In his reminiscences (3) K. K. Nambiar related the story of how Chinnaswami asked him to build a portion of the northern veranda of the new hall in such a way that it could be easily dismantled and replaced by an additional samadhi shrine. Chinnaswami tried to get Bhagavan's approval for this scheme. He sent a plan to Bhagavan that gave details of a large doorway in the northern wall of the new hall, but Bhagavan rejected it and sent back a reply that the wall should remain as it was. It would seem from these incidents that although Bhagavan fully supported the construction of the Mother's Temple, he had no inclination either to live or be buried in any part of it.

The kumbhabhishekam ceremony for the Mother's Temple, which was performed in March 1949, was a fitting climax to the years of effort that had been expended in its construction. The ceremonies, which lasted for four days, were attended by tens of thousands of people from all over India. On the final day alone, over 15,000 people were fed in the ashram. So many visitors came that extra trains were laid on from Madras and Madurai. For four days a shuttle service of buses ferried visitors to and from the train station, and the local Post Office had to be temporarily upgraded and expanded for a week to handle all the extra business. Two hundred priests, under the supervision of the Sankaracharya of Puri, carried out the rituals, while Bhagavan himself empowered the Sri Chakra that was to be worshipped in the main shrine. The temple had come a long way from the coconut-leaf hut of 1922.

Bhagavan himself summed up the rapid development of both the temple and the ashram when he remarked to T. P. Ramachandra Iyer, 'I suggested that the body be buried silently before dawn. But things happened the way they had to happen. See how many constructions have now come up on the site where a body was silently buried!

(David Godman)

Arunachala Siva.


7244
Sri Bhagavan's mother attained Self-realization in her dying moments on the evening of 19th May, 1922. The devotees, after some deliberations, decided that her body should be buried, rather than cremated, since that was the accepted procedure for women saints. They realized that it would be necessary to select a burial site at the foot of the hill, rather than on the hill itself, since the Arunachaleswara Temple authorities, who administered the part of the hill on which Skandashram had been built, would not allow any bodies to be buried on the mountain itself. Their logic was that since the mountain itself was a Sivalingam, it would be an act of desecration to inter a dead body on it. There was another temple rule, which was also strictly enforced, that forbade the worship of any images on the hill. This meant that even if the devotees had secretly buried the body on the hill, they would not have been permitted to raise a shrine over it and perform ritual worship there. In the 1930s Bhagavan revealed, in a deposition about the ownership of Arunachala, that the temple authorities had reminded him of one of these rules shortly after his mother had died:

On the hill there was one Saraswati Swami. That swami advertised that he wanted to perform ritual worship before an image of Lord Subramanian on the hill. The temple authorities objected and stopped it. In an official notice they said that the hill itself is Linga swarupa, and that to do ritual worship of another image on it, and to celebrate festivals there, is against the tradition of the sastras. On another occasion, when my mother attained samadhi, they raised a precautionary objection that her samadhi should not be on the hill; they feared that we might build her samadhi on the hill itself. On this occasion also their objection was that the hill is Iswara swarupa.
 
Bhagavan concurred with this attitude by saying, a little later in his deposition, 'There is an ancient tradition that this hill is Linga swarupa; that is to say, this hill itself is God. This tradition is not to be found anywhere else. That is the cause of the glory of this place.'

Because of these rules and traditions it was decided, on the evening the Mother died, that her body should be buried at the foot of the hill on the southern side of Arunachala. This location was selected because it was a traditional site for the burial of sadhus. It seems that Bhagavan initially wanted the body to be buried secretly and without ostentatious ceremonies. In later years he told T. P. Ramachandra Iyer that he had instructed the devotees to 'take the body in the dark without making any noise and without anyone knowing about it. Make a pit in no-man's land. Bury it quickly and come back before dawn.'

Since it would have been extremely difficult to carry the body down the hill in the middle of the night, the plan was never carried out. Instead, the devotees sat around the body until about 4 a.m., chanting verses from the Tiruvachakam. The burial party eventually left with the body just before dawn, at about 5 a.m.

The site that was initially selected for the samadhi was rather close to the road. Sri Ramakrishna Iyer, a devotee who was also the village munsif, suggested that it be relocated nearer the hill. He pointed out that if the burial site was well away from the road, it would be very convenient to construct a temple over it in later years. His suggestion was accepted and a large samadhi pit was dug according to the rules in the Tirumantiram that had been laid down for the burial of jnanis.

I asked Kunju Swami, who was present at Skandashram when the Mother died, why no one had attempted to carry out Bhagavan's original instructions. He replied:

It wasn't possible to get some of the things done in the middle of the night. Mother died late in the evening. Afterwards, there was a lot of work to do and many things to arrange. We needed to get the permission of the village munsif and also the permission of the Bavaji Math, which owned the land on which the samadhi pit was dug. These people were not available in the middle of the night. I didn't get the feeling that Bhagavan was serious about the hasty burial because he kept most of us at Skandashram and initiated a chanting of the Tiruvachakam that lasted almost the whole night. Mother's body did not leave Skandashram until shortly before dawn.

We wanted to do it properly. There is a tradition that if you bury a jnani's body in ordinary earth, that will be bad for any nearby town. It is equally bad if you burn it. In the Mother's case a special deep pit was made, lined with stones. In Tirumular's Tirumantiram it says that a jnani's body must be buried in a pit lined with stones. We followed this rule, but I don't thing that we followed all the other traditional rules because we were not aware of some of them at the time.

While the samadhi pit was being dug, the Mother's body was seated under a big peepul tree on the bank of the Pali Tirtham. So many devotees came from town to pay their last respects that a large area of cactus and shrub had to be cleared to accommodate them. After abhishekam had been done to the body, it was taken to the place of burial. Kunju Swami has described what happened next:

Sacred ash and sacred grasses were put inside the samadhi and the Mother's body was lowered into it. Sri Bhagavan and others each put in a handful of vibhuti and camphor. It was then covered with a stone slab on the top of which was placed a Siva lingam. The lingam was then worshipped in the traditional manner. At twelve noon all of us left for Palakottu. Bhagavan walked very slowly while the nadaswaram played on his instrument with great enthusiasm. The distance from the samadhi to Palakottu is not much more than a hundred yards, but it took the procession an hour to cover the distance. It was a beautiful scene as the musician played on his instrument with great gusto, looking to Bhagavan who was setting the slow pace at the head of the procession and slightly swaying in time to the rhythm on the music.(1)

From that day on, puja was performed daily at the shrine. On the tenth day after the Mother's liberation a special puja was done, about a thousand people were fed, and the moksha deepam, the light of liberation, was lit at the shrine. Thereafter, Bhagavan's brother, Chinnaswami, undertook the job of maintaining the samadhi and doing daily puja there.

Bhagavan continued to live at Skandashram but Chinnaswami and Dandapani Swami decided that they would live full-time near the Mother'ssamadhi. They erected a coconut-leaf hut over the shrine and built another hut nearby that they used as a kitchen. Rice, dhal and other provisions were brought down daily from Skandashram. These were converted into meals for the sadhus and into food offerings for the daily puja. Sometimes, when no food was available, Chinnaswami had to go begging in town to acquire the provisions for the daily puja.


At this stage of the ashram's development, food was often in short supply. The items of food that devotees contributed were stored in Vasudeva Sastry's house in Tiruvannamalai. Each day he would send enough provisions to Skandashram for a meal to be cooked there. As some of these provisions were taken to the Mother's samadhi, the sadhus who lived at Skandashram occasionally did not have enough food to eat. Vasudeva Sastry felt that there were insufficient resources to maintain two establishments, one at Skandashram and the other at the Mother's samadhi. Since some of the other devotees felt the same way, he sent a note to Ramanatha Brahmachari, who was living at Skandashram, which read, 'Devotees give not to Vasudeva but to Vaasudeva'. Since Vasudeva was the parent of Vaasudeva, the note implied that the devotees wanted their donations to go to Bhagavan and not to the institution that was beginning to grow up around the Mother's samadhi.

When Ramanatha Brahmachari showed the note to Bhagavan, Bhagavan expressed his approval of the activities that were going on at the Mother'ssamadhi by saying, 'How could there be Vaasudeva without Vasudeva?'

When this remark was conveyed to Vasudeva Sastry, he abandoned his opposition to the diversion
of food. Shortly afterwards, Bhagavan left Skandashram for good and went to live in the hut that had been built over the Mother's samadhi. In later years he would say that it had been the 'divine will' that had prompted him to move down the hill and take up residence in his mother's shrine.

Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that it was the divine will that prevented him from leaving the shrine to go back to Skandashram, for he once told Devaraja Mudaliar, 'After Mother's death I used to come down now and then to the samadhi and return to Skandashram. One day, about six months after Mother's death, I went there on one such visit and after sitting there for some time, wanted to get up and go back. However, something told me that I should not go back but stay on there. It was as if my legs refused to get up. And I stayed on. That is how the asramam began. Who knew then that all this would grow up?'(2)

Bhagavan added further sanctity to the Mother's samadhi by living in the small building that had been erected over it for a period of 5(?) years. He only moved out of it in 1928 when the devotees constructed the old hall on an adjacent piece of land.
 
In the mid-1920s Bhagavan himself decided that a more substantial building was needed to house the Mother's samadhi. He decided to utilise some badly baked bricks that had been abandoned by some brick makers who had set up a temporary kiln near the ashram. Some devotees in town were called in to help move the bricks. One night they formed a human chain, with Bhagavan as one of the links, and transferred all the bricks one by one to the ashram. The following day a mud-and-brick wall was constructed around the samadhi. Bhagavan himself did all the work on the inside of the wall while a professional mason worked on the outside. The 'temple' was completed by erecting a thatched roof on top of the wall. This construction, the forerunner of the temple that now stands on the same site, remained unchanged for more than ten years.
   
Chaganlal Yogi felt that the proposal was unacceptable. But because he was a newcomer and was feeling rather shy, he felt that he had no alternative but to accept. Chinnaswami made all the arrangements for his luggage but before we could depart we had first to cross the hurdle of telling Bhagavan about our mission.

Chinnaswami never came before Bhagavan to speak; he always used to send a messenger if information had to be passed on to Bhagavan. On this occasion he selected me and asked me to tell Bhagavan about our journey.
'How can I tell Bhagavan such a thing?' I asked. 'You come with me.'

Chinnaswami did not even have the courage for that so we had to collect some other people. We all went to Bhagavan while he was having a rest alone in the afternoon. We stood before him for some time but he didn't even look at us. His gaze was fixed elsewhere.

Each of us wanted one of the others to speak. Finally, Mouniswami told him what we wanted. For a long time Bhagavan made no response, but eventually he spoke: 'I have told you not to beg in my name. Now I am telling you again. Be satisfied with what you have. What is to happen will happen.

'If you now go and ask for money, will not the donors ask you whether you have my agreement or not, and whether I gave you permission for this? What do you intend to tell them if they ask questions like this?'

Chaganlal Yogi had got the excuse he was looking for. He told Bhagavan, 'Unless we tell them that you consented to this, none of them will given even a paisa.'

What more could they do? They slipped out one by one, and Chinnaswami's journey was cancelled.
After this incident Bhagavan remarked, 'Did the construction of all these buildings occur because of my begging? It all happened in the way it was destined to happen. Nothing happens purely as a result of anyone's own efforts.'
 
Bhagavan's attitude to the construction work, and to the financing of it, is also brought out in the following stories which were narrated to me by Annamalai Swami:
 
Because all the stone masons who were working on the temple were paid on a daily basis, I was asked to supervise some of them to ensure that the ashram got value for money. Although I knew nothing about temple construction, I had had enough experience of supervising workers to see that the stone-masons were deliberately working very slowly. Since they were classified as skilled workers, they were getting a very high daily wage for doing very little. It seemed to me that they were deliberately taking about three days to do one day's work. I told them that they were cheating the Asramam, and I tried to persuade them to work more honestly, but they refused to change their ways.

One of them told me, 'All you people are eating and sleeping here for nothing. Why are you troubling us about work? It is no loss to you if we work slowly.'

After a few unsuccessful attempts to get them to work, I reported the matter to Bhagavan.
 
I told him, 'The temple workers are working very slowly. In the evening Chinnaswami pays them whatever I have written on the wages list. I don't like to waste the ashram's money on dishonest workers, but I have no authority to dismiss them. If I write each day that they must be paid for work that they have not done, am I not also cheating the Ashamam?'
 
Bhagavan replied, 'Don't worry about this matter. If they cheat like this and get money that they have not earned out of the Asramam, this money will not stay with them. Ultimately they will find that their only possessions are their hammers and chisels. The wages that they have received dishonestly will go to waste. They cannot cheat Bhagavan, they can only cheat themselves.'

Then, after pausing for a while, he added, 'We should not worry about the financial aspect of the work because God will supply all the money that we need.'

As usual, Bhagavan's faith was justified. The temple put a severe strain on the Asramam's finances but we always managed to keep the work going. On some days the ashram had to depend on donations received during the day to pay the wages in the evening. At the start of the day we would hire workers, even though we knew that we had no money to pay them. During the day donations would arrive in various ways and by evening there would always be enough to pay the workers.'

Bhagavan made daily visits to the temple to watch the progress of the construction and to inspect the quality of the workmanship. If any of the work was not up to standard, he would call attention to it and request that the necessary improvements be made. On one visit, for example, he pointed out that there was too much space between the flagstones around the garbhagraha (the inner shrine), and on another occasion he requested that some cracks in the wall be property pointed with cement. Bhagavan occasionally initiated jobs himself. For example, when the walls of the garbhagraha had been completed, Bhagavan decided that the name of the temple should be inscribed on the front wall. Annamalai Swami, who was asked to help with this work, told me how it was done:
     
If one looks over the entrance to the garbhagraha one can see two elephants carved out of stone. Under their feet is a carved stone scroll. The full name of the temple, 'Mathrubuteswaralayam', meaning 'the temple of God in the form of the Mother', is carved in stone on this scroll. Bhagavan himself wrote out this name for me in big Sanksrit letters. His idea was that I should make a stencil and then paint the letters on the scroll. Later, one of the sthapatis would carve out the name by chiselling out the area covered by the painted letters.

I sat in Bhagavan's presence in the hall, carefully cutting out the name. I kept all my attention on the work because I knew that I would not be able to get away with even the smallest of mistakes. Bhagavan was watching me all the time I was working. At about 3 p.m. Bhagavan used to go out of the hall to urinate. At that time, on that day, he stood up and started to move towards the door. Everyone in the hall, except for me, stood up. I was in the middle of cutting out a letter; but I didn't want to risk spoiling it by taking my scissors away from the paper.
     

(David Godman)

Arunachala Siva.

7245

I should also write about Sri Soundaryamba Shatkam, (shatkam = six verse
poem),  composed by Kavyakanta Ganapati Sastri, on the Mahapooja Day of Mother
Azhagamma, Bhagavan Ramana's Mother.  (I think this must be in the year 1922).

This is a poem in Sanskrit in six verses. 

1. In the first quarter of the night of Friday, the ninth month
of the dark fortnight of Vaisaka month, Dhundubi year,....

2. Wife of Sundaram Iyer born in the exalted lineage of Bharadwaja,
Parasara and mother of Ramana Maharshi, born as an Avatara
of Guru Guha, the blessed lady.

3. One devoid of any attachment, one cleansed by bhakti
to Siva, on whose Prana was arrested by the touch of Guha
(Ramana Maharshi), one whose tendencies were all destroyed
that very moment.

4. She, Soundaryamba, became the Light which can be known
only by the Vedantic Vakyas, which is all pervasive, and which
was known by Her son.

5. Smt. Soundaryamba (Mother Azhagamma)*, the stream which
poured out of the lotus palms of Ramana Maharshi became a
new teertha**, the Aghasamana Teertham, the waters which
remove all sins.

6. Glory to the holy mother of sacred Ramana.
    Glory to the Samadhi.
    Glory to the Linga*** consecrated by the Maharshi.
    Glory to the new Agahasamana Teertham.   

( *  - Soundaryam in Sanskrit means Azhagu in Tamilzh.
        Incidentally, Sri Sankara's mother (who was conferred
        Mukti by her son) is called Aryambika.  Arya in Sanskrit
        also means Azahgu, Respectful.

   **   This is the famous Well called Azhagamma Teertham in
the Asramam, between Bhagavan Ramana's Mahasamdhi and
Dining Hall/Old Hall.

   ***  This is the Siva Lingam on the Samadhi of Mother,
called Matrubhuteswara Lingam.  The metal icon is called
Mother Yogamba.)

Arunachala Siva.

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