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Messages - Balaji

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556
My Father Hari Chand Khanna
by Ranvir Khanna

(In the obituary section of the 1999 Aradhana issue of the Mountain Path, two members of the same family were featured. One was Ranvir Khanna; the other was his mother, Premvati Khanna. Both mother and son had the unique privilege of living in the proximity of Bhagavan for many months from 1939 to 1950, and remained lifelong devotees thereafter. Ranvir Khanna's father first visited Sri Maharshi in 1939, was transformed by His grace, and then brought his family into the Maharshi's fold.
Ranvir wrote the following memoirs about his father and his own early visits to Sri Ramanasramam before he was absorbed into the Feet of his Master on April 8, 1999. )

MY grandfather was a very religious man known to sing bhajans the whole night long. He was also very well read and used to read the daily newspapers. In one of the newspapers of the early 1930's he read an article about Ramana Maharshi, who was said to be a Self-realized man living in Tiruvannamalai. He cut out the article with an intention to visit Sri Ramanasramam. He tried his best but could not make it. He kept that cutting for few years and then showed it to his son, Hari Chand Khanna, who was then living in Kanpur, working for the Oriental Insurance Company.
My father Hari Chand Khanna was born in the year 1905 in a small village called Satghara, which is now part of Pakistan. He was a hard working man. He first worked for the Indian railways and then joined an Insurance company.
One summer vacation, my uncle from Bibana, Madhya Pradesh, invited my father to come with his family for a visit. My uncle was then serving in the Railways in Bibana. My father agreed to the proposal and our family visited my uncle. After two days in Bibana my father made inquiries as to how to reach Tiruvannamalai and then set out on his own, leaving our family with my uncle. If my memory serves me right, this took place in 1939.

My father returned to Bibana after about ten days, and from his talk and behavior everyone could make out that he was a completely changed man. We all returned to Kanpur after almost a month's stay in Bibana.

On reaching Kanpur my father smashed all the liquor bottles and liquor glasses in his possession. He had always been an outgoing man, but now he started spending much more time at home reading Ramana's books and in meditation.
It was my father's practice to visit hill stations during the summer vacations to avoid the tremendous heat of Kanpur in the months of May and June. But ever since he visited Ramana, he would take the family to Tiruvannamalai during summer, a town as hot, if not hotter than Kanpur. He rented a house in the Bose compound, because in those days ladies were not allowed in the Ashram after sunset. Father used to write to Mr. Bose in advance, reserving one set of rooms for us. When we arrived, there would be one set each of chatai (floor mat), pillow and a patra. The chatai was for sleeping on, and the patra was for keeping the luggage. There was no electricity and no indoor plumbing. There were thatched rooms for bathrooms and huge cauldrons of water were kept boiling for baths. I remember the locals bathing with very hot water, saying that it was good for the body.

We used to spend almost a month at the Ashram. I was six or seven when we first started visiting the Ashram. At that time Bhagavan's brother, Niranjanananda Swami, was the sarvadhikari looking after the Ashram.
During those early visits, I remember that every night we would find father missing from his bed. Then he would return in the morning, saying he was with Bhagavan through the night, and if Bhagavan didn't sleep, he also kept awake. He considered it the greatest good fortune to be able to spend his nights with his Guru in the Old Hall.
Often large bus loads of pilgrims would come to Tiruvannamalai during the night for Bhagavan's darshan. The pilgrims would wait until dawn for the doors of the Old Hall to be opened. When Bhagavan noticed that, he asked the sarvadhikari to keep the doors open all the time. After that the doors to his room were kept open all the time. Devotees would enter through one door, have darshan and exit from the other door.

Our annual visits went on for some years, but then were suspended for a few years for reasons unknown to me, though my father was in constant touch with the Ashram. When again we resumed the annual visits to the Ashram, my father would sometimes carry bottles of the Ayurvedic medicine (Mahanarayan oil) for Bhagavan. Bhagavan had rheumatism in his legs and could not walk properly. No sooner was Bhagavan given the bottles of medicine than he would announce then and there that Khanna has brought Mahanarayan Oil, which relieves pain in the legs, and anyone with pain in their legs could make free use of the same.

There were many times when my father used to prepare questions to ask Bhagavan, but he said that most of the time his questions would get answered by Bhagavan without them being asked.
In those days the Ashram's financial condition was not good. My father would send money to the Ashram regularly when there was a need.
At the Ashram I remember feeling very happy when Bhagavan played with my younger sister Kusum, who was then maybe a year old. Bhagavan would hold one end of his staff, while Kusum played with the other. Bhagavan would laugh and pull the staff away as the child reached out for it. Bhagavan used to call her Jhansi Ki Rani, after the courageous queen of Jhansi, who died fighting the British in the first war of independence in 1857. Afterwards, I used to tease Kusum with that name.
We were six brothers. Pitaji, my father, divided us in two groups, and I was made the leader of one group. My younger brother, Kailash, was in charge of the other group. Bhagavan used to go up the hill with one attendant carrying his kamandalu. Pitaji asked us to go and touch his feet. My brother Kailash was very bold and dynamic; I was shy and withdrawn. Kailash touched Bhagavan's feet; I could not. Pitaji was annoyed. That evening Bhagavan laughed and told everyone: "Today Khanna's son caught me on the Hill."

Bhagavan made loud clucking sounds, calling out to squirrels with peanuts in his hands. Squirrels ran all over His body. He used to call out to the monkeys with bananas in his hand and warn the attendants not to show their stick to the monkeys.
I was ten years old and at the Ashram, when one day Lakshmi the cow came running with her rope trailing behind her. She made her way through the crowd of people towards Bhagavan. The crowd parted to make way for her. Bhagavan got up from his seat and came towards her. She became calm at his touch.
In 1950, my father was working in LRCH Mills Ltd. He came home one evening and called me, his eldest son, and told me that on his way back from work he had an intuition that his Guru Ramana was not in good health and he felt that Ramana wanted my father to reach the Ashram immediately. He told me that though he had not even applied for leave, he must leave immediately with my mother and my young sister Kusum. He also added that he is fully aware that all his children have to attend school and sit for final exams, but still he could not wait. All three of them left immediately for Madras en route to Tiruvannamalai.

When he returned home he told me that upon reaching the Ashram, Niranjanananda Swami saw him coming and rushed towards him, informing him that Ramana Maharshi had asked twice if Khanna had arrived. On hearing this my father rushed to Bhagavan immediately. When Bhagavan saw him he smiled and then closed his glorious eyes forever.
Immediately after Ramana Maharshi's Mahanirvana, my father rushed to the town and bought a very large, beautiful garland for Bhagavan's body. When he reached the Ashram, a dispute between different groups was going on as to who would be the first to garland the Maharshi's body. On seeing my father, both the Groups amicably settled that Khanna, one of the oldest and staunchest devotees, must be allowed to garland Bhagavan's body first. Thus my father was the first to garland the deceased body of Ramana.

Two more incidents which I still recall but do not remember the dates of are still fresh in my memory. One time I was visiting my parents in Kanpur and saw that my younger brother, who lived in Jabalpur had been visiting my parent's house for the past few days. I didn't know why he had come there. One day, in my presence, a friend of my father's came to see him and said that if he could borrow a few thousand rupees immediately (I don't recall the exact amount) he would be saved from losing his honor. My father immediately got up, brought out the money and gave it to him. The gentleman left.
No sooner had this visitor left, my brother started quarreling with my father, questioning him as to why he had given such a large sum to his friend, while his own son was sitting there for the last few days, asking him for a loan of a much smaller amount. My father then asked the whole family to gather in the drawing room so he could disclose the secret of how he ran his life.

After we had all gathered, he said that all the money and other things that he has belongs to God Ramana who has appointed him as His cashier. Everyone knows that a cashier is not the owner, and that he has to obey his Master's commands as to how to handle His money. In the same manner, whenever he has to spend money or give money to someone he has to take orders from the Almighty, which he does by closing his eyes and asking for orders, and the orders always come in the form of a 'Yes' or 'No'. Only after receiving such orders, he acts accordingly. He further added that he closed his eyes every day since my younger brother had arrived and waited for orders, and the reply was always 'No'.
My brother was, of course, not satisfied with the explanation given by my father. He left the house most disappointed and unhappy. After he left my father remarked that nothing is hidden from God, and maybe He knows that my son is a 'eat, drink, and be merry' man that may misuse His money and that's why the order was 'No'.
My father never took a receipt for the money he gave away, and if anyone returned the loan, he would call it a bonus and keep it. If some didn't pay back the loan, he would never comment. His attitude was it was Bhagavan's money, and was given at His command.

Thus my father was spending his life happily, prospering both materially and spiritually, until 1980. That year my younger brother, Group Captain K.C.Khanna, who was serving as an Air Attache at Cairo, met with a car accident in which all his family died, except his eldest son who was with me at the time.
This incident hurt my father very much and he started questioning Ramana Bhagavan as to how such a tragedy could happen to my brother who was a staunch devotee, and the loving son of another devotee (my father). For approximately two years he stopped visiting the Ashram. On the other hand, my mother accepted the deaths of Kailash, Suneeta and their two children. She recited Bhagavan's name continuously. Pitaji commented that Mataji's bhakti was superior to his. She was completely surrendered to Bhagavan. After some time he reconciled and his visits to Tiruvannamalai resumed.
In 1984, about two weeks prior to my father's death, I had called upon my father at Premavati Khanna Guest House (opposite the Ashram) and stayed with him for a week. During the course of my stay I told my father that this was his longest stay at the Ashram. He had already been there for two months and I inquired how much longer he intended to stay? He replied that he had come to stay in God's House (he always called Sri Ramanasramam 'God's House') and that he will stay as long as Ramana wants him to stay with him. I then told my father, "I can see that you are very happy here. But there is one cause of anxiety for me and that is, God forbid, if anything was to happen to you, there are no medical facilities available for specialized treatment in this area."

On hearing this, he lost his temper, something which he never did before, and started taking me to task, saying that I was a complete fool, etc., and that he was very disappointed in me. At the time I could not understand what I had done to anger my father, and I too became very sad. After almost half an hour of enduring this unbearable torture, he asked me where was I staying. I replied that I too was staying in Bhagavan's House. He immediately said that I had not the least common sense, and that I was a fool to think that God would not look after him, and that doctors and physicians would give him much better treatment than Bhagavan.
I then realized how foolish it was of me to think in that manner. I understood my mistake and apologized. I soon left for Bombay as planned.
After about ten days, I received an urgent call from the Ashram and was told that my father had expired. Although I tried my best to make immediate arrangements to leave for the Ashrama, I could not leave until the next day. I traveled by air to
Bangalore and then by taxi to the Ashram, reaching there at noon.

All the while en route, I was very worried thinking of my mother who was all alone and couldn't speak English or any south Indian languages. I went on praying for her safety.
On reaching the Ashram, I rushed to the Guest house where I found father's body laid out and my mother sitting beside it very composed. On seeing me she said that I must proceed immediately with the cremation according to the Ashram tradition. I did so.
My father always used to say that all his desires have been fulfilled by God and that his last one wish was to die at his Father's Feet, Arunachala. I used to question as to how that is possible because he is a karma yogi and always in Kanpur. My father would always reply: "We will see." In spite of this, I was stunned when my father passed away at the Ashram in good health.

My mother told me that on the day he died they had just returned to their room from lunch, and she told him that she had prepared some desert (sweet dish). She went into the kitchen area to bring it for him. When she returned from the kitchen, she found him sitting in a chair unconscious. She called out loudly, but there was no response. She sent for others, and they also were unable to evoke a response. A Doctor was sent for and he immediately declared him dead.
Funeral rites were performed by me and others from the Ashram. The Ashram has honored him with a samadhi within the Ashram compound, and a yearly puja is done by the Ashram at his tomb.

During his life, my father's earnest desire was to explain Bhagavan's teachings to all who visited him at his house in Kanpur. He considered Bhagavan's teachings to be the simplest and the best. He also stressed that if one wanted to lead a happy and contented life, then the only way was to follow the teachings of Sri Bhagavan. Also, whenever he visited someone, he would explain the same. He used to tell everyone, and especially his children, not to be outgoing but to turn inward and enjoy one's true nature. He used to impress upon his children not to strive for material wealth, which one has to leave behind after death, but instead to aspire for the real, everlasting spiritual wealth, as taught by Sri Bhagavan Ramana.

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557
ஸ்ரீ
4.  அருணாசல அஷ்டகம்


1.    அறிவறு கிறியென வமர்தரு மம்மா
         வதிசய மிதன்செய லறிவரி தார்க்கு
       மறிவறு சிருவய ததுமுத லருணா
         சலமிகப் பெரிதென வறிவினி லங்க
       வறிகில னதன்பொரு ளதுதிறு வண்ணா
         மலையென வொருவரா லறிவுறப் பெற்று
       மறிவினை மருளுறுத் தருகினி லீர்க்க
         வருகுறு மமயமி தசலமாக் கண்டேன்.
 
Ah(what a wonder)!  It stands quietly as if an insentient Hill,(yet) its action is mysterious-difficult for any one to understand!  (Listen to my experience) From (my) knowledgeless early childhood (that  is, from my early childhood when I knew no other thing), Arunachala was shining in my mind as that which is most great.(However) even when I came to know through someone that it was Tiruvannamalai, I did not realize the truth of It (that is, I  did not realize what Arunachala really is), ( But later) when having enchanted (my) mind, It drew me near, then I came near and saw It to be a Hill (achala).

558
Kanakammal's Memories of Bhagavan

(Dr. Prakash Adiseshan of Ann Arbor, Michigan has translated the following interesting excerpts from Smt. Kanakammal's Tamil book, Ninaivil Nirainthavai.)

1. Sri Bhagavan was observing the activity of a child, who was pointing out that Sri Bhagavan's head was clean shaven and so is hers, etc. He talked about how observant some children are.

This led Sri Bhagavan to recall an incident about a little girl who used to live in Ramana Nagar. She had observed people bringing food and offering it to Sri Bhagavan and then distributing it to the people in the hall.

One day she approached Sri Bhagavan hesitatingly, and upon asking he found out that she had wrapped a few papads in her dress, having got them from her kitchen at home. Sri Bhagavan and the girl shared the papads. The next day she repeated the act by bringing fruits from her garden. After sharing the fruits with her, He asked her if there was a picture of him in their house. The girl said that they had one. Sri Bhagavan asked her to henceforth offer the food to the picture and eat it herself and think that he ate it. (from Ch. 29)

2. An elderly man walked into the hall and upon seeing him, Sri Bhagavan's behavior changed: he appeared to behave like an obedient student. The person who entered said, ?Bhagavan, please clear all my doubts.?
Smiling and looking at a devotee nearby, Sri Bhagavan replied, ?Do you know who this person is? I came away from Madurai unable to answer his questions. Now he has come all the way here with more questions!? The visitor was Sri Bhagavan's Tamil teacher in school. (from Ch. 17)

3. One day a devotee pointed out to Sri Bhagavan that someone in the hall was sleeping. The devotee added that he has been watching that person sleep this way for the past few days. Sri Bhagavan looked at the devotee and said. ?That person is taking care of the purpose for which he came. How about you? Why have you come here?? (from Ch. 19)

4. Among Sri Bhagavan's attendants was one Vaikunda Vaasar (another name for Vishnu). Once when he was lying down in Sri Bhagavan's hall he noticed a snake near him. He became petrified and hastily approached Bhagavan pointing out the snake. Sri Bhagavan looked at the snake and said with a laugh, addressing the devotee, ?Vaikunda Vaasar, your bed has come looking for you. Must be a smooth bed,? referring to Sri Vishnu's lying posture on the snake. (from Ch. 19)

559
10.   பார்த்தனன் புதுமை  யுயிர்வலி காந்த
          பருவத மொருதர மிதனை
       யோர்த்திடு முயிரின் சேட்டையை யொடுக்கி
          யொருதன தபிமுக மாக
       வீர்த்ததைத் தன்போ லசலமாச் செய்தவ்
          வின்னுயிர் பலிகொளு மிஃதென்
       னோர்த்துய்மி னுயிர்க்கா ளுளமதி லொளிரிவ்
          வுயிர்க்கொளி யருணமா கிரியே.

I have seen a wonder,(this)magnetic Hill which forcibly  attracts the soul!   Having suppressed the mischievous (mental) activities of the soul who has thought of It(even)once, having drawn (that soul) to face towards Itself, the One, and having made it motionless (Achala) like Itself, It feeds upon that sweet (pure and ripened)soul.  What (a wonder) this is!  O souls! Be saved by thinking of this great Arunagiri, that destroyer of the soul ( the ego) who shines in the heart!

Note:  In this verse Sri Bhagavan reveals how Arunachala roots out the ego of those who think of It even once.  Having once been thought of, Arunachala works in the mind in such a way as to make the mind?s mischievous activities(cheshta)subside; then It draws the mind inwards to face Self, the one Reality, and there by makes the mind motionless like itself.  Knowing from His own personal experience the wonderful power that Arunachala has to make the mind?s activities subside, to draw its attention towards self and thereby to destroy it, Sri Bhagavan confidently declares in the last line of this verse,? O souls, Be saved by thinking of this  great Arunagiri, the destroyer of the soul who shines in the heart?.


11.  கிரியிது பரமாக் கருதிய வென்போற்
         கெட்டவ ரெத்தனை கொல்லோ
       விரிதுய ராலிப் பிழைப்பினில் விழைவு
          விட்டுடல் விட்டிட விரகு
       கருதியே திரிவீர் கருத்தினு ளொருகாற்
          கருதிடக் கொலாமலே கொல்லு
       மருமருந் தொன்றுண் டவனியி லதுதா
          னருணமா திரமென வறிவீர்.

Oh!   How many are those who like me have been destroyed by thinking this Hill to be the Supreme!  O people who are wandering about thinking of a means to give up the body, having given up the desire for this (worldly) life due to ( its) increasing misery, there is on earth one rare medicine which, when (merely) thought  of once in the mind, will kill (the ego) without killing ( the body)!  Know that it is indeed Aruna Hill!

560
8.    வைத்தனை வாளா வையகத் துய்யும்
          வழியறி மதியழித் திங்ஙன்
      வைத்திடி லார்க்கு மின்பிலை துன்பே
         வாழ்விதிற் சாவதே மாண்பாம்
      பைத்தியம் பற்றிப் பயனறு மெனக்குன்
         பதமுறு மருமருதந் தருள்வாய்
      பைத்திய மருந்தாப் பாரொளி ரருண
         பருப்பத வுருப்பெறு பரனே.

Having destroyed (in me) the intelligence to know the way of making a living in the world, You have made (me) worthless.  If You keep (me) thus ( in this condition), it will not be happiness  for anyone ( for  me, for You or for the world) but only misery.  Death indeed is better than this (kind of ) life.  O Supreme who have taken the form of Aruna Hill, which shines on earth as the medicine for the madness (of desire for the world)!  Graciously bestow upon  me who, ( in spite of ) being possessed by the madness  of love for You), am deprived of the fruit ( of Jnana), the rare medicine  (of your grace) which will unite (me) with your Feet (that is which will make me one with your supreme state of Self).
 

9.   பரமநின் பாதம் பற்றறப் பற்றும்
        பரவறி வறியரிற் பரமன்
      பரமுனக் கெனவென் பணியறப் பணியாய்
        பரித்திடு முனக்கெது பாரம்
      பரமநிற் பிரிந்திவ் வுலகினைத் தலையிற்
        பற்றியான் பெற்றது போதும்
      பரமனா மருணா சலவெனை யினியுன்
        பதத்தினின் றெதுக்குறப் பாரேல்.

O Supreme (I am) the supreme (foremost) among those who do not possess the supreme wisdom to cling to Your Feet without ( having any other) attachment.  Make my actions cease,(taking them) as Your burden, (for) what will be a burden  to You, who sustain ( the whole universe)! O Supreme ! what I have gained by holding this world on my head (that is, by bearing the burden of samsara),  having let go of You, is ( now) enough (for me).  O Arunachala, who are the Supreme!  do not think hereafter of keeping me away from Your Feet (or state).

 

561
6.  தற்பர நாளுந் தாளினிற் றங்கித்
       தண்டலர் மண்டுக மானேன்
    சிற்பத நற்றே னுண்மல ரளியாச்
      செய்திடி லுய்தியுண் டுன்ற
    னற்பதப் போதி னானுயிர் விட்டா
      னட்டாதூ ணாகுமுன் பழியே
    வெற்புரு வருண விரிகதி ரொளியே
      விண்ணினு நுண்ணருள் வெளியே.


O Supreme Reality!  Though I have always remained at (Your) Feet, I am (still like) a frog ( remaining) at the stem of a lotus ( that is, I am still unable to know your true greatness).  If (instead) You make ( me) as a flower-bee which drinks the excellent honey of the state of consciousness (the state of true knowledge or jnana), there will be Salvation(that is I will attain Salvation).  O light of spreading red rays in the form of a Hill!  O Space of grace (the space of self or Atmakasa) more subtle (even ) than the (physical) space! (If you let me remain like a frog and do not make me like a flower-bee, and ) if ( in this condition) I leave (my) life at your divine lotus -feet, it will be forever a standing column of blame for you.
 
 7.  வெளிவளி தீநீர்  மண்பல வுயிரா
         விரிவுறு பூதபௌ திகங்கள்
     வெளியொளி யுன்னை யன்றியின் றென்னின்
        வேருயா னாருளன் விமலா
     வெளியதா யுளத்து வேறற விளங்கின்
        வேறென வெளிவரு வேனார்
     வெளிவரா யருணா சலவலவன் றலையில்
        விரிமலர்ப் பதத்தினை வைத்தே.

If the (five)elements-space, air, fire, water, earth and (all) material objects, which manifest as the many living beings are not other than you, the space of light ( the space of consciousness or chitakasa) who else am I (but You)? O Blemishless One!  Since You shine without  another in the heart as the space ( of consciousness) who am I who come out as another (that is, who am I who rise as  I am so-and-so)? O Arunachala placing (your) vast lotus-Feet on his head (on the head of this rising 'I' the ego), come out( and manifest  Yourself as the real 'I').
 

562
Arunachala / Re: Photos of Bhagavan and Arunchala Temples
« on: June 08, 2014, 02:03:41 AM »
Bhagavan with his sister Alamelu Amma

563
Arunachala / Re: Photos of Bhagavan and Arunchala Temples
« on: June 08, 2014, 01:51:46 AM »
Bhagavan

564
Arunachala / Re: Photos of Bhagavan and Arunchala Temples
« on: June 08, 2014, 01:49:35 AM »
Bhagavan with his devotees

565
Arunachala / Re: Photos of Bhagavan and Arunchala Temples
« on: June 08, 2014, 01:48:17 AM »
Bhagavan with his Brother's  children

566
Arunachala / Re: Photos of Bhagavan and Arunchala Temples
« on: June 08, 2014, 01:44:30 AM »
Bhagavan

567
Arunachala / Re: Photos of Bhagavan and Arunchala Temples
« on: June 08, 2014, 01:42:44 AM »
Bhagavan with  devotees

568
Arunachala / Re: Photos of Bhagavan and Arunchala Temples
« on: June 08, 2014, 01:41:27 AM »
Bhagavan with his devotees

569
Arunachala / Re: Photos of Bhagavan and Arunchala Temples
« on: June 08, 2014, 01:40:05 AM »
Bhagavan's Handwriting

570
Arunachala / Re: Photos of Bhagavan and Arunchala Temples
« on: June 07, 2014, 02:24:48 PM »
Bhagavan's Handwriting

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