Author Topic: Head priest of Sri Ramanasramam, Appachi Mama shares his experiences  (Read 1277 times)


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On Monday, July 2, Appachi Mama, the head priest of Sri Ramanasramam, passed away at a Vellore hospital due to a sudden stroke. He was 80 years old and had served in Sri Ramanasramam since his youth. His departure has saddened all those who have benefited by his devotion and service all these decades. In his usual modest manner, Appachi Mama briefly described his life in a recent video interview. The following text has been extracted from this interview.

I joined the Ashram Vedapatasala on January 8, 1942 and finished my course in 1950. During those years the Patasala boys had to perform most of the Ashram chores. This included assisting the priest in the Mother’s temple, cleaning the kitchen after every meal, grinding the coffee beans every evening, shifting huge vessels from the fire, spreading rice for mixing at the poor feeding, serving the devotees and the servants. The rest of the time we had our Veda lessons.

Once, while serving Bhagavan and others, Bhagavan asked for some more buttermilk. I went to the kitchen and took the bucket containing the buttermilk and served Bhagavan, not knowing that this was the sour buttermilk which was put aside for the servants. Bhagavan drank the buttermilk and never said anything.
But the kitchen staff took me to task. I was shocked to know that inadvertently I served sour buttermilk to Bhagavan. I was too shy and frightened to face him. Even during the morning and evening Veda Parayana in the hall I sat at a distance from him and at meals avoided serving him. However, after two days had passed and finding that he did not mention anything about the incident I took courage and started serving him again.

In 1950 after Bhagavan’s Maha Nirvana, I joined a secondary school and after finishing the eighth standard I took a teachers training course. I then served as a teacher for three years in Tirukoilur and Tanjore. At the time my pay was 45 rupees per month. Krishnamurthy (Kittu), who was working as a priest in the Ashram, wrote to me and asked me to return to serve in the Ashram with a salary of only 15 rupees per month. Though the pay was low, I thought it was a call from Bhagavan himself to serve him, and heeding this call resigned my job, came and settled at the Ashram.

In those days the Ashram income was insufficient and irregular. Consequently, we used to be paid only when there were enough funds. These days, of course, even before the end of the month we get our pay. Things have changed considerably.

As the electrician and plumber would not come to the Ashram when called, I also took up that work. I did most of the electrification and plumbing to the newly built cottages. I also had to prepare naivedya, do the grinding work for the temple, go to the town for collecting papers, get signatures from the trustees maintaining accounts, etc. All these responsibilities devolved on me. Later on the situation improved and the Ashram had its own plumber and electrician, and the other jobs were taken over by the office staff. In this manner, I have been at the service of Bhagavan for more than 50 years.