Author Topic: Part 2- The Recollections of Ramana Maharshi Devotee N. Balaram Reddy  (Read 1265 times)


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It was near the end of May in 1938 when I returned to Ramanasramam from North India. When my bus was approaching the ashram on the Chengam Road I asked the driver to stop and let me off near Palakothu, just west of the ashram. S. S. Cohen occupied a small cottage there and during my previous stay in Tiruvannamalai he often requested me to come and live with him in Palakothu. I decided to take him up on the offer. Leaving my luggage in his room, I walked over to the ashram, entered the Old Hall, prostrated before the Maharshi and sat down until 11:00 a.m., which was the dinner time. I then returned to Cohen's cottage to eat. I didn't realize at the time that devotees just arriving after a long absence were usually requested to take their first meal with Bhagavan, even though, as in my case, they may be living outside the ashram. When Bhagavan came to Palakothu on his walk after lunch, his attendant stopped and told me that Bhagavan, not seeing me in the dining hall, had inquired as to my whereabouts. The attendant stayed and talked to us as Bhagavan continued on alone. I was very touched by the Maharshi's solicitude. I met him as he was returning from his walk and told him about my North Indian trip. I began narrating my visit to Krishnaprem and told Bhagavan how keen he was to hear all about him and Ramanasramam. It was then the month of May, the hottest time of the year.

I explained to Bhagavan how delightfully pleasant and cool the climate of Almora was, especially compared to the present weather in Tiruvannamalai. Bhagavan said, "The real coolness is within. If we have that coolness it will be cool wherever we go. Similarly, if you want to protect your feet from the rough ground, you don't try to cover the earth with a piece of leather. You simply put leather shoes on your own feet and the job is done."

In this same year, 1939, I occupied another hut near Cohen's in Palakothu. This hut consisted of two small rooms, about six feet by eight feet each. I stayed in one of these and Swami Prajnanananda, a westerner, was using the other. One night before I returned from the ashram, someone broke the lock on the door and made off with my suitcase and some other things. The next day I searched in the nearby woods and found the suitcase, which contained mostly books. The books were scattered around near the suitcase. I collected them and returned to my room. A short time later there was another robbery. Someone pounded a hole in the mud wall near the window frame. At this exact place I kept some money in a jar. Somebody must have seen me taking money from there and got the idea of stealing it. The next day when Bhagavan came to Palakothu on his walk I told him about the theft. He looked over the scene and explained to others how some of these local people keep an eye open for such opportunities, and how they must have seen me take money from that jar and decided to pound a hole in the wall to get at it. He then told me that I should not keep anything in this place that would be desired by others. I therefore shifted my belongings to town and gradually moved back there myself.

Bhagavan's brother had to endure considerable criticism while managing the ashram. Even so, there is little doubt that Bhagavan used him as his instrument. When Niranjanananda Swami felt an inner prompting from Bhagavan, he confidently acted on it. The following may be an example of one such occasion.

It is widely known that Paul Brunton's book, A Search in Secret India, did much to make known to the world that the Maharshi, a unique sage of this century, was living inTiruvannamalai. Brunton was a professional writer and in those days wherever he would go he would often be seen taking notes on bits of paper. While in the Old Hall listening to questions put to Bhagavan and his replies, he would be eagerly taking notes. After the success of A Search in Secret India, he began writing many other books in which he would sometimes adopt the Maharshi's teachings without giving due acknowledgment. When the ashram authorities realized this they decided to stop him from taking notes in the hall.

One day in 1939, Brunton was sitting next to me taking notes as usual when Niranjanananda Swami boldly walked into the hall, stood next to Bhagavan and told Munagala Venkataramiah to tell Brunton in English that he is no longer permitted to take notes while sitting before Bhagavan. Brunton was told accordingly. Brunton looked at Venkataramiah and said, 'Is this also Bhagavan's view ?' Venkataramiah did not reply to this question and Bhagavan who was quietly sitting there didn't say a word either. A few tense moments passed. Then Brunton stood up and left the hall. That was the last time he took notes in the hall, and that was also when Brunton began distancing himself from the ashram.

It was very unusual to see the Sarvadhikari appear so bold and authoritative before the Maharshi. He must have felt that this exploitation should stop and was confident that Bhagavan was behind him.