Author Topic: Ramanasramam Attendant Rangaswamy  (Read 1430 times)


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Ramanasramam Attendant Rangaswamy
« on: May 04, 2010, 12:57:05 PM »
Sri Chelam from Andhra Pradesh interviewed a number of devotees of Sri Bhagavan who had long-standing association with Him and compiled their reminiscences. Some of these were translated and published by Sri Ramanasramam in Ramana Smriti in 1980. The following is another from this collection that was translated from Telugu by 'SRJ' and published in Ramana Jyothi, a journal of the Sri Ramana Kendram of Hyderabad. Rangaswamy was an attendant of Bhagavan and can be seen walking behind the Maharshi in the archival film footage.

My parents were farmers and my village is thirty miles from Tiruvannamalai. Yearning for male progeny my mother and father offered prayers to Lord Vinayaka. Thereafter, I and my younger brother were born.

In my twentieth year, I came to know that the Kartikai Festival in Tiruvannamalai was a grand affair. I became restless with a longing to see it and left home for Arunachala. The night before I left I had a dream of a sannyasin clad in only a loin cloth and surrounded by brahmacharins. Adjacent to the hill was his hermitage where he gave me darshan seated on a tiger's skin.

The next day I started off for Arunachala, but was not used to walking long distances. I stopped in a village on the way and went to the house of a family I knew. When they saw my haggard looks they restrained me from continuing. I was locked in a room.

The time of the festival was running out. Because of my persistent demands I was finally released. Only two hours were left before the lighting of the deepam (light) on the hill and I had yet fifteen miles to cover. In a frenzy, totally unconscious of my body, I ran. I felt as if I floated in the air. I reached Arunachala at 5:30 p.m. and had darshan of the deepam when it was lit at 6 p.m. Afterwards I went to the Esanya Mutt and the people there welcomed me and asked me to stay.The next morning I started off for giripradakshina of Arunachala. Sri Ramanasramam was on the way and, as everyone was going into the Ashrama to have darshan of Bhagavan, I followed. The moment I saw him I was overcome with emotion and cried out, "When will I be rid of this bondage?" I was visibly shaken. Bhagavan kindly gestured to me that I should sit. I sat down for an hour and was unconscious of my body. I had an urge to stay on there and asked Chinnaswami (the Ashrama manager) for permission. He said, "You are young. What can you do? Go back home." But I did not leave. I said, "Please give me any work. Bhagavan will give me the strength." As I would not leave, Chinnaswami relented and finally asked me to remove the weeds from the flower garden. With much enthusiasm I did the work of two people. Bhagavan also praised my work.

I would daily attend to the work given to me and when free would sit in meditation. That was my only routine. One day I asked Bhagavan, "Swami, what is the way to salvation?"

"The way you came," was his simple reply.

The moment I heard him say this my mind froze. He then asked me to read a verse from Upadesa Saram.

Later I was given the job of making garlands for the temple deities. Around the same time they were constructing a platform in the Ashrama. All of us were carrying stones. Sri Bhagavan too carried them with us. My finger got crushed under a stone, and until the finger healed, Bhagavan made the garlands on my behalf.

Later I was made an attendant to Bhagavan. Me and Madhavaswami were his attendants. One time both of us were given damaged copies of Ramana Vijayam for reading. My copy did not contain all the pages. Bhagavan asked me to hand copy those pages, but I could not find the time to do it. One day he asked me, "Have you copied those pages?"

"I am not finding time," I said.

"What are you doing now?" he asked.

"I am going to Pallakottu to wash your loin cloth."

"All right. You do my work and I will do your work." Saying this he copied all the pages for me.

Those days when any offering was made it was distributed then and there. Ants, squirrels, cats, dogs, cows, children and adults were fed. There was no concept of storing for the morrow.

One day, Bhagavan, while cooking in the kitchen, asked me to put some oil in a ladle. Some of the oil spilled out onto the floor. He massaged all that oil on my body and said, "Go have your bath."

Another day the district collector came from Vellore to see Bhagavan. The little squirrels were close by in their nest. A cat swallowed their mother. The responsibility of looking after them now fell on Bhagavan. He said, "These children do not know that it is to their advantage if they confine themselves to their nest. All the problems are outside, but they cannot resist the temptation of going out. Similarly, if the mind settles down in the Heart without straying out, there is no problem. But it cannot help going out."

"What is the method of restraining it?" I asked.

"Just the same as I am doing here: Whenever the squirrels come out, I put them back. The more we put them back they stay put. Then we can relax."

My parents began to search for me since I did not return the day after Kartikai Deepam. After a year had passed, they finally found me at Sri Ramanasramam. They came and wept before Bhagavan.

"If he goes with you, then take him. Why cry before me?" said Bhagavan. But I refused to go.

"We did a lot of penance to beget him. The same Lord who gave him to us took him back again for his service," they said, and then left the place.

After a few years I had an urge to go to Kashi. When I mentioned this to Bhagavan, he said, "'Ka-shi' -- if you forget those two letters, this itself is Kashi."

"I am unable to forget, Swami" I said.

"All right, fulfil your desire," said Bhagavan.

But Chinnaswami refused to allow me to go, but I still went. Devotees contributed funds for my expenses. I returned after three months, but Chinnaswami refused to admit me into the Ashrama.

"He is like that," Bhagavan said to Chinnaswami. Then he admitted me.

One evening Bhagavan was coming down the hill. I was walking behind him. A janitor offered his salutations to Bhagavan. Bhagavan said, "If you do your work with care, that itself is salutations." When Bhagavan went into the hall all the people stood up and some prostrated. When all of them settled down, Bhagavan asked me to relate what had happened on the hill and what he told that janitor.

Bhagavan then said, "These sittings, standings and salutations are not real marks of respect. Doing one's job with the utmost care is the real salutation."

Shantamma was a cook in the Ashrama. She derived satisfaction only when she served Bhagavan with her own hands. She used to serve Bhagavan before serving everyone else. Bhagavan was patient with her for a long time. Finally he said, "Swamy does not reside just in this body. He is present in every one of the devotees. This Swamy will be happy if he is served only after everybody else is served."

One evening me and Bhagavan were going up the hill. Mr. Chadwick was rocking on a chair in his verandah when he called out to me by clapping his hands. Bhagavan inquired as to what the matter was about. I briefly explained. In reply he said, "This is how the Westerners increase their needs. How comfortable it will be if we spread a mat and squat on it."

Once the other attendant, Madhavaswami, had to undergo surgery in one of his ears. At that time I had to do the all the work of giving Bhagavan a bath, distributing offerings, going up the hill with the Swamy, keeping vigil in the night, etc. Consequently, because of the strain, I became unwell. I explained this to Bhagavan. Then, soon after, I was massaging Bhagavan's feet. Bhagavan then massaged my abdomen with his foot. Immediately, my illness vanished and I was infused with unusual strength. Henceforth, I was enabled to do the entire work effortlessly until Madhavaswami recovered.