Author Topic: Incidents related to first meeting between Bhagavan and Kavyakanta Ganapati Muni  (Read 2712 times)


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Ganapati Sastri, also called Ganapati Muni – Muni means the wise,the scholar, the saint – was the most famous and erudite of Sri Ramana’s disciples. He hailed from Andhra Pradesh and was a Brahmin. In his youth he had already written literary works and could speak and write Sanskrit fluently at the age of fourteen.When he was 22 he took part in a meeting of learned Sanskrit scholars and writers, he was awarded the title Kavya-Kantha (one from whose throat poetry arises spontaneously) because of his virtuosity in poetical improvisation.

He got the title Kavyakanta after a debate in Bengal.He was an exponent in Vedas and Vedic astronomy and astrology.

Kavyakanta Ganapati Muni had many other interests.He was in Congress party for some years. He started a group called Indra Sabha to practise mantra-japa for the country's freedom and all round welfare. He compiled the famous Sri Ramana Gita,containing Bhagavan Ramana's teachings.He also wrote Sad Darsanam, a Sanskrit rendering of Bhagavan's ULLadu Narpadu and a commentary for that too in Sanskrit. Later Kapali Sastri wrote the commentary for Sri Ramana Gita, called Sri Ramana Gita Prakasa.

Among Bhagavan's devotees,Sri Viswanatha Swami moved with Ganapati Muni closely, since he was also a Sanskrit scholar.Ramanatha Brahmachari also moved with him closely due to his Congress-connections.Of course, Kapali Sastri, Gajananan, Daivarata, Mahadevan [Ganapti Muni's son] were all his direct disciples.Smt Visalakshi was his wife and she had mastered Tara mantra, a Sakti Mantra and became famous for her own achievements in mantra sastra. She was in fact, one of the questioners in Sri Ramana Gita.She passed away earlier to Kavyakanta Ganapati Muni.

One Guntur Suryakantam, has written a detailed biography on Kavyakanta Ganapati Muni, in Telugu.Sri Ramanasramam has brought out a small biography on Ganapati Muni,in Tamil,by Dr. Krupanandan.

One Mr.Natesan in Tiruvannamalai,has brought out the complete works of Kavyakanta Ganapati Muni in about 10 volumes.Sri Natesan passed away recently.

In 1903 he came to Tiruvannamalai for the first time to practise intense tapas (spiritual ascetic exercises). He stayed for one year and during that time he twice visited the Swami, who was approximately the same age as himself. On both occasions his erudition was noticed. Finally he took up the post of school teacher at Vellore.
But it was the renewal of India which was closest to his heart and to which he devoted most of his energy. Through intense tapas, in particular through mantra japa, he believed he would obtain the energy required to achieve this goal. He dreamed of an ideal society based on the Vedas, in which there would be material prosperity
and social justice as well as spirituality. He used to hold long public discourses on this theme and soon gained a circle of followers.

It was on the ninth day of the Kartikai festival, 18th November 1907 at about half past one, when, in the midday heat, he climbed up the hill to the Virupaksha Cave. He was trembling with emotion.The young Swami was seated alone in front of his cave. Although,because of the festival, there were crowds of people everywhere,there was nobody at all near the Swami. Even Palaniswami was not there. Ganapati Muni fell prostrate on the ground, grasped Sri Ramana’s feet with both hands and uttered trembling, “All that has to be read I have read. Even Vedanta Sastra [the holy scriptures of Vedanta] I have fully understood. I have performed japa to my heart’s content. Yet I have not up to this time understood what tapas is. Hence have I sought refuge at thy feet. Pray enlighten me about the nature of tapas.”

For 15 minutes the Swami kept silent and looked at Ganapati, who sat at his feet full of expectation. Then he answered, “If one watches whence this notion of ‘I’ springs, the mind will be absorbed into that. That is tapas. If a mantra is repeated, and attention directed to the source whence the mantra-sound is produced, the mind will be absorbed in that. That is tapas.”

This was the first time that Sri Ramana gave a verbal answer to a question. Until then he had kept silent and had always written the answers down. It is remarkable how he led the mantra practice of his new disciple back to the method of Self-enquiry. For Ganapati Muni this was a real revelation. His heart was filled with ecstatic joy and he meditated at the feet of his new master until the evening.

The following day Ganapati Muni wrote full of enthusiasm to his family and his disciples, “I have found my Master, my Guru. He is the Sage of Arunachala known as Brahmanaswami. He is no ordinary Swami. He is a great Seer, a mighty spiritual personality. To me and to you all he is Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi [elevated great Seer Ramana]. Let the whole world know him as such.”

From that moment on the Swami became known as the Maharshi,Bhagavan or simply Ramana. Ganapati Muni and his followers made Sri Ramana known to a wide circle in India.

Ganapati Muni spent his whole life moving around and was often accompanied by his wife Visalakshi, who also led a spiritual life.

The relationship between them remained close all their lives. Sri Ramana called Ganapati Muni by the pet name Nayana, which his disciples also used. The Telugu word Nayana is used to address one’s father as well as one’s disciple and one’s child.

Ganapati Muni died in 1936, aged 58, in Kharagpur, West-Bengal,where his devotees had built an ashram for him. When Ramana was informed about his death by telegram, he said, deeply moved and with tears in his eyes, “Where can we find another like him?”

Some of the other sadhus who lived on the mountain, watched Sri Ramana’s increasing fame with suspicion and envy. An elderly sadhu felt particularly envious and wanted to drive Ramana out of the Virupaksha Cave. He threw some rocks over a ledge at the young Swami sitting under it, but they missed. When the sadhu tried it again, Ramana got up and caught him. But the sadhu only laughed and said that it was meant only as an innocent joke. Without rebuking him Ramana let him go.


1) Ramana Maharshi: His Life A biography by Gabriele Ebert
2) (Kavyakanta Ganapati Muni Day - 25.07.2009)