Author Topic: Our Bhagavan-Stories  (Read 199343 times)

Balaji

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Re: Our Bhagavan-Stories
« Reply #405 on: December 22, 2013, 10:56:27 PM »
By Sampurnamma



Bhagavan  would allow nothing to go to waste. Even a grain of rice or a mustard seed lying on the ground would be picked up, dusted carefully, taken to the kitchen and put in its proper tin. I asked him why he gave himself so much trouble for a grain of rice. He said, "Yes, this is my way. I let nothing go to waste. In these matters I am quite strict. Were I married no woman could get on with me. She would run away". On some other day he said, "This is the property of my Father Arunachala. I have to preserve it and pass it on to His children". He would use for food things we would not even dream of as edible. Wild plants, bitter roots and pungent leaves were turned under his guidance into delicious dishes.
Om Namo Bagavathe Sri Ramanaya

Subramanian.R

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Re: Our Bhagavan-Stories
« Reply #406 on: January 18, 2014, 05:06:31 PM »
The dinner hall:

Another characteristic of the Maharshi, when He sits for dinner, is that
He inquires after and sees that an impartial service is made to all present before He begins to take His meal.
If anyone does not take rice, he is offered fruit or whatever he can take.

Arunachala Siva.

Ravi.N

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Re: Our Bhagavan-Stories
« Reply #407 on: January 23, 2014, 06:26:54 AM »
Reminiscences of Sri Kunju Swami-1:

IT WAS IN 1919 that I first came to Sri Bhagavan. He was then living at Skandasramam on the slope of the Hill Arunachala. His mother and brother lived with him. Palaniswami used to attend to his few personal wants. Plague had driven away most of the inhabitants of the town and consequently visitors to Sri Bhagavan were few. I was, therefore, left alone with Sri Bhagavan most of the time.
 


I related to him all the spiritual practices I had been doing, what I had been studying, and what experiences I had. At that time I was very unhappy because in spite of all I had done I was unable to experience samadhi.
 
After patiently hearing me out, Bhagavan quoted from Kaivalya Navaneeta : “If you realize who you are, there is no cause for sorrow.” “So if you come to understand who you are, then there is peace,” said Bhagavan.
 
Well, I did not know what was meant by “know who you are”. Bhagavan went on to explain that the mind is only a bundle of thoughts and that if I seek the source of all thoughts I would be drawn into the Heart. He simultaneously pointed to his Heart.
 
Bhagavan was looking at me intently and I focused my attention in the manner he instructed me and within a few minutes I was led into samadhi. I was thrilled. Coming to my senses we went for lunch. Then again, I sat before him and by a single look he put me into that blissful state.
 
This experience occurred again and again-during all seventeen days that I stayed with Bhagavan. I was like one intoxicated. I was absolutely indifferent to everything. I had no curiosity to see anything, no desire whatsoever. What I did I did most mechanically. I would have continued to live in this state if it had not occurred to me that it was not proper to partake of the food that was offered to Sri Bhagavan by his devotees without paying anything. I thought that he had initiated me into the experience of Brahman and that I had nothing more to gain by staying in his presence. I, therefore, returned to my native place and began to practice meditation in a room in my house all by myself. I could succeed to gain and retain that experience only for a few days; it started to diminish gradually and at last one day it was lost. I could not regain the experience. I decided to return to Sri Bhagavan. This I did, and great good fortune awaited me when I came.
 
Palaniswami, who was rendering personal service to Sri Bhagavan, had to go on a journey for some time. Before going he asked me to render such service. This I considered to be my greatest good fortune. I felt extremely happy for the grace which Bhagavan had shown me. I did not thereafter bother myself about the spiritual experience.
 
I, however, asked Bhagavan why I could not get the experience when I meditated in my house. Bhagavan said: “You have read Kaivalya Navaneeta, have you not? Don’t you remember what it says?” And he took up the book and read the relevant verses.
 
Sri Bhagavan then explained to me at great length the purport of these verses. They relate to the doubt raised by the disciple about the need to continue spiritual practices even after one has had the supreme experience. The disciple wonders whether the spiritual experience once gained could be lost. The Guru says that it would be until he took care to practise sravana, manana and nididhyasana, that is hearing from the Guru the Truth, reflecting over it and assimilating it. The experience would occur in the presence of the Guru, but it would not last. Doubts would arise again and again and in order to clear them the disciple should continue to study, think and practice. These would be done until the distinction of the knower, the object of knowledge and the act of knowing no longer arise. In the view of Sri Bhagavan’s explanation I decided to stay always by Bhagavan’s side and practise sravana, manana and nididhyasana.




Ravi.N

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Re: Our Bhagavan-Stories
« Reply #408 on: January 23, 2014, 06:29:57 AM »
Reminiscences of Sri Kunju Swami-2:

In olden days when we had the benefit of receiving personal instructions from Sri Bhagavan, one of them was to get into meditation before going to sleep. Thus sleep overtook one as a natural sequel to fatigue and was not induced or preceded by lying down. Also the first thing in the morning, immediately on getting up from bed was to go into meditation. This ensured a serenity of mind and also a feeling of tirelessness throughout the day. The state of mind immediately before sleep is resumed on waking.
 
After spending about twelve years in personal attendance on Bhagavan, I began to feel an urge to devote myself entirely to sadhana. However, I could not easily reconcile myself to giving up my personal service to Bhagavan. I had been debating the matter for some days when the answer came in a strange way.
 
As I entered the hall one day I heard Bhagavan explaining to others who were there that real service to him did not mean attending to his physical needs but following the essence of his teaching: that is concentrating on realizing the Self. Needless to say, that automatically cleared my doubts.
 
I therefore gave up my Ashrama duties, but I then found it hard to decide how, in fact, I should spend the entire day in search of Realization. I referred the matter to Bhagavan and he advised me to make Self-enquiry my final aim but to practise Self-enquiry, meditation, japa and recitation of scripture turn by turn, changing over from one to another as and when I found the one I was doing irksome or difficult. In course of time, he said, the sadhana would become stabilized in Self-enquiry or pure Consciousness or Realization.
 
Before recommending any path to an aspirant Bhagavan would first find out from him what aspect or form or path he was naturally drawn to and then recommend the person to follow it. He would sometimes endorse the traditional stages of sadhana, advancing from worship (puja) to incantation (japa), then to meditation (dhyana), and finally to Self-enquiry (vichara). However, he also use to say that continuous and rigorous practice of any one of these methods was adequate in itself to lead to Realization.



Ravi.N

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Re: Our Bhagavan-Stories
« Reply #409 on: January 23, 2014, 06:32:45 AM »
Reminiscences of Sri Kunju Swami-3

Once some awkward problems concerning the Ashrama management came up. Without being directly concerned, I was worried about them, as I felt that failure to solve them satisfactorily would impair the good name of the Ashrama.
 
One day two or three devotees went to Bhagavan and put the problems before him. I happened to enter the hall while they were talking about them, and he immediately turned to me and asked me why I was interesting myself in such matters. I did not grasp the meaning of his question, so Bhagavan explained that a person should occupy himself only with that purpose with which he had originally come to the Ashrama and asked me what my original purpose had been. I replied: “To receive Bhagavan’s grace.” So he said: “Then occupy yourself with that only.”
 
He further continued by asking me whether I had any interest in matters concerning the Ashrama management when I first came here. On my replying that I had not, he added: “Then concentrate on the original purpose of your coming here.”
 
There are numerous photos of Bhagavan. Have you ever seen one with his eyes closed ? Bhagavan was pouring out his grace through his eyes. There would be any number of devotees sitting before him and each one would feel that Bhagavan was looking only at him or her.
 
Bhagavan’s dristhi (sight) was concentrated on space only. It was turned inward and everyone felt inwardly, in their hearts, that his sight was focused on them alone. Bhagavan cares about everyone, and his look pierces through each one’s heart, dispels our darkness, gives us peace, even some liberation.

excerpted from Maharshi Newsletter: Jul / Aug 1991, Vol.1 No.4

Balaji

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Re: Our Bhagavan-Stories
« Reply #410 on: January 28, 2014, 11:26:09 AM »
Pankajamma

We called on her at her house in Tiruvannamalai today. Her home is not far from Sri Ramanashramam. A driveway led to the house built in the back, and two monkeys and two dogs welcomed us as we went in. One dog was a saint. He just sat in peace. The other was frisky and barked away in happiness. It's that sort of house. All are welcome.

Age is showing a bit in Pankajamma’s body. But not in her demeanor. She welcomed us with a fullness of affection that can only come from that ‘otherness’ that is Ramana.

Here’s a picture I took of her today…

Here’s Pankajamma’s story in brief…

She comes from a traditional Tamizh family of Cuddalore. Her parents were drawn to Bhagavan sri Ramana Maharshi, the sage of Arunachala, and would visit him often. Thus, even as a very young girl, she grew up in that atmosphere of Bhakti, and was keen to go with her parents and see the sage. Maybe because she was young, or for whatever other reason, her parents never took her along, although she pleaded. And then one day, when she was twelve, they gave her Aksharamanamaalai - the Tamizh song composed by Ramana. “I learnt it by heart in two days”, she says. “And immediately after that I also learnt ‘Kanda Shashti Kavacam’. And from the age of 12, till today, it has been my blessing that I have been reciting both these prayers every single day”, she says, looking the very picture of peace.

On my request, she told me something about her association with Bhagavan Ramana.

She first met Ramana when she was sixteen. Her parents took her along this time. And she found the Maharshi in the Ashram, sitting near a well. Some ladies were sitting on one side, and gents on another. Bhagavan was sitting on a reclining chair…

Pankajamma says, “It was as if I was meeting an old acquaintance, a close relative, after a long time. Of course I was happy. Very happy. Like I am happy seeing you all now. Same way. It wasn't as if the happiness was different…And I felt so ‘related’ to Him, that I did not feel shy at all, and I simply felt like singing Aksharamanamalai…And so I started singing it…Bhagavan immediately seemed to stiffen, and I continued to sing…And then I came to the lines ‘Kaantam irumbupol kavarndenai vidaamal kalandenodiruppaai Arunaachalaa!’(Like a magnet does iron, attract me ceaselessly, hold me, Abide with me , O Arunachalaa!)…”

Pankajamma continues…”Now, Bhagavan was not the sort to point out small errors. This was not as if it was a scholarly discussion on Vedanta. Had it been that, and had some scholars been questioning Bhagavan, well, then, he would have patiently answered all their queries. But this was not such an occasion. I was a simple young girl, dressed in Paavadai-Melaakku. And I was singing Aksharamanamalai. Having seen Bhagavan closely for many years, I know that normally He would have just been all attention, all silence, all love. He would have forgiven the small mistakes of pronunciations that the singer might commit. But not that time when I sang. And for that I am eternally grateful to Him! For the first time time in my life, and indeed the only time in my life, He spoke directly to me. I had pronounced the word Kaantham (magnet) as Gaantham. He immediately said “Oohum…” and looked directly at me. Into my eyes! That look! And gently told me, ‘Not Gaantham…Kaantham’…

That was it! From that day, that Kaantham (magnet) has taken me over completely. Nothing left here,” she said.

On our prodding, she told us of a few more ’special’ moments of ‘divine’, in her life.

“During one of my early visits, when I was once sitting in Bhagavan Ramana’s presence, I closed my eyes… And I had a distinct vision of a small Mayilvahana Murugan - Murugan on a peacock … From that moment I was certain of the identity of Ramana and Muruga.”

And as she said this, I remembered that she had mentioned that her daily parayana from the age of 12 consisted of chanting Aksharamanamalai and Kanda Shasti Kavacam … Ramana and Muruga …

Continuing her story, she said, “My parents found a match for me, and I was married to a boy from a landed family of Tanjore.”… And with a twinkle in her eye, she added “I must say that it was their family indeed that gained far more by their association with my family… For my husband was introduced to Bhagavan only because of marrying me. He came with me many times to the presence of Bhagavan.”

And during the course of further conversation, she spoke of a few very special moments in her life…

“I was 21, my son was just six months old, when there developed some painful growth in my neck. The local doctors at Tanjore could not effect a cure for this. I was then taken to Cuddalore, where my father lived. Cuddalore had a bigger hospital, and I was examined there. They diagnosed the growth to be a tumor that had to be immediately operated and removed. However, the tumor was in such a place that the surgery was very risky. The surgeon said that there was every risk of injuring some nerve, which might affect the brain itself… But there was no option and I was admitted to the hospital for surgery. Surprisingly, I wasn’t worried. Although my son was just six months, and my life was a serious question mark, I wasn’t feeling any sense of depression arising out of attachment to my child, nor any other worry. Somehow, I was not perturbed at all. I just submitted myself to whatever was asked of me.

On the day of the surgery, I was lying down on the operating table, when the doctor came to administer anesthesia… He asked me to count one-two-three etc to calm the mind as it slipped into unconsciousness. But instead of doing that, I started saying ‘Ramana! Ramana! Ramana!’ Quite involuntarily. It is not that I wanted to pray to him. It just happened that I spoke his name… And then I had a ’special’ experience…I was walking, my hands cupped in front of me, seeking Ramana, taking his name, walking towards him….And I slipped into unconsciousness…

The operation was completed. And as I emerged from unconsciousness, to the utter surprise of all people around me, I woke up with a feeling of great joy. This joy lasted for a long while after the surgery….

My mother asked me about it… And I told her the reason.

Sometime during the surgery, I had a vivid experience. In that experience, I was a small baby. And Bhagavan was holding me. Head to toe, I fitted within the cup of his two hands. And he was looking at me with great love…It was an exhilarating… It was that joy that I woke up with…”

“Once, we were to celebrate Vinayaka Caturti… We had bought a clay Ganesha for the function. The night before the festival, I was fast asleep… And I suddenly felt a wonderful sensation… Someone was patting me on my head, as I slept.” she said, running the palm of her hand softly from her top of her forehead, backward along the crown…”And I woke up with a start…And what do I see? A small sized Ganesha! He was patting me with his trunk…

Another time… It was the first friday in the month of Adi, a day special to Goddess… Early morning, some ladies came home, gave me traditional offering of Coconut and tamboolam… I have not seen them before… This repeated the next two Fridays as well…The fourth Friday, some ladies came, and gave me a cup of milk… And then on the last Friday of the month, a majestic lady came home. She was wearing a brilliant red silk saree, with large border… She looked glorious, ajaanubahoo (tall, and with long arms)… She had long hair, with lots of flowers.” (Pankajamma mentioned a particular flower species, but I forget which…)…

“I was so overwhelmed by her presence that I rushed to her and hugged her, saying ‘Amma!’.

I didn’t know who she was. Later I mentioned this to Sri Kunjuswami, who was staying with us those days. After listening to the description he told me that the lady was none other than Goddess Meenakshi!

I have never gone seeking for these experiences, never entertained any such desire. But they just happened.

After I came to Bhagavan, I suddenly started composing songs on Bhagavan. What do I know of these! I am but a fourth standard pass. But the words and the tune would just occur to me. I have no knowledge of classical music. I have no idea of raga or metre. But the tune and the name of the raga would occur to me. And so would the Taala (metre). More than a hundred such songs in Tamizh have been noted by me. Songs on Bhagavan! But sometime after 2000 AD, the songs stopped coming. I never went after them in the first place. Now that they don’t come, that’s fine too…”

She has been through some severe bouts of physical sufferings due to illnesses, in different times in her life.

“I know that these sufferings are but Karma being erased. This I know that this birth is the last one. All Karma will go by the grace of Bhagavan”, she said, with complete faith and confidence.

On our request, she sang the last song that had “come to her”. She was not keeping well and was also suffering from sore throat. But she didn’t hesitate to sing. After singing she excused herself saying, “Old age affects the body…Can’t help that…But what does that have to with real? Adu vEra AaLu (that Person is different)” she said tapping her spiritual heart (on the right side of the chest).

These were the kind of conversations that Pankajamma, the simple old lady, shared with us, on the eve of her 87th birthday. Her son and his family stay with her. There was a kid running in and out. It was a normal Indian family …. Except for this lady called Pankajamma!

from the fb
Om Namo Bagavathe Sri Ramanaya

Ravi.N

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Re: Our Bhagavan-Stories
« Reply #411 on: February 05, 2014, 07:08:31 PM »
I had been twice to Sri Ramanasramam. The first visit was in 1936. Bhagavan was an extraordinary personality who could draw the minds and hearts of the people from all over the world. A verse in the Srimad Bhagavatam describes the nature of the holy person, attachment to whom becomes a liberating force. It is meant for those who are extremely tranquil, whose mind is like the calm ocean without waves, who are filled with compassion – a friend of all embodied beings. Another feature is that an enemy is yet to be born for such a person. This fine description fits our Bhagavan most.
The Maharshi had condensed in himself the immortal, the eternal. Hence the tremendous stature of his life. He lived amongst us like a simple human being. You could not measure him, just as the column of light of Siva which had once appeared in Arunachala. You could not see the height, you could not see the depth.
Those who had seen the human form of Bhagavan are blessed indeed. His touch was the touch of the immortal, a touch which elevates and makes you feel that you are also someone worthwhile.
In this age of physical verification, we find in Bhagavan, the human form of that eternal truth. Bhagavan was constantly in the divine awareness – whether he
was sitting alone and radiating his silent presence, whether he was correcting proofs, whether he was reading the newspaper, whether he was cutting vegetables in the kitchen, he was brimming with joy. He was the very personification of the infinite, of the divine. Every word he spoke was charged with the wisdom of atma vidya. He exemplified the great teaching ‘I am that.’ Bhagavan says that this experience is easy to come by. It is easy. There are no gymnastics to go through. It is just changing the centre of our awareness.
We have seen Ramana Maharshi; we read about Suka of the Bhagavatam. There is so much similarity between the two. They found delight in and were revelling in the Self-experiencing infinite joy, free from the bondage and yet filled with motiveless love. It is the eternal message manifesting in a human dimension whom we call Ramana the Maharshi.
There is a beautiful verse in Sankaracharya’s Vivekachudamani, which is so apt for the Maharshi: ‘Absolutely poor but full of happiness, no army behind but infinitely strong, no experience of sense satisfaction but always happy, none equal to him but he feels all to be his equals.’ I would like to refer to just one instance. When I arrived I had told him that I would be staying for three days and would leave by train on the evening of the third day. I had forgotten. He looked at me at the right time and said, “Your tonga is arranged, it is time for you to go.” How human – talking man-to-man, and yet how gigantic.
What is said of Sri Krishna in the Bhagavatam applies equally to Bhagavan.‘The more we hear, the more the desire arises to hear more and more.’ May all of us be worthy of this tremendous spiritual dynamo who enters our heart even without our knowing it.

Reminiscences of Swami Ranganathananda -Face to Face with Sri Ramana Maharshi

Balaji

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Re: Our Bhagavan-Stories
« Reply #412 on: March 12, 2014, 11:52:22 AM »
Mr. and Mrs. S. were visitors from Peru to the Ashram.
The couple narrated all their story to Bhagavan, all the privations they had undergone to have a look at Sri Maharshi. Bhagavan was all kindness to them; He heard their story with great concern, and then remarked: ?You need not have taken all this trouble. You could well have thought of me from where you were, and so could have had all the consolation of a personal visit.?? This remark of Sri Bhagavan they could not easily understand, nor did it give them any consolation as they sat at His feet like Mary. Sri Maharshi did not want to disturb their pleasure in being in His immediate vicinity, and so He left them at that.

Later in the evening Sri Maharshi was enquiring about their day-to-day life, and incidentally their talk turned to Peru. The couple began picturing the landscape of Peru and were describing the sea- coast and the beach of their own town. Just then Maharshi remarked: ?Is not the beach of your town paved with marble slabs, and are not coconut palms planted in between? Are there not marble benches in rows facing the sea there and did you not often sit on the fifth of those with your wife??? This remark of Sri Maharshi created astonishment in the couple. How could Sri Bhagavan, who had never gone out of Tiruvannamalai, know so intimately such minute details about their own place?

Sri Maharshi only smiled and remarked: ?It does not matter how I can tell. Enough if you know that in the Self there is no Space-Time.??
Om Namo Bagavathe Sri Ramanaya

Balaji

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Re: Our Bhagavan-Stories
« Reply #413 on: March 12, 2014, 12:01:17 PM »
Presence

(from the Golden Jubilee Souvenir, by Dewan Bahadur K.S.Ramaswami Sastri)

I have seen the Maharshi when he was in a small cave up the hillside, shunning human society and rapt in uncanny and unbroken silence. I have seen him when he came a little down the hillside and dwelt on its lower stretches. A room with a verandah all round took the place of the narrow diminutive cave. Whenever I saw him, during these later days, I used to ply him with questions about the soul and he used to smile and give brief, bright, blessed replies, dispelling doubt. I have seen him since in a spacious room amidst a handsome pile of buildings, which are yet growing in number and in size. A shrine was built in memory of his holy Mother who has passed into the 'beyond' and become one with God. His present abode is at the foot of the Hill. His coming down thus from the hillside to the hill-base is symbolical of the new urge, the urge to commune with God and also to build the Kingdom of God on the earth.

I found him stretched at ease on a couch, during the sweltering heat of the day. A revolving bookshelf was near his hand; at his foot a stand of incense sticks sent wreathed smoke-rings of subtle perfume into the motionless air. A little beyond sat disciples and admirers in a meditative pose, in absolute calm and quietness. Ever and anon the slightest of slight breezes came stealing into the room and made the incense smoke whirl and spread, while the world-intoxicated mind became subdued, calm and purified in the holy atmosphere of the Sage. Not one word was uttered by anyone. But there was an eloquent silence all about us.
"Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard Are sweeter;
therefore ye soft pipes, play on;
Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear'd,
Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone." (Keats)

Was it the stately presence of the silent Hill seen through the window that spoke to our souls with a solemn, silent stillness? Was it the holy mood of the Master in his introverted introspection? Was it the still small voice of everyone there rapt into a kindred mood by a force subtle and unseen, but powerful and felt within? We sat there, and time rolled on while we were oblivious of its course. Each felt a sense of inner release and was as happy as a bird "sailing with supreme dominion through the azure deep of air."

The hush of the evening fell upon us. The Master rose and passed into the open pandal close by and sat on a couch in a place whence we could see the Hill floodlighted by the setting sun. The disciples and admirers also moved thither and sat in a semicircle in front of the Sage. Then began their chant of the daily evensong, glorifying the Master and his message. The hymn swelled forth again and again in ever-new cadences, all the persons present taking up the chorus: "May Sri Ramana's holy Feet live and flourish, and bless all forever and forever!"

Then the hymn came to a solemn close, and the full moon rose in the sapphire sky. That deep silence which had preceded the rapturous song fell on us once more. The inner Full moon of Divine ecstasy rose in the sky of our hearts. Then came to my mind the great passage by Oscar Wilde: "Indeed, that is the charm about Christ; when all is said, He is just like a work of art. He does not really teach one anything, but by being brought into His presence one becomes something. And everybody is predestined to His presence." I felt that I was predestined to the Sage's presence and went into the stillness of the night, moving away from him physically but feeling drawn nearer to him in spirit like a streamer borne against the wind...
Om Namo Bagavathe Sri Ramanaya

Ravi.N

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Re: Our Bhagavan-Stories
« Reply #414 on: March 31, 2014, 10:25:32 AM »
Is the Ugadi come?

19-3-1950 was the Lunar New Year's Day. From the time I had come here, it had been usual for me to offer to Bhagavan for his personal wear a khaddar towel and a kowpeenam and arrange for bhiksha in the Ashram that day. As I did not like to give it up this year, I took with me a towel and kowpeenam in the evening at about 7 o'clock of 18-3-1950, went into that small room accompanied by our postmaster, Raja Iyer. Bhagavan stared at me. I quietly placed the clothes on the table and said the next day was the Ugadi (New Year's Day). Bhagavan started at that and said, 'Is the Ugadi come? Is the Vikruti (the name of the new year) come'? There was something strange and perplexing in that voice. And I cannot explain why, but it seemed to forebode something disastrous and it was to me heartrending.
The two attendants stood aghast. I too could say nothing and so mumbled, 'I felt it would be inauspicious if I gave up my usual practice'. Bhagavan said, 'Oh! What is there in that'? and looking at one of the attendants by name Anjaneyalu who was by his side, he said, 'Keep those clothes carefully. Nagamma has brought them. Tomorrow it is Ugadi, it seems'. So saying, in a very gentle manner he gave us leave to go. As the attendants were removing the clothes, I went near the couch and asked Bhagavan, 'How is the arm'? Bhagavan said, 'What shall I say how it is'? I told Bhagavan, 'You must somehow cure yourself'. Bhagavan replied, 'Ahem. I cannot
say anything now'. I pleaded with great humility, 'How could you say that, Bhagavan'? Perhaps he felt that my hopes would not go unless he told me the bare truth and so looking at me with compassion, he said, 'Ahem. Cure? What cure'? I said, 'Ayyo! Will it not be cured'? Bhagavan replied, 'Ahem. Cure? What cure? How could there be any cure now'? The previous assurance that there was nothing to worry about and nothing would happen - all of them disappeared at that moment and when I heard those words, my whole body shook with fear. My eyes filled with tears and my voice got choked. I wanted to ask about our fate for the future and so was trying to gather some composure of mind and open my lips when someone from the office came in hurriedly on some urgent work. I was startled by that noise and came out without asking what I wanted to ask and slowly retraced my steps to my hut. The next morning I thought of approaching Bhagavan again and ask for his final message, but could not get an opportunity. The resonant voice of Bhagavan that said, 'Is the Ugadi come'? appeared to me to say, 'All is over'. With that Ugadi the great privilege I had all these years of hearing and enjoying the nectar of Bhagavan's voice ended.
On the evening of 14-4-1950, I went at 6-30 and stood in the queue arranged for an orderly darshan of Bhagavan and when I got up on the raised mound opposite the door of the room where Bhagavan was sitting, and stood there for a while with my sight concentrated on him and prayed to him mentally, 'Oh Prabho! Won't you for once radiate on me your compassionate look'? Bhagavan's eyes slowly began
to open and from those eyes, a mild and compassionate look came on me. That was the last time I had the great fortune of his compassionate look.
At 8-47 that night, Sri Ramana, the embodiment of light and enlightenment, left his mortal coil. When the mortal body of Gurudev, who was at once my mother, father, Guru and God and who has protected me all these years, ceased to be the abode of that great soul, I remained still as a statue, drowned in inexpressible grief and sorrow.
The writing of these letters was begun on 21-11-1945 and continued uninterrupted all these days through the grace of Bhagavan, and with the end of the Avatar of Bhagavan, I am giving up the writing of these letters.
OM TAT SAT

Letters from Sri Ramanasramam-By Suri Nagamma
« Last Edit: March 31, 2014, 10:38:34 AM by Ravi.N »

Balaji

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Re: Our Bhagavan-Stories
« Reply #415 on: May 02, 2014, 11:27:02 AM »

Why poor feeding in Ramanasramam is called Narayana Seva or service to God?
Why are poor fed before guests and residents in the ashram?

Lokamma narrates an incident in Ramana Smriti which addresses these questions ?Very often we found ourselves caught in the trap of out?moded customs and conventions that discriminated against the less fortunate, especially women and the lower castes. Bhagavan was strict in treating all equally. He often said, ?The Ashram does not see any differences. There are no un?touchables here. Those who do not like it may eat elsewhere. At Skandashramam there used to be the same trouble with mother. She would not give food to the man who brought us firewood. She would insist that I eat first, then she would eat and then the woodcutter could have the remnants left outside the Ashram. I would refuse to eat until the man was decently fed. At first she would not yield and would suffer and weep and fast, but I was adamant too. She then saw that she could not have her way in these matters. What is the difference between man and man? Am I a Brahmin and he a pariah? Is it not correct to see only God in all?? We were all astounded. The rebuke went deep into our hearts. We asked Bhagavan to make our minds clear and our hearts pure so that we would sin no more against God(Narayana) in man.?
Om Namo Bagavathe Sri Ramanaya

Ravi.N

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Re: Our Bhagavan-Stories
« Reply #416 on: May 22, 2014, 06:44:47 AM »
22nd August, 1946 (67) ARPANA (OFFERING)

A devotee who has been a regular visitor here for a long time came a week back with a copy of the Tamil book Thiruvaimozhi and began talking to Bhagavan about Vaishnava traditions. It seems he recently received Samasrayanam (initiation). When he said that, Bhagavan began relating his earlier experiences as follows:
'When I was on the hill, some Vaishnavaites used to come there to see me. There are, as you know, two sections amongst Vaishnavaites, Vadakalai and Thenkalai. I used to speak to these visitors in accordance with their respective traditions, as I lose nothing by doing so. When, however, they thought that I was on their side and wanted me to have Samasrayanam, I declined. They believe that no one will be permitted into Vaikuntam (heaven) unless he is duly initiated. I used to ask them, 'Show me even one person who has gone to Vaikuntam with his body'. According to their traditions, they do not accept Sayujyam (absorption into the deity). They say, 'Sri Maha Vishnu is in heaven, Vaikuntam. Released souls sit around him and serve him'. How will all find accommodation there? Perhaps they sit close together shoulder to shoulder? They alone should know. Not only that. It seems there is a mantra which declares that they surrender their all to their Guru at the time they receive Samasrayanam. It is enough if the mantra is recited and a dakshina (offering or donation) is given to the Guru. The surrender is over, and it does not matter whatever is done afterwards; a seat is reserved for them in Vaikuntam. What more is needed? That is the opinion of some of them. It is mere delusion to think of arpana (offering), so lightly. Arpana
means that the mind gets merged in the self and becomes one with it. It means that it should become devoid of all vasanas. And that will not come about unless there is self effort and God?s Grace. God?s force cannot get hold of you and drag you into itself unless you surrender completely.
But where is the question of our surrendering? The self itself is to be surrendered. Until one can accomplish that, one should go on struggling unceasingly. It is only after trying again and again that one may, finally, succeed in the effort. Once you succeed, there is no going back. That is the proper course. What is the use of merely repeating the word arpana, arpana? Except that you give some money while repeating the word arpana, what is the effect on the mind? In this Thiruvaimozhi itself there are some songs in the Advaitic cult sung by some devotees after attaining Self-realisation. Nammalwar is one such devotee. He sang that a mother praised her daughter who attained Self-realisation in a form that looked like condemnation. The gist of those songs is, 'This child says, I am Siva, I am Vishnu, I am Brahma, I am Indra, I am the sun, I am the five elements and I am everything! It is that Vishnu who sits on her head and makes her talk thus; otherwise she would not have these aberrations. It is that Vishnu who has changed her thus'. That is the purport of these songs. Those songs were read out and Bhagavan explained the meaning.
After that, he explained to us about Visishtadvaita: 'When some devotees sang in terms of Advaita, some commentators twisted the meaning, interpreting it in terms
of Visishtadvaita. That is all; it is nothing else. That is also the opinion of all the ancients. After all, what exactly is meant by Visishtadvaita? That which is Visishta (distinguished) and best is Vishnu. That is Ishwara, Sadasiva, Brahma and all. That which is, is only One. Some Vaishnavaites give it a name and a shape and do not admit that there could be any Sayujyam (absorption in the Supreme Being) except by way of living in the same world (Salokyam), in the same vicinity (Sameepyam), and the same form (Sarupyam) as the Supreme Being. They say, arpana, arpana (offering, offering). How can there be arpana unless there is a thing called 'I' ?Complete surrender cannot come about unless one knows who one is.If you come to know that, you will realise that what remains is only one thing. The mind which is the 'I' submits of its own accord. And that is the real arpana (surrender),' said Bhagavan.

Letters from Sri Ramanasramam-By suri Nagamma
« Last Edit: May 22, 2014, 07:50:48 AM by Ravi.N »

Balaji

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Re: Our Bhagavan-Stories
« Reply #417 on: June 16, 2014, 01:09:19 PM »
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)
Om Namo Bagavathe Sri Ramanaya

Balaji

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Re: Our Bhagavan-Stories
« Reply #418 on: June 18, 2014, 11:00:44 AM »
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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Om Namo Bagavathe Sri Ramanaya

Subramanian.R

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Re: Our Bhagavan-Stories
« Reply #419 on: June 18, 2014, 11:14:48 AM »
Dear Balaji,

I met Hari Chandra Khanna's sons and daughters during one of my visits to Tiruvannamalai.  Hari Chandra Khanna's
samadhi is there in Korangu Thottam.

Arunachala Siva.