Author Topic: They also serve who stand and wait - Little known devotees.  (Read 5252 times)

Subramanian.R

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They also serve who stand and wait - Little known devotees.
« on: January 17, 2013, 04:14:03 PM »
RAYAR:

Ranga Rao, popularly known as Rayar, was an inmate of Sri Ramanasramam from the early years. While he was studying at
Dindigul, the Kanchi Paramacharya and Viswantha Swami were his class mates. He was a disciple of Kavyakanta Ganapati
Muni had a small Ashram of his own, Indrani Ashram, in Polur, near  Tiruvannamalai for some time. He was of great help tp
Chinnaswami, particularly in the kitchen. His cooking was a regular treat.

Though of volatile temperament, he was popular among the fellow devotees.

He had planned a short stay at Sri Ramanasramam, but the pull of Sri Bhagavan was such that he remained thee for over three
decades!

****

Arunachala Siva.   

Subramanian.R

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Re: They also serve who stand and wait - Little known devotees.
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2013, 10:28:52 AM »
RANGASWAMI:

Rangaswami was a diligent and hard working attendant of Bhagavan for a number of years. He used to make notes for some
of Bhagavan's comments and advice., There is a reference to him in the Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi. When Bhagavan and
he were walking behind the Asramam, Bhagavan noticed someone in the Asramam rocking in a rocking chair and remarked to\
Rangaswami 'Siva had made over all his possessions to Vishnu and wandered away in the forest. In his view non possession
led to greater happiness than possession of things.'  Sri Ramana also added that 'divestment of possessions' is the highest
happiness.'

Suri Nagamma makes two references to Rangaswami in Letters. On the morning of 26th November 1945, the memorable day
which Sri Bhagavan spent with  the devotees at Skandasramam, Rangaswami was the attendant, who accompanied Him,
'like Nandi to Lord Siva.'

Rangaswami would sometimes remind Sri Bhagavan about incidents in his earlier life as it happened while Sri Bhagavan was reading
Ramana Leela of Krishna Bhikshu. Rangaswami asked, 'Has the story about the towel been written in it?' Then Sri Ramana gave
a detailed account of it. Once a towel which was being used by Him was wholly tattered but the devotees who were with Him, like
Pazhaniswami did not notice it.  A mischievous little boy saw it and said, 'Swami, Swami, this towel is required by the Governor.'
Sri Bhagavan told the boy, 'No, go and tell the Governor that I shall not part with it!'

*****

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Subramanian.R

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Re: They also serve who stand and wait - Little known devotees.
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2013, 01:14:58 PM »
RAJA IYER - THE ASRAMAM POST MASTER:

V. Rajasubrahmania Iyer or Raja Iyer or simply Raja, as he is called, was one of the well-known personalities in the Asramam.
In his capacity as the post master of the Asramam Post Office, he was extremely helpful to everybody, especially visitors from
abroad to many of whom he was almost indispensable.

He first met Sri Bhagavan in the Virupaksha Cave as early as 1911. Thereafter he used to come and see Him every now and then.
It was only from 1935, that he began to stay permanently in the Asramam.

The circumstances under which he became a permanent inmate of the Asramam are quite interesting. One day he had a dream in which
he saw Sri Bhagavan who ordered him to pull the punkah overhead. He obeyed Him with great joy. During his next visit, Sri Bhagavan
looked up as soon as he had prostrated and asked him to pull the punkah. This was a surprise to him but he connected it immediately
to his dream. He pulled the punkah joyously for about five minutes till Sri Bhagavan asked him to stop.

Thereafter, he continued to do some service or other in the Asramam. He worked with Sri Bhagavan in the kitchen very often. After
sometime, he was entrusted with the work of preparing morning idlis for breakfast. In 1937, a small post office was opened inside the
Asramam and he was appointed as the Post Master, in charge of it. He used to recollect with overwhelming joy, how Sri Bhagavan
Himself stamped the first  batch of letters to issue from the post office.

He lived up to a ripe old age, and would regale visitors with several anecdotes from Sri Bhagavan's life.

Arunachala Siva.         

Subramanian.R

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Re: They also serve who stand and wait - Little known devotees.
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2013, 01:31:30 PM »
SUBRAHMANYAM:

In 1935, I was accompanied by Anantachari to Sri Ramanasramam. I was captivated by the sight of the temple towers against
the backdrop of Arunachaloa Hill in all its brightness of the early morning hours. At the Asramam, Bhagavan was seated on a
couch, in a thatched shed. A few devotees were there. There was an overpowering silence. Language cannot describe it. One
of the visitors broke it by seeking counsel from Bhagavan. 'Know who you are. This is the easiest path.' was the reply. That
person persisted, saying that it might be easy for Bhagavan but for the persons like him., Bhagavan remarked, 'Find out who is
it that is weighing and deciding whether it is easy or difficult.'

These were my questions and His answers:

Q: Is it true that God's advent is for a special purpose required at that time?

Bhagavan: Yes.

Q: Is a Guru absolutely necessary for spiritual progress?

Bhagavan: Yes. If you do not have the requisite strength of mind.

Q: My favorite God is Siva. I like several of his pictures. Should I choose one?

Bhagavan: For contemplation, it would be better to concentrate on one particular picture.

One day very early in the  morning,  Anantachari and I joined Bhagavan in the kitchen for cutting vegetables. We noticed
how evenly He cut them. The thought that perfection of work is a true yoga crossed my mind. The butter milk served that day
was very watery but Bhagavan put us to shame by drinking it in His cupped hands, as if it was truly nectar from heaven.

One full moon day, the ladies worshipped Bhagavan, chanting His holy name most movingly. Arti was offered. Bhagavan took
kumkumam from the plate and applied it to His forehead. On that day, He was truly a sight for Gods to see.

Before returning I purchased a copy of Upadesa Saram  and requested Him to write something on it. He slowly wrote OM
as a sculptor seeking perfection would use his chisel. He humorously told me, 'You can now show it to everyone. See, the great
Ramana Maharshi, has written specially for me.'         

*****

Arunachala Siva.

Subramanian.R

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Re: They also serve who stand and wait - Little known devotees.
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2013, 01:15:42 PM »
SAMPOORNAMMA:

Among the old devotees who are also inmates of Sri Ramanasramam only Kunju Swami, Ramaswami Pillai, Balarama Reddy, Sampooranamma and K. Natesan are still with us. (This was in 1990).  Each one has some striking quality. Steadfastness marks
out Sampooranamma. In spite of her old age, she is always happy and cheerful. She never misses the daily workshop in in 'Ramana's
Shrine or Mother's Temple. Each morning and evening she would be there. Every pooja is a special one for her. She has a keen sense
of music. She has been living more or less permanently in the Asramam from 1930. She would readily recall those wonderful two
decades with Sri Ramana. she had so many opportunities to be near Him particularly in the early years. She was an expert cook and
would enjoy getting Sri Bhagavan's approval for He was a past master in the culinary art. In the early years life was not easy for lady
devotees. She had to cross a lonely road to reach Sri Ramanasramam. Yet, nothing would daunt her for Ramana would assure her of His
protection. One special experience is worth recording. One occasion, early in the day she saw Arunachala in blaze of light and Ramana
was sitting in the middle of light.

Once Ramana asked her to read Ribhu Gita. She protested on the ground that she was illiterate and could not understand it. He told her
that it would have is own utility and went on to explain the meaning of the verses. He also wrote in His own handwriting the first chapter of the book since her copy did not have it. This is now her most valued possession.

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deepa

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Re: They also serve who stand and wait - Little known devotees.
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2013, 08:27:47 PM »
SAMPOORNAMMA:

Once Ramana asked her to read Ribhu Gita. She protested on the ground that she was illiterate and could not understand it. He told her
that it would have is own utility and went on to explain the meaning of the verses. He also wrote in His own handwriting the first chapter of the book since her copy did not have it. This is now her most valued possession.

*****

Thanks for sharing such inspiring stories, sir.

What differentiates gnanis is that they don't seem to consider anybody not worthy for any knowledge. Others automatically set prerequisites for knowledge. Bhagawan shows that so wonderfully in his Sampoornamma example.



Subramanian.R

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Re: They also serve who stand and wait - Little known devotees.
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2013, 10:17:29 AM »
SHANTAMMA:

She is one of the fortunate four lady kitchen assistants who had the opportunity of being guided by Sri Bhagavan in the years when
He used to work in the kitchen.

She came from Ramanathapuram, the same place the poet saint Muruganar.  In fact, it was he who had shown her the photo
of Sri Bhagavan which bewitched her at once. This was in 1927, and she immediately went to Sri Ramanasramam during the
Kartikai festival. At that time, there was a need for an assistant in the Asramam kitchen. Thanks to this, she could become an inmate
of the Asramam in 1928 itself.

Whenever she transgressed the law of equality Sri Bhagavan would pull her up until she learnt that the best way to serve Him
was to serve His devotees.

******

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Subramanian.R

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Re: They also serve who stand and wait - Little known devotees.
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2013, 10:34:35 AM »
SOURIS:

It is wonderful to be young, when Sri Ramana's call comes. Then one is innocent, unsullied, and ready to give oneself unreservedly
to the pull of the Master.  This was the fortunate lot of Souris.  For she was barely fourteen, when she first came to Sri
Ramanasramam, with her father Chalam in 1938.  The ground was already prepared for her father had come under Sri Ramana's
sway, thanks to his visit two years earlier.  She had also a natural distaste for worldly pleasures. Paul Brunton's book had fired
her imagination. The first visit was comparatively uneventful though she did have long spells of meditation. It was the second
one towards the end of the year which was momentous. Her young heart became wholly Ramana's.  Thanks to His blessings,
she could write a most moving letter,  'A Letter from Arunachala' It was first published in a Telugu magazine, Bharati. On Sri
Ramana's suggestion, it was translated into English and Tamizh.

There was a long gap of ten years, between 1940 and 1950, where she could not go to Sri Ramanasramam in spite of her best
efforts. However, her sadhana was not interrupted because she received Sri Ramana's guidance in dreams. A couple of months
before Sri Ramana's Maha Nirvana, in 1950, her father settled down in Tiruvannamalai near the Asramam. Her meditations before the
samadhi were most fruitful for she could feel Sri Ramana's living presence there. In 1951, she had a special vision which convinced
her that Sri Ramana's guidance and protection were always available to her.

Later she became in charge of a spiritual center at Bhimilipatnam near Visakapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.

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Subramanian.R

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Re: They also serve who stand and wait - Little known devotees.
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2013, 01:14:31 PM »
SUBBA LAKSHMI AMMA:

In the thirties, the Ramanasramam kitchen was a school of Vedanta. For, Sri Bhagavan would be at the kitchen early in the
morning, helping in the kitchen chores. The four lady assistants Subbalakshmi Amma, Lokamma, Santamma, and Sampoornamma
were the fortunate beneficiaries.

Subbalakshmi Amma was born in a village near Nellore. Her favorite deity was Lord Viswanatha of Kasi.  Hence she had
planned to settle down there. A dream at Kalahasti enroute, changed all this. In the dream she was directed to go back
to Sri Ramana and she did. She used to do some work in the kitchen. But her heart was on meditation. Actually she accepted
work in the kitchen only because she could have Sri Ramana's darshan at close quarters for long spells. Whenever possible,
she would rush to the Old Hall for meditation. Sri Ramana gave her some Vedantic texts like the Tamizh translation of Ribhu
Gita.  He wrote in the Telugu script specially for her.

On 28th May 1947, both Suri Nagamma and she gave, secretly, to the attendant in charge at the respective times a packet
each of cashew nuts. When He learnt about it Sri Ramana was visibly annoyed and remarked: Why do people indulge in these
things instead of confining themselves to the purpose for which they had  come here?

This focused their attention on essentials, the need for attaining liberation which had drawn them to Sri Bhagavan.

She spent many years near the Asramam after Sri Bhagavan's Maha Nirvana. She died in June 1974.

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Subramanian.R

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Re: They also serve who stand and wait - Little known devotees.
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2013, 10:40:47 AM »
MANAVASI RAMASWAMI IYER:

When one thinks of Ramaswami Iyer, one's mind travels at once to his wonderful composition on Ramana  'Saranagati'.
Once far away from home while at Berhampur in Orissa, he was suffering from excruciating pain because of boils all over
his feet. He prayed to Sri Ramana for relief. Then out of the blue, two brahmins came claiming to be from Arunachala.
They said that Sri Bhagavan had asked them to visit him in the course of their pilgrimage. A native remedy given by them
effected a complete cure. It was then that this song, Saranagati which means Surrender was composed by him. Since then
generations of Sri Ramana devotees have sung in in times of distress with great benefit. Devaraja Mudaliar has also recorded
a 'miracle' about this song. a pregnant devotee at Kanpur was unable to climb up and down for water. The taps had gone dry.
She plaintively sang this song and water started flowing freely from the tap!  Actually, though Ramaswami Iyer was well versed
in music and could play on veena, he no lyricist. This capacity to compose came by Sri Ramana's grace, suddenly. When  he composed
his first song Sri Ramana also gave him many useful tips on the finer points.

As soon as Satyamangalam Venkataramana Iyer composed 'kummi' song  in his Sri Ramana Stuti Panchakam, Ramaswami Iyer
and others started dancing with ecstasy.

He had the rare good fortune of being present at Skandasramam at the time of Mother Azhagammal's Videha Kaivalyam in
May 1922, and at Sri Ramanasramam on the day of Sri Bhagavan's Maha Nirvana in April 1950.

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Arunachala Siva.
     
   

Subramanian.R

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« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2013, 01:57:36 PM »
VAJRESWARI:

(daughter of Kavyakanta Ganapati Muni)

My mother used to swallow vibhuti (sacred ash) endlessly. All our efforts, to wean her away from this habit, were in vain.
Of course, she too wanted to get out of it but could not. She always used to take liberties with Sri Bhagavan. For her, He was
not only her Sadguru, she would regard Him as her father, and He in turn would treat her as like a child. The real secret is that
Sri Bhagavan's attitude towards us would correspond to ours towards Him.

One day my mother told Sri Bhagavan about this habit of hers and sought His help to get over it. Sri Bhagavan said, 'Why did you
not tell me this earlier? All right, taste this vibhuti.'  What a strange remedy!  Yet it worked. From that time, she completely got rid
of her habit!

Once a devotee brought her dead son in a box and prayed immensely to Bhagavan to bring him back  to life. Bhagavan could readily
see the faith and hope behind her prayer. Tenderly He told her, 'Amma, don't you see that if I restore your son's life, Sri Ramanasramam
will be flooded with corpses?'

Then He spoke to her at length about life and death, and the need to be conscious of the state transcending both. He explained that
all experiences are centered around the individual and that the search for the source of the 'I' aloe would end all suffering. These
soothing words and advice went home and the lady returned consoled at heart. This is only natural since Sri Bhagavan's words
were loaded with power and grace.

*****

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Subramanian.R

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« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2013, 10:58:42 AM »
T.R. RAJAGOPAL:

My financial affairs became a mess in 1947, due to losses in business. Friends, relatives and even my wife cold shouldered me.
I realized that in the last analysis one is really alone in life.

At this time of distress, in July 1947, I had a vivid dream in which a Sage with divine effulgence appeared and assured His protection.
I could identify Him as Ramana Maharshi because I had seen His picture in the Sunday Times. I could give no credence to the dream. After all, I had not even visited Him. Why should He care for me, an utter stranger? Who was this Rajagopal to Him? I kept pushing away the urge to go to Him and resisted the pull of His luminous eyes. In the end He won.

On 30th November 1947, I left Vijayawada for Sri Ramanasramam. I did not have a single paise. This did not deter me. After all I had
God given legs. I ate whatever was given to me on the way and reached Sri Bhagavan's presence on the 10th December. It was eight in the morning. Joy swelled in heart as He gave a piercing look. We exchanged glances but I had to close my eyes as I was unable to
bear the power of Sri Bhagavan's eyes. I completely surrendered myself at His feet. A new confidence surged within me. I was certain that Sri Bhagavan would protect me in my daily life and lead me on to the liberation in the end.

I returned and made earnest efforts to get a job. On the 19th Feb. 1948, I( was walking in Abids Road, Hyderabad when I came across my old friend, Parthasarathy. I was sure that he too would shy away from me. To my surprise, he made affectionate enquiries and got me a job in Sirpur Paper Mills on a salary of five hundred rupees per month. I have settled down comfortably in Sirpur Kagaz Nagar.
But is it possible to explain the mystery of  Sri Bhagavan's protection? Why should He care? Yet He came into my life in a forlorn hour and made it beautiful - beyond compare.

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Subramanian.R

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« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2013, 10:38:52 AM »
SWAMI PRANAVANANDA:

A long time inmate of Sri Ramanasramam, took the vows of sannyasa and on hearing about this, Bhagavan remarked, 'Even after
coming here, these attachments have not left him.'  I asked Bhagavan whether this would apply to me also. He clarified the position
saying, 'You are different. Even at an early stage you stayed in a hermitage and in accordance with the traditions in that Ashram, you
had taken to the ochre robes. Here it is different. For Self Realization, no vows are necessary. All that is needed is steadfast self
enquiry.'

Whenever anyone known to me met Sri Bhagavan, He would make considerate enquiries about me from that person. Once I came
to the Asramam from Gudivada, Sri Bhagavan asked me, in a tone brimming with affection, whether Kallaturi Sitaramaiah was alright.
'Who is he?' I asked.  'Dr. Kallaturi Sitaramaiah', said Sri Bhagavan, with emphasis and gave a detailed description about him. I was
overwhelmed at the thought of his love and consideration for the devotees. This person had visited Sri Bhagavan only once or twice
earlier. He was not the one to talk freely with Sri Bhagavan. He would only offer his respects and sit quietly in a corner.

A fortnight before Bhagavan's Maha Nirvana, we were all having His darshan by filing past Him in a queue. Chinnaswami told me,
'Bhagavan is looking at you intensely, and you can take liberties with him. A doctor, Kaviraj, has been sent from Calcutta by Sri
Rajendra Babu, specially treat Sri Bhagavan. Kindly recommend the doctor to Him.' Accordingly I made the request. Sri Bhagavan
said, 'Will anyone preserve after dinner, the leaf on which he has eaten?'

I realized that  this body is like a leaf. When the purpose for which the body has taken shape is over, it will have to be thrown
away as a leaf on which the food has been taken.

*****

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Subramanian.R

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« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2013, 10:15:59 AM »
Roda McIver:

A photo of Sri Bhagavan drew her to Sri Ramana, though she could actually see Him only in 1942. Her very first darshan convinced
her of His supreme saintliness. But more than all, her long cherished wish to directly see God was fulfilled then! She felt drawn
to the Maharshi like a piece of iron to a magnet. Her surrender and dedication to Him became complete from her very first darshan
of Him. Her life's ambition having been totally fulfilled, she had no other wish and no urge at all to put any question to Him.

In the beginning when she saw some devotees touching Sri Bhagavan's feet, she had a great desire to do the same. One of her friends
to whom she had expressed her wish, warned her that it was against the rules of the Asramam. That day while taking their lunch
at the Asramam, surprisingly that friend suddenly said in a loud voice: 'Bhagavan! Roda wants to touch your feet'. She was shocked,
afraid of the dire consequences to follow. All stood in a line to allow Sri Bhagavan to wash His hands. When He was near Road, He said,
in Tamizh, making gestures showing His feet and His head, while speaking: Why do you want to touch these feet? Bhagavan's feet
are over your head.  On listening to these words of nectar from Him, her desire to touch His feet disappeared!

She married to another devotee McIver. On one occasion, her husband, who was well versed in scriptural lore and learning, was
discussing seriously with his friends spiritual matters using high sounding technical terms.

Roda felt that she could not at all follow what they were talking about.  She went to Sri Bhagavan and reported it while He was
going up the Hill and He replied in English - 'Why are you sad over it. Your path (devotion) is far greater than their intellectual jargon.'

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Subramanian.R

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« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2013, 12:27:34 PM »
LOKAMMA:


Even when very young, Lokamma was initiated into Panchakshara mantra by her uncle who was noted for his tapas. Like her
co-workers in the Asramam kitchen, she was overwhelmed by her first darshan of Sri Bhagavan and entirely surrendered herself
to Him. Her singing of devotional songs was enjoyed by all. She live up to the ripe age of 90 as an example of dispassion and surrender
to Sri Bhagavan Ramana.

Lokamma says:

By His look Bhagavan transmitted His power. I could feel it coursing through my veins. With eyes brimming with tears of happiness,
I kept looking at Him. Sri Bhagavan asked Muruganar, 'Is she the one about whom Thenamma was talking? After a week, while
returning from I said, 'Bhagavan! I have none to call my own except you. Please bless me that I always remain in your proximity. Kindly instruct me suitably to enable me to follow your path.' Just then Muruganar came in and Bhagavan asked him to read out Upadesa
Saram to me. I begged for a copy to keep it as a treasured possession. Bhagavan could not part with it as He had only a single copy.
A devotee helped me out by giving his copy to Bhagavan.

*****

Arunachala Siva.