Author Topic: Viswantha Swami - A Hidden Gem - Murray Feldman - M.P. Oct.-Dec.2012.  (Read 1325 times)

Subramanian.R

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Viswantha Swami first came to stay with Sri Bhagavan when he was about 19 years old.  His father, Ramaswami Iyer,
was a first cousin of Bhagavan.

I had the good fortune to spend considerable time with this great devotee of Sri Ramana Maharshi from April 1976 until he
became ill and passed away at 75 years of age on the 22nd November 1979.  How he came to Bhagavan has been written
elsewhere.  Here I attempt to show how he exemplified, so wonderfully and devotedly the teachings of Bhagavan.

When I first came to the Asramam in 1976, I sought out Mrs. Osborne o hear about Sri Bhagavan and to discuss His teachings
and their practical application.  She told me that I should visit an unassuming older devotee by the name Viswantha Swami who,
except for his work on the Mountain Path, was living quietly at the back of the Asramam  in a side room of the old dispensary.

I found his room near the dispensary the next day and went to visit him around 4.00 pm.  Timidly I open the door, I saw grey
bearded man sitting quietly on his bed with his legs dangling and staring straight ahead. I asked him if he was Viswantha Swami.
He nodded and gestured for me to enter and sit on the bench opposite him. 

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.         

Subramanian.R

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continues....

I asked him a question about the application of Who am I?.  He did not look at me but said very tenderly, 'Bhagavan's teaching
is one of Heart.'  At that moment, he closed his eyes, and a beautiful delicate silence filled the room. I too closed my eyes
and we sat together in this stillness.  Time passed very quickly and after about an hour, he opened his eyes and gestured to
me to leave. He said that I could come next day around the same time if I wished to.  This was the beginning of an extremely
beautiful and important period in my life.  I had planned to stay at the Asramam only for four days but nothing pulled my heart
elsewhere during the next couple of years.  I am sure it was to a large degree Viswanatha Swami who made Bhagavan alive
for me.  It is very true that Bhagavan's  Presence is profoundly felt at the Asramam but Viswanatha Swami brought Him alive
as a Guru in the flesh. 

After that remarkable first day, I went to visit Viswantha Swami daily.  For two months, he hardly spoke another word to me.
But after that, he told many stories of being around Bhagavan.  He represented Him in such a beautiful and true way. His love
for Bhagavan and His teachings were evident in his words and his manner and he often mentioned how still and beautiful
Sri Bhagavan was.

During those two months effortless peace became my constant companion and I had the opportunity to sit with Viswanatha
Swami daily and to watch him with other people.  Asramam workers, old devotees, and others would come in and talk to him
about their problems.  He gave advice, medicine and money, food and patience to all those who came for help.  He was always
surrounded by a wonderful peace.  Even his movements seemed silent.  I began to feel that he embodied culmination of the three
yogas; deep devotion to Bhagavan, Jnana and effortless self less service.  He constantly gave to others in such a kind way
without any hesitation. 

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.         

atmavichar100

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Quote
I asked him a question about the application of Who am I?.  He did not look at me but said very tenderly, 'Bhagavan's teaching is one of Heart.' At that moment, he closed his eyes, and a beautiful delicate silence filled the room. I too closed my eyesand we sat together in this stillness.  Time passed very quickly and after about an hour, he opened his eyes and gestured to me to leave.

That's the key .
However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you if you do not act on upon them? - Buddha

Subramanian.R

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continues.....

After a period he allowed me to spend more time with him and we started to do pradakshina together.  These were wonderful
times as he brought Ramana so alive on these walks.  He would point out the places where Sri Bhagavan would sit and it was 
easy to imagine Sri Ramana in these places.  Once when we were walking he said, 'People say that Parvati walked here.  This
I don't know about but what I do know is that Bhagavan Himself walked along this very place where we are walking now.'
Words cannot explain the love that was in his voice as he said this.  When Viswanatha walked, he was so quiet.  He walked
perfectly straight, rarely looking to the left or right.  Just silently walking. One time when we did pradakshina in the rainy season
we got soaking wet.   When the rain started to come down, even here, he showed his love for Sri Ramana by reminding me of the
gift of this beautiful rain that Bhagavan was giving us.  We laughed and laughed with joy at this gift.  When we arrived late at
the Asramam we went in to get food and Balu served us with equal joy.  Viswanatha Swami spoke with great affection about
Balu and how he loved to serve devotees.

Once he told me how Bhagavan came to his room in the middle of the night knocking on his door.  Bhagavan said to him, 'Quick
Quick, let's go for pradakshina before any one else finds out.'  The two of them walked together and Bhagavan gave him His
teachings along the whole circumambulation of the Hill.  Viswanatha Swami had such a beautiful smile when he told me about
this.  He did not smile a lot bu when he did his whole face beamed and when he laughed his whole body laughed. 

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.           

Subramanian.R

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continues.....

Viswanatha Swami always encouraged me to visit the places in the area that were associated with Sri Bhagavan.  He would ask
me if I had visited places like Mango Tree Caved, PavazhakunRu, and Turtle Rock (where Sri Bhagavan had His second death
experience - Amaip pARai in Tamizh) and also Guru Moortham temple.

Once I did not visit Viswantha Swami for two days as I had dysentery.  I was staying in a small hut at Sarawati Nilayam and
was shocked and very touched when, who should I see approaching me at 4.00 pm. but Viswanatha Swami !   He said, with
a smile, and a chuckle, 'Moahammed has not come to the mountain, so the mountain has come to Mohammed.'  He gave me
some Chyavanaprash he had brought.   Viswanatha Swami was very fond of Chyavanaprash as a general tonic. After that,
he said, come, we are going for a walk  I said that I had dysentery but he replied that I would be fine.  Needless to say,
I was fine.  After walking for a while, I asked where we are going.  He told me, 'It is a secret and you will like it.'  We walked
out of the town to a small shrine.  This was Gurumurtham one of the places where Sri Bhagavan stayed in His early days.
Viswanatha Swami showed me the indentation on the wall where Sri Bhagavan had sat for long hours.  Viswanatha Swami
was always ready to talk about Sri Bhagavan and His teachings.   
       
During one period, I became very sluggish and dull. I decided to do a retreat in Hyderabad with the well known Buddhist
meditaton teacher Goenkaji.  When I returned from this retreat several people were critical of my need to go away.  This
disturbed me so I thought I would ask Viswanatha Swami about it.  I went to the Asramam in the morning planning to see
him in the evening.  As I entered walking up the steps by the bookstore I met Viswantha Swami as he was coming out of the
Asramam office. He looked at me, smiled, and asked if I wanted to go for tea.  I was a hot summer's day and he was carrying
his umbrella.  As we were walking out of the Asramam, bells started ringing.  Viswanatha Swami said, 'Sound comes out of
silence, sound sustained in silence and sound returns to silence, silence is all.'


Contd.,

Arunachala Siva.
         

Subramanian.R

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continues......

We drank tea and I thought that this was a perfect time to talk with him, but I felt shy.  We walked back to his room and he
said, 'Come into my room, there is an article I want you to look at for Mountain Path.'  He gave me the perfect opportunity but
I still felt shy to do so.  After I had read the article, he asked for my thoughts on it.  He then asked me if I had anything else to
say and I said no.  He said to come back around four.  As I left however, he called me back and said, 'Hey you, what do you
want?'  I was amazed at how Sri Bhagavan had so wonderfully set the whole thing up to help to remove my doubts and worries.
I told Viswanatha Swami about the Goenka meditation that I did and how the meditation emphasizes the purification of the
latent (unconscious) mental tendencies.  He looked at me so sweetly and slowly started to lie down on his bed.  As he was laying
down he said, 'I know nothing about the mind or its tendencies.  All I know is, be asleep to it all.'  I am sure to this day that his
face changed complexion, almost becoming grey, and he started to snore.  I was sitting there and he was snoring.  At that
moment, an Asramam worker came in to see Viswanatha Swami.  He saw Swami sleeping there and he promptly lay down on a bench
as well and started to snore.  I decided to lie down too on the bed beside Viswanatha Swami and went into a deep deep
stillness.  After a while, I became aware of the noises around us and looked. Viswanatha Swami was rising from the bed and staring
at me.  He said very pointedly, 'Do you understand?' The Asramam worker was still snoring.  Viswanatha Swami laughed and said,
'He does'. 

As I read over these words, I see that they just cannot convey the beauty of this great devotee of Sri Bhagavan.  His love
for Sri Bhagavan and his gratitude to Him shone in every action he did and in every word he uttered.  It is strange that we never
spoke about Viswanatha Swami's initial meeting with Sri Bhagavan, but everything he said and did, reflected his love and
devotion.

Sitting quietly at the back of the Asramam in his room, he truly was a hidden gem.

concluded.           

Jewell

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Dear Sri Subramanian Sir,

Thank You so much for sharing this Sir! I already have read this,and it left deep impression on me. Same happened when I read it now. It is absolutely beautiful story,and only reading it gives such a peace...

With love and prayers,