Author Topic: The Unexpected Feast- Smt. T. R. Kanammal  (Read 1306 times)


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The Unexpected Feast- Smt. T. R. Kanammal
« on: March 02, 2016, 02:21:25 PM »
(The above article appeared in Mountain Path, April - June 2007.)


One day two destitute-looking Brahmins entered the Hall.  It was known that they earned their livelihood
by the wretched and socially demeaning occupation of bearing the dead to the cremation grounds.
Both were extremely hungry after having discharged their duties.

Custom demand that anyone entering a house recently visited by death should take a bath immediately
upon leaving.  This stricture applies particularly if one steps into the cremation ground, and more particularly
if one is involved in removing and physically transporting the departed to this place.

A heated argument had ensued between the two men about the propriety of coming to the Asramam to have
a meal without having bathed.  While one of them keenly felt the unseemliness of transgressing this hallowed
custom, the other dismissed it as impracticable in view of their acute hunger.  Assured of a meal in the
Asramam, which was on their way home, they thought they might appease their appetite.  They came to the
Hall and sat down.  One of them excitedly and abruptly said to Bhagavan:

'Swami,  I have been insisting on the customary bath before we sit for our meal.  Is that not but and prosper?'

Bhagavan responded in a very soft tone,'No one can say you are unjust.'  The other at once, is a greatly
agitated voice, burst forth:

'The pangs of hunger are so intense and our entrails are being devoured.  Is it wrong to eat when hunger
is so gnawing?'

Bhagavan quietly replied, 'Who says it is wrong? Not at all.'

Shocked, looking at one another, they asked in one voice, 'But then  who is wrong?'


Arunachala Siva.   


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Re: The Unexpected Feast- Smt. T. R. Kanammal
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2016, 10:16:12 AM »
Bhagavan answered:

'Don't think you alone are pall bearers.  All of us are carrying these lifeless corpses.  This body is a
veritable corpse.  Everybody carries it saying 'I, I'.  Whoever has the 'I am the body feeling' is but a
pall bearer.  As long as one has not gone beyond this, one remains as impure and polluted pall bearer.
The pollution of bearing this dead body cannot be washed away by a dip in any tank.  Bathing in the holy
waters of the Atman alone can remove this pollution.'

The Brahmins, though initially feeling vindicated, were now startled and stared at each other.  In an
instant, the entire complexion  of the issue stood transformed.  Everyone without exception was equally
polluted!  All people shared their fate!

Rid of their social inferiority they felt lifted up.  The felicity with which Atma Bodha  -- the eternal truth
-- was transmitted to them and others in the Hall, and the sama drishti of Bhagavan, that knew no
distinction between regular devotees and stray visitors, however socially unsavory their vocation might
be, left those seated in the Hall astounded.  That we are all bound to die is known to everyone. But even
before we die, if we have not yet bathed in the waters of the Atman, we are already as though dead,
bearing with us lifeless corpses lost in the "I am the body" consciousness.  This was a revelation for one
and all gathered in the Hall.


Arunachala Siva.               


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Re: The Unexpected Feast- Smt. T. R. Kanammal
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2016, 01:31:54 PM »
The next minute, the two brahmins were nowhere to be seen. No one knew where they had gone,
to the dining hall for food or elsewhere.  But one thing was certain; for their spiritual hunger, Bhagavan's
words had been unexpected feast.

The exalted and unique greatness of a realized guru is sung gloriously in Guru Gita, Chapter I, Verses
25 and 26, from Skandapurana:

The place of residence of a guru is verily kash kshetra.
His charanamruth (water dipping off his feet) is verily the holy Ganga.
He is verily Vishweswara, Taraka Brahman, the Savior.

His foot prints are verily Gaya,  Akshayavata  (the imperishable banyan tree) and Prayag,
the king of holy waters.  Salutations to such a guru again and again.

The preceding story is not a mere instance of poetic flamboyance, but a stark truth, in relation to a
Jnani like Bhagavan.  --being Brahman in manifested form -- enjoyed the purificatory effect of oblations
in the holiest of holy waters. Need we doubt that the two pall bearers were purified the moment
they came in for Bhagavan's darshan?

For whom is the Hundi?

It was the time of Ramana Jayanti and Devaraja Mudaliar desired the members of his family to join him
at the Asramam to receive Bhagavan's grace, on this special occasion.  He sent them a post card intimating
his wish.  Prompt came the reply expressing helplessness due to scarcity of funds.  Mudaliar solved the
problem this way:  Break the family hundi containing the offerings to the family deity.  Venkataramana
of Tirupathi, and use the funds to finance the pilgrimage to Bhagavan.

After implementing his plan, he went straight to Bhagavan and confided the nature of the correspondence
between he and his family.  Bhagavan neither approved nor disapproved.  He appeared to have no reaction
at all.  There was not even the usual nod of the head but He merely maintained His customary silence.

On arrival of the family, all were duly introduced to Bhagavan.  Then Mudaliar said, 'Bhagavan, as for me,
between Tirupathi Venkataramana and Tiruvannamalia Venkataraman, there is absolutely no difference.'

Bhagavan replied with a smile:

'And did you not amply prove it by breaking the Hundi?'


Arunachala Siva.