Author Topic: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi  (Read 12720 times)

Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #45 on: September 24, 2016, 09:07:17 AM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
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Masthan Swami - V

Not only did he extol Masthan Swami, but the Master thanked Desurammal as well, ―It is a matter of gratification that he passed away in your care, under your supervision. He did not stop there. After this, Bhagavan picked up a copy of the Tamil book, Tirumandiram, which was written two thousand five hundred years ago. In it is given custom how a realized being's dead body is to be buried and not burned. Bhagavan marked those passages and actually sketched out how the tomb was to be built from below, and how the body was to be brought entombed with sacred ash, camphor, and some other ingredients. Following these clear instructions, the Samadhi was built.
The whole village turned out that day despite a pouring rain. The local temple, even though it was a simple one, shared the temple chariot, in which God's image was carried, to carry the corpse of a Muslim. Most Hindus can feel the profundity of this. It is said that in that place that day, the rain was so heavy that the water was up to hip level. Amidst chanting, the body was carried into the Samadhi built according to Bhagavan's instructions. It is said that whoever goes there and offers prayers at the Samadhi has his wishes granted.

Let us offer our salutations to one of the most beautiful devotees of Bhagavan. Masthan Swami was the simplest soul one could meet, but Bhagavan adored him to the highest.

Masthan Swami had a disciple named Sambhandam, from whose notebook, these details were gathered. Sambhandam has written a song about his Master, Masthan Swami:

Oh! Masthan the liberated sage who lives in Desur!
You are ever a good and pure renunciate
Who remained forever like a child,
Who roamed like a ghost,
And who lived without a trace of worldly desires.
Precious gem
Who obtained the sacred grace of
Satguru Ramana, adored by all,
Praise to your fullness,
Salutations at your holy feet.

From Masthan Swami, we learn the definition of a living guru. We observed that Masthan Swami had three explosions of enlightenment. Thrice, his Heart opened up with some feelings of doubt lingering. In this process that he underwent is a lesson for us as well?never be discouraged for long.

His third process of enlightenment occurred when Bhagavan asked him if he would like to follow the way of form, or the formless way of worship. Masthan Swami chose nirguna?formless worship.

Bhagavan already knew that Apitakuchalambal would come to take him. He asked him to choose worship in form or formlessness, and Masthan Swami chose formlessness. Yet, his ultimate liberation came through form, which means one thing, and that is: God alone acts. We have the liberty to relinquish effort. Destiny is always in the hands of God, and it is always grace.

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Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #46 on: September 25, 2016, 10:20:32 AM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
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Vilacheri Ranga Iyer - I

Love has many facets: it is supreme, expressed in many dimensions, and a jnani, a person of wisdom, is a repository. All their actions reflect the myriad aspects of this unconditional love. Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, through his relationships with his devotees, has shown us different aspects of this wonderful love. With devotees like Vilacheri Ranga Iyer, we see the guru in his aspect of loving friendship.
Even as an infant, Bhagavan had early traits of nobility: of equal sharing, of accepting responsibilities, and of making and keeping promises. As a toddler, while coming back home after playing, he would bring a couple of his playmates to drink milk from his mother. Usually children are jealous, but Bhagavan would go out of his way and bring his friends home, saying, ―Come on, and let us have milk. What a strong bond of friendship and sharing this created!

One of these friends, Meenakshi, was just one and a half years old and lived in the neighboring house. After some years, Meenakshi married but did not have a very happy married life. However, all the while, she kept worshipping Bhagavan in her heart. She never came to see Bhagavan because she could not. In the 1940s, when she was bedridden with age, Bhagavan simply appeared where she was, just as he did for Nayana. Sitting by her bedside, he touched Meenakshi. She was in a coma, but regained consciousness at his touch and cried gratefully, ―My God! My Lord! Ramana, you have come to bless me! These were her last words. This is the highest example of friendship: though they shared mother's milk way back in infancy and never met after that, Bhagavan remained a loyal friend and remembered Meenakshi in her last days.

Lakshmi was another fortunate friend of Bhagavan who shared milk with him at the age of two. She was eventually widowed and led a life tattered by pain and suffering. Bhagavan's name and recognition had spread by then. One day Bhagavan was seated in the hall surrounded by devotees, scholars, wealthy people, and VIPs. Lakshmi, thin, dark, and unrecognizable at the age of sixty, stood in front of him among two hundred people and demurely asked, ―I do not know whether Bhagavan recognizes me.―Why not? Bhagavan replied. ―Are you not Lakshmi? Did we not drink milk together? The Master recalled his friend even after sixty years.

Bhagavan personified wisdom and was like a diamond. We value a diamond because it shines clear from every angle in which we examine its clarity. Any page taken out of Bhagavan's life and teachings sparkles with this clarity.

Many people pay attention to Bhagavan's teachings, but refuse Bhagavan in the aspect of friendship. His relationship with his devotee-friends was a true and revealing one?while they viewed him as an enlightened sage, Bhagavan viewed them as his friends from childhood.

Two of Bhagavan's prominent devotee-friends had two factors in common. They were steeped in family life and deeply attached to their worldly duties. It is inspirational to see how Bhagavan related to these people. When he first asked them to give up their family ties and take up a spiritual life, he went along with them. But when they became tired and exhausted with their worldly attachments, they were gently attracted toward spiritual Truth.

His friends came to him with complaints about their family life. In spite of the mundane nature of their problems, the young Bhagavan listened and solved them as a true friend. He did not just offer them counsel but actually took upon himself the responsibility of removing every suffering as if it were his own.

Vilacheri Ranga Iyer, also known as Rangan, lived in Tiruchuzhi, which was Bhagavan's birth place. He was Bhagavan's classmate and childhood friend. Bhagavan's family and Rangan's family moved to Madurai around the same time, and the two boys continued to be close friends until Bhagavan ran away to Arunachala.

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Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #47 on: September 27, 2016, 06:03:40 AM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
------------------------------------

Vilacheri Ranga Iyer - II

It was 1903 when Rangan first came to know about Bhagavan's whereabouts in Arunachala. However, being tied down by family responsibilities, he could not come and see him immediately. After a few years, when Bhagavan was at Virupaksha cave, he finally paid him a visit. He greeted Bhagavan with an affectionate gesture of friendship?a punch! Rangan could only view Bhagavan as his friend, Venkataraman. He demanded, ―Hey, Venkataraman! Even the evening before you left Madurai, we were playing football. I am supposed to be your closest friend?why did you not tell me that you were going away the next day?

Bhagavan replied, ―Ranga, did I travel like a normal traveler with baggage and all that? It was a supreme force, which drew me that day to Arunachala. Where was there room for any formalities to be observed?

Bhagavan bestowed a look, and immediately Rangan could see that he was no more just Venkataraman, his friend, his classmate, the football player, or his mate in the swimming pool. Bhagavan had been an excellent swimmer, football player, and wrestler. People, who have seen Bhagavan then, say that Bhagavan was a six-footer and had a very strong physique. Bhagavan was very well built for a Brahmin boy. Until the age of sixteen, when Bhagavan had the ego-death experience, he never had a headache, stomach ache, or any ailment?so robust was his body. However, after his Paathala Linga experience in Arunachala temple, his body was worn by the neglect. Ranga could see this change in Bhagavan. The Master had already become somewhat legendary, and a few devotees had gathered there. Yet, when he came to Virupaksha cave, Bhagavan treated him with the same love.

Their relationship was beautiful: it was that of a fully awakened man, a sage of wisdom, and an ignorant man steeped in family sufferings, not spiritually inclined?but with a deep love for Bhagavan. The Master appreciated the depth of that friendship and would seat himself next to his friend by his bedside. Seeing him tossing and turning, weighed down by his problems, Bhagavan would pat him and ask gently, ―Hey, Ranga what is bothering you? One day Ranga told him about his troubles.

Have you given enough to your family to live on, while you have come away here? Bhagavan enquired. Ranga was silent, too embarrassed to admit his inability to provide for his family. ―So you have some financial problems, Bhagavan surmised. ―Is it enough if you get ten thousand rupees? This was a huge amount in those days, and it surprised Rangan to hear Bhagavan talking about money. Bhagavan pressed on, ―Will it solve all your problems if you get ten thousand rupees? Rangan remained quiet and after a few days took leave of Bhagavan and went to Madras. He managed to get a job selling Lorries and buses, and when he got his commission, it was exactly ten thousand rupees.

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Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #48 on: September 28, 2016, 03:37:54 AM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
------------------------------------

Vilacheri Ranga Iyer - III

Once, his son was bitten by a snake, and people thought he was dead. He remembered that Bhagavan had given him sacred ash. He told his grieving wife and relatives, ―Do not worry, my Bhagavan, my friend is there. He smeared the sacred ash on his son, while chanting ―Ramana, Ramana, Ramana, Ramana, and the boy recovered.

Then, there was the incident when his eldest daughter became mentally imbalanced. Her husband could no longer take care of her and left her in Rangan's care. Rangan had a solution to everything: Bhagavan. He wrote a letter to him and soon received a reply from the Ashram, saying, ―Your letter was shown to Bhagavan, and he held it for a long time. He asked us to write back that she will be all right.

Another occasion, his other daughter fell into a well, and when they got her out, she was thought to be dead. Everyone began to weep except Rangan, who had faith in his friend. He had the ―cure-all medicine?Bhagavan's sacred ash. He smeared it on her and sure enough, she was healed.

Once, Rangan's wife, Chellammal went to Ramanashram while Bhagavan was there. All the devotees proceeded from the Ashram to walk around the hill. Chellammal left the hall with the others but came back only to go around the old hall a few times. Bhagavan was surprised. ―How come you returned so quickly? he asked.

She replied, ―No, Bhagavan. All the others have left for circumambulation of Arunachala but I could not join them as I have a problem with my back. I thought that I will do pradakshina to you instead. Bhagavan arranged for an injection to be given by the Ashram doctor. The doctor advised Chellammal to rest in the guest house. She, however, could not resist Bhagavan's presence for even a few minutes. She managed to slowly reach Bhagavan's hall, making her husband really worried. Bhagavan just lifted his hand in blessing, and Chellammal was healed of her back pain. It never came back again.

This aspect of Bhagavan was unique because he had rarely done these things for anyone else, i.e. talk about money, give sacred ash, and raise his hand to heal. He came to these realms for a true friend. What is friendship? It is one deep facet of love. What is love? Love is wisdom?jnana?and Bhagavan embodied that. He is the knee of listening.

His friendship with Rangan was not limited only to the experiences at Virupaksha cave. At times while Rangan lay in bed, Bhagavan would wake him up at two in the morning and say, ―Come on, let's go for a swim. This was before the Ashram was built. However, behind the present Ashram is a small pool where they would go for a swim. Thus, with Rangan, Bhagavan sometimes became Venkataraman again.
In their childhood days in Madurai, Bhagavan would tease Rangan with a sharp underwater kick on the thigh. Being a very strong boy then, Bhagavan's kick would sting Ranga like an iron rod had hit him. When they went swimming now, Bhagavan playfully kicked Rangan again but this time Rangan held his foot, put it to his eyes, then on his head and said, ―Bhagavan, how is it that your leg has become so soft? When you did this to me in Madurai, it used be like being hit by an iron rod. Now your foot feels like a rose petal.

Bhagavan replied, ―Is it so Ranga? Maybe spirit's perfection changes even the body. Once when Rangan was going around the hill along with Bhagavan, he stepped on a thorn. Bhagavan bent over and removed the thorn himself. Rangan had not noticed Bhagavan's feet until then but after walking for a little while, he saw Bhagavan stepping on a thorn. He cried, ―Bhagavan, Bhagavan! There is a thorn in your foot! Please sit down, let me remove it. Bhagavan sat down to oblige his friend. However, when Rangan took a look at Bhagavan's foot, he saw not one but innumerable thorns. Bhagavan wryly remarked, ―Ranga, which thorns are you going to remove?the old ones or the new ones? Let it go. ―Bhagavan, how can you walk? Ranga protested. Bhagavan calmly gestured, ―See? When a thorn goes into the foot, just rub it on the earth, and everything will be all right.

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Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #49 on: September 30, 2016, 03:17:15 AM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
------------------------------------

Vilacheri Ranga Iyer - IV

Rangan once had the opportunity to physically embrace Bhagavan. He was again amazed that the Master's skin was silky and soft as a lotus petal. When he had known him in Madurai, his skin had been very rough, so much so that if he rubbed against somebody else, it would hurt. He asked Bhagavan in wonderment, ―Bhagavan, how come the texture of your skin has changed? Bhagavan responded with the same reply, ―Spiritual perfection changes everything.

Another time, as a friend, he took the liberty to ask the guru, ―Bhagavan, why is it that your head shakes all the time and why do you need a stick to walk? Bhagavan confided in his friend, ―Ranga, this is not because of old age. When I came to Tiruvannamalai after the ego-death experience and took shelter at the foot of Arunachala, this head started shaking. ―Why? Rangan enquired, looking puzzled. Bhagavan replied, ―Can you imagine a violent, wild, mad elephant entering a small thatched shed? What would happen to the hut is what happened to the body. It will go to pieces. This is how the immensity of his spiritual experience had affected his body.

Rangan once consulted an astrologer, who said he would have insurmountable problems for one year. He wrote to Bhagavan, telling him of what the astrologer said. Bhagavan at once asked his devotee to write back to him to come and stay with him. This was the only instance we know of where Bhagavan did something like this. The moment Rangan arrived, Bhagavan said, ―Do not remove yourself any time from me. Be with me all the time.

A friend from Madras, India, now called Chennai, came to stay with them for a couple of months. The day he was supposed to leave, Rangan offered to go with him to the railway station. Bhagavan gave strict instructions to Rangan: ―Ranga, take him to the station, put him on the train, and come straight back to me. Do not go anywhere else, do not spend the night in town?just come back and stay with me. Finally, after a few months had passed, the day came when Bhagavan told Rangan he could go back. When he did so, he found that all his problems were solved.

Rangan revealed some fascinating stories about Bhagavan's childhood. Bhagavan's father was a lawyer and had many important legal papers stored in a loft at home. One time when they were playing together in Madurai, Bhagavan decided to pull out those papers and make paper boats with them to sail in the temple pool along with his friends. Though his father loved him very much, he was understandably livid when he found out. He ordered his wife, Alagammal, ―Undress him, shave his head, make him wear just a loin cloth, and drive him out of the house. Many years later, when Rangan met Bhagavan at Virupaksha cave, he said, ―Venkataraman, do you remember your father predicted your ascetic state many years ago?

When Bhagavan was at Skandashram, Rangan would visit quite often. One day he saw Bhagavan was lying in a room, so he left the room, closing the door behind him. To his astonishment, he saw Bhagavan talking to somebody outside the room, when he had seen him lying down in the other room a second ago. He ran and opened the room door and saw Bhagavan lying there with closed eyes. He told Bhagavan what he saw. Bhagavan brushed it off humorously saying, ―You should have caught that thief you saw outside, so that we could have dealt with him!

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Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #50 on: October 10, 2016, 10:05:09 AM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
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Vilacheri Ranga Iyer - V

Once Ranga asked, ―Bhagavan, you attained enlightenment while you were still in Madurai, didn't you? Bhagavan replied, ―When I was studying, Arunachala embraced me most powerfully, though apparently I was unaware. It is his grace that he revealed himself to me. I felt like my whole body was burning. From that moment on, I was in Samadhi. Though I continued to play and talk with you, I was in Samadhi all the while. Bhagavan revealed this only to Rangan.

One day Rangan noticed that one of Bhagavan's teeth and his gums were very dark. ―Bhagavan, you used to have a very healthy body and good teeth, Rangan remarked. Bhagavan said rather nonchalantly, ―Yes, but when I was here alone, a person gave me poison and asked me to swallow it. I did so and it did not kill me, but it disfigured my gums and my teeth. Bhagavan was given poison three times, and strangely, this has happened to many sages. (Yogi Ramsuratkumar, too, was given poison twice. It is immensely sad that Masters suffer all this because of us, and they do not even mention it. This incident in Bhagavan's life came to light through Rangan, as Bhagavan had confided in his friend.)

It was not just friendship, but also his teachings that Bhagavan shared with Rangan. Rangan often felt that he could not stand up to the demands of spiritual teachings because he was entangled with his worries about his family, money, and his worldly problems. Bhagavan would say, ―Throw your thoughts out. You will enjoy freedom only in a state where there are no thoughts. Unfortunately, Rangan found it difficult to follow this counsel. He felt it was impossible for him to progress spiritually, and asked, ―How many times will I be born to get jnana? Bhagavan shared a beautiful answer: ―In reality, there are no factors like time and distance. In one hour we dream that many days and years have passed by. In a movie don't you see mere shadows being transformed into vast seas, mountains, and buildings? The world is not outside you?all happens within the Self; like in the movie show. The small world that is in the mind appears as the big world outside.

Rangan once again complained at a later time, ―Bhagavan, your grace is not on me. Bhagavan smiled graciously and replied, ―Ranga, you are speaking like one who is standing neck-deep in the floodwaters of the Ganges, complaining that he is thirsty and saying that he wants water from the tap of his house to be brought to quench his thirst!

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Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #51 on: October 22, 2016, 08:47:18 AM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
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Vilacheri Ranga Iyer - VI

In Kumbakonam, in South India, there is a huge religious festival that is held every twelve years. Millions of people throng to this festival and Rangan wrote to Bhagavan that he and his entire family were going to attend it. Yet, on the day of the festivities, he unexpectedly paid Bhagavan a visit.

Bhagavan, a little surprised, asked him, ―What are you doing here? While everyone else is going to Kumbakonam for the festival, ―why have you come here? With the deepest devotion, Rangan replied, ―I came here because I recognize that the God here is greater than the God at Kumbakonam.

After a few days' stay, it was time to depart. Rangan was overcome with the pain of separation from Bhagavan and wept bitterly. This is how Bhagavan consoled him: ―Ranga, you are imagining that you came from Kumbakonam and are now going to Madurai. In reality, you are where you always were, that is, in the same place now, with me. Being with me, you are in a state of jubilation, but when you reach the state of the Self by your own struggle, you will realize that there is nothing special in me. You will recognize that you too are that Self.

Sometimes Bhagavan would say, ―I am where there are no words. Rangan as a friend once asked, ―Then why do you talk? ―Out of compassion, was the Master's reply.

Once, G. Ramaswami Pillai, another devotee, lost a key. He came to Bhagavan and said, ―I have lost the key. Bhagavan's reply was, ―The key is where it always was. It is not lost; only your memory is lost. Atma is always everywhere; the Self is always everywhere but due to ignorance or ajnana, we spend all our time searching for it.

After coming to the present Ramanashram, Rangan saw many imperfections in the guests there. Remarking on this, he said, ―How is it, Bhagavan, that your devotees have growing egos even though they are living around you? Bhagavan replied, ―How else can the ego be destroyed? It has to come out through an individual and therefore, this is only a cleansing process?not a growing process.

Another time Rangan asked Bhagavan, ―Why do you always extol this stone-filled hill as God? Bhagavan said, ―Do you think Arunachala is merely a heap of boulders? Many holy people and yogis live here even now, in caves. Arunachala is God, it is Shiva, it is Self--that Self, which is your Heart.

There is a humorous friendly banter that took place between Rangan and Bhagavan. Rangan asked Bhagavan, ―Have you got anything to be achieved in life? Bhagavan said, ―Everything is achieved. There is nothing which is left out. ―Which means what, Bhagavan? his friend enquired. ―I can be anything I like. Rangan had come with his grown-up daughter so he said, ―Can I bring a girl and get her married to you? Of course! Bhagavan retorted. Later Bhagavan smilingly said, ―For twenty years I was afraid whenever Rangan would come, that he would bring a girl and get me married! I was quite literally afraid of Rangan!

Rangan was soon steeped in troubles again: his wife was sick, his daughters were not married, he lost his job, and he could not pay the mortgage for his house. Bhagavan said, ―Come and stay with me. This time Bhagavan was very stern, because Rangan would keep complaining. Bhagavan, you are answering others' questions, and you are not even talking to me. How friendly we have been! I am lamenting over my problems, and you do not even show the slightest compassion to me. This was Rangan's constant grouse. Bhagavan remained like a rock. For nearly a month or two, day and night, this continued: Rangan's constant lamentations were met by Bhagavan's stoic silence. One summer night Rangan could not bear it anymore. He fell at Bhagavan's feet and cried, ―I am not going to let go. You have to answer me. I am suffering! Help! You do not even look at my face! Please! Bhagavan helped him to his feet and pointed toward the sky. In Tiruvannamalai on a clear, summer night, the stars shone brightly like diamonds strewn all over the sky. He proceeded to give him a deep teaching in the following dialogue:

Bhagavan: ―Look up, see the smallest star there in our universe. The sun is a large star, and compared to it, our earth is very small. However, compared to that small star there, our sun is very small. Do you understand?
Rangan: ―Yes, Bhagavan.

Bhagavan: ―So when compared to that star, if even the sun is so small, how small is the earth?
Rangan: ―Very small, Bhagavan.
Bhagavan: ―When compared to that star, how big is Asia?
Rangan: ―Very small, Bhagavan.
Bhagavan: ―When compared to that star, what is India like?
Rangan: ―Very small, Bhagavan; a very tiny dot.
Bhagavan: ―When compared to that star, how small is Arunachala?
Rangan: ―A very tiny dot, Bhagavan.
Bhagavan: ―When compared to that star, how about Ramanashram?
Rangan: ―A very, very, very tiny dot, Bhagavan.
Bhagavan: ―Compared to that star what are you?

This proved to be an eye-opener for Rangan.

―All the time you think about you, the tiniest spot. Bhagavan concluded.

This immediately opened the floodgates of Ranga's Heart; he prostrated before Bhagavan and wept profusely. With Bhagavan's grace, he experienced the ecstasy of enlightenment.

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Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #52 on: October 23, 2016, 12:54:25 AM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
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Vilacheri Ranga Iyer - VII

Rangan could not sleep the next day. While he was lying next to Bhagavan, the Master asked him to go home. When he went back, he discovered that all his problems had been solved. Bhagavan compassionate and merciful as he was, had been a true friend and did not leave him in the lurch. Not only did his worldly troubles dissolve, but he was also blessed with spiritual awakening. When a sage attracts a devotee to himself, in many cases he attracts the devotee's entire family with his love and wisdom. In Rangan's case, too, his mother, wife, and brothers were caught in the net of Bhagavan's love and were completely devoted to him.

Rangan had a brother who had also been Bhagavan's classmate. Though his name was Mani, he was nicknamed Pokkiri Mani (Pokkiri means ―rogue in Tamil). He was a tough, hefty man who intimidated people wherever he went. No one dared to pick a fight with him and would give in to his every whim. His mother was deeply devoted to Bhagavan, even though she had seen him as a child. When she saw Bhagavan at Virupaksha cave, she was totally transformed. Unfortunately, her son did not share her spiritual aspirations.

Once, while traveling to Tirupathi, the train passed through Tiruvannamalai. Mani's mother begged him, ―Let us get down here and see our Venkataraman! ―I do not believe in all these fake sadhus. I won't come, he rasped. He took her to Tirupathi, but on the way back she begged again, ―I can't proceed further. I must see my Venkataraman! Pokkiri Mani finally complied. ―I will take you there just out of pity, but do not expect me to prostrate or talk politely before him. I will be the same Rogue Mani. I do not respect these spiritual people. In fact, if you will not have any objection, I will just screw his ears, pull him back to Madurai, and leave him with his mother. Renunciation at this tender age? What utter nonsense!

At Virupaksha cave, Rangan's mother prostrated before Bhagavan, while his brother stood there obstinately. Bhagavan just bestowed a look and the next moment his body was flat in front of Bhagavan! He did not know what hit him. After sometime he got up and looked at Bhagavan. This time he was a changed man?something had happened. His mother asked, ―Bhagavan do you know who he is? Do you recognize him?

―Ah! Why not! He is our Pokkiri Mani. Bhagavan replied.

The transformation was so profound that Mani swung to the other extreme: he became a greater devotee than Rangan. He took Bhagavan as the Lord himself and had such reverence.

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Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #53 on: October 30, 2016, 09:20:52 PM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
------------------------------------

Vilacheri Ranga Iyer - VIII

On one occasion, his entire family was initiated into a mantra by the Shankaracharya. However, Mani refused to follow them and said, ―I will not receive initiation from human beings. You may say that they are holy people, but I will get initiated only by God and my God is Ramana Maharshi. He caught the next train to Tiruvannamalai and told Bhagavan, ―All our family members have gone to the Shankaracharya to be initiated by a mantra. I told them that I will get direct initiation only from Bhagavan, and hence I have come to you. Bhagavan began to laugh. Looking at Bhagavan's response, Mani said, ―This won't do, I will not go away from here until you give me a mantra. Bhagavan still remained quiet and smiled but Mani was adamant. Finally, Bhagavan looked at him and said, ―Shiva, Shiva.

From that moment on, he constantly chanted the holy name, ―Shiva, Shiva - and was completely transformed. His physical body suffered from tuberculosis, and he came to Bhagavan, chanting his mantra every minute of the day. His family members soon observed that this erstwhile rogue now had a face that shone with luster.

When he was about to die, he told them, ―I must have my God's Darshan. He was brought to the present Ramanashram where he told Bhagavan, ―Bhagavan, I am going to leave this body. Therefore, let this body have your blessings. Bhagavan was always amused with this ―Rogue Mani?he did not know what he was going to do next. He got down on the floor and rolled around Bhagavan's seat three times and said, ―Now the journey of this body is over. He went home chanting ―Shiva, Shiva, Shiva, Shiva, and just before he dropped his body, he told his grieving wife, ―Do not worry. I am not leaving you; I will come back and take you with me after forty days. His wife died after exactly forty days.

The moment the grace of the guru falls on you, everything is done through you. That is the difference?and a colossal one?in ―by, which is by the ego, and ―through, which is through grace.
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Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #54 on: November 05, 2016, 10:01:43 PM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
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Saab Jaan

Another special friend in Bhagavan's life is Saab Jaan, a Muslim classmate of Bhagavan. I had the opportunity to meet him and get a direct experience of his devotion to the Master. He lived in Neyveli where my brother Sundaram was working. I was thrilled to receive a message one day from Sundaram saying, ―My coworker says that his father was with Bhagavan. I immediately left for Neyveli. Saab Jaan studied with Bhagavan from the fourth grade to the sixth grade and also played football with him. He was now ninety years old and blind. However, when I went over to his house he told his son, ―My classmate, Venkataraman, is coming today. He is coming to see me. When I greeted him, he called me, ―Venkataraman, even though his son repeatedly corrected him, saying, ―This is Ganesan. Father, this is Ganesan.
―Yes Venkataraman, come, Saab Jaan continued. He touched me, embraced me, made me sit next to him, and tearfully said, ―This is how my friend Venkataraman allowed me to touch him, and make me sit next to him, and feed me. He has come to take me, to bless me. My friend is a true friend. I was touched by his love and devotion for Bhagavan. I spoke to him only a little, but after I left, he told his son, ―My Venkataraman is a true friend. He has come to bid me goodbye. He passed away after two days.

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Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #55 on: November 14, 2016, 04:44:26 AM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
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T. K. Sundaresa Iyer - I

Every second we spend hearing or reading about elder devotees of Bhagavan, we naturally feel into and walk in their footsteps. And we move closer to that same Arunachala (Self) in who all are reabsorbed. Hearing about them from old devotees like Viswanatha Swami, Kunju Swami, Annamalai Swami, and others, dissolved me into states of silent ecstasy. To experience this ecstasy, all we need to do is to listen to Bhagavan: ―You shift your attention from unreality to reality. Unreality is the body-mind complex and the world. Let us shift our attention from the unreality of thoughts to the reality of living in the immortal presence demonstrated by these devotees.

In the Hindu culture and tradition, we are all familiar with the term guru, its meaning and significance. Nevertheless, a few may not recognize the significance of an upaguru. Aspirants owe equal respect to the upaguru, the one who points you to the guru. The upaguru may be a book, a tree, or a friend; it does not matter. The upaguru according to Hindu scriptures is placed equally along with the guru. We are as indebted to the upaguru as we are to the guru.

I happened to have two upagurus. My first upaguru is my mother. My first memory is of the time when I was one and a half years old. I was in the crib, and my mother was singing a lullaby?a Ramana lullaby. Every day, whenever she wanted to make me sleep, she sang the Ramana lullaby. When I close my eyes and pay attention to my Heart, even now, I can hear my mother singing that lullaby. She sowed the seeds of devotion to my Master. When I was a crawling baby, she would seat me in front of Bhagavan. When I grew up, she would tell me every day, ―Go and prostrate before Bhagavan. Look at his eyes and receive his blessings. When I began school, and would share any episode with her, she would say, ―Go and tell Bhagavan. If I had a new pen, my mother would say, ―Go and show it to Bhagavan, place it in his hand, and receive it back. Until she died, this loving mother's one commandment to me was, ―Bhagavan is enough for you. You need nothing else.

My second upaguru is my Teacher, T. K. Sundaresa Iyer. We would call him TKS. TKS was an elementary school teacher. His humility was exceptional and his simplicity, extraordinary. He was my teacher in the sixth grade and paid a lot of attention to me. Every day he would come to Ramanashram. He took particular interest in me. He would call out, ―Ganesa, come here, a holy man has come. Prostrate before him. Or ―Ganesa come here, a lady saint has come, prostrate before her or ―This Swamiji has come from the Shankaracharya Mutt, prostrate before him.

He would prostrate and command me do so as well, so much so that some people in Ramanashram would object to this and say, ―TKS is a crazy man, and he is making Ganesan crazy, too. He makes him prostrate before eccentric people, saying that they are all holy saints and sages. I believe it is the extraordinary grace of my Master Bhagavan which guided me to TKS, my teacher.

Later, when I grew up, it was he who introduced me to the sages and saints in India, either in the body or without the body. It was he who directed me to Swami Ramdas. TKS had a vision that Swami Ramdas would guide my entire life. Swami Ramdas saw that his spiritual consort, Mother Krishna Bai was going to be my guide all my life. It was TKS who guided me there.

There were a few living saints, like Tiruchy Swami; even when he was almost unknown, TKS would make me prostrate before him. When Yogi Ramsuratkumar was absolutely unknown in Tiruvannamalai, we would sit in silence with him for hours. One day TKS said, ―Ganesa, here is a Siddha Purusha, give him some food, he is hungry. I would run to the kitchen and bring food and offer it to him.

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Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #56 on: January 14, 2017, 10:25:05 PM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
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T. K. Sundaresa Iyer - II

The process with which the spiritual Heart opens up is that, which my Master Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi described: ―It is like a lotus bud, in which the petals must open. Only when the petals open can you have spiritual experiences. Reading scriptures or practicing spiritual disciplines cannot force open these petals. No yoga can open it. Only the look, the proximity, and the blessings of holy people who have already trodden the path works; just by sharing one look they can make one petal open in your Heart. This is not just a euphemism. For me, each petal was opened by the contact with a particular Master. Once I asked TKS, ―When we have Bhagavan as our teacher, why are you directing me to saints?

He shared with me this beautiful clarification: ―Bhagavan is the vast ocean. He is the cosmic consciousness, and all the sages and saintly people are like rivers. Where do you stand, Ganesan? I want you to be at least a drop of water. You come to know yourself to be a drop of water only when you recognize the lovingness of rivers, rivulets, and streams that actually take you to the ocean. The ultimate end of all movement of water, our scriptures say, is to reach the vast ocean from where it comes. It is a cycle. To be a part of the ocean you must become a drop of water. How will you become a drop of water, unless you recognize the flow of water in the form of rivers? A drop of water will not be able to see an ocean.

This teacher taught me humility, silence, and the greatness of sages and devout people. Without recognizing the greatness of saintly people, humility will not come, because one will be dominated by the worldly mind. It was he who revealed to me for the first time that Arunachala is Ramana and Ramana is Arunachala, the Self.

TKS came to Bhagavan in 1903, when Bhagavan was at Virupaksha cave. He was twelve years old. One of his relatives told him, ―Lord Arunachala himself is seated in a human form in Virupaksha cave. In those days, Bhagavan was mostly in silence. Rarely would he utter a word or two. When TKS came, Bhagavan, who had his eyes closed, opened them and gave him a divine gaze. Later on, TKS told me that ―it was not a human body that I saw. It was a living statue of burnished gold. Bhagavan bestowed with me a look. There were about ten people around him singing Tamil songs when Bhagavan very compassionately looked at me and asked, "Won?t you sing a song for me?" It was a surprise for everyone else because Bhagavan was mostly in silence and rarely asked for anything. The thrilled TKS sang a song by the saint Sundarar, one of the sixty three saints about whom Bhagavan had read in Periapuranam.

The translation of the song is:

No other support do I have, except your holy feet Oh! Lord, by holding onto them I shall win your grace. Ancient sages have sung your praises. Oh! Lord, grant me the boon that my tongue should constantly repeat your sacred name even if my mind strays away.
When TKS finished, Bhagavan was very happy. He then said, ―Yes, yes, that is what should be. This became the first upadesa for this twelve-year-old boy. All his life, until his last moment, he carried with him three or four books containing hundreds of Tamil songs composed by saints and sages. This first upadesa was his guiding light. Everyday this boy would go to Virupaksha cave and spend time with Bhagavan.

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Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #57 on: January 20, 2017, 07:16:10 PM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
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T. K. Sundaresa Iyer - III

In the course of time, he became a teacher. Inside his mind he began to have doubts about his spiritual development. One day he felt, ―Why should I go and be with this saint? I am not improving at all. There is no perceptible change in me. For three months he did not go to Bhagavan. One night he woke up and saw his pillow wet with tears. When he woke up, he felt, ―Oh, I miss my guru! Early in the morning he ran up to the hill. Bhagavan, who was then staying in Skandashram, right then stepped out and waited for TKS. When TKS saw Bhagavan in the distance, he could not control his emotions. He ran crying, fell at his feet, and drenched them with his tears and said, ―Bhagavan, forgive me! Bhagavan lifted him up and said, ―This is the hundredth day. Bhagavan had been counting. ―It is hundred days since you came. What happened to you?

TKS replied, ―Bhagavan, I am sorry I have not come. I have done a foolish thing, but Bhagavan, I did not see any improvement within me, and I did not feel any benefit by coming and sitting with you. Bhagavan said, ―Well, that is all right. You did not see any benefit, but did you not feel the loss? Recollecting this, TKS told me, ―We go to Bhagavan not to have any benefit from him. Without him we have no life whatsoever. We should not miss the opportunity of having this bliss within our Heart, otherwise we will miss that.

TKS became an elementary school teacher. Every day he would take a very small quantity of sugar, candy, or puffed rice, because he was poor. One day, he did not have even that much. He went empty handed and fell at the feet of Bhagavan, crying, ―Bhagavan, I am so unhappy. I do not have any money so I could not bring you any offering. Bhagavan smiled and said, ―Why, you brought the most important thing. Everything else is unimportant. TKS was puzzled. ―You brought yourself! declared Bhagavan.

The case in point here is that you should never exclude yourself from the spiritual journey. It is very easy to extol the guru and his teachings. In the process you should never exclude yourself?you are second to none. As the days passed, he often had doubts that would come up. Once he asked Bhagavan, ―What is that one thing, Bhagavan, knowing which, all doubts are resolved? Bhagavan replied, ―Know the doubter; if the doubter be held, the doubts will not arise. Recognize for certain that all are jnanis, all are realized beings. Only a few are aware of this fact. Therefore, doubts arise. Doubts must be uprooted. This means that the doubter must be uprooted. When the doubter ceases to exist, there will be no doubts arising. Here the doubter means the mind. TKS asked, ―What is the method, Bhagavan? Bhagavan answered sharply, ―Enquire 'Who am I?' This investigation alone will remove and uproot the doubter mind and thus establish one in the Self, the transcendental state.

On another occasion TKS had another doubt. He was a pundit, a traditional man, who had read many scriptures. Thus, the six chakras, the psychic centers, kundalini, etc. fascinated TKS. He asked Bhagavan about them, and Bhagavan shared a beautiful answer, ―The Self alone is to be realized. Kundalini Shakti, visions of God, occult powers, and their spell-binding displays are all in the Self. Those who speak of these and indulge in these have not realized the Self. Self is in the Heart and is the Heart itself. All other forms of manifestations are in the brain. The brain itself gets its power from the Heart. Remaining in the Heart is realizing the Self. Instead of doing that, to be attracted by brain-oriented forms of disciplines and methods is a sheer waste of time. Is it not foolish to hold onto so many efforts, so many disciplines that are said to be necessary for eradicating the nonexistent ignorance?

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Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #58 on: January 21, 2017, 08:57:10 PM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
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T. K. Sundaresa Iyer - IV

In 1920, Bhagavan introduced TKS to Kavyakantha Ganapati Muni, who was living in the Mango Tree cave. Everyday TKS would visit Bhagavan, so Bhagavan told him, ―Go to Nayana. Learn the Rig Veda and other scriptures. When TKS met Nayana, he was spellbound by his brilliance, his aura, and his tremendous achievements in traditional knowledge. He submitted himself as a student and started learning the Rig Veda and other scriptures. Everyday both Nayana and TKS would go to Bhagavan, and Bhagavan would give them guidance, but TKS, at that tender age, was overwhelmed by the magnitude of Nayana's erudition. One day he expressed this, but Nayana corrected him. He said, ―Sundaresa, without Sri Bhagavan's grace, the intricacies of the scriptures are beyond one's power of understanding. One word from Bhagavan makes everything clear. He then understood what tremendous respect Nayana had for Bhagavan.

It was TKS who shared with me the incidents about Kavyakantha. One day, when Bhagavan was coming down the hill with Nayana, TKS and a few others, Bhagavan suddenly stopped and said, ―Nayana, right now around my waist, the sun, moon, stars and planets are going around. All of them fell at the feet of Bhagavan, and Nayana started chanting Purusha Suktham, an ancient scriptural text extolling the universal being.

When Kavyakantha had his psychic experience of kundalini, and felt as if his skull was going to break open, it was TKS who informed Bhagavan, who immediately touched Kavyakantha's head. Kavyakantha said, ―It felt just like the moon showering its cool rays all over my body, especially my Heart.

TKS was also present when Nayana completed a thousand verses of Umasahasranaamam. Bhagavan asked him to come along and told TKS, ―Nayana has to complete three hundred verses within this night, and before sunrise, the work must be completed. When the thousand verses were completed, Bhagavan opened his eyes and asked, ―Have you taken down everything I dictated? It was Nayana who had been dictating them, but Bhagavan said, ―Have you taken down everything I dictated? TKS was one of the people writing everything down. It was he who told me about this incident. Through him, we know that Nayana was a genius who would correct, verify, and modify all his compositions umpteen times. Yet, these three hundred and odd verses, about which Bhagavan said, ―Have you taken down everything I dictated? he never touched even once.

Kavyakantha had about two hundred scholarly devotees. To all of them he said, ―I am not your guru, and hence, from today onward Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi is the guru of us all. Sometime after Bhagavan had come to the present Ashram, these scholars, well placed in the world, felt that the future of Ramanashram was slowly looking bright. They felt that if Nayana ultimately became the manager of Ramanashram, it would portend well for the Ashram's future. There was another group, though, who wanted Bhagavan's brother, Niranjanananda Swami, to become the secretary.

One day, Nayana and his devotees went to the hall and Nayana's devotees appealed to Bhagavan, ―Bhagavan, we all feel that Nayana should become the secretary. Bhagavan, after a long silence, instead of replying to the devotees, turned to Nayana, ―Nayana, why should we indulge in such matters? Let him suffer, let him embrace this management and suffer. In Tamil, he used the words ―Avane kattintu alaratum, which means ―Let him embrace this and cry.

Nayana immediately understood this. He got up and prostrated before Bhagavan, ―Bhagavan, your desire will be done. Nayana then declared, ―Bhagavan, from now on, Chinna Swami will be the manager. When he took leave, the other devotees also came out. Nayana told TKS, ―From today onward, all of us must give unconditional support to Chinna Swami to manage the Ashram. TKS took this very seriously.

By that time, Nayana had already started a huge society with over ten thousand members to work for the independence of India. They intended to chant mantras all over India. TKS was the general secretary, and Nayana was the president. But when Nayana said, ―You will extend full support to Chinna Swami, TKS started working in the Ashram office.

TKS, being a deeply spiritual man, plus being a scholar, was also called a pundit since he had studied the Vedas. He knew three languages: Sanskrit, Tamil, and English. Though he was not qualified academically, he was to be respected as a scholar in his own right. He was therefore entrusted with the Ashram correspondence. He took that opportunity to have spiritual contact with Bhagavan. Any spiritual letter that came, he would take to Bhagavan, show that letter, and ask for his suggestions. Bhagavan would explain what was required and he would write it, come back again and show it to Bhagavan. He said that was the only reason why he patiently bore the abuses and insults mounted on him by almost every member of the management group.

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Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #59 on: January 22, 2017, 05:00:52 AM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
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T. K. Sundaresa Iyer - V

Bhagavan had already composed many verses and essays like Who am I and Self-Enquiry. Some of the scholarly devotees wanted everything to be collected and brought out as the ―Collected Works of Ramana Maharshi. They collected all the Tamil works of Bhagavan and it was in the press, but a preface needed to be written. Muruganar and Natanananda were both Tamil scholars, but they backed out, saying, ―How can we write prefaces to Bhagavan's original writings? There was hesitation in the Ashram, and the preface was thus pending. One day, TKS came very late at night from the town. When he entered the hall, Bhagavan told him, ―They are all hesitating, so why don't you write the preface? He was shocked, but he knew that whatever came out from Bhagavan was the Truth and a commandment. He said, ―Bhagavan, how can I write? But if your grace is there, what cannot be done?

Then Bhagavan said, giving him pencil and paper, ―Sit down there. You write this preface. He sat down, looked at Bhagavan, and then his writing flowed. When he completed it, he placed it at Bhagavan's holy feet, and Bhagavan read it. Since Bhagavan had read it, he started to leave, but Bhagavan called him back, ―Come. Bhagavan had made one change; only one word was changed. The last sentence of the preface was, ―It is hoped that Sri Bhagavan's grace, in the form of these collected works, will give liberation and bliss to all aspirants who take these collected works into their Heart. Bhagavan changed ―it is hoped to ―it is certain. The Tamil word is nambugiren, 'it is hoped.' Bhagavan changed it into 'thinnam'. Thinnam in Tamil means 'absolutely certain.' After Bhagavan's correction, the preface ended with this assurance: ―It is absolutely certain that Sri Bhagavan's grace in the form of this collected work will give liberation and bliss to all aspirants who take these collected works into their Heart. (Right here and now, there are many who are being guided by this book, Collected Works of Bhagavan, either in the original Tamil or in translations. My friend, and guide, Arthur Osborne, would swear by The Collected Works of Ramana Maharshi.)

The collected works were originally only in Tamil. Arthur Osborne felt that it should be translated into English and made available all over the world. He had already found a publisher in London. But only a few verses had been translated from Tamil to English. There was much work to be done, but nobody was assisting Arthur Osborne. It was my teacher, TKS, who sat along with Arthur Osborne and helped him. When Arthur Osborne went home, TKS would dictate to me, I would type it and give it later to Arthur Osborne. The collected works in English were thus, entirely typed by me. I share this without a tinge of arrogance, but with sublime ecstasy.

In 1963 there was a German mystic, Lucy Cornelson, who studied Tamil while staying in Germany, because she wanted to translate Bhagavan's collected works from original Tamil to German. She translated it and wanted a verification of it, so she came to the Ashram but nobody helped her. Again it was TKS who told me, ―She is a mystic, prostrate before her. (Lucy became Lucy Ma for me. She became a German mother for me. Thanks to TKS I have got so many mothers?French mothers, German mothers, American mothers, and British mothers!) The collected works were translated into German with the help of TKS. He was an erudite scholar and the epitome of simplicity. Many people did not know of TKS because he was so unobtrusive.

Once, when I was typing a long passage dictated by TKS in the office, Duncan Greenless, a westerner devoted to Bhagavan's teaching came in. ―What are you typing? May I read it? I said, ―Yes, of course you can read it. It was a beautiful passage of Bhagavan's teachings. He said, ―Can you tell me who wrote this? I said, ―My teacher TKS. ―Do you have any more of this? he asked. I replied, ―I have got six or seven files. Duncan Greenless pleaded with me, ―Will you please give me these files? I will take them and edit them. This book that Duncan Greenless edited most beautifully is At the Feet of Bhagavan. When Greenless brought the manuscript, he asked me, ―What title can we give it? I suggested that it be called At the Feet of Bhagavan. TKS was very happy and said, ―Go and place it at the feet of Bhagavan. I took it and placed it in Bhagavan?s Samadhi shrine.
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