Author Topic: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi  (Read 4803 times)

Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #60 on: January 29, 2017, 01:04:38 AM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
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T. K. Sundaresa Iyer - VI

I spent hours with TKS. Most of the time, he would be silent. He would take me around the hill or up the hill to Skandashram. Sometimes, when he spoke, he would say things of tremendous interest. He once told me, ―Ganesan, when I was with Bhagavan, Bhagavan told me, These Siddha Purushas living in Tiruvannamalai, India, and all over the world, they all come to Arunachala to go around the hill, and they come in the form of light. Bhagavan had shared with TKS and the others that he had seen this light and told them, ―If you have true devotion, you can also see them. TKS said, ―Many of us old devotees have seen that light moving around Arunachala. Bhagavan said, ―Yes. Have a longing, but do not expect, do not put a time frame, do not even say it must be done, and do not have arrogance. Have complete, prayerful humility, and it will be revealed.

I would like to share with you that I have seen this light not once, but three times. The first time I was alone, and the second time I was with a Japanese group. I was sharing with them that this light could be seen; they sincerely asked me, ―Can we also see it? I looked and it was there, all of them saw it, and all of them prostrated before it. About a year ago, I took a devout young couple, Hema and Nochur Venkataraman, around the hill. They had many questions, and when I told them about this moving light, they said, ―Can we also see it? I said, ―It is not in your hands or in my hands. Just pray. Suddenly one of them cried, ―Anna, look! and it was there.

One day, some Vedic scholars, along with TKS, were going around the hill, chanting the Sama Veda. They suddenly saw four or five tigers seated in the middle of the road. Petrified, they stopped chanting. For fifteen minutes, the tigers looked at them and then got up and disappeared. Bhagavan was at Skandashram, and they ran to him and told him what had occurred with them. Bhagavan was not interested in that. All he said was, ―Why did you stop chanting the Vedas? They were Siddha Purushas, eager to listen to your chants. You should have continued chanting the Vedas. This was shared with me by TKS.

TKS told me that inside the mystical Arunachala, there are vast realms. He said that Bhagavan had awarded this inner vision to him. Bhagavan had visions inside the hill and had seen all this thrice and come out. TKS said he had also had that experience. I would like to reveal that I have also had this experience of being inside the mountain of silence. Have faith, trust the Mystery, have devotion, be humble, and surrender. If a person is elder to you even by a day, prostrate to him or to her, and then humility will come, and you will enjoy this spiritual freedom. Prostrating to another person is not enslavement. It is freedom, blissful spiritual freedom.

Bhagavan was very kind. Once, Chinna Swami had a quarrel with TKS because TKS had gone and prostrated before a saintly lady. ―When Bhagavan is here, why did you go and prostrate before another? shouted Chinna Swami. TKS was upset and did not have his food. Early in the morning, when he arrived, Bhagavan was making idlis in the kitchen and saw his disturbed face. He said, ―Come on, sit down, and eat some idlis. TKS replied, ―Bhagavan, I have to rush to the school, I have classes. ―Hey, the cat is out! Today is Sunday, how can you have school? Come on, sit down. Bhagavan brought a leaf and put it there. ―I have made some special sambar. Bhagavan sat next to him and piled up the idlis. TKS said, ―I had never eaten so many idlis in my life! He was a poor man; at home, or otherwise, he would get two idlis to eat. That day Bhagavan served him nearly twelve idlis with sambar, all the while telling him stories.

In the earlier days of his Ashram life, Bhagavan would dry his towel on a rope between two trees. There was a sparrow's nest with three or four eggs there. While Bhagavan was taking out the towel one day, one egg fell down and cracked. Bhagavan felt regretful; he took it up, put a wet cloth around it and said, ―I hope Arunachala will save me from this sin. He put it back and every few hours he would come and change the wet cloth. After a few days he saw that the crack had healed and said, ―Arunachala has saved me, now the mother will be very happy. She will hatch it. The mother bird hatched the egg and Bhagavan took it and showed TKS and the others, saying, ―See how beautiful this is.

There is an old Hindu custom where they hoist a yellow flag to declare that anyone who comes in will be fed unconditionally, at any time of the day or night. Once, they wanted to hoist it in Ramanashram, and TKS was sent to Bhagavan to seek permission. ―Bhagavan, we would like to hoist a food flag. Bhagavan replied, ―What is the use of feeding the body? There should be a Self flag fluttering there. Anyone who enters can have a glimpse of the Self. It should be given unconditionally. As is well known, Bhagavan was available twenty-four hours, day and night, to offer his Darshan.
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Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #61 on: January 30, 2017, 08:44:14 AM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
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T. K. Sundaresa Iyer - VII

At the age of thirty-six, in 1933, TKS still felt incomplete, so he prayed to Bhagavan, ―Bhagavan, show me your real form. Bhagavan said, ―Sit down there, and directed his glance of grace. When TKS's Heart was opened, he closed his eyes and was in ecstasy. Bhagavan told him, ―Whatever you want to see, see now.

TKS's chosen form of God was Rama, so from the Heart he asked to see Rama. For two hours, he had the Darshan of Rama. Rama, crowned, seated on the throne with his wife Sita, and surrounded by his brothers and Hanuradhan, the monkey devotee at his holy feet. When he came out of ecstasy, Bhagavan asked, ―What did you see? and TKS shared the description of what he had seen. Bhagavan said, ―Go and bring Dakshinamoorthy Ashtothram. (Ashtothram means one hundred and eight names). ―In it, Dakshinamoorthy is extolled. Read the fifth verse. In it, one of the names given to Dakshinamoorthy is Yogi Patabiramaya Namaha, which means Dakshinamoorthy is Rama. It is said that Rama's capital city, Ayodhya, is described as having eight corners and nine gates. Arunachala has eight corners and nine gates; Arunachala is Ayodhya and Rama is Arunachala. He is Dakshinamoorthy and Arunachala. TKS said, ―I wanted a God, a scripture and a devata, a God in form to be worshipped. Bhagavan became my universal God, his collected works became my scripture, and Rama was my devata; Bhagavan granted me that Darshan also.

I had been gainfully employed only twice. I had sent my first salary to my two upagurus?my mother and TKS. When TKS was to die, he told me that the people with whom he was staying in Ramana Nagar were very poor, and hence to help them with some money he shared. I was surprised as to where that money had come from and he said, ―What you sent me years back is still kept in a cover. Please make use of that.

I then asked him, ―How did you compose the mantra: Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaaya? TKS was kind enough to share the following: ―From my early childhood, I was deeply devoted to Lord Krishna. Our family members?generations after generation?were initiated into the mantra: Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudeva. Vasudeva is another name for Sri Krishna. Hence, I read Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam with great interest and delight, repeatedly too. I longed to have the vision of Sri Krishna. One day, one line from Bhagavad Gita: Jnani tu Atmaiva me Matam, meaning, 'Jnani is my own Self,' went deep into my heart. I thought, while I have at hand Bhagavan Ramana, who is himself Vasudeva, why should I worship and long to have the vision of Sri Krishna, separately? Thus, I contemplated: I want one single mantra, a single worship (God) and a single scripture, so that there would be no conflict of loyalties. Suddenly, it dawned within my heart: Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaaya. Without a gap, my heart continued sounding it. I ran to Bhagavan and told him of the advent of the sacred mantra. He bestowed the mantra with his full approval.

Later, I counted the letters in the new mantra. It was twelve. The old mantra too contained only twelve letters. I was delighted. Coming to know that Bhagavan offered his full approval for the mantra, Ashram management accepted it so fully that they even altered their original ―logo, which had the words Sri Ramanashram beneath the symbol of ―OM. Now, Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaaya adorns its ―logo.
Before coming and settling down permanently at the Ashram, I was in two different firms on two occasions. The first month's salary that I received in each business firm, at different times, I had divided into two and sent to my two upagurus?my mother and my teacher TKS.
Those were the last days of my revered teacher. He was very seriously ill and bedridden in a house opposite to the Ashram. I was visiting him every day. It was his last day.

He said: ―Ganesa! These people who look after me are very poor people. So, please utilize the amount in this envelope for my funeral expenses. I want you to carry my body, chanting: ―Arunachala Shiva, all through to the cremation ground. I was all the time crying. Yet, I did ask him: ―How did you have so much money? He smiled graciously, and said: ―You remember, twice you had sent me your first month's salary for my daily expenses. I did not spend it; it was so dear to my heart. Now, you yourself spend it on my last journey?back to Arunachala!

He gave me a pat on my head and said: ―This is my blessing to you! See! I am giving you my all! Can anything else in the world equal the beauty and splendor of that single touch of Wisdom!

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Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #62 on: March 20, 2017, 09:47:43 AM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
------------------------------------

Venkatesa Shastri - I

Legendary holy people like Jesus, Buddha, Lao Tzu, Lord Krishna, Mohammad and Bhagavan left us their teachings only so that we become the same natural state of being that they are established in. The fact is that whoever listens to or reads the teaching should intend to be that?not through an act of change, but just ―to be.

A significant teaching in Who am I is detachment or desirelessness. This is not different from wisdom. Desirelessness is refraining from turning the mind out toward any object. Wisdom means the appearance of no object. In other words, not seeking anything is detachment or desirelessness; not leaving the Self (no-seeking) is wisdom.

One of Bhagavan's ardent devotees, a simple humble man, in a very natural and remarkable way united these two together in his life?absolute detachment and shining wisdom. He was none other than Venkatesa Shastri, or ―Shastri Mama, as we would fondly call him. (Shastra means scriptures, and the family that has mastered the Vedas is given the surname, ―Shastri. Mama means ―uncle in Tamil.) He lived in the world, but was untouched by it. Soaked in wisdom at all times, he showed that there is no contradiction between work and wisdom.

Shastri Mama was Bhagavan's distant cousin. His mother passed away when he was very young and his father married a second time. Though his stepmother often tortured and ill-treated him, he suffered her atrocities silently. When he was three years old, she twisted his hand and thrust it into the oven fire. His fingers were permanently deformed but he bore the scar of the horrific incident uncomplainingly.
His father, unable to mend his wife's ways, took him further south to Cochin, in Kerala, where he thought his son would be happier. He enrolled him in a school of Ayurveda, which also taught astrology. Fortunately, the mentor of that boarding school was the King of Cochin, who himself was an impressive astrologer and Ayurveda doctor. Shastri Mama was exceptionally brilliant. Within a year, he had mastered thousands of Sanskrit verses, which were to be learned over fifteen years. The king was impressed by this boy's genius and decided to mentor him personally. He took his protegee back with him to his palace and told him, ―Ordinary astrology is not your subject. I am going to teach you the highest form of astrology, which is called prashna. The literal meaning of the word prashna is ―question. In ordinary astrology, when a child is born, a horoscope is cast based on the planetary alignments at the time of his physical birth.

The physical horoscope is referred to throughout the child's life and an intellectual interpretation of planetary alignments predicts the questioner's future. On the other hand, a person who has mastered prashna does not need the physical horoscope; instead he mentally draws the birth chart based on mathematical calculation using the time of birth, the name, the direction, in which the questioner is facing, the place from where he hails, his father's name, his mother's name, the first letter of the sentence of the question, and the first word of the question, etc. He then taps into his well of higher intuitive knowledge and waits for an answer.

The predictions come from within. Needless to say, they are accurate because they come from the intuition, the inner understanding. When Shastri Mama had completed his course, as per Hindu custom, he was obliged to give his teacher guru dakshina: an offering to his teacher in gratitude for the knowledge imparted by him. The King of Cochin was very proud of him, but knew that Venkatesa Shastri was too poor to give him anything. He said, ―I am going to ask you for guru dakshina. ―Whatever you want, my Master, please let me know, his disciple replied. The king gave him a picture of Lord Subramania, the second son of Shiva. Subramania is the God of wisdom, silence, and absolute detachment. ―Worship him, and he will guide you all your life. This is the guru dakshina I want from you, the king said. He took his teacher's gift as his blessings and went back to his village. He became a renowned and prosperous astrologer, whose predictions were correct.

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Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #63 on: March 27, 2017, 10:43:12 AM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
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Venkatesa Shastri - II

One day, one of his uncles brought him a picture of Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi. Shastri Mama placed the picture with reverence in his pooja room, next to Lord Subramania's picture. One day when meditating, he opened his eyes and saw the picture of Bhagavan transfiguring into the Lord's picture and the Lord's picture turning into Bhagavan's image. Unsure whether it was a dream or vision, he observed this transfiguration for nearly half-an-hour.

He felt that perhaps his teacher had meant that he must have Lord Subramania in human form to be his guide all his life. In 1917, he went to visit Bhagavan at Skandashram and met Bhagavan's mother there. As soon as he arrived, Mother Alagammal recognized him as her relative and Bhagavan too concurred, ―Yes, I know, he is Subbu's son.

Before meeting Bhagavan, most of his devotees had only heard his name and had no idea of his spiritual stature. Therefore none had any preconceived notions of his significance, but would all realize it in their first meeting with him. Similarly, when Shastri Mama saw Bhagavan, he realized he had found his Lord and guru?the Lord of renunciation, wisdom, and silence?because Bhagavan had not yet spoken a single word to him. After a few days, he felt it was futile to live in an ever-changing world and decided to live with his Master. But according to Hindu custom, if an elderly relative is present, one must take guidance from him or her.

He went to Bhagavan's mother and said, ―I want to renounce the world and stay with Bhagavan. ―How can you do that? she exclaimed. ―We have decided on a girl for you right from your childhood days, and she is waiting for you. You must honor this commitment and marry her! How can you come away here? Shastri glanced at Bhagavan. Bhagavan beamed a smile of approval, and from this Shastri understood that it was Bhagavan's commandment that he gets married. Therefore, he went back to his village, married the girl?her name was Sala?and lived very happily for a few years as a successful astrologer.

The following is an example of his Mastery of prashna: After his marriage, he spent much of his time in his pooja room. Once when he had a visitor, Sala informed him, ―Nagappa Chettiar has come. Without even getting up, Shastri replied, ―He has come suspecting his servant. He has lost his diamond ring and suspects that his servant has stolen it. Tell him he should not suspect anyone. While he was washing his clothes in his courtyard, his diamond ring slipped from his finger and now lies underneath the banana tree there. This is the precision with which he worked, and sure enough, even the police came to him for assistance in tracking down criminals!

After some time, a son was born to them. He drew his son's horoscope, and to his terrible shock, he realized that his son was destined to die in his teenage years. The horoscope also said that he would not have another son. He did not tell his wife this, but overcome with grief, he sought refuge in Bhagavan at Ramanashram. While Bhagavan was going up the hill, Shastri Mama followed him and told him about his son's horoscope and its dire prediction. After some distance, Bhagavan turned to him and said, ―You have been in Kerala, in the far south. In Cochin you must have noticed plenty of jackfruits. A jackfruit is a tropical fruit bigger than a watermelon and its uniqueness lies in the fact that the fruit comes out of the trunk of the tree, and not from the branches. At the time of bearing fruit, many shoots spring out, but only a few survive while the rest whither and drop away. The tree finally bears only ten to fifteen fruits. Bhagavan continued, ―To give room for the bigger and healthier fruits, the other shoots?almost fifty or sixty of them around one big fruit?drop off by their selves.

Shastri Mama immediately understood that Bhagavan was not going to rescue his son. He prostrated before Bhagavan and went back to his village. Before leaving, he held Bhagavan's feet, wept, and said, ―What is the refuge for me? Give me courage! Bhagavan then shared with him the verse Hridaya kuhara madhye, which he had composed in Virupaksha Cave: ―In the inner core of the Heart cave, what is . . . is pure awareness, which as I-I, the Still Self. Dive deeply inward to be in that state of steadfast inherence in the Self by persistent Self-Enquiry or by utter surrender, thereby staying established ever in the silent Heart.

Hearing this, Shastri Mama was established in the complete trust and faith that he had two courses?which were in fact complementary?to do Self-Enquiry and to completely surrender. To do Self-Enquiry, one must completely surrender, and to surrender, one must do Self-Enquiry.

On his return he told Sala and his son, ―I have decided to go and live with my Master, but I will not do that leaving you in the lurch. I will earn enough for you both to live comfortably. I will provide for you and then go. My decision is final.

His wife, though a simple villager and an illiterate woman, gave a prudent reply, ―If you are going to a place, giving up all of this, then that world must be greater than this. Why don't you take me with you? Why do you want to leave me in a lesser place? If you are going to a greater place, then take me there. ―What about our son? I thought you will bring him up. Shastri Mama asked, surprised. ―I will leave him with my younger brother, and I will be with you, she devoutly said. In Hindu families, relatives gladly step in to help, and such responsibilities are not considered burdens.

Shastri Mama warned her: ―I am going there as a beggar. I will not pursue my profession in astrology and won't earn money. I am going to live with my Master, completely without desire, absolutely detached, and aspiring wisdom. I will do whatever my Master says and don't even know how I'm going to get food or shelter. Resolute, she insisted, ―Whether you experience pain or pleasure, success or failure, achievement or non-achievement, I'd like to share it with you. According to Hindu laws, a wife has the right to demand this share from her husband. Shastri Mama could refuse her proposal no more, as she was prepared to undergo any form of austerities with him.

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Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #64 on: March 31, 2017, 09:19:49 AM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
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Venkatesa Shastri - III

They reached Ramanashram, and since in those days women could not stay at the Ashram, Chinna Swami, Bhagavan's younger brother and manager, told Shastri Mama, ―You do pooja in the shrine of the Mother and let your wife stay with my son, Venkatoo's family, who live in the town. Let her serve and be with Bhagavan's sister and Venkatoo's wife, while you serve here. Shastri Mama communicated this to Bhagavan.

Bhagavan kept quiet for some time and then turned to him saying, ―Attend to the purpose, for which you came. Shastri Mama understood what Bhagavan meant. His function was not to do pooja and work for food. The reason, for which he came, was to give up everything, be without desire, and discover wisdom?after all?desirelessness and wisdom are the same. He took his wife with him to Adi Annamalai, a remote village halfway around the hill and went to live in a shelter there.

Every morning the couple would walk around the hill to spend the day with Bhagavan, with no thought of food from the Ashram. In the evening they would complete their circumambulation of the hill and return to the shelter. People in the village began to notice this simple couple and took pity on them. They had no vessels, no rice, or lentils to cook. So, the kind villagers would bring bananas, groundnuts, peanuts, as well as some roots and beg them to eat; they supported them this way for many years.

Being in Bhagavan's presence every moment, austerity became deeply rooted in Shastri Mama and Sala. Both lived on groundnuts and bananas, or whatever the compassionate villagers placed before them. Though the Ashram served delicious food, they were not tempted. They had forgotten what it was like to eat rice, wheat, pulses, as well as everything in the staple Indian diet and yet they were completely happy.

Whenever Bhagavan wanted some explanations from the Vedas, in Kavyakantha Ganapati Muni's and Jagadisa Shastri's absence, he would take Shastri Mama's help. Shastri Mama, who was also a gifted poet, would give him the answers in Sanskrit verses. One day Bhagavan asked him, ―You give such beautiful answers; does Sala recognize the content of these verses? ―Bhagavan, she is a villager, she is almost illiterate. No, she does not know the content because I don't share this with her, was the reply. ―No, this is not right. You should raise her to your level. Does she not know the local language, Tamil? ―Yes, Bhagavan, she knows. ―Then whatever you write for me in Sanskrit, translate it into simple Tamil, which she can understand. You will teach her. This is the secret of Indian grihasta dharma or family life. Whatever you equally enjoy together is not meant to be merely physical or mental, but spiritual too.

In my childhood I knew that Shastri Mama had written many songs based on Bhagavan's instructions because my mother would sing them to me. The verses were simple but beautiful:

Kalkandu vangiduvir guru para kalkandu vangiduvir
Kalkandu vangiduvir guru para kalkandu vangiduvir
Guru Padam piduten avar iru padam toludiduvar
Kalkandu vangiduvir guru para kalkandu vangiduvir

Kalkandu means ―sugar candy. When translated, the verse means: ―Get freely this sugar candy, which comes from the holy feet of the Master. This sugar candy is the nectar of wisdom, and it pours forth from the holy feet of the Master. By falling at the feet of the Master, get this nectar, which is always available to you. As children we were very fond of this song because we loved sugar candy!

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Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #65 on: April 02, 2017, 05:58:04 AM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
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Venkata Shastri  - IV

Shastri Mama's son, Balu, would come to Tiruvannamalai every five years to be with his parents. Shastri Mama had not told Sala that their son was going to pass away early, but still taught her how to be detached. This boy was a little older than Sundaram and me. During one of his visits, we even had a group photograph taken: Bhagavan, Shastri Mama, Sala, my parents, Sundaram, Mani, my younger brother, Bhagavan's sister, Balu, and I were present. This photograph can be found in the Ashram's archives.

During Bhagavan's illness, Shastri Mama and Sala Mami performed a special pooja or japa called Mrityunjaya japa along with some pundits. ―Mrityu means ―death and ―jaya means ―victory and therefore this translates as ―victory over death. According to Hindu ritual, if the mantra is chanted several thousand times, a person who is endowed with early death can be saved.

Bhagavan seldom agreed or disagreed with his devotees; he just cooperated with them. The chanting would be done in the School for the Vedas, in front of a pot of water. Chanting is said to charge the water with the powerful vibrations of the japa, and it would then be given to the afflicted person to drink. Bhagavan would wait outside and drink from it graciously. One day Shastri Mama wondered why an illumined Master like Bhagavan was drinking this water. Bhagavan looked at him, then looked at the sun and chanted a line from the Taitriya Upanishad, 'Saye chaya kushi ye chadavidya sa ye kaha'. He then pointed to the right side of the chest and said, ―Whoever resides in this person here and whoever resides in that sun is one.

With this he understood that Bhagavan was not taken in by these mantras but cooperated with his disciples for their peace of mind, so they could feel they were doing a service for their Master's well-being.

By the time he had been with Bhagavan until his last days, Shastri Mama had become well-established in the Self. He was already a Master of austerity and absolute desirelessness and needed to be blessed with complete wisdom. This too was accomplished when Bhagavan bestowed on him the divine look, Darshan. Later, Shastri Mama said that in that look, he conveyed that Shastri must share this with Sala, too. Therefore he went home, embodying Bhagavan's look, and shared the Darshan with her, and both husband and wife were realized.
I had the good fortune of moving closely with them, particularly with Sala Mami. She would talk very easily with me, and we often had free-flowing conversations. When all my relatives were worried that I was not married (though my parents never forced me or even insisted that I should get married), Sala Mami sat me down one day and said, ―What are you going to get by getting married? Even this one body is a burden?what is the use of getting another body? And it is an absolute fallacy that this body can give you pleasure. The pleasure, the happiness comes from within, from the surrender of the body. In sleep you are very happy because then there is no awareness of the body. Why do you want to have one more body to take care of, thinking that it is going to give you pleasure?

This wise lady helped me be established in the Self because, honestly, I did not think I had the strength or the courage to tread this path. These are the great saints who have given me the strength to do so. This is the advantage of satsang: unless in satsang, one has to strive to develop affirmation and detachment. This detachment or vairagya cannot be forced; it has to develop naturally and become instinctive, like hunger or thirst. In the same way all spiritual disciplines must become second nature and develop on their own. This can best be done in satsang. This is the reason that sages have repeatedly stressed being in satsang (company of Truth).

Sometime after Bhagavan dropped the body, Balu, who was studying in a far-off village, completed his schooling. My grandfather, Chinna Swami, asked him to be brought to the Ashram. Once, Shastri Mama had told Chinna Swami that his son was going to die. However, my grandfather would only consider these assertions as rubbish and say, ―I will see to it that he prospers. He will be all right at Arunachala. Chinna Swami got him a job in the district office in town. After some time he expressed a wish to have his parents live with him, so Chinna Swami asked Shastri Mama and Sala Mami to do so.

Shastri Mama knew the exact date and time when his son was going to pass away, and it was only a few months away. Three days before the fatal day, Balu was down with a raging fever and died at exactly the predicted time. This is what Shastri Mama himself told me: ―I thought Sala would not be able to bear this, so I didn't tell her of his imminent death. On the contrary, the way she received her own son's death is remarkable. She is greater than me?she did not shed even a single tear. Instead, she consoled me saying, ―He has gone back to Arunachala. We are so fortunate that he came here and relinquished his body to be united with Arunachala.

After his death they lived in front of the Ashram, in a cottage. My father, Venkatoo, requested Shastri Mama, ―Why don't you come and help me in managing the Ashram? Shastri Mama, now a man of deep wisdom, knew that he had to give back to his guru, and hence, undertook the pooja in Bhagavan's shrine. This is how I got to know him. For some reason, he was fascinated by me. From the moment I moved to the Ashram, he paid special attention to me. He would tell me things like, ―For us, Bhagavan is God, Bhagavan's form is Truth, and Bhagavan's name is Truth. I would ask him what he meant by that. He said, ―Do you recognize who Bhagavan is? Bhagavan is Arivunmaivnishtan?he is truly a Self-realized being; Atmavithvan?established ever in the Heart, in the ―I am and Arivalpunamsitran?he has already won over the dictates of the five senses through inner wisdom.

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Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #66 on: April 05, 2017, 10:15:51 AM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
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Venkata Shastri - V

I asked him, ―What should I do? How can I serve? ―Venerate him and share his name and reputation. Share the teachings with other people so that they can discover this inner joy and this inner wisdom he said, adding ―And what should you adore him as? Arivangiavam. Do you recognize who he is? He is a flame of wisdom. Tell the world Ramana is not just a body, not just an individual. He is pure wisdom. He is Arivankulisattaan. Kulisattaan means ―thunderbolt, the most powerful weapon that destroys the enemy?ignorance. Our Bhagavan is that thunderbolt that will destroy all forms of ignorance. He is Kalakalam?the conqueror of the time-space concept and Savinaimaiveeranan?a colossal hero who has conquered death. Bhagavan has written these words in the Collected Works of Bhagavan.

Shastri Mama would tell me these things about Bhagavan and bring me into the presence of Bhagavan. By this time, Shastri Mama had taken up a job at the Ashram. He was an assistant to Kittu and Appuchi, who were young priests. They would instruct him to fetch things for them, and he would run their errands. It pained me deeply that this realized mahatma was assisting two priests who were younger than him, uncomplainingly, while they did not even recognize his spiritual stature!

One of the first instances of Shastri Mama's guidance came to me when I was reading a book on miracles of a living saint. I could not put the book down, nor could I sleep the entire night. I felt I must meet this Master and that I too must possess the power of performing miracles. After the day's pooja, while I stood in front of the old office about thirty feet away, Shastri Mama suddenly said, ―Ganesa, stop! Stay there! I obeyed him. ―I order you not to have any thoughts, he commanded. He then held out a bunch of grapes and said, ―Now tell me how many grapes are in this bunch. ―Thirteen, I replied. ―Come here and count them, he commanded again.

My estimation had turned out to be accurate. ―How did you say . . . thirteen? he asked. ―I don't know. I looked puzzled. ―Don't say that. You cannot get away by saying that. Tell me how you thought there were thirteen grapes? he pressed. This time I kept quiet. ―You know I told you to stay without thoughts. he said. ―Why did you not say fifteen or ten or eleven? How did you say exactly thirteen? When you were without thoughts, I had already counted them?thirteen--and then I put that thought into your mind. A miracle is nothing but a stronger mind occupying a weaker mind. Never get distracted by a miracle.

I was amazed. I had never spoken to him about the book. He said, ―I am not saying this without support. He quoted from one of Bhagavan's verses, which says, ―To enquire into and abide as the Self, which is the everpresent reality, is alone the true attainment, or the greatest siddhi. All other siddhis or occult powers are equivalent to powers enjoyed in the dream state. When the sleeper awakes, are the dream powers real? Can those who stay in the state of Self, thereby casting off all forms of unreality, ever be deluded by indulging in the siddhis? Thus this noble Master, Shastri Mama, wiped out from my system, any inclination toward siddhis or occult powers.

Another incident of a very personal nature transpired between us. By the time Anuradha came to the Ashram in 1983, Shastri Mama was completely blind. He would spend the entire day in Bhagavan's shrine and come to my office every evening and spend two hours with me. Anuradha had come straight from America to Tiruvannamalai in a state of deep depression. The next day was Deepam?the lighting of the flame on the top of the hill.

Anuradha and I were not friends at that time, and she walked into the room to ask me something. Shastri Mama, immediately enquired, ―Who has come inside? ―A girl from America, I replied. From that day onward, he would call her ―girl from America. He said, ―Tell her to relinquish all forms of thinking. Whatever she is now thinking; ask her to drop it, instantly.

―Why do you have these soothsayers in your room? she exclaimed angrily.
―Talk to me, Shastri Mama calmly said. ―Why do you confront Ganesan?She said, ―Bhagavan has said that if one gives up their life, thinking of Arunachala, then one will attain Arunachala. Arunachala will occupy their very being. ―Do you mean to say that at the time of death, you have control over your thinking? If that is possible, come on; stay here for one minute without thought, with Arunachala as your Heart. See whether it is possible. Shastri Mama challenged her. After a few seconds she admitted, ―No. Thoughts are coming to me in plenty. I am unable to be in Arunachala.

―Hence, remember it is not within your hands. It is not just the last thought that will save you. No cleverness works in real spirituality. You should live in Truth (Self), with Arunachala and inside Arunachala all your life. Then at the time of death, you will trust that it is true.

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Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #67 on: April 06, 2017, 09:23:52 AM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
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Venkata Shastri - VI

During Shastri Mama's last days, he fell from his cot and broke his hip. Hugo Maier helped so many devotees in their last days by attending to them and giving them homeopathic medicines. When he examined Shastri Mama he said, ―He is too old to undergo any surgery.
―Why do you say that? I asked. ―If he undergoes surgery, gangrene may set in. It will be excruciatingly painful, and he will die, he replied. I was taken aback. Shastri Mama only said, ―Why pay attention to the body? It is going to die anyhow. How does it matter whether it goes in pain or not? I am not the body. ―In what state are you Mama? I asked. ―I am absolutely in 'I Am' state, in absolute peace, in absolute bliss‖ was the reply. Thus a man in excruciating pain, ignoring the body's existence was in ecstasy in the presence of his Master, Bhagavan.
I intuitively felt that his last days had arrived. I took Anuradha along to have a Darshan of the wonderful saint. I held his holy feet and requested, ―Please bless me, Mama. He humbly replied, ―Only Bhagavan gives blessings. ―No. You must put your hand on our heads and bless us, I insisted. He finally agreed. I asked him if we could do anything for him. ―Ask the girl from America to sing Bhagavan's songs, he answered. Then he put his hands on his chest, palms together, with tears flowing, while Anuradha and I sang Bhagavan's songs. Then he said, ―After singing, you can go. The song we sang was Arunachala Pancharatnam, in Tamil:

Ocean of nectar, full of grace, engulfing the universe, universal splendor, Oh! Arunachala the Supreme Itself, be thou the sun and open the lotus of my Heart in bliss.

Oh! Arunachala in thee the picture of the universe is formed has its stay and is dissolved. This is the sublime Truth. Thou art the Inner Self who dances in the Heart as I-I. Heart is thy name, Oh! My Lord!

He, who turns inward with untroubled mind to search where the consciousness of 'I' arises, realizes the Self and rests in thee, Oh! Arunachala, like a river when it joins the ocean.

Abandoning the outer world, with mind and breath control to meditate on thee within, the yogi sees the light, Oh! Arunachala and finds his delight in thee.

He who dedicates his mind to thee and seeing thee always beholds the universe as Thy figure. He, who at all times glorifies thee and loves thee as none other than the Self, he is the Master without rival, being one with Arunachala and lasts in thy bliss.

Shastri Mama was the most profound and yet the simplest man with whom I have interacted. In the Vedas it is said that the ultimate Truth is smaller than the atom and bigger than all the cosmos put together. This was so true of Shastri Mama, who seemed nondescript. It is he who chose Ananda Ramana, my present home, and guided me. When I could never even dream of leaving the Ashram, I needed that circumstance just to help a devotee in the West. Another Westerner sent money and said, ―Take this house in your name legally; but morally I will be the owner.

I could not do anything without consulting Shastri Mama. He was blind at that time, yet he said, ―Take me to that land. I took him around every inch of the land and he finally said, ―This is your place, you are going to stay here. Authentic sadhus and aspirants will stay with you. On the same day, he shared another piece of guidance: ―Trust Anuradha. She will support you all your life. Trust her, help her, and be with her. It is from here that my friendship with Anuradha began. In 1995 when I left the Ashram, I mentally paid my first salutation to Mother Krishna Bai and then to Shastri Mama. Shastri Mama's example has shown us that we need not give up any of our commitments to the world outwardly, to have this wisdom, because wisdom is always inherent. Desirelessness falls away from within. For instance, there is nothing wrong with enjoying ice-cream. Absolute detachment cannot be dictated by anyone?not even your body.

Inner desirelessness is wisdom. What is perfect wisdom? It is non-dual silence, the inner peace, and absolute awareness that is devoid of bodily entanglements, phenomena and attributes. We experience this because that is our true state. Realizing this state is our destiny, because by being so, we are paying the highest recompense to our Self, Heart, and to Arunachala, God. It is not a conditioning; after all, thoughts are conditions, while thoughtlessness is not; it is an immaculate state of utter freedom and stillness. It is into this state of freedom that many of the old devotees coaxed me to become established, free of the death of forms.

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Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #68 on: April 08, 2017, 02:30:52 AM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
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Raja Iyer - I

Raja Iyer was known as the Postmaster. He was a very simple man. I would not say that he was a spiritual sage, but he was definitely a religious man. He was devoted to singing bhajans and other devotional songs; such was his approach to life. He came to Bhagavan in 1911 when Bhagavan was in Virupaksha cave. By nature, he was a nomad who wandered from town to town, wherever his feet took him. He was a strange man who stayed with Bhagavan whenever he came to see both Bhagavan and Mother's elder sister. Even as early as 1911, this woman discerned Bhagavan's greatness. It was her custom to make sweets and take them to Virupaksha cave to offer to Bhagavan. Whenever Raja Iyer was there, he would tell her, ―I will take it to Bhagavan, and so she would send the sweets through him.

When Raja Iyer first met Bhagavan and shared these sweets, he could not comprehend anything of the spiritual teaching of Bhagavan; however, he did appreciate what he heard. He said, ―I liked the harmony of the evening hours at Virupaksha cave; the aromatic breeze of the Holy hill, and the stillness emanating from Bhagavan are indescribable. I would enjoy drenching myself in all these natural beauties. Added to this, whatever was brought to Bhagavan would be shared equally with the others. Since Raja Iyer was a nomad, he could not on occasion get enough food, so whenever he came to Bhagavan, Bhagavan would keep some sweets and other food items knowing Raja Iyer enjoyed eating. So any time he went to Virupaksha cave or Skandashram, he always would get something to eat. Raja Iyer commented, ―I am not at all ashamed to confess that I went to Bhagavan only to eat sweets.

When he was wandering in this manner in 1927, he came to a small city called Reddipalayam. By this time Bhagavan had already come down the hill to Ramanashram. In those days, there was no electricity, and hence, a devotee of Bhagavan arranged for a punkha or an improvised fan. This consisted of a long cloth attached to a cardboard. By pulling the long rope attached to the fan, the cloth would circulate cool air. One night, Bhagavan appeared in Raja Iyer's dream. Bhagavan was seated in the hall under the punkha. When Raja Iyer entered into the hall, Bhagavan said, ―Come and pull this punkha. So, in his dream, he pulled the punkha, and Bhagavan enjoyed the cool breeze.

A few days later, Raja Iyer went to Tiruvannamalai. When he entered the hall, he saw exactly the same punkha that he had seen in his dream! He prostrated before Bhagavan, and Bhagavan said, ―Raja, go and pull the punkha. So Raja Iyer did what he was told. Five minutes later, Bhagavan called out to him and said, ―Raja, it is enough! Raja Iyer felt a great sense of responsibility and understood that Bhagavan wanted him to serve. Bhagavan had never before asked anyone to either pull the punkha or stop it. Bhagavan seldom actually told anyone to do anything, so Raja Iyer took this as a sign that Bhagavan wanted Raja Iyer to serve him; therefore he came to Ramanashram permanently.

I would like to share an incident that took place long before this, when Bhagavan was at Skandashram. One day, when Raja Iyer was going toward Skandashram, Echammal was also going in that direction, carrying food to Bhagavan. At the same time, a group of devotees were climbing down from Skandashram, looking terribly disappointed. Echammal looked at the expression on their faces and asked, ―What happened? The group replied, ―We went to see Ramana Maharshi but we could not find him. Echammal exclaimed, ―What? You could not find him? They replied, ―No, we couldn't. Then Echammal further asked, ―Was nobody there? The group said, ―There was only one person. He was arranging some stones and patching up a wall. Other than him, there was nobody else. Echammal said, ―Did you ask him where Bhagavan was? They replied, ―Yes, he said Bhagavan had gone up the hill. Echammal and Raja Iyer were perplexed and therefore asked, ―What did the person look like? The group answered, ―He was wearing a loin cloth and had a cloth wrapped around his head. To this, Echammal and Raja Iyer asked, ―What about his complexion? They replied, ―He was very fair. Both Echammal and Raja Iyer understood that the person was none other than Bhagavan!

Echammal and Raja Iyer told the group, ―Come, we will take you to Bhagavan. By the time they reached Skandashram, Bhagavan had completed whatever work he had set out to do and returned to his usual place. He was sitting so serenely that when the group entered and saw him, they immediately said, ―This is not the man. It was somebody else. At this, Bhagavan laughed and said, ―No, it was me! Echammal then confronted Bhagavan in the presence of Raja Iyer: ―Bhagavan, why did you say that Bhagavan had gone up the hill? These people were so disappointed! Bhagavan asked Echammal, ―Do you want me to put a placard on my forehead saying that I am Bhagavan?Raja Iyer would amuse me with this story. Bhagavan had admitted that he was Bhagavan when he asked whether he should place a placard on his forehead indicating that he was Bhagavan.
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Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #69 on: April 09, 2017, 12:40:05 AM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
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Raja Iyer - II

When Raja Iyer started staying in the present Ramanashram, he would very often be invited to sing bhajans. There are different kinds of bhajans. For example, on the birthday of Lord Rama and Lord Krishna, bhajans are sung throughout the night. Sometimes, an oil lamp is lit and placed in the middle of the room. People go round the lamp as the bhajans are sung. Raja Iyer was once invited to participate in a bhajan on the occasion of Lord Rama's birthday?Sriramanavami. He communicated this to Bhagavan, saying, ―Bhagavan, they have invited me, and so I will go there. Usually Bhagavan would nod his head to indicate his approval, but on that day he didn't do so.
Chinna Swami, my grandfather, came into the hall and said, ―Somebody has sent a lot of money, but with the specific request that Sri Rama's birthday be celebrated in Ramanashram in the same manner in which it is celebrated in his village. Bhagavan looked at Raja Iyer and said, ―See, you will stay and do the bhajan here. So that day Bhagavan asked Raja Iyer to perform the bhajan. The bhajans would last for six or seven hours in the night. I have personally seen Raja Iyer sing and dance that long. Raja Iyer would become ecstatic when singing these songs about God. Bhagavan, too, enjoyed the bhajans in his own way. Bhagavan did not participate physically in the bhajans by singing and dancing, but he would comment in Tamil, ―Paitiyam, they are all mad people! Then he added very significantly, ―How I wish everyone was mad in that sense!

Raja Iyer had to stay in Ramanashram until 1935. My grandfather Chinna Swami said, ―You can neither stay inside the Ashram nor eat here unless you do some kind of work. Raja Iyer went to Bhagavan and said, ―Bhagavan, listen to what Chinna Swami is saying. Bhagavan suggested, ―Raja, why don't you make idlis in the morning? Rice cakes are what were made in the Ashram every morning, as it is even today. Raja Iyer said, ―Bhagavan, I do not know how to make idly. Bhagavan said, ―I will teach you. Making idlis is not easy because it involves a lot of work. The rice and dhal had to be ground the previous evening, and it had to be done manually since there was no electricity. That evening Bhagavan said, ―Raja, come, and taught him. Bhagavan himself ground the rice and dhal for many, many days with Raja Iyer.

The next morning Raja Iyer told Bhagavan nervously, ―Bhagavan, I do not know how to steam the idlis. Bhagavan volunteered, ―I will come and help you, Raja. So Bhagavan helped Raja Iyer and showed him, ―This is how you cover it up until the idlis are done. To Raja Iyer's dismay, he found that all the idlis were crumbled. So he dashed to the hall and said desperately, ―Bhagavan, all the idlis are crumbled, and I do not know what to do. I am very nervous. Bhagavan asked him, ―Before making these idlis, I told you that you will make an offering to the fire. Did you make a pledge that you will offer the first set of idlis to the fire? Raja Iyer admitted, ―Bhagavan, I forgot to do it. Bhagavan said, ―Go and do that. Tell the fire that the first set of idlis will be offered to it. Raja Iyer told me he continued to make this offering forever, even after Bhagavan passed away. He continued making the idlis even in the late seventies, and the first offering was always to the fire.

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Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #70 on: April 20, 2017, 09:33:51 AM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
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Raja Iyer - III

This was the Raja Iyer who would visit Bhagavan at Skandashram and Virupaksha cave because he was fond of eating. He loved eating so much that he would go into the kitchen and eats anything, whether cooked or raw. One day, a devotee complained to Bhagavan, saying, ―Bhagavan, what is all this? The man is uncontrollable; he eats whatever he wants! Bhagavan smilingly said, ―You are complaining about Raja. The devotee said, ―Yes, Bhagavan, because it is not according to the rules of the Ashram. Bhagavan questioned, ―Are you sure that it is a mistake on the part of Raja Iyer? The devotee said, ―Yes, Bhagavan. Bhagavan continued, ―Can you be clearer? Why do you also not go into the kitchen and eat like that? The devotee answered, ―No, Bhagavan, I just cannot.

Bhagavan told the devotee, ―It is not his constant eating that is bothering you, but the fact that you are not able to go inside and eat as often. Bhagavan in this manner had taught the devotee that there are no others. Our opinion about others is based upon our own shortcomings. The devotee was unable to eat as much as he wanted because he was afraid of Chinna Swami, and therefore he was complaining. But Raja Iyer was not afraid of Chinna Swami. Raja Iyer told me that he received many corporal punishments from Chinna Swami, but this did not deter him from going into the kitchen and eating. Bhagavan then advised the devotee, ―There are no others; whatever you see outside is your own reflection, your own mind, which was creating all this.

In 1937, the Ramanashram post office was started, and Raja Iyer was made the first postmaster. The post office was near the cow shed. On the first day of its operation, Raja Iyer asked Bhagavan to come to the post office. When Bhagavan came, Raja Iyer gave him the seal and requested him to put the seal on all the letters received. He requested that Bhagavan come again in the evening, so that all the letters that were being dispatched could also receive the seal from Bhagavan. So, on the first day in Ramanashram post office, all the letters were blessed by Bhagavan since he put the seal on all of them!

There is a famous temple in Tiruvannamalai called Pachaiamman that the villagers frequented. In his early days, Bhagavan too had stayed there. Raja Iyer was so devoted to Bhagavan that when Bhagavan had sarcoma, he felt that the vermillion powder from the Mother's shrine could cure Bhagavan. This was the intense belief of all the villagers and of Raja Iyer. So, Raja Iyer performed a puja in the temple in the name of Bhagavan and took the prasad to Bhagavan. Doctors had given strict instructions that no one was to be allowed inside Bhagavan's room. Bhagavan was inside the room with the doctors and a few other people. Raja Iyer lamented to himself: ―I am unable to give this to my Bhagavan! If only he takes this prasad, he will be cured!

A few days later, someone suddenly called Raja Iyer and said, ―Bhagavan is calling you. Raja Iyer, who was constantly carrying the prasad in his pocket, was surprised. When he went to see Bhagavan, Bhagavan looked at him and enquired, ―Raja, do you have anything to give me? Raja Iyer remembered the prasad and said, ―Bhagavan, this is the prasad from Pachaiamman temple. I prayed that you get cured, Bhagavan. Please take this prasad. Bhagavan smeared some of the prasad on his forehead and said, ―Give it to all! He also said, ―This Pachaiamman Goddess is very powerful, and this prasad has real power. Raja Iyer told me that Bhagavan knew that every devotee could feel the love which Bhagavan had for him, and this love, he knew how to communicate unfailingly.

Raja Iyer would look after the Westerners. This is how I became close to Raja Iyer. When I came to Ramanashram in 1960, until 1972 or so, Raja Iyer instructed me on how to conduct myself in the presence of Westerners and how to take care of them. Bhagavan would appreciate the way Raja Iyer performed his duty.

Hugo Maier and I thought that since Raja Iyer was so passionate about food, he would suffer a lot in his last days. We thought that he would constantly demand something to eat. But an extraordinary thing happened: I saw with my own eyes that one week before he passed away, he suddenly stopped eating. Two days before his end, he said, ―I will drink only water. It is not that he had any kind of disease; he just died of old age. In my own experience, I have only seen two people die of old age, where the body simply shrinks. The other person was also a devotee of Bhagavan, and this person too was conscious and happy until the last breath.

On the day he passed away, I went and touched his feet. I also said, ―Raja Iyer, please bless me. He replied, ―No, that is only Bhagavan's duty. He continued, ―Bhagavan is here. Take his blessing. However, I insisted, ―I will take Bhagavan's blessing, but you, too, bless me.

I then told him, ―Raja Iyer, you know me very well. I will always do my best. If you have any desire, please tell me. I will fulfill it. You know that I will do so. Raja Iyer replied, ―Ganesan, I have no desire. I have no thought at all. No thought comes to me. Look! Bhagavan is here! Bhagavan is here! He kept repeating it over and over again. Finally he said, ―I am in bliss, absolute bliss. See! Bhagavan is here. His final words were, ―Bhagavan is calling me!

I tell my close friends, like Anuradha, that Bhagavan took Raja Iyer not by post but by telegram (telepathy). I am happy I can recall these two beautiful people; Ramaswami Pillai and Raja Iyer. Although not well known, they were extraordinarily people, and I was blessed to receive their full grace. What we think about people need not necessarily be true. We may label them good, bad, or indifferent. It is more important to understand how the Master evaluates them. The final release of these two people, Ramaswami Pillai and Raja Iyer, shows their spiritual significance.
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Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #71 on: April 21, 2017, 10:00:36 AM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
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Ramaswami Pillai - I

There are certain old devotees who may not seem that well-known, important, or significant, only because they chose to remain in the background. But in their relationship with Bhagavan, and in their understanding and practice of the teachings of Bhagavan, they are very significant. Although some of them were not very popular, and alas, to some extent were even disliked by others. Their relationship with Bhagavan was as supreme as his relationship with other, better known devotees.

Ramaswami Pillai came from a family of carnivores. However, even as a child, he could not bring himself to eat meat, and so he became a vegetarian. Seeing this, the rest of his family became vegetarians, too. He studied the Bible thoroughly, and read the Buddha's teachings. He once told me, ―I have been to the mosque many times and offered prayers just like Muslims do. When they said Allah, I could feel God. He never looked upon it as something alien or different. Such was his background.

Ramaswami Pillai studied in Chidambaram, ninety miles away from Tiruvannamalai. One day, his teacher showed the class a picture of Bhagavan and said, ―Here is a great sage living in Arunachala.‖ Of the forty students in the class, Ramaswami Pillai was the only one to be so magnetized by the picture that after class, he paid a visit to his teacher and asked, ―Sir, may I have a picture of that saint?‖ The teacher was only too glad to give him a picture of Bhagavan. Recollecting this, Ramaswami Pillai told me, ―Before I went to Bhagavan, Bhagavan came to my room. Many people, who have had a similar experience, have said, ―Before I could go to my Master, my Master came to me.
After receiving this picture of Bhagavan, Ramaswami Pillai had a strong urge to meet Bhagavan. So he soon made his way to Tiruvannamalai, where he found Bhagavan in Virupaksha cave, seated on a rock. Ramaswami Pillai said his very first Darshan made him ponder, ―Here sits the single, sovereign monarch of the universe, a maharaja, a chakravarty. This feeling did not come to him on the first instance alone. He said, ―Every time I looked at him, no matter how many times a day, after all those years until Bhagavan passed away, I felt that here is the single sovereign monarch of the universe. This was his impression of, and approach to, Bhagavan.

By then, Bhagavan had already composed Aksharamanamaalai, a hymn with one hundred and eight verses. It took the young Ramaswami Pillai a little more than an hour to learn the verses by heart. From then on, even as a schoolboy, he chanted the verses constantly.
Ramaswami Pillai's second visit was when he was in college. Bhagavan had by then moved to Skandashram. That day when he visited the Master along with his friend, Bhagavan was going around the hill. He was taking the forest route that winds around the base of the hill. As Ramaswami Pillai and his friend followed Bhagavan through the thick woods, he felt that Bhagavan was like a monarch marching ahead, with his army following him.

The giripradakshina had such an impact on him that the very next day he wanted to do it again, but this time alone. On the forest path, he lost his way and did not know what to do. When he turned, he found the Ashram dog, Kamala, behind him. Kamala, realizing that Ramaswami Pillai was lost, started walking in front, leading him through the forest. Wherever Ramaswami Pillai rested, she too lay down. Whenever he stood up, she resumed walking; she did not leave his side for a minute. In this manner she led him until he was in town, and then disappeared. When Ramaswami Pillai returned to Skandashram, he found Kamala already there! While the dog had been leading him, Ramaswami Pillai's feeling had been that this was not just a mere dog; it was Bhagavan himself who had come in this form. When he returned to Skandashram, he looked at Bhagavan, and Bhagavan provided him a very beautiful smile. At that moment, Ramaswami Pillai said, ―I was more than convinced that Bhagavan would guide me through the unknown paths of life. That was his first real experience in the presence of Bhagavan.

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Jewell

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #72 on: April 22, 2017, 02:08:46 AM »
Dear Krishnan,

Thank You for this beautiful thread!

With love,

Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #73 on: April 24, 2017, 02:44:43 AM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
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Dear Jewell,

Thank you for your kind words.

Warm regards,
Krishnan

Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #74 on: April 24, 2017, 02:50:12 AM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
------------------------------------

Ramaswami Pillai - II

Ramaswami Pillai started visiting Bhagavan quite often. On one such visit, he yearned to witness a miracle performed by Bhagavan. One day, in the evening, when Ramaswami Pillai had gone into town, somebody gave him a coconut and some broken rice. He brought these things to Bhagavan. Bhagavan said, ―We can make a very nice porridge out of this. Find out if we have some sugar candy or sugar.

Ramaswami Pillai was thrilled that Bhagavan, who very rarely asked for anything, had asked for sugar candy. During the time Bhagavan was in Skandashram, there were only a few earthen pots used for storage. Finding all the pots empty, Ramaswami Pillai started shedding tears because he could not offer sugar candy to Bhagavan. He felt like running to town for sugar candy, but it was dark, and raining torrentially; the rocks were sure to be slippery. He didn't want to tell Bhagavan that there was no sugar candy, so he quietly went toward the entrance and waited for the rain to stop so that he could run to town and buy some. Suddenly, he heard a knock on the door. It was a young man, thoroughly drenched. He came inside, and from a cloth bag, took out some sugar candy and a bunch of bananas. Ramaswami Pillai said, ―I already knew something extraordinary was happening. I was excited and was bold enough to go to Bhagavan.

Bhagavan looking at me, said, ―See! The sugar candy has come. Make some porridge. As for the side dish, we now have bananas as well. Come! Let us have a feast today.

Ramaswami Pillai tearfully shared with me that Bhagavan of his own accord said, ―This is my second meal in a day, for three hundred and sixty five days. None of them present would have noticed this if Bhagavan hadn't announced it. Ramaswami Pillai said, ―Never can I forget that day. Bhagavan had it so indelibly imprinted on my mind.

Ramaswami Pillai said, ―Bhagavan was a pure jnani, always in a state of perfect awareness. There was no need for me to crave for a miracle. Miracles seemingly happened in his presence. Bhagavan's presence was magnetic. Just as iron filings are automatically attracted to a magnet, so too miracles were always happening in his presence, without him even noticing it.

He told Bhagavan, ―I longed for a miracle and this happened. How did it happen? Bhagavan replied, ―This happened because of sannidhi vishesham?the power of presence, of awareness. There is no interlude of thought or desire involved in this sannidhi vishesham.

When Bhagavan's mother passed away, Ramaswami Pillai helped not only in bringing down the body from the mountain, but also in the burial. He was a hard worker, and gave up everything else in life to stay with Bhagavan right from the Skandashram days. He painstakingly planted all the big coconut trees that we see today in Ramanashram. Bhagavan, too, got involved in all the activities of the devotees. Bhagavan had already given Ramaswami Pillai the teaching of Who am I? And he continued chanting Arunachala Shiva while engaged in gardening or cleaning the Ashram premises.

Ramaswami Pillai established the custom of cleanliness in the Ashram that you see today. He would be working for almost twenty-four hours a day, engaged either in gardening, or just sweeping, or even digging a pit.

Nobody wanted to live away from Bhagavan. There was only one cycle in the Ashram; so when the office staff needed certain things from town, Ramaswami Pillai was usually the only one who would offer to go on the errand. Thus, he came to be known more as ―Cycle Swami rather than Ramaswami Pillai.

One day, I asked him, ―You were always away from Bhagavan's presence; you were always working in the garden. How did you like it? He replied, ―Why Ganesan, from a distance, I could see Bhagavan's form, and I was always chanting his name. Bhagavan was always in my heart. Bhagavan was perfection itself and because of his perfection, when we looked at him or chanted his name, the perfection came to us. As he was always in a state of bliss, so too were we in a state of bliss.

In support of his statement, he quoted from tradition saying, ―Ganesan, understand that in our scriptures, this is called guru turiya. Turiya is the samadhi state?the fourth state transcending the three states of waking, dreaming, and sleeping. When you are working very hard and looking at the Master or chanting his name, he transports you to this state, which is not to your credit; it is because of his grace on you, and hence it is called guru turiya. The samadhi state that we get established in is because of his blessings.

Thus, though others seldom saw Ramaswami Pillai, Bhagavan and he were working together telepathically almost all the time. Bhagavan was continuously blessing him with his presence and Ramaswami Pillai was always chanting Bhagavan's name while doing his work. One day however, he had misgivings about his progress. He wondered if it was a mistake not to actively participate in any of the other activities of the Ashram, such as chanting, puja, and festivities. So he asked, ―Bhagavan am I doing the right thing? Bhagavan replied, ―Do Self-Enquiry. It embraces all other activities.

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