Author Topic: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi  (Read 14063 times)

Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #75 on: April 30, 2017, 06:09:04 AM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
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Ramaswami Pillai - III

Even while he was working in the garden or going to town by cycle, he was unconsciously doing Self-Enquiry. Whenever I met him at the Ashram after 1960, he would advise me very fervently, ―Do not get involved in any of these pujas and other activities. They will not take you anywhere. Do only Self-Enquiry.

A few years before he passed away, he would talk to my friends, like Anuradha, and say, ―We must have a room or a hall where only Self-Enquiry is done. Once, on losing his keys, he went to Bhagavan saying, ―My keys are lost, Bhagavan. Bhagavan smiled and said, ―The keys are not lost; they are where they are. You have forgotten where you have left them. Then, as he often did, Bhagavan supplemented what he had said with his teachings: ―It is just like the Self. It is always where it is. We forget it and take so many paths searching for it, saying, I am not able to find the Self; I don't know what the Self is, or where it lies. We are searching for it even though it is always here. The Self is not lost, it is only forgotten. With the help of anecdotes, Ramaswami Pillai would give me Bhagavan's teachings.

Those who have been to Ramanashram and Skandashram must have seen the smooth, rock-paved path connecting the two. It was laid single-handedly by Ramaswami Pillai. I want to share with you a humorous incident. In an English version of Bhagavan's biography, there is mention of this path: ―A path paved with smooth rocks was laid from Ramanashram to Skandashram single-handedly by a devotee. Later, it was translated in a French edition as: ―It was laid by a man who had only one hand. Ramaswami Pillai would say, ―See! I have two hands, but this French book says I have only one hand, and yet I laid the path with it!

Wherever Bhagavan walked, Ramaswami Pillai would silently spread sand evenly, like velvet. Every day, even in the hot noon sun, he would go and even out the paths that Bhagavan would regularly walk on. He was so unassuming that many people neither recognized him nor knew anything about him. One day, while Bhagavan was going up the hill from Ramanashram, he scraped himself against a rock. Bhagavan was unmindful of it, but one of the attendants noticed it and told Ramaswami Pillai. From the next day onward, Ramaswami Pillai started taking greater care to even out a soft path for Bhagavan.

Rarely would Ramaswami Pillai go into the hall where Bhagavan sat. He would normally prostrate before Bhagavan early in the morning and leave for his long, grueling day of work. He had a unique sense of humor. One day when he came into the hall, he found two groups of traditional Hindus having an animated discussion. One group affirmed that according to the scriptures, Shiva, the male God, reigns supreme. The other group asserted that Shiva's wife, Shakti, is supreme. (Shakti means form and power. As a matter of fact, one section of the scriptures says that even Shiva gets his power from Shakti.) The two groups kept arguing in Bhagavan's presence while Bhagavan looked on unsmilingly. Bhagavan's interest was aroused when he saw Ramaswami Pillai because he was such a humorous and frank person. When Ramaswami Pillai learned what the argument was about, he said, ―Oh! That is very simple. The female group is strongest because, he said, quoting in English, ―He is contained in She. So she is the most powerful. What is the problem? So the entire Shakti group clapped and exclaimed, ―Ah! We have won!

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Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #76 on: May 07, 2017, 10:46:37 PM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
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Ramaswami Pillai -IV

But Ramaswami Pillai continued, ―Wait! Wait! Wait! He can remain independently as He. But She cannot remain independently as She. He has to be there; otherwise She can't exist. The Shiva propagators applauded and exclaimed, ―Oh! We have won! Bhagavan laughed uproariously, admiring Ramaswami Pillai's sense of humor. Whenever Ramaswami Pillai came into the hall, Bhagavan would take great interest. Bhagavan liked unpretentiousness, and this was Ramaswami Pillai's greatest quality.

With all his humor, Ramaswami Pillai used to din into my ears, ―You must do Self-Enquiry. In the presence of Bhagavan we could feel that the mind was only a shadow, a shadow of the Self. The ego, the mind, is only a shadow of the Self?an unwanted accretion, a state of ignorance. Then he would say humorously, ―Nothing will be lost by its destruction. This falseness has to be and can certainly be dissolved by steady enquiry into one's Self. Such Self-Enquiry itself is the grace of the Satguru. All other efforts are definitely a waste of time.

As we saw earlier, from the very first day he met Bhagavan, he had started memorizing Bhagavan's written works and verses. As the days went by, Bhagavan wrote many more verses. All the verses were mainly four-line verses. In the evenings, chanting was done in two groups. One group would chant the first two lines and the other group would sing the next two.

Ramaswami Pillai was a very excited man. The parayana (chanting) was set to a particular raga or tune, and everyone was expected to follow it. However, Ramaswami Pillai would suddenly take off on a tangent and then start ―shouting the parayana in a totally different tune.

This created a lot of problems for the people in the parayana group, and so they approached Bhagavan, as they always did, with their problems. They complained, ―Bhagavan, this Ramaswami Pillai does not follow the group. He goes off on a tangent. We are not able to solve this problem, and this is a big problem for us. Bhagavan replied, ―What is the problem? He has got such a stentorian voice. So let him sing on one side of the group and all of you sing on the other side. Ramaswami Pillai continued to ―shout out his own tune and the members of the other group stuck to the tune of the parayana!

During his last days, since Ramaswami Pillai had lost all his teeth, he could not eat the Ashram food. He would eat only Bombay halwa made out of wheat and sugar. Since it was soft, like jelly, he could easily swallow it. The halwa provided him energy, since it contained both wheat and sugar. I would provide him with the sweet. He was staying inside the Ashram, and I assigned him a room with an attached bathroom; I also appointed an attendant to look after his needs.

On one occasion, a yoga guru by name Desikachari came from Chennai, along with his group of teachers. He is a reputed yoga teacher and teaches me yoga and prana yama. I had invited him to Ramanashram. Anuradha and I took the group round the Ashram, and we also took them to Skandashram.

On the way, I was telling Desikachari that the road we were walking on was laid by a single man who was now more than one hundred years old. Desikachari's father had lived to be a hundred years old, and Desikachari would gloat over this fact. Anuradha confronted him saying, ―You used to say that your father lived to be one hundred years old. We have a man who is living now and is more than a hundred years old. On coming back from Skandashram, Desikachari asked me, ―Could I meet the hundred-year-old man?

I took him to Ramaswami Pillai's room; as always, he was excited when he saw me. ―Ganesan! he said, ―Come! Come! It was time to have his halva so he clasped his hand around my neck and started feeding me the halva. When I put out my hand, he gave it a pat and said, ―You are my child; you are asking me by holding out your hand! Come here. Thus saying, he started feeding me. This happened in 1995. I was not a child, but he was feeding me! Desikachari enjoyed the scene and then said, ―You used to say that he does parayana and has a beautiful voice. Could we hear him sing some songs? I said, ―Ramaswami Pillai, they want to hear you sing. So sing some song of Bhagavan. At this, he got very angry and declared, ―What do you mean by some song of Bhagavan? For me, there is only one song and that is Bhagavan's Arunachala Shiva.

He sang in his beautiful voice. When he came to the tenth verse, he started panting. I immediately said, ―Ramaswami Pillai! Stop! That is enough. ―Oh! You want me to stop? Yes, I will stop, he responded. It was three-thirty in the afternoon when we took leave of him, and as soon as I disappeared from the scene, he started singing Arunachala Shiva again. His attendant later said that he sang until five o?clock in the evening. Then he told the attendant, ―Sit me up on my bed. He continued singing Arunachala Shiva with full consciousness until he dropped the body. I was not present at the time, but the next day, we laid him to rest. I made the arrangements and interred him, since that is what he had wanted. After it was over, the President said, ―Hand me the keys. That was the day I left Ramanashram.

You will remember that Mother Krishna Bai asked me if I had attended fifty devotees. ―But Mother, under your command I have even taken them to the crematorium. ―Any one left? she asked me at the time, and I replied, ―Yes, two people are left. ―And who are they? she enquired. ―Kunjuswami and Ramaswami Pillai, I replied. I then requested, ―Please bless me. She said, ―You have some more work to do. I will bless you. I will give you this final state, but you have some more work to do. I did not understand what she meant at that time, but it soon became very clear. In 1992, Kunjuswami passed away, and in 1995, Ramaswami Pillai passed away. I was asked to give the keys after interring Ramaswami Pillai. I recall that I was neither upset nor angry at the request because I at once saw Mother Krishna Bai saying, ―Your work here is complete, now you can hand it over.

Ramaswami Pillai, a very sturdy rock, arrived at Arunachala. I love him because Bhagavan loved him, and he loved Bhagavan. He served not only in the Ashram, but also every devotee of Bhagavan. The path to Skandashram will remain for hundreds and hundreds of years, and every rock will talk about Ramaswami Pillai. Whether we human beings are grateful to him or not for the service done by him, every coconut tree in Ramanashram will remain grateful to him and never forget him. I pay homage to Ramaswami Pillai.

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Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #77 on: May 10, 2017, 08:08:00 AM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
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Kunju Swami - I

The Upanishads say, ―One will get into the state of awareness or atmanishta only when the Self calls. The awareness itself has to call you. Whenever I meet a devotee, either in Ramanashram or outside, I always ask, ―How did you come to spiritual life? What made you turn to this? The sole function behind the question is to make them aware that they have been called. Even if this became a physical reality through the chance reading of a book, or suggestions from a friend, the Truth is these things happen because we have been called.
The main function of studying the lives of sages and saints and the early devotees of Bhagavan is to examine how each one of them had a turning point, a conversion.

Kunju Swami was one such remarkable saint. Kunju means ―baby in Malayalam, and he was so precious to his parents, they named him Kunju. He was chosen by God, just as, be assured, God or awareness or Self has chosen each of us. Do not exclude yourself, because if this were not true, you would not be reading and digesting this.

Kunju Swami resided in joy, cheerfulness, friendliness, happiness; in fact, no one has seen him in any other state. Any devotee who met Kunju Swami could never forget him. He was born in a so-called lower caste family. According to the caste system in India, people from lower castes were ostracized from society. On his birth, when his horoscope was cast, the astrologer predicted that this child was divine, and advised that special care be given to him. The parents paid heed to this counsel, and out of their five or six children, gave him the most attention.

Kunju Swami was very fond of his father, and accompanied him wherever he went. He would often go with him to bathe in a small pool. By the time he was three years old and was able to understand things, he would observe Brahmins and sannyasins, standing waist-deep in water and doing japa of mantras. ―Father, may we also chant a mantra like them? Why don't you teach me one? he asked eagerly.
His father shook his head, ―No, we are considered outcasts. Mantras are meant for Brahmins?the highest caste?and sannyasins. We cannot repeat them. The little boy was utterly dejected, and secretly shed tears at this prejudice. That night Lord Shiva appeared to him in a dream and said, ―My child, I am initiating you into a mantra. Chant Om Namah Shivaya.

The boy started chanting this as soon as he woke up. After a few days when he was again carried to the pool, he saw people taking sacred ash from a small cloth bag and smearing it on themselves. He told his father excitedly, ―Father, I would also like to have a sacred ash bag like that!―No, my child, we are all outcasts. We are not supposed to wear sacred ash or carry those sacred ash bags, his father replied. Kunju Swami once more was really upset on hearing this.

Lord Shiva appeared to him in a dream again that night, showed him a tree and said, ―My child, go to that tree and underneath you will find some coins. Take them and buy a bag of sacred ash. The next day he rushed to the spot, found three quarter annas (the Indian currency then), and showed them to his father, telling him what happened. ―Then it is Shiva's commandment, his father said. ―Go to the shop and buy that bag. Kunju Swami happily obeyed.

After a year, he (then a five-year-old boy) felt he must have a rosary. Hindus, particularly sannyasins, use a rosary made of rudraksha (natural seeds found only in Nepal) beads and consider it very sacred. He was afraid to tell his father, for fear of being told he could not have it because they were considered outcasts. He fervently prayed to Shiva, ―Please give one to me.

One day, while returning with a friend after a bath in the pool, his friend suddenly remembered that he had some work and had to go back. Kunju Swami continued walking alone and suddenly noticed a strange sight?a lotus in full bloom on the street. He bent to pick it up, and in the lotus flower, there was a rudraksha bead necklace held together with a golden thread! This time he ran back excitedly to his house and showed it to his father. His father was very happy, and, understanding that this child was special, he put it around Kunju Swami's neck with his own hands.

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Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #78 on: June 10, 2017, 08:25:13 PM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
------------------------------

Kunju Swami - II

By the age of ten, this boy was totally absorbed in his devotion to Shiva. His father took him to the next village to listen to the stories of Shiva, called Thiruvilayadal Puranam. Thiruvilayadal means ―play in Tamil and these stories related everything the Lord did, including how he played with devotees and blessed them. Kunju listened to them intently, soaking in every word.

On returning home, his father would ask him to tell his mother what he had heard, and the boy could repeat the stories verbatim. His family was flabbergasted at his extraordinary memory. His father gathered the villagers the next day and the boy stunned them with his recital. Soon the other villagers would take him along to attend spiritual discourses, and he began to perform the role of a human tape recorder! Even more astounding is that he could recall speeches not only in his mother tongue, Malayalam, but in any language, including Tamil and Sanskrit.

His father became increasingly concerned with the miraculous occurrences that surrounded Kunju's life. He felt that he must be properly trained, and therefore took him to one Swami who had come to their village. The Swami, called Kuppandi Swami, ridiculed these siddhis and told Kunju, ―Do not indulge in them. They are not going to help you. This is not the purpose for which the Lord came to you in your dream, gave you all this and called you.

The boy fell at the Swami?s feet and begged, ―Please guide me.

Kuppandi Swami, who was a Master of several arts such as magic, astrology, medicine, and Vedanta, acceded. He told the child, ―Choose any one art and I will teach it to you. ―Swami, you choose for me, the child humbly replied.
The teacher said, ―I won't choose for you. You must be involved. They finally wrote the subjects down on chits of paper and drew lots. The child drew Vedanta and that became his subject of instruction. To me, this is confirmation that the Lord completely animates you. Only, one must have trusting faith to recognize it. The Swami started teaching him Kaivalya Navanita, which means ―the churned butter of emancipation. Knowledge is like yogurt. When we churn it enough, we get butter. Therefore anything that we read, including the scriptures, when it is understood and faithfully put into practice, gives us the real ―butter, or the Truth, through direct experience. That is spiritual practice. Bhagavan was very fond of this book. Kunju Swami meticulously studied it, and because of his phenomenal re-call, could learn twenty verses on the very first day. Kuppandi Swami did not know about the ―human tape recorder and said, ―You will study them at home, and when you come tomorrow, you must recite them to me. Only then will I teach you the rest. Though he had already memorized the verses, Kunju obediently left without saying anything. Within five days he had memorized the entire book, but his father said, ―This is not enough. You must know the meaning. Kunju went back to Kuppandi Swami and was taught the meanings. When Kuppandi Swami had to leave, he entrusted Kunju to another Swami who was well-versed in Yoga Vasishta. His new teacher taught him this and advised, ―It is not enough that you memorize and understand it. You will practice it, too.

Therefore he began putting these teachings into practice; yet he did not feel fulfilled. After a few years, Kuppandi Swami returned from his pilgrimage and found Kunju in a depressed state. ―Why are you like this? He questioned Kunju. ―Swami, whatever I practice is not giving me satisfaction. I have read in the scriptures and in our Puranas that in the ancient Vedic period there were many Maharishis, who could, with just one look, share an experience of Self-realization. Are there not any such Maharishis now? Kunju inquired.

Kuppandi Swami said, ―Yes, there is one such sage, now. His name is Ramana Maharshi. The moment Kunju heard the name Ramana Maharshi, he went into a state of ecstasy. After a few minutes he collected himself and asked, ―Swami, have you seen this Ramana Maharshi? ―Yes, I went to Arunachala and saw him, the teacher replied. ―I would like to go there, Kunju stated.

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Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #79 on: July 03, 2017, 03:34:01 AM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
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Kunju Swami - III

Kuppandi Swami was a highly advanced teacher and had hundreds of devotees. He had a premonition that after two years he would get into jiva samadhi, entombment while still alive, and that Kunju should close his tomb. Hence, he told Kunju, ―Please wait until then. I have chosen you to do this because you have got the blessings of Lord Shiva. Until then, I will be teaching you.

Kunju anxiously waited for those two years to go by. During that period, one of his friends from the next village, Ramakrishnan, came to see him. He told his friend, ―You go to Ramana Maharshi and see him first. I will give you directions to get there. Finally, the day for Kuppandi Swami to enter into jiva samadhi arrived. Thousands thronged the site in anticipation of the miracle that awaited them. The pit was dug and the teacher told Kunju to place the slab over the tomb. ―How will I know when to put it in place? Kunju asked. ―I will be in samadhi and you will see that my head will suddenly start to shake. That will be your clue, and then you can put the slab on the tomb, Kuppandi Swami instructed. ―When will I see that? Kunju asked. ―It will happen half-an-hour after I enter samadhi, his teacher replied. Half-an-hour passed; then one hour, one-and-a-half hours, two hours, and yet nothing happened. Suddenly Kuppandi Swami arose from the coffin and ran out with Kunju in tow. After running for almost a mile, Kuppandi Swami stopped under a tree. Kunju fell at his feet. ―Swami, what happened? ―I don't know! I am not trying to cheat anyone. Something has gone wrong, which means I will do some more sadhana. I will go on a pilgrimage, and I will not come back. You go to Ramana Maharshi. I bless you, my child. Thus the teacher parted with his disciple.

The Swami's failure to enter jiva samadhi became sensational news. Soon, the excitement died down, and Kunju was heartbroken that his upaguru had failed and gone away. His father took pity on him and said, ―Son, you have been with Kuppandi Swami. Have you ever owed any money to anyone? ―Yes father, I owe someone five rupees, he replied. ―Here, take this money and return it. His father pressed five rupees into his palm. Kunju felt that it was Lord Shiva himself giving him the money to go to Tiruvannamalai.

By this time, around January 1920, Kunju was very popular in his village, as well as in the surrounding ones. Aspiring to avoid the idle curiosity of people, he waited until night so he could slip away. He ran to the railway station and waited there, but missed the train. He hid himself and caught the next train to Katpadi. On reaching Katpadi, he learned that he had again missed the train to Tiruvannamalai. The next train was at six in the evening, and he had to wait the entire day. At five in the evening, when he went to buy a ticket, he was told that a bubonic plague had broken out in Tiruvannamalai and therefore nobody was allowed to get off there. Dejected, he asked a man standing next to him, ―What do I do? I want to go to Tiruvannamalai. ―Tirukoilur is the next station after Tiruvannamalai. Why don't you get a ticket to Tirukoilur, and when the train reaches Tiruvannamalai, jump from the train. That is the way, the stranger advised.

They were to arrive at Tiruvannamalai station at nine-thirty p.m. Kunju Swami was a law-abiding and a truthful young man, and was apprehensive about breaking the rule of getting off at the forbidden station. Suddenly, the man seated next to him held his hand and said, ―I am getting down at Tiruvannamalai. You must also get off, and pulled him along. The two men slipped away into the night.

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Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #80 on: July 05, 2017, 02:16:18 AM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
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Kunju Swami - IV

Later on, when Kunju Swami recounted how the whole thing worked out, he said, ―Had I not missed the morning train, I would not have been able to slip into Tiruvannamalai. Everything was perfect: I did not want to break the rules, but somebody (who else could it have been, except my Bhagavan?) held my hand and compelled me to get down. I followed him into town, to an open temple porch where we both fell asleep. When I woke up early the next morning, the man who helped me was gone.

Kunju Swami was directed by the passersby to climb up the hill to reach Bhagavan. There were three paths made of stones, and he did not know which to take. This is symbolic for all aspirants: when we want to reach that to which we aspire, we encounter doubts, problems, and obstacles. However, if we are steadfast in our faith, this, too, will be resolved by the Truth itself. What we need is perseverance, one-pointedness, and faith.

On reaching Skandashram, Kunju Swami saw Bhagavan sitting, and three people prostrating before him. One of them was his own friend, Ramakrishnan. The other two were Perumal Swami and Swami Akhandananda. ―This is the way I will pay my homage, he realized.
He, too, paid his tribute to Bhagavan and waited, because he had read in the Kavalya Navanita and Jnana Vasishta that the guru gives an upadesa, and he will speak first; until then one must not speak to him. At that time Bhagavan turned to a lady who was weeping profusely and asked her, ―Why are you weeping? You are weeping because you lost one son but another son has now come. The lady was none other than Bhagavan's mother, Alagammal. Much later, Kunju Swami learned that a man called Annamalai Swami had died that morning due to the plague, and Bhagavan's mother was very fond of him. He was of much service to her and to the others at Skandashram.

He had stayed with Bhagavan for eighteen days when the Master asked him one day, ―What are you doing? ―I am doing the panchakshari mantra, Om Namah Shivaya, Kunju Swami replied. ―Continue doing that, Bhagavan said, approvingly. Kunju Swami followed this for eighteen days, and he felt that in Bhagavan's presence he had experienced the Self. He felt he should not be a burden to the Ashram, and along with Ramakrishnan, decided that they had now realized the Self, and so would go back home and live there in this state of bliss. However, when they went home, the bliss slowly started fading and they were back to their original states. They realized that they must go back to the physical presence of Bhagavan.

When Kunju Swami left for his first journey to Tiruvannamalai, he had done so without telling his parents, but this time he took their blessings to get his guru's blessings. In India, we have deep conviction in serving the guru, being in close proximity to him or her, and awaiting their instructions. When Kunju Swami and Ramakrishnan went to Skandashram, they, too, longed to serve their Master. Perumal Swami, who was Bhagavan's personal attendant, said, ―I will go on a pilgrimage. Both of you take over my duty. Perumal Swami's duty was to massage Bhagavan's feet and bathe him. Kunju Swami was delighted that his prayers were being answered and resolved that come what may, never to leave his Master, and to do the service his Master entrusted to him. Sure enough, he did not give up this service to his Master until his last day.

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Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #81 on: July 07, 2017, 03:36:02 AM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
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Kunju Swami - V

He asked Bhagavan, ―Why was it that when I went back to my village, I lost the state of bliss and became unhappy again? And my other question is what should I do to get over my confusion and thereby gain clarity? Bhagavan listened to his questions with a smile and replied, ―You have studied Kaivalya Navanita. One of the verses says that if one enquires into and comes to see the individual Self and thus transcends it to its substratum eternal Self, he becomes the substratum, or Self. Remaining always as the Self, there will be no more births and deaths.

―How can I know my Self? Kunju Swami asked. ―First recognize who you are, the guru answered. Kunju Swami inquired, ―How can I re-cognize who I am? ―See from where thoughts arise, Bhagavan said. ―But how is this to be done? Kunju Swami pressed. Bhagavan replied, ―Turn your mind inward and be the Heart. He then reverted to his natural state of silence, his gracious look fixed on Kunju Swami, and at that very moment, his agitation and confusion ceased. He experienced a peace and bliss he had never experienced before.
Kunju Swami asked yet again, ―How and why did I lose the experience of bliss when I went back to my village? Bhagavan quoted again from the Kaivalya Navanita and said, ―The experience of the Self as a glimpse can occur in the presence of the guru, but it may not last. Doubts will rise again and again. In order to clear them, the disciple should continue to study, contemplate, and practice. Studying or listening is sravana, contemplation is manana, and then practicing it is nidhidyasana. Sravana, manana, and nidhidyasana should be done until the distinction between the known, the knower, and the knowing no longer arises. Practice includes surrender. There should be no difference, no other at all.

After Bhagavan had explained this to Kunju Swami, he decided to stay in his presence and to carry out the practices he prescribed. He found that if any doubt arose in his mind, it would be cleared by merely listening to Bhagavan's answers to others' questions. He rarely had a question to ask. The day in Skandashram used to begin at 4 AM. Bhagavan's mother would get up and sing devotional songs. At five, Bhagavan would come out, and all devotees would sing Aksharamanamaalai. Either a man called Sama Iyer would cook, or Echammal would bring food and at eight; everybody would eat their breakfast. The rest of the time was spent meditating or reading Ribhu Gita or the Kaivalya Navanita. Bhagavan would remain mostly in silence.

Every single day was a holy day at Skandashram. Bhagavan introduced Kunju Swami to Kavyakantha Ganapati Muni. Kunju Swami had actually witnessed Kavyakantha's kapala bheda. A hot vapor emanated from Kavyakantha's head and he placed Kunju Swami?s hand there. He had found it very hot. Bhagavan told Kunju Swami, ―He had told us about this experience. But who could I have told? Then someone asked, ―Bhagavan, did you have this experience also? Bhagavan just grunted?neither accepting nor denying the fact.

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Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #82 on: July 09, 2017, 04:38:53 AM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
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Kunju Swami - VI

Nayana described Bhagavan's spiritual status to Kunju Swami as being that of a Sahaja Nishta. He explained that according to the scriptures, all spiritual aspirants eventually grow from either power (Shakti) or peace. Many sages like Meera, Adi Shankara, and Swami Vivekananda, developed power and used this to go out, write books, and speak. Bhagavan alone was one who was rooted in peace; he never assumed doership in any powers. And that is the mark of Sahaja Nishta: to remain as you are.

Kunju Swami said that Bhagavan was very ordinary with him, but most of the time, Bhagavan would simply go into samadhi, from which it was very difficult for him to come out. Hence, three or four people would blow conches in Bhagavan's ears. Finally, after this had been done for a long time, Bhagavan would emerge from his samadhi. This practice was continued until sometime after Bhagavan moved to Ramanashram. The scriptures state that there are two means of influencing the mind: by blowing a conch, and by ringing a bell. The conch brings out the subdued mind. Ringing a bell and feeling its sound takes the mind within. This is why temples and churches have bells; it is not merely a ritual, but is also a means to calm and ―interiorize the mind.

When Bhagavan's mother passed away, Kunju Swami was present. He brought the body to Virupaksha Cave, and along with Bhagavan, Nayana and some others, saw to it that Mother's body was buried properly. A thatched shed was erected and Bhagavan's brother, Niranjanananda Swami, and Dandapani Swami stayed there. Sometimes they would get together ingredients for dosa and send word to Kunju Swami to stay over and eat dosas with them the next morning. Dosas were considered a luxury in Skandashram. They would want to send some for Bhagavan as well. Kunju Swami woke up at three in the morning, joined them, and began to wash the vessels. A person wrapped in a cloth stood behind him and said, ―Is there any food for an athithi? (Athithi means ―a wandering guest). Kunju Swami turned around and saw that it was none other than Bhagavan joking with him. Kunju Swami respectfully replied, ―Bhagavan, you have come at the right time. We are making dosas, please stay here.

There was another lady who would begin her daily routine after Bhagavan's Darshan. When she came to know that Bhagavan had come to the present Ramanashram, which was only a thatched shed at that time, she insisted, ―Stay here. I want to cook for you morning and evening and feed you all the time. Bhagavan complied. The next day somebody else said, ―We want to cook for you. Soon people started asking him to stay there. Seeing every action as perfect, Bhagavan took it as Arunachala's commandment to stay in Ramanashram.

Ramana Maharshi was up on the hill until 1922. After his mother passed away, her body was buried in one part of the forest in the southern side of the hill, where they raised a small thatched shed. My grandfather, Chinna Swami, who was very attached to his mother, stayed in the shrine with Dandapani Swami, doing pooja the Hindu way. Bhagavan was at Skandashram with Kunju Swami, Ramakrishna Swami, Perumal Swami, Ramanatha Brahmachari, Ramaswami Pillai, and a few others. Whenever he came down to the thatched shed, people from the town would find out and rush to Ramanashram with ingredients and fuel to cook, so they could feed Bhagavan. In Sanskrit this is called bhiksha, and means ―giving of alms, but its literal meaning is ―giving a feast. The gathered devotees, after sharing the feast with him, would request Bhagavan to go around the hill with them. Bhagavan used to walk around the hill the entire night.

After his coming down to the Mother's Samadhi, Bhagavan had intended to go back to Skandashram, but the devotees from town continued to give him bhiksha for two or three days, and he could not return. Kunju Swami and Ramakrishna Swami, who were at Skandashram, began to bewail Bhagavan's long absence. ―We came here for Bhagavan?not just to guard a building up on the hill, they thought sullenly. They would therefore sneak away down the hill to be with Bhagavan. The Master noticed this, and one day said, ―Let us all go around the hill. Both of them went around the hill and returned to Skandashram early next morning, while Bhagavan and a few others came back to Ramanashram. After an hour or so, Kunju Swami and Ramakrishna Swami came running back and cried, ―Bhagavan, thieves have entered Skandashram and robbed everything! Whatever was left there, it?s all gone! Bhagavan coolly replied, ―That's good. Now nobody need guard that building; you can also come and stay here.

This is how Ramanashram began to develop slowly. It began as a mere thatched shed, with a low platform, on which Bhagavan would lie, and six or seven devotees who would lie down near him on a mat made of coconut leaves. Kunju Swami used to say that those were the most superb days, because then they could be close to their guru while he shared pearls of wisdom with them all through the night.

On the flip side, of course, there were many days when they did not have food to eat. Bhagavan's brilliance had just begun to spread. Many did not know of his existence and did not bring him anything to eat. Bhagavan was in his thirties or forties while Kunju Swami and Ramakrishna Swami were youths of twenty or twenty-five. They were all energetic workers but went hungry. Bhagavan would tell them, ―We will celebrate this day. According to Hindu custom, one has to observe a complete fast every eleventh day of the month, called Ekadashi. Ekadashi in Sanskrit means ―eleventh. It would be compensated the next day called Dwadasi or ―twelfth, when one can eat to one's Heart's content. Whenever they did not have any food, Bhagavan would amuse them by saying, ―Today we will celebrate Ekadashi and sometimes, after a day or two, some devotees would bring ample food. Then Bhagavan would say, ―Today we will celebrate Dwadasi.

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Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #83 on: July 12, 2017, 09:12:12 PM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
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Kunju Swami - VII

On some days there would be only enough rice to feed ten people. Bhagavan would encourage them by taking them to the forest. He knew of all the varieties of green vegetables and asked the disciples to harvest them while he told them about their medicinal properties, their taste, and how to cook them. In South India, rice is eaten as the main preparation, and vegetables are eaten as side dish. Bhagavan would say, ―Why should rice always be the main dish? Today we will have spinach as the main dish and eat rice on the side!
Kunju Swami said that they never felt tired even if they didn't have their creature comforts. Bhagavan inculcated in them his own equanimity. Like most highly advanced beings, Bhagavan was never mindful of whether there was enough to eat or not. But the beauty about Bhagavan was that he provided his disciples that state of titiksha, too. His faithful disciples never felt the difference between Ekadashi and Dwadasi, except when Bhagavan expressed those humorous remarks, which delighted all in the Ashram.

Kunju Swami told me that Bhagavan came away from Madurai as a sixteen-year-old boy straight out of school. He could not have had a chance to acquire too many skills, yet he was specially gifted. He knew how to make beautiful garlands with flowers and make plates out of dry leaves. He also had culinary skills and could cook a vast variety of food. Kunju Swami often wondered where Bhagavan had learned this. Other people sometimes forget even the few things they know?but Bhagavan seemed to recall everything. When people began to give bhiksha, they would give five rupees in those days and some rice, dhal, and vegetables. Their only condition was that Bhagavan had to walk around the hill with the person who had given him bhiksha that day. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed this, including the seven or eight guests at the Ashram. To them, accompanying Bhagavan on the circumambulation of Arunachala meant walking along with God. Kunju Swami once said to me, ―We did not feel that we were walking with one of our friends or a saint, but with the supreme God himself, walking with two legs, two hands, and a head.

Once when people had come with bhiksha on five consecutive days, Kunju Swami tried to stop the next person because Bhagavan had barely slept for five days. Bhagavan just looked at him sternly to indicate that he must not tell anyone that he had been awake for five days so he could go around the hill with that devotee. Finally, when seven days had passed, Kunju Swami could bear it no longer. He went to Bhagavan and protested, ―Bhagavan, you have not slept at all. Don't you need rest? Why do you prevent me from disallowing people? Bhagavan gave him a gracious look and said, ―What is sleep? Sleep is only to give rest to the mind. Only if the mind exists, do you need to give it rest. Where is the mind? Of course I understand that if these eyelids are open for twenty four hours at a stretch, they get strained, and the eyes ache. If one remains with his eyes closed for some time, this too is taken care of. Therefore, where is the problem?

The old hall, which is now used for meditation in Ramanashram, was built in 1926. Kunju Swami was very happy because Bhagavan could be given a couch, though Bhagavan did not like it. Bhagavan said, ―I prefer to sleep on the rock. When the disciples placed a new velvet cushion on it, Bhagavan said, ―This velvet cushion is pleasurable and enjoyable only to you. It is a bed of thorns to me. I prefer to sit on the rock. Even so, Kunju Swami said he was very happy that Bhagavan could have some comfort on the couch. Here too, the devotees would sleep in the same hall as Bhagavan.

There were a few dogs at Ramanashram and Kunju Swami admitted that none of them were fond of the animals because they were a nuisance. The hall where they slept was also the kitchen, the dining room, and the audience hall, and these dogs would live there, too. Bhagavan knew of their discomfiture with the canines. Bhagavan would have the dogs sleep below his bed, and at night take them for a walk and then bring them back. ―Get under the bed! The others will get angry if you stay outside. Go in! Bhagavan would instruct them.

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Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #84 on: July 13, 2017, 09:26:27 AM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
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Kunju Swami - VIII

Bhagavan would work along with all his devotees. All the Ashram chores, including gardening, chopping vegetables, cooking, cleaning, and even masonry (until Annamalai Swami took over it later) were done by Bhagavan too. He would bring rocks, and mix water and mud for mortar to build walls. When the Master accompanied his disciples in their work, they felt rejuvenated and happy. It was in 1940 that Bhagavan again became more and more withdrawn and silent.

One day when Bhagavan was seated in the midst of his disciples, he suddenly got up and strode quickly toward the hill. Kunju Swami said, ―I was very curious. Bhagavan usually never did anything unpredictable. Whenever he did, on rare occasions, there was some significance behind it. Kunju Swami was waiting for Bhagavan to instruct him to come, but the guru went alone. From a distance he could see Bhagavan surrounded by monkeys. After half an hour or so, Bhagavan came back with his eyes swollen from shedding tears. ―We were alarmed and asked what happened, Kunju Swami narrated.

Bhagavan replied, ―These monkeys have been searching for me at Skandashram. When I left, they searched all over the hill, putting their lives in peril. Monkeys live in kingdoms, and if they wandered into another territory, they could be killed by rival monkeys. These monkeys have come with their children at risk and are begging me to come back to Skandashram because they miss me there. It took me a long time to persuade them. I explained my situation and asked them to go back. I gave them my assurance that they will get back safely.

Whenever Kunju Swami narrated this anecdote, he would weep copiously because he would bring before us Bhagavan's poignant unity with the animal kingdom, including monkeys. Bhagavan would ask, ―What is the difference between animals, birds, and us? Birds wear the bird body, animals wear the animal body, and we wear the human body. We all wear different bodies like different shirts, but in reality we are all the same being. Kunju Swami loved animals and noticed Bhagavan's relationship with them. Therefore he was the source of all stories of the Master's relationship with animals and birds.

If you go to Ramanashram, you will see four tombs for four animals. Bhagavan treated animals just like he treated human beings; there was absolutely no difference. Just as he revealed liberation for his mother, so he conferred mukti to a deer, a dog, a crow, and to a cow, and these are only the known instances. Moreover, when Bhagavan was at Skandashram, (Kunju Swami told me that he had seen this for himself) as soon as a baby monkey was born, the entire group of monkeys would come to Bhagavan and place it on his lap, with the blood and all. Bhagavan would wash it and return it to the mother. This is indeed a remarkable phenomenon because usually if a human being were to so much as touch a baby monkey, the whole herd would reject the newborn.

He also cared for the delivery of the Ashram pups. Squirrels used to complain to Bhagavan, who would often mediate between them if they quarreled. He even would attend to cats whenever they were ill. There was one cat that had a disease in his eye. Bhagavan kept a towel with him in the summer and would wipe its eye clean with it, to the chagrin of his attendant. Bhagavan respected his feelings, too, so he just kept the cloth and later washed it himself. Bhagavan was equally compassionate to all: therefore he not only attended to the cat, but without getting angry, was mindful of his attendant's feelings also.

Snakes and peacocks would frequently find their way to Ramanashram. The Maharshi shared with us an example of his compassion, even in his last moments. Bhagavan was to drop the body at 8:47 p.m., and at 7:30 p.m. he asked to be helped into padmasana asana. After five minutes he opened his eyes and said, ―He is hungry, feed him. A white peacock was making sounds outside. Those were the last words he had spoken. In India animals and birds are usually referred to in the neutral gender, as ―it. But Bhagavan attributed human qualities to animals by calling them ―he or ―she.

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« Last Edit: July 16, 2017, 09:39:32 PM by Krishnan »

Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #85 on: July 16, 2017, 09:39:06 PM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
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Kunju Swami - IX

Bhagavan's compassion with animals and birds cannot even be called extraordinary, because he treated everything alike. It is because we perceive the difference between the animal kingdom and mankind that we glorify Bhagavan's love for animals. Bhagavan was not paying any special attention to them?he was paying the same attention to them.

Bhagavan rarely asked for anything. Once, a stranger approached him. Bhagavan looked at him and asked, ―Next time, will you please bring me some cashew nuts? Everybody was flabbergasted. Bhagavan was a shy person and usually did not talk to strangers. Here, most extraordinarily, he was not only volunteering to talk to a stranger, but also almost begging him to bring something for him. And how did he know there was going to be a ―next time?

Soon, everyone knew the reason. It was that the squirrels, fifty or sixty of them, would not eat peanuts or anything else; they would eat only cashew nuts. The Ashram management would say, ―They are only squirrels. If they are hungry, they will eat everything. We can feed them peanuts. But they never touched the peanuts. Six or seven squirrels stood in front of Bhagavan and there they were cajoling him. That is what Bhagavan said, ―They were cajoling me and asking me where their food was.

World War II was going on at the time and cashew nut production had been nationalized, making cashews unavailable in the market. There were no cashews in the Ashram kitchen and the store had only a little, which the cooks wanted to save for their cooking. Bhagavan sent for cashews four times but they said, ―No, these cashew nuts are for making sweets, we won't give them. Finally, Bhagavan's extraordinary influence procured cashews through the visitor. Bhagavan could often be seen breaking the cashew nuts into small pieces and keeping them in a small box. The only thing he asked for was cashews for the squirrels.

Dandapani Swami would cook and Bhagavan assisted him. Every morning Dandapani Swami brought a type of spinach, which had to be ground or else it could not be eaten. Bhagavan would grind it and this eventually caused blisters on the fingers of his right hand. Bhagavan, of course, did not mind it, but it irked Kunju Swami. He approached Dandapani Swami and said, ―Do not bring that spinach from now on. ―I am the cook; do not interfere in my job, Dandapani Swami shot back. Kunju Swami went to Bhagavan and complained, ―Bhagavan, I have told Dandapani Swami not to bring this spinach, but he insists on bringing it, and this has caused you blisters. I will not eat if you grind it!

Nothing changed the next day so Kunju Swami refused to eat. Bhagavan noticed this and said, ―What freedom do I have, when I will obey whatever anyone says. If I do not obey them, they say that they will not eat. Where is my freedom? Kunju Swami was deeply hurt. Yet Bhagavan continued taunting him with ―Kunju, may I get up? I have eaten now. Or ―May I enter? Or ―May I read this book? If I read this without your permission you will not eat. Or ―May I go out? I want to take a walk on the hill. May I, or will you not eat?
This plunged Kunju Swami into depression. After experiencing this for three days, he told Bhagavan, ―Bhagavan, I am going to Tirupathi. My train leaves at six-thirty. Tirupathi is a pilgrimage center in Andhra Pradesh, nearly a hundred miles from Tiruvannamalai. After lunch Bhagavan suddenly said, ―I am going around the hill, let us all go. Ramakrishna Swami told Kunju Swami, ―Your train is at six-thirty. We will all go around Arunachala with Bhagavan. When we approach the town you can catch your train. Kunju Swami agreed and decided to take the opportunity to walk around the hill. But on that day, Bhagavan deliberately walked very slowly?so slowly that by the time they reached the outskirts of the city, the train had already left. Bhagavan said, ―See, Kunju, your train is moving?go and get on!

Then he consoled Kunju Swami, ―You cannot even eat this Ashram food: you find the sambar and rasam so spicy that you dilute them. In Andhra, everything is made with chilies, how can you eat there? Kunju Swami prostrated at Bhagavan's feet. He confessed, ―I served Bhagavan day and night, and became a little proud of my proximity to him. I had begun to think that I was superior to all because I have been close to Bhagavan, and that I am his best devotee and servant. Bhagavan just played a leela and weaned me in his own natural, most beautiful way.

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Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #86 on: July 18, 2017, 10:12:06 AM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
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Kunju Swami - X

Ramakrishna Swami had a younger brother called Vasu, who was studying in college, four hundred miles from Tiruvannamalai. He got a letter from his family that Vasu was following a hatha yogi, who had taught him the practice of concentrating between the eyebrows and he was so steadfast in doing this that he had almost turned mad. He was not able to eat or sleep and was in a pitiable condition. He would not listen to his family. Ramakrishna Swami told Bhagavan, who knew all the family members, ―Bhagavan, if I go, he will not listen to me. Then Bhagavan said, ―Kunju, you go and tell him about the teaching. Ramakrishna Swami had five rupees to give Kunju Swami. It was enough to buy a train ticket, but not enough for food. They didn't know how to tell this to Bhagavan. Finally, Kunju Swami said, ―It doesn't matter. Bhagavan has asked me to go, so I will go. It is all right, even if I remain hungry. His train was at six-thirty in the evening. At three o' clock that day a visitor brought pooris, or fried bread, with him. Bhagavan used to eat one or two if they were small, or one, if they were of a bigger size.

Bhagavan practiced equal sharing: if there was only one poori and many people to share it with, he would just take small pinches of it and distribute them equally to everyone. But on this day when poori was served to him in the hall, he did not stop with one. The visitors gave Bhagavan two pooris and waited; then three and waited expectantly; then four, then five, then six; only then did Bhagavan say: ―Enough. Everybody was surprised that Bhagavan had accepted six pooris when he would eat only one. He then slowly and neatly packed five pooris and called Kunju Swami, who had not told him of his problem. The Master compassionately asked, ―You have got only money for travel but what will you eat? Take this to eat on the way. Kunju was so stirred that whenever he would narrate his relationship with Bhagavan; he would cry and bring us to tears, too. Bhagavan's tender and loving ways were so beautiful.

Kunju Swami was quite noble, too. Over the next two days he ate only four pooris and kept one as Prasad because Bhagavan himself had packed it. He took this Prasad to Ramakrishna's family and fed it to Vasu first. He took a little time to divert him from his path of hatha yoga to Bhagavan's Self-Enquiry. When he had stayed for a few days and ensured that there was improvement, he returned to the Ashram and reported this to Bhagavan. Before he could return, a letter had already reached the Ashram saying that Vasu had relinquished all hatha yoga practices, and was now in meditation as prescribed by Bhagavan. He afterward joined the army and became an officer of high rank. I met Vasu when he had retired from the army. He was a tall, hefty six-footer with a very simple heart, thanks to that little Prasad of poori and, of course, the Self-Enquiry.

Kunju Swami used to narrate many stories. There was a man called Kandaswami in Tiruvannamalai who was a murderer and abhorred by all. One day he fell gravely ill and people drove him out from the town. His only shelter was a temple porch in front of Ramanashram. He stayed there and sent word to Bhagavan that he was hungry. Bhagavan made gruel and sent it over every day. Before we proceed with the story, it must be shown that Bhagavan rarely ever commented disparagingly about any person. Whenever Bhagavan received news that a devotee had passed away, he commented on what a great man or woman that person was. Even if the said person had hundreds of faults and only a few good qualities, Bhagavan dwelt primarily on the positive traits. When his devotees heard that Kandaswami had died, they decided to challenge Bhagavan to find at least one good quality in this abysmally assumed wicked man. They informed Bhagavan of his death. ―Oh! Kandaswami has passed away, Bhagavan exclaimed. ―He used to keep his body and clothes very clean, even though he did not use soap or soap nut powder. He used to bathe and clean his dhoti for hours together and keep it spotlessly clean. ―Bhagavan, we are all defeated, they said in unison. ―What happened? ―We thought we would challenge you, but we have failed before you, Bhagavan, they replied.

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Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #87 on: July 20, 2017, 08:05:31 AM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
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Kunju Swami - XI

Kunju Swami gave us a few other instances of Bhagavan's humor. When letters would arrive, they would be taken to Bhagavan in the hall and the devotees would observe Bhagavan's face as he read them. From his smile and his expressions they would know if there was something interesting in the letter. Once Bhagavan held a post card in his hand and then just kept it aside, but his smile gave him away. Kunju Swami ventured to ask, ―Bhagavan, I know that you have read something interesting in that post card. Will you please share it with us? There were six or seven people present.

Bhagavan said with a smile, ―All the so-called worldly people have attachment to the body as long as they live but these sannyasins, these monks, who are supposed to have renounced the world, are attached to their bodies even after they die. The listeners did not understand. Bhagavan continued, ―This post card is from a sanyasi who is eighty years old. He has appealed for funds saying, ―I may die any day and I will be placed in a samadhi, which has to be built well, hence please send donations.

In another instance, in the 1930s, when Bhagavan was about fifty years old, an old man of nearly ninety-five came to Bhagavan. He looked very pious and prostrated several times before Bhagavan, shedding tears all the while. He said, ―Bhagavan, I have only one prayer. Bhagavan rarely asked what it was. He only looked at him. The old man said, ―Bhagavan, you should live for a hundred years. I should see that you should live for a hundred years. Everybody was moved with his prayer, which was almost like a blessing that Bhagavan live for a hundred years. Bhagavan hid his smile, and after an hour, when this old man went away, Kunju Swami, being mischievous himself, knew that Bhagavan had something witty to respond to this. He went near Bhagavan and asked, ―Bhagavan, I noticed, you smiled. What was the reason? Bhagavan, amused, said, ―You are all moved, aren't you, that he asked that I should live for a hundred years? Do you know what that means? That he has to live a hundred and forty years, because he said ―I want to see you live for hundred years.

Kunju Swami found that when people from different branches of philosophy asked him questions, he, Kunju Swami, could not give them answers. Many people from Tamil Nadu followed the path of Saiva Siddhanta and plied him with questions. There was a mutt where they held classes on Saiva Siddhanta, so he decided to go there and learn it. He went to Bhagavan and informed him, ―Bhagavan, I am going to this place to learn Saiva Siddhanta. ―Oh! Why? Bhagavan asked. Kunju Swami replied, ―When people come here, they have so many questions. I do not know Saiva Siddhanta?if I do then I can answer their queries. Oh! That is very good! So you are going to learn Saiva Siddhanta so that others' questions can be answered. Suppose someone comes with questions on Advaita Vedanta, what will you do? You will go and learn Advaita Vedanta, and if someone comes and talks to you in Sanskrit, what will you do? You will go and learn Sanskrit. If Westerners come to you, speaking in English, how will you answer them? Then will you go and learn English, too?

By that time Kunju Swami knew that Bhagavan was pulling his leg. Then he said, ―Bhagavan, please pardon me. I am not going anywhere. Please teach me. It is only with love that I want to help the others. Bhagavan then gave him a gracious look as well as the teaching: ―If you learn to remain in the Heart as the I Am, to any questions that are put to you, the answers will emerge like an echo from within, and they will be the correct answers. Learn to remain within your Heart as I Am.

In another incident, there was a group of people trying to disturb the Ashram management. Kunju Swami happened to enter the old hall, and since everyone stood there, Kunju Swami too stood there. Bhagavan looked at him, ―What business have you got here? Why have you joined these people? Kunju Swami did not know what to say; he had not come to join them. Bhagavan asked again, ―For what purpose did you come? ―Bhagavan, I came for getting your grace, Kunju Swami meekly replied. The Master rebuked him, ―Then you attend to that. Why are you standing here? That day Bhagavan shared with him the lesson that we must attend only to the intention, for which we have all come. It is to recognize the transcendental Truth. It is not just for Kunju Swami that Bhagavan said this, but for everyone. This is Bhagavan's direct teaching, and as Kunju Swami confirmed to me, a sound and practical one?that we not interfere in others' affairs.

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Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #88 on: July 29, 2017, 09:19:24 AM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
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Kunju Swami - XII

In 1932, after serving Bhagavan personally, day and night, for twelve years, Kunju Swami had a big urge to practice Self-Enquiry by keeping himself aloof from the Ashram. He had trained a young boy on how to attend to Bhagavan. Kunju Swami waited for the day to tell Bhagavan that he was retiring from service and that he would be staying in Palakothu, in the next compound (where Annamalai Swami stayed afterward). He was hesitant, as he did not know how to break the news to his Master.

While still in this dilemma, one day he entered the hall when he heard Bhagavan explaining to others that real service to him did not mean attending to his physical needs but practicing his teachings. Once before he had said, ―It is no use in saying, I have been of personal service to the guru. One should abide by the teaching of the guru every day. On another occasion also Bhagavan had said, ―The best service to the guru is engaging in Self-Enquiry, meditation, and other spiritual practices, with the purity of body, speech, and mind. He kept chancing upon Bhagavan saying this, morning and evening, for several days. He had been hesitating to tell Bhagavan of his plans, but Bhagavan himself had taken a clue and given him an answer.

Another day when he entered Bhagavan's hall, Bhagavan was quoting from the Kaivalya Navanita, wherein the disciple asks the guru how he can repay him for the grace he has received from him. The guru replies, ―The highest return the disciple can render to the guru is to remain fixed in the Self without being disturbed by obstacles, obstructions, and outward distractions. This finally emboldened Kunju Swami. He prostrated before Bhagavan and said, ―Bhagavan, I want to go and live in Palakothu and pursue Self-Enquiry, my sadhana. Bhagavan was delighted and exclaimed, ―Oh, good! With a smile he said, ―It is enough if the mind is kept one-pointed in vichara, dhyana, japa, and parayana. Vichara is Self-Enquiry, dhyana is meditation, japa is incantation, and parayana is repeatedly singing the works of the Master, without aspiring to anything else. Then again he prostrated before Bhagavan and pleaded, ―Bhagavan, please bless me. I am going to be alone, away from you. Guide me.

Bhagavan then said the most beautiful thing; he looked at him graciously and spoke, ―Make Self-Enquiry your final aim, but also practice meditation, japa, and parayana. Relentlessly practice them alternately, and if you tire of meditation, take to japa; if you tire of japa, take to Self-Enquiry; if you tire of that, do parayana, i.e., the chanting of verses. Do not have a gap between them. Do not allow the mind to sway from your task. Practice this faithfully, and in the end you will be established in Self-Enquiry and will find culmination in Self-realization. This is an assurance, not just to Kunju Swami but to every listener of this profound statement by the Master. Be assured, Self-Enquiry will establish you in the nonphysical Truth you already are. Kunju Swami lived in a small hut in Palakothu and did not earn, or beg for money. Whatever provisions he had, were exhausted and there was no food to eat. Bhagavan would visit Palakothu after lunch and go to a small pool, where he would take a walk. He would invariably meet Kunju Swami and ask, ―How are you? What are you doing? Are you doing your meditation? Are you doing your Self-Enquiry?‖ Kunju Swami never told him of his plight, feeling that it was quite petty to tell his Master of his physical problems. Did he not already know?

On the third day when Bhagavan was in the hall, one Goundar, a wealthy devotee, came and prostrated before him. He was Kunju Swami's friend, so Bhagavan said, ―Oh, you have come to see your friend. He replied, ―Yes Bhagavan. I was exhausted yesterday after a whole day's work and was fast asleep. You visited me in my dream and said, You are sleeping peacefully while your friend is hungry for the last three days. Is it proper on your part to sleep like this? Therefore, I immediately got up and caught a train to come here. ―Go and see your friend, Bhagavan goaded him. When he met Kunju Swami he realized that his friend had, in fact, not eaten for three days and there was nothing in his humble abode. He shared some money with Kunju Swami, asked him to bring provisions, and then fed him. He then had to go back, but vowed in Bhagavan's presence, ―Bhagavan, I will not allow him to go without food. I will send him five rupees every month. In those days, five rupees was more than one needs. Kunju Swami said, ―I had nothing?no utensils, nothing. Another friend saw this, and he immediately bought me a stove and provisions.

In later years, Goundar built a house for Kunju Swami opposite the Ashram. Kunju Swami used to tearfully say, ―When you have surrendered to the Master, i.e., to the Truth, do not try to exert yourself by even making a prayer. He recognizes everything. It will happen in its time.

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Krishnan

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Re: The Human Gospel of Ramana Maharshi
« Reply #89 on: July 30, 2017, 12:14:08 AM »
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya
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Kunju Swami - XIII

During his stay in Palakothu, Ramanashram had grown rapidly and many visitors would gather at the Ashram. Kunju Swami needed to speak to Bhagavan every day, even if it was only one sentence. However, with Bhagavan becoming so busy, this was becoming increasingly difficult. Kunju Swami said mischievously, ―I am a very clever man. Every evening we had parayana, Tamil verses composed by Bhagavan from the Collected Works of Ramana Maharshi. I used to deliberately miss one line while singing and Bhagavan would say, Hey, Kunju, you have missed that line, or I would mispronounce a word and he would say, No, no, Kunju, it is not like that. Pronounce it properly. I would be so happy that he spoke to me. Every day, whenever I wanted Bhagavan to talk to me, I knew the trick.

The Collected Works of Ramana Maharshi in Tamil was released in the form of a book. Unfortunately, many sadhus could not afford to buy it from the Ashram. Thus Bhagavan arranged with a devotee to write it all down in a notebook and hand it over to Kunju Swami. A small printed picture of Bhagavan was pasted there in it. Now, the Collected Works of Ramana Maharshi also had to have a picture of Arunachala, but Kunju Swami could not get hold of one. While he was still thinking about it, Bhagavan called out to him, ―Kunju, bring your notebook. He then drew a picture of Arunachala in it. Kunju Swami has left this notebook with Anuradha as a legacy; it contains a lot of Bhagavan's handwriting and the picture drawn by Bhagavan. She has now handed this precious treasure over to the Ashram archives.

Bhagavan used to correct all proofs of his books himself. He would demand for two sets of proofs. One he would correct and send to the press, and the other he kept with himself. There would often be so many errors that the same proof would be sent to the press four or five times. Bhagavan carefully kept a copy of every proof, and would finally bind four or five copies and distribute them. He kept for himself the proof with the maximum errors, while he distributed the better ones to Kunju Swami and others who could not afford to buy his books. This is how kind and solicitous Bhagavan was.
 
Once Kunju Swami felt he could not continuously meditate or pursue Self-Enquiry and stay in the Self. He confessed to Bhagavan, ―Bhagavan, I am not able to do this. The flow gets interrupted. Bhagavan said, ―Why? It is very easy. Before you go to sleep, meditate and go into the Self. When you fall asleep, your whole sleep is a meditation of staying in the Self. The moment you wake up in the morning, again go into meditation for a few minutes and remain as the Self. Throughout the waking state, the undercurrent of remaining in the Self will be there, even though you will be working, arguing, and quarreling. This substratum will always keep you in the Self. Kunju Swami said, ―This is the most beautiful and practical teaching I have received from him. (For your information, I am a very sound sleeper and sometimes for some reason, if I woke up, I was aware of meditation still going on. Whatever I chanted silently, before going asleep, continued to resonate within me after I woke up. Of course in the waking state, in whatever activity I do, the attention on the Self, the jnapti, is always there. It is attention, paying attention to attention.)

During Bhagavan's last days, there were troubles in the management of the Ashram. The devotees did not know how to continue with their activities, so along with Kunju Swami, they approached Bhagavan with their issue. Bhagavan only told him, ―How is the management being carried out now? Do you think it is you, or somebody else that is managing it? There is a Higher Power, which is managing all this. The same Higher Power will continue to manage.

In his last days, Kunju Swami was rather weak. Anuradha and I requested him to move to the Ashram. He started teaching Anuradha Sri Bhagavan's The Collected Works of Ramana Maharshi in Tamil and also the way it's chanting?Parayana?was done in Bhagavan's presence. He had her sing some verses of Bhagavan a few times at the Shrine of Sri Bhagavan. Inspired by that, many others learned Bhagavan's Collected Works. Thus, Tamil Parayana was restarted at the Ashram. To inspire the next generation doing Parayana, he sat along with us, almost until his last days.

He would enthrall us with stories of the Master, and whatever I have shared with you, too, is Prasad from Kunju Swami. It is Kunju Swami who has given us a wealth of information, all the reminiscences about other devotees, about Bhagavan's relationship with them, his beautiful relationship with monkeys, animals, men, trees, plants, with the Hill, with the rocks, and with the sands! We are all deeply grateful to Kunju Swami.

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