Author Topic: Living with the Master - Kunju Swami. Tr. by P. Ramasamy:  (Read 983 times)

Subramanian.R

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 43561
    • View Profile
Living with the Master - Kunju Swami. Tr. by P. Ramasamy:
« on: March 07, 2017, 10:44:16 AM »
The first four chapters of the above titled book are given below:

A blessed bee am I, to hover, ever in close proximity of the lotus that is verily the twin feet of Lord Annamalai, and drink deep the nectar therein.  Twice blessed indeed, to partake of the ambrosial grace of my Bhagavan, Guru Ramana, who, ever abiding as the Atman-Self, also led others on the path of deliverance.  It is my fortunate lot to have thus been twice blessed.

Endowed At Boyhood with God's Gracious Gifts:

I am the third child to my parents, Raghavan and Ponnukutti, of a middle class farming community, born in January 1897, in the village of Cherakodu that lies between Palakkad and Chittur towns in the Kerala region.  Until my third year I grew
up like any other child, showing nothing to mark me as being different from other children.

After that I would, it seems, sit quiet in some place, neither joining other children
of my age in play nor crying or throwing those childish tantrums.  This uncharacteristic behavior of mine naturally puzzled my father who then showed my horoscope to my maternal uncle, an expert astrologer.  My father wanted him to divine the planetary influences that would account for my odd behavior. 

On perusing my horoscope this uncle of mine was struck with wonder and delight! He said to my father, 'To beget a child such as this one, so full of wealth of divinity, is more than what our family of modest standing deserves!  Therefore, in bringing up this child, you should show every care in matters of food and ceremonial cleanliness.'
My father was much pleased to hear this pronouncement. He was well learned in Vedantic texts such as Kaivalya Navaneetham.  On the one hand, he evinced a keen interest in philosophic texts such of Vedanta and, on the other, held a deep faith in God.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                     
     

Subramanian.R

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 43561
    • View Profile
Re: Living with the Master - Kunju Swami. Tr. by P. Ramasamy:
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2017, 11:03:26 AM »
I was sent to the Thinnai School of my village, (Thinnai is the raised veranda, open to
the streets, forming the entry to traditional South Indian street houses. In small villages, children were sent to this single class, single teacher 'school', that functioned on the thinnai of one of the larger houses of the village. They would be taught the alphabets and basic arithmetic tables. During Kunju Swami's childhood all that most children got was their 'schooling' at the thinnai school, which would generally last just a year, or two at the most.) when I was nearing six where, to some extent, I managed to learn to read my vernacular Malayalam and to write it on palm leaves. From my seventh year on, my father used to take me with him daily to bathe in the village pond.  There, I would see Vedic Brahmins bathing in the adjacent ghats (the pond's shoreline earmarked into exclusive bathing segments for the various social groups of the village), chanting mantras while standing waist deep in water. Their sight kindled in me a keen desire to do it like them.

The desire persisted and soon turned into an obsession hen one night Lord Siva appeared in a dream.  With matted tresses of hair, body smeared all over with sacred ash, and wearing a string of Rudraksha beads (A sacred seed that forms a part of Siva's costume, literally meaning 'Siva's eye'.  These roundish beads are strung and worn around the neck by devotees of Siva as a mark of their devotion to Him, and would also double as a rosary.).

He pronounced the Panchakshari (the five syllabled) na-ma-si-va-ya mantra) in my ears, three times in succession. On waking up, however, I was unable to recall the syllable, being too young to remember it.  The whole of next day I felt grieved, as though I lost a treasure that I had obtained.  I went to bed that night overcome by disappointment and longing.  The Lord came again that night in my dream and repeated the mantra!  This time I listened with attention and, from then on, I took up ceaseless mental chanting of the Panchakshari Mantra.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                       

Subramanian.R

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 43561
    • View Profile
Re: Living with the Master - Kunju Swami. Tr. by P. Ramasamy:
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2017, 10:29:36 AM »
While so, I began to feel a compulsive desire to possess a Vibhuti pouch.  (A thin pouch
of cloth half filled with sacred ash, folded and kept always in their person by devout Saivites.).  In those times, only Brahmins and ascetic sadhus used to carry this pouch. I was now in a dilemma - on the one hand not daring to ask anyone for a Vibhuti pouch,
and on the other, being unable to overcome my longing to possess one.  Once again, the compassionate Lord Siva, as Gangadhara, came forward to quench the burning thirst of a tender child.

Again appearing in my dream, He informed me that there was a few coins lying underneath a particular huge tree, by the very shore of the pond where I bathed daily.
The Lord advised me to pick them up and use them to buy the cloth pouch.  Telling no one, I rushed to the pond next morning immediately on waking and made a search under the tree.  And what wonder!  I did find three quarter ana coins (an ana = one sixteenth of an Indian rupee of those times), lying amidst its twisted roots.  Grabbing them with delight, I washed them clean of mud and took them home.  To avoid being caught shopping by anyone I waited until dark, then visited a store and inquired the price of a Vibhuti pouch.  It came as a surprise when I was told that it would cost three quarter anas!  The exact amount I had unearthed from under the tree!  I tendered the change, bought the pouch and kept it with devout care at home.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva,           

Subramanian.R

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 43561
    • View Profile
Re: Living with the Master - Kunju Swami. Tr. by P. Ramasamy:
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2017, 10:44:24 AM »
It was a divine miracle that the Lord God thus made me his vassal even at that tender age. He deigned to fulfill my wish yet did not provide more than what I required!  No doubt it was a portent of things to come - a monastic, frugal living all through my life. Since those distant childhood times to this day, Bhagavan continues to protect me from the desire to possess more than what is essential for my minimal needs.  One day my father chanced to see my Vibhuti pouch and wanted to know how I came in possession of it.  When I told him what had happened he was amazed.  His affection and care towards me grew all the more for it.

A year went by when yet another desire sprang up in me. This time it was to have a string of Rudraksha beads, an unusual wish that I dared to express to no one.  This wish of mine too was fulfilled by the Lord Almighty thus:  it was my daily habit at that time to go to bathe in the pond along with a playmate of mine.  One particular day, while on our way to the pond, my friend exclaimed, 'Oh! I forgot to do something which my father asked me to!'  So saying, he left me.  As I continued my walk alone, I saw a large sized lotus lying on my path.  When I picked up with curiosity, I was astounded.  A rosary of Rudraksha beads, strung in gold, lay aglitter in the hub of the unusually large flower, the largest one could have ever seen.  Filled with tears of ecstasy, I looked around but could discover no one who could be a likely claimant to it.

With pious fervor, I brought it home and showed the rosary to my father telling him how I had chanced upon it.  My parents and others were just awe struck. Later on my brothers deposited it amidst other articles of worship in the family prayer room.  My heart swells with piety whenever I recall Lord Siva's boundless compassion, which had been a veritable Kalpaka tree to me.  (A legendary celestial wish fulfilling tree that grants every wish of those under it.)

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                       

Subramanian.R

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 43561
    • View Profile
Re: Living with the Master - Kunju Swami. Tr. by P. Ramasamy:
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2017, 10:21:14 AM »
I was around ten then.  In the neighboring village a mile away, some Tamizh pandit
had arrived.  They were reading out the celebrated Tamizh religious epic, Thiruvilaiyadal Puranam (a narrative of the sixty four divine sports of Lord Siva at Madurai, written by Sage Paranjyoti) and discoursing on it in the Malayalam language.  My father, coming to know of it, took me with him to attend their discourse.  I fervently listened to them. After returning home, my father said, 'All right, recount to your mother now what you have heard!' And I could relate the entire thing, free of errors too.  My mother was happy and proud of her little son.

This recounting became a daily practice for the duration of those discourses.  It also resulted in my father taking me to several other venues of such discourses.  Hearing about the faculty of my accurate memory and verbatim retelling, people from nearby villages began inviting me to their place to listen to my narrations.         

Some years went like this, when one Kodumudi Swami, a celebrated saint, came on a visit to Kerala region.  All that he wore was a loin cloth.  He belonged to the sectarian
worshippers of Bhairava (Lord Siva in his fearsome aspect).  This Kodumudi Swami could perform feats of occult powers. Crowds of people thronged to have his darshan.
My father too wanted to go and take me along to see this godman, but I did not go as I was not interested.  I felt that when the Almighty Siva himself appeared to me as my Guru, giving me initiation by Mantra, what need I have to visit godmen?

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.       

Subramanian.R

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 43561
    • View Profile
Re: Living with the Master - Kunju Swami. Tr. by P. Ramasamy:
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2017, 10:42:19 AM »
A few more years went by.  I had turned sixteen at that time.  Some three miles away an ascetic had come to stay and was teaching Vedanta to a few elderly persons. My father, who had happened to go there on some personal work, came to hear of it. He thought that it would not do for me to go on delivering discourses and chanting certain Mantras.  He felt that, like siddhis (occult powers through yogic disciplinary practices),
these exercises of mine too would not endure. What would stand me in good stead, he thought, would be to listen to explications of Vedanta, ponder over them, and then turn myself to unremitting meditation. But he was apprehensive that I would refuse to go to see this master, even as I was earlier unwilling to meet Kodumudi Swami.

So, he met this scholar-ascetic, briefed him about me, said that he shall somehow persuade me to meet him, and requested the Swami to prevail upon me to attend his Vedantic discourses. Without telling me what had transpired, he then asked me merely to accompany him where he was proceeding on some business.  Taking me to the Swami and after sitting with me for a while he left, saying, 'You just wait here. I am going out now and shall return in a while.' I waited unwillingly though. Some minutes elapsed when the Swami, turning towards me slowly, inquired about myself. He then tactfully sent away all the others sitting there.  Addressing me now, he added, 'To go on delivering discourses and earning others's appreciation would be of no avail.   Yogic siddhis might give you occult powers but they too are incapable of giving you mukti.
Instead, you would do well to listen to some lessons on Vedanta, study them and master their essence.  That alone would lead you to the experience of the Reality that is the Atman. So, what do you intend to do?' he asked. I replied, 'You decide on whatever you deem fit for me.'  To this, the Swami said, 'I will not thrust anything upon you. I shall teach you what you, on your own, desire to learn!  I am well versed in the sacred epics, reading the future, supernatural art, medicine and Vedanta. Of these, I would impart to you what you choose to learn.'

When I still could not make up my mind the Swami decided to draw lots.  Miraculously, 'Vedanta' fell to my lot!  He was greatly pleased and said he would forthwith start with his instructions, that day being an auspicious period.  He then wrote out the following six verses from Kaivalya Navaneetam on a palm leaf and asked me to return home, learn the verses by heart and come again next day at the same time.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                                 

Subramanian.R

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 43561
    • View Profile
Re: Living with the Master - Kunju Swami. Tr. by P. Ramasamy:
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2017, 10:10:23 AM »
Kaivalya Navaneetham:

Prologue:

2. I worship ever shining Pure Consciousness, which manifests as Brahma, Vishnu, or Mighty Shiva, according as He creates, preserves or withdraws (the universe), and also as the countless individual beings; yet It remains ever free and perfect,as the blazing sun over the ocean of Bliss. 

6. All the ancient sages drew from the boundless ocean of milk, namely Vedanta and filled their pitchers, their works. I boiled them all (on the fire of the Master's words),
and churned them (with the churn of inquiry into the Self) and I present this Cream of Emancipation to all.

The Exposition of the Truth:

8. The sages say that there are four prerequisites for realization of the Truth:

1. Viveka: discrimination between the temporary (therefore unreal phenomena) and the permanent (therefore the Reality), i.e. the noumenal);

2. Indifference to the enjoyment of pleasures here or hereafter;

3. The group of six qualities and

4. The longing for Liberation.

The six qualities are sama, dama, uparati, titiksha, samadhana and sraddha. Of these,
sama is control of mind; dama is control of the senses; uparati is cessation of activities (relating to caste, creed, family etc.,); titiksha is control of passions, and includes endurance; samadhana, according to the sages, the settling down of the mind
to reflect on the Truth, as revealed (by the scriptures and the sages); sraddha denotes faith in the Master and the scriptures. Such are the meanings of the six terms of this category.

11. No one can achieve anything in the world without being properly equipped for the task.  For the same reason, only those who are equipped with these four categories of prerequisites can gain illumination. A novice cannot get it so readily. If so gained, it follows that the person has been successively purified in countless incarnations in the past.

(Kaivalya Navaneetam: The Cream of Emancipation. An ancient Tamizh classic by Tandavaraya Swami. Tr. Swami Ramananda Saraswati).                                           

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.

Subramanian.R

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 43561
    • View Profile
Re: Living with the Master - Kunju Swami. Tr. by P. Ramasamy:
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2017, 10:24:02 AM »
I began memorizing the verses even during my walk back home. When my father asked me what had happened I reported everything to him and then recited those verses from memory.  I could in this way learn a hundred verses by heart within a fortnight of attending 'class'. My father pointed out that memorizing the verses was not enough and advised me to learn their meaning too from my master.  Thus I learnt the entire text of Kaivalyam along with its meaning.     

A visitor came to see my Swami during the time.  He was Rangaswami Gounder, known as Samiar Gounder, from the village of Pudupalayam in the Pollachi Taluk (an administrative sub division of a district within a state).  Seeing me with my guru and coming to know from my father of my spiritual leanings, he took me, along with my guru to his home in Pudupalayam, where we remained for a period as his guests.  One day there, I asked my guru while he was alone, 'I am unable to experience yet the Samadhi state that is described in Yoga Vasishtam. Should I just go on with my reading of texts on Vedanta, or is there something more that I should do?'  The Swami replied that reading and understanding those texts was not enough, and that I would have to start practicing certain disciplinary mental exercises. He instructed me how to practice it those drills.  Accordingly, I started practice of meditation exercises, simultaneous with listening to Vedanta lessons.  Sometime went by in this manner but I could still not get any spiritual experience. Again, I asked the Swami what I had to do. He advised me to continue with more intensity and by maintaining silence of speech. He assured me that I would certainly be rewarded with exalted states.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.               

Subramanian.R

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 43561
    • View Profile
Re: Living with the Master - Kunju Swami. Tr. by P. Ramasamy:
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2017, 10:20:54 AM »
By now a few months had gone by since my stay at Pudupalayam.  I decided to return home and continue my practice back there, so took leave of the Swami. Back home,
observing silence, I practiced rigorously but could make no progress. I continued in a state of limbo for a couple of years, losing my earlier poise, but not gaining any new ground. While so, my guru, after undertaking a tour of several places in Tamizh Nadu, now returned.  In his entourage came some wealthy, influential persons, and with them the Gounder of Pudupalayam too.  The Swami now made a pronouncement that he shall enter into Jeeva Samadhi (entombment while alive) on a particular day of a particular month a year from hence.  He added that these wealthy folk had come to erect, in advance, a cave like tomb at the proposed samadhi site.

The building of a large tomb was afoot, at a site three miles from my village.  The Swami, obtaining my father's permission, took me to be with him. There he declared that I was his prime disciple and that after his Jeeva Samadhi, I would succeed as the head of his mutt. I was put off by all this ostentation and publicity mongering. My mind was restless.  A few months passed and I could no longer stand it.  In anguish,
I blurted out to the Swami, 'So much time has gone by but I am unable to experience Self realization. Are there no realized souls living today, like the Maharishis of yore who had lived during the ancient times of the Yoga Vasishtam?'

To my query, the Swami replied, 'Oh, yes! There lives a sage in Tiruvannamalai whose name is Ramana Maharshi. He attained the experience of Jnana at the age of sixteen and abides ever in that state. I visited Him and had His darshan.'  I was amazed at this news, and felt as though struck by a surge of electric current. It was an exhilaration the likes of which I had never before felt.  So excited was I, I wanted to fly to Tiruvannamalai at once.

Instantly I sought permission to proceed there, much to his annoyance. 'I shall be entering Jeeva Samadhi six months from now.  You ought to be present here to take care of things then.  After that, you are at liberty to go where you please,' he admonished me.  I was in a state of despair when a friend of mine from my neighboring village came to see me. His name was Ramakrishna, a year or two older than me.  He had a special affection and regard for me on account of my spiritual disciplines, which he too was after.  He was of a wealthy family and arrangements by his elders were to conduct his wedding.  But he was least inclined towards matrimony and one day he came to me to seek a way out of this immediate tangle.

I immediately told him, 'I hear there is a sage in Tiruvannamalai known as Ramana Maharshi. I myself feel an intense longing to go to Him but I am tied up for the next six months by my guru's orders.  Therefore, you set out forthwith for Tiruvannamalai.
Later on I shall join you.  As soon as you reach there write to me all about the sage and the spiritual teaching you receive from him.'

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                                             

Subramanian.R

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 43561
    • View Profile
Re: Living with the Master - Kunju Swami. Tr. by P. Ramasamy:
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2017, 10:31:55 AM »
With these words I put him on the train myself.  Two days later his relatives came to me looking for him and asked, 'Where is he gone?  Only you must have sent him away.' I replied, 'I did not send him on my own.  He asked me for directions and I told him.  He has gone only to Tiruvannamalai.'  A week later I received a letter from Ramakrishna, accompanied by a portrait of Bhagavan and a copy of Bhagavan's Arunachala Aksharamanamalai. Seeing Bhagavan's portrait filled me with joy and peace.

The pre determined day of my guru's entombment was nearing.  There was an increasing swell of people and uproar and excitement all around.  Beginning three days prior to the event predicted, the Swami partook only a diet of milk.  D-day came, and policemen had to be deployed to control the surging crowd of onlookers. Afternoon at three, the Swami marched down the samadhi cave. At close proximity
were myself, his foremost disciple, members of his family and others intimate with him. The Swami now said, 'My head will keep shaking for a while.  When its shaking stops, close the tomb with this huge stone slab.'  We waited to carry out his instructions.  Half an hour went by and then an hour.  Still nothing happened. The Swami, who could no more bear to sit in, rose up, came out, took to his heels, and vanished into the mass of onlookers.  Abusing him, and calling him a fraud, the disappointed crowd dispersed.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                 

Subramanian.R

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 43561
    • View Profile
Re: Living with the Master - Kunju Swami. Tr. by P. Ramasamy:
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2017, 10:08:48 AM »
Along with some others I went in search of him and discovered him under a tree in a nearby grove.  He was rattled and visibly in distress. He said that it was not his intention to dupe the public. He has duped himself with the conviction that he would bury himself in Jeeva Samadhi.  'Now the untoward has happened' he said ruefully.  He said he was now proceeding a visit to Samiar Gounder of Pudupalayam after which he would go on a pilgrimage to Pazhani, and return after the dust settled down.  'You will go back to your respective homes.  We shall meet later on', he told us.

He advised me to continue with my listening to Vedanta teachings and practicing meditation. He departed early the following morning.  Thus ended the misadventure 
of the Jeeva Samadhi of Elapulli Kuppandi Swami.  Though the Swami's attempts at pre-planned interment ended in a fiasco, it was from him that I came to know of Bhagavan Ramana's spiritual stature.  I am thus indebted to Kuppandi Swami for the opportunity of reaching out to Bhagavan and basking in spiritual bliss.

Miraculous Coincidences During My Trip to Tiruvannamalai:         

My parents were happy to have me back home. A couple of days passed but my thoughts were ever fixed on reaching Tiruvannamalai.  The wherewithal to undertake the trip was still a question when my father called me all of a sudden and queried, 'Do you owe money to anyone, expenses incurred for boarding, during your stay with the
Swami?' Well, that was it!  I lied saying that some amount was due.  At once he handed me five rupees and asked me to settle the dues, first thing in the morning.  Thus came the resources to undertake my longed trip!

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.         

Subramanian.R

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 43561
    • View Profile
Re: Living with the Master - Kunju Swami. Tr. by P. Ramasamy:
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2017, 10:29:25 AM »
I justified to myself that uttering a harmless lie did not matter when it came to attaining a lofty goal.  With my conscience thus put at ease, I rested for the night, but the night went by in wakeful expectation. At three a.m., I left home informing no one. It was the month of January in 1920.  Obsessed with an intense desire to have darshan of my Bhagavan, I just packed one extra set of dhoti and a towel for change of dress. I felt certain that I would never again step back into that erstwhile home of mine.  So I fell
prostrate - by way of salutation to my home and my parents  - rose and departed.

To avoid being spotted by any known persons at the Palakkad railway station, I headed for the nearby small station of Kanjikode.  There I was informed that the train towards Tiruvannamalai would arrive only in the evening. I waited with anxiety lest I be spotted by someone known.  So keen was I to see Bhagavan I felt no thirst or hunger.  I bought nothing to eat, in case all of the five rupees was needed for train fare.           

When I demanded a ticket to Tiruvannamalai, I was issued instead a ticket only up to
Katpadi junction (some fifty miles short of Tiruvannamalai).  I was told that tickets to Tiruvannamalai station were not being issued. I took my seat in the train when all thoughts forsook me and I was not aware of even the passing of the night, as my mind was transfixed on the single thought of Bhagavan's darshan.  The train reached Katpadi junction at 4.00 am. 

On alighting I was informed that the train to Tiruvannamalai was at 6.30 am.  I waited, watching trains come and go.  At 6.00 am., I went to the ticket counter for buying my ticket.  It was a jolt to me when they said that my train had already departed, half an hour ago.  The next train was only at six in the evening!  it was a moment of desperation.  After a while my mind calmed down and I came to terms with the situation.  I had eaten nothing since the previous day's morning. I now brought some Elandhai fruit (jujube or zizyphus) for half an ana, getting more than a quarter of a large measure for the price.  The whole day went by, alternating between consuming a few fruits and drinking water from the tap.  That took care of the problem of meal!

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.

Arunachala Siva,           
       

Subramanian.R

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 43561
    • View Profile
Re: Living with the Master - Kunju Swami. Tr. by P. Ramasamy:
« Reply #12 on: March 13, 2017, 10:32:47 AM »
When evening came, I approached the ticket counter half an hour in advance, -- only
to be told that tickets to Tiruvannamalai station would not be issued!  This information, the reason for which I could not guess, left me stunned. An elderly man by my side, seeing my plight called me and queried the reason for my despair, and came out with a solution. He said, 'There has been an outbreak of plague in Tiruvannamalai, but the epidemic has now lost its intensity. Still, the railways have not resumed issuing tickets to that station.  You can, instead, buy a ticket to Tirukoilur (which was some twenty miles beyond Tiruvannamalai and board the train.  On the way, this train would anyhow halt at Tiruvannamalai to unload mail bags.  You too can detrain under cover of darkness.'

This piece of advice came as a great relief. I tendered all the change I had and asked for a ticket to Tirukoilur, but the amount was still a quarter anna short for the price of  the ticket.  Thoroughly vexed, I retired to a corner of the platform thinking only of Bhagavan. And Oh! What compassion!  I spotted a quarter anna coin lying nearby between the tracks. Grabbing it with all haste I rushed again to the ticket counter.  My train steamed into the station just as the ticket fell to my hand.  I was wonderstruck at Bhagavan's act of grace towards this poor boy.  It was undoubtedly a miracle that I had been meted out with the exact amount I needed, no more, no less!  May be it was a ruling from Bhagavan that those coming under His grace would be provided with the just barest necessities!

Contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                     
 

Subramanian.R

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 43561
    • View Profile
Re: Living with the Master - Kunju Swami. Tr. by P. Ramasamy:
« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2017, 10:51:51 AM »
Around nine that night the train puffed into Tiruvannamalai station. No lights were burning and only from the conversation of passengers I knew which station it was.
I watched if anyone was alighting from the train.  A person sitting opposite descended into the darkness and I followed suit.  It now came as a revelation to me that missing the morning train was itself an outcome of Bhagavan's grace!  Had I taken that train, I could not have disembarked at Tiruvannamalai in broad daylight.  I simply followed the other passenger not knowing where he was heading.  Nor had I any idea of the distance I covered following him.

At last, my 'guide' stopped when he came by a mantapam (road side resting halls, open on all sides, built to provide shelter to travelers in transit).  With his towel, he whisked the floor clean of dust and lay down to sleep. I too followed suit and instantly fell blissfully asleep.  Two days without food and overcome by exhaustion, yet I was thrilled at having arrived at my destination.  When I awoke, it was about 5 am.  There was no sign of my 'guide'.  Ahead there stood the Hill Arunachala, in full view.

Recalling to mind the letters of Ramakrishana Swami, the friend whom I had earlier dispatched here, which described landmarks to reach Bhagavan's Asramam, I reached the foot of the Hill immediately behind the Arunachaleswara Temple. There I saw steps leading up the Hill, but at three different spots.  They left me puzzled.  Taking a chance, I ventured up the steps on the right side.  A little away up I could see a building and approached it.  There I saw a person, (the well known Jadai Swami) attired in the ochre with tresses of hair reaching down to the floor.  Having seen Bhagavan's photograph before, I knew that this man was not he and bolted back down the steps.  I believed at that time that ascetics wearing long tresses would throw curses at you when disturbed.  I now took the flight of steps in the middle.  A little away I came across a tank (the Paadatirtham) and saw two peoples standing by its bank (later I learnt that the two were Tambiran Swami and Kamakshi, Mudaliar Patti's son and daughter in law.).

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                                 

Subramanian.R

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 43561
    • View Profile
Re: Living with the Master - Kunju Swami. Tr. by P. Ramasamy:
« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2017, 10:10:24 AM »
I asked them the way to Bhagavan's place of residence.  Seeing exhaustion writ all over my face and hearing my Malayalam accented Tamizh, they said in a sympathetic tone,
'Poor chap!  You are exhausted. Take a dip in this tank and proceed up this path and you will reach Bhagavan's place (Skandasramam). Remain there.  We will be bringing food up which we will share with you.'  Accordingly, I had my bath and was cleansed of all dirt on my external physique.  But, I still had to be cleansed of all the muck inside and gain inner purity, so I up, even as a calf fondly rushes headlong towards its mother cow.

Darshan of the Sad Guru:

While on my way up I began formulating mentally, the manner of saluting and the mode of general behavior while in the presence of the Guru.  I resolved that the very first words that the Master addresses to me, I shall take as His upadesa. Reaching
Skandasramam, I stood enthralled at the sight of Bhagavan.  At that moment, my friend Ramakrishna Swami, Perumal Swami and Akandananda -- all three were prostrate before Bhagavan. Needless to say, I joined them in salutation.

Ramakrishna Swami was surprised and happy to see me.  He at once introduced me to Bhagavan, saying, 'This man comes from my place, where he has been following ascetic discipline since childhood.'  Bhagavan looked at me nodding His head in approval. Asking me to remain there, the other two left.  Later, I learnt that they had gone down to bury one Annamalai Swami of Arani town, who had been serving Bhagavan and had died of plague.

I could hear sounds of weeping from an inner room.  I turned to see a grief stricken old lady saying amidst her cries, 'Alas!  This gem of a boy Annamalai is now gone! What cruel injustice!'  Someone was sitting near her.  Bhagavan turned towards them and said, by way of consolation, 'Why do you grieve?  Another young man has now come to fill his absence.'  At that time, I could not understand the significance of those words, but could only much, much later, I learnt that the lady inside was none other than Azhagamma, Bhagavan's Mother and the other one was his brother, Niranjananda Swami.

It was now eight am, when Ramalingam Pillai, known popularly as Pinnalur Turiyanandan, called me near and handed me a bowl made of baked clay. Himself taking one, he sat down to eat along with me, under a naaval tree (Jambulina).  Bhagavan sat on a raised platform nearby, with a bowl in front of Him. Venu Ammal, the sister of Echammal who had been offering cooked food to Bhagavan every day, served us rice and rasam (pepper soup).  And we had our repast.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.