Author Topic: Part 1 - Ramana Maharshi Devotee V. Ganapati Sthapati (1927|2011)  (Read 1009 times)


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Born in 1927, V.Ganapati was the son of Sri Vaidyanatha Sthapati and Smt.Velammal. His father was the builder of the Mathrubhuteswar Temple at Sri Ramanasramam. In the following article the late V.Ganapati Sthapati writes about the two Maharshis to whom he attributes his enormous success in restoring and elevating the status of traditional Hindu architecture in modern Indian society and throughout the world.

During my boyhood, from 1939 to 1949, my father Sri Vaidyanatha Sthapati, was working as the architect and builder of the Sri Mathrubhuteswara Temple at Sri Ramanasramam in Thiruvannamalai. This was the temple built over the samadhi of the holy mother who gave birth to Bhagavan Ramana. I was around 13 when my father started building the temple and also sculpting the holy image of Bhagavan Ramana in stone.

For the sake of my education, my father had to shift to Salem for the construction of a temple there. I did my SSLC and intermediate in the local college. Still my father and I used to visit the Maharishi on work. During such visits I closely watched the face of the Maharishi which was always lustrous whenever the talk turned to our family affairs and on me. He never enquired about my studies, but he used to look at me with a kind smile which I interpreted as a flow of grace.

On one fine morning the results of the Intermediate Examination appeared in the newspapers. To our surprise, there was a call from the Maharishi to which my father and I responded at once. All the time there was a large gathering of devotees in what is called Bhagavanís Hall. There was a newspaper in the hands of the Maharishi. Both of us standing near his Yogasana, he spoke to the devotees with inestimable joy, saying,Sthapatiís son has passed the examination with distinction. His future is going to be very bright.

The other Maharishi under whose influence I came next was His Holiness Paramacharyal of Kanchi. I had to leave the position of a Sthapati that I was enjoying under the Palaniandavar Devasthanam, Palani in 1961 to assume the principalship of the School of Sculpture and Architecture, a position my father had held from 1957 to 1960. My father had to retire as he fell seriously ill. He had a severe stroke, followed by a paralytic attack and was unable to speak. Even expert medical treatment was of no use. Finally, on the advice of Sri S. Ganesan "Kamban Adippodi", I took him to Pillaiyarpatti (near Karaikudi) for Ayurvedic treatment. Sri S. Ganesan was my godfather since my early days. Even this Ayurvedic treatment produced no results.

It was around this time in 1963 that I met Paramacharyal when he was camping at Ilayattankudi, a village about 10 miles from Pillaiyarpatti where I was born. I had never met him before, though my father had known him intimately for many years. The intimacy between Paramacharyal and my father was at its all-time high when he was commissioned to build a stone mandapam in the premises of the Kanchi Mutt. This is the mandapam where pujas are performed today.

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