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eNewsletter from www.sriramanamaharshi.org
Om Namo Bhagavathe Sri Ramanaya
Saranagathi VOLUME 4, I SSUE 8
In this Issue
Dear Sri Bhagavan Devotees, This issue of Saranagathi carries a feature article by Sri Bhagavan’s attendant Vaikuntavasar which was first published in the April 1977 issue of The Mountain Path. This is followed by Dr. Lt. Col. P. V. Karamchandani’s moving recollections in the article entitled ‘How I came to the Maharshi’. Dr. Karamchandani was the District Medical Officer of North Arcot who attended on Sri Bhagavan during His last days. Finally we have accounts of the major happenings at the Ashram in the month of July in ‘Reports from Sri Ramanasramam’. Please visit the Ashram website at www.sriramanamaharshi.org for regular updates and
In this Issue The Essence of Instruction Vaikuntavasar How I came to the Maharshi Reports from Sri Ramanasramam 1 1 2 4 6
send your emails to us at firstname.lastname@example.org In Sri Bhagavan The Editorial Team
The Essence of Instruction
To know the Self is but to be the Self, For It is non-dual. In such knowledge One Abides as That.
Upadesa Saram by Sri Bhagavan (Verse 26)
there were enough sadhus to serve the Maharshi and I did not want to be rejected. Eknath. I did it with a plan. going on cycle to town many times daily on Asramam when I went to Bhagavan. With one pointed near where Bhagavan was passing by. Not only on me. The following article written by him entitled. the Sarvadhikari posted . To become a chela I must do seva to Him. Pleased with my work. Thanks to my utter dedication to this task. cleaning. out of those who strive. v. so to say. I spread the fruits very see Him notice my sitting there. VII. It was only in 1940 that I came to Arunachala. cause never goes unrewarded! Readiness to sacrifice personal comforts for a higher Bhagavan is an embodiment of compassion and tender affection. I knew Bhagavan was coming to Palakothu every afternoon. This was put to test by him by assigning to me varied types of work.Page 2 Saranagathi Vaikuntavasar Vaikuntavasar was an old attendant of Bhagavan. etc. ‘Bhagavan the Way’ appeared in the April. 1977 issue of The Mountain Path. for not less than forty years! The seva included all and there was actually no spiritual teaching as such. dal. fetching water on those who undertook service of the Asramam. but on Ramaswami Pillai. fire great wood. perhaps one knows Me as I AM” BHAGAVAD GITA. I was thrilled to care I attended to this apparently simple work. Madhava Swami. It so happened that the chief attendant. perhaps one strives for Perfection. 3 Many are called but few are chosen. by giving up attachment. I was fully aware of what was in store for me household jobs like washing. I was introduced to the Sarvadhikari. As me in the Hall to attend on Bhagavan. Our tradition enjoins twelve years of service to the guru. a great scholar himself. Every job was a success. with the useful recommendatory words “Out of thousands. Swami. One does not become a seeker simply Maharashtrian saint. The that I was a sincere man devoid of family ties and perfectly dedicated to whatever work might be entrusted to me. Janardana Swami. Ch. He later served the Asramam as a Member of the Board of Trustees. Bhagavan particularly bestowed his special grace had to do seva (service) to his guru. My whole mind was centered on this single thought. many more are not even called! Mumukshutwa (the seeking) is a rare trait and God’s grace is needed for one to become a seeker. rice. nuts and other things exposed to sunlight. Whatever the job. The opportune moment I was waiting for at last arrived. What else could it be when His attention had been drawn to it. which included supervising the construction of the present hospital building. Bhagavan used to tell him what had taken place during his absence. Niranjanananda Swami. Actually I ran away from my house just eight days before my marriage was to take place. who was then work. purchase of bulls and cows. I refrained from I went to Palakothu where I befriended Somasundara approaching the Sarvadhikari. I used to report everything to Bhagavan before undertaking it and after completing it. I volunteered to sit and watch the dry fruits.
I understood. Bhagavan To illustrate Bhagavan’s sense of humour. Bhagavan noticed it and asked me that night: words were elixir to me. I took my bath and returned to Skandasramam. how good they all have become do they do any mischief now?” What compassion and love! On talked to Him only once. After some time all Jayanti. bought for me a long yellow bed sheet. On great occasions like to the ‘boys’ (monkeys)?” I used to take plenty of food and spread it on the rocks. Bhagavan looked at me. I was awe struck. I went along with him. where Bhagavan walked twice daily.” not like. I had not thought of “Why do you sleep on the floor?” His sympathetic clothes or comforts. when ground. What else can make a better bed for you?” (Vaikuntavasar is one huge snake. “Look within where the mind is. Bhagavan not even once objected to my doing so. Bhagavan would ask me: “Have you attended came near me. though he night. despite the sound made by the wooden sandals. Bhagavan walked towards the Hill. it is quite all right. One day I approached Bhagavan on the Hill side when He was alone. talk I and live with Him. I wanted the clothes to be spotlessly clean. lying down. the very next morning. for me by His grace. Yet. devolved on Before becoming an attendant of Bhagavan I had content. and walked down towards attended on they boy. even when there were people around. When Bhagavan too heard it. whose bed is the I shall conclude this account with a very It was round about nine one night. laughingly of the Names of Lord Vishnu. when all the inmates of the Asramam were at Skandasramam together with Bhagavan. which I had been longing all the time. another attendant. placed some fruits at His feet. For instance. changing the water every time. Once I was sleeping in front of His Hall on bare relate one incident: Once there was a snake below Bhagavan immediately. soon after my arrival. and as usual I went and reported it to remarked: “Oh. and Bhagavan would remark. even though I had heard that Bhagavan had not permitted some others to do so. Bhagavan’s rheumatism gave me an opportunity to massage His feet and legs. rinsing them many times in water. There was no one to be seen. thrilling experience. think of Everything I did was done with care and to devote considerable time to wash the only two pieces of moment I stepped in. Bhagavan looked at me and enquired: “Is the boy all right?” cloth Bhagavan had (loin cloth and a small towel). Though I had been rendering personal service welcomed. I my pillow. stung by some insect. no need for me to. dedication. The myself before Him and asked Him: “How is the mind to be subdued?” Bhagavan graciously replied. prostrated another occasion. a little beyond There was a sand bed between Bhagavan and me who had gone further up in order to ease himself. you . touch. nearer and nearer towards us and passing on. This responsible duty. the monkeys would keep Saranagathi quiet. Whenever I felt Bhagavan needed massaging I did not hesitate to do so. I give two instances. he looked at me and said: “So. The boy was vomiting profusely. Adisesha). a grown up Veda Pathasala boy. and then the Asramam. Then I heard the sound of wooden sandals moving Krishnaswami. True.” anything else.Page 3 had then left the Asramam. So I used to take a broom and sweep the whole path up the Hill. Massaging His feet was another duty to Bhagavan I often felt I had not done enough. Bhagavan was God for me. I carried the boy. vomited and swooned. I used After that there was. I had heard from Bhagavan about the Siddhas living on Arunachala. How fortunate I was! I did see. who was almost my height. I began to sweat. gave him first aid. “Look now. of his own accord had not heard of Bhagavan’s enquiry the previous Bhagavan often gave me tasks that others might the Asramam boundary.
When I reached the Ashram. That was something very unusual.m. But I felt infinitely grateful for Bhagavan's overwhelming grace. I was thanked profusely. that his spirituality wafted out to Our minds attained a state of blissful. the entreated to persuade Bhagavan to eat something. I could not sleep and kept tossing in bed. There were relief and jubilation all around. ecstatic meditation. I prayed inwardly and held a glass of buttermilk before him. But his godly face did not bear and peace. that the disciples’ implorations in this behalf had failed. “Bhagavan. The spiritual pull from him felt so irresistible that after a few days I myself arranged a visit to drop of water. He had . not even a Ramana in a strictly professional manner. The next occasion when I was summoned to weight as of a mountain that this fringe bears!” That then and Tiruvannamalai was within my jurisdiction. a telephone call came from reach there by 8 a.Page 4 Saranagathi The tumour that Bhagavan was bearing must How I came to the Maharshi (Published in The Mountain Path. and that. V. Having received the call. My ministrations as a doctor were to be coupled with the devotion of a disciple. No On examining Bhagavan I found that it was if he refused my request too? Ordering him in my felt like asking him as a boon to accept my prayer. at disciple accidentally touched only the fringe of the Bhagavan gave an involuntary start. The disciple felt Vellore. took the with spirituality was he. “You do not know the enormous chance exclamation of Bhagavan indicated the severity of his pain. But Bhagavan's face was serene. buttermilk in shaking hands. But what capacity as a doctor seemed to be out of question. a place 55 miles away. completely enveloping us. Lt. I carried no I had conducted my examination of Bhagavan spiritual feelings for him.m. and drank it. imperative that he should take some fluid. Such writhing pain would make the toughest man wince and moan. So surcharged with a sense of curiosity and an indefinable sense of feet. January 1966) Normally. I fall asleep.” Bhagavan smiled his benign smile and softly said. I went in the spirit of a humble important feeling of a District Medical Officer going devotee going to serve a saint of colossal spiritual magnitude. But he had directed a momentary gaze of Involuntarily I a new of spiritual consciousness open out before me. Col. us. I examined Bhagavan Ramana. We did not speak a word. He seemed to have switched off his mind from the body to the divine. My joy knew no bounds. Nor did he speak a word grace at me which felt kept stirring vista me deeply. as soon as I place my head on the By Dr. At 1 a. I was told that for the past 24 hours Bhagavan had not taken any food. Serenity seeped into us. I gave my prescription and returned to Vellore the same day. bewildered and mumbled. Karamchandani have given him the most excruciating. smiling and radiant. That wondrous gaze of Bhagavan seemed to envelop me with an aura of bliss. with me. in consequence. I was Tiruvannamalai just for the sake of having his 'darshan’ I took my wife with me. We visited Bhagavan expectation. high up in the arm. I fell sound asleep. My only attending on a patient. Bhagavan's presence was when he had developed anuria. He gazed at me for a second. in February 1949. thin bandage that was covering Bhagavan's tumour. One night. He had cancer of the main nerve. I I was the District Medical Officer of North Arcot reached Tiruvannamalai without any emotion. nerve- wracking pain. asking me to you? It was only the fringe of the bandage that my hand touched. All of a sudden a pillow. We made our obeisance and sat by his speech seemed necessary. The sainthood of Bhagavan the slightest sign of his agony. for no conscious reason. It reflected only joy thought was that I was on a professional mission of Ramana had no significance for me. nor did he speak. P. did I hurt Tiruvannamalai. I entire community was feeling most anxious. I now went to his Ashram not with the allto visit his patient. as Bhagavan Ramana was very ill.
than the others!” The disciple now knew that As soon as I saw Bhagavan my mind melted. Then I said to myself. But. Bhagavan turned to him and whispered. That was a scene of great sombre beauty. what benign. how she brought orange juice for him how he would not accept any drink at all how. The fourth one stayed on. I sat quietly by his feet. Instead. I implored him to drink the orange juice to save my wife from deep disappointment. But I felt a deep urge within me not only to touch his blessed feet but to press them lovingly. I have described it in my book body would not last beyond that day. but that they wanted to stay as. benevolent gaze! wonderful grace he poured into me through his During my two months’ contact with Bhagavan. But the I was left alone with Bhagavan. the contentment. once again inwardly. The was abounding.M. I inwardly prayed. but it was an entirely different request. When I entered his room. according to them. “D. I took wonder of wonders! Bhagavan let me do so! His grace heaven. attained Nirvana. His gracious gaze fell on me. be instantly granted. His heavenly spirituality was unaffected by it.” My prayer seemed to not speak with me. it loomed large before my mind's eye and marred my equanimity. shortly afterwards. silently worshipped him. He softly muttered. to the transcendental delight of my wife and myself. “You are not going away because you feel that you love me more Bhagavan was not delirious. I did not wish to disturb him. Pain must have been torturing his body. Holy silence filled the room. A rapturous body. I was also silent. It was the ambrosial hour of the dawn. I considered myself in the seventh wife from Vellore as she had always been anxious to witness a great saint's last moments of life. he was in a delirium. four disciples were there. but I was hardly conscious that I was a District body must have been in terrific mortal pain. how. At that time I had been feeling restless about The next time I was called to him was at midnight. “Why am I fretting unnecessarily? The next time I visit Bhagavan. he passed on. I glorify those few minutes of my life. As usual. was the spiritual exhilaration I Saranagathi promotion to the rank of Major-General (Surgeon General). promotion from my mind. I went before Bhagavan with my mind resolutely set on requesting him for that boon. and The next time I was summoned to him was about three hours after midnight.!” The peculiar tone in which he mentioned me indicated that I had been in his sacred thoughts and that he was expecting me. I had learnt that Bhagavan did not allow devotees to touch his feet. how I silently My last visit to Bhagavan was on the day he Saintly Galaxy: how. I A peerless spiritual experience indeed! . I felt myself blessed. I administered to his Medical Officer. room. he did vibrations that emanated from him were celestial. He bowed and went. free me from my craving for this promotion. I was conscious only of an intense desire to worship this illumined soul.O.Page 5 heard my silent prayer and granted my boon. grant me my soul's evolution. Suddenly he opened his eyes.S. Wonderful experienced in Bhagavan's holy presence. I persuaded them to go. I don’t want anything mundane. Officer in the Province of Madras. he was sound asleep. on visiting him. Effulgent joy flooded the very depths of my being. Three of them went away. in utter tranquillity. I vibrate with ecstasy. Still. how he accepted my unspoken prayer and asked for orange juice. and I felt filled with strange me. which was legitimately due to me as the Howsoever I tried to banish the idea of that coveted senior-most I. But his thrill electrified my entire being. I shall request him to grant me this promotion!” When I visited the Ashram again.M. But marvel happened. They told me that he was asking them to leave the Bhagavan was saying something to them in Tamil. “Bhagavan. A request did formulate itself within resolution evaporated. I found that his prayed that he might retain his body till I brought my courage in both my hands and pressed them. My whole being seemed to did not speak a single word with him. I reverently bowed before Bhagavan and he gazed at me benevolently.
around 10 a. Venkataraman’s discourses are backed by deeply meditative study of Bhagavan’s potent. After Arati. D. His concluded his talk that day with the words. prasadam was distributed to the gathering. 10 was particularly riveting. the much-beloved speaker on Srimad in the Ashram’s New Hall on Bhagavan’s “Ulladu Naarpadu” from 3rd to 9th July 2010. His by the devotees. from 10 a. The listeners were overwhelmed by his speech in a language Khanna Day On Friday the 23rd July 2010. Ramanan . the Hall was overflowing with audience who a very careful study of existing commentaries and soaked in his own exposition of verse No.C Khanna.m.m.m. Bhagavan. Sunday the 25th July 2010 at around 10.Thiyagarajan and Ravi Ramanan Email: saranagathi@sriramanamaharshi. Adi Sankara and Sri Bhagavan gave a week-long discourse listened in pin-drop silence. Bhagavatam. mantra-like words. “Bhagavan has saved us not only from ariyaamai (ignorance) but also from arivu (knowledge) the listeners were deeply moved. L.m. As usual. a Talk in English by Venkataraman was arranged on the 9th July at the New Hall a work which has been rendered into exquisite Tamil poetry by Sri in which he rarely gives talks. especially Western devotees. Samadhi was decorated with garlands.S. Devotees chanted Sri Ramana Gita.45 a. to 11 a. devotees in the Ashram gathered beside the Samadhi of Sri H. prasadam was distributed to the gathering. After arati.Page 6 Saranagathi Reports from Sri Ramanasramam Nochur Sri Venkataraman Discourse Nochur Sri Venkataraman.Sivasubramanian. Puja Editorial Team: Ranjani Ramanan. He spoke on the first verse of ‘Hastamalakam’.org Publisher: V. When he At the request of non-Tamilians. Aksharamanamalai was chanted Kavyakanta Ganapati Muni Day The Anniversary Day of Sri Kavyakantha Ganapati Muni was observed on was performed to his photograph. in the New Hall.
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