Reminiscences of Ramana
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In May 1933, on my 36th birthday, after the usual bath and prayers, I sat in Sri Bhagavan's presence in a pensive mood. I addressed a prayer in the Tamil Viruttam style to Sri Bhagavan, complaining: "O Bhagavan, I have completed three and half decades, and yet have not had the experience of the real You. Pray let me have this day the touch of Your Grace.'' Handing over this slip of paper I prostrated Him.

Bhagavan bade me sit down and gazed steadily at me; I was still in a pensive and meditative mood. All of a sudden I lost body-consciousness, and was absorbed in Sri Maharshi. I was turned inward, and the voice of Sri Bhagavan bade me see whatever I desired. I felt that if I could have the darsan of Sri Rama my life would have been fruitful, as I was very much devoted to Sri Rama. I had then immediately a darsan of Sri Rama, with Sita, Lakshmana, Bharata, Satrugna and Hanuman. The ecstasy of the vision defied description; I simply sat on, with Maharshi perhaps gazing on me without my being aware of His gaze. Two hours may thus have passed in pin-drop silence, lost in the vision, until it vanished. I prostrated at the feet of Sri Maharshi, with tears of ecstasy in my eyes and my hairs standing on end. To Bhagavan's enquiry I replied that I of course had seen my dear Rama.

from "At the feet of Bhagavan by T. K. Sundaresa Iyer


  "Then Sastriar told me to look the Maharshi in the eyes, and not to turn my gaze. For half an hour I looked Him in the eyes which never changed their expression of deep contemplation. I began to realize somewhat that the body is the Temple of the Holy Ghost. I could only feel His body was not the man, it was the instrument of God, merely a sitting motionless corpse from which God was radiating terrifically. My own sensations were indescribable."

from "Glimpses of the Life and Teachings of
Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi"
By Frank H. Humphreys, R. F. C.



"The third of February 1936, early morning, saw my horse-cart rolling on the uneven two-and-a-half-mile road from Tiruvannamalai railway station to Ramanashram. I was led to a small dining room, at the door of which I was asked to remove my shoes. As I was trying to unlace them, my eyes fell on a pleasant looking middle-aged man inside the room, wearing nothing but a kaupin, with eyes as cool as moonbeams, sitting on the floor before a leaf-plate nearly emptied, and beckoning me with the gentlest of nods and the sweetest smile imaginable.

"I was alone in the Hall with him. Joy and peace suffused my being - such a delightful feeling of purity and well-being at the mere proximity of a man, I never had before. My mind was already in deep contemplation of him - him not as flesh, although that was exquisitely formed and featured, but as an unsubstantial principle which could make itself so profoundly felt despite the handicap of a heavy material vehicle. When after a while I became aware of my environment, I saw him looking at me with large penetrating eyes, wreathed in smiles rendered divinely soothing by their child-like innocence. All of a sudden I felt something fall in my lap and heard the jingling of keys - my keys! I looked up at the Maharshi extremely puzzled. The man - Sri Ramaswami Pillai - who had dropped them through the door behind me came in and explained that he had gone to the railway station on a bicycle and found the station master waiting for him. It appears that during the few minutes that the train had stopped at the station a passenger had providentially entered the very compartment I had vacated, and, seeing the keys on the seat, he picked them up, and, wonder of wonders! ran up to the station master and handed them over to him. The latter by an unusual flash of intuition surmised that the keys belonged to an Ashram visitor, whom he might have seen detrain in the morning, and awaited a claim for them.
It was a series of miracles which occurred on my behalf in the short space of barely ninety minutes, of which I was blissfully ignorant, absorbed as I was in the entrancing personality of this magnificent human magnet - Sri Ramana Bhagavan.
It is needless to say that from that day Ramanashram became my permanent home."

from Guru Ramana Memoirs and Notes
By S. S. Cohen



"On the 24th instant at 10-30 a.m. the Master was dozing. A female squirrel leapt on his couch and bit his thumb which he quickly pulled back and stroked, remarking, 'I'll not feed her.' Other squirrels crowded on his couch and for half an hour he continued to feed them with cashew nuts, one nut at a time to each. Then he turned to us and, pointing to one of them, said: 'This She-squirrel has been trying to fool me, thinking I do not recognise her, and so shall feed her. Once she comes from this side, once from the other, once from under the couch and once from above it. But I recognise her very well. She shall not have anything,' and laughed. At that the following vague thought crossed my mind: 'Where is the Christ's injunction that if a man slaps you on one cheek offer him the other?'

"Today a squirrel jumped from the window to the couch. The Master looked at it intently. He gave it a nut, then another and addressed it: 'Now go. Have you come to bite me again?' I quickly guessed that that was the guilty squirrel of four days ago and wondered how Sri Bhagavan recognised it and relented. Nevertheless, I asked him if my guess was right, and he confirmed it. After a while the same squirrel came back for more nuts. Usually the Master continues to feed the animals till of their own accord they cease to come. But to this one he refused to give again and, seeing it persisting, he lifted his fan in threat, which made it disappear at once. Then he sat with a pensive look and a faint smile on his face. After a while he turned to my direction, broadened his smile and softly spoke in Tamil in his usual telegraphic brevity to my neighbour:

'Even animals understand a rebuke and, if it is repeated a sufficient number of times, they learn to behave. Some of them are more sensible than some others...' This was immediately translated to me. I laughed, frankly admitted the vauge thought I had had on the first day, and added that although I had never doubted Sri Bhagavan's wisdom, that thought needed the explanation, which made the Master nod approvingly.''

from Guru Ramana Memoirs and Notes
By S. S. Cohen



I will now tell you some of the things the devotees told us that night:

As we were approaching the Unnamalai tank, a devotee said, "When Bhagavan went round the hill, he used to sit here for some time so that those who were lagging behind might catch up with the party. Let us also sit here and wait for a while''. We accordingly all sat there for some time.

"How long ago was it that Bhagavan gave up going round the hill?" I asked.

"Till 1926 Bhagavan used to do it. That was an exhilarating experience," said Kunjuswami, one of the old devotees.

"Why not tell us some of the incidents of those days?" we said. Kunjuswami agreed and began to tell us as follows: ...

"Bhagavan used to tell us that sometimes he started for pradakshina at night and returned by daybreak. It was the usual thing to start so. Sometimes, however, we would start in the morning, with cooking utensils to cook food at noon either at Sona thirtham or at Gautamasram or at Pachyamman Shrine, eat, rest and return to the Asramam in the evening. Before the Asramam grew to its present size, we would go round leisurely, sometimes taking two days, or three days or even a week, camping en route.

"On one occasion, we started to go round in the morning with the intention of returning the same evening. We stopped at the Gautamasram, cooked our food, ate it and after taking some rest, packed all the milk, sugar, buttermilk, etc., that remained and started walking again. As we were approaching Adi Annamalai, Bhagavan began walking off on a side road and very fast. Thinking that he wished to avoid the crowds on the main road, we followed him.

"After going along a path for about half a furlong, we came to a tank. At the edge of the tank and under a tree, sat an old man, his body covered by a blanket and holding a small pot in his hand. This old man, whenever he heard that Bhagavan was coming round the hill, would await Bhagavan's arrival on the road and bring him something to eat. Not seeing him on the road, and lest the poor man should be troubled at missing him, Bhagavan had made the detour.

"Bhagavan, on seeing him, called him by name and began talking with him very simply. The old peasant prostrated before Bhagavan, then stood with folded hands, saying nothing. 'What is the matter?' said Bhagavan, 'why is it that I do not see you anywhere these days? Are crops and cattle all right. How are the children?' And then, 'What is in the pot?' queried Bhagavan.

"Very hesitantly, the old man said, 'Nothing particular, Swami. I came to know that you were coming. I wanted to bring something as usual to offer you, but there was nothing in the house. When I asked my old woman, she said, 'There is ample food in the cook-pot; you can take it to them'. Unable to decide what to do, I put some of the food into this small pot, but ashamed to face you with only this sort of food to offer you, I was sitting here, Swami.'

"Bhagavan, seemingly very pleased, exclaimed, 'Oh! Cooked food, is it? That is excellent. Why be ashamed? It will be very good. Let me have it'. As the old man was still hesitating, Bhagavan took the pot from him, sat down under a tree and told his followers to unload all the things they had brought. We unloaded accordingly. Bhagavan took out from among the cooking things, a big open mouthed tin-lined vessel into which he put all the food, poured in a lot of water, and mixed it well into a paste with his hand; then from some left-overs amongst our things, he took out some limes and squeezed the juice into the mixture, poured in some buttermilk, and made the whole thing into a liquid. Finally he mixed some salt and dry ginger powder, then took out a tumbler full of the liquid, drank it, and said, 'Oh, this is delicious!' Then looking at us all, he said, 'All of you, mix some sugar with that milk left over and drink it; our luggage will be lighter. I have this food; so what need have I for the milk? This is first rate food for me in this hot weather. It is also very nourishing, and has many other good qualities too. But you wouldn't like it, do drink the milk, and please give my share of it and the sugar to this old man'.

"We accordingly mixed the sugar with the milk and, after giving some to the old man, we drank the rest. Bhagavan was meanwhile talking sociably with the old farmer and taking two or three tumblers full of the liquid preparation saying that it was like nectar. He then said to the old man, 'My stomach is quite full. I feel that I shan't be able to take any food tonight. Take the rest of this liquid food home'. So saying, he gave the remaining food to the old man, who accepted it as though it were nectar. Wiping the tears of joy that were welling up into his eyes, he took leave of us and went off to his cottage.'

"Until recently'', I said, "that old man used to come to see Bhagavan every now and then. Vyasa wrote in glowing terms in the Bhagavatam about the beaten rice that Kuchela presented to Lord Krishna. Had he seen this Lord's kindly act, how much more glowingly would he have written!"

from Letters from Sri Ramanasramam
By Suri Nagamma - Third Edition 1985



In the roof of the Old Hall, squirrels would build nests. Once, some new-born squirrels dropped on Bhagavan's sofa. Their eyes remained yet unopened and the size of each baby may not have been more than an inch; they were very red in colour with fresh flesh, absolutely tender to touch. The mother squirrel ignored them. Now what to do? How to feed and attend to such tender things?

The baby squirrels were in the palm of Bhagavan. Bhagavan's face glowed with love and affection for them. While there was a question mark in the faces of those who surrounded Bhagavan, He Himself was happy and cheerful. He asked for some cotton to be brought. He made a soft bed for them. He also took a bit of cotton and squeezed it to such a tiny end, the end portion looked like a sharp pin. He dipped it in milk and squeezed milk into the tiny mouths. At regular intervals, Bhagavan repeated this act of compassion. He tended them with great care and love till they grew up and ran around. They did not run away, only ran around their 'Mother'. Kinder far than their own mother!

from "Moments Remembered
Reminiscences of Bhagavan Ramana"
By V. Ganesan



One summer afternoon I was sitting opposite Bhagavan in the old hall, with a fan in my hand and said to him: "I can understand that the outstanding events in a man's life, such as his country, nationality, family, career or profession, marriage, death, etc., are all predetermined by his karma, but can it be that all the details of his life, down to the minutest, have already been determined? Now, for instance, I put the fan that is in my hand down on the floor here. Can it be that it was already decided that on such and such a day, at such and such an hour, I shall move the fan like this and put it down here?''

Bhagavan replied "Certainly''. He continued: "Whatever this body is to do and whatever experience it is to pass through was already decided when it came into existence.''

Most of the time I lived with Bhagavan, I used to feel peaceful and absolutely free from care. That, as many can testify, was the outstanding effect of his presence. Nevertheless, it did occasionally happen that something disturbed the peace and happiness for a while. On one such occasion I asked Bhagavan: "Why do such interruptions come? Does it mean that we have ceased to have Bhagavan's Grace then?''

With what graciousness did Bhagavan reply: "You, crazy fellow! The trouble or want of peace comes only because of Grace.''

On other occasions also Bhagavan has similarly told me: "You people are glad and grateful to God when things you regard as good come to you. That is right, but you should be equally grateful when things you regard as bad come to you. That is where you fail.''

Here I must say that the only method, I have adopted to achieve liberation or Self-realisation is simply to throw myself on Bhagavan, to surrender to him as completely as lies in my power, and to leave everything else to him. And Bhagavan's teaching, the last I ever got from him before he attained Mahasamadhi, was just this: "Your business is simply to surrender and leave everything to me. If one really surrenders completely, there is no room for him to complain that the Guru has not done this or that.''

from "My Recollections of Bhagavan Sri Ramana"
By A. Devaraja Mudaliar



From Sri Ramanasramam [a friend] travelled to the Aurobindo Ashram. After staying there a few days we planned that he and I would rendezvous at Villupuram railway station, from where we would travel south, visiting famous temples and holy places. My train from Tiruvannamalai was scheduled to leave at 1 P.M. So, immediately after lunch I approached Bhagavan to take his leave. He had just finished his meal and was massaging his rheumatic knees; he had to do this before walking in his old age. I prostrated before him and informed him of my departure. He already knew all the details. He also knew I was planning on visiting Kanyakumari.

He said to me, 'These people (meaning the management) have written to an advocate-devotee of Nagerkoil to send us the three different-coloured sands that are available at Kanyakumari. These are needed for the Kumbhabhishekam of the Matrubhuteswara Temple. So far, he has not sent them.' Though Bhagavan did not say specifically that I should bring the sand, I naturally understood what was in his mind. In fact, he often employed this manner of speaking, asking us indirectly, when he wanted something done. Before leaving he also asked me to write and send him details of the pilgrimage.

When I arrived in Kanyakumari I discovered that the government had enforced a law prohibiting the removal of any sand from the beach. Uranium, used for making atomic bombs, had been found there. Nevertheless, I thought I should take my chances and stealthily proceeded to gather the three different sands. I filled three bags and concealed them in my bedroll. At the railway station I hired a man to carry my luggage. I saw the ticket collector and two policemen standing at the gate. The ticket collector was checking tickets and the policemen were checking baggage for illegal sand. I asked my man to stop and we both stood there momentarily as I contemplalted the situation. Pondering over my next move, I mentally prayed to Bhagavan, 'You wanted me to bring this sand. Now look at this - police! What am I to do? As soon as I prayed thus, the policement, for some unknown reason, turned and walked away from the gate. I immediately told my man, 'Let's go.' We passed through the gate and boarded the train.

When I returned to the ashram and brought the bags of sands to Bhagavan, he called everyone around to come and look. Later the sand expected from the advocate arrived by post, but the bags had broken enroute and the three varieties of sands got mixed, making them useless. When Bhagavan heard that, he remarked, 'If Balarama Reddy had not brought the sands, how could we have gotten a fresh consignment in time for the consecration ceremony?''

from "My Reminiscences" By N. Balarama Reddy



"There was a large stone slab where you now see a tiny wall to the east of Skandasram. Everyday we used to keep tooth powder and water over there for use by Sri Bhagavan. However cold it was, Sri Bhagavan would come and sit on the slab and clean his teeth. In the early morning sun's rays, Sri Bhagavan's body would shine beautifully. When it was very cold, devotees used to request him not to sit there, but Sri Bhagavan would not listen to them. We came to know the reason for this only later.

"In Big Street, which is to the north of Arunachaleswara Temple, there was an elderly woman called Sowbagyathammal. She and a few others had taken a vow that daily they would eat only after they had seen Sri Bhagavan and Seshadriswami. Every day they used to climb the hill to have the darshan of Sri Bhagavan.

"One day Sowbagyathammal did not come. Among his devotees, if he found even one missing, Sri Bhagavan would ask whether he was all right. In the same way, he asked Sowbagyathammal the next day why she did not come the previous day. She said, "All the same I had your darshan, Bhagavan.'' Sri Bhagavan said, "But you didn't come yesterday.'' She replied, "I could not climb the hill because of my weakness. But I was fortunate enough to have your darshan from my house.'' She explained how she saw Sri Bhagavan when he was brushing his teeth sitting on the stone slab. She said if he brushed his teeth at the same place everyday, she would be able to see him every day from her house itself as she found it difficult to climb the hill. From then on, Sri Bhagavan brushed his teeth sitting on the stone, irrespective of weather conditions. It was a boon for other elderly people also."

from "Reminiscences" by Sri Kunjuswami