Reminiscences of Ramana
|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
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.
"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
"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.
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
Guru Ramana Memoirs and Notes
By S. S. Cohen
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?'
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:
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.''
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.
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: ...
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.
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.
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.'
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'.
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.'
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!"
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!
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
"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.''
"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?''
"My Reminiscences" By
N. Balarama Reddy
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.
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."
"Reminiscences" by Sri Kunjuswami