By Gouriammal

MY father was always an earnest devotee of Sri Bhagavan. Whenever he happened to be at Tiruvannamalai on an official visit he never missed going to see Bhagavan. At that time Bhagavan was residing at Virupaksha Cave. My father would sometimes take me with him. I think I was seven years old when I saw Bhagavan for the first time. But it was much later that I came to stay close to Ramanasramam. Thus I got many opportunities to meet and talk to Bhagavan.

Once I asked Bhagavan what I should do to be on the spiritual path. He said, “Do what you want to do but keep doing it; don’t remain doing nothing. Repeat the name, or think deeply or seek the source of your ‘I’ consciousness, do Atma Vichara but keep working on yourself. This is very important”. One instance of his grace to his devotees is his recommendation of two songs from Tiruppugazh to help them get their daughters married. The devotees of Bhagavan believed firmly that it was enough to sing the two songs from Tiruppugazh before Bhagavan to have the marriage arranged in the best way possible. There is another song in Tiruppugazh in which God is invited to come to the house as a newborn child. When anyone approached Bhagavan praying for a child he would tell them to sing that song.

I stayed at Ramana Nagar, where my house was situated, for eight years. Those were the most memorable and fruitful years of my life. How sweet they were and how many miracles happened before my very eyes! Once Dr Sreenivasa Rao was telling Bhagavan how good it would be for him to eat more pineapples, when somebody entered the hall with a heap of pineapples on a tray. On another occasion, Bhagavan was mentioning one Gajanana Sharma who used to stay with him some years earlier and enquired about his present whereabouts and doings. At that very moment the Postmaster entered the hall and in the mail there was a letter from Gajanana Sharma with photos and details about his life, Ashram, and disciples. Bhagavan said, “Look at this, how wonderful! I was telling about him just now and here it all comes”.

On another day a well-meaning but ignorant devotee insisted that Bhagavan should take the glass of orange juice that he had brought. Bhagavan was annoyed at being treated partially and said, “If you give anything to me without giving it to all, it will be like poison to me”. When the devotee said that next time all would be given orange juice, Bhagavan said, “What is the use of giving because I tell you? You should know by this time that they are all myself and what you give them you are giving me”. Bhagavan disapproved of any difference made between him and others.

Once my sister’s five-year old son was bitten by a snake and in desperation she brought the child to Bhagavan. The doctor had given up hope and the boy was perspiring profusely and was in great pain. The child was already stiff with glazed eyes and was breathing heavily. The mother of the child was weeping all the way and carried him to Bhagavan. When Bhagavan saw her he said, “Don’t weep, don’t weep. It is nothing”. He passed his hand over the child and within a few minutes the boy recovered his senses and sat up. They sat in the hall for some time but as it was late in the evening the mother was told to take the child home. As she was leaving she saw a Muslim devotee on the porch in front of Bhagavan’s Hall, murmuring his prayers. By profession he was a snake charmer and a snakebite healer. When he saw them he said, “The boy was dying of snakebite, but since you were going to see Bhagavan I kept quiet. Now the child is safe, but the poison is still in his body and I had better chant some charms to get it out”. He chanted some prayers and then asked them to go. Bhagavan had saved the child but wanted the snake charmer to take the credit.