N.R.Krishnamurti Aiyer


By N.R. Krishnamurti Aiyer

AFTER the passing away of their father Sundaram Iyer at Tiruchuzhi, the boys Nagasami and Venkataraman (later to be known as Ramana Maharshi) were brought up by their paternal uncle Subbier residing at Chokkappa Naickan Street (now known as Ramana Mandiram) in Madurai. The brothers, who were robust and ardent sportsmen in their early teens, gathered around themselves a circle of sturdy young friends among whom M.S. Venkataraman, Suppiah Thevar and Narayanasami were most prominent. All these three predeceased the Maharshi. The writer of this article knew these persons in the early thirties, and could get from them the following accounts of their personal relations with the boy Ramana.

The following account was given by M.S. Venkataraman who was a clerk in the Health Department of the District Board in Madurai.

M.S. Venkataraman was then just about ten years old, too young to participate fully in the outdoor adventures of the company. Nevertheless he had his share in them. The members of his family were co-tenants of the house with Subbier’s family. Every night, when the whole house was silent in sleep, Nagasami and Ramana whose beds were in a remote corner of the house, would appropriately adjust their pillows and cover them up with their bedsheets so that it would create the impression of their presence in their beds. It was the duty of little Venkataraman to bolt the door of the house when the brothers went out at about 11 p.m., and to admit them on their return at about 4 a.m.

Now let us turn our attention to Suppiah Thevar. At the time the author saw Suppiah Thevar he was employed in a firewood depot. He also conducted during the cool hours of the morning and evening a physical training school in which young men had training in silambam in which Thevar was an adept.

Silambam is a sort of quarterstaff, a very hard bamboo stick of about five feet, to be whirled about so that the wielder could knock out any opponent who dared to come near. The stick was an instrument of defence as well as of attack. Strength of body and muscle was also developed by physical training in the school. Suppiah Thevar was a master in this field.

The following account was obtained from Suppiah Thevar who was himself an active participant in those activities.

The venue of the activities, fixed well in advance, would be either the sandy river bed of the Vaigai or the Pillaiyarpaliam Kanmoi (rain fed tank) close to Aruppukottai road, the outskirts of Madurai city. Every member of the group would, while passing the house of Ramana, leave a pebble at the door step. Nagasami and Ramana, as leaders of the group, would be the last to sally forth from the house after a check of the pebbles showed that all their friends had gone to the place of the meeting. There was rarely a defaulter. Ramana and his playmates had a jolly time playing games on the sandy bed of the Vaigai river or engaging in swimming contests in the Pillaiyarpaliam tank. They would then return sufficiently early to their beds without exciting the least suspicion of their absence from home.

The next account was obtained from Narayanasami. When the author met him he was Librarian in the Town Hall of Madurai, known as Victoria Edward hall.

Usually, the terrace of the house and the small room in which the boy Venkataraman made his “Self-enquiry” were vacant and rarely used by the families in the ground floor. Here the youngsters played. One of the games they played was what they called ‘throw-ball’. Young Ramana would roll his body into something like a ball and the sturdy group of youngsters would throw him from one player to another. Sometimes the human ball fell down when the player failed to catch it. The wonder of it was that for all this rough tossing and dropping, there was not the least scratch on the skin, let alone any muscular sprain or bone fracture!

Narayanasami said that he used to see his friend sitting still for long stretches of time in the small room on the first floor. Narayanasami asked Ramana whether he could also do likewise. Forthwith Ramana told his friend to squat on the floor with his legs crossed (as in the semi-padmasana posture) and pressed a pencil point midway between his eyebrows. Narayanasami lost sense of body and world and sat still in a trance for more than half an hour. When he came to himself he saw Ramana sitting, with his face wreathed in smiles. Narayanasami said that he failed when he tried to repeat the experience by himself.

Bhagavan’s Teaching in America

By Dennis Hartel

We young devotees in the West, striving and gasping for a breath of air in the stormy sea of this world, have found not only pure fresh air but a vessel to carry us to the shore of immortality and truth, in the life and teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi.

To be deposited in what we consider to be HIS Ashrama in the Western Hemisphere, to dedicate our lives to the ideal of the Ashrama, and to have the warm friendship and support of those who have no other ideal, no other goal but to realize the truth as taught by Sri Bhagavan, is for us the greatest gift of grace in which we find an incomparable wealth of inspiration and joy.

What more is there for us to do but to strive with all our strength and might to realize the truth of our Master’s teachings. Then only may we be worthy recipients of his grace. Then only may we be called true devotees of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi.