R.Narayana Iyer


By R. Narayana Iyer

I first saw Bhagavan in 1913 at the Virupaksha Cave. But it was in 1936 that I really met him. When I reached the Ashram and entered the hall, Bhagavan pointed at me and said, “He has come from Madras”. I thought myself very fortunate in having been blessed by his attention immediately on my arrival. That evening while sitting in the hall, Bhagavan looked at me intently for about five minutes. It was an extraordinary experience. The experience, the feeling, remained long after I returned home.

I took voluntary retirement from service in order to pursue the spiritual path and shifted my family to Tiruvannamalai so as to be near Bhagavan. One day while trying to meditate in the presence of Bhagavan I just could not fix my thoughts and became restless. In the meantime a boy who used to come daily and give a performance of numberless prostrations gave us a super show that day. Bhagavan rebuked him, “What is the use of your prostrations? Control of the mind is real worship”. Somehow these words had a tremendous effect on me.

There are many instances of Bhagavan’s compassion that have graced my life. My wife died of small pox. On that day it rained in torrents. I was afraid that the cremation would be delayed.

Bhagavan sent some Ashram workers to help me. When Bhagavan was told that the rain was too heavy for the funeral, he said, “Go on with it, never mind the rain”. When the body was taken to the cremation ground, the rain stopped, and when the body was burnt to white ashes, it started raining again! A few days later my daughter was singing in the hall. Suddenly she stopped and then, after a pause she continued.

Bhagavan asked, “Why did you stop in the middle? Was it the grief for your mother? Why do you grieve for her? Is she not with Lord Arunachala”?

In 1942 I had to arrange for the marriage of my daughter. I had a suitable boy in mind, but he raised some objections. Anxiously I showed his letter to Bhagavan, who said, “Don’t worry, it will come off”. Soon afterwards the boy himself came and the marriage was celebrated.

After Bhagavan left the body I spent two years in my village and then came to the Ashram again. There were difficulties in my spiritual practices, but I felt Bhagavan’s guidance very clearly.

I had muscular rheumatism at that time and wrote to my son, who was coming from Madras to bring some medicine. He however forgot. The next day Sundaram’s brother, coming from his village brought the very medicine I wanted. I asked him how he had thought of bringing them. He told me that he saw them in his house unused and that it occurred to him that it might be of some use to me. It dawned on me that it was Bhagavan’s love for us that filled our lives with miracles. On another occasion a nerve in my leg got inflamed. I was all alone and puzzled, when unexpectedly, Sundaram came from his village. When I asked him why he came, he said, “I just felt like coming”. From the very next day I had high fever and Sundaram nursed me for a fortnight. Who could have arranged all this but Bhagavan?

During the years after Bhagavan left his body I felt His continued guidance very clearly. How carefully he watches over every legitimate need of his devotees!


The Great Event

R. Narayana Iyer

The following was written by the author just months after the Maha Nirvana of Sri Bhagavan.

"Before some stars appear, light appears. After they vanish from vision, light alone remains. That is the state of a jnani-his birth and death." These were the words of Sri Bhagavan in a talk about Jnanis. The exact import of the words is as puzzling as the strange phenomenon that passed vividly before our eyes on the 14th April, 1950. It was about a quarter to nine at night. I was sitting in the open space in front of my house facing east. The sky was clear, the air still. A grave and subdued solemnity pervaded the atmosphere as though reflecting the anxiety of so many sincere devotees of the Maharshi who had come to Tiruvannamalai on account of his illness.

Suddenly a bright and luminous body arose from the southern horizon, slowly went up and descended in the north, somewhere on Arunachala Hill. It was not a meteor as it was bigger than what Venus looks to our vision, and its movement was slow. It was so lustrous that at its zenith the light shed by its trail stretched all the way back to the horizon like an arc. The sight dazed me. Instinctively, as it were, I jumped to my feet and ran as fast as I could to the Ashram, a hundred yards off. There was a crowd of people moving about and quite a hustle and bustle. It didn't strike me to enquire of anyone what it was about. Access to the Maharshi was naturally then selective and restricted to a few. I cared not for the Ashram rules and regulations, but like a tethered calf let loose and running to its mother, I took a short cut, jumped into the garden, scaled the parapet and rushed into the room where the Maharshi, Bhagavan, my Ramana, Guru, Father, God in flesh and blood was lying.

Lo! My heart thumped; breath choked. He was no longer in the flesh and blood. He had just breathed his last. As the star descended on the Hill, he had left the body. It was held in padmasana position by the attendants. I touched the body. There was no warmth. In a frenzy I clasped hold of his hand, the mere touch of which used to give the thrill of eternity. Coldness of death froze my nerves. All was over like a dream. Sobs, hymns and chantings filled the air, and my head reeled with dizzy thoughts.

We will no longer see our dear Bhagavan in that beautiful form of molten gold, which charmed and enchanted us for decades! We will no longer see those compassionate eyes that gleamed like twin stars, peered into our innermost depths and dispelled the shadows that blurred our vision and understanding! No more that kind and godly look of Grace that solaced our wearied souls and inspired our depressed hearts in speechless silence with peace unbounded, or that bewitching and enchanting radiant smile that fascinated us and drew us to him, to heights of bliss, far, far above this world. No more could we hear that sweet and ringing voice, the talks of sparkling wit and humour, or those words of profound wisdom from the depths of deep realization which intellect could not fathom! Tears gushed forth from my eyes as from a fountain. "Roll! Roll! You beads of Love, from the fountain of Love to the Ocean of Love!" It is not fruit and flowers, nor sweets and savoury dishes that can be offered at Thy feet any more. The only oblation that would reach Thee are tears of love from that perennial spring that is the core of our Being, of which you are the Source in your disembodied fullness. The Divine Leela is over.

This is from THE MAHARSHI News Letter