Akhilandammal was better known as Desurammal as she hailed from the village of Desur. Desurammal had first seen Bhagavan sitting in Samadhi at the Arunachaleswarar Temple in 1896, and the priest pouring milk into his mouth. Since the young Swami did not open his eyes, she went back unseen by him Seven years passed by. Not being able to stay away any more, Desurammal came back to Tiruvannamalai in 1903. She was a very devout person and had fed many sadhus including Seshadri Swami and Swami Vithoba of Polur. One day when she was plucking flowers at the foot of Arunachala she saw a group of people going toward the banyan tree cave, which is below Virupaksha cave.

She asked, “Where are you all going?” and was told, “Oh, there is an ascetic boy who does not talk, doesn’t even move, but such peace, such grace is there.” Desurammal went toward the cave, and saw Bhagavan seated there. This is what she had to say about Bhagavan: “Even though he was unwashed and covered with dust, his body had a golden glow! On seeing this ascetic with his body frame so lean that it exposed his bones, my heart melted, and tears welled up within me.

The young Lord then opened his eyes and graciously directed them toward me. Instantaneously, I surrendered myself totally, and took a vow to serve food to the jnani all my life.”

Then Bhagavan moved to Virupaksha cave, and she served food to him there. Bhagavan rarely would eat alone. She brought food for the others as well, including Palani Swami and Perumal Swami. Earlier they would beg for food. After Desurammal came; there was no dearth of food at lunch for Bhagavan. She was so captivated by Bhagavan’s presence that she came with food every day without fail.

Later, when Echammal and Mudaliar Paatti, started feeding Bhagavan as well, Desurammal went back to her village and started a Ramana centre in 1914. It was called Ramanananda Matalayam. Her devotion was so deep that she was always there, practicing Bhagavan’s teachings and sharing her experience with others. Whenever any of the devotees of Bhagavan at Virupaksha cave fell sick, she would take them to Desur give them medical aid and nurse them with tender motherly care. When they were fully cured, she would escort them back to the Virupaksha cave.

Whenever Desurammal came to Arunachala, she would feed Bhagavan and his devotees, thus fulfilling her vow to feed Bhagavan all her life so long as she was in Arunachala. Bhagavan was very pleased with her. Her first observation about Bhagavan was that he was the only saint she had fed, who shared his food equally with others. The second thing she noticed was that the food
was shared equally not only with all the people around him, but also with dogs, monkeys, and birds. She narrated a humorous incident about the monkey, Nondi. It was always given the seat next to Bhagavan. While she was serving the Master one day, Nondi snarled at her, and Bhagavan said, “Hey! She is one of us. She belongs to our clan, keep quiet!” The monkey then accepted her as one amongst them.

One full‐moon day, when Desurammal came to Skandashram, there was a sadhu who told Desurammal, “Today is a very sacred day ‐ a full‐moon day. Bhagavan will be getting shaved. When a jnani, a realized person, shaves his head on a full‐moon day, he radiates enormous power. Hence, today, you should ask for initiation from Bhagavan.”

Bhagavan rarely gave initiation, but prompted by this sadhu, she prostrated before him. He asked her, “What do you want, Desurammal?” “Bhagavan, today is a sacred day, and you are the greatest sage.” Then she repeated whatever the sadhu had said. “You have to initiate me with some mantra.” Bhagavan said “Oh! You want a mantra,” became serious, sat down, and said in Tamil, “Unnai vidadhu iru” which means, “remain without leaving the Self.” Then he looked at her and transfixed her with silent grace for nearly an hour and thus transmitted to her the inner knowledge of how to remain without giving up the experience of the Self.

After Bhagavan came down the hill to stay near Mother’s Samadhi, Desurammal started bringing food every day. One day Bhagavan told her, “Desurammal, there is enough food here.” Beseechingly she said, “Bhagavan, I want to feed you.” Bhagavan replied, “Bring your food ingredients and leave them in the kitchen. They will cook and we will all share.” She agreed, and whenever she came, she would bring some rice or dhal and leave it in the kitchen. Shortly before Bhagavan’s Mahasamadhi, Desurammal, more than ninety years old and very frail wanted to have darsan; of her Master and came to the Ashram. Nobody recognized her. Bhagavan was in the small room now called the Nirvana Room. She was not allowed to enter the Nirvana Room. Fortunately, Kunju Swami recognized her and told Bhagavan, who exclaimed, “Desurammal! Bring her here, bring her inside.” When she went in, she wept seeing Bhagavan’s physical condition and Bhagavan said, “Why do you feel sorry for this mortal body? I am always your shelter.”

These words of assurance were given not only to Desurammal but for all devotees who, like Desurammal, are pure in heart, filled with devotion and look upon Bhagavan as father, mother, God and all.

Remembering Kanakammal By Marye Tonnaire

Remembering Kanakammal
By Marye Tonnaire

Marye Tonnaire, Kanakammal,
and Mrs. Arparna Krishnamuthy
Marye Tonnaire is an ardent devotee who lives at Sri Ramanasramam, India. For two years she worked with the translators of Smt. Kanakammal’s Commentary on Arunachala Stuti Panchakam and Upadesa Nun Malai, a 700 page book. She moved closely with Smt. Kannakammal for a number of years.

Isn’t it the sign of a good mother when each child feels that he or she is the special, preferred child?  Those of us who moved closely with Kanakammal all have stories that confirm this feeling. We all felt that she had signaled us out, giving us special attention and extra loving care. I had been seeing Kanakammal since the early 1980s and was drawn to her, but at the time our paths did not cross. In those days I was rather shy to approach old devotees, even to ask to be introduced to them. I would always wait until Sri Bhagavan provided me with an opportunity to spontaneously interact with one of them. 

When I read about Kanakammal in Moments Remembered and then read her own Cherished Memories, I was thrilled to discover the beauty of her relationship with Sri Bhagavan and the depth of her understanding of Sri Bhagavan’s way. But still no direct contact occurred until several years later when I was asked to bring Kanakammal in the taxi with me to Chennai where I was taking a flight back to Europe. After leaving me at the airport, the taxi would then take her to her relatives’ house in the city. That evening we didn’t speak at all, but she gave me such a warm smile when the taxi arrived at her cottage and she got into the front seat and then again when I was dropped off at the airport. Sri Bhagavan brought us together a few years ago when my friend Joelle, from France, who had a very special rapport with Kanakammal, invited me to attend classes that Amma was going to give on Sri Bhagavan’s original works and scriptural translations that make up the Tamil Parayana we sing at 6:30 in the evening. In the classes Kanakammal would go through the commentary that she had written in Tamil based on Muruganar’s explanations to her. Kanakammal had apparently held classes for Indian people in previous years and now her class would be translated into English. 

The first year, somehow, I didn’t feel the motivation to attend regular classes in the morning. It was enough for me to just sit in the Samadhi Hall next to Kanakammal in silence when she would come for puja and parayana in the evening. Once when I returned from France with a message from Joelle that I delivered to her in the ashram, she grasped both of my hands, looked me in the eyes and said in English, “What about Marye? I want to know about Marye.” I was thrilled. At that moment she fully captured my heart. When Joelle came back to Tiruvannamalai the following year, I decided that this time I would join the class. I soon regretted that I hadn’t started earlier. We were a small, core group of ladies — Aparna, Dolly, Punita and Minakshi. Joelle and I were the only foreigners, though sometimes Rumi would join us and also some other visitors. Kanakammal would speak in Tamil, but we had the blessing of Aparna’s outstanding English translation. During that time I went almost daily into Kanakammal’s compound, placed my chappels out on the veranda  under her window and had my first glimpse of her sitting in her chair perfectly groomed, draped in a starched, light colored sari with an aura of deep contemplation surrounding her. She reminded me of my grandmother in some ways. When I would peep in through the window she would see me, smile and say, “Vango, Vango” (Come, Come). Then we would greet and I would sit on the floor and lean against the wall. As she knew that 

I had undergone back surgery, she always insisted that I take and sit on the stool that she used to keep next to her chair. As I took my place I would look up at the photo of her as a young lady in her early 20s and think about how fortunate she was to have come to Sri Bhagavan at that time. Sometimes I would arrive late to class and once she started laughing and said, “She is Totakacharya.” When I expressed my ignorance of who Totakacharya was, I immediately got the story. Totaka was a devoted disciple of Adi Shankara, but the other disciples all looked down on him as being quite dull. Once when Adi Shankara waited for Totaka to arrive before he would begin his daily discourse, the other disciples became impatient and complained about having to wait for someone who didn’t have the intellectual capacity to grasp the subtle points of the scriptures. When Totaka finally arrived, he was brimming over with bliss and dazzled the disciples by uttering a few concise stanzas in Totaka metre that confirmed his complete grasp of the subject matter.

This was our class: the commentary on Sri Bhagavan’s works was interwoven with many colorful stories from
various scriptures and puranas, stories that brought the saints and sages to life, right into that small room. This
was interwoven with her own experience of Sri Bhagavan, Muruganar and other senior devotees. At those times Bhagavan came alive and filled the room with his Divine Presence. Through her eyes, which were always fixed on the Master, she gave us a precious glimpse of those golden days. I was thrilled when she told us once, with a twinkle in her eye, that sometimes it was stressful for her in those days, particularly when the road was filled with water during the rainy season and snakes would wind around her legs while she was walking to the ashram, or when bandicoots and monkeys would come into her house through the openings and sometimes even make off with some clothing that had been left to dry. But then all of the difficulties she was experiencing would immediately vanish as soon as she set foot into the Old Hall and plunged into Sri Bhagavan’s graceful presence. Even though most of these experiences are recorded in Cherished Memories or have appeared in the Mountain Path, her speech would flood the room with the divine consciousness and bliss of Sri Bhagavan, as if he were with us then and there, showering his grace. Aparna’s talent as a translator was such a boon for those of us who are not proficient Tamil speakers. She would give an instantaneous English rendition of what was sometimes a long stretch of Tamil discourse, without even a blink of hesitation. This “seamless” English rendition made the experience even more intense, allowing all present to equally share these sublime moments.

Kanakammal used to delight at my attempts at communicating with her in Tamil. She would speak very slowly as if I were a child, and then laugh. Every time she would see me in the ashram she would take both my hands
and say “Eppadi Irukinga? (How are you?) And I would reply, “Nallarukku (fine) Eppadi Irukinga?” Then I would sit down next to her in the back of Sri Bhagavan’s Samadhi Hall. When she could no longer sit on the floor because of leg pain, I would sit with her along with some other devotees in the New Hall where a chair was placed for her use. At first she felt that she should not sit on a chair in the Samadhi Hall. Only later on she accepted to sit on a chair in the Samadhi Hall. 

No matter how many people were around her, or how noisy it got, she was always even-keeled. If I came and sat with her she was happy, and if not, she was also happy. She didn’t expect anything from us. Sitting next to her I felt a deep silence, which inspired me in my own meditation. Whenever we would say to her how lucky she was to have been in Sri Bhagavan’s presence while he was in the body, she would also reply, “But his presence is just as strong now, if not stronger.” She always pushed us inward to grasp the essence of our being, the Atman or Self, or Summa irruku (Be still and know that ‘I am’). She didn’t want us to complain about life’s difficulties and problems. She said that like the dobi (washer man) who beats out the stains on dirty cloth, the Presence of the Guru drives away the individual self (ego) so that the Atman can be released and shine forth in all its glory. She firmly adhered to the fact that prayer to Sri Bhagavan was the ultimate solution to any of our problems and difficulties. She always insisted that the illusory individual cannot do anything on his own and only through complete surrender (saranagati) to Sri Bhagavan, our Sadguru, and with his grace can we do our sadhana. Kanakammal was very strict that we should follow Bhagavan’s direct path, and once she took me to task about my tendency to be overly attracted to rituals. She was rather strong about insisting that I had come here to do Atma Vichara and that I should not deviate from the path. But at the same time she never missed evening puja at the ashram unless she was ill, out of Tiruvanamalai, or there was a heavy downpour. She liked to visit temples also. 

Once she and I were part of a group that went to Tirukoilur, and she was so enthusiastic, like a young girl, as we visited the different temples there. Another time she took me aside during one Navarathri celebration in the ashram and said, “Come to my house tomorrow morning, I want to make you a Suvasini in Sri Bhagavan’s presence.” She had Revati, her niece, decorate me in the traditional way and then gave me a sari, blouse and bangles. I’ll never forget that blessed morning sitting in front of Sri Bhagavan’s photograph in her house. I was moved to tears. I feel privileged to have witnessed her passing and can just say that I had touched her body at that time and felt waves of bliss going through me that pushed out any trace of sadness that I could have felt. What a beautiful end she had! It was a testimony to her utter and supreme devotion to Sri Bhagavan. She just walked into Sri Bhagavan’s Samadhi on Jayanthi day before the puja started with her eyes fixed on the lingam and then dropped to the floor. Some devotees immediately carried her outside near the meditation hall where we sang “Arunachala Siva”. Where she actually left the body is not important. I think she was already absorbed in her beloved Master when she arrived at the ashram and then just took those few steps towards his shrine for our sake. She was surrounded by Sri Bhagavan’s devotees, and on that never-to-be-forgotten day she gave us a final class in total devotion and surrender. Her last words to me the night before in the Samadhi Hall were “Eppadi irrukinga?” I replied, “Nalarukku.” Then I asked, “Eppadi irrukinga?” and she said, “Nalarukku. I believe so. Everything is good.”

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti OM

Darshan and Upadesha at Skandashram by Rohit Vaidya

Darshan and Upadesha at Skandashram
By Rohit Vaidya

On the morning of the final day of our visit to Sri Ramanasram, we climbed Arunachala to Skandasram and Virupaksha cave. Skandashram consists of a central building with some other rooms adjoining it. Within the central structure, there are three rooms — an outer hall, the inner Skandashram cave, and off to the side, there is a small room in which Bhagavan is said to have stayed. In this small room, lengthwise against one wall, there is a concrete bench with a sloping back where one can recline. While in that small room, facing the bench, I experienced an awe-evoking vision of Bhagavan. 

What I beheld was not a human figure as such, but rather a pure light and effulgence in a somewhat diffuse, oval-like form, seated on the concrete bench against the sloping back of the bench. It was a vibrant sentience or awareness and, associated with it, was a very clear and strong intuition that there was nothing that needed to be accomplished by this Being, that there were no karmas it had to perform. It was complete and whole, in and by itself. I prostrated at the foot of the bench and quietly left in awe and wonder. At the time, what came to my mind, which seemed to reflect the character of this vision, were the words of the Sanskrit mantra from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad

Om poornamadah poornamidam
poornat poornamudachyate
poornasya poornamaadaaya 

“That is perfect — this is perfect. What comes from perfection truly is perfect. 
What remains after perfection from perfection is also perfect.”

Later, after returning home from Sri Ramanasram to the USA, I found accurate descriptions of this vision of Bhagavan as pure light and effulgence in the following verses from Ganapati Muni’s “Sri Ramana chatvarimsat”

Gana gudha sahasra karena yatha tanu kanchuka gupta mahaa mahasaa

“Whose beatific effulgence is hidden by the
sheath of the gross body, like the blazing sun hidden
behind the clouds.”  —Verse 2

Pasyan visvamapidamullasati yo visvasya paare parah

“The One who, though seeing the world, shines
as the Supreme Truth, transcending the world creation.” —Verse 22

Tava tanurjjvala tyanagha vidyutaa 

“O Spotless Being! Thy form blazes with pure light.” —Verse 29
I also found in Bhagavan’s own words the explanation for my very strong feeling that there were no deeds required in this state of completeness and wholeness.

Nashta maanas-otkrsht yoginahah krtyam astikim swasthitim yataahaa

“His mind being thus extinguished, the great Yogi who is established in the Supreme Truth has no more Karma to do, for He has attained the Natural State.” —Upadesa Saaram, Verse 15

Ahankrtim yo lasati grasitvaa kim tasya kaaryam
parishishtamasti kinchidvijaanaati sa natman’onyata
tasya sthitim bhaavayitum kshamah kah

“What remains there for him to do who swallows the ego and shineth forth? Separate from the Self, there is nought to him. His condition to conceive, who is there so bold?”  —Sat Darshanam,
Verse 31

Although the last question in the preceding verse might be rhetorical, I must say that I have only sought here to relate my experience as faithfully and truthfully as I can convey in words. And in seeking to explain what I saw and felt, I have found far more lucid and apt descriptions in the words of Ganapati Muni and Bhagavan himself. 

Prior to this, I have generally felt the grace of Bhagavan’s presence at an essentially personal level. This darshan at Skandasram was a little surprising in that it was non-personal. There was no impression of an individual as such, only a completeness and wholeness in which there is no other. Only pure, effulgent light and awareness of and in itself yet somehow also aware of the world. Upon re-reading this narrative, a skeptical part of me has to ask, “Did this truly occur?” After all, in such matters, it is very easy for the mind to delude or deceive itself; and that might have been possible if it had been only an image that was perceived. But what really bestowed authenticity and meaning for me was its palpable feeling of vibrant sentience and the associated profound understanding of that state of Being. That still evokes awe, and silences the mind.

Ultimately, any vision is within the realm of duality and is not of the Supreme Truth. Paradoxically, perhaps, this too was implicit in this vision.


Bhagavan is Always with Us

I'm very new to this spiritual life. I became serious about the spiritual life only during the last few months. Many people had the good fortune to have a glimpse of the Self in Bhagavan's presence because of Bhagavan's grace. Even though I'm new to the spiritual life, by His grace, even I had a taste of this Pure Self. This instilled in me the belief that Bhagavan is still around us and is helping us. I wanted to share my experience.

I have been doing meditation (some kind of Kundalini practice) since I was 21 (now I'm 31), but it was not continuous. I was doing meditation just to live my life better, not for any spiritual reasons. Even though I heard about Bhagavan a few years back, I never knew his teachings. Recently, during the last few months, there appeared a sudden improvement (or force) in my life, which made me to read about Bhagavan. At the same time my friend got the Nan Yar? (Who Am I?) book from Sri Ramanasramam.

This is the first book I have ever read about Bhagavan's teachings. After reading that book, during my waking hours, I couldn't think of anything else except Nan Yar? It went on for three weeks continuously. I believe because of that I got a severe cold, headache, and body pain. Strangely, though this was little different from the normal illnesses, it was only the right side of the body that was affected with symptoms. The left side of the body was normal. Then I stopped thinking about this for a day. The following night, while I was in the bed, again this 'I-thought' became very strong, and I started analyzing how this thought came, which made the investigation into the 'I-thought' more intense. After some time the thought reduced to a small point and immediately vanished. I then felt only perfect peace, nothing else, not even my body. After a few minutes, I became aware of the body. Then suddenly I became still for some time, I couldn't even feel the peace. My mind was not thinking anything, just still for a few minutes. After this experience, I started reading more about Bhagavan, and His teachings. Then I came to know that in His presence many felt this experience at least once, as He showed a glimpse of the Self to people who intently wanted to know. And I also came to know that He continues to help people in the spiritual process even though He left his body. After this experience I'm feeling that Bhagavan is always with us, helping people in their spiritual process.



He first read the Maharshi's Who Am I? booklet while yet a college student in Gujarat. He immediately recognized the purity and directness of the teachings, and how the Maharshi embodied them.

Babubai worked as an engineer and college professor before immigrating to the USA in 1971. In New Jersey, he took an engineering job and immediately began sponsoring relatives, family after family, until the total number that settled in the USA by his efforts reached 150! He founded a Sangam so the children of all his friends and family could be taught traditional Indian music, Sanskrit and literature. His knowledge of these subjects was prolific.

In the later 1970s when he first heard of Sri Ramana Maharshi's Arunachala Ashrama in NYC, Babubai collected his family into the car and drove straight to the Ashrama. Since then he and his family have been an integral part of Bhagavan's family.

In recent years, Mr. Parekh's health had been failing. He told his family members that he would leave this world alone, with none of them near him. On January 25th, this actually came to pass, as he locked himself into a room - something he never does - then breathed his last. Apparently he desired to prepare himself for the transition without distractions.

Babubai Parekh was much loved by his family and friends and will be missed by all.


In Remembrance

A long-standing devotee of Bhagavan, quietly left his body in the affectionate company of his wife on January 20, 2003.

Upon a chance sight in 1970 of Bhagavan's photo in the the store-front window of the Manhattan, 6th Street Arunachala Ashrama, Roy was immediately drawn to Guru Ramana and his teachings. He attended the nightly chanting and meditation until his move to Gilbertville, NY in the 1973. All devotees can never forget his resounding chanting of "Arunachala Siva" and his robust enthusiasm, which continued up to his very last day.

Roy was an accomplished artist, Tai Chi and Karate teacher, loving father, friend and husband to his remarkable wife Elizabeth. Devotees of Arunachala Ashrama attended his funeral on January 25th and chanted the "Arunachala Siva" and "Bhavani Ashtakam," both of which were cherished by Roy. He will always be remembered and loved by all who knew him.


Guru Kripa

The following talk was given by Srimati Mangalam Kalyanam at the December 21st Sri Ramana Jayanti program in New York City. Srimati Mangalam conducts Ramana Satsangs in the Atlanta, Georgia area.

Guru is Brahma, Guru is Vishnu, Guru is Deva Maheshvara, Guru is the Supreme Brahman, salutations to the Guru.

I would like to thank all of you for giving me this opportunity to share a few thoughts. A renowned Tamil saint, Manikkavasagar once said: "It is by His Grace ONLY that I am able to pray to Him."

It is our Guru's Grace that has enabled me to be with all of you and partake in this celebration. My topic of choice is "Guru Kripa" or "Grace of Guru". Over the years this word "Grace" has become a very special word to me. Let me start by quoting Thirumular, a great Tamil saint and scholar of old:

Wisdom is seeing Guru's Holy Form
Wisdom is chanting Guru's Holy Name
Wisdom is listening to Guru's Holy Words
Wisdom is meditating on Guru's Holy Presence
These lines express the importance of Guru and also clearly explain the ways to attain Jnana, or Self-knowledge. Guru's Kripa is omniscient, ever-present. What blinds us from this fact is our own ignorance through ego or 'ahankara'. Ego sustains the "I am the body idea." Happiness, sorrow, fame, infamy, wealth, and poverty are all attributes of the body that functions according to the previous and present karmas. At times of ecstasy, the ego in us gloats in its glory, and at times of despair it ridicules the body.

With a little effort, and of course Guru's Grace, we all may have moments of clarity and intellectually accept the "I am not the body idea." But to sustain these moments in our day to day life, the abounding Grace of the Guru is important.

Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi always stressed that salvation is for the soul and not for the body. At each point of our wavering life, if we question who is feeling, who is suffering, etc., we can steep our soul in non-duality and lead a life like water on a lotus leaf, or like the very best non-stick pan.
Next comes the question, "Who gets the Guru's Kripa?" It's an ironical question, having said already that the Guru's Grace is always present. Let me illustrate from Bhagavan's life to answer this question. Bhagavan treated all beings equally. He could (would?) not see the physical forms. The cows, the birds, the barber, the priest, the scholar, the child, the woman - everyone had His Grace. The form we have now taken was determined by our prarabdha karma. Bhagavan's Grace-abounding presence is in the formless, limitless Self, which is inside all of us. Understanding this is fairly easy, but to hold onto it is very difficult. Again, only the Guru's Grace can help us stay focused.

How do we realize the Guru's Grace? By unconditional surrender and unwavering faith. Unwavering faith is beautifully explained in the grand epic Ramayana. Adhyatma Ramayana is a fresh perspective on a philosophic approach to the Ramayana. In this story, Rama is portrayed as jivatma (individual). Kama (desire), krodha (anger), etc. are the demons that kidnap Sita, who personifies shanti (peace). The demons hide her in the middle of the ocean of maya.
Rama pines for Sita, which parallels the struggles of the jivatma when separated from the Paramatma (Supreme Self). Just like a Sadguru who points to the source of peace, Hanuman pointed out Sita to Rama. Rama, the jivatma, sustained the Lord's Grace through his unwavering faith. He builds a bridge of penance -through sravanam and mananam, hearing and meditating on the Truth - across the ocean of maya. He fights and roots out all the demons (kama, krodha, moha, madha) through Atma-Vichara (Self-enquiry) and unites with Sita (peace).

Such is the power of unwavering faith. Faith begets bhakti, bhakti begets surrender and unconditional surrender effaces the ego. Effacement of the ego is union with the Supreme Self. What we were, what we are, and what we become is all Guru's Kripa. Acceptance of the Divine Will in all matters leads to peace, and then there will be no questions or complaints.

A fine poet named Sadhu Om has beautifully put it in these words:

"What I need and what I don't need is better judged by my Guru. Is it fair to ask for something specific once you have surrendered? Having surrendered to the Guru, he will do what is best for you."

I would like to share an experience in my own life when I felt the Guru's Grace-abounding presence. This took place in 1979 when I was living with my husband and three children in Asansol, a city near Calcutta. My husband was working for Indian Oxygen. Bhagavan's centenary was coming up and Ramanasramam was gearing up for this big event and also the Kumbhabhishekam. The whole year was going to be filled with lots of events and celebrations. I longed to be there, but what could we do? We were living far away and the children were in school. Well, just when we reconciled to this sad reality my husband got an unexpected phone call from the managing director. He informed my husband that there was a labor dispute going on in the Madras factory and that we were going to be transferred to Madras immediately. We were amazed by His Grace!

While in Madras we enjoyed all the celebrations. It so happened that the labor dispute took a full year to resolve, and as if we were posted close to the Ahsrama only for the Centenary events, we were transferred back to Calcutta the very next year!

To conclude, I would like to quote from a well known piece titled "Footprints." For those who are unfamiliar with this passage, it is about a conversation taking place between man and God, looking back on the journey of life. Metaphorically, the man notices two sets of footprints throughout his life, one his, the other God's. However, at times of great despair there were only one set of footprints and he asks God why He deserted him? The reply that God gives aptly describes Guru-Kripa.

"My dear child" says God, " I would never desert you. During your times of trial and suffering when you see only one set of footprints, it was then, that I carried you."





Reading the following extract from A Sadhu's Reminiscence, by Sadhu Arunachala (Major A. W. Chadwick), it would appear that Bhagavan was quite certain about a corresponding holy hill exactly opposite the globe to Arunachala. Major Chadwick writes:

"He used to say that Arunachala was the top of the spiritual axis of the earth. 'There must,' he said, 'be another mountain corresponding to Arunachala at exactly the opposite side of the globe, the corresponding pole of the axis.' So certain was he of this that one evening he made me fetch an atlas and see if this was not correct. I found, according to the atlas, the exact opposite point came in the sea about a hundred miles off the coast of Peru. He seemed doubtful about this. I pointed out that there might be some island at this spot or a mountain under the sea. It was not until some years after Bhagavan's passing that a visiting Englishman had a tale of a spot, supposed to be a great secret-power centre, in the Andes somewhere in this latitude. Later I found that though a centre had certainly been started, it had failed. Since then I have been told of another person who is practising meditation in solitude in the region of the Andes in Ecuador. So it does appear as though there were some strange attraction about that part of the globe. The earth is not an exact sphere and maps are not so accurate as all that, so we are unable to pin it down to any definite point. It is quite possible that more is going on in that part of the world than we know and this would fit in well with what Bhagavan said. However, I could never discuss the matter with Bhagavan, as it was not until many years after his passing that I had any indication that anything of this sort was happening in those parts. I had many years ago travelled extensively in that country, but had never seen anything which would lead me to think that there might be important spiritual centres there."

Following the thread of Major Chadwick's research, Dr. Ravi Iyer of Virginia writes about his investigation into Machu Picchu, an ancient, sacred mountain in Peru.

Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi always insisted that the Holy Hill Arunachala was the spiritual axis of the world, even in a physical sense, similar to the geographical North Pole, with a South Pole axis. So strongly did he maintain the view that another holy hill existed on the opposite side of the globe to Arunachala - which was itself remarkable since he normally did not take very rigid positions except on matters concerning the Self and the Heart - that he once made a devotee pull out a world atlas and look for a similar mountain opposite to Arunachala. The only mention we have of this endeavor was that the search indicated a spot on the continental shelf beneath the Pacific Ocean immediately off the coast of Peru. No further effort seems to have been spent after this, though it appears that Bhagavan may not have supported the conclusion of that research, since he seemed convinced that a land-based mountain existed at the other end of this "spiritual axis".

The Latitude/longitude Coordinates of Arunachala (Tiruvannamalai) are: 12n13, 79e04

Recently I came across an article about a place in the high Andean mountains of Peru that is reputed to be a site of great spiritual force, called Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu was discovered by Yale archeologist Hiram Bingham in 1911, and is the site of an ancient Inca temple city. This city appears to have evaded discovery by the marauding armies of the Spanish Conquistadors, yet it represents one of the immense mysteries of the Inca civilization. It appears the Machu Picchu Mountain itself was known as sacred to the Incas from a time before their own civilization, since the Inca's speak of the mountain as the "Ancient One," who preceded the civilization of their ancestors.

There are several striking parallels between the Machu Picchu site and the Shakti culture. The Inca's worshipped Machu Picchu as the manifestation of the Divine Mother Goddess of the Universe. They referred to Her as "Paachamama," a name that bears a striking similarity to the name "Pachaiamman" used for Parvathi in South Indian shrines. [In the early 1900s, the Maharshi spent many months at the Pachaiamman Temple at the foot of the Hill, outside the town of Tiruvannamalai.] The architecture of the temple city was astrologically and astronomically determined. Various points of the city serve as a kind of giant sextant or observatory from where specific constellations and celestial objects can be plotted and observed. A closer look at the topology of the city reveals a striking resemblance to the Sri Chakra, the Meru architectural topology that characterizes Indian Shakti shrines.

On the psychic plane, multiple individuals with siddhic/occult capacities have separately asserted on visiting Machu Picchu that the city is a place where the feminine aspect of the Universe is especially palpable.

Lastly, the Latitude/longitude coordinates of Machu Picchu are: 13s07, 72w34
While the geographical coordinates are not exactly opposite of those of Arunachala, it would be unreasonable to expect it would be exact since the earth is not a precise sphere.

I share this with the general community of Ramana bhaktas as an item of spiritual and historical interest. While ultimately there is nothing but the Self, as long as the manifested world is our framework of reference then we will be confronted by the dual pairs of balancing opposites. There can be no Siva without Shakti, and vice versa.

References & Notes:

The URL to the astrodienst web site for latitude - longitude determinations is:
The global coordinates for Tiruvannamalai and Machu Picchu are as follows:
Tiruvannamalai: 12n13, 79e04
Machu Picchu: 13s07, 72w34
If you do a precise reversal of Tiruvannamalai's coordinates you will indeed fall off the coast of Peru. You can confirm this by going to the following website and entering the precise reverse coordinate of Tiruvannamalai: (The site shows a satellite view. Make sure you are viewing earth from a 10 km height).
Regarding information on Machu Picchu, check out: "Machu Picchu"
"Machu Picchu Crown Jewel In The Clouds" . This site has the Meru like (Sri Chakra architecture of the city)
"Machu Picchu"

ABHYASA (Practice)

ABHYASA (Practice)

Devotee: What is the method of practice?
Maharshi: As the Self of a person who tries to attain Self-realization is not different from him and there is nothing other than or superior to him to be attained by him, Self-realization being only the realization of one's own nature, the seeker of liberation realizes without doubts or misconceptions his real nature by distinguishing the eternal from the transient, and never swerves from his natural state. This is known as the practice of knowledge. This is the enquiry leading to Self-realization.

D. Can this path of enquiry be followed by all aspirants?
M. This is suitable only for ripe souls. The rest should follow different methods according to the state of their minds.

D. What are the other methods?
M. They are stuti, japa, dhyana, yoga, jnana, etc.
Stuti is singing the praises of the Lord with a feeling of great devotion.
Japa is uttering the names of the gods or sacred mantras like Om either mentally or verbally.

Dhyana: When one is in dhyana the mind does not contact the objects of the senses, and when it is in contact with the objects it is not in dhyana. Therefore those who are in this state can observe the vagaries of the mind then and there and by stopping the mind from thinking and fix it in dhyana. Perfection in dhyara is the state of abiding in the Self.

Yoga: The source of breath is the same as that of the mind, therefore the subsidence of either leads to that of the other. The practice of stilling the mind through breath control is called yoga.

Fixing the mind on psychic centres such as the sahasrara (lit. the thousand petalled lotus) yogis can remain any length of time without awareness of their bodies. As long as this state continues they appear to be immersed in some kind of joy. But when the mind emerges (becomes active again) it resumes its worldly thoughts. It is therefore necessary to train it with the help of practices like dhyana whenever it becomes externalised. It will then attain a state in which there is neither subsidence nor emergence.

Jnana is stilling the mind and realizing the Self through the constant practice of dhyana or enquiry (vichara). The extinction of the mind is the state in which there is cessation of all efforts. Those who are established in this spontaneous effortless state have realized their true nature, the Self. The term 'silence' (mouna) and inaction refer to this state alone.

All practices are followed only with the object of concentrating the mind. As all the mental activities like remembering, forgetting, desiring, hating, attracting, discarding, etc., are modifications of the mind they cannot be one's true state. Simple changeless being is one's true nature. Therefore to know the truth of one's being and to be it, is known as release from bondage and the destruction of the knot (granthi nasam). Until this state of tranquility of mind is firmly attained the practice of unswerving abidance in the Self and keeping the mind unsoiled by various thoughts is essential for an aspirant.

Those who follow the path of enquiry realize that the mind which remains at the end of the enquiry is Brahman. Those who practice meditation realize that the mind which remains at the end of the meditation is the object of their meditation. As the result is the same in either case it is the duty of aspirants to practise continuously either of these methods till the goal is reached.
* * * *

D. Why do thoughts of many objects arise in the mind even when there is no contact with external objects?
M. All such thoughts are due to latent tendencies. They appear only to the individual consciousness (jiva) which has forgotten its real nature and become externalized. When particular things are perceived, the enquiry 'Who is it that sees them?' should be made; they will then disappear at once.

D. Since the Self is free from the notion of knowledge and ignorance how can it be said to pervade the entire body in the shape of sentience or to impart sentience to the senses?
M. Wise men say that there is a connection between the source of the various psychic nerves and the Self, that this is the knot of the heart, that the connection between the sentient and the insentient will exist until this is cut asunder with the aid of true knowledge, that just as the subtle and invisible force of electricity travels through wires and does many wonderful things, so the Force of the Self also travels through the psychic nerves and pervading the entire body, imparts sentience to the senses, and that if this knot is cut the Self will remain as it always is without any attributes.

D. What is dhyana (meditation)?
M. It is abiding as one's Self without swerving in any way from one's real nature and without feeling that one is meditating. As one is not in the least conscious of the different states (waking, dreaming etc.) in this condition, the sleep here is also regarded as dhyana.
The excellence of the practice (sadhana) lies in not giving room for even a single mental concept (vritti).

D. What are the rules of conduct which an aspirant should follow?
M. Moderation in food, moderation in sleep and moderation in speech.
M. In the question 'Who am I?' by 'I' is meant the ego. Trying to trace it and find its source, we see it has no separate existence but merges in the real 'I'.

D. Should I go on asking 'Who am I?' without answering? Who asks whom? What is 'I', the Self or the ego?
M. In the enquiry 'Who am I?' the 'I' is the ego. The question really means, what is the source or origin of this ego?
M. Yes, any puja is good! 'Om Ram' or any other name will do. The point is to keep away all other thoughts except the one thought of Om or Ram or God. All mantras or japa helps that.
The mind turned inwards is the Self, turned outwards, it becomes the ego and all the world. But the mind does not exist apart from the Self, i.e., it has no independent existence. The self exists without the mind, but never the mind without the Self.

D. When we enquire within 'Who am I?' who enquires?
M. It is the ego. It is only that which makes the vichara also. The Self has no vichara. That which makes the enquiry is the ego. The ' I' about which the enquiry is made is also the ego. As a result of the enquiry the ego ceases to exist and only the Self is found to exist.
M. Everything we see is changing, always changing. There must be something unchanging as the basis and source of all this. It is the Self.


Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya

We have all read stories written by devotees who came to the Maharshi when he was physically living in his Ashram or on the slopes of the holy Arunachala Hill. Reading these we feel the tangible effect of his grace penetrating the hearts of seekers and guiding them to deeper faith and experience. In the following article we read how time and the dissolution of the Maharshi's body have failed to stem the profusion of grace extended to seekers. The guidance and the palpable presence once experienced by an earlier generation of disciples and devotees can be experienced now. Certain events often cross the borders of simple coincidence; inner experiences transform our whole perspective on life and turn our attention to the one, underlining Reality. The author, a devotee in the USA, wishes to remain anonymous.

First Contact

I first learned about Bhagavan around 1980-81, when I picked up a book on his teachings at Weiser's Bookstore in Greenwich Village in New York City. Although I was motivated to buy the book because of the pure Vedantic teachings it contained, I also remember being impressed by the photograph of Bhagavan in its frontispiece. At the time, however, I had already been involved in the teachings of J. Krishnamurti and remained so for some years thereafter.
Visit to Sri Ramanasrama
Around 1989-90, I began reading more about Bhagavan's life and teachings and was drawn to him. Bhagavan's pull increased to a point where I decided to visit Sri Ramanasramam. I thus made my first visit to Sri Ramanasramam on September 4, 1994. I remember the date well because it followed my daughter's third birthday, which we had celebrated at a hotel in Bombay. I had not known then how to contact the Ashram and made my travel and lodging arrangements through a relative in Bombay. After being informed that there were no rooms available at the Ashram, she made reservations for two nights at a good hotel in Tiruvannamalai. She also arranged to have a taxi available to me for the entire trip.

The taxi picked me up at Madras airport on the morning of September 4th for the three-hour journey to Tiruvannamalai. I still remember sitting in the taxi and wondering why I was making this trip since Bhagavan was no longer there, and further rationalizing that at least Arunachala, the holy hill that Bhagavan so adored and identified with, was still there. I arrived in Tiruvannamalai around noon and went directly to the hotel. It was not, as I had been given to believe, a three or four-star hotel. My room was small and bare with just some rudimentary furniture. This was bit of a surprise, and I certainly had not come prepared with the things I might need for such accommodations such as bed sheets, pillow cases, etc. In any event, I left my bags in the room and, feeling hungry, decided go and eat in a nearby restaurant. I sat down at an empty table in the restaurant and waited to be served. After a few minutes, a man came in a hurry from the rear of the restaurant and slid into the bench across from me. He proceeded to lean forward with his elbows on the table and subjected me to an unblinking, cockeyed stare. He did not say a word. I ignored him initially but after about five or ten minutes of such silent treatment and no service, I got a bit unnerved and decided to leave the restaurant without eating anything.

I then went to Sri Ramanasramam. There, I wandered around the Ashram, visiting the Matrubhuteshwar Temple and sitting for quite a while in the Samadhi Hall. I also spent some time on the lower slopes of the hill just behind the Ashram. While on the hill, I made a decision to return to Madras the same day. I was tired and hungry. I was not comfortable with the hotel accommodations and was not sure where I could have my meals. Before leaving, I visited the Ashram bookstore and purchased some books. It was there that I first learned of the existence of Arunachala Ashram, the Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi Center in New York. I thought to myself then that I would like to visit this Center but did not think it would likely be possible in the foreseeable future. After spending about three hours at Sri Ramanasramam, I returned to the hotel, checked out, and drove back to Madras. I flew to Bombay the same night.

In retrospect, I don't know why, but I believe that this first visit to Sri Ramanasramam was destined to be brief.

Visit to Arunachala Ashram

I was scheduled to return home to South Florida a few days later in the company of my brother and his family. The day before our scheduled departure, we called the airline to confirm our reservations. We were shocked to find out that we had lost our seats because we were supposed to reconfirm our reservations seventy-two hours prior to departure and had neglected to do so. We rushed to the airline office and managed after some trouble to get a different flight itinerary. We were originally scheduled to fly Bombay-Frankfurt-Miami. Our revised itinerary had us flying Bombay-London-New York-Miami. Moreover, we had to overnight in New York and were booked on the next morning's flight to Miami. Upon our arrival at John F. Kennedy airport in New York, we looked for the least expensive hotel we could find. When we got to the hotel, I had a brain-wave-the next day anyway was a Sunday and I did not need to be back at work till Monday. I could then take an evening flight home, allowing me to visit Arunachala Ashram in the morning! I checked on the Ashram's address and found that it was relatively close to the hotel! I immediately changed my flight and the next morning went and visited Arunachala Ashram, meeting and having tea with Arunachala Bhakta Bhagawat.
Little did I know that the wish I had in the bookstore at Sri Ramanasramam of visiting the New York Center would come true in just a few days time! To me, this serendipitous turn of events was Bhagavan's way of drawing me into his fold.

Although I had spent a few scant hours in my first visit to Sri Ramanasramam, over the subsequent months my faith and devotion deepened and I began to experience the grace and sweetness of Bhagavan's presence.


Some months after my first visit to Sri Ramanasramam, while sleeping one night, I had a wonderful dream or vision. Bhagavan appeared before me, smiling and vigorously nodding his head up and down. Surprised in the dream itself, I thought to myself that this can't be real; it must be a dream. As if to refute that thought and vouch for the authenticity of the experience, a smiling Bhagavan again vigorously nodded his head up and down.

The scene immediately changed. I now found myself walking alone up the slope of an arid dirt path of a mountain when, ahead and to the left of this path, I beheld the Lord Shiva seated and looking downward with eyes semi-closed in what appeared to be deep meditation or contemplation. He was sitting in the pose that I now recognize as similar to that of the Dakshinamurti Shiva, with his left foot resting on his right knee; and in his lap, on his left thigh, sat the Bal Ganapati (Baby Ganesha). Radiating from the Lord Shiva was the sensation of immense power and energy, with absolute and perfect control. The closest image I can conceive of to describe it is that of a nuclear reactor with the tremendous power that it harnesses and controls. In the dream, however, I was not particularly moved by this sight and continued on to walk past the Lord, observing Him with a sort of neutral objectivity and mild curiosity. The next thing I knew, in an instant, I found myself involuntarily thrown flat on the ground with my body prostrated full-length at His feet. The Lord then brought his right arm around and down in a very slow, deliberate, controlled motion and touched me on the top of my head. At His touch, I felt a mild current pass through my head and on into my body. I then awoke.

A Photograph of Bhagavan

In early 1995 there arose in me a desire to have a life-size photograph of Bhagavan. I called Arunachala Ashram and was told that they did not have a photograph of that size and that the largest photograph they had was, as I recall it, around 8.5 by 11 inches. I anyway asked for and received this smaller photograph.

A few months later, I was travelling on business in Brazil. One day I was in the business district in downtown Rio de Janeiro, rushing to an important meeting for which I was a bit late. Walking rapidly past one of the many roadside vendors, I was completely amazed to see a life size photograph of Bhagavan! I promised myself that I would return there after my meeting, which I did. This roadside bookseller had a number of blown-up and framed photographs on display but every single one of them was of movie stars such as Marilyn Monroe or of famous scenes such as the New York City skyline. The sole exception was this life-size photograph of Bhagavan! I, of course, bought the photograph, considering it a further manifestation of Bhagavan's grace to me.

Who could have imagined that I would find the photograph I had sought in this way-on the road, in the middle of a bustling business district, in a foreign land, at the opposite end of the world from India! Today, it is the centerpiece of my personal meditation area at home.

Bhagavan's Nectarous Grace

In the summer of 1997, I made my second visit to Sri Ramanasramam. It was the first visit I stayed in the Ashram. I stayed for three days and was given the room where Sadhu Arunachala (Major Allan Chadwick) once resided.

One evening around 7 PM, I was meditating in the Old Hall. I was sitting next to the doorway, across from the foot of Bhagavan's couch. There must have been no more than four or five other devotees in the room. All of a sudden I was shocked and astonished to feel emanating from the direction of Bhagavan's couch what I can only describe as a nectarous grace. This nectarous grace was like the ocean-I sensed it rolling toward me in a continuous series of successive waves, drenching and saturating every pore and fiber of my being. It inundated my entire being with a concentrated and intense sensation of bliss. Wave after wave of this nectarous grace kept rolling toward me and engulfing me from some inexhaustible, unfathomable source. This must have continued for at least 10 or 15 minutes. Upon the ringing of the dinner bell at 7:30 PM, I wondered if I should go to dinner or continue to sit and let these nectarous waves of grace inundate me. I decided to go to dinner. I prostrated, stood up and left for the dining hall, my skin slightly numb and tingling, my nerves in a heightened state of sensitivity, a trifle unsteady on my feet, and with my entire being and body feeling like it was completely soaked and dripping with this bliss-laden, nectarous grace.

This experience was particularly memorable and noteworthy because it occurred when I was in the waking state, fully alert and aware; because of its extended duration and the saturating intensity of its blissfulness; and because of its origin from the direction of Bhagavan's couch in the Old Hall.



One-Hundred Years

A century has passed since M.Sivaprakasam Pillai visited the young Sri Ramana Maharshi on the slopes of the Arunachala Hill and earnestly beseeched the silent sage to answer his burning questions on spiritual fulfillment. The answers he received in writing, signs and gestures constitute the seminal teachings from which the Maharshi never deviated. They are direct, uncompromising instructions meant to guide us to the essential reality of existence, devoid of the ego. Bhagavan was quoted as saying that everything he later wrote or discussed was only a commentary on those answers, which were later published in the form of a book, entitled Nan Yar? (Who Am I?).

And it was this small book that the Maharshi most often recommended to new visitors. All that an earnest aspirant needs to know is contained within this testament on Self-enquiry. Sincere devotees of the Maharshi should constantly reflect on the teachings found in Who Am I?, and look upon them as the key that opens the door to liberation. A few of the book's salient points are given below.

When the world which is what-is-seen has been removed, there will be realization of the Self which is the seer.
Sri Bahagavan, the realization of the Self which is the substrate will not be gained unless the belief that the world is real is removed.

When the mind, which is the cause of all cognition and all actions, becomes quiescent, the world will disappear.
Apart from thoughts, there is no independent entity called the world. When one persistently inquires into the nature of the mind, the mind will end leaving the Self (as the residue).

That which arises as 'I' in this body is the mind. If one inquires as to where in the body the thought 'I' arises first, one would discover that it rises in the heart. That is the place of the mind's origin.

Even if one thinks constantly 'I - I', one will be led to that place.

The thought 'Who am I?' will destroy all other thoughts and, like the stick used for stirring the burning pyre, it will itself in the end get destroyed. Then, there will arise Self-realization.

When other thoughts arise, one should not pursue them but should inquire 'To whom do they arise?'

Through the control of breath also, the mind will become quiescent; but it will be quiescent only so long as the breath remains controlled...

Like the practice of breath-control, meditation on the forms of God, repetition of mantras, restriction of food, etc., are but aids for rendering the mind quiescent.

When the mind expands in the form of countless thoughts, each thought becomes weak; but as thoughts get resolved the mind becomes one-pointed and strong; for such a mind Self-inquiry will become easy.

Of all the restrictive rules, that relating to the taking of sattvic food in moderate quantities is the best.

One should completely renounce the thought 'I am a sinner' and concentrate keenly on meditation on the Self; then, one would surely succeed.

The mind should not be allowed to wander towards worldly objects and what concerns other people.

All that one gives to others one gives to one's self.

To the extent we behave with humility, to that extent there will result good.

If the mind is rendered quiescent, one may live anywhere.

If one resorts to contemplation of the Self unintermittently, until the Self is gained, that alone would do.

What exists in truth is the Self alone.

He who gives himself up to the Self that is God is the most excellent devotee.

Whatever burdens are thrown on God, He bears them.

As thoughts arise, destroying them utterly without any residue in the very place of their origin is non-attachment.

God and the Guru will only show the way to release; they will not by themselves take the soul to the state of liberation.

Yet, each one should by his own effort pursue the path shown by God or Guru and gain release.

The world should be considered like a dream.

In order to quiet the mind one has only to inquire within oneself what one's Self is.

Happiness is the very nature of the Self; happiness and the Self are not different.

There is no happiness in any object of the world. We imagine through our ignorance that we derive happiness from objects.

...when the object desired is obtained or the object disliked is removed, the mind becomes inward-turned and enjoys pure Self-happiness.

In fact, what is called the world is only thought.

Inquiring into the nature of one's self that is in bondage, and realizing one's true nature is liberation.


The following is from the talk given by Sri V.S.Ramanan, President of Sri Ramanasramam, in New York City at the September 8th, 2002 "Advent at Arunachala" program.

The whole life of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi is a commentary on saranagati (surrender). When he left Madurai for good, he took just the train fare to Tiruvannamalai, threw away the packets of sweets given to him by Muthukrishna Bhagavathara's wife and was not anxious for the morrow. He tore off from his dhoti only a strip for a kaupina (loin cloth) and he did not even think of using the remaining cloth as a towel. This is total surrender.

Surrender is a practical proposition. It releases the devotee from life's dilemma. Wherever Sri Krishna teaches about saranagati in the Bhagavad Gita he refers to ananya bhakti, where the instrument and the goal are one and the same. The same idea is stated by Sri Bhagavan in the fifth verse of "Arunachala Pancharatnam":

One who surrenders his heart wholly to you, one who sees you in every aspect of creation, one who loves every creation as himself – he is the one who will succeed, O Arunachala! he will get immersed in you!

Here Sri Bhagavan stresses ananya bhakti and self-surrender.

It is interesting to note that Sri Krishna says, "Do not grieve." After surrendering yourself totally to God, you should not even worry about your own shortcomings or flaws. For if you think you have to improve yourself after surrender, then it indicates a residual ego in you. Hence, don't grieve about your flaws after surrender. It only shows your surrender is incomplete. Bhagavan says after getting into a train, nobody carries the luggage on his head. He keeps it on the luggage-rack. Likewise, after surrendering, do not continue to carry your mental luggage. Leave it totally to His care.

After surrender you should not have 1) worries, 2) fear, 3) doubt, 4) sorrow, 5) the inclination to test whether surrender is effective or not and 6) aberrations (conflicts).

The devotee who has surrendered is like a lump of clay in the hands of the potter. The lump never says, "Make me a pot! Make me a cup, etc." It leaves it to the potter to mold it into whatever shape he wants it to become.

Sri Bhagavan lays great value on ananya saranagati. There are several instances where He explains the concept to the questioner:

"If you have surrender, it means that you must accept the will of God and not make a grievance of what may not happen to please you. Things may turn out differently from what they appear. Distress often leads people to faith in God.

"The Lord bears the burden of the world. Know that the spurious ego which presumes to bear that burden is like a sculptured figure at the foot of a temple tower which appears to sustain the tower's weight. There cannot even be impatience for speedy realization."

To one who was so afflicted, he replied: "Surrender to Him and accept His will whether He appears or vanishes. Await His pleasure. If you want Him to do as you want, it is not surrender, but command. You cannot ask Him to obey you and yet think you have surrendered. He knows what is best and when and how to do it. Leave everything entirely to Him. That is what is meant by surrender."
Even prayer can imply a lack of trust and Sri Bhagavan normally did not encourage prayer in the sense of petition:

"They pray to God and finish with 'Thy will be done'. If His will be done, why do they pray at all? It is true that Divine Will prevails at all times under all circumstances. Individuals cannot act of their own accord. Recognize the force of the Divine Will and keep quiet. Everyone is looked after by God. He created all. You are only one among two thousand millions. When He looks after so many, will He omit you? Even common sense dictates that one should accept His will. There is no need to tell Him your requirements. He knows them Himself and will look after them."

To a devotee's question Sri Bhagavan replied: "Gandhiji has surrendered himself to the Divine and works accordingly with no self interest. He does not concern himself with the results but accepts them as they turn up. That must be the attitude of national workers.

"Devotee: Will the work be crowned with success?

"Bhagavan: The question arises because the questioner has not surrendered himself."

When a devotee questioned about unconditional surrender, Bhagavan replied:

"If one surrenders completely, there will be no one left to ask questions or to be considered. Either the thoughts are eliminated by holding on to the root thought "I", or one surrenders unconditionally to the Higher Power. These are the only two ways to Realization."


Reporting From Sri Ramana's Children's Ashrama

(August 17 -23)

by Tara Adiseshan

I would like to write about my favorite moments at the Sri Ramana's Children's Ashrama in Nova Scotia. We did everything from outdoor activities to Self-enquiry. It would be impossible to share everything about the camp with you, so I am going to write about some highlights.

I would like to start with the treasure hunts. On the first treasure hunt we had the girls on one team and the boys on another. Both teams searched for objects on the way to the cabin in the woods. We found two pickaxes, two shovels and two containers of water. These finds led us to the cabin. Everything we found was useful at the cabin. The water is valuable to a thirsty person, the shovels and pick axes were used to plant a tree and make new steps, just like Skandaswamy did at Skandashramam. The treasures included a small picture of Bhagavan and an Arunachala-rock necklace for each of us. We learned that a treasure means something that is valuable to your self.

The second treasure hunt was up in the cave. We hiked up to the cave, sang songs and heard stories about Virupaksha Cave. It felt as though we were in Virupaksha Cave itself. After this, we found the treasures, which were two sand chests filled with precious objects like crystals, polished stones and shells.

On another day, we went to Kejimkujik National Park for a picnic. We went canoeing, swimming and skipped stones in the water. Oslo the dog came along. He was a big favorite of everybody. He dived into the water and he also made Dennis' canoe fall over. The rest of us were canoeing three in a canoe. We had a blast of a time!

We took a trip to Port George beach. We found lots of snails. Saraswati Singh even found a baby snail eating kelp, and we all took turns feeding it. We found four dead crabs and also saw some live ones. Some of us played tic-tac-toe on the mud. We also collected pretty rocks. I would like to go back there again.

There was one day when we had a class called "Bhagavan and the Kitchen". First we learned a song (Appalam Ittu Paaru...) and then we started to make foods like salad, rice and baras (vadas). Then the adults were seated and we kids served the adults. After serving the adults, we were quite hungry by then. We were grateful to get food at last! We learned how Bhagavan had cooked with his devotees.

We had a class called "Bhagavan and His Devotees". This time it was about Murugunar --- a great devotee of Bhagavan. We painted, listening to the song composed by Murugunar -(Para Nalladhu). The adults put on three skits about how devoted Murugunar was to Bhagavan. Not only did we learn from these skits, but we also laughed a lot.

Each day we would start with meditation and pradakshina. In the meditation time, we learned about Self-enquiry and how to meditate. We also learned to detach the mind from the senses. It was not too easy, but at least now we know how to do Self-enquiry.

Oslo was there in the meditation time and for the pradakshina around the temple. Oslo did not attend all the other classes, he would choose which one to go to.

A big part of the camp was music and dance, which some of the adults joined in. My favorite song was "Happiness runs..." and my brother's favorite dance was "The river is flowing...". We learned many new songs and dances, though we also enjoyed singing and dancing the old ones.

On the last night of the camp, we had a campfire. We sang songs and danced around the campfire. We roasted corn in a basket over the fire. Oslo got to eat the husks. After this we were awarded our certificates. Even Oslo got one.

The camp closed with a walk in the woods in the dark. The rule was nobody was allowed to bring flashlights and that we would walk until we heard a wild animal. As we walked in the dark woods, we heard a noise. We don't know if it was from a human or from Oslo. It sure scared most of us and we ran home.

Suddenly the camp ended. It had gone by so fast! Nobody wanted to go home.

This is what I think about the camp: it was fun, plus more fun, and even more fun!

అరుణాచల పంచరత్నం - కరుణా పూర్ణ సుధాబ్ధే [ARUNACHALA PANCHA RATNAM - KARUNA PURNA SUDHABDE]


కరుణా పూర్ణ సుధాబ్ధే
కబళిత ఘన విశ్వరూప కిరాణావల్యా  |
అరుణాచల పరమాత్మన్
అరుణోభవ చిత్తకంజ సువికాసాయ ||

త్వయ్యరుణాచల సర్వం
భూత్వాస్థిత్వా, ప్రలీనమేత చ్చిత్రం |
హృద్యహమి  త్త్యాత్మతయా
నృత్యసి భో  స్తే వదన్తి హృదయం నామ ||

అహమితి కుత ఆయాతీ
త్యన్యిష్వాంత: ప్రవిష్టయాత్యమలధియా |
అవగమ్య స్వం రూపం
శామ్య త్యరుణాచల త్యయి నదీవౌబ్ధౌ ||

త్యక్త్వావిషయం బాహ్యం
రుద్ధ ప్రాణేన రుద్ధమన సాంతస్త్వ్యామ్ |
ధ్యాయన్ పశ్యతి యోగీ
దీధితి మరుణాచలా త్వయి మహీయన్తే ||

త్వయ్యర్పిత మనసాత్వాం
పశ్యన్ సర్వం తవాకృతితయా సతతమ్  |
భజతే అనన్య ప్రీత్యా
సజయ త్యరుణాచల త్వయి సుఖే మగ్నః ||

శ్రీమద్రమణ మహర్షే
ద్దర్శన మరుణాచలస్య దేవగిరా |
పంచక మార్యా గీతౌ
రత్నం త్విదమౌపనిషదం హి ||

అప్పడపు పాట APPADAPU PATA


చిన్నప్పుడు భగవాన్ అప్పడాలు అంటే ఇష్టమని తల్లి అగమ్మగారు కొండ దిగి వచ్చి తెలిసినవాళ్లతో  నా కొడుక్కి అప్పడాలు అంటే ఇష్టం అందుకు సరిపడా వెచ్చాలు కావాలి అని సరుకులు సమకూర్చుకొని అప్పడాలు చేయుటకు సిద్దంఅయ్యెను.  ఇది తెలిసి భగవాన్ తల్లిని మందలించి నాకు అప్పడాలు కావాలి అని అడిగానా? వాళ్ళను వీళ్ళను అడగటం దేనికి, ఉన్నదానితో తృప్తి పడవచ్చు కదా. నీకు కావలిస్తే నువ్వు చేసుకో నేను తినను. నేనూ నీకు ఒక అప్పడం చేసి పెడతాను అని చెప్పి ఆ సందర్భంగా అప్పడపు పాటను వ్రాసారు. ఈపాటలో భగవాన్ తత్వసారము మొత్తం కలిపి చాల రుచిగా చేసారు. భగవాన్ చేతి రుచే ఒక మహా అధ్బుతం.

ఆప్పడ మొత్తి చూడు - అది తిని నప్పుడే నీ యాశ వీడు  ||అ||
ఇప్పుడమియందున - నే మఱి తిఱుగక
సద్బోధానందుడౌ సద్గురునాథుడు
చెప్పక చెప్పెడు తత్వమగు, సమము
గొప్పది లేనట్టి యొక మాట చొప్పున ||అ||

తానుగాని పంచ కోశక్షేత్రమునందు
తానుగ పెరు గభిమాన మినుములను
నేనెవ్వడను జ్ఞానవిచార తిరుగలిలో
నేను గానని పగుల గొట్టి పిండియు జేసి ||అ||

సత్సంగ మనియెడు నల్లేరు రసముతో
శమదమములనెడు జీలక ఱ్ఱ మిరియములు
ఉపరతి యనునట్టి యుప్పును గలిపి స
ద్వాసన యనియెడి యింగువను జేర్చి

రాతి చిత్తము నేను నేనని భ్రమయక
లో దృష్టి రోకటి తోను మానక దంచి
శాంతమౌ కొడుపుతో సమమగు పీటపై
సంతత మలయక సంతసంబు తోడ ||అ||

మౌనముద్ర యనెడి ముగియని పాత్రమున
జ్ఞానాగ్ని చే గ్రాగు సద్బ్రహ్మఘృతమున
నేనది యగునని నిత్యమును బేల్చి
తను దానె భుజియంప దన్మయ మగునట్టి ||అ||

ఉపదేశ సారము - UPADESA SARAM

  1. కర్తురాజ్ఞాయా ప్రాప్యతే ఫలం కర్మ కిం పరం? కర్మ త జ్జడం.
  2. కృతి మహోధదౌ పతన కారణం ఫల మశాశ్వతం గతి నిరోధకం.
  3. ఈశ్వరార్పితం నేచ్ఛయా కృతం చిత్త శోధకం ముక్తి సాధకం.
  4. కాయ వాక్ మనః కార్య ముత్తమం - పూజనం జప: చింతనం క్రమాత్.
  5. జగత ఈశధీ యుక్త సేవనం - అష్ట మూర్తి భృద్దేవ పూజనం.
  6. ఉత్తమస్తవా దుచ్చమందతః చిత్తజం జప ధ్యానముత్తమం.
  7. ఆజ్య ధారయా స్రోతసా సమం - సరళ చింతనం విరళతః పరం.
  8. భేద భావనాత్ సోహ మిత్యసౌ - భావనాభిదా పావనీ మతా.
  9. భావ శూన్యసద్భావ సుస్థితి: భావనా బలాత్ భక్తి రుత్తమా.
  10. హృత్ స్థలే మనః స్వస్థతా క్రియా - భక్తి యోగ బో దాశ్చనిశ్చితం.
  11. వాయు రోధనా ల్లీయతే మనః - జాలపక్షివ ద్రోధసాధనం.
  12. చిత్త వాయవ:చిత్ క్రియాయుత - శాఖయోర్ధ్వయీ శక్తి మూలకా.
  13. లయ వినాశనే ఉభయ రోధనే - లయగతం పునః భవతి నో మృతం.
  14. ప్రాణ బంధనా ల్లీనమనసం - ఏక చింతనాత్ నాశమేత్యదః
  15. నష్ట మానసో త్కృష్ట యోగినః కృత్యమస్తి కిం స్వస్థితిం యతః?
  16. దృశ్య వారితం చిత్త మాత్మనః చిత్త్వ దర్శనం తత్త్వ దర్శనం.
  17. మానసం తు కిం మార్గనే కృతే - నైవ మానసం మార్గ ఆర్జవాత్.
  18. వృత్తయ స్త్వహం వృత్తి మాశ్రితా - వృత్తయో మనో విధ్యహం మనః
  19. అహం మాయం కుతో భవతి చిన్వతః - అయి పతత్యహం నిజ విచారణం.
  20. అహమి నాశభా జ్యహ మతంతయా స్ఫురతి హృత్స్వయం పరమపూర్ణసత్.
  21. ఇదమాహంపదాభిఖ్య, మన్వహం అహమి లీనకే అప్యలయసత్తయా.
  22. విగ్రహేంద్రియ ప్రాణ ధీతమః నాహ మేకసత్ త జ్జడం హ్యసత్.
  23. సత్వవాసికా చిత్క్వ వేతరా? సత్తయా హి చిత్, చిత్తయా హ్యహం.
  24. ఈశజీవయో ర్వేషధీ భిదా, సత్స్వభావతో వస్తు కేవలం.
  25. వేషహానత స్వాత్మదర్శనం ఈశ దర్శనం స్వాత్మరూపతః
  26. ఆత్మసంస్థితి: స్వాత్మ దర్శనం ఆత్మ నిర్ద్వయా దాత్మ నిష్టతా.
  27. జ్ఞానవర్జితా అజ్ఞానహీనచిత్ జ్ఞాన; మస్తి కిం జ్ఞాతు మంతరం?
  28. 'కిం స్వరూప' మిత్యాత్మదర్శనే అవ్యయాభవా పూర్ణ చిత్సుఖం.
  29. బంధ ముక్త్యతీ తం పరం సుఖమ్ - నింద తీహ జీవస్తు దైవికః
  30. అహ మపేతకం నిజ విభానకమ్ - మహదిదం తపో రమణ వా గియమ్.