Sakti Vikatan 2011-02-08  Part 1 & 2  Revised June 21, 2018

Sri Ramanamaharishi: Crystal Mind

Author: Balakumaran

     Bālaswāmy’s disciples were percipient of their life goals. Once challenged by the boorish manager of the choultry, they went to the individual houses and begged for food. They did not fight for or demand food at the choultry. They raised no ruckus saying, ‘Serve us now or go to hell.’ They moved away with no conflict. (Instead of the usual two devotees, four devotees showed up at the choultry for food. That irritated the manager of the choultry.)

We have a lesson here. It is sagacious silence to avoid showy service, and go for loving service. The germ of paddy is so humble (and look at its yield).  Guru’s proximity, the disciple’s hubris and ego of ‘I’, ‘Me’ and ‘Mine’ are recipe for destruction.

A great Pandit brought a bunch of Bananas. He could have given it to Mahan directly. Thinking God is loftier and greater, he offered one banana to God and the rest of the bananas to this god (Balaswamy).

He offered the Prasada of bananas to Mahāṉ. Mahāṉ looking at him said, “I will take the banana offered to Vinayaka.” Pundit was shocked beyond belief and addressed him mentally, ‘I have in me a matter, which I want you to find out and tell me.’ That also was told by Mahan and the matter came to fruition.

Bālaswāmy never said that he knew things by his internal cognition. There were no words or signs. This is Jñāṉi’s greatness. His mind is a crystal.

The life of Bālaswāmy later known as Sri Ramana Maharishi was a series of wonders. That quality that does not disturb (move) the tip of a paddy made an impress on us and kindled a desire in us, ‘Why can’t I have that Buddhi?’

Isāṉya Mutt inmates ate mush-balls of his leftover food regarding them as Prasada from Bālaswāmy.  Seeing that, Bālaswāmy gave up eating on banana leaf, receive on and eat food from the palm of the hand.

Food items served on banana leaf have six flavors. The Siva Nivēdhanam food received on the palms of the hand has no added salt. We sigh inside observing the simplicity made simpler and the feeling of satisfaction in Bālaswāmy with what he got by begging, to appease hunger with no added salt. That attitude of Bālaswāmy induces in us a great respect for him.  All knowing and powerful Jñāṉi is simple in his habits.  How and in what ways?  Pomp and circumstance are essential for the simpletons. That simplicity with no publicity gives us joy.


There are several lessons in the life story of Sri Ramana Maharishi.

In the year 1906, plague was rampant in Tiruvannamalai. The health officials requested Bālaswāmy to stay outside the city limits.  Bālaswāmy stayed in Pacchaiamman Temple in the north-east quarter of the city with his disciples.

Swāmy used to say he witnessed Pacchaiamman coming into the temple. Pārvatidevi came to Tiruvannamalai to perform Tapas (austerities) and went first to Gautama Muni’s Āśram. Later she chose a place near the Āśram and performed Tapas. Pacchaiamman Temple is the place wherein Pārvatī performed Tapas before it became a temple site. Since Parvati’s complexion was like Marakatham (மரகதம், emerald), she was called Pacchaiamman (Emerald-colored Goddess).

Bālaswāmy and his disciples took bath in the nearby lakes and used the water for drinking, cooking…

Rangasami Iyengar from Chennai used to visit Bālaswāmy often. When he came, it was high noon and so waded into the lake for a bath.

Bālaswāmy emerged from the Pacchaiamman Temple rather suddenly and hurriedly.  The disciples thought he was going out to attend to the calls of nature. But, that was not the case.

A panther living in the nearby forest was going towards the lakeshore to quench its thirst at high noon.

Bālaswāmy faced the panther and addressed it in a soft voice, ‘Come back in a little while. If Rangasamy sees you, he will be afraid. Go away for the time being.’ The panther moved away.

Bālaswāmy looking at Rangasamy coming to the shore alerted him not to take a bath in the lake at high noon, the wild animals’ time for a drink at the lake.

He did not tell him anything about the panther, which Balaswamy earlier persuaded to back off temporarily. It appears that wild animals are also submissive (cooperative and responsive) to Bālaswāmy.

Bālaswāmy is the paragon of simplicity (and virtue). Bālaswāmy used a cloth given by a disciple as bath towel. In due course of time, the cloth became frayed at the borders and looked tattered and torn. He never opened the towel in the presence of anyone. He rolled it into a ball and used it for drying himself. He hid and dried it in the crevice between the rocks.

A disciple of Bālaswāmy seeing the frazzled bath towel in the crevice was in grief.  He said, “We have so many boxes of clothes in store for our use. We remained unconcerned about your ragged cloth.” He was ashamed and cried.

Seeing the disciple in grief over the ragged cloth, he agreed to take a cloth and a Kovanam, a short loin or goin cloth). Simplicity was his nature. No simplicity was taught here.  On the contrary, it was the lifestyle (of the Jivan Mukta).

Other sages wanted Bālaswāmy to be part of their group. They had the desire to claim him as a member of their Mutt and ilk, as they noticed his simplicity in his speech, food preference, deed and behavior (as worthy of emulation).

A Pandit from Sringeri came to visit with him and later spoke with him on many (philosophical, esoteric and self-aggrandizing) matters.

The Pandit notified Bālaswāmy, he was going to the foothills for lunch and to give him proper answer upon his return.

When Sringeri Mutt compatriot left him, a doddering old man with a bag came up the mountain.  His visage appeared familiar. That bag had books. The old man promised to come back after a bath, leaving the bag before Bālaswāmy.

After he left, Bālaswāmy opened the bag and found a book in Sanskrit on the top of the pile, with a title ‘Aruṇāchala Mahātmyam.’

Arunachala Puranam is a Tamil Composition. Sanskrit Aruṇāchala Mahatmyam was new to him and surprised him and he opened the book.

The first Slokam proudly declared, ‘Īśvara is Arunachalam and the Temple.’

An entry in the book caught the attention of Bālaswāmy. ‘Within a 20-mile distance from Arunachala temple, the promise I make as Īśvara is I will expunge all their sins without Dīkṣa and offer a loftier place (heaven).  Dīkṣa = Initiation of a disciple into the mysteries of the Śaiva religion

Before the old man came back, Bālaswāmy wrote down the Slokam and put the book back in its place. Bālaswāmy did not know whether the old Brahmana came back or not.

But the Pandit came back after his trip down the mountain. Bālaswāmy showed the Slokam to the pandit.  The learned pundit reading it asked for forgiveness and left.  Later, the pandit narrated the episode to his Guru Sri Narsimha Bharati, who scolded the Pandit severely.

When one disciple asked, ‘Was the newcomer in the guise of an old man, Sivaperuman?’  Bālaswāmy nodded his head in assent, ‘Yes.’

For Bālaswāmy who gave up egoism of ‘I-Me-Mine,’ where is the need for loin-cloth, Dīkṣa (initiation)…? Truth does not sport any guise.

Let us get Darśan

Images: K. Rajasekharan

·       சக்தி விகடன் - 08 Feb, 2011 Part 2

Kānchimahān, the deity of mercy



Pradoṣam Māmā was the recipient of extraordinary love from Mahaperiyava, according to Mutt disciples. He was a dynamic driving force in establishing Kānchi Mahān’s Mai Mandapam, stated Karthikeyan.

“Early in the morning during 4o’clock Darśan one day, Periyava asked Pradoṣam Māmā, ‘Do you know Māṇikkavāsakar and Temple panegyric lines?” Soon after, Periyava asked him to repeat, ‘thanthathu uthaṉṉaik kodathu ethaai Sakarā Ārkōlō sathurar ('தந்தது உன்தன்னைக் கொண்டது என்தன்னை சங்கரா ஆர்கொலோ சதுரர்’).’

Pradoam Māmā accurately repeated the phrase, and between them they repeated the phrase back and forth. Everyone was pleased with their performance and their luck to hear this back and forth. Pradoṣam Māmā’s eyes were shedding tears of joy.

After this incident, there were surprises one after another.

Gatam Vidvān Vināyakrām, his brother Subāsh Chandran, and violin duo Ganesh and Kumaresh were conversing with Pradoṣam Māmā, who uttered phrases as if ordered or instructed by Periyava. In the next moment, they had Darśan of Periyava, who uttered the same phrases said by Pradoṣam Māmā, which obviously surprised the assembly.

Once, Subash Chandran took Ganesh and Kumaresh to the home of Pradoam Māmā. That home was a holy place. The twosome sat before the picture of Periyava and played the violin in a respectful manner. They paid homage to Māmā and supplicated, ‘if we get gold coin from your hands, we will consider it a treasure.’ Māmā offered his blessings and told, “Children, don’t worry; next month on the 23rd, come back; I will give it.”

So, on that date, they went to the Mutt to meet Periyava first instead of going to the home of Māmā. When they wanted to take leave of Periyava after the Darśan, Periyava asked them to wait and said something to the workers in the Mutt.

It is customary for the devotees to receive Periyava’s blessings, fruits, shawl…as Prasada. Kanchi Mahan gave the duo (Ganesh and Kumaresh) a bamboo basket as his Prasada. The duo found a gold coin besides pan, areca nuts, and fruits. Yes, that was the day Pradoam Māmā promised to give them a gold coin. Both were shaken to their core.

This incident was like the portrayal of the spirit of merger of the devotees and Periyava, ‘You dedicated yourself (to Me); you have Me in you.’

There was another incident like the above.

Pūsala Nāyaṉār without a penny in his hand wanted to build a temple. Pradoam Māmā had the desire to build a temple for Periyava. He searched for a suitable site and told his friends about his plans.  The two devotees saw a land by the Pālār river bank as the ideal location for the temple.

That evening, the visitors to the home of Pradoam Māmā reported, ‘There is an ideal place near Pāllār River, where the children we saw were playing. “That moment, the electric bulb dimmed a little and a moment later brightened. Pradoam Māmā was exhilarated saying it was an auspicious sign and immediately left to see Periyava.  His supplication was, ‘Periyava should assent to the acquisition of the land for the temple.’

When he reached the Mutt, he saw a screen behind Periyava indicating he was resting.  Pradoṣam Māmā was unhappy. That unhappiness grew into severe anxiety. He heard Periyava talking. Mahāperiyava called a worker by name Vedapuri.

Periyava observed (his dream vision), ‘I was going on the way to Vanthavāsi four km from Kānchi. There was a small sand hill. The local children were playing there. It became dark. Soon, suddenly it became bright. That is where I want to stay. There was a grandmother.’ It was the description of the dream sequence Periyava had the night before. Pradoṣam Māmā was shaking in his legs, hearing Periyava’s assent to stay there. Māmā was happy of Periyava’s subtle assent, mercy and grace.

On the 28th January 2012, Kumbabishekam will take place. Māmā’s fervent devotion and Periyava’s favor saw (building) Maimadapam rise on the six-acre land Māmā bought in 1992. Come and see the temple and receive blessings and grace from Periyava.

Darśan will continue.