·       சக்தி விகடன் - 05 Apr, 2011  Part 1 & 2

 Revised November 2017

 Sri Ramanamaharishi. God's benign Glance

  Narsimha Sastri a Brahmin from Andhra Pradesh on Kāsi pilgrimage offered single-minded homage and worship to one Vinayaka (statue) in Kāsi. Then, a form (An apparition) resembling a child walked towards him and entered his body. He was thinking of Vinayaka (Remover of obstacles) until his return to his town close to Visakhapatnam. That year, his wife gave birth to a baby boy.  In memory of Vinayaka in Kasi, he named the baby ‘Ganapathy.’**

 Until he was three years of age, he knew only one thing: crying.  He never spoke. He was physically ill from the time of his birth. According to the prevalent practice for cure, the father assented to the application of branding (with hot metal) on a part of the body (of the child). Since then his health improved. He was an intelligent child with an extraordinary memory and excellence in studies. Soon he learned the practice of Maṉaṉam (contemplation). Before he was sixteen, he became a pundit in Sanskrit and Telugu. At 18, he married. **

Since he was well-versed in Sanskrit, Puranas, and Itihāsas, the life and times of Tapasvins moved his mind and soul. When he delved deep into Vedas, he was convinced that doing silent recitation of Mantras and austerity would take his life to the highest state. He believed in purifying the body, controlling the breath, internal recitation of Mantras with stillness… will yield visualization of God. He performed Pañcākara Mantra Japam (Na-Ma-Si-Va-Ya). Whenever he found time, he wrote the Mantra (on paper umpteen times). Later, he became a teacher in a school. He selected good students to improve the Sakthi of Bharath and inculcate spiritual awakening (in them). **

He became tired of being a teacher after three years; later, he came to Tiruvannamalai (in pursuit of peace and tranquility). He sat near Niruti Lingam, wrote poems on Aṇṇāmalaiyār and did Mantra Japam…to attain god. Whatever he learnt in the past did not give him tranquillity. God did not give him Darśan. His belief he would attain God was eroding.  He worried that millions of Japams did not give him a one-pointed mind.  It is not today but tomorrow, revelation will come; that was his hope. It is not tomorrow but in a few days realization will come. Time was flitting with nothing to show.  No spiritual revelation. The Darśan of God by Dhruva, the spiritual experience gained by Hanuman, Mokṣa (liberation) obtained by Sabari belonging to the hunter tribe: Sastri was despondent, he got none of them. **

The knowledge gained from learning was confusing to him.  He took a long time to realize that human endeavour alone is just not enough to attain God. He took some time to realize peace begins where endeavour stops. He participated in a festival in Tiruvannamalai. He heard of one Bālaswāmy (the future Ramana Maharishi) in a mountain cave.  He went to get a darśana of him. He was thinking, ‘I heard that a mere sight of him gives tranquility. Let me experience that.’ **

He experienced a feeling of change inside, when he saw Bālaswāmy in a white loincloth sitting inside the cave. He was convinced, ‘This is Ganapathy. I am not Ganapathy. Ganapathy is sitting here (before me).”  As is the practice he tapped the forehead with his knuckles in Ganesha worship, uttered, ‘Suklām Bharatharam Viṣṇum sasivarnam saturbhujam prasaṉṉa vathanam tyāyēt sarva vignōpa sānthayē’ and paid homage to Bālaswāmy. That Sanskrit Sloka was appropriate to Bālaswāmy: The one dressed in white clothes; the omniscient, the lotus-faced, the four-handed; the one who subdued the foursome Manas, Buddhi, Siddhi, and Ahaṅkāram; the one with a smiling face, the one who resolves all the karmas and takes them (devotees) in the path of virtue, to such a personage, I offer my homage (to Vinayaka).   This Sanskrit verse was so fitting to Bālaswāmy. **

But, Ganapathy Sastri did not ask for anything from Bālaswāmy. He did not speak with him. He returned home having had his Darśan. He thought continued efforts of varied kinds will help attain God, and austerity should be performed seriously.  He planned and carried them out. He realized that formal education does not confer wisdom. Many Jñānis mention, ‘Forget what you have learnt.’ Tapasvins say didactic knowledge (Faustian knowledge) is of no use (for liberation). Take leave of conventional book knowledge.

       There is a delay in understanding this principle.  People believe that more studies help gain more knowledge. Faustian education relates to worldly (material) life. It helps increase wealth. We take to power, prestige, accolades, victory… The material wealth, fame and name do not offer final bliss (நிறைவு).

Success does not guarantee peace. What comes after success? Chase after another success or victory. What comes after praise? More praises? There is no end to these.  There is no peace in success, victory, property, mundane happiness, everyday conveniences, praise, position of authority… Where there is no peace, there is no satisfaction.

What offers final bliss? Is it money, praise, marital bliss, progeny, or authority?  None of them. Peace comes from inside as a natural phenomenon. You go after it. Consider what is preventing it and remove that impediment.  Just having tens of millions of rupees does not bring peace. Having no money is sorrow. Spending it is sorrow.  Striving to earn money is sorrow. Safeguarding the earned money is sorrow. At all times and under all conditions, money is sorrow. Worldly comforts come from having money. Worldly comforts do not bring peace or tranquility.

The epicures, the ascetics, and the inquisitives go in search of peace. Ganapathy Sastri thought education would save him. He earned the title ‘Kāviya Kaṇḍar (Poet, Pundit).’  But it did not give him mental peace.  He took many years to realize that education, effort… do not bring peace.

Suddenly, he got up from his Tapas (austerity). He walked towards the mountain. He fell at and held the feet of Bālaswāmy thinking of, crying for and attaining peace that escaped him.

''Education nurtured Ahakāram (ego,vanity).  My education did not guarantee peace. Knowledge made me haughty. It never gave peace.  If I am not at peace with myself, how could God stay inside the roiling me? How could I get Darśan of God? I indulge in Mantra recitations. Yes, I count the Mantras, I chant. I become arrogant thinking of the number of chants I accomplished. (You can’t reach God by Mantras and Math.)  I share my hubris with others. My hubris is looking at me.  The numbers of chants are looking at me. Neither Mantra Japas nor the numbers of chants are of any help. Therefore, I never received any tranquility.''

“I have to discover who I am inside, giving up my hubris, and sitting in peace and meditation.  Dear Satguru and repository of Spiritual Knowledge, please do me this favor.  I hold your legs fast.  Your every move (physiognomy) tells me that you attained peace and tranquillity.  Your face is revealing. Your speech and eyes are telling. I have no peace inside. That is why my perception, my speech, and my Guṇa are not optimal. They cause me repugnance.”

‘Satguru, I surrendered to you. I hold your feet.  I am under your beneficial influence.  I have no I-ness left in me. Satguru, my ego is destroyed. I am nothing.  Please establish tranquility in me,’ cried Sastri.

When they met, there were no others in the Virūpākṣi cave. A great peace prevailed there. Sastri stood up, wiped his face and looked at Bālaswāmy’s face; his eyes of mercy were looking at the eyes of the poet-Pundit Sastri, saying in silence, ‘What is inside me is in your inside.’ Bālaswāmy sent the Supreme Being inside him through his eyes to the Supreme Being inside Sastri standing before him.

This is the most wonderful Dīka (Initiation) by Sight. It is the thought that the Supreme Being is omnipresent. That omniscience (as a Swing) sprang from the eyes of Periyava, jumped over to the eyes of Sastri, touched and moved the Supreme Being in Ganapathy Sastri with expansion of the mind. Peace took residence in Sastri. Where is God? He is everywhere.  I am hiding the Being. I keep my eyes shut. My hubris tied me up and threw me upside down. My arrogance has blocked and blinded my eyes.  It makes me sightless, speechless, senseless and bound to many Faustian arts and crafts. Once these ties are cut asunder and the spirit rises, the eternal presence of God (Inner Abider) becomes visible.

Dīka = Giving Wisdom and Removing Impurities. Initiation by a Guru. Sanskrit Dīka = Sanskrit root  ("to give") plus kṣi ("to destroy") Give Wisdom and Destroy Malams- impuirities.

The eye (sight) of the Pervader (இறைவன் =Iaiva) falls on and strikes you. The omnipresent Inner Abider (Supreme Being) embraces you with attentive love. Iai (இறை) is a Divine Entity that comes between you and me, stands in our midst, occupies the heart, mind and soul of all. No one attempts to apprehend it. The Seer, looking at the Supreme Being in you makes you see Him by pointing It out to you. He is ready to point Him to you. For you to see Him, you must have certain requirements. You need humility. You must have a longing for Him. You need a genuine desire to see him.

The Pundit (Ganapathy Sastri) felt that longing and burning desire.  Though he composed poems and attained loftiness, he lacked peace and tranquility. Knowing only a Satguru can bring them, he held Bālaswāmy’s feet fast and cried, resulting in the dawn of peace in Sastri.  Who is this Guru? Who is sitting before me?  With those thoughts in the mind Sastri looked at Bālaswāmy. It was a sight unknown to him before. This is Ramaam. Since it is full of joy, it is Ramaam. He is not ordinary. He is Ramaar. Srīramaṇar.  He is ordinary Srīramaṇar.  He is Bhagavan. He is a great Tapasvi.

Because of the benefit of his austerity over many births, he has with ease held the Supreme Being in him. He is Ṛṣi. Mahaṛṣi. Kāviya Kāṇḍa Ganapathy Sastri celebrated him as Bhagavan Srīramaṇar. That word ‘Srīramaar,’ given to the youth Venkatraman from Tirucchuzi, came to be regarded as the proper appellation (to Bālaswāmy). Since then the people instead of calling him Sāmy, Ayyā…called him SriRamaa Mahaṛṣi.

As the Himalayas wear the cool clouds on its crown, Satyam (Truth) sported a name for itself: SriRamaa Mahaṛṣi. All his devotees are the luckiest people. They call him by his loftiest name.

Let us get Darśan.    Images: K. Rajasekharan                                                                                                                                                                      



Sakti Vikatan - 05 Apr, 2011 Part 2

Kānchi Mahān: The deity of mercy

The list of beneficiaries who received Mahāperiyava’s grace got longer. His grace and mercy fell on all as a rain-shower. Those who soaked in the ‘Rain of Mercy’ have great respect and love for him. This is an episode illustrating that attitude of reverence.

Tirumathi (Ms.) Jyoti Venakatachalam was the chief minister of Kerala in 1980.  T.V. Visvanathan was the official in the minister’s administration. In late December, he had quotidian fever and loss of his weight. Blood tests and x-rays were done.

He was taken to Thiruvananthapuram Medical College Hospital specialists. A lung specialist examined him.

The physician-in-chief declared, “The upper lobe of the left lung had early signs of cancer.”

That diagnosis was revealed to the chief minister Ms. Jyoti Venkatachalam. Concerned, she ordered to take him to Chennai hospital where good treatment would be available. He was admitted in Government General Hospital, under the care of famous Dr. K.V. Krishnaswamy, who examined him.

He said, “There is no indication of lung cancer. But there is a collapse of part of the lung in the upper lobe. We should examine it further. “

Meanwhile, Swaminathan consulted with Dr. Cherian. He saw multiple x-rays (done at various angles) and showed on his face some anxiety.  “There is cancer in the upper lobe of the left lung. An immediate operation is mandatory. There has been a lapse of four to five months since onset. Don’t waste any more time.”

Pity his soul! Swaminathan did not know what to do. In march 1981, he went to New Delhi, where he tried to get a second opinion. A famous doctor Gopinath examined his lungs and concurred with Dr. Krishnaswamy saying, “There is a pressure on the upper lobe.” He advised taking medications for three months and get a follow-up x-rays of the chest. He told him not to worry.

  Swaminathan had limitless devotion to Periyava and remembered Periyava’s affection for him. He was upset at hearing differing opinions from a multiplicity of doctors. He regretted that he did not surrender to Periya in the beginning.  He believed strongly that his devotion to Periyava will save him.

Then, Maha Periyava camped at the border of Karnataka-Maharashtra border and offered his blessings to the devotees.

On behalf of Swaminathan, his close friend and supreme devotee Joshi told Periyava about Swaminathan’s worries about his health.

Thereafter, Maha Periyava observed absolute silence for a few hours.

Then the Tejas (effulgence) on his visage enveloped everyone with wonder.  Some were even afraid to witness the radiance on his body.

A few hours later, Periyava came out of his silent interlude. He called Joshi and Kaṇṇaṇ to come near him and reassured them with mercy and firmness saying, “Nothing bad will happen to him.”

Joshi called Swaminathan on the phone and narrated to him about Periyava’s pronouncement. He was joyous and had a renewed sense of purpose at hearing the exact words of Periyava.

From that day onwards, the evening fever abated.  The tiredness, fatigue, and anxiety on his face gradually left him. He stopped losing weight. His face showed a new glow.

From the month of May, his body felt weak. Incessant cough, fever…affected him.  A doctor examined the old x-rays and the medical records, took more images with newer machines.

The specialist’s long face revealed his unhappiness. In the x-rays, a new shadow appeared on the upper lobe. The doctor opined, “The disease progressed to the second stage and he was not physically fit to undergo operation. The treatment in the final stages would be only palliative for pain. He wrote a note to the chief minister. He mentioned there may be a danger to life in three months.

The chief minister Jyoti Venkatachalam felt compassion towards his assistant. Consulting with a senior specialist in All India Institute of Medical Sciences, the chief minister got him admitted in the Railway hospital in Chennai. There the doctors declared that he was in heart failure. 

Swaminathan was trembling in fear.  He told Joshi about his condition and asked him to supplicate to Periyava on his behalf.  In compliance with his request, Joshi pleaded with Periyava, “I ask you Swamy, please confer ‘Māṅgalya Bhikai’ to the wife of Swaminathan.” Saying it Joshi sobbed and shook.  Māṅgalya Bhikai’ = offer or conservation of marriage badge or medallion (Assurance against widowhood for the patient’s wife).

Sensing devotee’s dangerous predicament, Mahāperiyava observed silence for few minutes and left for a ritual bath. The Joshi couple stood aside in a state of devotion and fear.

He got into a tub brimming with water and stood there. He called Joshi to come near him and asked him to narrate Swaminathan’s medical history. He immersed himself once and got up saying, ‘he will face no danger.’ ‘For him, this is a new life.’ He uttered this in the manner of commandment and blessings.

Joshi informed Swaminathan and asked him to stay strong and brave.

The readings of test results with modern techniques and new instruments, the opinions and prognostications by the physicians declared he will live only for three months and discouraged him. How could he stay courageous?

For the next two weeks, tests were done. Once Periyava declared ‘New Birth,’ is there another word against his divine words?  Those words were bearing fruits. A new development surprised everybody.  The New Delhi’s later image showed complete resolution (disappearance) of the shadow found in the earlier image in Thiruvananthapuram.

A new set of unexpected findings was discovered in Delhi’s investigations. From the time of birth, Swaminathan’s base of the nose had a little crookedness. That prevented discharge of nasal secretions, which went into the lungs, causing the shadow.  The specialists interpreted it wrongly as cancer.

In Thiruvananthapuram hospital, he had ‘an operation’ and made a complete recovery. The prognostication by specialists in the premier hospital for a three-month life was squarely disproven by his devotion to Periyava, and his return back to health.

 When he went for Darśan of Periyava, he told Kaṇṇaṇ with laughter, “Swaminathan is here, did you see him? Cancer, this and that, they scared him stiff.”

Once Periyava casts his eye of mercy, what else do you need?

Darśan will continue.