Sakti Vikatan 04 Oct, 2011  Revised on 2018 June 23

In those days of meager medical facilities, it was difficult to escape from the Plague. Ramanatha Brahmachari survived the bubonic plague because of help from SriRamaṇa Maharishi.

When Srīramaṇar came down from the cave to Ramanasramam as his permanent residence, Brahmachari continued to do his service. The newcomers to the Āśramam receive a Palmyra leaf spread as a bed and a log of wood as a pillow. Brahmachari gave away a loincloth to Mahatma Gandhi he made with his spun cotton thread and woven cloth.

Venkatramaiah, Visvanathaswamy, Kunju Swamy… built living quarters in the Jackfruit grove and lived there. Ramanatha was assigned the cleaning detail here. They called him ‘Jackfruit dictator.’  This moniker reached the ears of Ramanar and he approved it.

He received a great respect from other devotees for his services without recompense. One day he withheld eating his meals; upon enquiry, it was found it was a death anniversary of his father. “Is that so?  Serve two more Iddlis to him,’ came the order from Bhagavan. Making note of it, Rajagopalan said, “Hereafter, I will not observe death anniversary fasting for my father.” The declaration reached the ears of Bhagavan. ‘Ramanathan gave up everything and came here. What did Rajagopalan give up?’ said Bhagavan. Ramanathan Brahmachari famous for his renunciation like Bhagavan, died in Chennai in 1942 and reached Paramapatham (Vaishnava heaven). Ramanatha Brahmachari showed by living a life of sacrifice that service to devotees was Guru Puja. He was a rare birth. He was an exemplar.

Because of merit from past life, he was lucky to go into Samadhi frequently. But, some did not understand it. Bhagavan with prior knowledge brought a devotee Akhilāṇḍa Ammaiyār to Tiruvannamalai. When Musthāṉ Swāmigaḷ saw Bhagavan for the first time, Bhagavan was seated like a stationary statue. His eyes shed a torrent of tears of mercy. This touched Musthāṉ and created changes in his mind. Bhagavan was still deep in meditation for eight hours. Only a few of the visitors to Bhagavan are mature in meditative practices. They were the epitome of meditative practices.  Bhagavan spoke of Musthāṉ in these terms. As he approached Virūpākṣi cave, he will go into deep meditation. He was self-effacing. He remained in the background not wishing for attention. When Dēsiramma had provisions, utensils… to prepare food for Bhagavan, Musthāṉ brought them up the mountain as a great service to Bhagavan.

A mongoose ran around and sat on the lap of Bhagavan frequently. Bhagavan fearing the mongoose injuring the peacocks has a stick to chase it away. One suggested to have it tied down so it becomes a pet. Bhagavan ruled it out and said, ‘The animals visiting him are Siddha Purushas, coming for Darśan. Please try to understand it.’  Musthāṉ once with devotees went on a begging tour of the town and brought food. The food pile had a cooked egg. Everyone was shocked to see it. Bhagavan threw away the egg and shared the meals with everyone. He ate it too. With no hue and cry about Vedic injunctions on food exclusions, Bhagavan showed his mental maturity to his devotees.

Swāmigaḷ’s health deteriorated and he died on November 8, 1938 on the auspicious day of Deepāvai. His death was notified to Bhagavan. He asked Kuñju Swāmigaḷ to attend the Samadhi ceremony in Matam village. Bhagavan gave with his own hands sacred ash, camphor…for the Samadhi hole with an explanation of procedural elements. Bhagavan honored them by giving the Samadhi objects for his mother Azakambikai, his cow Lakshmi, and Musthāṉ Swamy.  Musthāṉ being a Muslim enjoyed the friendship of Bhagavan upon his surrender, and other devotees. It is an example of Bhagavan’s transcending of religions.

When Bhagavan lived in the Virūpākṣi cave, his mother came there often. She stayed in the homes of devotees in the foothills for the nights. The devotees were afraid that Bhagavan will move away with his mother. They ordered that women should not stay in Virūpākṣi cave. They misunderstood the silence of Bhagavan. They imagined they knew better and talked about restrictive rules. They behaved as if they were faultless. They used to gloat that men were superior and women were inferior. If they had the Light of Truth inside them, they would not have spoken against women. They advanced many arguments against women.

Bhagavan wiped the floor with them (winning and defeating) and debunked their arguments against women by saying, “Mother and the rest stay here; we will go to another location.” The male-superior crowd sank in darkness. If the sun is to move away, where is the world? They fell at his feet and begged for forgiveness. Ok, accepted. Bhagavan came back to his place. The womenfolk of Ganapathi Muni family wanted to stay in Virūpākṣi cave. Opposition was mounted. Gaṇapathy Muni exploded in anger. He said, “Wait until the nightfall.” That night torrential rains, lightning, fierce winds, thunder… descended on earth. The temple ceremonial processional car was struck by lightning and burned to ashes. The womenfolk covered themselves with blankets as per rules. But they needed a place to stay.

Kandasamy is the servitor of Bhagavan.  He scouted the mountain and located a place and took Bhagavan to see it. Bhagavan seeing the big moist rock approved it. He by himself cleared the underbrush and with the stones on the mountainside built a hall with two rooms. Kandasamy was a professional mason. He gave up everything and surrendered to Bhagavan. His expertise has helped erect a building on the mountain-after day and night toil, as praised by Bhagavan. That building was named Kandasramam after the builder. Ramanatha Brahmachari, Musthāṉ Swamy, Kandasamy…were the living lessons. They are the witnesses to Śaranāgati. Guru takes them to liberation.

Kunju Swamy was intimately connected with the life story of Bhagavan.

Let us get Darśan.  End 39