Sakthit Vikatan 2011 Dec 13      Revised 2018 June 23

A woman is happy when she sees her husband accomplish his objectives, earn fame and name and receive accolades from others. Greater is her happiness when her son has accomplished rare feats, reach the pinnacle of fame and receive accolades and blessings from others. Her mind is brimming over with joy, when she finds her son lives a peerless life.

Here is the mother’s recall of all she did to her famous son. ‘The man you celebrate, this important person, I raised him on my lap. This man you pay homage to is my son on whose head I smeared oil, poured warm water, massaged his body and limbs and brought him up tall. I fed him balls of softened food. I washed his mouth. I wiped his spit. If any stranger came to the house, he will wrap his head with the end of my sari. He followed me wherever I went. He slept holding on to me.’ Her mouth speaks of her pride and joy. It speaks in volumes of his likes and dislikes.

Bhagavan’s mother thought she had a part in the greatness of her son. Here are her recalls: Birth in Tirucchuzi, growing up in Tiruvannamalai, his deep impression of hearing an unknown person’s name in Tiruvannamalai, his sitting in meditation with closed eyes, leaving behind a letter at departure from home, taking the money meant for college fees for his older brother,  a search for him, finding him in skin and bones on the hills near Tiruvannamalai with long nails, and matter hair,  seeing him not paying attention to his own mother and resisting pleas, sitting in Kandasramam in Tiruvannamalai, hearing people discuss, celebration of him as Brahmana Swamy, spreading of his fame in all directions, receiving Madathipathis, intellectuals and enquiring Europeans who paid homage to him and asked for explanations of his precepts, remaining an incomparable son, having eyes of mercy… Having Bhagavan near her,  his mother thought what other treasure she needs? Where would I stay other than here? I will stay with you. Those were her feelings. She came to Kandasramam in Tiruvannamalai.

Azagammaiyar having lost her husband, is a conservative Brahmin lady. Bhagavan Ramanar is an ascetic. He did not discriminate. He had only one possession, his loincloth. She stayed with a friend of hers and go up the mountain visiting with Bhagavan. Going up and down the mountain was difficult. She wanted to stay in Kandasramam. The Āśrama devotees objected to her stay because that would open the way to other females asking for the same privilege.

Bhagavan was silent. Other women including Dēsūramma declared, “We will not ask for any residential privilege. Please let Azakammai stay here. Let her stay with her son.” The devotees did not accept their plea.

Ramana Maharishi stood up, held the hand of his mother and said, “Let us go somewhere else and stay there. Let these people stay here.” Bhagavan was ready to leave with his mother.  The devotees were surprised at Bhagavan’s move. They fell prostrate at his feet asking for forgiveness. Since that day, Azakammai stayed in Kandasramam with Ramanar.

Ramana Maharishi never found fault with others. He embraces all. Likewise, not finding fault with his mother’s observance of religious austerities, Bhagavan was gentle in condemning them.  Bhagavan made mild fun of her saying, “What is this for?’ He did not go beyond this questioning.  ‘Aaḍā (Oh!)… you touched her. You are now polluted. Go take a cleansing bath.’  Continuing to make fun of her, a few of her observances waned and disappeared.

She was unhappy to see Bhagavan eat insipid rice balls made from begged food. She thought of getting kitchen utensils first. Instead of begging for cooked rice, why should they not beg for uncooked rice and pulses, which she can cook. She pestered Bhagavan about it. She intended to do whatever she can. First, he refused to accede to her request saying, ‘you can go home,’ and later understanding a mother’s love, he allowed it.

First, they acquired a few pots and pans. She would say, “if only we had a few iron ladles.” Bhagavan would say, “Why not?” Ladles would appear in the next few days. She would say, “A few tender Brinjals would help.” Next day a basket of tender brinjals would appear. Because of Azakambikai, the inmates of Āśramam ate tasty food. She said, “Pappads would be nice.” The inmates made Pappads (thin wafers for frying) on the premises.


Once when she was going up the hill, a thorny bush tore her sari. The inmates cleared the thorny bushes and made the path easy to use. Bhagavan’s younger brother Nāgasundaramlater called Nirañjana Swamy⸺ was working in Madurai as a clerk.

His wife died and asked his only son to stay with his sister in the foothills of Tiruvannamalai. He served as a clerk in many places and having no satisfaction came to live with his mother and son in Kandasramam. He cared for the visitors. He answered the letters addressed to Bhagavan. With passage of time, he took the responsibility for streamlining daily activities. Nagasundaram’s son Venkatraman in the school would visit Bhagavan often. Sometimes, he stayed nights there. He helped Bhagavan with his brushing, bathing…Niranjana Swamy arranged to look after basic comforts of Bhagavan such as, providing good food, rest and relaxation, preventing nuisance during his rest periods, and keeping silence at the premises…

In May 1922, Azakammai fell ill. She was short of breath. Realizing her end is near, she called Niranjana Swamy and entrusted him in his hand and said, ''please keep an eye on him, He does not know worldly life. You must look after him.” She closed her eyes.

Bhagavan understood his mother’s time to shuffle off the mortal coil had come. He stayed close to her. The inmates of Āśramam invited him for meals. He sat near his mother, asking them to eat without him. He sat looking at his mother with his right hand on her heart and left hand on the head. First, she struggled for breath. Since Bhagavan had his hand on her, the breath became regular. The inmates returned, sat around her and chanted Rāmanāmam.

Bhagavan later said what happened inside his mother.

“The past life Vāsanās (impressions) and thoughts came rushing. They were destroyed by the touch of my hand. If she went without my intervention, she would have had many rebirths.  The Vāsanās vanished and peace embraced her. As a sign of her life involuting in her heart, there was a slight vibration. It felt like a ringing of a bell. I never released my hand.  When I knew that she fully subsided, I removed my hand. In the past, when Pazhaṉisāmi’s final breath was leaving, I removed my hand and his soul exited through his eye.  That is why I removed my hand only after I was sure the breath involuted completely into her heart.  That night at 8 p.m. Azakambikai’s soul merged with her heart.

Bhagavan stood up after a long time sitting with her and told the hungry devotees, “Let us go for our meals. There is no pollution.” They then sat for eating.

Bhagavan and others alternately read the Thiruvāsakam. At dawn, they fashioned the sari into a cradle-cloth with bamboo sticks to carry the body of Bhagavan’s mother. Bhagavan also participated in carrying her body.  

It was decided to install Samadhi near Bāli Tīrtham in the foothills. If Samadhi was built in the mountain, the mountain would become a Samadhi Hill. That is why they took the body to the foothills.

They dug a hole. Though they were careful to keep the death a secret, the news spread. The people came in droves to pay the last respects to the mother of Bhagavan himself. All accouterments for the funeral like milk, coconut water, sacred ash, incense, camphor… came pouring in. Mother’s body was sanctified by bathing her in water. She was dressed in new clothes with application of sacred ash on her forehead and kept in public view.

In the Land of Bharath, a plethora of men relinquished everything. None abandoned their mothers. Bhagavan himself balanced the Āṉmā and took her to a state when the world paid homage to her.

The face of Bhagavan’s mother was divine like that of a Yogini and shone brightly. Building of Samadhi according to Tirumular’s guidance was in progress. The body was lowered in the pit in a sitting posture. Vibhuti and Dharba grass were spread. Bhagavan placed in the pit Vibhūti and camphor. Others followed in the same manner. The pit was filled with Bilva leaves, red stone powder, Vibhuti…  The pit was closed with slate stone; Ligam was installed and worshipped. When the workers dug the ground around the Samadhi, water accumulated in the pit. People thought it was rain water. It was there even after sunrise. Bhagavan asked the workers to dig deeper and a spring was noticed. Even today that has become a huge well (of spring water).

Daily, Bhagavan used to go up the mountain and then down to visit his mother’s Samadhi. One day he stopped going up the hill and stayed in the foothills. A thatched hut was built near the Samadhi and regular cooking took place to feed the devotees. This is how Ramanasramam took shape after the death of his mother.

There were droves of visitors coming for Darśan of Bhagavan more than before. They worshipped his mother’s Sannidhi. Paul Brunton from the UK was one of the important visitors. Because of his writings, Bhagavan’s fame spread all over the world.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Brunton

Let us get Darśan.  End 44