Friday, January 1, 2010
The great spiritual guru Ramana Maharishi was born on this day.
Ramana Or Ramana Maharishi is a great magnet. His pull is irresistible. This day (full moon day of Margazhi) Ramana Jayanthi is celebrated all over the world by Ramana devotees. My maternal grand father N. Sambasiva iyer , a water diviner (dowser) by profession was an ardent Ramana devotee. My elder mama fondly called Sundar was Sundar Ramanan and my youngest aunt was Ramani , both were named after him.
Every year my grandfather used to celebrate Ramana jayanthi at home ( 58,kutcheri road, Madras) with great devotional fervor. I recall one such jayanthi from the early 80’s. The big 3 ftx2 ft 3 dimensional photo was brought down to the hall downstairs from my thatha’s room upstairs. It had internal lightings which when switched on would make Ramana’s photo come alive. Ramana’s Akshara manamalai ( a song composition) was played on the tape recorder. We grandchildren( numbering 10) would pitch in by bringing pooja items , flowers and fruits to the puja place. We would go around keeping chandan and kumkum on all the photos. Thatha would perform the puja and we all would sit around with rapt attention. The puja would end with an arathi. After the puja, we all would sit around for a grand feast with payasam, vadai etc.
My mom , Vardhini has had the great privilege of seeing Ramana, When she was around 5, she was taken to Tiruvanna malai( in Tamil nadu) where her paternal grandfather Narayana iyer who retired as a post master general settled in one of the cottages of the ashram. She visited the ashram and was blessed with a mambazham(ripe mango) from Ramana. My grand father got the opportunity to dowse wells at the ashram.
My younger mama Ravi recalled to me an incident in which once thatha and patti( my grandmother) had planned a trip to Trichy to attend a wedding. At the last moment, my thatha suddenly developed severe head ache because of which he cancelled the train journey. After some time he called out loudly 'Ramana' and immediately his headache subsided. By then it was too late to catch the train.
Guess what was in the news the next day?
The train in which my thatha should have travelled had an accident at Ariyalur. This was one of the major train accident in Indian rail history. My grand parents had a great escape. He owed his life to Ramana.This incident was published in 'The Mountain Path' - a journal brought by Ramana ashram.
To feel the presence of Ramana , my Thatha had a photo of Ramana in all the rooms, even in the balcony facing the main road( Kutcheri road in mylapore connects Luz to Santhome beach and is one of the arterial roads). Passers by used to stop to find about Ramana. My thatha met Ramana the day prior to his mukthi day and told him that he needed his guidance to lead his life.
My paternal great grand father DS of police EV Krishnaswamy iyer also had an association with Ramana.
He was the DSP at ashram police station when the thieves attacked Ramana in the ashram. My great grandfather went to Ramana for a report and Ramana told him to excuse the thieves. This was narrated to me by Mr. T.Venkatraman (Ramana’s brother's son and President of Ramanaashram till recently. He died a couple of years back.) during my visit to the ashram in 1997.
Blessed is our family which has such a grand association with Ramana. In fact T. Venkatraman’s daughter Lakshmi(grand niece of Ramana) is married to my Thatha’s Nephew.
Ramana’s ashram at Tiruvannamalai is not just visited by Indian devotees but also from foreign countries. His devotees have set up Ramana kendras in USA, European and Australian countries other than Asia.
Today is Ramana Jayanthi. May he guide us always