Lokamma was a kitchen worker at the Ashram.
I happened to meet Thenamma (a kitchen help at the Ashram), who had been to Sri Ramanasramam. Her accounts of Sri Ramana’s life and teachings ignited in me a longing to visit him. My family members were dead against my going there and this began to affect my health. At last, the long-denied consent was given and I went to the Ashram with a group of pilgrims.
By a mere look, Bhagavan transmitted his power. I could feel it coursing through my veins. With eyes brimming with tears of happiness, I kept looking at Bhagavan, who asked Muruganar, “Is she the one about whom Thenamma was talking?”After a week, while returning, I said, “Bhagavan, I have none to call mine except you. Please bless me so that I may always remain in your proximity.” Just then Mumganar came in and Bhagavan asked him to read out Upadesa Saaram to me. I begged for a copy, which I got.
Gradually, I became a regular visitor. I used to assist in the kitchen. One day I was to cook some dhal and curry. I came early in the morning so as to have some more time. But Bhagavan was quicker than me. He told me that the dhal was ready and I have to prepare only the curry. Bhagavan asked Thenamma what she was doing, and finding that she was preparing special food for a lady having her menses, he got annoyed and said, “Why should she eat food cooked separately? Make no differences, serve her the food you have prepared for all.”
After the evening meal, Bhagavan asked me whether the lady was given the common food. As I was assuring him about it, the Ashram manager came near and told me in whispers that in case someone else asked me what food was served to ladies during their period I should say that separate food is prepared for them. Bhagavan overheard the manager and scolded him, “Why do you ask her to tell lies? The Ashram gives food to all and makes no difference. There are no untouchables here. Those who do not like it may eat elsewhere.”
He went on to add, “There used to be the same trouble with Mother at the Skandasram. Here we have menses and there we had pariahs. She would not give food to the man who brought us firewood because she was afraid of pollution! She insisted that I must eat first, then she would eat and then the woodcutter could have the remnants left on the ground outside the Ashram. I refused to eat until the man had been decently fed. At first she would not yield and would suffer, weep and and even go without food. But I was adamant; and she had to reconcile to my standpoint. What is the difference between man and man? Is it not correct to see God in all?”
We were all astounded. The rebuke, addressed to the manager, went deep into our hearts.