Reminiscences of Ramana Maharshi – Rajalakshmi

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Reminiscences of Ramana Maharshi – RajalakshmiBack

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Rajalakshmi was the granddaughter of Venu Ammal, who was the younger sister of an outstanding devotee Echammal (no. 60). She lives in Chennai with her son.

On the death of my mother, my grandmother was completely devastated, unable to bear the loss of her only daughter. She walked all the way from Tiruvannamalai town to then distant Ramanasramam at 11 p.m. on a dark, lonely night. She cried uncontrollably and fell at Bhagavan’s feet. The sarvadhikari of the Ashram, Bhagavan’s younger brother, objected to her falling at the feet of Bhagavan for a worldly reason. To this Bhagavan countered by asking, if he would have objected to his sister Alamelu doing the same thing in a similar circumstance. Bhagavan shared her grief in his inimitable way and consoled her.

I first saw Bhagavan in 1923 when I was three years old. My grandmother, who was serving at the Ashram, took me along with her every morning, returning home in the evening. Once, I was playing ‘cooking’ game by offering small pieces of stones as cooked rice to Bhagavan, and I asked him to eat them. Bhagavan readily put those stones into his mouth and pretended to eat. When my grandmother objected to it, Bhagavan replied that the child was happily offering him the stones as food and he did not want to disappoint her.

Once, when seated next to Bhagavan in the dining hall, I asked my grandmother to serve me more of a particular preparation. She declined. When she was about to serve more of the same preparation again to Bhagavan, he refused on the ground that what was applicable to the child was applicable to him.

Bhagavan taught me Tamil, Telugu, and Sanskrit starting from the alphabets. He also taught me arithmetic. The first Sanskrit sloka he taught me was from Upadesa Saram. Eventually I learnt all the thirty slokas and recited them before Bhagavan, who was very pleased. Bhagavan presented to me a copy of the book Ramana Vijayam by Suddhananda Bharati [No. 101] after writing my name on it. The book also tells the story of Bhagavan’s stay at Patala Linga. Being curious, I visited that place in Arunachaleswara temple, but I could not go inside due to bats flying around and the stinking smell from inside. I told Bhagavan about my experience and asked how he could stay at a place like that for such a long time. His reply was that he was not aware of his stay there and that he came to know of it from others. This shows he was completely oblivious of time and space while inside Patala Linga.

In my school, children used to play kolattam (a game using two wooden sticks). I did not have the sticks to play. My grandmother was not willing to spend two paise (1/32 of a rupee) for the sticks. When I told Bhagavan of my problem, he asked his attendant Madhava Swami, to get a branch from a tree, out of which he made two beautiful kolattam sticks and presented them to me.

Somebody told me not to address Bhagavan as ‘Thatha(grandfather). Bhagavan replied that as I was at the Ashram since childhood, there was nothing wrong in calling him ‘Thatha

In early 1950, when Bhagavan was very ill, I was at Lucknow. My grandmother, who was working at the Ashram, asked Bhagavan’s permission to visit me and then go to Kasi. Bhagavan told her that when she took a dip in the Ganges at Kasi, she could perform the ceremony on his behalf too. After staying for a few days with me she went to Kasi and while taking a dip in the evening, thinking of Ramana, somebody told her to look up. She saw a large bright star trailing its light across the sky. And this happened at the exact time of Bhagavan’s mahanirvana.

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