Reminiscences of Ramana Maharshi – Devaraja Mudaliar

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A. Devaraja Mudaliar, a lawyer, used to address Sri Ramana as ‘my father and mother’ and sign as Ramana’s child – Ramana Sei. He authored the famous Day by Day with Bhagavan and My Recollections of Bhagavan Sri Ramana.

From about 1936, I used to go to Bhagavan regularly, once almost every month, and stay at the Ashram for three to five days each time. In 1937, I had a remarkable proof of Bhagavan’s grace – my office (i.e., the Official Receiver’s Office, Chittoor) was audited, and as a result of a stupid mistake of my clerk there was a deficit of Rs.70 in the cash balance. I paid the amount as soon as I was told it was missing. If the authorities had taken a strict legal view they could have called the mistake temporary misappropriation. I was terribly upset because I always had a great name for integrity and was afraid it would be damaged. That night Bhagavan appeared in my dream as a young Brahmin, very handsome and valiant in appearance, and easily, without any effort, picked up a big snake that was approaching me and put it aside. The audit report did not cause me any harm and my explanation of its being the clerk’s mistake was accepted without any further remark.

I gave up my legal practice in 1939 and decided to live in the Ashram, where I was allowed to build a one-room cottage. Such permission was rarely given, and had been given only to Major Chadwick [No.42] and Yogi Ramaiah.

One day, a piece of grit got into my eye. Dr. G. S. Melkote, a devotee from Hyderabad, examined the eye and said that the grit had got fixed and he would have to take me to the hospital at Tiruvannamalai, and if that failed, to Madras, or the eye would be permanently damaged.

I was thoroughly upset and was telling Bhagavan mentally, “I came here to have a quiet time and enjoy the peace and happiness of your company. Is it your will that all this should happen?” Then I told Dr. Melkote, “Let me put a drop of castor oil and see if the lubrication will discharge the grit.” He agreed. We went to Bhagavan’s hall. I prostrated before him, without telling him anything. Then I took a little castor oil from Bhagavan’s attendant and left for my room along with the doctor. By the time we reached the corner, I felt a distinct relief. When we got to the room he examined the eye and found nothing there. He then said, “I cannot explain how the grit disappeared. It is clearly the work of your Bhagavan.”

After a stay of one or two days at the Ashram I found that the food there did not suit me. This apart, I generally took a very small quantity of rice. Once Bhagavan observing my leaf-plate, asked, “How do you manage with so little food?” I replied, “Even when I take so little my stomach gives trouble after one or two days. I cannot properly digest even this quantity.” Bhagavan kept quiet, but thereafter I had no more trouble with my stomach even when I stayed continuously in the Ashram and took all the meals.

Because of the poor health of my daughter and of the interval of about ten years since her previous confinement, I was extremely anxious about her delivery. The medical assistance available at her husband’s place was minimal. I communicated all this anxiety to Bhagavan through a letter. I got a reply from the Ashram that I need not be anxious and that my daughter would have a safe delivery.1 This was not the sort of reply that was usually sent from the Ashram. What was usual was something like the following: ‘We hope that by Bhagavan’s Grace the confinement will be safe.’ I came Backto the Ashram telling my son-in-law that I would be of no particular use there and to wire me if there was need. After I had been with Bhagavan for two or three days, I got a letter from my son-in-law stating that my daughter’s delivery was safe and smooth.

About the end of 1946, I got a call from my brother to help him in a certain case between him and another close relation of ours in a court at Madras. I earnestly prayed to Bhagavan that the case should end without any trial. I wrote to Bhagavan that it was humiliating for me when close relations have proceedings in the court and our domestic concerns get exposed. I was mentally very anxious that the case should not come up for trial. But both parties were stubborn and cantankerous and a compromise was very improbable. Still Bhagavan’s grace did not fail; the case ended without any trial, but on account of a circumstance which I could never have dreamt of : the party who had complained against my brother and his advocate were both absent when the case was called, and so the complaint was dismissed.

A whole volume could be written describing how Bhagavan practised samatva (equality) and taught us constantly by his example. In his presence all were alike, high or low, rich or poor, man or woman, child or adult, human or animal. Just as he himself treated all alike, he would never tolerate any special consideration or attention being shown to him more than to any other in the Ashram.

Many a time it happened that if he observed even a little excess in what was served to him of any dish or any delicacy above the quantity served to others, he would flare up with indignation and rebuke whoever was responsible. He used to say, “By doing such a thing you are disgracing me. There cannot be a greater disgrace than this.”2

Once a visiting European lady was sitting opposite to Bhagavan in the hall. Being unaccustomed to squatting on the floor with legs crossed, she stretched out her legs in front. One of the attendants considered this disrespectful to Bhagavan and asked her to fold her legs. The poor lady felt that whereas she came to show respect she had done something disrespectful, and I had the impression that she almost wept with chagrin. Bhagavan who reads the hearts and not acts, felt unhappy for the distress caused to the lady. He told her there was no harm in sitting as was most comfortable to her, however she could not be persuaded again to do so.

Bhagavan himself was stretching out his legs on the couch, since the rheumatism in his knees had made it painful to sit cross-legged for more than a short time. However, he now sat up cross-legged and could not be persuaded to relax again the whole day. He said, “If it is a rule for her, it is a rule for all. I too should not stretch out my legs.” However much we begged Bhagavan not to take notice of a foolish act on the part of an attendant, he could not be dissuaded at all. It was only the next day that we succeeded in getting him to stretch out his legs as usual whenever he felt like it.

1. Sri Ramana never wrote any letter or signed any paper. The letters addressed to him were read out to him and the replies were sent by the Ashram office as desired by him.

2. Refer reminiscences of the cooks at the Ashram at p.190, last para; and p.195, paras 1-3.

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