Ramanapadananda, born as V.S.Kuppuswami Aiyengar, came to Sri Ramana in 1928, after many years in business.
I was a broker and my business took me all over India. Once, when I was in Kashmir, I came to hear of Sri Bhagavan and his greatness. So, soon after my return to Madras, I went to Tiruvannamalai and proceeded to the Ashram. When I saw Sri Bhagavan he was sitting on a bench inside a room thatched with coconut leaves put up over his mother’s samadhi. This was in January 1928 when the Ashram consisted practically of this structure alone and nothing else.The moment I saw him I was overcome by an inexplicable feeling ofjoy and devotion. I burst into tears immediately and could not stop them for a long time. I had had a chequered career and I had no peace of mind. But in Sri Bhagavan’s presence I experienced complete peace of mind. I also experienced an extraordinary bliss.
Although I had to return to Madras, my heart was with Sri Bhagavan. So I visited him again in 1930 and was blessed by him with a smile and a piercing look. This time also I was overcome by an uncontrollable flow of tears ofjoy. The same thing happened when I visited the house at Tiruchuzhi in which Sri Bhagavan was born.
In 1930, I proceeded to north India on a sudden impulse. I went to Varanasi, Haridwar, Rishikesh and Badarinath. At Badarinath I met Swami Tapovanam [No.82] who was impressed by my devotion to Sri Bhagavan so much that he composed a sloka in Sanskrit in which he invoked “Sri Bhagavan’s blessings on Ramanapadananda who sheds copious tears at the very mention of the name.” At Varanasi I was advised to wear the robes of sannyasins, as a means of obtaining alms easily. I continued to wear them. But once when I came before Sri Bhagavan in them, he burst out laughing and said, “Giving up the ego is the real sannyasa, not the wearing of ochre robes.” At once I discarded them and have since then worn only white.
Having been convinced that Sri Bhagavan was the substratum of the universe and the most glorious avatar that has been witnessed till now, I felt that it was my duty to make his greatness known everywhere. With this object in view, I resigned my post in the well-known firm of ‘Bombay Company’ at Madurai. I next proceeded to celebrate Ramana Jayanti (Bhagavan’s birthday) at various places with puja, music, discourses, processions, etc. I even proceeded to Ceylon, Burma and Malaysia and celebrated Ramana Jayanti or Ramana Mela or installed Sri Ramana’s portraits at all the places I visited.
Once I met Sri Bhagavan on his way up the hill and prostrated myself before him and said, “I have now had Sri Bhagavan’s darshan, I can go.” Upon this he smiled and said, “Whose darshan to whom? Why don’t you say that I had your darshan?
It is Sri Bhagavan’s grace which finally brought me to the Ashram to spend my last days near him.