IN SERVICE OF THE SAGE
26th November 1945
When I went to the Asramam for the early morning Vedaparayana everyone was terribly busy. The kitchen presented a picturesque appearance, some cooking, some cleaning, some giving orders, everyone busy with one thing or another. Pulihodara, dadhyodhanam, pongal, vadai, chips, poories and kootu and ever so many eatables were filled into baskets and sent up the hill. The Sarvadhikari does not appear to have had a wink of sleep the whole night. He is the person who has taken all the trouble.
Lord Krishna is reported to have stopped the celebration of the annual Indra Yajnam performed by the shepherds and instead arranged for the worship of the Govardhana Giri itself. When you saw the series of baskets going up the hill it appeared as if Sri Ramana had arranged this worship of Arunachala in place of the vana samaradhana of the Amala Tree (garden festival) performed annually during the month of Karthika.
After Veda-parayana, Bhagavan had his bath and breakfast and started for Skandasramam accompanied by Rangaswami who is like Nandi to Lord Siva. Leading the way, Bhagavan went up the hill to Skandasramam as if he was going to his own home.
Without giving the least inconvenience to Bhagavan the devotees proceeded in several groups and reached Skandasramam. Aunt Alamelu (sister of Bhagavan) and myself followed. Some other women got to the destination a little late. Being surrounded by the devotees Bhagavan was seated comfortably under the pleasant shade of the trees just in front of the Skandasramam building. This showed what a Rishiasramam is generally like. This Asramam was just like Badarikasramam of old as described in Harivamsam though the latter could not now be witnessed direct. This Skandasramam like Badarikasramam provided a visual feast with its water coming out of the rocky fountains resembling the Sandhyarghya jalam (the oblations at dawn and dusk) of Samyameswara and warblings and melodious notes of the birds sounding like the musical hymns of Sama Veda as sung by rishikumaras (the sons of seers). Apart from the many sadhakas and sanyasins present, lawyers and doctors, engineers and artists, newspaper correspondents and poets, songsters and a good many others arrived from Madras, Pondicherry and Villupuram. The young and old, the men and women and all without distinction of high and low, squatted on the ground around Bhagavan looking at him with a fixed gaze. While the Arunagiri abounding in mineral wealth served as the precious jewelled-throne, the clouds adorning the sky served the purpose of Sveta Chhatram (the white Umbrella) and the tree grove with innumerable branches acted as vinjambarams (fans used in deity worship). Sri Bhagavan shone in his glory as an emperor crowned, while Prakritikanta (Nature personified) waved lights to him with its agreeable rays of the sun.
Brother! How can I draw that picture for you? The Maharshi is calm and his serene gaze, coming from the source, pervades all corners. His gentle smile shone like the cool rays of the moon. His words simply rained amrit. We sat there like statues without consciousness of the body. The photographers then attended to their job. After 9-30 a.m. the usual daily programme of the Asramam below, relating to mails, newspapers, etc. was gone through as in a Maharaja’s durbar. The clouds then increased and the wind blew heavily. The devotees gave Bhagavan a shawl with which he covered his whole body except the face. Then Bhagavan, in his sitting posture, looked like his mother Alagamma incarnate. Aunt and myself were of the same opinion. This scene was also photographed.
Sri Bhagavan preached for some time in silence in the “gurosthu mowna vyakhyanam” (the Guru explaining by mere silence) way. There may certainly be some pure-hearted souls that could all become “chhinna samsayah” (cleared of all doubts). But in my case, my mind ran to the preparations likepulihodara and dadhyodhanam etc., as it was dinner time. The question was whether everything was offered to the hill or anything was left behind. The doubt was solved after 11-30 in the forenoon. My brethren wished to arrange the delicacies for Bhagavan separately in a comfortable place. But would he agree to that? He got a table arranged by his sofa and feasted there in the midst of all.
After the meal, his sofa was set up on the verandah which has an iron-grating enclosure. The devotees were at first at a distance but in a few minutes came near to Bhagavan. Aunt Alamelu and I with some other women were seated in an adjacent room looking at Bhagavan through a window just opposite to his lotus feet. He then began to talk, telling us short stories about his past life on the mountain, relating the arrival of the mother, the construction of Skandasramam, the water supply, the supply of provisions, the rule of the monkey kingdom, the peacock dances, his association with serpents and leopards. During this discourse he greeted a new entrant, the poet Naganarya, by enquiring “When did you come?” Turning towards me he observed, “Here he comes”. I replied, “Yes”. Then something was recalled to his mind and he said, fixing his resplendent gaze, “There mother had her nirvana (left her mortal frame). We made her sit there outside. Still no mark of death was visible in her face. Like one seated in deep samadhi, divine light was seen in a holy dance. There, just there, where you are now sitting.”
His enchanting words entered my ears like the sweet note of the Venu (the divine flute). I stood at this place worth seeking and heard the words worth hearing. What a glorious day is today!
Kapila liberated Devayani by initiating her into the Reality. Dhruva put Sunita on the path of salvation. Sri Ramana in his turn not only vouchsafed the eternal empire of freedom and bliss to his revered mother but also did the highest honour by installing the Mathrubhuteswara Lingam on her Samadhi to make her glory permanently extolled in the world.
On hearing the word “Mother” from the mouth of Sri Bhagavan, I was overcome with ecstasy and tears filled my eyes. It sounded as though the words about the mother were uttered to the daughter. Mahatmas always honour women. They view woman as the mother and love in perfect form. There is no creation without nature. Before the arrival of the mother there was no cooking in the Asramam. The mother came and gave a hearty meal to the residents. The agnihotra (fire) first instituted by the mother does the cooking even today and fills the bellies of thousands of devotees.
I turned round to see the photo of that revered mother but, being disappointed on finding none, said silently within, “O Mother, that brought glory to womanhood in general! We are blessed!” In the meanwhile various kinds of delicacies were served. Half an hour after we ate them, poori and koottu were given. After helping ourselves we began to go back. After seeing us all off one after another, Bhagavan came down from the throne of Arunagiri accompanied by his attendants and, walking slowly, reached the Asramam at its foot just as the sun sank behind the mountain on the west. Then the routine programme of Veda-parayana etc was gone through as usual.