My Reminiscences – Last Days

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The Last Days

A government minister from Madras, Sitarama Reddy, arrived at the ashram. This was his first visit and, since he was known to me, I was asked by the management to personally take him to visit Bhagavan in the Nirvana Room.

When we walked into Bhagavan’s presence I noticed a peculiar radiance, or a strange kind of soft splendour, pervading the room. I thought I was seeing this because of my devotion to Bhagavan. Rationalizing it in this manner, I even tried to dismiss it.

As soon as we came out of the room the minister turned to me and asked, ‘What was that brilliance, or radiance, pervading the Maharshi’s room?’ When he said this, without any probing from me, I thought there must be something to it. Then, all of a sudden, I remembered Ganapati Muni’s second verse from his Chatvarimsat:

Who is the master and guide of the whole group of learned scholars beginning with Ganapati, Who is the repository of all the highest virtues, Whose beatific effulgence is hidden by the sheath of the gross body, like the blazing sun hidden behind the clouds.

Dr. Lt. Col. P. V. Karmachandani, the district medical officer, was present. Seeing Bhagavan’s critical condition on April 14, he went to Vellore to bring his wife. The Doctor told me: ‘I had a great desire to offer orange juice to Bhagavan. As the fruit was not available here, we purchased a few at Vellore, which my wife, with great devotion, made into juice. This we took with us to the ashram. Sri Bhagavan was by then declining all liquids, as movement to and from the bathroom was so troublesome to him. Twice he declined the offer, but asked for water instead. I was feeling sorry for my wife’s unfulfilled longing. This time, with all the earnestness in my soul, I conveyed a mute prayer to the Maharshi to spare my wife from heart-breaking disappointment. Bhagavan at once said, “Give me orange juice.” And when I offered it, he drank it.’ It was nothing but total compassion on Bhagavan’s part to have asked for the orange juice, simply to fulfil the desire of a devotee.

On the final evening, thousands were cramped into the ashram grounds around Bhagavan’s room. A gloomy mood enveloped the area, as Bhagavan’s end was anticipated at any moment. The fan being waved over Bhagavan’s body by the attendant was visible through the door, and all eyes were fixed on it. knowing that when it ceased moving, Bhagavan’s heart would have ceased beating.

Mrs. Taleyarkhan, an influential devotee with the administration in those days, obtained permission to go into the Nirvana Room and have her last darshan at 7 p.m. At this sad juncture, she approached me and asked me to join her. I quietly stood there thinking, and then replied, ‘No, You please go ahead. I cannot go.’ During that year I had seen Bhagavan’s body suffer enough. There was no need for me to see more.

Shortly there after, the fan stopped, the famed meteor slowly floated across the heavens, and it was all over. The light that illumined the earth as Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi had now merged with the Eternal Light, the source of all creation.

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