Only God: A Biography of Yogi Ramsuratkumar
Ma Devaki and Ramsuratkumar
The Eternal Slave, July 1993
I can tell you this about Devaki she has always been a rare devotee, so confirmed in her perceptions, so sure and so committed, that there is no question left, no need to rethink about anything. For her to look at him, even if she did not receive a look from him, was enough for the day. She could live on that. She would come all the way from Salem and stand in the sun there and maybe get a glimpse of him, with no chance of going into the house. And she would go back [to Salem] happy and contented. Five days later, if she could come, she would do that again. That’s what Devaki was always. – Dwaraknath Reddy, 2003
Since her first meeting with the beggar-saint in December 1986, Devaki’s devotion had never wavered. On July 15, 1993, she gave up her job as a university professor of physics. Immediately afterward, she moved from Salem, with Yogi Ramsuratkumar’s permission, to the Sudama residence in Tiruvannamalai that she had rented with the other women who were serving the master at every possible opportunity.
In 1994, as part of an introduction to the Tamil-language book about Yogi Ramsuratkumar written by Sri T.P. Meenakshisundaram, Devaki described the first twelve hours of her life-altering transition.
For seven years [from Dec. 1986] I was running towards Him again and again for His darshan. Realizing that it is an unquenchable thirst, on the 15th of July last year , I once for all gave up my job and obtained the good fortune of being ever in His presence and service. I stand enchanted in a corner, in front of that ocean of mercy whom Sri T.P. Meenakshisundaram calls, “The Siva who descended from the Heavens to save the Earth.” All the tests, sufferings and pleasant experiences in the last few years were the leelas of Bhagavan to make me perfect.
When I resigned my job at last with His permission and reached Tiruvannamalai, it was 11 o’clock in the night. Along with the tiresomeness of the journey there was also an anxiety in the mind: “Oh Yogi Ramsuratkumar! For You I have come giving up everything and everyone. Will You not accept and welcome this one?”
The moment I got down from the bus and stood in front of Ramanashram I heard sacred music to the accompaniment of musical instruments. I turned with surprise and found a big crowd moving from the same Dakshinamurthy temple, holding lamps in their hands and chanting sacred hymns. A Professor known to me emerged from the crowd, came towards me and said, “Amma, Namaskar! Welcome to you! We are happy to see you. It is the auspicious hour marking the beginning of the month. We have, just completed pooja in the Dakshinamurthy temple and are on our way to perambulate the Sacred Hill.” She took leave of me. What an immense compassion is that of the Swami! Who can He be other than the All-pervasive Ultimate Reality!
The next morning when I went for the darshan of the Swami, He called me, who was sitting somewhere behind the audience, made me sit by His side and asked me with a laughter of an Innocent child: “When you stepped down on this soil yesterday night, what happened?” Happiness surged in my heart when he burst into waves of laughter. Mind melted in “His compassion to His children comparable to the love of a cow to its calf.” [a quote from the book to which this Introduction was written.
Devaki was now available to be present for and attentive to the needs of Yogi Ramsuratkumar in whatever ways he would allow. Since his blood transfusion due to stomach ulcers in 1990, some arrangements had been made through the intercession of Dr. Radhakrishan for devotees to “send him regular food of a kind that would not upset his health. ,3 Between August 1990 and late 1993, Bhagwan maintained his vigorous schedule with as much regularity as possible. He still walked the streets of the city, spent hours in the Arunachaleswarar Temple, and held daily darshans in which dozens and sometimes scores of devotees were able to sit with him and receive the benediction of his presence. The body’s condition was little more than a minor inconvenience in his ongoing work, and most of his visitors had little awareness of the physical suffering he endured. Even when his symptoms occasionally became externalized and obvious, he was adamant that no attention be paid to them.
People sometimes asked Yogi Ramsuratkumar, “How are you?” to which he would reply with a note of humor, “By Father’s grace, this Beggar is alive.” When concerned faces presented themselves in his vicinity, Yogiji would respond with either a simple reminder, “It is all Father’s play,” or more ruthlessly, by sending the apparently empathic person from his presence.
“Are you sick?” asked a longtime devotee one day when she observed that he had been vomiting. Her question incurred a strong response from Yogi Ramsuratkumar, who sent her away and did not allow her to return for over a year. Another woman, also concerned, began her inquiries about his health less directly. Fully aware of where her questions were headed, Yogi Ramsuratkumar firmly warned her that any further discussion and “she could expect never to be allowed into his satsang again.
On a later occasion, shortly after the ashram was established, Yogi Ramsuratkumar was walking to the breakfast hut where he took his morning refreshment with a few close disciples. Supported on Mani’s arm, the beggar suddenly began to pick up the pace of his movement, until he was fully running. Despite Mani’s help, Yogi Ramsuratkumar tripped and fell. Without comment, he got up immediately and proceeded into the hut for his meal. “Understandably, those who witnessed the event and those who were responsible to provide support and assistance to his physical form were upset. Some of Yogi Ramsuratkumar’s closest women devotees were even crying about it, albeit out of their loving concern for their beloved master. In commenting upon their response, however, . . . Yogi Ramsuratkumar was unrelenting in his criticism of any who exerted excessive concern for his body, maintaining that he is not his body.”
During November 1993, Yogi Ramsuratkumar was struck with a severe viral fever. The condition was so debilitating that for some time he was “unable even to walk to the toilet. Without the strength to accommodate visitors, regular darshans at his Sannadhi Street residence were cancelled, while Devaki and a few other close disciples did their best to attend him.
Devaki Ma implored Yogi Ramsuratkumar to move temporarily to the Sudama House, where she and the other women residents would be available to him twenty-four hours a day. At first, the beggar was adamant in refusing the request, as he never abided special treatment. But, finally, surrendering to the desires of his devotees, he “gave in to [Devaki’s] prayerful supplication.” The move was made on November 22, 1993, and Dr. Radhakrishan was summoned to assist with Bhagwan’s medical needs.
Within a week, Yogi Ramsuratkumar’s strength was returning. The speedy progress was heartening to those around him, but still Dr. Radhadkrishan advised a few additional weeks of rest. During this period of intense care and attention, the “earnestness and sincerity” of Devaki and his other female attendants “won Bhagwan’s confidence.” Despite his previous reluctance to leave the temple environment of Sannadhi Street, Yogi Ramsuratkumar stayed on at Sudama House, which then became his primary abode. The Sudama sisters, by their fierce dedication, became his vigilant servants.
During either October or November (reports vary) of this year, 1993, within the period of this health crisis, Yogi Ramsuratkumar made a startling announcement to the world. “Devaki is this Beggar’s eternal slave,” he told those around him, and those who came to visit him. After years of invisible and selfless service, she had proven herself worthy to sit at his side forever.
Vijayalakshmi, one of the Sudama sisters, recounted that Bhagwan explained that this “eternal slave” had been sent by “His Father to help this beggar in all his work.” “Devaki” was now referred to as “Ma Devaki” – Yogi Ramsuratkumar had introduced her as “Mother,” a term of the highest respect, indicating her identification with the sublime virtues of the divine feminine. The beggar further noted that the four Sudama sisters were also helping his work, and that their treatment of him at Sudama house was deeply treasured. With awe and innocence, and with tears in his eyes, Yogi Ramsuratkumar told many people, “Devaki and the Sudama sisters are taking so much care of this beggar that this beggar cannot live without them.”
A few days after this announcement, when the devotee Shri V. Ramanujachari was visiting with the beggar, Yogiji introduced him to Devaki Ma. “Suddenly and I do not know what prompted him to burst out life that,” Ramanujachari explained, “He said in ringing emphatic tones, “I requested her to come, I needed her here. She is like Sita, she is like Damayanti, she is like Savithri. There is no doubt about it.”
Hearing this, the devotee replied, “She is rooted in you Swamiji.”
At the Godman’s directive, Sadhu Rangarajan was asked to write an editorial in the next issue of Tattva Darsana (vol. 10, #4, Nov. 93 – Feb. 94) in which he made public the master’s proclamation. Entitled, “The Eternal Slave,” the piece spoke of the mythic relationship between Lord Krishna and his adoptive mother, Devaki, who “in her intense motherly love, totally identified herself with Him, and hence He was immediately accessible to her.”
The editorial further drew a parallel to the dedication of Miss Margaret Noble (later named Sister Nivedita), whose life was entrusted completely to support the work of the great Indian saint, Swami Vivekananda. Nivedita’s mentor (Vivekananda) had warned her repeatedly that such a life of renunciation promised the most extreme hazards. She would be reviled. She could be imprisoned. She would be required to bear the most difficult living conditions. Undaunted in her resolve to “sacrifice her life at the altar of Mother India,” Nivedita never looked back.
“What will you do if you are thrown out by the master?” a devotee of Yogi Ramsuratkumar’s asked Devaki in the early days of her apprenticeship, shortly after she moved from Salem.
“I will sit in a corner and chant His Name,” was her immediate reply. 13 Dwaraknath Reddy, speaking of Devaki’s orientation to her master’s will, aptly described the characteristics of such a “slave”:
She asked for nothing, she wanted nothing. She’s not even seeking for explanations. So Devaki was taken into this circle. It must have been surprising even to Devaki; she is not the one who would ask a question. If you put a crown on her head, she would just sit quietly and accept it. If you threw her into the gutter, she would just sit there until he asked her to get up. That has been Devaki all along.
This I say with personal knowledge of that human being and the conviction I carry. The position she was put into was not of her asking, not of her seeking, and so she just said: “I don’t have a right to ask for it, what right have I to say yes or no to what my guru says, and God says.” She has just been wherever she has been placed, and she has done what her supreme Lord told her to do. That was her point of view.
Now we can have our opinions and judgments about it, but I think she is just a person of such surrender, which itself should make us respect her. Our judgments and everything leave it aside, but that’s a surrender! We all talk of surrender, but I don’t think I have seen anyone who can exceed her in really surrendering. Whatever happened to her it just happened — she was not an actor, not a doer in that at all. This Devaki I am talking of, one I knew so closely ten years back . . . people like that don’t change. I don’t think she could have become proud, arrogant, queenly or possessive, or wanting fame or name. I don’t see Devaki that way.
Writing from America, a few months after spending time with Yogi Ramsuratkumar and Devaki Ma in December 1993, Lee Lozowick too extolled the paradoxical status of this dedicated slave:
Speaking to Devaki Ma of the life that lay before her, Yogi Ramsuratkumar revealed: “When you serve this beggar, you serve the entire cosmos. You see, Devaki, when you water the roots of a tree, the given energy goes until the end of each branch, each leaf, each stem, each flower and each fruit. Similarly, when you serve this beggar, your service spreads in the entire cosmos.” Yet, on other occasions, the Godchild revealed the crucifixion that she too would be called upon to suffer: “Devaki, everyone will betray you; even this beggar will betray you,” he said.’ These terrible words foretold the sadhana of purification and detachment that she, along with every dedicated soul, would endure in the process of being annihilated into love.
The “Eternal Slave” announcement, together with Rangaraj editorial, were not received with the same enthusiasm by all. Unimaginably, for some of Yogi Ramsuratkumar’s followers the declaration was interpreted as the result of power plays. In response to Rangarajan’s editorial, besides a flurry of gossip and some sharp criticism within the ranks, The Mountain Path journal, an official publication of the Ramanashram, contained a review of the Tattva Darsana issue. The author of the review was identified only as “Radha.” With a tone of belittlement, the author spoke of the “Eternal Slave” editorial as an act of political expediency on the sadhu’s part, saying: “Foreseeing that the saint (Yogi Ramsuratkumar) will not be in the body for long, he [Rangarajan] has latched onto his ardent devotee Sri Devaki, as a sort of life insurance policy.”
In his reply, in May 1994, Sadhu Rangarajan expressed only more appreciation and praise for Devaki Ma – the “chosen instrument” of Yogi Ramsuratkumar. He again pointed to “the supreme self-sacrifice she made in totally surrendering her little self at the feet of my Master and consecrating her whole life at His altar.” And, in another thrilling comparison, the editor wrote: “Thousands worshipped the one who hung on the cross, but only a Mary of Magdalene could see His resurrection. All cannot become Devakis. To become a true devotee, total effacement of ego is necessary.
Finally, in a skillful play on the critic’s name, the editor concluded: “This Sadhu is proud to adore her as `Ma,’ and wishes all Radhas – Lovers of the Lord – to become Ma Devakis, to see their Lord as ‘Godchild.”
Whether she was loved or hated at the time, Devaki Ma probably couldn’t have cared less. Her life was taken up with one task only – complete attention and obedience to her master. Her keen observation and constant surveillance of the Godchild’s every gesture and every word over the years during which Yogi Ramsuratkumar was still in the body, afford an invaluable legacy to devotees about the ways and means whereby the Divine intersected with humanity through this beggar. A glimpse of that legacy was occasionally given.
As early as 1994, Devaki wrote of the “special knack” that was required to “understand and appreciate the unique characteristics of the great Tapasvi (Realized Masters).” She was at first dumbfounded to find that “every action of Yogiswara (Yogi Ramsuratkumar)” adhered meticulously to an order in the universe whereby the microcosm was an exact expression of the macrocosm. In other words, every action of Yogi Ramsuratkumar’s was, in her vision, not separate from that of the Eternal All-Transcendent Reality.
Detailing some of her early observations, Devaki noted the ways that he “deals with and solves the various problems and worries of devotees who come and sit at His feet everyday and seek His counsel. Many come for relief from diseases. The Yogiraj, who always takes gooseberry as panacea and health tonic, gives anything as medicine and removes illnesses of devotees by His compassion.”
Sometimes, the beggar’s means of healing were unconventional to the point of appearing even dangerous. At other times, he directly took the sufferings of others into his own body.
Devaki Ma witnessed it all. When a devotee approached the master for help, narrating that the doctors had forbidden him any spicy food for several years, as a result of a digestive problem, Yogi Ramsuratkumar laughed and replied, “Good, we are going to eat some.” The beggar then sent the man to the market and told him to purchase some pepper powder and then bring it back. The man was sorely conflicted, as he feared for the worst, assuming that Bhagwan would ask him to consume it. Nonetheless, the man’s obedience was stronger than his self-concern, and so h9 bought the pepper powder and handed it over to the Godman.
Yogi Ramsuratkumar emptied the contents of the envelope of powder into his own coconut bowl, mixed it with water and declared, “We are going to drink it!” The sick man held his breath in anticipation of the task. But, as he watched with astonishment, Yogiji drained the entire bowl in a one gulp.
The effect was immediate. As the pepper water rolled down his throat, Yogi Ramsuratkumar jumped up from his seat and began to run here and there around the room, like a man who is looking for a way out. The beggar also howled, making a lot of noise, as might be expected from one who has just consumed a burning mixture. The hubbub lasted a few minutes, and then, as quickly as it had begun, it ceased completely. Yogiji was completely calm.
Turning to the sick man, the beggar announced, “All is well now, henceforth you will be able to eat spicy food.” The man’s health improved from this point on, and he was able once again to consume spicy food.
Yogi Ramsuratkumar was not attempting to undermine the medical profession, nor was he creating an alternative list of recommended medicinals by offering people the very things they were told not to have. Rather, at a much more universal level, he was showing his devotees that rigid adherence to the dictates of logic or even medicine was not necessary for him. In his world, such things were minor considerations. The only ultimate factor was faith in God.
“I have many times observed Bhagavan prostrating to devotees who do so at His feet,” Devaki Ma wrote. Even as early as the 1970s, other devotees had been shocked to see their master place his head on the ground as a gesture of respect to others. In the 1970s, Swami Muktandanda, the disciple of Swami Nityananda, sat one day near the samadhi of Lakshmi the cow, a revered shrine on the grounds of Ramanashram in Tiruvannamalai. Learning of the Swami’s visit, Ramsuratkumar approached the man, and prostrated at his feet.
“Why do you do this?” Muktananda asked, “You and I are the same.”
Yogi Ramsuratkumar, certainly, had nothing to lose in bowing to anyone, while his witnesses had everything to gain by seeing the profound humility and non-attachment of their guru.
“Once a group of devotees of the Paramacharya of Kanchi called on Bhagavan and He first fell prostate at their feet. Bhagavan is a Bhakta of Paramacharya. I was able to realize that only Bhagavan could be a perfect Bhakta.”
“Whenever devotees came from Aurobindo Ashram or Anandashram, Bhagavan would tell them, `You have come here to give darshan to and bless this beggar.’ He thus proved Himself to be the embodiment of humility, the spiritual tradition of this Holy Land.”
“I have seen Him prostrating even to those who fail to do so to Him. Once He held with both His hands the feet of a person with a bloated ego. After the person left, a devotee asked Bhagavan why He did so. Bhagavan replied: `This beggar could help him only by touching his body and heart somehow. That gentleman would not prostrate before this beggar, but it is not difficult for this beggar to fall at his feet. Somehow, in his interest, this beggar had to do so. “
From the earliest years, Yogi Ramsuratkumar enjoined men and women visitors to “sing the praise of their respective gurus.” Devaki Ma confirmed that he continued to do this throughout his life: “When the devotees of Sri Ramana come to Him, He will make them sing songs on Bhagavan Ramana, discuss about Ramana and make them read several times articles on or passages from Ramana. When the devotees of Sri Ramakrishna come, He will make them speak of the Trinity — Sri Ramakrishna, Holy Mother Sri Sarada and Swami Vivekananda — and hear with devotion their narrations. When a devotee of Pagal Harnath comes, Bhagavan will speak about Harnath. Once a devotee of J. Krishnamoorthy [Krishnamurti] asked Bhagavan to give him a photo of Bhagavan. Bhagavan simply told the devotee to follow the path of J.K. steadfastly.
“I have enjoyed seeing Him dance in ecstasy, singing ‘Om Sri Ram jai Ram jai jai Ram,’ along with devotees of Anandashram. To the devotees of Sri Satya Sai Baba He would ask for Sai Bhajans and make them read the Guru-poornima lecture of Sri Satya Sai Baba and hail it as the `Voice of God.’
“I have never heard Him denigrate anybody at any time, for He could never find any fault with anybody. When someone tries to harm Him in Ignorance, He will say, `That is Father’s Will! Whatever happens is for good only, for my Father is blemishless and whatever He Wills is blemishless.’ Thus, He will teach the devotees around Him, through His own conduct, the greatest lesson of ‘Saranagati’ — the spirit of total surrender to God.”
Devaki Ma’s conclusion to the Introduction written for Meenakshisundaram’s book serves as her prayer of praise to the one who had called her to the path of annihilation:
It is a great blessing grace that I have got this opportunity to go through this rare work as a part of my efforts to surrender myself at the holy feet of my Master who is an imperceptible personification of wisdom, that Supreme Reality incomprehensible even to those who perceive, a Divinity which dispels the darkness of mind through a sparkling glance, a Godchild and a wonder called Yogi Ramsuratkumar.
The following is from: Website in French and English
Extrait de l’Introduction du livre :
BHAGAVAN YOGI RAMSURATKUMAR PAAMAALAI
de Sri T.P.M Minakshisundaranar.
Yogi Ramsuratkumar Yogi Ramsuratkumar
Yogi Ramsuratkumar Jaya Guru Raya
(Yogi Ramsuratkumar Yogi Ramsuratkumar
Yogi Ramsuratkumar Victory to King of Preceptors!)
Ramsuratkumaradevam kaama kaanchana mardhanam
Devaki Paramaanandam Yogim vande jagatgurum
(Salutations to Lord Ramsuratkumar, the destroyer of sensual and material desires,
the bliss of Devaki, the Yogi and the preceptor of the world).
It is a great blessing grace that I have got this opportunity to go through this rare work as a part of my efforts to surrender myself at the holy feet of my Master who is an imperceptible personification of wisdom, that Supreme Reality incomprehensible even to those who perceive, a Divinity whish dispels the darkness of mind through a sparkling glance, a Godchild and a wonder called Yogi Ramsuratkumar. Sri T.P. Meenakshisundaranar is a very fortunate person. In how many levels and moods he understands, realizes and revels deep in involvement of the glory of the great Master! How could this miracle be possible? My mind admires with awe, who else other than a realized soul is capable of obtaining this!
Many a day and, night I have shed tears and wept profusely, wandering in search of a great preceptor, a self-realized soul. I have spent sleepless nights for about four years, undertaking continuous travels with a yearning heart in search of a Ramakrishna, a Ramana Maharshi, in whose perception, contact and service I could dissolve myself. Little did I realize at that time that the Ideal Man whom I was searching in Uttar Kashi, Gangotri and Brindavan was strolling very near as a Godchild in the premises of Arunachaleswara temple in Tiruvannamalai at a distance of just four hours journey from Salem. In October 1986, when l was preparing for the M. Phil examination in Madras Presidency College, a fellow student who had knowledge of astrology predicted : “You will get soon a great man as your preceptor. Your life will totally change thereafter. A very rare opportunity is awaiting you !” To me who wondered in disbelief, even when I heard about our Bhagavan, a distressful thought came and veiled my eyes : “How many great men have I seen and prostrated before. Still the mind is not in control. Love doesn’t spring up within.”
Yet, unable to control my yearning, I went to Ramanashram, along with two colleagues, during Christmas holidays. It was about 7-00 P.M. when we reached the Ashram. Due to power failure, the lights were off and it was all darkness. My heart broke when I could not see, in the dim light of the oil lamp, the picture of Sri Ramana which was placed in the meditation hall of the Ashram into which I entered. “Oh Sri Ramana! Is there darkness here too? Will I never see in my lifetime a god like you or Sri Ramakrishna? Will there be no light in My life?” I waited in distress and Io! In the next two minutes, the power came splashing light everywhere. I felt as though the merciful eyes of Sri Ramana were uttering something! Bliss surged in the heart.
I had the courage and good fortune of knocking at the doors of that house near the temple car, on the Sannidhi street, only in the evening of 27th December 1986, though I had reached Tiruvannamalai three days earlier, on 24th itself. (Later I came to know that December 27th was the sacred Sannyasa Day of Swami Ramdas, the Guru of Bhagavan). It was a pleasant sight never before seen by me when that Divine Person opened the doors and came and stood before me. My mind rolled and fell at His feet. Without knowing the reason, tears trickled down my eyes. It is impossible for ordinary people like me to describe so beautifully as Sri T.P.Meenakshisundaram has done in his “Sri Ramji Akaval” (Hail Sri Ramji), the Divine Resplendence which surpassed the unkempt hair and soiled garb of Bhagavan. That wonder called Yogi Ramsuratkumar took us inside the ‘house and made us sit, There were some other devotees too. He came and sat before me and asked in a compassionate voice, “Do you want to say anything to this beggar?’ The same eyes that I saw in the picture of Sri Ramana three days earlier! The same compassion and kindness! The same light! Controlling my tears, I said slowly – “I want to see God.” “Oh! Devaki wants to see God!” He spoke aloud and, after a minute’s silence, continued, ‘Devaki will see God. She ls a pure soul. Devaki will see God!’ My colleague told Him: “Swami, we do not know whether we are pure or not. Because these words come from your mouth, from this moment we have become pure.” That’s all! With a big hum, with face turned into red and eyes sparkling light, raising both His hands, He blessed us continuously for ten minutes.
All the three of us sat there spell bound, experiencing a vibration in the body and immersed in a Divine feeling. When He came out and saw us off, our mind became light and a divine peace reigned over lt. There was a sense of fulfilment that we had stumbled upon something which we were searching and searching through births.
The next day, in the early morning, when a lady, who had accompanied me to Tiruvannamalai, and I were waiting for a bus in front of Ramanashram, a person looking like a beggar came out of the Dakshinamurthy temple which was on the opposite side and rushed towards us. My friend, who got scared, moved a little away. When I stood motionless, the man, who rushed toward us, stood a little away from me, perambulated me and ran back into the temple. This amusing Incident seemed to be significant. However, for the next fifteen days, I was immersed in such an intense peace that I was not able to think about anything. A peace that was not affected by happiness, sorrow, disappointment, anger or anything else. Everything that happened around seemed to be scenes in a dream. Attending to the classes or engaging myself in the college work was more brisk than even those subtle theories in Physics, which required intense study for an hour, could be understood even by a cursory glance for 10 minutes! Tremendous change! The peace was so natural that even the change was not cognised!
Now and then the face of the Swami would appear before the mind’s eye. A blissful sweetness will pervade. And then intense peace! The greatness of this experience could be realized only when this peace started waning and old habits started raisins again their heads. I was able to understand what had happened to me only when once again anger, weaknesses, pleasure, disappointment, inefficiency etc. started gripping me again. Mind felt such agony like that of a calf separated from the cow.
A burning feeling drove me again and again to Yogeeswara. For seven years I was running towards Him and again for His darshan. Realizing that it is an unquenchable thirst, on the 15th of July last year, I once for all gave up my job and obtained the good fortune of being ever in His presence and service. I stand enchanted in a corner, in front of that ocean of mercy whom Sri T.P. Meenakshisundaram calls “The Siva who descended from the Heavens to save the Earth.” All the tests, sufferings and pleasant experiences in the last few years were the leelas of Bhagavan to make me perfect.
When I resigned my job at last with His permission and reached Tiruvannamalai, it was Il O’ clock in the night. Along with the tiresomeness of journey there was also an anxiety in the mind : ‘Oh Yogi Ramsuratkumar! For You I have come giving up everything and everyone. Will You not accept and welcome this one?’ The moment I got down from the bus and stood in front of Ramanashram I heard sacred music to the accompaniment of musical instruments. I turned with surprise and found a big crowd moving from the same Dakshinamurthy temple, holding lamps in their hands and chanting sacred hymns. A Professor known to me emerged from the crowd, came towards me and said, ‘Amma, Namaskar! Welcome to you! We are happy to see you. It is the auspicious hour marking the beginning of the month. We have, just completed pooja in the Dakshinamurthy temple and are on our way to perambutate the Sacred Hill.’ She took leave of me. What an immense compassion is that of the Swami! Who can He be other than the All-pervasive. Ultimate Reality!
The next morning when I went for the darshan of the Swami, He called me who was sitting somewhere behind the audience, made me sit by His side and asked me with a laughter of an Innocent child. “When you stepped down on this soil yesterday night, what happened?” Happiness surged in my heart when he burst into waves of laughter. Mind melted in “His compassion to His children comparable to the love of, a cow to its calf.”
It requires a special knack to probe, understand and appreciate the unique characteristics of the great Tapasvi.
In the college, whenever I used to address the new extrants to the physics class, as a teacher, I used to tell them: ‘From the macrocosm to the microcosm, everything in the universe is controlled by a subtle order and rythm and – even if a very thin deviation in the order takes place, the world will get destroyed – When I found for the first time this meticulous adherence to an order in every action of Yogiswara, I was dumbfounded.
I have been keenly observing how He deals with and solves the various problems and worries of devotees who come and sit at His feet everyday and seek His counsel. Many come for relief from diseases. The Yogiraj, who always takes gooseberry as panacea and health tonic, gives anything as medicine and removes illness of devotees by His compassion. This Lord of Medicine not only administers sugar candy or banana fruit as medicine, but once He even made a devotee, who does not like buttermilk, to drink buttermilk daily and get relieved of his illness. Sometimes He makes one smell odourless flowers and get cured of illness.
I have many times observed Bhagavan prostrating to devotees who do so at His feet. Once a group of devotees of the Paramacharya of Kanchi called on Bhagavan and He first felt prostate at their feet. Bhagavan is a Bhakta of Paramacharya. I was able to realize that only Bhagavan could be a perfect Bhakta.
Whenever devotees came from Aurobindo Ashram or Anandashram, Bhagavan would tell them, “You have come here to give darshan to and bless this beggar.’ He thus proved Himself to be the embodiment of humility, the spiritual tradition of this Holy Land. I have seen Him prostrating even to those who fail to do so to Him. Once He held with both His hands the feet of a person with a bloated ego. After the person left, a devotee asked Bhagavan why He did so. Bhagavan replied: ‘This beggar could help him only by touching his body and heart somehow. That gentleman would not prostrate before this beggar, but it is not difficult for this beggar to fall at his feet. Somehow, in his interest, this beggar had to do so.”
Another unique characteristic of Bhagavan is to make devotees of other great Mahatmas to sing the praise of their respective gurus. When the devotees of Sri Ramana come to Him, He will make them sing songs on Bhagavan Ramana, discuss about Ramana and make them read several times articles on or passages from Ramana. When the devotees of Sri Ramakrishna come, He will make them speak of the Trinity – Sri Ramakrishna, Holy Mother Sri Sarada and Swami Vivekananda – and hear with devotion their narrations. When a devotee of Pagal Harnath comes, Bhagavan will speak about Harnath. Once a devotee of J. Krishnamoorthy asked Bhagavan to give him a photo of Bhagavan. Bhagavan simply told the devotee to follow the path of J.K. steadfastly. I have enjoyed seeing Him dance in ecstasy, singing ‘Om Sri Ram jai Ram jai Jai Ram’, along with devotees of Anandashram. To ‘the devotees of Sri Satya Sai Baba, He would ask for Sai Bhajans and make them read the Guru-poornima lecture of Sri Satya Sai Baba and hail it as the “Voice of God”.
I have never heard Him denigrate anybody at any time, for He could never find any fault with anybody. When someone tries to harm Him in Ignorance, He will say. “That is Father’s Will! Whatever happens is for good only, for my Father is blemishless and whatever He Wills is blemishless.” Thus, He will teach the devotees around Him, through His own conduct, the greatest lesson of ‘Saranagati’ – the spirit of total surrender to God.
The Tamil scholar, T.P. Meenakshisundararn, hails this great personification of renunciation as Lord Kartikeya, Lord Narayana who protected Gajendra, as the Incarnations which showered grace on Panchali and Ahalya, as Arunachaleswara, Chidambara Nataraja and the All-pervasive Omkara, and sings in awe and wonder:
“Hail, Oh Yoga which is beyond the reach of thought!”
Yogi Ramsuratkumar, ‘Yogi Ramsuratkumar, Yogi Ramsuratkumar, Jaya Guru Raya!
Extracted from ‘ The Introduction’ to BHAGAVAN YOGI RAMSURATKUMAR PAAMAALAI by Sri T.P.M Meenakshuisundaram
The Birth of an Eternal Slave
Andal, the saint poet of Tamil Nadu, in her ecstatic outpourings in praise of her beloved Krishna, says taht the severe austerities practised by her has only one prayer as the goal ! to serve the Lord in this and repeated janmas, to be the slave of the Lord in every age and birth. The spirit of Andal survives today and we have many wonderful men and women who seek to serve the Lord with single minded devotion.
It was December 1986, Ramanashram at Tiruvannamalai was plunged in darkness owing to a local powercut. A young woman stood in front of Bhagavan Sri Ramana’s statue with tears streaming diomn her face. The pain was not due to any bereavement or personal difficulty but expressed the soul’s need for spiritual upliftment. “Bhagavan, I am wandering for so many years in search of a Guru; can you not show me a person like you or Bhagavan Ramakrishna to guide me to God ?”
Symbolically the lights came on, in an instant and the young woman stood transfixed before Ramana Bhagavan; with the faint stirrings of hope in her heart.
The young woman was Devaki, an M. Phil in Physics and a senior lecturer in a college. Born of middleclass Brahmin parents and seventh in a large family of nine, the girl was brillant in her studies and excelled in whatsoever activity she undertook. She was devoted to Lord Krishna from childhood. Collegiate education endowed her with the trapppings of modernity. The worldly life of her family members and her peers had only a marginal influence on her. Though distracted now and then, she rarely swerved from her path of spiritual seeking. The Ramakrishna Matt very often proved her refuge, for meditation and further learning of the life of a Sadhak. Her wide readings of the lives of saints and her conversations with sadhaks established her in the life of a sadhak and all her spare time from her collegiate activity found her pursuing things spiritual. But her Sadhana required a direction, a focal point, as it were, because she knew taht the numerous swamijis she had met till then could not supply her with the required guidance.
Nevertheless, she trudged on; her restless eyes always looking for the Godman, the Mahatma, the Guru, who would finally put her on the right path and lead her to the effulgent presence of the creator. Her sharp intellect would not accept anything less, though her devotion to God and humility made her respecy every sadhak, every sannyasi, every person who struggled on the spiritual path.
Little did Devaki realise that her prayers before Ramana Maharishi were being answered instantly. Within the next few days she was going to experience the most momentous event of her life, the darshan of Bhagavan Yogi Ramsuratkumar, the realised soul, the Godchil of Tiruvannamalai, who also must have been wainting for the correct disciple, much as Ramakrishna Paramahamsa did, awaiting his dynamic disciples who were to transform India and spread abroad India’s message over the gobe in the next century.
Devaki entered the holy precincts of Sannadhi street at Tiruvannamalai into the magnetic presence of the Yogi, and her search ended. Tears streamed down her face in an emotional upheaval, which washed away the pain and sufferings of the years of search. “Whant does Devaki want from this beggar ?” Devaki’s answer was simplicity itself : “I want you to show me God.”
The great saint roared with laughter; he must have immensely loved the elegance and simplicity, the directness with which this young woman approached so vast a subject.
Then began a period of severe trial and austerity when Devaki took every conceivable opportunity to be near this embodiement of God, whose very presence, every glance, every word and gesture radiated a spiritual energy which she was greedy to imbibe. Serving Him became her one goal in life, when some understanding of the Yogi’s ways and work ever so slowly was revealed to her. No other thoughts crossed her head. She could not even take part in a conversation unless it was about the Yogi. With reluctance bordering on aversion she continued her job of teaching physics when her body, spirit and mind ached to be near the Master, serve Him, to understand His message, to preserve it for posterity. With missionary zeal she sang His praises to everyone who would listen and to many who would not, who merely laughted derisively at her divine madness.
Yes, it was and is a divine madness that drives Devaki to serbe hand and foot, this self procaimed beggar. She nurtures His precious body with the jealous love of a mother for her child, attends to His correspondence with the zeal of a perfect secretary, watches every moment and movement with care vordering on anxiety to see that the precious energies of this Godman are not frittered away in fruitless anger at the pathetically ignorant public which flock to Him, supplicants for miracles.
Such is the total devotion of Devaki that Bhagavan Sri Yogi Ramsuratkumar has finally decided to lead her into the path of total merger with the self, for which again intense spiritual training is imparted to her. We are living in momentous times when we are privileged to witness this great process of Realisation. To watch the path trod by Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Ramana Maharishi, Parama Guru Papa Ramdas of Kanhangad, Pujya Sri Mataji Krishna Bai, Yogi Ramsuratkumar and the countless Yogis, Mahatmas and Gurus who have made this resplendant land of ours into a spiritual powerhouse for the entire world. It is my earnest prayer that atleast some of us will be inspired to emulate Devaki in her single minded devotion, unswerving attachement to the eternal and the enormous sacrifice of things worldly to attain the goal of merger with God. May Yogi Ramsuratkumar grace us with strength and energy to pursue this noble end, the only worthwhile goal of humanity.