Glimpses of a Great Yogi #2.2 – Loving guidance for higher ideals to kids

In the following interactions with Yogi Ramsuratkumar, Godchild, Tiruvannamalai, we could get a glimpse of the extreme care and appropriate help extended by Yogi Ramsuratkumar towards those who come to Him — be it some children or knowledge seekers or just some poor person; the way in which he guided the younger generation; his style of providing friendly suggestions like encouraging the study of Ramayana and Mahabharata;  His friendly conversations with kids, loaded with affection and encouragement; His mode of teaching by asking questions and helping the other person to understand the answer, as though, on their own; the importance He gave for remembering the Gods’ names; and the assurance He gives for the immediate support when His name is uttered;

This is extracted from an chapter from Yogi Ramsuratkumar’s biography by Sadhu Prof. V. Rangarajan named “Glimpses of a Great Yogi”. The full document is available here 

GLIMPSES OF A GREAT YOGI–II —The Deekshaa Guru as Seen by the Shishya
Sadhu Prof. V. Rangarajan


On June 3, 1988, Vivek came with a glad news that, by the grace of Bhagavan, he had scored 88% in his plus two examination. Though Vivek had made a recent visit with his cousin, Raja to the abode of my Master and had come back with photos of the Master, he wanted to see the Yogi again immediately. Accompanied by his sister, Nivedita and his cousin, Devaki, he left for Tiruvannamalai. The Yogi kept the children with him all the twenty-four hours for the two days. He took them to the house of Sri Dwarakanath Reddy where He arranged for their stay with Him. The children returned on June 5, 1988, with memories[1] of their inspiring and pleasant experiences of their stay with the great Master. They also brought a beautiful photograph of their sitting at the feet of the Yogi. In the next four days, Vivek made another visit to Tiruvannamalai with his uncles for the Darshan of Bhagavan. In the last week of the month, Swami Rakhal Chandra Paramahamsa, a close friend of this sadhu made a visit to Tiruvannamalai and this Sadhu sent a message to the Master that Vivek and Nivedita will be visiting Him again in the month end. Accordingly, the children and their cousin, Raja, made yet another visit to Bhagavan on June 30, 1988, to seek his blessings for success in Vivek’s entrance examination.


On the auspices Gurupoornima Day, July 29, 1988, this humble servant of the Divine Master Yogi Ramsuratkumar, made a pilgrimage to Tiruvannamalai to call on the Master and present to him the first copies of the second edition of GLIMPES OF A GREAT YOGI and the issue of TATTVA DARSANA, August-October 1988. Chi. Vivekanandan, Kumari Nivedita and Dr. C.V. Radhakrishnan, Professor of Philosophy in Vivekananda College, Chennai, accompanied this Sadhu in the journey. When we reached the abode of the Master, there was a big crowd waiting outside the gate to have His darshan. He was relaxing on the verandah with closed eyes. We waited outside in the hot sun. When the Yogi opened His eyes, He peeped through the iron gate and seeing this Sadhu in the midst of the crowd, called out to me to come in. I told Him about others who had come with me. We were all accommodated in the crowded verandah. “How long did you wait outside?”, He asked with compassion. “For fifteen minutes only”, I replied. “This beggar was relaxing, he didn’t notice your presence”, He said. He asked me whether I had written to him about my coming. I replied in the affirmative. He took out a bunch of letters by His side and found my letter in it. He had not opened the letters because of the flow of incessant visitors. Moreover, my letter did not bear the address from where it came.

We presented the copies of the book and journal. “Oh, the second edition of the book has come out so quick?”, He asked.

“Yes, Maharaj, within eight months after the first one, by Your Grace”, I submitted.

Seeing the extracts of reviews of the book published in different journals, given inside the cover page, He asked me to read them out. Each one of the comments of the journals brought out hilarious laughter from Him. He turned to the devotees and said, “Rangarajan, by writing this book, has made this beggar a ‘Yogi’ – not an ordinary Yogi, but a ‘Great Yogi’—and people, after reading it, come here to see the ‘Yogi’, but see only a beggar!” He again burst into laughter. He suggested to me to send the copies of the book to libraries abroad.

I told the Yogi about an invitation received by me to tour Kanyakumari and other parts of Tamil Nadu to spread the message of the Yogi. He immediately pointed out His finger to Mother Om Prakash Yogini, Perumalappan and other devotees around Him and said, “These people are here and they will take care of the work here. Your work is outside the country, among the children of Mother India settled abroad. Moreover, you have to concentrate on the journal and other publications. You already have enough work on hand.”

The conversation turned towards the topic of Mother Mayee’s stay in Salem. Yogiji remarked that the place where Mother should be is Kanyakumari.

I told the Yogi about a letter of Mother Kirsti published in the latest issue of TATTVA DARSANA. He asked Mother Om Prakash Yogini to read it. He wanted to hear again and again a quotation given therein, from Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, exhorting us to “make a being” – to “raise a mountain of God in our midst”.

He asked me about the financial position of the journal. I told Him, by His Grace, everything was going smooth and all problems get dissolved when I think of Him. Dr. Radhakrishnan also remarked that some problem of his son going abroad got solved as soon as he thought of Yogi’s name. The Yogi remarked, “Yes, that is an understanding between this beggar and his Father. If anybody calls this beggar’s name in any difficult circumstance, My Father rushes to his help.”

The Yogi went inside and brought a copy of THE HINDU, in which there was an advertisement of the Yagna conducted by Bangaru Adigalar at Marina Beach, Madras, wherein there was a quotation from Arnold Toynbee, on the role of India in moulding the future of mankind. He asked us to read it again and again. When Dr. Radhakrishnan remarked that Toynbee was considered a “sage among historians”, the Yogi replied, “Yes, he must be a sage. That is why he has rightly predicted the future role of India”.

The Yogi introduced to us Mother Tilakavati and her sisters and mother and said that they were serving him for many years and whenever they came, they used to read Tiruvilayadal Puranam for him. “My Father is everything. There is no one else, nothing else. This beggar died in 1952. Then Father came into this body. Unless we die, Father will not come in us. Kabir says,

Chaakhaa chaahe prem ras, raakhaa chaahe maan;
Ek myaan mem do khadga, dekhaa sunaa na kaan
चाखा चाहे प्रेम रस, राखा चाहे मान |
एक म्यान में दो खडग, देखा सुना न कान ॥
– Either you can have God or the ‘ I ‘. There cannot be two swords in one sheath. If God must come, I must die”.

On my request, He dictated the quotation.

After seeing off everyone excepting this Sadhu, Vivek, Nivedita and Dr. Radhakrishnan, He asked the doctor to sit by my side, He told him, “You may think that this beggar ignores you and concentrates on these two children”. Dr. Radhakrishnan immediately replied, “No Maharaj, they belong to the younger generation and it is right that you concentrate on them”. Then the Yogi jovially remarked, “You know, Vivek and Nivedita come here very often and they have become my friends. You people do not come often”.

The Yogi concentrated his vision on the children for some time and then asked Vivek: “Your father has taken up man-making work. You want to become an engineer. And Nivedita wants to become a computer scientist. What sort of engineer you would like to become—man-making or machine-making?” He was laughing hilariously for some time and then again asked him, “Would you like to become a man-making engineer?”

“Yes, I would like to be so”, replied Vivek.

The Yogi went inside and brought a book, LECTURES FROM COLOMBO TO ALMORA by Swami Vivekananda. He opened the book. It was a chapter titled “The Sages of India”, and asked me to read it. In the very opening paragraph, one line touched His heart: “The sages of India have been almost innumerable, for what has the Hindu nation been doing for thousands of years except producing sages?” the Yogi turned to the children and addressed them, “See, Vivekananda speaks about man-making work. What has the Hindu nation been doing for thousands of years except producing sages?”

The Yogi made me read the whole chapter from the book. When I finished reading, the Yogi said: “Our country is to produce sages. Our work is not to produce engineers and computer scientists. Our country is concerned only with producing sages. For thousands of years, only producing sages has been our aim. When we know that our goal is god, why should we hanker after other things and waste our precious time”. He again turned to the children and jovially asked: “Will your mother get angry if you go and tell her that this beggar wants you not to become machine-making engineers, but man-making? Will she say that this beggar wants her children also to become beggars like him and not engineers and scientists and ask you not to go to this beggar again?” He burst into a roaring laughter even as the children replied, “No, No.” Then He continued, “Don’t think this beggar in discouraging you from becoming engineers and scientists. My Father will see that Vivekanandan gets a seat in engineering and becomes a great engineer and Nivedita becomes a computer scientist. But remember that your goal is something higher. Your father has brought you up properly and put you in the right line. Do not forget the ideal. Becoming a scientist or engineer is all secondary, the most important is god-realization. Understand?” The children nodded their head.

It was evening and we were still sitting with the Yogi. He sent Vivekanandan to bring coffee for us. Some devotees came and offered dosas and vadas purchased in a hotel. After they left, the Yogi asked me to open the packets and shared the food with us. He said, He had not taken even breakfast because people were coming for His darshan right from the morning. He asked us also to share the kanji (rice gruel) that was brought for Him. After we finished food, we spent some more time chanting Ramnam. On my request, He sang His favourite song on “Our Nation’s Wealth”. He asked me not to write it, and I therefore recorded it in my heart:

Yug yug se aarjita raashtra dhan hai
Ram naam, Ram naam;
Yug yug se poojita desha dhan hai
Krishna naam, Krishna naam;
Yug yug se sevita jaati dhan hai
Shiva naam, Shiva naam;
Yug yug se poojita raashtra dhan hai
Ram-Krishna-Shiva naam, Ram-Krishna-Shiva naam!

–The national wealth acquired in ages is ‘Ramanam’; the country’s wealth worshipped through ages is ‘Krishna-nam’; the wealth adored by the community through ages is ‘Shiva-nam’; the wealth worshipped by the nation through ages is ‘Rama-Krishna-Shiva-nam’.

Late in the evening, Smt. Tilakavati and her sisters came again. The Yogi then decided to relieve us. Telling him about our programme to do Giripradakshina (circumambulating the mountain) of Arunachala in the next morning, we said we will call on Him again after that. We prostrated before Him and took leave of Him. I presented some copies of my book and our journal to the devotees who had come there. The Yogi immediately offered some money. When I hesitated to accept it, He said, “This is only what they have given me. You can take this”. I accepted the Guruprasad and left the place.

We stayed that night in Sri Ramanashram. The next morning, after Giripradakshina, Vivek and Nivedita left for the ashram to pack up things and reach the abode of the Yogi. Dr. Radhakrishnan and this Sadhu visited the abode of Narikkutti Swami on the top of the hill, spent some time with him and then came to the Banyan Tree Cave where this Sadhu had received initiation from Yogi Ramsuratkumar. After sitting there in meditation for a few minutes and doing arati to Maharshi Ramana, Swami Ramdas and Mother Krishnabai, we returned to the abode of the Yogi. The Yogi had taken care of the children. They were just taking food with Him when we stepped in there. We came to know that He was waiting for us also for a long  time. The Yogi fed me, Dr. Radhakrishnan and another devotee with whatever food that was available in His abode. The lunch was very sumptuous. After food, the Yogi started concentrating on me. He asked me to hand over my spectacle to Him. Examining it, He asked me how long I was wearing it. I told him, Swami Sahajanandaji Maharaj presented this to me when I visited South Africa. I reminded Him, during my first visit also He had taken my spectacle in His hand like He did this time and on His advice, I changed it. “That spectacle is still in front of your picture in my shrine, Maharaj”, I told Him. After carefully examining my spectacle again, He said, “So, this is alright for you. I will keep it with me. You please remind me before you leave.”

The Yogi withdrew into deep meditation holding the lenses of the spectacle in between His thumb and fingers. He was chanting Mantra. Then He straight away looked into my eyes. It was all again those thrilling experiences which I had in my first visit. But this time I had the courage and faith to remain completely composed and calm in spite of the powerful vibrations produced by that penetrating look. I was like a child fearlessly sitting on the lap of a mother. But I did feel the charge. All of a sudden He announced, “Now that so many people are here, Rangaraja will give a speech”. I was taken aback. “You can speak on any topic”, He added. Impelled by the Master’s command, I immediately started my speech, in the usual manner, chanting a verse invoking my Master’s name. It is a traditional Sanskrit verse invoking the blessings of all preceptors from Vedic Rishis to one’s present preceptor and this Sadhu has incorporated the name of Yogi Ramsuratkumar into it. I spoke for about fifteen minutes on the Glory of Bharatavarsha, the land that has produced great sages and saints and that has been destined to play the role of Lokaguru since times immemorial. The Yogi keenly listened to it, though He had heard me speak all these things in the Banyan Tree Cave on the day of my initiation by Him on the occasion of the Jayanti of Swami Ramdas. After I finished my talk, the Yogi said, there is a traditional verse in Sanskrit which proclaims the dictum of Manu that the whole world must take its lesson from the masters of this land. I immediately quoted the verse,

Etat desha prasootasya Sakaashaat agrajanmanah
Swam swam charitram siksheran
Prthivyaam sarvamaanavaah!
एतद्देशप्रसूतस्य सकाशादग्रजन्मनः ।
स्वं स्वं चरित्रं शिक्षेरन् पृथिव्यां सर्वमानवाः ।
–“Let all mankind learn the meaning and purpose of their lives from the great preceptors of this land”.

The Yogi remarked that the word agrajanmanah meant the ‘Brahmins’ though I used the more general term of ‘preceptors’ while translating it. I clarified that I used the more general term in order that the word ‘Brahmin’ should not be misunderstood in the light of present day caste system. “The word ‘Brahmin’ always referred to the enlightened men who were dedicated to the higher spiritual pursuit of self-realisation”, I said.

“You are absolutely correct”, He commented, and added, “It is right that you have used the more general term in the present context”. I told the Yogi that Manu calls him a ‘Brahmin’ who never keeps food for the next meal. He turned to Nivedita, showed her the pickle bottle and tins containing foodstuff and said, “See, this beggar is keeping all these things with him. He is, therefore, not a Brahmana. He is a Chandala. But your father must be a Brahmin. He doesn’t have all these, isn’t?” He burst into loud laughter.

I spoke to the Master about a proposal which I was discussing with Dr. Radhakrishnan the previous night. I said, “We wanted to set up under the auspices of Sister Nivedita Academy a centre of research in Indian culture and spiritual science, open to aspiring young men and women from all over the world. In our country we have institutions to teach philosophy and culture in the academic level, but we feel we must set up an institution which will create spiritual missionaries and messengers out of the youth who will come from different countries like Trinidad, Mauritius, South Africa and other parts of the world, undergo thorough training for certain period, and then go back to their respective countries to take up man-making work independently”.

The Yogi was very much elated to hear about this proposal. He raised his palm-leaf fan and blessed us. “This is a very important work. You have to take it up. My Father blesses you to succeed in your endeavour. You start the work. Don’t bother about the results. Karmanyevaadhikaraste–your part is to do the work. Even an attempt is great”.

The Yogi was in an inspired mood. He started singing songs on Bharatamata. Suddenly He asked me, “Who wrote the Sangh prayer—the one they sing in Sanskrit”.

He was referring to the Prarthana of Rashtreeya Swayamsevak Sangh, a voluntary organization of the Hindu nationalists.

“I don’t remember the name of the author, Maharaj. But the Prarthana is there from the days of Dr. Hedgewar, the founder of the Sangh”. I remembered later that the prayer was written by Sri N.N. Bhide at the very inception of the Sangh, under the guidance of the founder.

The Yogi said, “I like that line very much—Thwadeeyaaya kaaryaaya baddhaakateeyam, Subhaamashisham dehi tat poortaye — त्वदीयाय कार्याय बध्दा कटीयं, शुभामाशिषं देहि तत्पूर्तये। ‘We are determined to do your work, give us Your blessings for the fulfillment of that’. That should be the spirit”.

I told the Yogi that Nivedita passed in First Class in Typewriting Higher and she was helping us in type-setting our journal on our electronic typewriter. I added, she was typesetting yet another journal, MAKE HISTORY. The Yogi wanted to see a copy of the journal and I promised to send him one. He turned to Nivedita and said, “Today Nivedita is composing MAKE HISTORY and tomorrow, she will ‘make history’!” He then asked her, “Do you know, Nehru used to write letters to Indira when she was a small girl?”

Nivedita replied, “Yes”

Yogi said, “He wrote to her on History. He told her not only to read history, but make history. So when she became Prime Minister, somebody said, she not only made history, she also made geography”. The Yogi burst into laughter and continued, “So, now, Nivedita is going to make history. Isn’t it?”

I showed the Yogi a book, “The Bugbear of Literacy” by Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, lent to me by Narikkutty Swami. He immediately asked me whether I have heard of another famous work of Ananda Coomaraswamy. I replied, “Yes, Maharaj, ‘The Dancing Siva’.” He asked Nivedita, “Have you seen the Dancing Shiva?”

“No, I haven’t seen”.

“But He can be seen in Chidambaram. They say He is there”.

“I haven’t seen the real Dancing Shiva”, Nivedita said. The Yogi burst into laughter. “I have seen the Dancing Shiva pose in Bharatanatyam”, Nivedita added. I told him, she herself has given the Dancing Shiva pose in her Bharatanatya Arangetram (maiden dance performance). “Oh, I see. So you have seen the unreal Dancing Shiva”, the Yogi remarked and laughed loudly. Then He asked her, “Have you seen the Begging Shiva?”


“Where, where have you seen him?”

Nivedita pointed her finger towards Him. The Yogi hilariously laughed. “So you say that I am a real Beggar!” He burst into laughter again. “Your father is Ranga ‘Raja’ and I am a Beggar! Isn’t it?” He made all of us laugh.

Dr. Radhakrishnan told Yogi that Narikkutti Swami narrated to us how he used to offer ‘Passing Show’ (cigarette) to the Yogi to “burn off the karmas of the devotees”. The Yogi laughed from the bottom of His heart.

It was getting late in the evening. The talk then diverted to the topic of coconut shell. He told how somebody broke His coconut shell bowl while washing and how He had to use it carefully afterwards. I then told Him that the one with me was too small to take food. The Yogi went to the adjacent room and searched for a new shell. Because it was dark inside and the electricity supply was cut for some hours, He could not find it. Then He immediately took the one which He has been using for a long time and presented it to me. He told Nivedita, “You must handle it carefully when your father gives it to you for washing. Don’t drop it and break it”. After a pause He added, “Your mother is going to scold this beggar. She will ask why this beggar is giving your father a big begging bowl. Will she?”

“No, No,” Nivedita replied.

The Yogi laughed.

The Yogi presented a shawl also to this humble servant. He gave a tin full of edibles to Nivedita and Vivek and asked them to take it home. He presented some fruits to Dr. Radhakrishnan and He blessed all of us and said, “You have to go a long way. It is already late”. He turned to Nivedita and told, “If you go home very late, your mother will get angry and will not give you food, isn’t it? Will you go to a hotel then?”

When Nivedita nodded her head in the affirmative, He spent some more time with us. Then we all got up and prostrated to Him. He came up to the gate. We told Him that we would go to the temple first, have darshan of Arunachaleswara and Apeetakuchambal and then proceed to the bus stand. He raised His hand and stood there at the door step, blessing us all till we moved down the street. I heard a whispering sound from the bottom of my heart,

“Guru mahimaa, guru mahimaa, Apaara mahimaa, guru mahimaa.”
–Limitless is the greatness of the Divine Master!

On the auspicious Shravan Poornima Day, August 27, 1988, after performing the Yajur Upakarma (changing of sacred thread), this humble servant of beggar visited again my Master’s abode. This time Vivek and his friend, Satish, had accompanied me. The Yogi was awaiting my arrival as I had already written to Him. He was very happy to know that Vivek got admission in the Bharat Engineering College, Madras. He said, “You know, the seats in the Engineering Colleges are very limited and there are a lot of candidates. This beggar appealed to My Father to give two seats – one for Vivekanandan and another one for Manikandan (a nephew of a close devotee, Sri Jayaraman) – and the Father has accepted this beggar’s appeal. Both of you have got seats on merit from Government quota”. He gave lot of advice to Vivek. “Your energy must not be wasted in mugging up lessons. It is for higher purpose. Your father will find out someone to guide you right from the very beginning”. He asked me to make arrangements for regular coaching to Vivek. I told Yogi that Nivedita would be coming in the next morning with a group of girls whom she has recently organized in Madras. He was happy to hear that. I also told him that I had to do the Gayatri Japa on the next day. He advised me to do it in the Arunachaleswara temple premises.

The next morning, when I had just come out of my place of stay. I was surprised to see the Master standing outside on the street facing His abode. As soon as He saw me. He said, “You have to do Gayatri, isn’t it? Come on. I will take you to the temple tank for your bath”. I followed Him into the temple premises. He took me to the Ganga Teertham. We both sat on the steps of the tank, waiting for Vivek and his friend who had gone to bring clothes. The Yogi narrated an experience when a newly married couple seeking His blessings came to Him and took a photo while He was standing on the very steps in 1974: “They wanted to take a photo of this Beggar when I was standing here holding my fan and coconut shell in the hands. A vendor selling conches happened to come here and they took a Valampuri conch and gave that to me to hold in my hand. So the photo was taken here and from out of that, this beggar’s picture in which you find a halo around his head, drawn by an artist, was produced”.

(This picture[2] is often found in the shrines of my Master’s devotees and it is given by Him directly).

I told the Master about the vrata that I start usually on the Gayatri Day and continue up to Vijayadasami, for about 55 days. I sought His command as to whether it must be fasting or silence this time. He pondered over it and said, “You observe fast, you need not observe mouna vrata (silence). You can take some liquid diet”. He paused for a minute and asked, “What liquid diet will you take?”

“Some Kanji (gruel), Maharaj”.

“Where will I go for Kanji today?”

“No, today I will take milk, Maharaj”

The Yogi consented. Vivek had come by then. The Master commanded: “You take bath, go to Dakshinamoorthy Sannidhi and do your Gayatri. This beggar will leave you now. You come to me after finishing your Japa”. He took leave of us.

After the Gayatri Japa, we reached His abode again. Some devotees were there. The Master ordered for milk. I told Him about a small crack which had occurred in the begging bowl given to me by Him. He immediately showed His own bowl and pointed out a small crack and said, “Whenever I take anything, I tilt it to a side.” When the milk came, I tried the trick, but the crack was at the bottom and, therefore, I did not succeed. The Yogi enjoyed the fun. Then He went inside and brought another coconut shell and gave it to me saying, “This is a little smaller one, but you can manage with this.”

A foreigner came and stood at His doorstep. The Yogi asked him to come in. As soon as he entered, He asked him, “Are you a Persian?” He replied in the affirmative. He gave his name as Farook and said that he was a Professor in the University of Paris. The Yogi asked him, “Do you know Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini?”


“Do you know that he is a saint?”

“No Swamiji, but if you say so, I am not going to contradict you”, he said with a smile.

“This beggar thinks that he is a saint.”

“But there are others who call him a devil. So they must be sinners”, said the professor again with a gentle smile.

“No, no. All of them are saints. In this world, this beggar is the only sinner. All others are saints”, the Yogi remarked making all of us burst into laughter. He then added, “You see, Kabir saw only Rama everywhere, in everyone. So also, this beggar sees only saints in everyone.”

All of a sudden His mood changed and He started chanting Ramnam. We joined Him. After sometime, He turned to the professor and asked, “Do you know that both the saints and wicked people are a source of unhappiness?” All of us were perplexed by the question. Then He explained, “When wicked people come to us, they give us unhappiness. When saints leave us, we feel unhappy, isn’t it?” Indeed, a humorous truth!

My Master presented copies of TATTVA DARSANA and GLIMPSES OF A GREAT YOGI to the professor and an advocate devotee. The professor said that he had already seen the books at Madras and was happy to receive them from the Master. Our talks turned to Dr. Sujata Vijayaraghavan’s book on Indian Renaissance. The Yogi said, “She has equated this beggar with great Masters like Sri Ramakrishna, Aurobindo, Ramana and Shankaracharya. What will the Acharyas think when they see this?”

The advocate friend told the Yogi that he had just returned to Tiruvannamalai after seeing Shankaracharya Swami Jayendra Saraswati and added that the latter had enquired about the Yogi. Yogiji asked, “Is it so? Did the Acharya ask about this beggar?” and added, “The Paramacharya also enquired about this beggar to a priest who had gone to see Him.” Again referring to Dr. Sujata’s book, He said, “Well, if she, out of her devotion, thinks that this beggar is equal to them, then she is not wrong. A devotee can think of his or her Master in any form as he or she likes.”

Our attention turned to the coconut shell in my hand. The Master then narrated to us how He got the coconut shell bowl for the first time from a Swami from Ceylon, how He got the fan from Sri Vasudevananda Saraswati Swami who came to Tiruvannamalai, how Swami Gnanananda Giri added one more of it when He went to Tirukkoilur and how He has been since then having two palm-leaf fans tied together.

A poor old man came there and prostrated to Him. My Master introduced him to me saying that he was a poor astrologer reading palms, sitting in front of the temple. He narrated how, one day, another palmist became jealous of him and started hitting him. My Master said, “This beggar asked the other man why he assaulted him, but he gave some false reason. This poor man was hit for no reason and this beggar was so impotent that he could not do anything”. He added, “However, since that day, this beggar visits this friend almost every day and spends some time with him.”

I remarked, “Maharaj, when the Asuras were creating havoc, even the great Rishis were helpless. Even a Rishi like Viswamitra had to take the help of Rama and Lakshmana to put down the Rakshasas.”

The Yogi laughed. He gave some money and fruits to the poor old friend who profusely thanked the Yogi. The Yogi blessed him and sent him away.

Nivedita reached with her group of friends and some elders who had accompanied them. As soon as He saw Nivedita, He asked them all to come in. I introduced them. He made them all sit in a row. Then they placed before him the fruits and love offerings that they had brought. When Nivedita placed before him a set of dhoti and shawl in ochre colour, sent by her mother, Bharati, as offering to the Yogi, the Yogi smiled and said, “Oh, this is a very dangerous thing. This beggar doesn’t wear these clothes. He wears only white.” He then narrated an incident: “Once a Swami was distributing ochre clothes to sadhus. When he offered this beggar a set, this beggar said that he does not wear ochre clothes. For that the Swami remarked, ‘You are not matured enough to wear it’.” In a jovial spirit the Yogi told Nivedita, “So, go and tell your mother that this beggar is ‘not matured enough’ to wear this and he is, therefore, giving it to a person who can wear it.” So saying, the Yogi took those clothes and thrust them into my hand and told Nivedita: “This beggar is afraid to wear this. Your father is bold enough to wear this.”

The Yogi made all of us sing Ramnam. When I told him that one of the girls, Kumari Parimala, wanted to go to Russia for higher studies, He asked her to come forward. She told Him, “When I go abroad I want to do something for our Indian Culture. I want your guidance.”

“What guidance this beggar can give? He knows nothing. You ask Rangaraja. He is a Professor and he knows well. He is doing a lot for Indian Culture and he will guide you.”

I felt it was my Master’s command to me. The Yogi also told her, “Read Ramayana and Mahabharata written by Rajaji. You will get an idea about what you can do for our culture. Everything is there.”

The Yogi went inside and brought a copy of the THEOSOPHIST journal. He showed us a beautiful picture of J. Krishnamoorty with a small boy. He also asked me to read two articles from it.

Before taking leave of Him, one by one all of us prostrated at the Yogi’s feet and took His blessings. The Yogi thrust one fruit in each hand. When He did so into this sadhu’s hand, He held my hand fast and sank into deep meditation. Then He took back the fruit and handed it over to Nivedita and again caught hold of my hand and once again merged into deep meditation. I was also transported to a different realm. When He opened His eyes, I told Him with overwhelming emotion, “Gurudev, you have given me initiation, you have also given me a begging bowl and today you have given me these ochre clothes too. I want you to give me the strength also to live up to your expectations.” The Yogi tightened His grip on my hand and then blessed me. We sat for many minutes like that. At first I was kneeling and when I found that He was not leaving my hand, I sat down by His side. After some time He opened his eyes and turned to Nivedita and told her, “I am a beggar, do you know that?”

Nivedita smiled and said, “I do not know. You say so.”

“You do not believe that I am a beggar!”

“I believe you. But I do not ‘know’ that you are a beggar.”

“Then what do you think of me?”

“I believe you are a Great Yogi”.

The Yogi burst into laughter. “You believe because your father has written that this beggar is a ‘Great Yogi’. But you don’t believe when this beggar says that he is a poor beggar!”

“I believe you, because you claim that you are a beggar.”

“What do you mean by a Yogi?”

Nivedita quoted from the Bhagavad Gita the characteristics of a Yogi. She said, “You are not affected by pleasure and pain, praise and condemnation….”

“But this stone here is also like that. It is not affected by pleasure and pain. Is it also a Yogi?”

“You are not a stone. The stone will break when it is hit with a hammer.”

“Will not my leg break if you hit me with a hammer?”

“No, You are not the body, and therefore you will not be affected even if your leg is broken”.

“How do you know that I am such a Yogi?”

“The other day you told Dr. Radhakrishnan that whosoever thought of you in whatsoever manner, you appeared to them like that. I think of you as a Great Yogi and therefore you appear to me as a Great Yogi.”

The Yogi burst into hilarious laughter hearing her bold and frank reply. After pausing for some minutes, He said, “This beggar died in 1952. Do you know that?” He then looked at me and repeated that statement. I immediately remarked, “And you killed me in April 1988, Maharaj!”

The Yogi exploded into a loud laughter. “Ramdas was capable of killing this beggar. But this beggar has no strength to kill anybody.” The Yogi paused for a minute and added, “This beggar never gives initiation, but your case is an exceptional one.”

He blessed the devotees and asked all excepting me, Vivek and Nivedita to go to the temple. He spent a few more minutes with us and entered into intense meditation for some time. He then conferred His blessings on us again. Standing at the doorstep of His abode, He saw us all off. I saw the glow of the Sun on His face and chanted:

“Tat savitur varenyam, bhargo devasya dheemahi, dhiyoyona prachadoyaat!”
तत्सवितुर्वरेण्यं भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि धियो यो न: प्रचोदयात्।

— “We meditate on that excellent light of the Divine Sun; may he illuminate our minds!”

[1] I and my brother enjoyed Yogiji’s company so much that we started visiting him very often. Though I have forgotten the actual conversations, the joy with which Yogiji received us at His place, with his welcoming smile and the excitement in the face, remains ever-green in my memory. On June 3, 1988, my brother, myself and our cousin sister, went to Tiruvannamalai, without any adult accompanying us. We could not get any proper accommodation. We wanted to inform Yogiji about this. We waited for the right moment. By this time, we had learnt how to behave in His presence. We have seen Him in different temperaments – sometimes serious, sometimes angry, many a times cutting jokes and laughing hilariously and at other times just silent. We would speak only when He enquires us. On that day, without beginning any conversation, Yogiji asked us to accompany Him to the temple. (In another such instance, when Yogiji took us to the temple, He showed us, with a lot of excitement, a particular stone on the ground having the name Ramji carved in it).  This time, we all went and sat on the steps of the temple tank. Sri Dwaraknath Reddy, Nutrine Confectionary proprietor, came to the temple while performing Giripradakshina. He saw Yogiji and rushed to the place where we were sitting. Yogi asked him to go home to bring his car and take Yogiji to his house near Ramanashram. We were mentally getting prepared to take leave as Yogiji was going to Sri Dwaraknath’s house. Yogiji, in all his kindness, took us to Sri Dwarakanath Reddy’s house, though we did not even get a chance to express our problem. He made us stay there and He also spent time there with us and the other devotees who came to visit him. We had not even asked and He provided us with an enjoyable and “sweet” stay filled with Nutrine sweets. The way He carried out His plan was so dramatic. Didn’t Sri Krishna shower all the fortunes on his dear friend, Sudhama, who had not even asked Krishna for anything?
Ref. by Nivedita.

[2] “This photo was snapped by Sri Vijayasekaran, son of Sri Rajamanicka Nadar, on the steps of Sivaganga Theertham, inside Annamalaiar Temple at Tiruvannamalai”Kovil Tank. Ref. p.192., Amarakavyam by Sri. Parthasarathy.


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