GLIMPSES OF A GREAT YOGI—III
Bhagavan’s Actions Through The Disciple
SOJOURN OF SADHU IN TIRUVANNAMALAI
IN THE SERVICE OF BHAGAVAN
True to the words of Poojya Swami Satchidananda of Anandashram, Kanhangad, referring to Bhagavan Yogi Ramsuratkumar and Sadhu Rangarajan, “Father and son are one!”, Swami Mathurananda’s words, “He is Your shadow and is always with You”, and Bhagavan’s response, “Yes, this Beggar is always with Rangaraja and he is always with this Beggar”, the life of the Sadhu proved to be one of total dedication and surrender to the Master and Master’s acceptance of the disciple as His trusted representative and confident was glaringly manifest in the conversations of Bhagavan with the Sadhu, and Bhagavan’s constant directions and commands to the Sadhu in the matters of His mission and the Ashram. At the time of the laying of the plaque of Yogi Ramsuratkumar Ashram by Swami Satchidananda, Sadhuji emphatically declared in a congregation presided over by the Swami in the presence of Bhagavan that Bhagavan was an avadhoota of the highest order and He who lived on railway platform, under the Punnai tree and in market place did not require or aspire for an Ashram and the Ashram was meant only for the convenience of the devotees who crowded at His door steps to have His darshan and out of compassion for those who had to stand in hot sun and rain in the narrow Sannadhi Street for hours together to have His darshan, He has allowed the construction of the Ashram named after Him. Sadhuji had also declared that it was the sacred duty of the devotees to preserve the sanctity of the Ashram and make use of it for their spiritual advancement. Sadhuji hardly imagined that within a few hours later a crisis would spring up in the matter of the Ashram Trust and Bhagavan would have to command Sadhu to abandon his activities and stay on in Tiruvannamalai to take charge as trustee and look after the construction work.
On Monday, February 28, 1994, the second day after Sadhu’s taking up the responsibility of the Ashram work, Sadhu came to the Ashram site in the morning. Bhagavan, Prabha and Devaki also joined him. Michel, Bhagavan’s devotee, came there with some pain in his leg. Master pressed his leg and then made him walk fast and Michel was relieved of the pain. It was a miraculous healing touch.
Master was waiting for Anjaneyulu to come, but the later did not turn up. Bhagavan then sent Sadhu to Nadar Lodge to find out why he had not turned up. S.P. Janardhanan, Ramamoorthy and Raghu were there and S.P. Janardhanan said, he will find out Anjaneyulu and bring him to the site. Sadhu told Janardhanan that the Ashram plan was his child and because he had abandoned it, Bhagavan had been constrained to entrust the responsibility to the Sadhu, though Bhagavan had given a greater work to the Sadhu. He appealed to Janardhanan to introspect about the events and then Sadhu returned to Master. Anjaneyulu or his friends did not come till noon and Bhagavan returned to Sudama. In the evening when Sadhuji went to Sudama again, Master made him sit by His side and was holding Sadhu’s hand all the time. Anjaneyulu, S.P. Janadhanan’s wife and A.V. Ramamoorthy came there. There was a big crowd waiting for His darshan and Prabha found it difficult to tackle them. Bhagavan asked Sadhu to see them off and then He asked Sadhu to take Michel and Lawrence to Mani’s house and discuss with them about their book work. In the night, Justice Sri Sadayappan, his wife Revati, and sons Sairam and Seshadri visited Sadhu in his room and arranged for his supper.
On Tuesday, when Sadhuji came to Ashram site, Michel and Lawrence were waiting for the Sadhu. Sadhu narrated to them the experiences of Sri K.V. Jagannathan, Perumal Raja and the Sadhu himself about Bhagavan. Then the Sadhu came to Sudama and Bhagavan had also returned there after visiting His abode in Sannadhi Street. Bhagavan was sitting with Sadhu by His side and holding Sadhu’s palm. Some police officials came from Chennai for the security of Smt. Jayalalitha, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, visiting Tiruvannamalai on the next day. Sadhu introduced them to Bhagavan. Then a group of about fifty devotees of Sanmarga Sangham, including some women, came there for darshan of Bhagavan. Seeing Sadhu in ochre robe sitting by the side of Bhagavan, they placed their offerings before Sadhu and prostrated to him. Sadhu was terribly embarrassed and he directed them to prostrate to Bhagavan and make their offerings to Him. Bhagavan and Devaki were laughing at the sight. Bhagavan coolly held Sadhu’s hand and whispered: “Rangaraja, keep quiet.” Sadhu obeyed. The women continued their offerings and then took leave. Sadhu turned to Bhagavan and asked Him what was this tamasha. Bhagavan replied with a smile: “Rangaraja, this is the tradition of this ancient land. They are showing respect to your holy garb”. Sadhuji realized fully the sanctity of the ochre robe that Bhagavan Himself had given to him.
Tiruvannamalai was wearing a festive look on the next day due to the visit of Chief Minister. It was at this time that workers were busy working on the Ashram site making it neat and clean, and some people who had gathered there, mistook that it was the helipad where the VIP would land. Devaki was trying to tell something to Bhagavan about a sight which made Bhagavan Ramakrishna Paramahamsa go into ecstasy. Yogiji jovially asked: “Sight of helicopter?” Devaki smiled and said, Ramakrishna went into ecstasy whenever He saw a big crowd or a big column of fire. In the afternoon, many villagers who had come to the town to see the VIP had also gathered in front of Sudama to have Bhagavan’s darshan. Bhagavan came out, holding the hand of the Sadhu and stood facing the crowd. When they surged forward to come closer to Him, He started walking towards the eastern end of the street and the crowd also followed. Sadhu was trying to push them aside. Bhagavan took the coconut shell and danda from the hand of Sadhu and walked into the crowd and they moved aside. In front of Sudama, the crowd once again became restless and when Sadhu tried to push them back, one lady in the crowd fell down. Fortunately some policemen who arrived in the scene managed the situation when Sadhu took Yogi into Sudama. Devaki felt relieved that Sadhu was there to keep the crowd from falling on the Master. Bhagavan was reminded of the days when some Dravida Kazhagam people tried to harass Him and police trying to help Him. He recalled how forces against Hindu gods and saints acted right from the days of Justice Party to the days of the Kazhagams in Tamil Nadu. Sadhu recalled how he once got trapped in a crowd of anti-Hindi agitators who were chased by the police and how he also got hit. He also told Bhagavan about the attack of Dravida Kazhagam people on him during the Anti-Cow Slaughter Agitation which he was leading, his arrest by police at Srirangam, and later his contesting the election to Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly from the Tiruchirapally Constituency in 1967 as a candidate of Bharatiya Jan Sangh. Bhagavan listened to the story with keen interest.
In the afternoon, Sri Vijayaraghavan, I.G. of Police came for Bhagavan’s darshan. Bhagavan enquired about his family and recalled the visits of Pon Paramaguru and Sri Sripal when they were I.G.s. Sadhu recalled that Sri Ravindran, D.I.G. of Police, had also called on Bhagavan and later visited Sadhu’s abode. Bhagavan presented to Sri Veeraraghavan the publications of Sister Nivedita Academy—‘Poems of A Broken Heart’ and TATTVA DRSANA and asked Sadhu to introduce himself and explain to him about our work. Sadhuji told him about Bhagavan initiating the Sadhu and entrusting to him the work of World Ramnam Movement. Devaki also explained to him about Sadhu’s work and publications.
Michel came and Master asked him about the progress of his work. He told Bhagavan that he got a lot of materials from Sadhu. Sadhu told Bhagavan that he has asked Bharati to send his daily diaries from Madras so that he could give more authentic information to Michel. Some foreigners also came there and Bhagavan gave them all copies of TATTVA DARSANA and “Poems of A Broken Heart”. To others, he gave poems of T.P. Meenakshisundaram and photos of Devaki.
A rare bird, dark in colour but with white spots all over its body, and of the size of a small crow, came and perched on the top of a tree in front of Sudama. Master was keenly observing it when it was having its fill of fruits for more than ten minutes. He asked whether anyone had a camera, but none had it at that time.
The next day, another batch of foreigners including Richard and Tony of Jamaica came and Bhagavan introduced the Sadhu to them and gave them also TATTVA DARSANA and “Poems of Broken Heart”. He said, someone had told that Jamaica was in America. Sadhu remarked that just like there is Salem in America, there might be some place with that name. When we were engaged in conversation, the rare bird, which appeared on the previous day, came again. Someone who had a camera tried to photograph it, but it suddenly flew away.
On Friday, March 4, when Sadhu was in the presence of Bhagavan at Sudama, and Michel and Lawrence were also present, Sri Ganeshan, auditor, came with his wife. Bhagavan asked Sadhu whether he knew them and Sadhu told Him that the couple had given a reception to the Sadhu with Poornakumbham when he visited their house in Pondicherry. Bhagavan asked Sadhu to arrange for their accommodation in the Ashram so that Ganeshan could take up the audit work. In the afternoon, Justice Arunachalam arrived and discussed about the affairs of the Trust. Master first asked Sri Arunachalam to name Sadhu as the Managing Trustee, but on second thoughts He said, He did not want the Sadhu to be detained in Tiruvannamalai permanently as He felt “Ramnam work is very sacred and important and Rangaraja has to attend to it.” He also said, “In the present circumstances, this Beggar wants Rangaraja to be here as a moral force and He would like to relieve Rangaraja for Ramnam work as soon as things start moving smoothly in the right direction.”
On Saturday morning, Vasu called on Sadhu in his room and told him that Master wanted to meet all of us including Justice Arunachalam in Sudama, and Sadhu reached there. Sundararaman, Justice Arunachalam, Mani, and Prabha also reached there. Justice Arunachalam explained how the original trust deed was written, giving all powers to Sri S.P. Janarthanam. He also read out the draft letters to S.P. Janarthanam, to the Post Master and to the Bank regarding the constitution of the new trust board. The first one was signed by the Sadhu on behalf of all the trustees and was arranged to be sent by Registered Post. The other two were signed by Sadhu, Mani, and Prabha. The letter to bank was handed over to the bank manager who was present and the letter to Post Master was sent through Mani. Sadhu assured Bhagavan that the work would not stop on any account. A draft letter to newspapers, with an advertisement, “To whomsoever it may concern”, was also signed.
In the evening, when again the Sadhu, Mani, Sundararaman, Kulottungan, Raji, Viji Akka and Devaki met in the presence of Master, He said He felt relieved that by the presence of Justice Arunachalam we could continue the work. Bhagavan repeated: “This Beggar wants Rangaraja to be here only till the crisis is over. Rangaraja is doing a far greater work of Ramnam. Ramnam work is of far greater importance than the work of Ashram. He must be released as early as possible. This beggar wanted him to be here as a moral force and strength to others. When the situation improves he has to return to the most important work of Ramnam.” Bhagavan asked Sadhu whether Nivedita would be able to manage with the Ramnam work. Sadhu said that she was busy with her examinations and once they are over, she would be able to manage. Sadhu also told Him that the lectures that Sadhu has to give in Rajaji College of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan would be delivered by Dr. Radhakrishnan on behalf of the Sadhu.
Sunday, March 6, 1994, was the Shraddha day of Sadhu’s mother, Janakiammal. Sadhu came to the presence of Bhagavan and told Him about the day. Bhagavan asked about the date of her passing away. Sadhu reminded Him how the mother departed from the world chanting His name and Ramnam, and felt His presence by Her side at the last moments. Bhagavan enquired about her name, the name of Sadhu’s father and brothers and sister. He accepted Rs.100/- offered by Sadhu. Saktivel, Pankajam and Michel joined us and Sharma of Pondicherry came with some grapes. Bhagavan gave some to Devaki, Annapoorna and Raji and then turning to Sadhu said, “Rangaraja is wondering why this beggar did not give some to him” He gave some to Sadhu. Devaki said, everyone would like to have it from Him, but He jovially said that He wanted all the rest for Himself and asked Vasu to take it and keep inside. Annapoorna sang a song, which meant everything, was given by Arunachaleswara and Bhagavan joked, “Arunachaleswara gave everything, but not this Beggar.” Bhagavan wanted to give some photos to Michel and to Sadhu for TATTVA DARSANA. Sadhu told Him that he would collect the photos later. A foreigner who came with Michel wanted some book in English and Bhagavan presented to him a copy of “Glimpses Of A Great Yogi”. After seeing everybody off, Bhagavan asked Sadhu, to have lunch with Him and Sadhu remarked that He had the good luck to receive prasad from Master on his mother’s Shraddha day. Bhagavan remarked, “It is all Father’s leela”.
Bharati Rangarajan had telephoned from Chennai about the proposed visit of Sri Venkatrao, father of cine star Chiranjeevi, with family to Tiruvannamalai to have Bhagavan’s darshan. They arrived on Monday, March 7, in the morning. Sadhu introduced Sri Venkatrao, his wife, Anjana and daughter Madhavi. Bhagavan asked Sadhu to proceed to Ashram site, leaving the guests to have lunch with Him. When Sadhu returned, Bhagavan said, “This beggar spent time with the Nellore friends.” Devaki said, they would come again in the evening. Valliammai family, Kristi, Pankajam and some foreigners came to see Bhagavan. Bhagavan gave the foreigners Lee’s book, Poems of the Broken Heart, and made Devaki read the publishers’ note and some verses. Venkatrao and family came again at 4-00 PM. They offered Rs.25,000/- for Ashram and Sadhu asked them to place it at the feet of the Master. Master received it and handed over to Sadhu for the Ashram trust. Sadhu told Bhagavan about their sponsoring the Telugu translation of GLIMPSES OF A GREAT YOGI. Master asked whether it was printed. Sadhu replied that the translation done by Krishna Prabha was under print and would be ready soon. Sadhu told Bhagavan about the Ramnam chanting done by Sri Venkatrao, his wife, and daughter Vijaya Durga. Bhagavan blessed them all and saw them off.
Bhagavan asked Sadhu whether the Ramnam work was affected because of the absence of Sadhu at Chennai. Sadhu replied that Bharati had arranged to collect the Ramnam monthly counts and forward it to Anandashram. He told Bhagavan she would bring the TATTVA DARSANA work also to Tiruvannamalai if necessary. Bhagavan said that would be alright and blessed Sadhu. Devaki wanted to give some money to Sadhu and Master said jovially, “He has a lot of money.”
On Tuesday, March 8, Bharati arrived with bundles of copies of Sister Nivedita Academy publications. Alberto, Chandramouli, Iswari and Anand had also come to Bhagavan’s abode. Bhagavan introduced Chandramouli to Sadhu. Bhagavan handed over a letter from Paranjpe and his review of Lee’s book and asked Sadhu to read them. He also made Sadhu read Paranjpe’s story, “The Sufi”. Bhagavan said, Paranjpe used to send his books to Him and when He received the fourth book, He asked Devaki to write to him. He asked Sadhu also to contact Paranjpe.
Bhagavan asked Chandramouli to explain to Sadhu his experiences about the link between Bhagavan and Paramacharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham. In the presence of Bhagavan, Chandramouli explained the experience to Sadhu. On December 1, 1985, at the time of Jayanti of Bhagavan, he wanted to come to Tiruvannamalai. Paramacharya stopped him and asked him to take pooja and Ayushya Homa Prasad, which Paramacharya had arranged in Kamakoti temple, to Yogi Ramsuratkumar on the next day. He also narrated how Paramacharya asked him to take Yogiji to Govindapuram and Yogiji went to Kanchipuram saying wherever Paramacharya was, that was Govindapuram to Him. Chandramouli also revealed that Paramacharya said that Yogi Ramsuratkumar belonged to Surya Kula. He also said that Paramacharya referred to Yogiji as greater than Himself. Sadhuji told Bhagavan that he would get the entire experience narrated in the form of an article and publish it in TATTVA DARSANA.
On Wednesday, March 9, Justice Arunachalam, his brother Dr. Viswanathan, M.S. Udayamoorthy and many other devotees gathered in the presence of Master. S.P. Janardhanan came in the noon. The handing over of the charge of the Ashram to the new board of trustees was smooth and successful.
In the afternoon, Sadhu sat with Master to discuss about forming an International Committee. Master asked the Sadhu to take up the responsibility as the Convener and function from Madras. Sadhu told Master that he would go round the world taking Bhagavan’s name. Bhagavan laughed. Justice Arunachalam remarked that Sadhu would go spreading Ramnam. Bhagavan said, “Rangaraja has got contacts all over the country and abroad and he can suggest names for the international committee”. Sadhu suggested names of devotees from various states and countries outside. Bhagavan also suggested some names.
Many devotees came to have darshan of Master. Suresh, Prema, John Parimelazhagan and others from YRYA were also there. In the evening, Bharati decided to return to Chennai with Justice Arunachalam and Dr. Viswanathan. Bhagavan blessed them all and saw them off. He blessed Nivedita’s programme of Veena recital on 21st of the month and said, “She will do very well”.
On Thursday, when Sadhu was in the presence of Master, Sri Om Prakash Dev of Lucknow, devotee of Poonjaji, came with a letter of Ramananda Giri addressed to the Sadhu. Sadhu read it out to Master. Master asked Sadhu to reply to it, conveying again His pranams to Poonjaji. On the next day, Vasu gave a letter from Vivek about his semester examinations and Bhagavan blessed Vivek for his success. Bhagavan asked how many semesters were there. Sadhu replied only two more and then he will do some project. Vasu explained to Master about that. Devaki asked whether Vivek would be free by April and Sadhu replied that he hoped to be so. Bhagavan asked, “Then will he help in this Beggar’s ashram work?” Sadhu replied in the affirmative and Devaki remarked that we would have a team of engineers.
On Saturday, March 12, Sri D.S. Sivaramakrishnan of Tirukoilur came in the morning and placed his manuscript of “Arunai Yogi Guru Nama Mahimai” at the feet of the Master. Bhagavan handed over the manuscript to Sadhu and said, “Rangaraja can publish it through Sister Nivedita Academy if he finds it fit.” Sadhu immediately replied that he would do so. Bhagavan asked Sivaramakrishnan to add some more commentary on “Sri Rama Jaya Rama Jaya Jaya Rama”. Gnanagiri Ganeshan came with his friend Mukkaiya who offered Rs.1000/- to Bhagavan which Bhagavan handed over to the Sadhu to credit it to the Ashram trust. In the evening, when Sadhu and Sivaramakrishnan met Bhagavan again, he asked whether we discussed about Sivaramakrishnan’s book. Sadhu said, they did discuss and Sivaramakrishnan has made some corrections and changes. Bhagavan asked Sivaramakrishnan to make some more additions. Bhagavan gave Rs. 211 to Sadhu and the latter asked whether it was for the Trust, Bhagavan laughed and said, it is for Sister Nivedita Academy to print the book. A number of devotees including some foreigners, Poonjaji’s devotee Om Prakash, Kanakavel Rajan of Aruppukkottai and S.D. Sharma of Pondicherry had gathered there. Bhagavan asked Sadhu to give a speech in English and hold Ramnam chanting for fifteen minutes. Poonjaji’s devotee took photos of Master with Sadhu and other devotees. Some donations came and Bhagavan handed them over to Sadhu to be taken to the Trust. Some stickers of Lord Venkateswara were placed before Him for distribution. Bhagavan distributed them and remarked that it was not His work. Devaki recalled that once Perumalraja stood before Balaji in Tirupathi and asked the question who the Yogi was and he got a reply, “Nenuthaan”—“I am He” and said Bhagavan was Lord Venkateswara. Sadhu jovially remarked that in that case Bhagavan should claim a share of Tirupathi funds for our Ashram. Bhagavan burst into laughter. Bhagavan told Sharma jovially, “Rangaraja requires lot of money to travel to Europe for Ramnam prachar”. Sharma remarked that he will get it once he goes there. Bhagavan smiled and said, “Yes, yes, Rangaraja will bring lot of money for Ramnam as well as for Ashram from Europe”. In the evening Master asked Sadhu to spend some time in the Ashram site with engineer R.K. Muthy from Larsen & Tubro.
On Monday, March 14, 1994, very significant conversations with Bhagavan took place. When Sadhu came to His presence, Anuradha of Ramana Ashram and other devotees were there. Bhagavan was talking about people prostrating to others. He referred to one Narayana Iyer’s remarks on people who prostrated at His feet in the early days, and mention that He used to take Ganja, though He never took it. One T.K. Sundaram told Him that one must not allow to be prostrated by others unless one has done a lot of Tapas. He also told the story of a Rishi prostrating to a bamboo pole and the pole splitting into two. Bhagavan then referred to Anuradha’s question whether He would divinize Devaki. He said, “A statue is given prana pratishtha by a priest and the statue becomes an idol and whoever prostrates before it get the blessings of God. So also Devaki is a statue and this Beggar has done prana pratishtha and those who prostrate to her get the blessings of My Father. Not only to Devaki, but to all Sudama sisters including Shanti, those who prostrate will get Father’s blessings. This Beggar cannot live without them.” Anuradha asked why this partiality to Devaki and Sudama sisters and why not to all. Master laughed and replied: “Anuradha asks why this Beggar blesses Gajaraj alone and not others. Gajaraj does Shiva pooja all the time.” Anuradha wanted to leave, but Master made her sit for a while and asked Devaki to read Sadhu’s TATTVA DARSANA editorial on “The Eternal Slave.” When Devaki was reading it, tears gathered in her eyes and her voice choked again and again. After she finished reading, Yogiji said, “Rangaraja has given reply to Anuradha’s question. Rangaraja is sitting here. This question is in the hearts of many and Rangaraja has given the reply.” He pointed His fingers towards the Sadhu.
When Master was about to disperse all, Sadhu wanted a private audience with Him. Bhagavan took Sadhu inside. Sadhu explained to Him about the urgency for him to rush to Chennai to take delivery of important parcel from Swami Rama Tirtha Pratishthan, Lucknow, and the publication of the first decennial issue of TATTVA DARSANA due to be released on April 14. He asked Sadhu how long he will have to be in Chennai. Sadhu said, he would be away for one month. Then Bhagavan asked Sadhu to be back in Tiruvannamalai by April 14. He said, “This Beggar has some work for you. He wants you to be back here by April 14.” When Sadhu asked Bhagavan about the correspondence work of the Ashram Trust Committee He asked Sadhu to leave it to Mani and Sundararaman to attend to if they want. Sadhu told Him about the offer of a Tiruppathur friend to donate 50 coconut saplings. Bhagavan said we could accept it and asked Sadhu to inform Mani and Sundararaman about it. Sadhu told Him that Devaki could send him the photos of February 26th function and speeches for TATTVA DARSANA. Bhagavan called Devaki and told her about Sadhu leaving for Chennai for some urgent work. He told Sadhu to sit with Sivaramakrishna Iyer and give a thorough reading to “Arunai Yogi Gurunama Mahimai”. Sadhu said he would call Iyer to Chennai and do it. Bhagavan also asked Sadhu to contact Justice Arunachalam and tell him about the decision on correspondence work.
Devaki hurriedly packed some fruits and gave to Sadhu telling him that he will have to carry some weight. Yogiji jovially told her: “Rangaraja gave you some weight (meaning the editorial in TATTVA DARSANA) and therefore you are giving him some weight.” Before taking leave, Sadhu prostrated to Bhagavan and also to Devaki. She immediately reciprocated it by prostrating to Sadhu. Sadhu took leave of them and came to Seshadri Swami Ashram, packed his things and taking leave of Ayyappan Swami and Revati, reached bus stand. He met Muthukrishnan of Hotel Akash who offered him meals. Vasu joined him in the journey to Madras and he reached by 6-00 PM.
Sadhu, Ma Devaki, Bhagavan and Swami Satchidananda
in Yogi Ramsuratkumar Ashram Foundation laying function