Prof. V. Rangarajan
“Malice towards none, friendship and charity for all, devoid of ‘I’ and ‘Mine’, bearing with equanimity of mind, happiness and sorrow, always contented, the yogi who is self-restrained and of firm resolve, whose mind and intellect are surrendered to Me, that devotee is dear to me.” (Gita XII-13 & 14) – So declares Bhagavan Krishna is His “Song Celestial”.
Who is such a Yogi? Where can he be found?
One day, at the foot of Mount Arunachala, two devotees of Arunachala Siva were sitting in friendly chat. They knew each other for a long time as fellow pilgrims on a path Divine. Both had trodden the path for a long distance. Childish simplicity had gripped their heart. Suddenly one of them caught hold of the hand of the other who was senior to him and demanded, “You are a Yogi, now you must show me your power. I won’t leave your hand.”
He started pressing the hand of the Yogi very hard. The Yogi protested, “No, no. I am an ordinary Beggar. Please leave me. I am not a Yogi”. The younger one, a foreigner now turned into a recluse and occupying one of the caves on Mount Arunachala, could not compel this Yogi to show out his power, in spite of his intimate friendship with the other. The Yogi referring to the incident, says, “Oh! How he crushed the hand of this Beggar! This Beggar cried out that he is no Yogi. But he did not leave this Beggar.” And the Yogi laughs hilariously and heartily.
That Yogi is none other than Yogi Ramsuratkumar Maharaj of Tiruvannamalai. He never claims himself to be a Yogi, nor does he demonstrate his powers. He always calls himself a ‘Beggar’.
Lee Lozowick, a ‘crazy poet’ who turned into a spiritual seeker and has set up a spiritual community in Arizona, U.S.A., wrote a letter in verse to the ‘mad Beggar’ whom he has met a few times during his visits to this Land of Spiritual Light. In this whole country, Lee could find only one Mahatma who called himself a Beggar. Naturally, Lee fell under the spell of this ‘Beggar’ whom he calls as “The Yogi”. This peom which Lee had sent was duly received by the Yogi. But, what has he to do with praise or condemnation? It just found a place among waster papers which the Yogi was preserving with assiduous care. When this author, a servant of the Beggar, approached the Yogi for some ‘material’ on him, the Yogi laughed and started searching in the midst of the waste papers. At first he could not trace it and he smiled and said, “Oh! It is gone! Somebody wrote something and it is gone.” Seeing the disappointment writ large on the face of this poor servant of the made Beggar, the spring of compassion and pity surged up in the heart of the Beggar and he searched again. At last he found it in one of the heaps of ‘waste paper’ accumulated in his abode. This writer felt as though he had struck a gold mine when the Yogi gave it to him with a sympathetic smile.
This writer once asked the Beggar to initiate him into a mantra. “Why? You have got initiation from a great mahatma! What can this Beggar give you?” Yes, he never wanted to be a guru. But still, his fatherly heart could not bear the sight of restlessness and discontentment manifest on the face of this write. While taking leave of him, he came up to the door step. He noticed the feeling of pain and agony in this writer’s mind. All of a sudden he caught hold of this writer’s hands, sat on the foot steps leading to the street. Then followed a long spell of silence. The Yogi was immersed in deep meditation when this writer’s heart was throbbing with intense devotion. Suddenly he burst out,Sree Rama Jaya Rama, Jaya Jaya Rama Jaya Jaya Rama, Jaya Jaya Rama
A spontaneous upsurge of intense peace and bliss engulfed the heart of this humble servant of the Beggar. With tears of gratitude, he took leave of the Beggar.
His compassion and kindness reaches out to all his devotees, to all beggars, to all beings. He will go and sit in the midst of beggars who have made the precincts of Arunachaleswara temple their abode. Sometimes, the law and order machinery of the Government ruthlessly acts and the beggars, dubbed as nuisance, are rounded up and later driven off. But this “Beggar” is very sore about that. He says, “In our country, begging was never an offence. It was never prohibited. Beggars were respected, given alms, in those days. But this present government arrests them and harasses them. In Bharatavarsha, beggary was never prohibited. It is not right to harass beggars.”
Once a few devotees including a sannyasini came from South Africa and accompanied this writer to the presence of this Beggar. They had brought with them packets of various fruits. The Yogi received the visitors and when they placed before him their love offerings, he said, “Why all these? This Beggar doesn’t need all this.” Just at that time a beggar reached his door step and cried out:
“Yogi Ramsurat Maharaj Ki Jai!”
The Yogi immediately summoned one of his devotees, “Swaminatha, take all these and give it to him.” All the fruits were dumped into the stretched palms of the beggar. The Yogi called out to him, “Go and share it with all others sitting there (around the temple).”
The Yogi has no ‘mamakaara’ or ‘ahamkaara’. He is one with all, a friend of all. A Professor of Philosophy from Madras called on him. After a friendly chat with him, the Yogi found out that the Professor used to smoke. “Why don’t you smoke with me?” he asked the Professor. The Professor was taken aback. But the Yogi persisted. The Professor then tried to take out a cigarette pack from his pocket. But the Yogi said, “No, no. I will give you my cigarette.” He took out his cigarette and offered it to the Professor. Not only that, he even lighted the cigarette for the Professor. The Professor made an appeal to the Yogi: “You must allow me to preserve the cigarette butt.” The Yogi gave out a hearty laugh and permitted him to do so.
Once some devotees from Canada, Italy and Madras accompanied this writer to the abode of the Divine Mother Mayee at Salem. On our way back they wanted to have darshan of the Yogi at Tiruvannamalai. But, when we reached Tiruvannamalai, it was midnight. The devotees were skeptical: “Will the Yogi be awake? Will he see us now?”Yaa nishaa sarva bhootaanaam tasyaam jaagrati samyamee Yasyaam jaagrati bhootaani saa nishaa pashyato muneh
“That which is night for all beings is the time when the Self-disciplined is awake; that which is considered to be a waking state by the beings is just a night to the Seer.” (Gita II-69)
When we approached the abode of the Yogi, he was immersed in deep meditation. Rising up from the meditation, he received all of us at that odd hour and even spent one hour in blissful conversations and singing bhajans.
The Yogi is a greate Bhakta. His Guru bhakti is unparalleled. He always speaks of his Guru as his Father. When one of the devotees who had accompanied this writer and who as instrumental in bringing out this writer’s book on the Yogi, told the Yogi that he was a Gauda Saraswat, the Yogi reveled in extreme joy. “Oh, you are a Gauda Saraswat! You belong to the clan of MY FATHER, Swami Ramdas!”
Yet another time, he asked this writer’s little daughter, “Your friend is starting a travel service. Where would you like to go first?” Quite innocently the girl answered: “I would like to go to Kanhangad.”
The Yogi burst into limitless joy and hilarious laughter. “Oh! Nivedita wants to go to MY FATHER’s place.”
The Yogi’s deep foresight is not very often exhibited, though he guides his devotees at times. This writer’s son, Vivekanandan, got a sudden urge to see the Yogi before his public examination. The Yogi promptly received him and enquired about his preparations. The boy replied that he had prepared very well in all his subjects, but was yet ot prepare for the language papers. “You will write all the papers very well. You will write the language papers also well. But be alert in Mathematics,” the Yogi warned.
After the examinations were held, the newspapers reported that the Mathematics paper of the year is the toughtest. The Yogi’s timely warning did help the boy.
Tulya ninda stutir maunee, santushto yena kenachit
– “One who is silent whether he is praised or condemned and is contented with what he has” is a Yogi. When this author’s biographical account of the Yogi was published, he sought one copy of it. A hundred copies were rushed to him. The Yogi who accepted them all bundled them up later and handed over to a devotee, of course, with clear instructions, “Open this bundle after a week and whatever you find inside, distribute them to the deserving”. And to the author, the Yogi gifted a dhoti suggesting renunciation – renunciation of the idea of authorship. This writer sought a message from the Yogi to be delivered to Indians abroad during his proposed tour to the Caribbean countries. The Yogi said, “What message has this Beggar to give. I am not so great. Ramakrishna, Vivekananda, Aurobindo, Ram Tirtha, Ramdas, Ramana, J.K., all are great and they have given their message. Whatever message they have given is MY FATHER’s message. This Beggar has no other message to give.” Then, with a voice chocked with emotion, he said, “Let them remember the names of Rama, Krishna and Shiva. Then they will ever remain Bharatiyas. They will all come back to this Holy Land of Bharatavarsha.” The Yogi’s utterance echoed the voice of Swami Vivekananda: “If there is any land on this earth that can lay claim to be the blessed Punya Bhoomi…. The land to which every soul that is wending its way Godward must come to attain its home…. it is India.”
We the children of Mother India are blessed to live in the living presence of these great Yogis and Mahatmas. Let their Grace enable us to be one with them and through them with the Divine.
Yogi Ramsuratkumar Maharaj Ki Jai!
(Extract from TATTVA DARSANA, Feb-July 1988 Vol. 5, Nos. 1 & 2)