Sunday, December 24, 2006

Death of Madhavaswami

12th July, 1946 (51) DEATH OF MADHAVASWAMI

About four days ago, i.e., in the morning of the 8th or
9th, I went to Bhagavan's presence at 7-30. As I got up
after prostrating before him, Bhagavan said, "Madhava is
gone." "Where to?" I asked, as he was in the habit of going
away from the Ashram on pilgrimage now and then.
Smilingly Bhagavan said, "Where to? To that place, leaving
the body here." I was shocked and asked, "When?"

"The day before yesterday at 6 p.m.," replied Bhagavan, and
looking at Krishnaswami, said, "Acharyaswami who was
there came here and died, and the one who was here went
there and died. Everything happens according to fate. For
a long time Madhava had a desire that he should be
independent and without anyone in authority over him.
His desire has at last been fulfilled. Anyway he was a good
man. Merely for fun, when Acharyaswami who was in
Kumbakonam passed away, I asked Madhava whether he
would go, as there was no one there in the Math. He took
up the idea, went there and thus fulfilled his desire. See
how things happen! When I wrote Telugu Dvipada and other
verses in Malayalam script in a notebook, he used to read
them well just like Telugu people. He had some Telugu
samskara (knowledge). He took away that notebook saying
that he would be looking into it now and then. If it is there,
tell them to bring it here. It was the same with Ayyaswami.
He took away a note book, saying that he would bring it
back after reading it. He himself never came back. The
same thing has happened with this man also." So saying he
changed the topic. When they heard that a person who
had followed Bhagavan almost like his shadow for 12 years,
and was extremely meek and gentle by nature, had passed
away suddenly somewhere, there was no one in the Ashram
who did not shed a tear.

Kunjuswami who had gone from here to supervise
Madhava's burial ceremonies, came back this morning at
8 a.m., and after prostrating before Bhagavan said,
"Madhavaswamy was wandering about in search of peace of
mind but could not gain peace, and so he told people that
he would not live any longer, and came to the Math at
Kumbakonam. He had a sudden attack of diarrhoea for a
day, and as he complained of difficult breathing while taking
soda water, he was made to lie down. He never regained
consciousness, according to what the people in the Math told
me. They kept the corpse till I got there. It did not
deteriorate in any way even though three days had elapsed.
I got it buried and have come back. I could not find the
notebook anywhere."

After he left, Bhagavan said, looking at Krishnaswami,
"Madhava was a good man. That is why we all feel sorry that he is dead. But instead of feeling sorry that he is dead, we should all be thinking as to when we will pass away. A Jnani always looks forward to the time when he will be free from the bondage of the body and be able to throw it away. A person who carried a load for a wage always longs for the time when he could reach the destination. When the owner tells him on reaching the destination to put the load down, he feels greatly relieved and puts it down. In the same way, this body is a burden to a man of discrimination. He always feels that the other man is gone, and eagerly looks forward to his own exit from the body. If that little thing called life is gone, four people are required to bear the burden of the body. When that life is in the body, there is no burden, but when that is gone, there is nothing so burdensome as the body. For a body like this, kayakalpa vratas (rejuvenation processes) are undertaken with a desire to attain moksha (deliverance) with the body. With all that, such people too pass away sooner or later. There is no one who can remain in this body forever. Once a person knows the true state, who wants this temporary body? One should wish for the time when he will be able to throw away this burden and go free."

Madhavaswami was a Malayalee. His birth place is a
village near Palghat. He was a brahmachari. He came here
about 15 years back, when he was only 20 years of age and
did personal service to Bhagavan. For some time past, he
had had a desire to visit holy places, and so used to go away
frequently and come back. When Acharyaswami, who was
another devotee of Bhagavan in charge of the Math which
was built for him in Kumbakonam, came here some time
back and passed away, Madhava went there as head of the
Math and passed away within a short time thereafter.

Taken from Letters from Sri Ramanasramam, Suri Nagamma Chapter 51, p85

(Please read Living By the Words of Bhagavan by David Godman for more details of Madhavaswami, and the peacock Madhav. )



3rd January, 1946
Do you know how much liberty our brother squirrel
has with Bhagavan (Ramana Maharshi)? Two or three years back, there used to
be one very active and mischievous fellow amongst the
squirrels. One day it so happened that when he came for
food, Bhagavan was reading and otherwise occupied and so
delayed a bit in giving him food. That mischievous fellow
would not eat anything unless Bhagavan himself held it to
his mouth. Perhaps because of his anger at the delay he
abruptly bit Bhagavan's finger, but Bhagavan still did not
offer him food.

Bhagavan was amused and said, " You are a naughty creature! You have bit my finger! I will no longer feed you. Go away!" So saying he stopped feeding the squirrel
for some days.
Would that fellow stay quiet? No, he began begging of
Bhagavan for forgiveness by crawling hither and thither.
Bhagavan put the nuts on the window sill and on the sofa
and told him to help himself. But no, he wouldn't even touch
them. Bhagavan pretended to be indifferent and not to notice.
But he would crawl up to Bhagavan's legs, jump on his body,
climb on his shoulders and do ever so many things to attract

Then Bhagavan told us all, "Look, this fellow is begging me to forgive him his mischief in biting my finger and to give up my refusal to feed him with my own hands."

He pushed the squirrel away for some days saying,
" Naughty creature! Why did you bite my finger? I won't feed you now. That is your punishment. Look, the nuts are there. Eat them all." The squirrel would not give up his
obstinacy either. Some days passed and Bhagavan had finally
to admit defeat because of his mercy towards devotees. It
then occurred to me that it was through pertinacity that
devotees attained salvation.
That squirrel did not stop at that. He gathered together
a number of his gang and began building a nest in the roof
of the hall exactly above the sofa. They began squeezing
into the beam bits of string, coconut fibre and the like.
Whenever there was wind, those things used to fall down; so
people got angry and began to drive them away. Bhagavan
however used to feel very grieved at the thought that there
was not sufficient room for the squirrels to build a nest and
that the people in the hall were driving them away. We have
only to see Bhagavan's face on such occasions to understand
the depth of his love and affection for such beings.

When I told Bhagavan that I had written to you about
the squirrels in my usual letter, he remarked with evident
pleasure: " There is a big story about these squirrels. Some time back they used to have a nest near the beam above me. They had children and then grand children and thus the members of their family grew very large. They used to play about on this sofa in whatever way they liked. When I went out for my usual walk, some little squirrels used to hide under the pillow and when on my return, I reclined on the pillow, they used to get crushed. We could not bear the sight of this, and so Madhava drove the squirrels out of the nest and sealed it by nailing some wooden boards over it. There are lots of incidents about them if one cared to write them."

See Letters and Books
(Madhava Swami was one of Bhagavan's attendants, More on his passing away is posted here under Letter 51, and is available in David Godman's book, Living by the words of Bhagavan. There is also an interesting link with the peacock Madhav who behaved exactly like Madhava Swami in the book)

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8th January, 1946
A few days ago, a lady, a recent arrival, came into the
hall at about 3 p.m. and sat down. All the time she was there,
she was trying to get up and ask something of Sri Bhagavan.

As Bhagavan appeared not to have noticed her, and was
reading a book, she waited for a while. As soon as Bhagavan
put the book aside, she got up, approached the sofa and
said without any fear or hesitation, "Swami, I have only one
desire. May I tell you what it is?" "Yes," said Bhagavan, "What
do you want?" "I want moksha," she said. "Oh, is that so?"
remarked Bhagavan. "Yes, Swamiji, I do not want anything
else. Is it enough if you give me moksha," said she. Suppressing
a smile that had almost escaped his lips, Bhagavan said, "Yes,
yes, that is all right; that is good." "It will not do if you say
that you will give it sometime later. You must give it to me
here and now," she said. "It is all right," said Bhagavan.
"Will you give it now? I must be going," said she. Bhagavan

As soon as she left the hall, Bhagavan burst out laughing
and said, turning towards us, "She says that it is enough if
only moksha is given to her. She does not want anything else."

Subbalakshmamma, who was seated by my side, took up the
thread of the conversation and quietly said, "We have come
and are staying here for the same purpose. We do not want
anything more. It is enough if you give us moksha."

"If you renounce, and give up everything, what remains is only
moksha. What is there for others to give you? It is there always.
That is," said Bhagavan.

"We do not know all that. Bhagavan himself must give us moksha." So saying she left the hall.
Looking at the attendants who were by his side, Bhagavan
remarked, " I should give them moksha, they say. It is enough
if moksha alone is given to them. Is not that itself a desire? If
you give up all the desires that you have, what remains is
only moksha. And you require sadhana to get rid of all those

The same bhava (idea) is found in Maharatnamala:
वासनातानवम् ब्रह्म मोक्ष इत्यभिधीयते
vAsanAtAnavam brahma moksha ityabhidhIyate
It is said that the complete destruction of vasanas is
Brahmam and moksha.
Letters from Sri Ramanasramam, Suri Nagamma (pdf 1.6mb)



Letter 19: 2nd January, 1946

You have seen Jagadiswara Sastri, haven't you? When
he was here, a dog used to go into the hall with him. It was a
particularly intelligent dog. When Sastri or his wife came
into Bhagavan's hall, it used to come in and sit like a well-
behaved child and go out along with them. It was very keen
on living in the house. People did whatever they could to
prevent it entering the hall but it was no use.
Once the old couple entrusted it to somebody when they
went to Madras and did not return for 15 days. At first, during
the first four or five days, it used to search in the halls go
round the hall, and then go about all the places which they
used to frequent. Having got tired, perhaps disgusted, with
those fruitless efforts, one morning at about 10 o'clock it came
to Bhagavan's sofa and stood there, staring fixedly at Bhagavan.
At that time I was sitting in the front row. Bhagavan was
reading the paper. Krishnaswami and others tried to send the
dog out by threats, but in vain. I too asked it to go out. No, it
wouldn't move. Bhagavan's attention was diverted by this
hubbub and he looked that way. Bhagavan observed for a
while the look of the dog and our excitement. He then put
the paper aside and, as if he had by his silence understood
the language of the dog, waved his hand towards it and said,
" Why, what is the matter? You are asking where your people have gone? Oh, I see, I understand. They have gone to Madras. They will be back in a week. Don't be afraid. Don't be worried. Be calm. Is it all right? Now, go."

Hardly had Bhagavan completed his instructions, when
the dog turned and left the place. Soon after that Bhagavan
remarked to me, "Do you see that? The dog is asking me
where its people have gone and when they are returning.
However much the people here tried to send it away it
wouldn't move until I answered its questions."

Once, it seems, the lady of the house punished the dog
with a cane for something it had done and locked it up in a
room for half a day. After it was let out, it came straight to
Bhagavan as if to complain against her and stayed at the
Ashram without going to their house for four or five days.
Bhagavan arranged to feed the dog and admonished the
lady thus: "What have you done to the dog? Why is it angry with you? It came and complained to me. Why? What have you done?" Finally she admitted her fault in Bhagavan's
presence and, with a good deal of cajoling, got the dog to go

Taken from Letters from Sri Ramanasramam, Suri Nagamma, Letter 19, p 33
See also

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Sunday, April 30, 2006

Sri Guru Stotram

गुरुर्ब्रह्माः गुरुर्विष्णु: गुरुर्देवो महेश्वरः ।
गुरुः साक्षात् परं ब्रह्म तस्मै श्रीगुरवे नमः ।। (UTF-8 setting required for sanskrit/devanagari script)

Gurur Brahma Gurur Vishnu Gurur Devo Maheshwarah
Guruh sakshat (also gurureva) Para Brahma
Tasmai Shree Gurave Namah

The Guru is none other than the creator, Lord Brahma (who creates the qualities of a good student and seeker in me),
he verily is Lord Vishnu, the preserver (who guides me as father and mother, holding my hand life after life),
and he is truly Maheshwara, the destroyer (who destroys my ego, my rajasic and tamasic attributes).
He is the supreme Brahman himself.
To such a Guru I offer my salutations.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

O Arunachala!

2006-04-04 3:48 PM

O Arunachala! Will You let me wither away
like a plant not watered.
I have left all, now You are all i can live on.
You are my food, Beloved One.

Will You stand silent like a hill
O Arunachala? Whilst I wither
Whilst life ebbs away in Your sweet memory

Oh what a fool i was, to be attracted to You
like a moth to a flame
there is no recourse for me now
but to wait.

But where is this fire (my saviour)?
O Arunachala? All i can feel is the heat,
the burning as though i am near it
I am singed beyond repair
but i am still not burnt.

What will the world say of You
O Arunachala? Of Your gentle kindness,
when they hear my sad lament.
Of how i wilted away into dry earth
for want of Your company.

Who will come to You again
My beloved Arunachala?
After they hear my sad tale.

How long will You hide inside me,
waiting for me to reach You
Knowing how weak I am,
Gentle Arunachala!

Who will believe that You are the
nature of all that is,
My Arunachala! The nature of bliss,
and most loving of all.
If You do not come to now,
when I am alone and needy of You.

O Arunachala, my very soul,
why do You hide from me
why play this game
why test me
I am not strong-willed like You.
I wish to be close to You
with You, part of You.

O Arunachala, the life of all there is,
I know that You are the life inside me,
I know You are myself
And yet You do not reveal Yourself.
I will wait still more
knowing how You love me,
and that You too are waiting for me.

All happinesses have left me, all joys
all other routes have abandoned me,
i am of no use to the ways of this world,
You are my only joy, and also my pain
O Beloved Arunachala! The only true Joy,
the only Path, the Father of all.

O Arunachala, be kind to all Your seekers
like a mother to her new-born,
Hold us to You without wait and sorrow
Longing for You is the greatest suffering
of all these lives.


Of all the temptations God has created for man,
You are the most dangerous and insidious, O Arunachala!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

O Arunachala Ramana!

Even though drenched in Your love
i am heartless with those who love me
O Arunachala! Destroy this ego
so i may too love others.

Even though bathed in the bliss of your presence
i am a source of suffering to others,
what a bad name i bring to You,
Help me, O Arunachala!

Drench with Your kindness
Those who love me,
Protect them from my heartlessness
O Arunachala, My very soul,
dearest to me, love those whom I hurt/(can't).

Take whatever merits i have earned
and bless them who have served me
with love and sacrifice,
Spare them, save their souls,
deliver them in this birth, O Arunachala!

And when they leave their bodies,
having suffered a whole lifetime
Be there to receive them
with love, as You would me,
O Arunachala, my forgiving One.

O Arunachala! Flood all beings with
Your love,
Haunt all beings with Your memory
Fill them all with devotion
So they may attain Thee,
O Arunachala Ramana!

O Arunachala Ramana, my very life,
Be the very life of all others,
so they may live in bliss,
whatever their situation.

Waive all karmas,
deliver all Now,
regardless of merits,
Be the bliss of all souls
Beloved Arunachala!

I feel so close to you,
and yet i feel so alone.
Open your doors, O Arunachala,
and burn me leaving nothing.

I have offered myself at your loving
feet, O Arunachala,
Accept me, without delay,
My suffering is for want of Thee.

O Arunachala! My Arunachala Ramana,
throwing Thy garland of wedding on my shoulders,
be gracious to wear this garland of letters of mine.

Sri Ramanashramam
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Monday, March 27, 2006

Thy Kindness

Sri Guru! Ocean of Mercy! Can any one drenched with Thy kindness ever be afflicted by ailments even if destiny so decree?

How can the burning pains of illness touch one who is abiding in the refreshing moon of Thy nectarlike kindness?

I feel happy in body and mind, being refreshed by Thy kindness. Nothing afflicts me except the desire to remain in unbroken contact with Thy holy feet. The very sight of Thy holy feet has made me perfectly happy.

Parashuram to Dattatreya (in Tripura Rahasya)

See: Pictures of Ramanashramam
Destiny and Devotion


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Bhakti Day

O Lord,
Is the love
That binds me
to You:
Like a diamond,
It breaks the hammer
that strikes it.

- Mirabai

To love another person is to see the face of God.

- Les Miserables

'May I always have unswerving attachment to You!'
- (Visnu Purana)

'Oh Arunachala! as soon as Thou didst claim me,
my body and soul were thine.
What else can I desire?
Thou art both merit and demerit,
Oh my Life! I cannot think of these apart from Thee.
Do as Thou wilt then, my Beloved,
but grant me only ever increasing love for Thy Feet!'

(from Bhagavan's 'Necklet of Nine Gems' - Collected Works of Ramana Maharshi; Rider; 1975)

Last two taken from

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Guru is above all

The Guru is greater than Mother and Father and lover,
The Guru is God, Creation, Truth and greater,
The Guru is greater than Enlightenment, Liberation and anything else that may be attained,
The Guru is greater than Life itself.

-- January 4, 2006. On train to Ujjain.

With You, i need none of the others. I am your shadow. You cannot leave me.

Nothing is permanent, they say. Except my love for Thee.