Cherished Memoirs 71
This series chronicles interesting experiences recounted by the devotees of HH Maharanyam Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji or divine words/experiences of Sri Swamiji himself. These articles are generally translations from the series, “Madhuramaana Mahaneeyar” or similar articles published in the ‘Madhuramurali’ Tamil monthly magazine.
True devotion leads to a Living Mahatma!
Every day, many people come to have darshan of Sri Swamiji and to convey their various problems. Some come for monetary help too. Sri Swamiji will listen to them with utmost patience and try to help them to the best extent possible. However, he will feel saddened that only a few come to him to seek guidance on spiritual matters.
Since he has heard the trials and tribulations of people, and also, as he knows very well how the world is progressing today, he constantly propagates and practices the path of Nama Sankeerthanam as the only remedy in the present age. Often, people who discourse on their spiritual paths will often find faults in other paths, and extensively highlight them in their discourses. But, Sri Swamiji will never do that. Sri Swamiji says, Vedanta, Yoga, Karmanushtana or Bhakti are all paths that lead to the same Supreme Lord so what is wrong when one follows any one of these paths according to his taste and capability.
However, since only a few have the mental strength to follow such arduous and strenuous path, he asks, what is the way for the rest? Therefore, he stresses that Nama Sankeerthanam is the easiest dharma that can be followed by all.
He worries that those who like to perform sadhana, only consider the path of dhyana, yoga or aathma vicharam, as a sadhana and not Nama Sankeerthanam or Nama Japa. Nama Sankeerthanam is also a sadhana. He stresses that whatever one attains by practicing dhyana, yoga or aathma vicharam can be obtained by performing Nama Sankeerthanam. He also says that, by performing Nama Sankeerthanam in the evenings, our minds are better cleansed than by any other paths. When he sees a person who performs Nama Sankeerthanam, he gets immensely pleased.
A person by the name Balakrishna, is extremely devoted to Sri Guruji. Back in the day, he used to be a devotee of Sri Ramana Maharishi. He frequently visited Thiruvannamalai and performed Giri Pradhakshina of Arunachala. He also stayed at Sri Ramana Maharishi’s Ashram whenever possible. He studied the works of Sri Ramana Bhagavan and conversed only about Sri Ramana Maharishi, when speaking with others. He never visited any other temple or saint other than Sri Ramana Maharishi. That was the intensity with which he was devoted to Sri Ramana Bhagavan.
Once, he was in Hyderabad for official duty. There, he visited the Birla Mandir. At Birla Mandir, he bought a book on Ramana Maharishi and enjoyed reading it. There was an incident mentioned in that book. Once, there was a person who practiced sadhana by considering Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa as his guru. However, he felt that if he can seek guidance from a living mahatma, then he can progress faster spiritually. At that time, a friend of his mentioned about Sri Ramana Maharishi of Thiruvannamalai, and instructed him to have darshan of this saint. When he had darshan of Sri Ramana Maharishi, he noticed a photo of Sri Ramakrishna next to Sri Ramana Maharishi. He was overjoyed seeing this. This incident mentioned in the book deeply attracted Balakrishna. He too felt that he would be extremely fortunate if he attained a living Mahathma as his guru.
Soon, he got a letter from his friend, Nandakumar. In it, Nandakumar wrote about Sri Swamiji, and requested Balakrishna to seek Sri Swamiji’s darshan without fail. When Balakrishna came to have Sri Swamiji’s darshan for the first time, Sri Swamiji was alone in his chamber. Sri Swamiji spoke only about Sri Ramana Maharishi to Balakrishna. This, itself was surprising to Balakrishna and gave him immense joy.
From then on, he frequently sought Sri Swamiji’s darshan. Once, while standing in front of Sri Ramana Maharishi’s picture, he intensely prayed to know if it was because of Sri Ramana Maharishi’s will, that he was now frequently visiting Sri Swamiji. He earnestly sought an answer for his question. Just then, the hibiscus adorning the picture of Sri Ramana Maharishi, slowly and graciously fell down.
He would further pray that if it was indeed true that, the reason he was now frequently visiting Sri Swamiji was because of Sri Ramana Maharishi’s will, he prayed that Sri Swamiji should touch him at a particular spot. That day, Sri Swamiji would touch him at that same spot while conversing with him.
At other times, Balakrishna would buy a tulsi garland to offer to Sri Swamiji and place it in his bag. He would decide to see if Sri Swamiji would ask him about it. On that day, Sri Swamiji would talk to him about Tulsi. Balakrishna would immediately take the garland out and offer it to Sri Swamiji. Thus slowly over a period of time, he completely surrendered himself to Sri Swamiji.
Originally published in Tamil monthly magazine, Madhuramurali, July 1996 issue.
Translated by Gayathri Karthikeyan, Brampton, Ontario, Canada