Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Gandhiji comes to the mountain

I dug out my copy of 'Living by the words of Bhagwan', by David Godman, a book where years ago I read about Gandhiji's visit to my favorite place, Tiruvannamalai.


Either it was some other book, or I missed looking at the very page that Gandhiji came to the mountain. The good part of any research activity, and that includes looking for your keys, is that you find many things you did not expect. And sometimes they are so interesting, so beautiful, so soothing, you forget what you were looking for.

'The Guru's grace,' says Ramana Maharashi, the sage of Tiruvannamali, 'befalls on him who, in his previous births, has gone to many holy places for long periods of time. By this virtue alone he develops faith in the Guru.'

Faith in the Guru happens when there is faith in the teaching. A teaching so simple, so straight, so quickly rejected by the intelligent, so quickly accepted by the devotees, so easily forgotten by the do-gooders, and so sadly misinterpreted by the fundamentalists.

Was it class three or four, that I had a subject called community living at school. In the book, there was one sentence that writ itself on my heart.

God is everywhere!

And so there was no arguing with Ramesh when he said,

All there is, is Consciousness

in other words,

Everything happens by the will of God.

Back to the book. An old man, about to die, scared to die, comes to Ramana .

Old man: I am a sinner! I am going to go to hell! Bhagwan, do something! I don't want to go to hell.

Ramana: I am there too.

Thus the leela goes on. God is everywhere but he (and she), seeks himself, over and over again, through the seekers.

Annamalai swami, on whom the book, 'Living by the words of Bhagwaan', is written, is a life long disciple of Ramana. Without any formal training in building, Annamalai built the Ramana ashram. Ramana designed the space, Annamalai swami gave shape to his dreams. His excuse to live in the proximity of his master, manifested itself in the making of a temple.

He remembers ( I remember), when Gandhiji visited Tiru. Ramanashram is situated on the outskirts of the town. So if there was any happening event in town, news would trickle to the ashram. Gandhiji is in town! He will be passing by the gate of the ashram in his jeep!

All the ashramites, accept Bhagawan, flock to the gate. Annnamalai swami crosses the road, to
get some breathing space, I guess. He sees Gandhiji sitting by the driver in the open jeep (probably doing his Pradakshina on four wheels).

Annamalai swami joins his hands in greeting. Gandhiji returns the gesture, his face breaking into that heart-winning smile of his. The jeep passes by. Annamalai feels an anticlimax.

'Why didn't Bapu come and meet you?' he later asks Ramana.

'Probably because God has other plans for him,' answers the wise one.

1 comment:

Raju said...

Changu Mangu,

Happy birthday to you from the mountain!

Lots of love,

Raju Kaju