In this edition of Letters from Sri Ramanasramam, we have included an Another book written by Suri Nagamma and published by the Ashram as My Life . LETTERS. FROM. SRI RAMANASRAMAM. Extract Version. SURI NAGAMMA. Translated by. D. S. SASTRI. Published by. V. S. RAMANAN. PRESIDENT. Sri Ramanasramam's PDF downloads. Most Are NO Longer Available. Sri Ramanasramam is slowly working to make these titles available as mobile apps.

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download Letters from Sri Ramanasramam: Read 1 Books Reviews - to write some stanzas in Telugu and so I transcribed letter by letter from Sanskrit into Telugu script and practised them. .. By Suri Nagamma. Ċ, Ċ, View Download, Letters from Ramanasramam --Suri Nagamma, k, v.

Though his body was in Madurai, his mind was in Tirupperundurai. He was merely biding his time. The Pandyan king, however, sent his spies to Perundurai and found out that there were no horses there meant for the king and that all the money meant for their download had been spent in the renovation of the temple. So he immediately put Manikkavachagar in prison, making him undergo all the trials and tribulations of jail life.

Meanwhile, as originally arranged, on the day of the Moola star, Iswara assumed the guise of a horseman, transformed the jackals of the jungle into horses, and brought them to the king. The king was astonished at this, took delivery of the horses and according to the advice of the keeper of the stables, had them tied up at the same place where all his other horses were kept. He thanked the horseman profusely, and after sending him away with several presents, released Manikkavachagar from jail with profuse apologies.

The same night the new horses changed into their real forms, killed all the horses in the stables, ate them, created similar havoc in the city, and fled.

The king grew very angry, branded Manikkavachagar as a trickster and put him back in jail.

Letters from Sri Ramansramam Volumes I and II

Soon, in accordance with Iswaras orders, the waters of the River Vaigai rose in floods and the whole of the city of Madurai was under water. Alarmed at that, the king assembled all the people and ordered them to raise the bunds of the river. For the purpose, he ordered that every citizen should do a certain amount of work with a threat of dire consequences should he fail to do his allotted work.

There was in Madurai an old woman by name Pittuvani Ammaiyar. She was a pious devotee of Lord Siva. She was living alone earning her livelihood by daily preparing and selling pittu [sweetened powdered rice pressed into conical shapes].

She had no one to do her allotted work on the river bund nor had she the money to hire a person to do it. She was therefore greatly worried and cried, Iswara! What shall I do? Seeing her helplessness, Iswara came there in the guise of a cooly with a spade on his shoulder and called out, Granny, granny, do you want a cooly? Yes, she said, but I dont have even a paise in my hand to pay you. What to do? He said, I do not want any money and would be satisfied if you gave me some portion of pittu to eat.

I shall then do the allotted work on the river bund. Pleased with that offer, she began making pittu but they did not come out in the full shape but were broken. Surprised at this she gave all the bits to the cooly. He ate as many of them as he could and went away, saying that he would attend to the bund-raising work.

Surprisingly, the dough with the old woman remained intact [i. The cooly went to the work spot but instead of doing the work, lay down there idly, standing in the way of others doing their work. The king went round to inspect the progress of the work and found that the portion allotted to Ammaiyar remained unattended to. On enquiry, his servants told him all the pranks of that cooly. The king got infuriated, called the cooly and said, Instead of doing the allotted work, you are lying down and singing.

So saying, he hit the cooly on the back with a cane he had in his hand. The blow recoiled not only on the king himself but on all living beings there and all of them suffered the pain on that account. The king immediately realised that the person hit by him was Parameswara himself in the guise of a cooly. The king stood aghast. Parameswara vanished and soon a voice from the sky said, O King! Manikkavachagar is my beloved devotee.

I myself did all this to show you his greatness. Seek his protection. Soon after hearing that voice, the king went to see Manikkavachagar and on the way he stepped into the house of Pittuvani to see her. By that time she had already got into a vimanam [a heavenly chariot] and was on her way to Kailash. The king was greatly surprised and saluted her and from there he went straight to Manikkavachagar and fell at his feet.

Manikkavachagar lifted him with great respect, and enquired of his welfare.

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The king entreatingly said, Please forgive me and rule this kingdom yourself. Manikkavachagar, looking at the king, said with kindness, Appah! As I have already agreed to serve the Lord, I cannot be bothered with the problems of ruling a kingdom. Please do not mistake me. Rule the kingdom, looking after the welfare of the people.

Henceforth you will have nothing to worry about. So saying, smilingly, he put on the dress of a sannyasin, and went about visiting holy places, singing the praises of Siva. One of the places he visited was Tiruvannamalai, which even then in the 9th century was a major Saiva pilgrimage centre. The Tiruvadavuradigal Puranam, a colourful and poetic retelling of Manikkavachakars life, includes the following verses that describe his visit: After worshipping at that shrine [Tiru-Venney-Nallur], with love in his heart he departed, following the righteous path, passing through the middle lands,22 traversing tall forests and mountains, where lions and fearsome elephants dwelt, until he drew near to enduring Arunais city.

You [Siva] who abide in the form of a mountain which appeared on that day as a column of flame for the two to seek!

Blissful life which fills our hearts!

Thus did he worship the Supreme Mountain Lord, receiving His grace, before proceeding forth to enter Arunais prosperous city. Leaving behind the groves, the city walls, the streets decorated with many beautiful banners, and the various shrines of the gods, and taking the path which led to the holy presence, he bowed down before the temple of the One who wears in His locks a kondrai garland, datura flowers, the moon and the snake, 21 22 Letters from and Recollections of Sri Ramanasramam, by Suri Nagamma, pp.

The territory between the Chola and Tondai lands. Praise be to the Mountain of cool ambrosia, mixed with the milk of green-hued Unnamulai,25 which men and gods alike drink down to cure the overpowering malady of their birth and death!

Praise be to the great ocean of grace of Him who placed His feet upon my head, the feet which tall Mal could not see, though he burrowed deep into the earth in the form of a powerful boar! Praise be to the Mountain of burnished gold, at whose side sits the slender green-hued form of Unnamulai, who is the earths protectress!

Praise be to Him who granted His grace to the victorious Durga, when She worshipped Him and begged Him to absolve Her from the sin of killing the powerful buffalo-headed demon!

Thus worshipping and praising the Lord out of heart-felt love, he dwelt there for some days. It was the month of Margazhi,27 when, in the ten days before the ardra asterism,28 the beautiful maidens go from household to noble household calling each other out in the early dawn, just as the darkness is dispersing, and, banding together, go to bathe in the holy tank.

On observing their noble qualities he sang the immortal hymn Tiruvembavai which is composed as if sung by the maidens themselves. Later, seeing them dance and sing This line has been taken by some people to mean that Manikkavachagar had a vision of Siva in the Arunachaleswara Temple.

Mahadevan in his Ten Saints of India ed. Each day is named after a particular star. Ardra is one of these star days. There is a tradition in Tiruvannamalai that both poems were composed while Manikkavachagar was doing pradakshina of Arunachala.

A small temple on the pradakshina road in the village of Adiannamalai is supposed to mark the spot where the two poems were composed and sung.

Bhagavan confirmed the validity of this tradition when he told Suri Nagamma: He [Manikkavachagar] then stood at that particular place and addressing Arunagiri [Arunachala] sang the songs Tiruvembavai and Ammanai. In Tiruvembavai young girls move from house to house, waking up their friends, and encouraging them to come to the temple to perform this rite.

Though, ostensibly, it is merely a poem about young girls encouraging each other to go and worship Siva, their trips to the temple are interpreted to be emblematic of the souls journey towards union with Siva.

It is thus a poem which encourages enthusiasm for the ultimate pilgrimage that culminates in the experience of Siva. There are also more fanciful interpretations that see in its lines various allegories for the Saiva view on how the world is brought into being.

The Tiruvembavai is one of Manikkavachagars most famous poems. Indeed, judging by the number of commentaries that have been written on it and from the number of meetings that are held to expound its meaning, it can justly be regarded as one of the most famous poems ever written in Tamil. Part of its fame can be attributed to its mystical obscurity, which has inevitably prompted a large number of differing explanations, but one cannot ignore the contribution made in recent times by the former Sankaracharya of Kanchipuram, Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati Swami.

The poem was a particular favourite of his, and he did much to encourage public awareness of it.

Letters from Sri Ramanasramam

Sri G. Vanmikanathan, who was personally encouraged to write commentaries on the Tiruvachakam by the Sankaracharya, has written that, each year, in the Tamil month of Margazhi, the Tiruvembavai poem is sung throughout the length and breadth of the Tamil-speaking world and conferences and meetings in hundreds are held in that period to expound it.

During Bhagavans lifetime there was a special early morning parayana during Margazhi when devotees chanted Tiruvembavai and other poems of Manikkavachagar. Though it has a distinguished place in Tamil literary history, and a strong local connection, there is only one recorded instance of Bhagavan citing a portion to a devotee.

This text was written several centuries after the Tiruvilaiyatal Puranam, the source that Bhagavan earlier utilised to summarise the main events of Manikkavachagars life.

Vanmikanathan, pp. So sing you then of His holy feet, O Maid, and in the flowery flood, plunging, bathe! El or empaavai! The final line, which has no particular meaning, is generally held to be a cry made in childrens games of that era. Suri Nagamma has reported that Ramaswami Pillai once recited this verse to Bhagavan at the end of the usual Tamil parayana. Bhagavan had wanted to get up and leave, but Ramaswami Pillai knew that he could probably detain Bhagavan for a few extra minutes since he knew that this was one of his favourite verses.

Devaraja Mudaliar has also reported that Bhagavan also liked a very similar phrase that appeared in Potritiruvahaval: Annamalai, our Father, praise be to you!

Ocean of nectar that delights our eyes, praise be to you! In this section we have put together all the instances we could find, and prepared new translations of all the lines that Bhagavan referred to: 1 [A young man asked] It is said that a jnani does not have happiness or sorrows, bodily ailments or the like; Sundarar and Appar are reported to have jumped with joy when they had a vision of God.

Even Ramakrishna Paramahamsa is reported to have grieved terribly when he did not get a vision of the Holy Mother and to have gone into ecstasies when he did get a vision. Not only that; when Ramakrishna Paramahamsa had some bodily ailment, he used to cry out for Mother.

What does it mean? Do jnanis have happiness and sorrow? Bhagavan answered him, You say all that in relation to the body, dont you? It is not possible to judge a jnani by his bodily ailments. Manikkavachagar sang a hymn the purport of which is, O Iswara, you have showered on me your blessings even before I asked for them. How kind of you! Even so why is it I do not feel grieved? Is my heart made of stone? My eyes do not get wet. Are they made of wood?

Not only with these two eyes, but I wish that my whole body were full of eyes so that I could weep with them. I would then be very happy. I wish my heart would melt and become watery so that it could become integrated with you. That is the purport. But then is that grief real grief? Some people give vent to their happiness by loudly expressing it when they get a 33 34 Tiruvembavai, verse The third and fourth lines of the Potritiruvahaval translation line in the original poem are the ones that Bhagavan liked.

The previous two lines in the original merely give the context. It was the same with Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. Mother, how kind of you! How merciful! Anyway, if we want to know about his real state, we should first know about our own state, said Bhagavan. Rider on the Bull! Lord of Heavens Host! No sooner do they hear these words, Your devotees, than, melting, gasping, thirsting in their hearts, they tumble, like torrents rushing down a mountainside, to stand at last in expectation of Your grace.

Yet I it was, [not them], You came to rule! O my Father, still this body does not all heart become, and melt from sole of foot to crown of head, nor transformed all into eyes, does it shed a flood unstoppable of tears.

Truly, in one of evil karma such as I, the heart is stone, the eyes, two knots of wood. Das, the physics lecturer, asked, Contemplation is possible only with control of mind and control can be accomplished only by contemplation. Is it not a vicious circle?

Bhagavan: Yes, they are interdependent. They must go on side by side. Practice and dispassion bring about the result gradually. Dispassion is practised to check the mind from being projected outward; practice is to keep it turned inward.

There is a struggle between control and contemplation. It is going on constantly within. Contemplation will in due course be successful. Devotee: How to begin? Your grace is needed for it Bhagavan: Grace is always there. Dispassion cannot be acquired, nor realisation of the truth, nor inherence in the Self, in the absence of the Gurus grace, the Master quoted. Practice is necessary.

It is like training a roguish bull confined to his stall by tempting him with luscious grass and preventing him from straying. Then the Master read out a stanza from Tiruvachakam which is an address to the mind, saying, O humming bee [namely, mind]!

Why do you take the pains of collecting tiny specks of honey from innumerable flowers? There is one from whom you can have the whole storehouse of honey by simply thinking or seeing or speaking of Him. Get within and hum to Him [hrimkara]. Tirucatakam, 3. The objective visions have no intrinsic value.

Even if they are everlasting, they cannot satisfy the person. Uma has Siva always with Her. Both together form Ardhanariswara. Yet she wanted to know Siva in His true nature. She made tapas. In her dhyana she saw a bright light. She thought, This cannot be Siva for it is within the compass of my vision.

I am greater than this light. So she resumed her tapas. Stillness prevailed. She then realised the BE-ing is Siva in His true nature. Muruganar cited Appars stanza: To remove my darkness and give me light, Thy grace must work through ME only.

Sri Bhagavan mentioned Sri Manikkavachagars: We do bhajans and the rest. But we have not seen nor heard of those who had seen Thee.

One cannot see God and yet retain individuality. The seer and the seen unite into one Being. There is no cogniser nor cognition, nor the cognised. All merge into one Supreme Siva only! King of Perunturai, that cool rice fields surround!

You whom even thought is powerless to reach! You who come before us, abolishing our flaws, subjecting us to Your compassions rule, our Lord, Arise from Your couch, in grace, come forth! My thoughts upon that nature dwelt till thoughts there were no more.

There is nothing else other than You.

Approaching and approaching, Tirukottumbi, v. Muruganar used the same image to describe the way that Bhagavan eroded his own ego: Radiant Padam [Bhagavan] destroyed my ego, demolishing it over and over again. It wore it down and down, smaller and smaller, to the size of an atom, until it became one with itself.

See Padamalai, p. Bhagavan also mentioned the first part of this verse when he was speaking to G. See Sri Ramana Reminiscences, ed. Hail Siva, dwelling in Holy Perunturai! There is nothing that You are, yet without You nothing is! Who indeed can know You? He [Bhagavan] said, This is clear advaita but these Vaishnavites would give it some interpretation to make it accord with their feeling of duality.

They hold that they must exist and God must exist, but how is that possible? It seems that they must all remain forever doing service in Vaikunta, but how many of them are to do service, and where would there be room for all the Vaishnavites?

Bhagavan said this laughing, and then after a pause he added, On the other hand advaita does not mean that a man must always sit in samadhi and never engage in action. Many things are necessary to keep up the life of the body, and action can never be avoided. Nor is bhakti ruled out in advaita. Sankara is rightly regarded as the foremost exponent of advaita, and yet look at the number of shrines he visited action and the devotional songs he wrote.

Bhagavan then gave further quotations from the eighth Decad of Thiruvoymozhi to show that some of the Vaishnavite Alwars had clearly endorsed advaita. He particularly emphasised the third stanza where it says: I was lost in Him or in That and the fifth which is very like the Tiruvachakam stanza that says the ego got attenuated more and more and was extinguished in the Self.

That too was due to His sweet grace. To gain the jnana that the mind, the prana, the body and the rest of the [apparently] indestructible entities are flawed, I crawled strenuously to the very end, till my ego was extinguished in Him. Having realised myself the one enduring [reality], there is nothing in its attribute-free subtle nature for anyone to know in an objective way as this or that.

Even to see it is impossible. Impossible to know as either good or evil, it totally transcends objective knowledge.

Approaching and approaching It, and being worn away more and more, I was destroyed without any residue. I do not perform religious sacrifices [homa], etc. Shall I have painful rebirths for that reason? Pray save me! Bhagavan: Why do you say that you are a sinner? Your trust in God is sufficient to save you from rebirths. Cast all burdens on Him. In the Tiruvachakam it is said: Though I am worse than a dog, you have graciously undertaken to protect me.

This delusion of birth and death is maintained by You. Moreover, am I 43 44 Koyil Tirupatikam, verse 7. The tenth verse will appear later in the article. Day by Day with Bhagavan, 27th June Am I the Lord here?

O Maheswara! It is for you to roll me through bodies [through births and deaths] or to keep me fixed at your own feet. Therefore have faith and that will save you. This birth and death, mayas delusion, should be placed under Your supervision, and I should remain still. Is it any longer my prerogative to pass judgement on this? You who wear an eye upon Your brow! Put me in a body if You will. Or place me at Your holy feet. The Tevaram authors Jnanasambandhar, Appar and Sundaramurti expressed similar sentiments in their own poems.

Bhagavan pointed out that all four saints revealed their true experience of the Self in the very first verse that they wrote,48 thus implying that their later complaints, which suggest separation from God, are merely poetic devices. Bhagavan commented on this traditional practice of saints denigrating themselves in the following exchange: In many of his works Sivaprakasam Pillai laments over his lack of devotion and his inability to follow Bhagavans teachings. A devotee once asked Bhagavan about this, saying, Sivaprakasam Pillai, who is such a good man, such an ardent devotee, and a longstanding disciple, has written a poem saying that Sri Bhagavans instructions could not be carried out by him in practice.

What can be the lot of others then? Sri Bhagavan replied, Sri Acharya [Adi-Sankaracharya] also says similar things when he composes songs in praise of any deity. How else can they praise God? Long live the feet of the Master! Long live the feet that never, even for an eyes blink, leave my heart! Long live the jewel among gurus, who in Kokazhi,50 bent me to his rule! Long live the feet of him who, as the Agamas, sweetly dwells! Long live the holy feet of the One, the Many, the Being Supreme! Kuzhaitta Pattu, verse 8.

A translation of all the lines of Siva Puranam, made by the authors of this article, can be found at www. Till then there is devotion bhakti. Even for a trice you do not leave my mind. Does He leave you [at] any moment? It is you who allow your mind to wander away. He remains always steady. When your mind is fixed you say, He does not leave my mind even for a trice. How ridiculous! He once told Devaraja Mudaliar, If ten persons should join together and sing it harmoniously, how grand it would be!

Towards the end comes the passage, O Iswara, you are trying to flee, but I am holding You fast. So where can You go and how can You escape from me? Bhagavan commented with a smile, So it seems that He is trying to flee and they are holding Him fast! Where could He flee to? Where is He not present? Who is He? All this is nothing but a pageant. There is another sequence of songs in the same book, one of which goes, O my Lord, You have made my mind Your abode.

You have given yourself up to Me and in return have taken Me into you. Lord, which of us is the cleverer?

If You have given Yourself up to me, I enjoy endless bliss, but of what use am I to You, even though You have made of my body Your temple, out of Your boundless mercy to me?

What is it I could do for You in return? I have nothing now that I could call my own. This means that there is no such thing as I. See the beauty of it! Where there is no such thing as I, who is the doer and what is it that is done, whether it be devotion or self-enquiry or samadhi?

Matchless jewel! Rare nectar, the ripening of love! Please accept my humble offering. You or I? Who exactly has grown thin will be known if the weight is taken. If you like, you may eat those fruits every day yourself. Why this for me? It is all right; you have brought them to day, but please do not bring them again.

Please give her several of these pieces and distribute the rest to the others. I am taking whatever I require. What good would there be in my taking more food and getting fat? By getting fat, do you know how many ailments one suffers? The more you eat, the greater will grow the strength of the ailment. If you eat just what is necessary, ailments will be avoided. Buttermilk is brought into the dining hall in big buckets with large ladles.

When taking out the buttermilk for serving me, the ladle is full, but when the same is served to the very next person, the ladle is only half full. When I saw that, I got disgusted and felt that I myself should not take any more than half a ladleful. How will all that be possible for me? We get quite a lot of fruit. Why say that it is impossible? You yourself have stated that what is offered voluntarily can be accepted.

The fruit is shown here to the Swami as an offering, a naivedya, and then taken away. It is kept locked in the store room.The attendants gave her some plantains and thus managed to send her out. Yes, yes, you have been waiting to see whether I would ask for them, and thereby test me. Bhagavan, however, said with affection, "Let her come.

The villagers were very much surprised at this and began a search for the person who was till then working in their village as a schoolteacher, but could not find him anywhere. If you eat just what is necessary, ailments will be avoided.