28 October 2007

Visiting Swami Ramanananda

A pleasurable and informative time is always spent when visiting Swami Ramanananda and it takes little to persuade me to stop by and have a chat with him. Although Swami in no way encourages visitors and lives quietly and reclusively off the Hillround Roadway, he is unfailingly courteous and friendly whenever a pilgrim stops by his house. Swami Ramanananda has played a crucial role not only in the renovation and re-popularisation of Adi Annamalai Temple but also in helping the many seekers who find their way to him.

He was born in Burma approximately 70 years ago and when he was around 7 years of age, he returned with his family to India. Swami believes that the foundation of his character and his commitment and focus was established during the period of his schooling at Adayar, Madras (now called Chennai) at the Besant Theosophical High School. Swami recalls the time of Sri Ramana Maharshi’s death on April 14, 1950, as a period that caused great distress to many at the school.

The book introducing Bhagavan to Swami was; “Ramana Maharshi: Path of Self Knowledge,” by Arthur Osborne as it opened his eyes to self-enquiry and convinced him that the discipline of self-enquiry was his allotted spiritual path. Within 3 months of reading the book, Swami was drawn to Arunachala and in 1959 he visited Tiruvannamalai for the first time, staying at Ramana Ashram for 20 days.

Swami recalls, of that first trip, that although he was totally focussed on Ramana Maharshi, the energy was very subtle and he didn’t receive the shakti he had anticipated, so he felt disappointed. Before leaving Bhagavan’s Samadhi, Swami prostrated and asked for Ramana’s blessings by somehow giving him the answer to four questions/doubts he had. That night in the train the young man (later to be Swami Ramanananda) dreamt of Bhagavan as radiating golden light who smilingly answered the questions the despondent pilgrim had put to him at the Samadhi, thus:

(1) You didn’t come, I brought you
(2) This is your path – i.e. Self Enquiry
(3) You are not to be running around here and there
(4) Keep quiet

Swami woke up near Madras and his melancholy state changed to that of joy enabling him to return to his work and duties in North India with a new spirit of confidence.

Swami Ramanananda’s father came to Tiruvannamalai in 1962 as a result of his son’s friendship with Hugo Maier – who was Swami’s best friend and who visited the family in Calcutta. The brother and father of Swami were impressed with Hugo Maier - and the conversations they had with him served to give the family a very positive idea about Ramana and Arunachala.

Swami continued his work as a structural engineer for the British Consortium Braithwaite, Burns and Jessup (BBJ) a Construction Company that constructed; Howrah Bridge in Calcutta, floating docks for the British Admiralty in Bombay, bridge railways and steel factories throughout India. Swami Ramanananda worked for a total of 14 years in the world before renouncing and moving permanently to Arunachala in 1969

Swami took Sannyasin in 1982 at Tiruvannamalai where he was initiated by a Swami from North India. He has never married and lives as a Brahmachari.


Eileen said...

He sounds like such a simple and pure soul!

Balasubramanian said...

Tks for the valuable info.


Arunachala Living said...

Its nice visiting him - he is just as you say, a seemingly simple, pure soul.