Where can I find a real guru? All popular gurus of today seem to be rolling in wealth, immersed in materialism, running multi crore institutions and doing globe trotting

Divine grace is needed to get the right guru. If the seeker is earnest, he will get the right guru at the end for sure.

A truly realized Jnani can be a pauper like Bhagwan Ramana Maharshi or a king like Janaka Maharaja. Sri Krishna, an absolute total Avatar of God was living amidst worldly pleasures and materialism but nothing touched him.

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa lived a poor man’s life; he could not even touch money with his hand. He lived such an exemplary life of renunciation. But think of Swami Vivekananda, his prime disciple, to whom Sri Ramakrishna transferred all his shakti before leaving his body and the way he “extracted work” from Vivekananda!

Vivekananda roamed all around India as a penniless mendicant; he got the divine prompting to go to USA again as a penniless person. He swept the west like a storm, brought wealth, started Sri Ramakrishna Mission and Math, built Belur Mutt, built a grand temple for Sri Ramakrishna there, set up several branches of the mutt, engaged his brother monks into various social service activities, built educational institutions and other institutions for the welfare of the downtrodden men and women.

Like a tempest he worked ceaselessly and built a huge institution and left his body when he was just 40 with total detachment as a true Sanyasin!

Think of Swami Sivananda. He was floating in wealth as a popular doctor in Malaysia. He was gripped by thirst for spirituality, came to India, got initiated into Sanyas, did tapas at Rishikesh, lived the life of a begging monk and got enlightened.

He served the poor and sick monks of Rishikesh. He started Sivananda Ashram – ‘Divine Life Society’ from a humble hut and built it into a huge Ashram comprising of a temple, a hospital, a photo studio, a Yoga Institute, a Vedanta Institute, a printing press and he had an office manned by some 40 typists with typewriters to handle all his correspondence and writing!

Swami Sivananda once said, “If I can serve 100 people unobtrusively or serve thousands of people through advertisement, I would choose the latter”. Same Swami Sivananda, when his ashram was gripped with financial difficulty, said, “I have no qualms if we have to shut down everything and we can always go back to our old simple ways by taking food at Annakshetra”. That is the sign of a mahatma.

Likewise, there are indeed Gurus of today that the media may project as billionaires rolling in luxury, materialism and worldliness, but they may be totally untouched by any of them even today.

Kali yuga is such that even Ashrams cannot totally escape some pomp, show, commercialization and materialism. If the head of the ashram is a pure realized soul, everything can remain in balance. The institutions may have to be run by ordinary people with ordinary morals (who are yet to be evolved) and some of them may bring bad name to the Mahatma who runs the institutes too! But true Mahatmas accept all sorts of people out of compassion to elevate them spiritually.

As I said, it requires divine grace — the grace to know the difference between the right Guru and a fake Guru, to differentiate the wheat and the chaff.

Why do some believe that ordinary persons like Mata Amritanandamayi or Sai Baba have extraordinary powers?

To answer this question, one must essentially delve deeper into the concept of Avatar in Hinduism. One must also try to understand the concept of Advaita in Hinduism. One must be able to grasp the grandest statement of Hinduism that everyone has the potential to attain Godliness. You may say, all these are essentially beliefs and say, “I can’t believe unless ‘scientifically proved’ ” , we will come to some amount of proving a bit later.

According to Hinduism, God takes up human form and comes to live among us to teach us the right dharma and show the way for spiritual advancement for earnest seekers from time to time. They also annihilate evil forces that tend to tilt the balance towards adharma and restore dharma — It is the Avatar.

Avatars, though by looks and physical behaviour will be like a human beings, they are NOT just ordinary mortals. So, fundamentally, Satya Saibaba and Mata Amritanandamayi are NOT just ordinary people. They are avatars.

The way they lead their lives, the way they demonstrate super-human capabilities right from childhood, the way they influence people who are truly attracted towards them through faith and surrender, the way they make miraculous changes in the lives of people (either overtly or covertly), the way they accomplish unbelievable tasks within unbelievable time-frame, the way they spread love and care on humanity cutting across all caste, creed and religious barriers, the way they create a massive revival of spirituality — are all beyond the comprehension of ordinary mortals.

Those who are skeptical,who think they are very rational, think they know all about human beings and God, think they are “scientifically oriented” , who declare themselves proudly as non-believers by closing their ears, eyes, nose, mind and heart and declare “No — these Godmen and Godwomen are all only frauds bent upon cheating and looting people” can only be deluding themselves from reality.

Now coming to the proof.

Thousands of personal experiences can be given by people who experienced changes in their lives by coming to Amma or Satya Sai. You will say “these are concocted stories spread by blind believers in vested interest”.

Just set aside some 20 minutes of your time by keeping your eyes and heart open and go through the following link that contains the historical record of what Mata Amritanandamayi has done in each and every year of her living in this world amidst us in the past 64 years:

Life Timeline of Amma (Mata Amritanandamayi) – with images

Some of the happenings are deeply spiritual about which I am sure you will not be inclined to even learn/digest. But there are also things done to the world. There are records and proofs. Then come to your own conclusion:

How are the grandest tasks accomplished?

They are accomplished by believers’ dedication and hard work; through the money people donate willingly; through the fees collected from institutions; through selling of products and services that the believing devotees (consisting doctors, scientists, teachers, professors, doctorates, engineers, pharmacists, writers, publishers, technicians, artisans, labourers and so on) contribute with love and dedication. A considerable percentage of the services are voluntary.

After all, people who do all these works (as instruments of the avatar) are human beings with their own limitations, deficiencies and inefficiencies too. So, along the side of grand things happening, you will also find some shortfalls, some imperfections, some little blunders and some wastages here and there. But if you look at the macro picture, the negatives will not too big. It is also a part of the divine maya. Nothing is 100% perfect in creation.

Swami Chidbhavananda – a brief Biography in Tamil – சுவாமி சித்பவானந்தர் – பெரியாரின் நாத்திகவாதத்துக்கு மாற்றாய் ஆத்திகக் கல்வி பரப்பிய மாமுனிவர்

Brief Biography of Swami (Papa) Ramdas (1884-1963)


What is Swami (Papa) Ramdas’ uniqueness amid Hindu spiritual masters?

Papa Ramadas was a saint, a God realized/ Self realized master, whose life stood as  a standing example of the efficacy of chanting Rama Mantra as a sure means of realization. He was a saint who saw his beloved Ram inside him as well as in every living being outside. He lived an exemplary life of total surrender to his Ram and demonstrated to the world that a life of cent percent renunciation is possible and when such a surrender comes, the Lord takes care of everything for the well being of his beloved devotee.

Papa Ramdas lived a life of a wandering monk carrying no money or possessions with him during his early spiritual life and traveled the length and breadth of India. Later he established his Math Anandashramam at Kanhankad, (Kasargod district) in north Kerala.

He had thousands of followers who came to him for spiritual guidance. He blessed them with Rama Mantra :” Om Sri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram“. He recommended a sadhana practice of Nama (Chanting of the name of Lord Rama), dhyana (meditation) and Seva (selfless service for the well being of others) to his followers as the effective means of attaining spiritual progress and God realization in life.

Birth and early years

Vittal Rao (later Swami Papa Ramadas) was born on the auspicious day of Hanumat Jayanti (the birthday of Lord Hanuman) on April 10th 1884 as the sixth son of the Saraswath Brahmin couple Sri Balakrishna Rao and Lalitha Bai, at Hosdurg in Kasargod district of Kerala. He had 9 brothers and three sisters. His parents led a simple life, full of devotion to God and dedication to austerities.

Vittal Rao had his primary education in Hosdurg and went to Mangalore and then to Udupi for higher education. Vittal Rao was a happy go lucky boy, enjoying games and swiftly climbing trees; though intelligent and quick to grasp things, he had no taste in formal education and he failed in his matriculation. As a boy, he was a free thinker, not conforming to mimicking the worldly; he loved simplicity and was pure in heart. He was quite humorous too. He learned English well. He also read bible during his high school days.

After failing in matriculation exams at Christian High School, Udupi, , he returned to Hosdurg and started showing interest in theatre and arts. He went to The School of Arts in Chennai to formally learn painting and screen printing. He then went to Mumbai to learn textile manufacturing at Victoria Jubilee Institute. He did not develop much of interest in it. He developed lots of interest in reading variety of books including English literature and was influenced by books on the life and teachings of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Swami Vivekananda and Swami Rama Tirtha. He read Bhagavad Gita and felt highly influenced by it. After finishing the diploma course of three years duration successfully in textile manufacturing, he started looking for jobs. After chequered start in making a career for life, he got a job Spinning Master in Gulbarga for a brief period.

At the age of twenty five, he was married to Rukma Bai. Because of high instability in his career, Vittal Rao was without job many times and it affected his family life too. Five years after marriage,  Rukma Bai gave birth to a female child named Ramabai.


Vittal Rao worked as a Spinning Master in several mills at places like Coimbatore, Ahmadabad, Cuttack etc. He was disturbed by seeing the exploitation of workmen by higher management and got disillusioned with his job. He started his own business of dying clothes in Mangalore. But because of his generosity, compassionate nature and lack of calculative shrewdness, he failed to be a successful businessman and soon accumulated quite a loss. He had accumulated debts to be cleared; he was stressed out and he lead a life of worries, sorrows and desperation. Almost an year passed in this way.

Vittal Rao, the family man under mental turmoil, longing for a journey in quest of God…

In this process, he  developed a deep longing for escape from the worldly life, which had no more attraction for him. He started praying to his beloved God Rama earnestly. He started chanting Lord Rama’s name and spent his time in prayer and meditation.

Thus Vittal Rao was turning inwards, developing discrimination and dispassion and longing for a spiritually dedicated life. Gradually he started gaining mental peace. He turned to simple living and started wearing khaddar; he lost interest in eating and simplified his intake to bananas and boiled potatoes, eating just one time only in a day. He relinquished cushioned bed and slept in mat. He reduced his sleep and spent the night in the contemplation of Lord Ram.

It was at this time that divine grace started working on him. A compassionate friend  volunteered to become his business partner and  paid back all of his the loans!

In the meanwhile, Vittal Rao’s father Balakrishna Rao, having lost his wife, opted to spend his older years dedicated to devotion to God; he went to stay with his eldest son at Kasargod. One day, as he was visiting the famous Udupi Krishna Temple, he got attracted by the radiating divinity of a sanyasi sitting in the shade of a tree in the marketplace. He went and surrendered at his feet. The sanyasi initiated Balakrishna Rao with the mantra “Sri Ram Jaya Ram Jaya Jaya Ram“. Sri Rao was overjoyed by the unexpected divine grace and felt very blessed.

Getting Mantra Diksha

Since Balakrishna Rao knew of his son Vittal’s ardent yearning for a spiritually oriented life, he came to Mangalore to meet his son, with his heart full of compassion; he told Vittal Rao about the mantra he had received from the sanyasi and without delay, he imparted the mantra to his son and blessed him.

And that was the turning point in the life of Vittal Rao. It paved the way for Vittal Rao to blossom into Swami Ramdas sooner.

The moment Ramdas received the mantra, he felt enthralled. He felt he was now a bird released from the cage.  He fell at the feet of his father and from that day, he treated him as his beloved guru, who, out of utmost compassion, came to give him the key to his liberation.

From that day onward, Vittal Rao immersed himself in chanting the Rama Mantra day and night. He added “Om” to the Rama mantra that his father gave. Rather, the mantra virtually caught hold of Vittal! The more he chanted the mantra, the more Vittal got immersed in the bliss of contemplation of his beloved lord Rama. Food and sleep became matters of irrelevance to him.

He started seriously thinking of leaving behind the worldly life altogether and take up Sanyas. He fervently prayed to Lord Rama for His guidance. On that day, as he was reading books like The Light of Asia (Buddha’s life), New Testament and Bhagavad Gita, whatever pages he opened and read contained sentences glorifying a life of renunciation. Vittal Rao took this as the answer from Lord Ram for his prayers. He wrote a letter to his friend who helped him out of his financial difficulty informing of his decision. He also wrote another letter to his wife.

The following is the translation of the letter written by Vittal Rao to his wife before he left his home for good. Notice how he addresses his wife in this letter:

To Srimati Rukmabai, Mangalore

Beloved Sister,

From now onward, you will be my sister. I have surrendered myself totally at the feet of Sri Ram. He has redeemed me from my erstwhile life. Taking his holy name on my lips, I am going out into this vast world as a beggar.  You know that I have no other desire in this life except striving for receiving His grace and love. I am dedicating the rest of my life for this lofty ideal. I am ready to face any amount of hardship for this purpose.

We are not going to meet as husband and wife hereafter.  Lead your life dedicated to God and truth and also ensure that Rame (Ramabai) too follows it.

Never give up the spinning wheel. It will give you peace and bliss. Let Rame too do it.

Sriram’s blessings on you and Rame – He protects you both.

Yours affectionately

B.Vittal Rao


Taking two dhotis dyed in saffron with him along with a cash of about 25 Rupees and a couple of books mentioned above, he left at 5 AM on the next day from Mangalore and took a train that went up to Erode. Thus began his life of renunciation from family bonds, in December 1922, at his age of 38.

Travelling Mendicant Ramdas – ‘In Quest of God’

Vittal Rao then travelled to Srirangam in Tamil Nadu. He took bath in Kaveri river and took up Sanyas by wearing the ochre clothes, leaving his old clothes to the flowing waters of the Kaveri. He prayed to Lord Ram to protect him from the threats of leading a life of a renunciate. He took three vows: 1) To dedicate the rest of his life to the contemplation of Rama and in service of Rama.  2) To consider every woman as his mother  and 3) To carry on with his physical needs by taking food only through begging or when someone offers it voluntarily.

Thus Vittal Rao, having opted to become a lifelong servant of his Lord Ram, took up the name Ramdas.

He donated some money to fellow mendicants. He decided to leave his future course of movement and actions totally to the prompting of Lord Ram or to whatever way the Lord lead him by circumstances, without much of a choice of his own.

And from then onwards, the wondrous ways of the Lord’s divine play started unfolding in his life. An enthralling life of a wandering monk began;  Ramdas was always assisted, taken care of and lead by some stray sadhu or other  who joined with him voluntarily (different persons at different journeys). Ramdas opted to call such a person as Sadhu Ram. According to him, it was verily Lord Ram who came with him to take care of him.

Ramdas travelled to Rameswaram, Madurai, Chidambaram, Thirupapuliyur, Puducherry and then to Thiruvannamalai. At times he travelled in train without tickets and had to face the wrath  from the Ticket Checkers and Police. But through his radiating divinity and utter humility, he won the hearts of even the toughest officers and underwent no punishment. Rather they turned around and extended help to him to proceed with his travels!

Meeting Ramana Maharshi and Having the Universal Vision of Lord Ram

Along with a sadhu Ram accompanying him, Ramdas went to the meet Bhagwan Ramana Maharshi, who was staying in a humble hut at the foothills of Arunachala (Thiruvannamalai). Ramadas surrendered at the holy feet of the saint and made this prayer: “Maharaj, here stands before Thee a humble slave. Have pity on him. His only prayer to Thee is to give him thy blessing.”

Bhagwan Ramana Maharshi — his mere look is enough

The Maharshi, turning his beautiful eyes towards Ramdas, and looking intently for a few minutes into his eyes as though he was pouring into Ramdas his blessing, then nodded his head to indicating that he had blessed. A thrill of inexpressible joy coursed through the frame of Ramdas, his whole body quivering like a leaf in the breeze.

After this darshan, Ramdas wanted to stay up in the in the Arunachala hill in a cave all alone, engaged in his japa and dhyana uninterrupted. Sadhu Ram made arrangements for it. He spent one month ther, deeply engaging in his sadhana and enjoying a divine bliss of Rama consciousness all the time. Every day, he went down to the town to beg some rice; he cooked it and ate it once a day and engaged rest of the day in his deep contemplation.

And one day, as Ramdas came out of the cave,  got the exhilarating divine experience of seeing everything around him verily the manifestations of Rama and nothing else. Ramdas described his experience thus:

Once, during the day, when he was lost in the madness of Ram’s meditation, he came out of the cave and found a man standing a little away from the mouth of the cave. Ramdas felt an irresistible attraction towards this friend because it was due to the perception of Ram in him. “O Ram, You have come, you have come!” Unconsciously, he ran up to him and locked him up in a fast embrace. This action of Ramdas thoroughly frightened the friend who thought that it was a mad man who was behaving in this manner and so was afraid of harm from him. It was true that he was mad of Ram, a harmless madness that the visitor realised later.  At times, he would feel driven to clasp in his arms the very trees and plants growing in the vicinity of the cave. Ram was attracting him from all directions. Oh, the mad and loving attraction of Ram! O Ram, Thou art Love, Light and Bliss!

Travelling to North India

After this experience, Ramdas continued his journey northwards. He went to Tirupati, Puri, Kolkata and Dakshineswar. He visited Dakshineswar Kali temple, the holy place where Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa had lived.

It is in this room that Ramdas rolled on the floors in an inexplicable divine bliss.

A stranger voluntarily took care of his needs and also led him to the room where Sri Ramakrishna lived;  Ramadas felt that the whole room was surcharged with divine vibrations. A divine bliss ran in his nerves wave by wave. Unconsciously, he started rolling over the floor of the room as if to charge him further with the dust of the room that had been purified with the holy feet of Sri Ramakrishna. The visitor was taken aback by the inexplicable divine madness and joy with which Ramadas was rolling on the floor for about half an hour.

Next he visited Tarakanath, Kashi and then reached Jhansi. There he met a businessman by name Mahadeva Prasad; the Moment Sri Prasad saw Ramdas, he was possessed by a great sense of devotion and surrender to the wandering saint. He forced Ramdas to stay with him and ensured that Ramdas’ physical being is taken care of and some health is restored, which had been battered by total discard due to cold, extreme physical strains, lack of nutrition etc.

Ramdas lived in Jhansi for more than a month. He started giving lectures on Bhagavad Gita and other scriptures to small group of devotees who gathered around him and revered him as their guru. Another devotee by name Ramkinkar became quite close to him.

Visiting Himalayas

Ramdas, the weather-beaten, travelling mendicant

Ramdas left Jhansi for travelling to holy places in Himalayas in the company of Ramkinkar. He visited Haridwar, Rishikesh, Kedarnath and Badrinath. All those places were covered by walk. The beauty of Himalayan mountains capped with snow, the holy rivers, the flora and fauna frequently brought Ramdas to rapture and he felt the presence of his Lord Ram everywhere. Ramdas, surcharged with energy like a Hanuman, climbed huge hills surrounding the holy places and took bath in ice cold waters.

After visiting Himalayas, he travelled to Mathura, Gokul and Vrindavan, Raipur, Ajmir, Junagadh, Dwaraka etc and came to Mumbai. He stayed with his erstwhile brother Ramakrishna Rao there. He continued his journey to Panchavati, Trimbakeshwar, Pandharpur, Bijapur and arrived at Hubli, to meet Sri Siddharoodha Swamy at the behest of his brother.

He stayed in the Mutt of Siddharoodha Swamy and enjoyed the company of the revered saint for a week.

Back home

Siddharudha Swamy, Hubli

By this time, the news of his arrival at Hubli reached his erstwhile family at Mangalore. His erstwhile wife along with the daughter came to meet him at Hubli. She prayed to Siddharudha Swami to impress Ramdas to return to Mangalore with her. As instructed by the saint, Ramdas accompanied her back to Mangalore. However he made clear to her that his return to grihasthashram (worldly life) was unthinkable as his life had been possessed by Rama irrevocably.

He stayed with his eartwhile brother Sitarama Rao and also met his father who was his guru too.

Thus the first phase of Ramdas’ spiritual life of intense period of Rama Consciousness in which Ramdas lived the life of a wandering monk for a period of about one year,  came to an end.

Ramdas explains his temperament and state of being during this one year period as below:

During this period, Ramdas’ mind was totally in peace and his life was one of total surrender. The world was dreamlike to him and was virtually non existent.  He travelled from one place to another like a machine. Lord Rama was obviously taking care of him with love and protection. In his exclusive world, only Ram and Ramdas were existent. There was unequivocal bliss in that state. Ramdas was free from dualities — pain and pleasure, heat and cold, good and bad. His mind was always at peace, rest and silence; it was sort of empty too.

 At times, he would suddenly slip to the external world  with all its associated dualities, but Ramdas would be attentive enough to notice it and withdraw his mind inward again. 

Ramdas disliked crowd. He always tried to escape to places of loneliness. Ramdas was totally free from any fear — fear of any danger or even death. He had the strongest conviction that he was in the protection of his Lord.

Rama’s name was constantly on his lips. He kept chanting it mechanically at all times. North Indian acquaintances that became close to him felt that he was totally free from any attachment. 

Ramdas was virtually like a child; he was extremely humble and obedient towards others. He was taken care of by others as if he was a child and they assisted him in taking bath, dressing up, eating and so on.   

He was never attracted or distracted by anything happening in the world. Both his mind and intellect had stopped working. There  was no more the false sense of “I” in him. It was Rama who occupied that space. Ramdas spoke very little in this period. 

He was simply like a dry leaf, swept this way and that way by the wind.”

Austere Life at Pandava Cave

Pandava Cave at Kadri Hill

From his brother’s house, Ramdas then shifted his residence to the Pancha Pandava Cave at Kadri Hills, two miles away from Mangalore. He stayed alone with bare minimum needs and totally immersed himself in meditation and contemplation of Ram there, for a period of about three months. He ate just fruits and drank milk twice a day. His day would start at 3 AM and after ablutions, he would sit chanting japa and soon lose himself in deep meditation for hours at stretch with little external consciousness. He undertook vow of silence for a week.

It was the second phase of his spiritual quest. During this period of sadhana, Ramadas had visions of inner light; he delved deeper into his Self, transcending name, form, thought and intellect. He could experience the purity, silence and the bliss of his Self inside. Gradually, this state became permanent that there was no longer any fall of the mind into the external world.

Next he could feel that the Self (Atman) that was an internal experience of bliss and light was gradually expanding to cover the external world too. His Self bloomed like a flower and in its light, the whole external world was embraced by pure love and light. This bliss that he experienced this way was much more powerful. Even though he had bouts of this experience earlier too, during his days of austerities in Pandava Caves, it became a permanent nature of him. Ramdas became one with Ram.  Ramdas realized that he had now got transformed into a state brimming with energy, love and bliss. The fruit was totally ripe now. He was now fully ready to share that sweet bliss to all those who came into contact with him.

Ramdas, the Tapasvi, radiating divine love — The fruit was totally ripe now.


People started coming in large numbers to have his darshan at the cave. Ramdas interacted freely with them and shared his wonderful experiences with them. He spoke on the glory of God and His infinite compassion. He attracted people from all religions. He could instantly communicate with Muslims and Christians too and spoke with them as though he was verily one among them. His radiating divinity broke all boundaries.

During his stay in the caves, Ramdas wrote all the thrilling experiences of his previous one year journey in the book “In Quest of God” which got published first in the year 1925.

During this period at Pancha Pandava Caves, Ramadas served with love a group of beggars suffering under acute leprosy for a brief period.

Spreading his message of Love and bliss – The second round of travelling

Ramdas’ spiritual life now entered into the third phase. Ramdas decided to take up the life of a travelling mendicant once again. But this time, he was on a different mould. He was bent upon sharing his divine bliss to all those seekers who,  attracted by his divine radiance, mobbed him wherever he went. Ramdas visited Kasargod and Kollur. Through the association with a Yogi, he learned and practiced Pranayama. He had mixed experiences — positive and negative through this practice.  After practicing it intensely for some during his stay at Kudlu (near Kasargod) and grasping its efficacy, he discontinued this practice.

At the feet of God

During his lonely stay at Kudlu, Ramdas got an inner urge to outpour his spiritual bliss through writing: He wrote poems, prayers and articles which later in 1928 got published in the form of a book ‘At the feet of God‘.

Ramdas returned to Kadri Hills and stayed there again for about two months. This time, a young man by name Madhav (later Ramas called him Ram Charan Das) started staying with Ramdas and serving him with love and devotion.

Continuing journey northward

Ramdas began his next round of journey towards north by walk and Ram Charan Das joined him, despite Ramdas’ advising him against it.

Ramdas visited Gokaran, Shetphal and Pandharpur. Ramdas now insisted Ram Charan Das to undertake his own journey independently in order to personally taste the bliss of Lord Ram and understand how His love always protected a hapless devotee. Thus they parted ways.

Ramdas travelled alone to Bijapur, Hubli, Bangalore and then went Mangalore and Ernakulam.  Ramdas was taken care of very well by so many people in all the places he visited. People vied with each other to feed him and take spiritual advice from him. Unlike the past, Ramdas was quite open to talk freely with people on matters of God and spirituality and was giving lectures and invited talks to amidst gathering of devout people.

He again travelled northward to Goa, Mumbai, Wadhwan, Surat and many other places in between.  In Wadhwan, Ram Charan Das joined him. Later, again leaving Das to chart his own course, Ramdas left for Jhansi. There his old acquaintances who had become his devotees — Mahadev Prasad and Ramkinkar were emotionally overwhelmed to see him again and happily took care of him. Ramdas conducted satsang amid his several Jhansi devotees.

He then went to Chitrakoot, Bhanda and Gokar Parvat. He travelled to Lalitpur, Rajkot, Sattarpur, Kanpur and then returned to south. He witnessed the marriage of his erstwhile daughter Ramabai at Kasargod and felt happy to feed about 400 poor people as part of the ceremony.

He travelled again to Jhansi and then to Haridwar and Rishikesh. Purely driven by divine will, he travelled up in Himalayas to Vashistha Ashram which was not easily accessible to travellers. Despite his sparse food-intake, Ramdas was at the brim of his energy; climbing trees, cliffs and mountains were like child play to him and he was in constant bliss as he undertook his lonely journey by foot to various places in Himalayas. Everywhere Sadhus and poor villagers took abundant care of him with reverence.

Ramdas next took his  journey to Pathankot, Jammu and Kashmir. He travelled to Amarnath Cave and had the thrill of seeing the ice linga there. He reached Srinagar and met many sadhus. He returned to south via Amritsar, Sattarpur, Mumbai, Sholapur and finally returned to Kasargod. Several miracles happened by the will of the divine around Ramdas and Ramdas took them matter-of-factly with the mood of a witness. Wherever Ramdas went, crowds swelled; Bhajans, Satsangs and feeding of the poor happened.

First Anandashram — at Kasargod

At Kasargod, Ramdas stayed with his eldest brother Ananda Rao. Ananda Rao was very eager to construct an Ashram for Ramadas and a nice place was located at Bilkunchi hill nearby. A devotee leased the land free of charge. Soon construction of a humble Ashram began there in that picturesque surrounding. The ashram was  inaugurated on 3rd June 1928  in the presence of lots of devotees and well wishers, including the aged father and guru of Ramdas.

Coming into the fold of Ramdas — Mother Krishnabai (1903-1989)

It was in the year 1928 that Ma Krishnabai first met Ramdas, at her 25th age. Soon she surrendered totally at the holy feet of Ramdas and became his foremost disciple and future caretaker of Anandashram.  She got spiritual enlightenment by the blessings and guidance of Ramdas through her dedicated practice and surrender; she was held in the highest regard by Ramdas himself for her life totally  spent in loving and serving all. He wrote about Krishnabai at a future occasion: “Krishnabai’s life presents a practical illustration of how an individual can live a life of spontaneous and intense activity while ever fixed in the Divine Consciousness born of complete self-surrender.” 

Krishnabai, a very pious and God-loving brahmin girl right from childhood,  had a very troubled and grief stricken past. She got married at the age of 12 and widowed at the age of 20, having two young boys to take care of. After a failed attempt of suicide, Krishnabai developed dispassion for worldly life and she longed for peace and spiritual guidance to remove her grief and progress in a life dedicated to God. She got her  Mantra initiation from Siddharudha Swami of Hubli. She also had a few other Mantra initiations from others.  She was very dedicated and systematic in practicing mantra japas, without any selfish motive. Yet not finding peace in her life, she stared searching for a Guru who should be a jivan mukta (as per advice given to her by an astrologer).

Her ardent prayers were answered and her life took her to Kasargod. A few days after the Ashram was inaugurated, the caretakers of Krishnabai, who were devoted to Ramdas brought her to the Ashram. Krishnabai felt instantly at peace at her meeting with Ramdas. Ramdas’ divine attraction brought her back to Ashram again and again and she enjoyed Ramdas’ satsang immensely.

Soon she received Mantra Diksha from Ramdas and started actively engaged in japa as per his guidelines; she continued to be a regular visitor to the ashram ; however, Ramdas did not permit her to stay in Ashram, despite her deep wish to do so. She got closely acquainted with the esrtwhile family members of Ramdas (wife Rukmabai and daughter Ramabai) who too were now earnest devotees of Ramdas.

During the early stages of Ashram, Ramdas stayed fully in the Ashram and several earnest devotees too stayed with him. After about a year,  Ramdas heeded to the repeated plea of his devotees from North India to visit them.

Mother Krishnabai, could not bear the idea of getting separated from her guru and she pleaded to Ramdas not to leave devotees like her to despair through the separation. She wanted to stay in the Ashram permanently. But Ramdas was firm that her duty to her children demanded her presence at home. One day, she left the ashram late in the evening with lot of reluctance. The next morning news came that she had spent the whole night alone at the adjacent hill and she was bitten by a snake in her leg and her leg was fully swollen.

Ramdas rushed to see her at the hills and brought her to the Ashram; he chided her for her obstination  and then arranged to send her back home. After treatment Krishnabai became alright.

Ramdas travels across North India again

Ramdas visited Bangalore, Sholapur, Pandharpur, Anchor and Osmanabad.  Old acquaintances and new devotees surrounded him wherever he went; bhajans and satsangs happened amid huge gatherings.  In Osmanabad, people belonging to cobbler class (considered untouchables those days) invited Ramdas to attend a devotional function at their place. Ramdas visited them along with several brahmin devotees. A massive crowd of cobbler community had gathered there to have a darshan of Ramdas. They conducted pada puja to him and offered prasad that even the brahmins took along with him.

From there, Ramdas proceeded to Mumbai, Wadhwan, Rajkot, Ahmadabad, Agra and Jhansi. He briefly returned to Kasargod to see his seriously ailing father and then started again to the disappointment his close devotees at home. Ramdas travelled to Chennai, Nagpur, Jhansi and Rawalpindi. Everywhere his old eager devotees were overwhelmed to meet him again and enjoy his divine company. Next Ramdas went to Srinagar and then returned to Rawalpindi. Then he visited Dhanbad, Katrasgarh, Chennai, Kumbakonam, Ernakulam and finally returned to Kasargod.

Krishnabai leaves her family and returns to Ramdas

During the period of his absence, Krishnabai lovingly took care of and nursed the aged and ailing father of Ramdas and also Rukmabai who was suffering from Asthma.

After his return, Krishnabai had to accompany her relatives to Dharwar, which she did extremely reluctantly due to her unwillingness to part with Ramdas. She went to Mumbai, entrusted her children to her close relatives and then took  a firm decision to leave worldly life and return to Ramdas. She arrived at Kasargod by train virtually empty handed and decided to walk straight to the ashram all alone in the night. By a divine miracle, she was guided to the ashram in total darkness through a mysterious light emanating from her feet; thus, she presented herself before Ramdas unawares at about 9 PM at the Ashram! Ramdas was undertaking a vow of silence and fasting those days and he burst out into laughter upon seeing Krishnabai there at those odd hours. Krishnabai too had a hearty laugh!

Ramdas wrote in a piece of paper “Mother, you have come to your own home now; the ashram shall, in future, be your permanent place of residence“. Krishnabai felt a great relief and joy on seeing the welcome note.

Krishnabai comes into the fold of Ramdas permanently and dedicates her life to serve him and the Ashram.

As expectable in a conservative society, a young widow leaving behind her family and staying permanently and interacting actively with Ramdas, created slanderous talks and gossips. Other residents in the ashram were threatened by their families and most of them left. Regular visitors to the ashram too started dwindling.

Krishnabai’s self-realization

Krishnabai immersed herself to active sadhana under the guidance of Ramdas at the Ashram. When Ramdas asked Krishnabai as to what sort of spiritual attainment she was keen to get, Krishnabai replied: “Papa, I want to be one with your eternal and infinite Being and know you and I are one. Besides, nobody should know that I have realized your immanent and transcendent Being.

Ramdas engaged Krishnabai to practice deep meditation for the first time. With total dedication and mental strength Krishnabai immersed herself deep into her inner being and soon realized her individual self merging with Universal self, which, according to her experience was nothing but the all pervading formless aspect of her beloved Papa Himself. This happened in the year 1930. After she got that experience, Krishnabai lost interest in all her service activities including serving Papa and she was content to remain immersed in divine bliss.

Kasargod Anadashram abandoned

During a brief period, when only Ramdas and Krishnabai stayed alone at the Ashram, thieves and thugs came to the Ashram at one night. One of them tried to misbehave with Krishnabai; fortunately, by chanting Rama nama loudly, both Ramdas and Krishnabai got protected by the power of Lord Rama and the thieves ran away, totally scared.

This incidence made Ramdas to take a decision that such a secluded place away from any residences nearby was not safe for women devotees. He decided to abandon the ashram and leave Kasargod immediately, leaving future things to unfold as per the will of Rama. But Krishnabai pleaded to him again and again not to forsake her and she begged him to take her along wherever he opted to go. After refusing for a while, Ramdas ultimately decided not to forsake his ardent disciple. He took her to Hosdurg and stayed with devotees.

New Anandashram comes up at Manjapathi (Ramnagar), Kanhangad

Based on the suggestion and requests by earnest devotees, Ramdas decided to start a new Ashram close to Manjapathi hill which was also close to Kanhangad town and yet a picturesque and extremely peaceful place, surrounded by natural greenery, fertile fields and the hills.

Anandashram (1933)

Ramdas wrote to all his acquaintances across India for their help in starting the new ashram. Money flowed in generously from eager devotees. Without any delay, construction of the new ashram premises started. The new Anandashram was inaugurated on May 15h, 1931. Ramdas dedicated the Ashram to the service of the people cutting across all barriers of caste, religion, age, sex or creed and the two guiding principles of the Ashram would be Universal Love and Service. Krishnabai gradually was able to a return to a state of active life (yet blissfully remaining in sahaja samadhi state)  and was in the forefront of the inaugural function and all the other activities of the new Ashram. She was a born administrator and showed her mettle in facing all hardships with smile and serving everyone with love and care like a mother.

Ramdas considered all religions equal and respected all the great spiritual masters of the past. The Ashram sported the pictures and portraits of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Saradadevi, BHagwan Ramana Maharshi, Saibaba, Jesus Christ, Sri Aurobindo, Lord Buddha, Jorastra, Swami Vivekananda, Gurunanak and Ramdas’ own guru — his father.

Soon Rukmabai and also Ramdas’s father and Guru left their worldly life.

Soon the Anandashram became the center of attraction to so many devotees; people and spiritual aspirants from all walks of life came to Anandashram to take part in japa, meditation and satsangs. Several distinguished Sadhus from other religious maths too regularly visited the Ashram to be in the divine company of Ramdas.

‘The Vision’ magazine

The Ashram’s monthly English Magazine ‘The Vision’ with Ramdas as its editor started its publication in the year 1933. The magazine continues to be published even today.

Ramdas’ second round of travelling experiences  were written by him in the form of a book ‘In the Vision of God’ which got published by Anandashram in the year 1934.

Ashram expands

Ramdas’ physical body had got considerably weakened on account of his incessant travels totally ignoring proper food and rest; he was affected by rheumatism and exhaustion. Krishnabai took extreme care and concern on his physical frame by providing him with essential minimum comforts and rest which he was all along negligent of. Ramdas, by this time was also free from his erstwhile tendency to wander with total freedom  except for two tours done during 1931 to 1938, done in the company of his caretakers. He stayed put in the Ashram between 1938 to 1949. Consequently, more and more of his devotees and new visitors started visiting the Ashram and the Ashram had to expand.

Ramdas made it a point to feed the poor in large numbers particularly at the times of religious festivals, cutting across all barriers of caste, religion or creed.

From the generous contribution from devotees, new buildings to house the printing activities, kitchen, guest house, residential quarters for the staff, Cowshed and so on.

An elementary school under the care of the Ashram (Sri Krishna Vidyalaya) was started in the year 1942. In the year 1946, Sri Krishna Udyogshala, an institute for vocational training was started. A small hospital was also run by the Ashram from 1952.  (All these institutions were handed over to Government in later years).

Coming into the fold of Ramdas — Swami Satchidananda (1919-2008)

It was in the year 1947 that  Ananta Sivan at his age of 28 met Ramdas at the Ashram for the first time. As a young brahmin boy of 5 to 6 years, Ananta Sivan had lost his mother and did not have a happy home at his childhood. After his education he joined defence services. He had deep spiritual inclination and was searching for meaning to his life. After having a few bouts of depression, he was guided to meet Ramdas by divine dispensation. He was instantly attracted by the divinity of Ramdas and the bountiful motherly love from Krishnabai. He felt that his real home was Anadashram and he became its permanent resident from 1949.

Swami Satchidananda with Mother Krishnabai 

He served Ramdas as a secretary and took care of his personal needs. He also assisted in the hectic activities of Krishnabai. Due to an inner urge, he felt the need to go to Himalayas and do intense spiritual practice so as to qualify himself better for a truly devoted selfless service at the Ashram. Despite Krishnabai’s objections, he went to Rishikesh and started practicing meditation in solitude.

Swami Satchidananda

However, after about 8 months, he was called back by Ramdas to accompany them on an Indian tour. Circumstances developed in such a way that he could not return to Rishikesh and he understood clearly that his life and spiritual progress was linked to serving Ramdas and being a right hand to Krishnabai in her administrative work. Parallely progressing in his spiritual quest, Ananta Sivan was given Sanyasa Diksha with a name Satchidananda. He too became a self-illumined disciple of Ramdas and the future head of the ashram after the departure of Ramdas and Krishnabai from the world.

Ramdas undertakes World Tour

Anandashram Trust was formed in the year 1954.  Ramdas accompanied by Krishnabai and Swami Satchidanda undertook a world tour from August 1954 until January 1955.

His world tour covered Switzerland, Germany, France and England at Europe.  At france (Gretz) he visited Ramakrishna ashram and met Swami Siddeshwarananda.  At Sussex in England, he met the famous Christian mystique Henry Thomas Hamblin. Papa also visited Shakespere’s birthplace. Ramdas conducted Satsangs and spread the message of Universal love and God consciousness in all the places he visited, which were attended by avid spiritual seekers cutting across religious barriers.

His tour continued to USA and Hawaii; He then proceeded to Japan and met the famous Buddhist scholar D.T. Suzuki there. The tour continued to Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaya, Singapore, Cylon and back to India.

During world tour – Swami Satchidananda with Papa Ramdas


End of Papa

On the evening of July 25th 1963 at Papa’s 80th year, he had a severe heart attack.  He was collapsing and Mother Krishnabai and Swami Satchidananda managed to take him to his cot. While lying down there, he  suddenly sat up chanting “Hari, Hari, Hari Ram.” With the name of God on his lips Papa breathed his last.

At the feet of Ramdas…

While his divine presence without his physical body continued to be felt in the Ashram, Krishnabai carried on with the running of the Ashram with her motherly love and care and continued to guide avid seekers in the spiritual path of Nam-Dhyan-Seva for the next 26 years. After her passing away, Swami Satchidananda took care of the Ashram and continued to inspire avid seekers till he breathed his last in 2008.

Reverberating ever with the chanting of Ram nam and surcharged with the subtle presence of these three great spiritual masters, Anandashram continues to be the place of attraction for sincere seekers of Spirituality at Kanhangad, Kerala.

….Om Sri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram….



  1. Anandashram – official website
  2. In Quest of God – by Papa Ramdas — free pdf download from Anandashram website
  3.  “Introduction to The Essential Swami Ramdas” by Susunaga Weeraperuma – free pdf: World Wisdom, Inc.
  4. In the vision of God – by Papa Ramdas — free pdf download (from Anandashram website)
  5. My beloved Papa Ramdas by Swami Satchidananda — From Divine Life Society web page
  6. Guru’s Grace — Life of Mother Krishnabai – Free pdf download
  7. Video — Swami Ramdas’ World tour



How did the end of Rama Avatar happen? How did Rama Rajya end?

According to Valmiki’s Uttara Ramayana, Rama ruled his kingdom from Ayodhya for 11 thousand years. The way he ruled his country was so prosperous, dharmic and wonderful that ‘Ramarajya’ as a word used to symbolize the best ideal of rule to emulate.

During Rama’s rule, all his subjects lead a virtuous life; there were no thiefs and there was no dacoity. There  was no enemy attack on the kingdom. Dharmas and shastras were the guiding principles of life. Rishis and sadhus were the leading lights of the society. There was no draught, no floods or other natural calamities.

After Rama ruled Ayodhya for 11 thousand years, Lord Yama (Lord of Time) came to meet Lord Rama in disguise at the king’s palace in Ayodhya. He wanted a total private talk with Rama on an important matter. Rama asked Lakshmana to stand outside the doors as a guard to prevent anyone from entering the room and gave a warning that whomsoever intruded into the room during the private discussions would be killed by Him.

Once alone, Lord Yama conveyed Lord Brahma’s message that since the purpose of Lord Vishnu’s Avatar as Rama had been over after annihilating Ravana and also His wish to rule the kingdom for 11 thousand years too was over, it was now time for Rama to return to His heavenly abode as Vishnu, if he so wished to leave his earthly divine play.

Rama agreed that he too preferred to return to his abode rather than continuing in this world.

As the conversation was taking place, Rishi Durvasa came to the palace and wanted to meet Rama urgently. When Lakshmana told Durvasa about Rama being busy on an urgent matter, Rishi Durvasa, known for his short temper and capacity to curse people, threatened Lakshmana with dire consequences if he was not allowed to meet Lord Rama.

Lakshmana had to yield. He went into the room to inform Lord Rama about the arrival of Durvasa. Rama bade farewell to Lord Yama and came out to meet Durvasa. Durvasa wanted Rama to feed him sumptuously as he was in extreme hunger after doing a penance for a long time by taking fasting as a vow. Rama arranged it immediately.

However Rama became woeful as he had to keep his word that he had uttered earlier (that he would kill any intruder during his private talk with Yama). Taking a cue from the scriptures that said that renouncing a person is equivalent to killing that person, Rama, with heavy heart said to Lakshmana that he was renouncing all the ties with Lakshmana.

Lakshmana felt that his end had come. He went to River Sarayu and stopped his breath and entered into samadhi. He left his mortal body; his soul which was one fourth part of Lord VIshnu returned to the heavenly abode.

Grief stricken Rama called all his citizens and ministers and announced his decision to relinquish the kingdom and retire to the woods so as to leave his life like Lakshmana. He asked Bharata to take over the kingdom of Ayodhya. The devout Bharata stoutly refused the proposal as he too wanted to accompany Rama.

Rama with his sons Lava & Kusa (A still from the film Lava Kusa)

As advised by Bharata, Rama gave the Southern Kosala portion of the Kosala kingdom to his son to Kusa and the Northern Kosala zone to his son Lava to rule.

The entire population of Ayodya had no desire to live after their beloved Rama was no longer the king. They too expressed their desire to follow Rama.

News was sent to Satrughna, who was by that time ruling the kingdom of Mathura. Satrughna too had no desire to live if his beloved brother was gone. He handed over his kingdom (Mathura and Vidisha) to his two sons to rule and rushed to Ayodhya.

Having heard the news, Rama’s erstwhile associates and well wishers — Hanuman, Sugriva and his vanaras (monkeys), Jambavan and the other bears, Vibhishana and his loyal Rakshasas came to Ayodhya. All of them wished to go with Rama when he exited the earth.

However, Rama blessed Hanuman and Vibhishana to be Chiranjeevi’s — ever living. He wanted Hanuman to enjoy the company of devotees of Rama wherever they sang the glory of Rama. He wished Vibhishana to keep ruling the his kingdom of Sri Lanka. He blessed Jambavan and his five associates to live till Kaliyuga.

Sugriva said he had given charge of his kingdom to his son Angata and had no longer any desire to live. All the monkeys too said so.

Thus Rama, followed by Bharata, Satrughna, their families and servants, the ministers, the vanaras, bears and Rakshasas and the entire populace of Ayodhya with their cattle and birds left the city and went to the River Sarayu, chanting vedic hymns. None of them had any worries and every one was extremely happy. Whomsoever saw Rama leaving, including animals and creatures gleefully joined him so as to ascend to the heavenly abode.

All the celestial Gods headed by Lord Brahma had assembled at the skies near the river Sarayu to welcome their Lord. They chanted hymns praising their Lord Vishnu and welcoming him back.

Rama requested Lord Brahma to allow all his citizens, followers and lovers including the animals and creatures who had served him with respect and devotion into the heavenly world. Brahma said that he would accommodate all of them unmindful of any sins committed by them into the region known as Santanaka, which was next only to Brahma Loka. He also said all those celestial beings who had earlier taken up various forms and descended to earth to assist Rama in his activities of the avatar would regain their original divine forms.

All of them headed by Rama joyfully immersed themselves in the waters of Sarayu, left their bodies and ascended to the higher worlds.

Who am I? Essential Teachings of Bhagwan Ramana Maharshi – “Naanaar”/ “Naan Yaar” நானார்/ நான் யார்?


கவனிக்க:  ‘நானார்’ மூல நூலில் உள்ள தமிழ் எளிமைப்படுத்தப்பட்டு , ஆங்கில  உரையுடன் இங்கே தரப்படுகிறது.



When young Bhagwan Ramana Maharshi was residing in Virupaksha cave at the Arunachala Hill, Sivaprakasam Pillai , an officer in the Revenue Department and an intellectual, heard of the young Swami. At his very first visit in 1902, he was captivated by the Swami’s aura and became his life-long devotee.

The young Swami was maintaining silence, but Shivaprakasam Pillai was determined to receive teachings him. He brought a slate and started writing questions in Tamil one by one and requested Ramana to write the answers in the slate! This way, Ramana answered  fourteen questions of Pillai. These were later recorded in a note book by Pillai and then expanded and arranged in the form of a booklet  “நானார்? (நான் யார்)” “Who am I?”  This is perhaps the most concise and most widely appreciated prose exposition of the Maharshi’s philosophy, given by the Maharshi at his age of 23, which got widely published much later, in the year 1923.

[NOTE: Another prominent work in prose containing Ramana’s supplementary teachings (in Tamil) titled விசார சங்கிரகம்  (“Vichara Sangraham”) was recorded during his early years in Virupaksha Cave by Gambhiram Sesha Iyer. This also happened some time in 1900-1902. This booklet first got published in the year 1930]

The teachings contained in these two  books remained authentic, needing no future revisions by Bhagvan. In his long life spanning 71 years, Sri Ramana wrote so many other poetic works in Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu and Sanskrit, but the Tamil prose version still remained the basic teaching that found more exposition in those future works.

The Tamil ‘Naanaar’ written almost a century ago will be somewhat difficult to read and grasp for the present day Tamils, because the original contains so many sanskrit words and also the narrative and parsing styles of those days were somewhat different.

Hence I have given here the write-up in a simplified Tamil fairly adhering to the original flow, only doing minimal changes and translating the sanskrit words to Tamil to the extent possible. I am also giving together the English translation, question by question.

I have also done some very minimal shifting of paragraphs here and there and brought down the number of questions to 14 from the present printed versions that contain 28 questions (with the same answer content).

Young Ramana Maharshi


Sivaprakasam Pillai




நான் யார்? ‘Naan yaar?’ Who am I?

எல்லாருமே துக்கம் என்பதே இன்றி எப்போதும் சுகமாயிருக்க விரும்புகிறார்கள்; எல்லாருக்குமே தன்னிடத்தில் தான் மிக அதிகம் பிரியம் இருக்கிறது; எங்கு சுகம் இருக்கிறதோ அங்கு பிரியம் இருக்கிறது. மனம் வேலை செய்யாது இருக்கும் ஆழ்ந்த உறக்கநிலையில் தினமும் அந்த சுகத்தையே சுபாவமாகவே அனுபவிக்க முடிகிறது. ஆக, தன்னுள்ளேயே  பொதிந்திருக்கும் அந்த சுகத்தை அடைய தன்னைதானே அறிதல் வேண்டும். அப்படி அறிவதற்கு ‘நான் யார்’ என்னும் ஞான ஆராய்ச்சியே முக்கிய சாதனம் ஆகும்.

[All people always aspire for happiness, totally free from sorrow. Everyone loves himself/ herself the most. Where there is happiness, there is liking. In deep sleep state, when mind is totally not functioning, we are able to enjoy that happiness naturally. So, to attain the happiness that is really lying inside each of us, we have to understand our own self. For that, the self inquiry “Who am I” is the prime technique.]

  1.  நான் யார்?  

ஏழு விதமான தாதுக்களால் (அதாவது, குருதி நீர், ரத்தம், மாமிசம், கொழுப்பு, எலும்பு, மஜ்ஜை மற்றும் சுக்கிலம் இவற்றால்) உருவாகியுள்ள இந்த ஸ்தூலமான உடம்பு நான் அல்ல. ஒளி, ஒலி, சுவை, மணம், தொடு உணர்வு என்னும் ஐம்புலன்களை அறிகின்ற கண், காது, மூக்கு, நாக்கு, தோல் எனும் அறிவு உறுப்புகளாகிய  ஐம்பொறிகளும் நானல்ல.  பேசுதல், நடத்தல், கொடுத்தல், மலம் கழித்தல், சுகித்தல் என்னும் ஐந்து தொழில்களை செய்யும் வாய், கால்கள், கைகள், குதம், பிறப்புறுப்பு என்னும் செயல் உறுப்புகளும் நானல்ல.

மூச்சு விடுதல், பிரித்து நீக்கல்,ஜெரித்தல் போன்ற அகத் தொழில்களை இயக்கும்  பிராணன், அபானன், சமானன், உதானன், வியானன் எனும்  ஐந்து வாயுக்களும் நானல்ல. நினைக்கின்ற மனமும் நானல்ல. இப்படி எல்லா  விஷயங்களும், தொழிற்பாடுகளும்  அற்று அதே சமயத்தில் விஷயங்களைப்பற்றிய நுண்ணுணர்வுகளோடு (வாசனைகளோடு) மட்டும் பொருந்தியிருக்கும் அஞ்ஞானமும் நானல்ல.

இப்படி ‘நானல்ல’ ‘நானல்ல’ என்று தள்ளிய பிறகும் தனித்திருக்கும் அறிவே நான். அந்த அறிவின் சொரூபமே (மெய்யியல்பே) சச்சிதானந்தம்.

[1. Who am I?

I am not the gross body made of seven tissues (plasma, blood, muscle, fat, bone, bone marrow and seminal fluid); I am not the five sense organs (eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin) that sense  sight, sound, smell, taste and touch; I am not the five physical organs (mouth, legs, hands, anus and sex organ) that do the acts of speaking, walking, giving, excreting and procreating).

I am not the five pranas (prana, apana, samana, udana and vyana) that control body functions like breathing, digestion etc. I am not the mind that thinks. I am not even the ignorance (ajnana) which is free from actions and sensual inputs but remains associated with vasanas (subtle mental leanings). 

Whatever awareness that remains and stands alone even after negating and discarding all these, is the real “I”. The true nature of this “I” is sat-chit-ananda (Existence-Knowledge-Bliss).]

2.  இம் மெய்யியல்பின்  அனுபவம்  (சொரூப தரிசனம்) எப்போது உண்டாகும்?

எல்லா அறிவிற்கும் எல்லா செயல்களுக்கும் காரணமாகிய மனம் அடங்கிவிட்டால்,  இந்த உலகம் உண்மை என்ற பார்வை நீங்கிவிடும். கயிறைப்  பார்த்து பாம்பு என்று தவறாக என்னும் மன நிலை நீங்கினாலே ஒழிய, கயிறை கயிறாகவே காணும் அறிவு வராது. அதுபோலவே ‘காணும் இந்த உலகம் உண்மை’ என்ற எண்ணம் நீங்கினாலேயொழிய எப்போதும் உள்ள சுயநிலையைக் கண்டுணர்வது முடியாது.

[  2. When can one gain the knowledge of this real “I”?

Seeing the rope as snake

When the mind, which is the basis for all perceptions and actions stops functioning, we will be freed of the notion that the world is real. Only when the misconception of seeing a rope as a snake is removed, the knowledge of rope as a rope  will dawn. In the same way, unless we remove the idea that the world we see is real, what truly exists forever cannot be grasped by us.]

3. மனதின் இயல்பு என்ன?

மனம் என்பது ஆத்மாவின் ஒரு அதிசய சக்தி. அது தான் எல்லா நினைவுகளையும் தோற்றுவிக்கிறது. நினைவுகளையெல்லாம் நீக்கிவிட்டுப் பார்த்தால் தனியாக மனம் என்று ஒரு பொருளும் இல்லை. ஆக, நினைப்பு என்பது தான் மனதின் சொரூபம். அதுபோலவே, நினைவுகளைத் தவிர்த்து இவ்வுலகம் என்ற பொருள் வெளியில் இல்லை. ஆழ்ந்த தூக்கத்தில் நினைவுகளே இல்லை. அந்த நிலையில் உலகமும் இல்லை. ஆனால் விழிப்பு நிலையிலும் கனவுடன் கூடிய உறக்க நிலையிலும் நினைவுகளும் இருக்கின்றன; உலகமும் இருக்கிறது.

ஒரு சிலந்திப்பூச்சி எப்படி தன்  உடம்பிலிருந்தே வெளியில் ஒரு நூல் இழையை நூற்று மறுபடியும் தன்னுள்ளே இழுத்துக்கொள்கிறதோ அப்படியே மனமும் தன்னிடத்தில் இருந்தே இவ்வுலகத்தைத் தோற்றுவித்து மறுபடியும் தன்னிடமே ஒடுக்கிக்கொள்கிறது. மனம் ஆத்ம சொரூபத்திலிருந்து  வெளிப்படும்போது இவ்வுலகமும் தோற்றம் பெறுகிறது. அதனால் உலகம் தோன்றும்போது ஆத்மாவின் சொரூபம் தோன்றாது. ஆத்மா தோன்றும்போது (தானே பிரகாசிக்கும்போது) இவ்வுலகம் தோன்றாது.

‘இந்த மனதின் உண்மை நிலை என்ன?’ என்று விசாரித்துக்கொண்டு போனால் ‘தானே’ மனமாய் முடியும். ‘தான்’ என்பது ஆத்ம சொரூபமே. மனம் எப்போதும் ஸ்தூலமாய் உள்ளவற்றைப் பிடித்துக்கொண்டே நிற்கும். தனியாய் நிற்காது. இந்த மனமே ‘சூட்சும  சரீரம்’ (நுண்ணுடல்) என்றும் ‘ஜீவன்’ என்றும் சொல்லப்படுகிறது.

[ 3.  What is the nature of mind?

Mind is a wonderful power of Atman (Self). It is the one creating all thoughts. If all thoughts are removed, there is no substance called mind. Therefore, ‘thinking’ is the real nature of mind. Likewise, without thoughts, there is no outside world. When in deep sleep, there are no thoughts; no world too, in that state. But in waking and dreaming states, there are thoughts and also the world.

Just as spider produces a yarn from its body and also withdraws it, the mind creates the external world from inside and also withdraws it. When mind comes outward from its true source Atman, the world is perceived. As long as world is seen, Atman cannot be perceived. When Atman is perceived (shines forth), the world cannot be seen.

When one inquires inwards as to what the true nature of  mind is, one will end up in Self. The self is nothing but the real nature of atman. The nature of mind is such that it can exist only by clinging to  gross matters. It has no independent existence. This mind is also known as subtle body or jeeva (soul).]

4.  மனதை அடக்குவது எப்படி?

இந்த உடம்பிலிருந்து ‘நான்’ என்று எந்த உணர்வு கிளம்புகிறதோ அதுவே தான் மனம். இந்த ‘நான்’ உணர்வு உடம்பின் எந்தப் பகுதியிலிருந்து கிளம்புகிறது என்று ஆராய்ந்து பார்த்தால் அது இதயத்திலிருந்து கிளம்புகிறது என்பது தெரியவரும். ஆக, இதயமே மனதின் பிறப்பிடம். ‘நான், நான்’ என்று எண்ணிக் கொண்டிருந்தாலே  அது இதயத்தில் கொண்டுபோய் விட்டுவிடும். மனதில் தோன்றும் நினைவுகள் எல்லாவற்றுக்கும் ‘நான்’ என்ற நினைப்பு தான் முதல் நினைப்பு. இது எழுந்த பிறகே மற்ற எல்லா  எண்ணங்களும் எழுகின்றன. அதாவது, ‘தன்மை’ தோன்றிய பிறகே ‘முன்னிலை, படர்க்கை’கள் தோன்றுகின்றன. ஆக, ‘தன்மை’ இல்லாவிட்டால், முன்னிலை படர்க்கைகளும் இல்லை!

‘நான் யார்’ என்ற விசாரணையிலேயே மனம் அடங்கும். ‘நான் யார்’ என்று கேட்கும் நினைப்பும் கூட, ‘பிணம் சுடு  தடியைப் போல’ மற்ற எல்லா நினைப்புகளையும் அழித்து,  தானும் அழிந்துவிடும். (அதாவது, பிணத்தை  எரிக்க உபயோகிக்கும் விறகுக்கட்டைகள் பிணத்தை எரித்துவிட்டு தாமும் எரிந்து சாம்பலாகி விடுவதைப்போல).

‘நான் யார்’ என்ற விசாரணைக்கு இடையே பிற எண்ணங்கள் எழுந்தால், அந்த எண்ணங்களைப் பின்பற்றிப்  போய் அவற்றை முடிவுக்கு கொண்டுவர முயற்சிக்காமல், ‘இந்த எண்ணங்கள் யாருக்கு உண்டாயின?’ என்று விசாரிக்க வேண்டும். இப்படி எத்தனை எத்தனை எண்ணங்கள் வெளிக்கிளம்பினால்தான் என்ன? கிளம்பும் போதே ‘இது யாருக்கு உண்டாயிற்று?’ என்று விசாரித்தால், ‘எனக்கு’ என்று தோன்றும். அப்படி ‘எனக்கு’ என்று தோன்றும் அந்த ‘நான்’ யார் என்று மீண்டும் விசாரித்தால் மனம் தன பிறப்பிடத்துக்குத் திரும்பிவிடும். எழுந்த எண்ணமும் அடங்கிவிடும்.

இப்படிப் பழகப் பழக, மனத்திற்குத் தன்  பிறப்பிடத்திலேயே தங்கியிருக்கும் சக்தி அதிகரிக்கிறது.

எப்போதெல்லாம்  சூட்சுமமான இந்த மனம், மூளை மற்றும் பொறி புலன்கள் மூலம் வெளிப்படுகிறதோ, அப்போதெல்லாம் ஸ்தூலமான  உலகப் பொருட்களும் நாம ரூபங்களும் (பெயர், உருவங்களும்) தோற்றமளிக்கின்றன. மனம் இதயத்திலேயே தங்கிவிட்டால் இந்த நாம ரூபங்களும்   மறைந்துவிடுகின்றன.   இப்படி மனத்தை வெளிவிடாது இதயத்திலே தங்க வைத்துக்கொண்டிருப்பதைத் தான் ‘அகமுகம்’ அல்லது ‘அந்தர்முகம்’ என்பார்கள். இதயத்திலிருந்து மனம் வெளிப்படுவதைத்தான் ‘பகிர்முகம்’ என்பார்கள் .

இவ்வாறு மனம் இதயத்தில் தங்கவே, எல்லா நினைவுகளுக்கும்  மூலமான ‘நான்’ என்பது போய், எப்போதும் உள்ள ‘தான்’  மாத்திரம் தான் விளங்கும். ‘நான்’ என்கிற உணர்வு சிறிதுகூட இல்லாத இடமே ‘சொரூபம்’ ஆகும். அதுவே ‘மௌனம்’ என்றும் சொல்லப்படும்.

[ 4.  How to control the mind?

 The feeling that springs up from the body as “I” is the mind. If we investigate from where this “I” rises up in the body, we can identify that its location is the heart. Thus heart is the birth place of the mind. If we keep contemplating “I”, “I”, it would automatically lead to the heart. For all the thoughts arising from mind, “I” is the first thought. Only after “I” arising, all other thoughts arise. That is, only after the first person rises, the second and third person come into picture. Without first person, second and third person have no existence!

The mind can calm down by the very inquiry ‘Who am I?’. Even the thought ‘Who am I’ will get annihilated after quenching all other thoughts; it is like the wood used for burning the corpse in a pyre getting itself burned to ashes finally.

If any other thoughts rise up while inquiring ‘who am I’, instead of pursuing the thoughts with the attempt to terminate them, we should rather inquire “to whom this thought has arisen?”. The answer will be “to me”. Now if you inquire who is that “me”, it will naturally lead us back to the origin of “I” thought. This way the thought too would subside.

By constantly practicing like this, the capacity of the mind to stay put at its source increases.

Whenever this subtle mind goes outward through the brain or through sense organs or organs of action, the gross external world and all things with names and forms get manifested. If the mind stays put in the heart, the world and things with names and forms too disappear. This practice of containing the mind within the heart without allowing it to go out is called ‘aha mukham‘ or ‘antar mukham‘ (dwelling-in). The mind coming outward from heart is called ‘bahir mukham‘ (emanating out).

When the mind stays confined in the heart, the “I” which is the root of all thoughts will go and only the ever-present ‘Self’ remains. The status of ‘swarupam‘ (True Self) is where the feeling of “I” is totally absent. It is also known as mounam –silence.

5.  ஞான திருஷ்டி என்பது என்ன?

சும்மா இருப்பதற்குத்தான் ‘ஞானதிருஷ்டி’ என்றும் பெயர். சும்மா இருப்பது என்பது மனதை ஆன்ம சொரூபத்தில் நிலைக்கச் செய்வது தான்; அப்படியின்றி, பிறர் மனதில் உள்ளதைப் படித்தல்,  கடந்தகாலம், நிகழ்காலம், எதிர்காலம் எனும் முக்காலத்திலும் நடப்பதை அறிதல், எங்கோ  தொலை தூர தேசத்தில் நடப்பதை அறிதல் போன்ற சித்திகளெல்லாம்  ஞானதிருஷ்டி ஆகமாட்டா.


[ 4.  What is wisdom-insight (Jnana Drishti)?

To remain quiet (just ‘being’) is also known as wisdom-insight. Just being (quiet) is nothing but establishing the mind in the Self (Atman). On the contrary, siddhis (yogic powers) like reading others’ minds, knowing the past, present and future events, knowing the happenings at a distant place etc are not signs of wisdom-insight.]

6.  ஆன்ம சொரூபம் என்பது உண்மையில் என்ன?

உண்மையில் எப்போதும் உள்ளது ஆன்மசொரூபம் ஒன்றே. உலகம், உயிர்கள், இறையுருவங்கள் (ஜகத், ஜீவ ஈஸ்வர ரூபங்கள்)  எல்லாம் தண்ணீரில் மூழ்கியுள்ள சிப்பி வெள்ளி போல் காட்சியளிப்பதைப்  போன்ற கற்பனைத் தோற்றங்களே. இவை மூன்றும் ஒரே சமயத்தில் தோன்றி ஒரே சமயத்தில் மறைகின்றன. உண்மையில் சொரூபமே உலகம்; சொரூபமே நான். சொரூபமே ஈஸ்வரன். எல்லாமே  கடவுளின் தோற்றம் (சிவசொரூபம்) தான்.

[6. What is the real nature of Self?

What exists for ever is nothing but the Self. The appearance of the world, living beings and forms of Gods are all like seeing seashells lying in water as if they are silver. These three are perceived to appear together and also disappear together. The reality is that Self is the world; Self is “I”. Self is God. Everything is appearance of God (Shiva Swarupam).

7.  மனத்தை அடக்க  வேறு வழிகள் இல்லையா?

மனம் அடங்குவதற்கு விசாரணையைத்  தவிர வேறு தகுந்த முறைகள் (உபாயங்கள்) இல்லை. மற்ற முறைகளைக்கொண்டு அடக்கினால், மனம் சற்றே அடங்கியது போல் இருந்துவிட்டு, மறுபடியும் வெளிக்கிளம்பிவிடும்.

பிராணாயாமம் எனப்படும் மூச்சடக்கத்தால் கூட மனம் அடங்கும். ஆனால், பிராணன் அடங்கியிருக்கும் வரையில் மனமும் அடங்கி இருந்துவிட்டு,  பிராணன் வெளிப்படும்போது தானும் வெளிப்பட்டு,  வாசனைகளால் உந்தப்பட்டு அலைய ஆரம்பித்துவிடும். மனதுக்கும் பிராணனுக்கும்  இருப்பிடம்  ஒன்றே.

(முன்பே சொன்னபடி) நினைவே மனதின் சொரூபம். ‘நான்’ என்னும் நினைப்பே மனதின் முதல் நினைப்பு. அதுவே தான் அகங்காரம். அகங்காரம் எங்கிருந்து உற்பத்தியாகிறதோ அங்கிருந்தே தான் மூச்சும் கிளம்புகிறது. ஆக, இரண்டும் ஒன்றோடொன்று தொடர்பு  உள்ளவை — மனம் அடங்கும்போது பிராணன் அடங்கும்; பிராணன் அடங்கும்போது மனமும் அடங்கும்.

ஆனால், ‘சுஷுப்தி’ எனப்படும் கனவுகளற்ற ஆழ்ந்த  உறக்க நிலையில்  மனம் அடங்கியிருந்தாலும், பிராணன்   அடங்காமல் செயல் பட்டுக்கொண்டுதான் இருக்கும். உடம்பின்  பாதுகாப்புக்காகவும்,’இவன் செத்துப்போய்விட்டானோ’ என்று மற்றவர்கள் சந்தேகப்படாமல் இருப்பதற்காகவும்,  இறைவனின் நியதியால் இப்படி  ஏற்பட்டிருக்கிறது.  விழிப்பு நிலையிலும், சமாதி நிலையிலும் மனம்  அடங்கும்போது பிராணனும் அடங்குகிறது. பிராணனை ‘மனதின் ஸ்தூல வடிவம்’ என்று சொல்வதுண்டு.

மரண காலம் வரை, மனம் பிராணனை உடம்பில் வைத்துக்கொண்திருந்து உடம்பு சாகும்போது, மனம் பிராணனைக் கவர்ந்துகொண்டு போய்விடுகிறது.  ஆகையால், பிராணாயாமம் என்பது மனதை அடக்க உதவியாக இருக்குமே தவிர மனதை அழிக்க உதவாது.

பிராணாயாமம்  போலவே கடவுளின் உருவத்தை தியானம் செய்வது, மந்திர ஜபம் செய்வது, உணவுக் கட்டுப்பாடுகளை மேற்கொள்வது இவையெல்லாமும் மனத்தை அடக்குவதற்கு உதவியாய் இருப்பவைகளே. உருவத் தியானத்தாலும், மந்திர ஜெபத்தாலும் மன ஒருமைப்பாடு கிடைக்கும். எப்போதும் அங்கும் இங்கும்  ஆடியபடியம், துதிக்கையை வீசியபடியும்  இருக்கும் யானையின் தும்பிக்கையில் ஒரு சங்கிலியைக் கொடுத்தால், அது மற்றவற்றைத் துழாவுவதை விட்டுவிட்டு சங்கிலியைப் பிடித்துக்கொண்டே செல்லுமல்லவா?  அதேபோல எப்போதும் அலைபாய்ந்துகொண்டே இருக்கும் மனதிற்கு ஒரு இறை நாமத்தையோ அல்லது உருவத்தையோ  தந்து பழக்கினால், அதையே பற்றிக்கொண்டு நிற்கும்! மனம், எண்ணற்ற நினைவுகளால் விரிந்துகொண்டே போவதால், ஒவ்வொரு நினைவும் மனதை மேலும் பலவீனமாக்குகிறது. நினைவுகள் அடங்க,அடங்க அதனால் மனம் ஒருமைப்பாடு அடைகிறது. அதனால் பலம் பெரும் மனதிற்கு ஆத்ம விசாரம் எளிதாய் கைகூடும்.

உப்பு, புளிப்பு, காரம் போன்ற   சுவைகள் மிகாமல், மென்மையான, எளிதில் ஜீரணிக்கக்கூடிய சாத்வீகமான உணவு உட்கொள்வது எல்லா நியமங்களிலும் சிறந்தது. இப்படிப்பட்ட  சாத்வீகமான உணவை மிதமாக உண்பதை  நியமமாகக் கொண்டால், மனதிலும் சத்துவ குணம் அதிகரிக்கும். அது ஆத்ம விசாரத்திற்கு  உறுதுணையாக இருக்கும்.

[7. Aren’t there any other methods to control the mind?

To quieten the mind, there are no other adequate methods than self inquiry. If you attempt to control the mind by any other technique, it would temporarily quieten for a while and spring up again.

Through pranayama (breath control) too the mind can be quietened; as long as the breath is held, the mind will be calm and once breathing starts, mind too will come out and start wandering. The source of mind and Prana are one and the same.

(As mentioned earlier) the very form of mind is thoughts. The very first thought of the mind is “I”. It is indeed the ego. The origin from where ego emanates is the origin for prana too. Hence both are interrelated. When the mind stops, prana stops; when prana stops, mind too stops.

Jagrat – Swapna-Sushupti (Waking state, dream state, and dreamless sleep state)

But in the state of sushupti (dreamless sleep), even though mind does not work, prana will still be active. It has been ordained so by God in order to protect the body and also avoid possible doubt by others whether the person is dead. Only in waking state and in the state of samadhi, prana stops when mind stops. Prana is also referred as the gross form of mind.

Till the time of death, the mind keeps prana as its associate in the body; upon death, the mind snatches prana and escapes together. Hence pranayama can help in controlling the mind, but not in annihilating the mind.

Like pranayama, meditating the form of God, mantra japa (chanting a mantra), food control etc are helpful in controlling the mind. Both meditation of God’s form and mantra japa can help focus the mind at one point. The nature of elephant is to keep swaying its body and swinging the trunk here and there; suppose we give a chain to grip with the trunk, the elephant will stop its unwanted swinging actions and keep holding the chain. In the same way, if the mind is trained to hold on to a name or form, it will stop from wandering. The mind by nature expands to countless thoughts and each thought potentially weakens the mind. The more and more thoughts subside, the better is the ability to concentrate the mind. A mind strengthened this way becomes conducive for self-inquiry easily.

Consuming soft and easily digestible food having moderate content of salt, sour and spice will be a very conducive discipline for controlling the mind. Satva Guna (quality of purity in thought) will increase if such satvik (soft and mild) food is consumed in moderation. It will be of great support for practicing self-inquiry.]



.8.  மனதில் விஷய வாசனைகள் (புலன் நினைவுகள்) அளவில்லாமல் எழும்பி  வந்துகொண்டே இருக்கின்றனவே, என்ன செய்வது? செய்த பாவங்களை பற்றிய நினைவுகளும் வந்து அழுத்துகின்றனவே?

காலம் காலமாக உலகியலில் ஆழ்ந்து, புலன்கள் மூலம் அனுபவித்த இன்ப துன்பங்களின் வாசனைகள் (விஷய வாசனைகள்) காரணமாக மனதில் எண்ணங்கள் கடலலைகள் போல அடுத்தடுத்து எழுகின்றன. அவையெல்லாம் தனது ஆத்ம சொரூபத்தை தியானிக்க தியானிக்க அழிந்துவிடும். ‘எல்லா வாசனைகளையும் ஒடுக்கி, சொரூபம்  மாத்திரமே இருக்கும் நிலையை அடையமுடியுமா?’ என்றெல்லாம் சந்தேகப் பட்டுக்கொண்டிருக்காமல் சொரூப தியானத்தை விடாப் பிடியாகப் பிடிக்க வேண்டும்!

மனதில், நல்ல மனம், கெட்ட மனம் என்று இரண்டு இல்லை. மனம் ஒன்றே. மனதில் எழும் வாசனைகளே நல்லவை என்றும் கெட்டவை என்றும் இரண்டு விதமாகின்றன. நல்ல எண்ணங்கள் எழும்போது நல்ல மனம் என்றும் கெட்ட எண்ணங்கள் எழும்போது கெட்ட மனம் என்று சொல்லப்படுகிறது.

ஒருவன் எப்பேர்ப்பட்ட பாவியாக இருந்தாலும் சரி, ‘நான் பாவியாயிற்றே? என்னாலும்  கடைத்தேற முடியுமா?’   என்று ஏங்கி அழுதுகொண்டிருக்காமல் ‘நான் பாவி’ என்ற எண்ணத்தை அறவே ஒழித்து சொரூப தியானத்தை ஊக்கமுடன் செய்து வந்தால் அவன் கண்டிப்பாய் கடைத்தேறுவான்.

[8. What to do as sensual thoughts keep on arising non-stop in the mind? What about the thoughts of sins committed in the past that keep on arising too?

As we have been indulging worldly life in satisfying our sense organs and experienced both pleasure and pain out of them since time immemorial (across several births), their vasanas (subtle memories / residual thoughts) cause unceasing onslaught of thoughts like sea waves in the present. But they will all die if we persist with meditation on Self. Do not harbor doubts  as to whether it ever possible to remain absorbed fully in Self by eradicating all vasanas, but keep persisting with meditating on Self without slackness.

There are no two minds like a good mind and a bad mind! Mind is one. Only the nature of vasanas that spring up from mind make it good or bad. When good thoughts arise, mind is said to be good; when bad thoughts arise, mind is said to be bad.

However gruesome the sin be, let the sinner not keep crying by harboring a thought like ‘what an awful sinner I am; how can I ever be absolved of my sin?’.  Let him engage in the meditation of Self enthusiastically and he is sure to find salvation.]

9.  விசாரணை எதுவரை வேண்டும்? வைராக்கியத்தின்  அவசியம் என்ன?

மனதில் எதுவரை விஷய வாசனைகள் இருக்கின்றனவோ அதுவரையில் ‘நான் யார்’ என்ற விசாரணையும் வேண்டும். நினைவுகள் தோன்றத் தோன்ற, அவற்றையெல்லாம் உடனுக்குடன் அவை உற்பத்தியாகும் இடத்திலேயே நசித்துப் போடவேண்டும்

வெளி விஷயங்களை நாடாதிருத்தல் வைராக்கியம் அல்லது நிராசை எனப்படும். இப்படித் தனக்கு அந்நியமானவற்றை நாடாதிருத்தல் வைராக்கியம் என்றால், தன்னை விடாதிருத்தலே ஞானம் ஆகும். பார்க்கப் போனால் உண்மையில் இவை இரண்டும் ஒன்றுதான்.

முத்துக்குளிப்பவர்கள் எப்படி தம் இடுப்பில் கல்லைக்கட்டிக்கொண்டு ஆழ்ந்து மூழ்கி கடலின் அடியில் கிடக்கும் முத்தை எடுக்கிறார்களோ, அப்படியே ஒவ்வொருவனும் வைராக்கியத்துடன் தன்னுள் ஆழ்ந்து மூழ்கி, ஆத்ம முத்தை அடையலாம்! ஒருவன் தன் ஆத்மசொரூபத்தை அடையும் வரையில் எப்போதும் சொரூப தியானத்தை விடாது செய்வானேயானால் அந்த சாதனை ஒன்றே போதும். கோட்டைக்குள் எதிரிகள் உள்ளவரை அவர்கள் அதிலிருந்து வெளியே வந்துகொண்டேயிருப்பார்கள். வெளியே வரவர அவர்களையெல்லாம் வெட்டிக்கொண்டே இருந்தால் கோட்டை நம் கைவசமாகிவிடும்!

[9. How long should self-inquiry be done?  What is the need for dispassion?

As long as subtle desires / residual thoughts on sense enjoyments exist in mind, one should continue with the “Who am I” self-inquiry. As thoughts spring up from mind one after another, they should be crushed then and there at their very root.

Not seeking sensual gratification from external objects is Vairagya (dispassion) or desirelessness. If not seeking what is outside oneself is Vairagya, keeping a firm hold of one’s real self is Jnana (Wisdom). In a way, both are same.

Just in the same way divers tie  stone to their waists and dive deep into the sea to gather pearl shells, everyone can dive deep within himself with dispassion and pick the pearl of the Self. If one ceaselessly practices meditation of Self till he attains the experience of the Self, that very sadhana (spiritual practice) is good enough. As long as enemies are inside the fort, they will keep on coming outside; if you kill them one after the other as they come out, the fort will soon be conquered by you.]

10.  விசாரணை மார்க்கத்தில் இறைவன், குரு  இவர்களின் பங்கு என்ன? பக்தி, சரணாகதி இவற்றின் பொருளென்ன?

தன் விருப்பமோ முயற்சியோ இன்றி சூரியன் தன் நியதிப்படி உதிக்கும்போது, பூதக்கண்ணாடி தீயை உண்டாக்குவது, தாமரை மலர்வது, நீர் ஆவியாகி வற்றுவது, உலகோர் விழித்தெழுந்து தம் அன்றாடக் காரியங்களில் ஈடுபடுவது எல்லாம் நடக்கின்றன. சூரியன் மறைந்தவுடன் எல்லாம் அடங்குகின்றன. காந்தத்தின் முன்னே ஊசி காந்தத்தை நோக்கிக் கவர்ந்து இழுக்கப்படுகிறது . இவை போலவே, வேண்டுதல் வேண்டாமை இன்றி இறைவன் (ஈசுவரன்) நடத்தும் (படைத்தல், காத்தல், அழித்தல் எனும்) முத்தொழில்களுக்கு உட்பட்டு உலகோர் தத்தமது கர்ம வினைப்படி காரியங்களை செய்து, பின் பின் அடங்குகின்றனர்.

உலகோரின் காரியங்களால் இறைவனுக்கு ஆகவேண்டியது ஒன்றும் இல்லை. அவரை ஒரு கருமமும் ஒட்டாது. சூரியன் உதிப்பதால் ஏற்படும் நிகழ்வுகள் எப்படி சூரியனுக்கு சம்பந்தம் இல்லையோ, எப்படி மண், நீர், காற்று, தீ என்னும் நான்கு பூதங்களின் தாக்கத்தால் ஐந்தாவது பூதமான ஆகாயம் எவ்வித பாதிப்பும் அடைவதில்லையோ அவ்வாறே இறைவனும் உலகினரின் கர்மங்களால் பாதிக்கப் படுவதில்லை.

கடவுளும் குருவும் முக்தியடைவதற்கு வழிகாட்டுவார்களே அல்லாது தாமாகவே ஜீவர்களை முக்தியில்  கொண்டுபோய்ச் சேர்க்க மாட்டார்கள்.

கடவுளும் குருவும் உண்மையில் வேறு வேறு அல்லர். புலி வாய்க்குள் சிக்கிய பிராணி எப்படித் திரும்பிவராதோ, அவ்வாறே குருவின் அருள் பார்வையில் பட்டவர்கள் அவரால் காப்பாற்றப்படுவார்கள்; ஆனாலும் குரு காட்டிய வழிப்படி தவறாது நடத்தல் அவசியம்.

எவன் தன்னையே கடவுளாகிய சொரூபத்தினிடத்தில் தியாகம் செய்கிறானோ அவனே சிறந்த பக்திமான். ஆத்ம சிந்தனையைத் தவிர வேறு சிந்தனை எதுவும் கிளம்புவதற்கு சிறிதும் இடம் தராமல் எப்போதும் ஆத்ம நிஷ்டையிலேயே இருப்பதே தன்னை இறைவனுக்கு சமர்ப்பிப்பதாகும். இறைவனின் மீது எவ்வளவு பாரத்தைப் போட்டாலும் அவர் தாங்கிக் கொள்வார். எல்லாக் காரியங்களையும் இறைவனின் சக்தியே நடத்திக்கொண்டிருக்கிறது; நாம் அதற்கு அடங்கிப் போகவேண்டும். அப்படி அடங்காமல் ‘இதைச் செய்ய வேண்டும், அதைச் செய்ய வேண்டும்’ என்று சதா சிந்தித்துக்கொண்டே இருப்பது எதற்காக?  ரயில் வண்டி எல்லா பாரங்களையும் சுமந்து செல்கிறது என்பது நமக்குத் தெரியும். அப்படி இருந்தும், அதில் பயணம் செய்யும் நாம் நம் மூட்டையை அதில் இறக்கிவைத்துவிட்டு நிம்மதியாய் இல்லாமல், மூட்டையை நம் தலை மீதே சுமந்துகொண்டு பயணித்தால் எத்தனை சிரமம்?

[10.   In the path of Self-Inquiry, what is the role of God and Guru? What is the relevance of bhakti (devotion) and saranagathi (surrender)?

The Sun rises as a matter of routine without any will or effort of its own; as its effect, the lens  produces heat out of sun rays; the lotus blossoms; water evaporates and drying happens; people get up and engage themselves in their daily chores. When the sun sets, all these activities cease. When there is a magnet, the needle gets attracted by it. In a similar way, God, as eshwara,  without any desire or aversion of His own, carries out His triple action — creation, sustenance and destruction and as its consequence, the people in the world, as per their karma, do their acts and then settle.

God has nothing to gain from the activities of the people of the world. No karma ever touches Him. Just as the sun is never affected by the various activities that happen in the world when it rises, just as the sky (the 5th element)  is never affected by any changes in the four other elements — earth, water, air and fire, God too is never affected by the activities of the people in the world.

God and guru will only show the way for liberation and they would not on their own take the souls to liberation.

In fact, God and Guru are not two different entities. Just as a creature caught in the mouth of a tiger will never come back alive, those who have been blessed by the holy look of a guru will always be saved by him. Yet, it is very important to follow the path shown by the guru.

The best devotee is one who dissolves his own identity in God who is the indweller. Surrendering oneself to God really means remaining steadfast in the contemplation of Self with no thoughts other than ceaseless thought of the Self. God can bear any amount of weight put on Him. All activities are getting carried out only through the power of God. We have to simply surrender to its control. Without getting subdued like this, why should we keep on scheming ‘I have to do this or I have to accomplish that?’. We know that the train carries all the luggage. Having known this fact, what is the point in travelling in a train, still carrying all the luggage on our heads?]

11. சுகம் என்பது என்ன?

ஆத்மாவின் இயல்பு நிலையே சுகம் தான்; சுகமும் ஆத்ம சொரூபமும் வேறு வேறு அல்ல. ஆத்ம சுகம் ஒன்றே உள்ளது. அதுவே சத்தியம். உலகப் பொருள்கள் எதிலும் சுகம் என்பது கிடையாது. அவைகளிலிருந்து சுகம் கிடைப்பதாக நாம் நமக்கு விவேகமில்லாத காரணத்தால் நினைக்கிறோம். மனம் எப்போது வெளியே வருகிறதோ அப்போது அது துக்கத்தை அனுபவிக்கிறது. நாம் நமது ஆசை பூர்த்தியாகும்போதெல்லாம் அனுபவிக்கும் சுகம் என்பது உண்மையில் நம் மனம் தனது உண்மை நிலையான ஆத்மாவுக்கு திரும்பி ஒன்றுவதால் கிடைக்கும் ஆத்ம சுகமே தவிற வேறில்லை.

ஆழ்ந்த தூக்கம், சமாதி, மூர்சையடைந்த மயக்க நிலை போன்ற நிலைகளிலும், ஆசைப்பட்டது கிடைக்கும்போதும், வெறுத்த பொருளுக்கு கேடு உண்டாகும்போதும் மனம் உள்முகமாகி ஆத்ம சுகத்தையே அனுபவிக்கிறது. இப்படி மனம் ஆத்மாவை விட்டு வெளியே போவதும் உள்ளே திரும்புவதுமாக ஓய்வின்றி அலைகிறது.

மரத்தடியில் நிழல் சுகமாய் இருக்கிறது; வெயிலில் சூரிய வெப்பம் கொடுமையாய் இருக்கிறது. வெயிலில் அலையும் ஒருவன் நிழலில் போய் நின்று குளிர்ச்சியை அனுபவிக்கிறான்; சிறிது நேரம் கழித்து வெயிலில் கிளம்பிப் போய், பிறகு மீண்டும் வெப்பதின் கொடுமை பொறுக்க முடியாமல் மரத்தடிக்கு ஓடி வருகிறான். இவ்வாறு நிழலிலிருந்து வெயிலில் போவதும், பிறகு வெயிலிலிருந்து நிழலுக்கு ஓடி வருவதுமாகத் திண்டாடுகிறான். இப்படிச் செய்பவன் விவேகமில்லாதவன்.

விவேகம் உள்ளவனோ நிழலை விட்டு நீங்க மாட்டான். இதுபோலவே ஞானியின் மனமும் பிரம்மத்தை விட்டு நீங்குவதில்லை. ஆனால் அஞ்ஞானியின் மனமோ, உலகியலில் ஈடுபட்டு துக்கம் அடைவதும், பிறகு இறைவனிடம் திரும்பி சுகமடைவதுமாக இருக்கிறது. உலகம் என்பது வெறும் நினைவே. உலகம் மறையும்போது அதாவது நினைவுகள் அழியும்போது மனம் ஆனந்தத்தை அனுபவிக்கிறது; உலகம் தோன்றும்போது துக்கத்தை அனுபவிக்கிறது.

[11.  What is happiness?

The very nature of Self is happiness. Happiness and Self are not different entities. What really exists is happiness of the Atman. It is the ultimate Truth. No worldly objects carry happiness. Due to lack of discrimination, we wrongly think that worldly objects give happiness. Whenever mind goes outward, it experiences only sorrow. Whatever happiness we experience when we satiate our desire, it is only the experience of mind turning inward and remaining united with Atman and nothing else.

Whatever bliss we experience when in deep sleep, samadhi or in a state of total unconsciousness, or when a desire is satisfied or when something bad happens to what hate is only the effect of mind turning inward and experiencing the innate happiness of the Atman. Thus the mind wanders restlessly by going outward and turning inward.

The shade under a tree is blissful. The heat of the sun is torturous in the open. A person wandering in hot sun enjoys happiness by taking shelter in the shade under a tree.  After some time, he goes out in the open again, suffers the heat and rushes back to the shade of the tree. Thus he suffers restlessly by shunting between the sunshine and tree shade over his head. Anybody who does so lacks discrimination.

The one with the right sense of discrimination will not leave the shade.  Likewise, the mind of a Jnani (Wise person) never leaves Brahman (God). But the mind of an ajnani (unwise person) gets into worldly activities and experiences pain; then it returns to God to experience happiness. World exists only in thought. When world disappears, that is, when there are no thoughts, mind experiences bliss. When world is perceived, mind experiences suffering.]

12.  தத்துவ ஞானத்தை புத்தக வாயிலாகப்  படித்தறிவது எத்தனை தூரம் முக்கியம்?

எல்லா ஆனமீகப் புத்தகங்களிலும்  முக்தி அடைவதற்கு மனதை அடக்க வேண்டும் என்ற கருத்தே சொல்லப்படுகிறது; மனதை அழிப்பதே ஆனமீக நூல்களின் முடிவான கருத்து என்று தெரிந்துகொண்ட  பிறகு,  மேலும் மேலும் நூல்களை அளவின்றிப் படிப்பதால் பயன் இல்லை.  அடக்குவதற்கு தன்னை யார் என்று விசாரிக்கவேண்டுமே  தவிர, புத்தகங்களில் போய் எதை விசாரிப்பது? தன்னை, தன்னுடைய ஞானக்கண்ணால் தானே தான் அறியவேண்டும். ராமன் தன்னை ராமன் என்று அறிந்துகொள்ளக் கண்ணாடியைப் போய்ப் பார்க்கவேண்டுமா என்ன!

‘தான்’ பஞ்ச கோசங்களுக்குள் இருப்பது. [பஞ்ச கோசங்கள் (ஐந்து உறைகள்) என்பவை :  1. அன்னமய கோசம் (உணவால் ஆன உறை), 2. பிராணமய கோசம் (பிராணனால் ஆன உறை),  3. மனோமய கோசம் (மனத்தால் ஆன உறை),  4. விஞ்ஞானமய கோசம் ( தெளிந்த அறிவாலாகிய உறை, மற்றும் 5. ஆனந்தமய கோசம் (ஆனந்தத்தால் ஆன உறை)]. ஆனால் நூல்களோ இவற்றிற்கு வெளியேஇருப்பவை. ஆகவே, இந்த ஐந்து கோசங்களையம் (நான் இதுவல்ல என்று) நீக்கி விசாரித்து அறிய வேண்டிய ஆத்ம சொரூபத்தைப் புத்தகங்களில் தேடி அலைவது வீணே.

பந்தத்தில் சிக்குண்டிருக்கும் தன்னை யார் என்று விசாரித்துத் தன இயற்கை சொரூபத்தை அறிந்துகொள்வதுதான் முக்தி. எப்போதும் மனதை ஆத்மாவில் வைத்திருப்பதற்குத் தான் ‘ஆத்ம விசாரம்’ என்று பெயர். தியானம் என்பது தன்னை சச்சிதானந்த பிரம்மமாகப் பாவிப்பது. (நூல் அறிவும் ஒருவித தளையே ஆதலால்)  அனைத்தையும் ஒரு காலத்தில் மறக்க வேண்டிவரும்!

குப்பையைக் கூட்டித் தள்ளவேண்டிய ஒருவன் அந்தக் குப்பையை ஆராய்வதால் பயன் உண்டா என்ன? அப்படியே, தன்னை அறியவேண்டிய ஒருவன், தன்னை அறிய விடாது மறைத்துக் கொண்டிருக்கும் தத்துவங்களனைத்தையும் கூட்டித்தள்ளாமல்  அவை இத்தனை என்றும் அவற்றின் குணங்கள் என்ன  என்றும் ஆராய்ந்துகொண்டிருப்பதால் பயனில்லை.

[12. To what extent it is essential to learn philosophical knowledge about Self through books?

It is stated practically in all spiritual books that control of the mind is essential to attain liberation. Having known that the foregone conclusion of all spiritual books is the annihilation of the mind, there is no purpose in reading numerous spiritual books more and more. To control the mind, one has to engage in self inquiry ‘who am I’;  what is there to keep inquiring in spiritual books? One has to identify his real Self through his ‘wisdom eye’ himself. For Raman to know that he is indeed Raman, should he go and look at the mirror?!

The sense of “I” is encased within 5 sheaths. (The following are the 5-sheaths — Pancha kosha: (1) Annamaya kosha — The sheath of food, (2) Pranamaya Kosha — the sheath of vital air , (3) manomaya kosha — the sheath of mind, (4) Vijnanamaya kosha — the sheath of the intellect and (5) Anandamaya kosha — the sheath of bliss). But books exist outside all these. Hence, it is futile to search the self in books, while the right way is to inquire and negate these sheaths one by one by discarding them by clarifying ‘I am not this’. 

Mukti (liberation) is to get freed from the fetters of worldly attachments and realize one’s true Self. Self inquiry is the process by which the mind is kept united with Atman forever. Meditation is a state of contemplation of oneself as Brahman (God beyond name and form). A state will come when all the bookish knowledge has to be forgotten (since bookish knowledge too, in a way, is a bondage).

When all the rubbish are meant to be swept and thrown away, what is the point in analyzing them? In the same way, the philosophies that tend to hide the Truth of the Self and act as hindrance to know oneself are all meant to be swept aside; It serves no purpose in researching how many of them are there and what their characteristics are.]

13.  விழிப்பு நிலைக்கும் கனவு நிலைக்கும் உள்ள பேதம் என்ன?

இந்த உலகத்தையும் ஒரு கனவு போல் எண்ணிக்கொள்ளவேண்டும். விழிப்பு நிலை என்பது உண்மையில் ஒரு நீண்ட கனவு ; உறக்கத்தில் வரும் கனவு என்பது  மிகக் குறுகிய நேரம் உள்ள கனவு. அவ்வளவு தான் வித்தியாசம். அதைத் தவிர வேறு இல்லை. விழிப்பு நிலையில் நடக்கும் விவகாரங்கள் எல்லாம் எவ்வளவு உண்மையாகத் தோன்றுகின்றனவோ அதே அளவு கனவு காணும்போது அதில் ஏற்படும் நிகழ்வுகள் அந்தக் கனவு நிலையில் உண்மையாகவே தோன்றுகின்றன! கனவில் மனம் வேறொரு உடம்பை எடுத்துக்கொள்கிறது. விழிப்பு நிலை, கனவு நிலை இரண்டிலுமே நினைவுகளும் நாம ரூபங்களும் ஒரே சமயத்தில் எழுகின்றன.


[13. What is the difference between waking state and dream state?

We must presume this world too as a work of dream. In reality, waking state is a long dream, while the dream we see in sleep is of a short duration. That’s the only difference between the two and nothing really more. Whatever we experience in our waking state appears to be extremely real; In the same way,  as long as we are in dream state, the dreams we experience too are very real. In dream state, our mind takes up a new body. In both the waking state and dream state, thoughts, names and forms appear simultaneously.]

14.  உலகியல் வாழ்வை எப்படி நடத்திப் போகவேண்டும்?

மற்றவர்கள் எவ்வளவு கெட்டவர்களாய் இருந்தாலும் அவர்களை வெறுக்கக் கூடாது. விருப்பு, வெறுப்பு இரண்டுமே ஒதுக்கவேண்டியவைதாம்.

உலகியல் விஷயங்களில் மனதை அதிகம் ஈடுபட விடக்கூடாது. முடிந்தவரை அடுத்தவர் காரியங்களில் மூக்கை நுழைக்கக் கூடாது.

பிறருக்கு ஒருவன் ஏதேனும் கொடுத்து உதவினால், உண்மையில் அவன் தனக்கே தான் கொடுத்துக்கொள்கிறான். இந்த உண்மையைப் புரிந்து கொண்டுவிட்டால் பின்னர் யார்தான் கொடுக்காமல் இருப்பார்கள்?

‘தான்’ எழுந்தால்  எல்லாம் எழும். ‘தான்’ அடங்கினால், எல்லாம் அடங்கும்.எவ்வளவுக்கெவ்வளவு தாழ்ந்து அடக்கமாய் நடந்து கொள்கிறோமோ அவ்வளவுக்கவ்வளவு நன்மை உண்டு. மனதை அடக்கிக்கொண்டிருந்தால் ஒருவன் எங்கே வேண்டுமானாலும் இருக்கலாம்.

[14. How does one go about leading the worldly life?

Even if other people are of bad behavior, they should never be hated. Both likes and dislikes are to be discarded.

Mind should not be allowed to indulge in worldly thoughts much. To the extent possible, interfering in others’ affairs should be avoided.

Suppose one helps another by giving something, the truth is he is only helping himself. If this truth is understood, who will refrain from helping others?

If the sense of ‘I’ (ego)  rises up, everything arises. If it subsides, everything subsides. To whatever extent we humble ourselves, to that extent we are benefited.

If only the mind is in total control, one can live anywhere.]

If only the mind is in total control, one can live anywhere.
























How do you get Mantra Diksha from Sri Ramakrishna Math?

Please approach your nearest branch of Sri Ramakrishna Math and tell them about your intention of taking Mantra. The monk/ manager in the Math would normally ask you about your background knowledge about Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Sarada Devi and Swami Vivekananda. You are expected to have some reasonable exposure by reading their books and have a conviction about Sri Ramakrishna as a divine Avatar.

Mantra diksha is given only by one or two designated senior most monks of RK Math (President / Vice President of Belur Math) and as and when such a monk visits the branch (may be a once or twice in a year), you can get intimated. They will also display a board in the Math premises about the visit and giving of Mantra diksha. You have to fill up a form asking your biodata and about your interest on Ramakrishna. You can thus get registered to be a seeker of Diksha. They will intimate to you when and how to come and the things you have to bring in the morning. (Flower garland, fruits to offer, a pair of dhoti & angavastra to be given, Guru dakshina (as per your wish), any donation willingly given etc).

Please note: Ramakrishna Math will initiate you only in Sri Ramakrishna mantra. If you want to be initiated in any other mantra (like Shiva mantra or Narayana mantra) they won’t.

You are expected to come with empty stomach early in the morning.

The ceremony will be a common session for all the seekers of diksha for the day. There will be a bhajan session and then a formal puja to be performed by you etc. The Diksha guru would give a small introductory lecture; ask for any clarifications from the gathering. He will give the mantra commonly to all in a closed hall/ room. (not individually). Then each individual will be invited to come to the Guru and he will be asked to chant the mantra to the Guru so as to ensure that it has been grasped properly and pronounced properly.

As a regular practice, you will be advised to chant the mantras at least 108 times per session twice a day. The more you do, the better. An instruction slip will be given to you giving further guidelines on Mantra chanting, and advice of doing manasa puja, meditation etc.

Then you will individually offer a pada puja to the guru after garlanding him and making the offerings brought by you.

The session will end sometime in the noon. Immediately, you will be offered a glass of juice (Panakam) first and then a sumptuous prasadam to eat.

Picture showing Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa offering informal Sanyas to his young disciples Narendra, Rakhal, Bapuram and others.

What does Amma (Mata Amritanandamayi) say, as a woman saint, on the matter of allowing young women to Sabarimala Ayyappa temple?

Mata Amritanandamayi is a highly respected woman saint in Kerala with a huge following, who is popular across the globe for her expression of universal love and her social and philanthropic activities. She has been contributing in many ways, both spiritually and socially, in removing the inequalities that women have been facing.

As a woman saint, her viewpoint on this sensitive subject of allowing women into Sabarimala carries weight and requires a serious study. Below is the English translation of her Malayalam talk on this subject:

“In fact, there is no bar for ladies to visit and worship at Sabarimala temple and many ladies are indeed visiting and having darshan of lord at Sabarimala. The only thing is that as part of the procedures of austerity stipulated for devotees visiting Sabarimala, there is restriction for women of a specific age group to visit the place.

In Amma’s conception, God is beyond the distinctions of man and woman. But when we consider ‘God’ as a principle and God as a formally consecrated ‘deity’ in a temple, there is subtle difference that we must take into account. God is indeed an infinite consciousness. But a deity inside a temple is not exactly same.

There is a difference between the two — like the difference between fish in the seas and the ornamental fish carefully nurtured at homes in the glass tanks. If you don’t feed food at proper intervals for the fish in the tank, they cannot be sustained. But we don’t have to bother about feeding the fish in the seas; In the same way, for formerly consecrated temple deities, we have to conduct daily pujas, offer sanctified food, do special pujas on special occasions as per prescribed norms in the Shastras or else, the divine consciousness existing in the deities would get deteriorated.

On the other hand, God as an omnipresent and omniscient entity will not get affected anyway whether formal worship is done to Him or not.

Just like the different fish types in the glass tank require provision for oxygen and feeding of specifically formulated fish food, different deities in temples require different and specific mantras for worship and procedures for cleanliness and purity to be maintained in the temple. The mantras meant for a smiling deity would be different from the mantras of the same deity conceived in an expression of anger (rowdra bhava). Even though the same divine power permeates everywhere, the specific ways and practices in which the deities in specific temples have been conceived are different.

With regard to Sabarimala, the faith of the devotees of Lord Ayyappa is that the rules and procedures of austerities prescribed for the temple are based on the wish of Lord Ayyappa who undertook penance in the hills as a ‘Nitya Brahmachari’ (ever celibate) and prescribed the regulations before he entered into samadhi. It is based on this belief that ‘Malikappurathamma’ is still waiting outside and those devotees who follow the prescribed austerities and procedures can visit and have a darshan of the lord.

Since devotees follow such a strict regimen (including sense control) , it is not right to demand that young women should be permitted entry in to Sabarimala and olden practices and rules should be changed accordingly.

It is not right to demand that all the temple conventions should be thrown to dust. Such practices and conventions are like pillars holding the dharma.

If at all there is a such a need for change, actually it is the women, who are ardent devotees of Lord Ayyappa, are the ones to state their stand on this matter. After getting such an opinion, let the Government, temple shastra pundits and the priests sit together, discuss it and come to a decision. If there is really a need, then rules may be reviewed and changed; but is should not end up like bathing a child repeatedly for cleanliness with water and then throwing away the remnant water along with the child!”

Brief Life History of Shirdi Sai Baba

Who is Shirdi Sai Baba?

Shirdi Sai Baba (~1838/42-1918) was a very unique Avatar of God; he was a realized saint who knew his oneness with God. His Avatar perhaps was ordained to foster Hindu Muslim unity, though a vast majority of his devotees were essentially Hindus even during his times, as it is now; he lived in Shirdi (which was not his birthplace) for almost 60 years. Shirdi is in Marathwada region where Islamic population too is considerable.

He emphasised ‘Sabka Malik Ek‘ (God of all people is one). Saibaba was, in all probability, had no formal education, but he had extensive knowledge on Bhagavad Gita. His life and utterances reflected the highest truth of Vedanta. He was also very knowledgeable in Koran.

It is widely believed that his Guru was a Muslim fakir (a Sufi saint), who too was a knower of God. Sai Baba dressed up like a Fakir and lived in a dilapidated mosque. That lead some people to think that he was a Muslim Fakir.

Sai Baba did not put any of his teachings in writing; he never gave any discourses; however, his sayings have been recorded by his followers.

Sai Baba often hinted that he did not come to teach, but to awaken. He brought this awakening through his unconditional love towards his followers. Surrender to him unconditionally and he will never let you down –that was the level of confidence he imbibed into his devotees. Baba’s response to his devotee’s call for help is as eager, as ardent and as urgent as the devotee’s call itself. His sayings too stand testimony to this. It is true even today.

The way devotees throng at Shirdi in thousands on a daily basis and in lakhs on festive occasions despite the passage of more than a century after his departure from the world stand testimony to this assurance and faith.

Crowd of devotees waiting for Darshan at Shirdi Sai Samadhi. (Inset: Image of Sri Sai at his Samadhi mandir)

Birth and Early years

Little information was available from Sai Baba about his origins. Connecting historical happenings during his period, it is believed that he was born somewhere between 1838 to 1842.

There was no solid proof available about Sai Baba’s place of birth, religion or caste during his lifetime. Sai Baba never revealed anything about his origins to his devotees.

Two evidences from people who lived close with Sai Baba at Shirdi lead researchers to believe Sai Baba was a Hindu — one, he had his ears pierced and two, he was not found circumcised.  In later period, researcher (Shri V.B,Kher, a Sai devotee and a biographer of Sai) based on several hints collected from Sai Baba’s conversations with devotees in his authentic biographies, by visiting places mentioned there, meeting people etc,  was able to reasonably deduce where his birth place is.

It is believed to be villege Pathri, situated in Parbhani district of Maharashtra, some 150 km south east of Daulatabad. Connecting events of the distant past with family histories learned from aged residents of the village, the researchers also felt that a boy born in a Brahmin family of Bhausaris (Shukla Yajurvedi Brahmins of Koushika Gotra) who had reportedly left his home at an age of about five with a Muslim Fakir was Sai Baba in all probability. They also located the ruined house  of the Bhausaris at Pathri. The name of the Sufi Fakir who became the custodian and spiritual master of the young Brahmin boy was (deduced to be)  Roshan Sha Mia.

The family deity of Bhausari family was Hanuman. After picking up bits and pieces from Sai Baba’s utterances, Baba’s deep knowledge of Hinduism, his practice of celebrating Ram Navami regularly at Shirdi during his final years and the liking he had on Hanuman and a couple of other coincidences, Shri V.B. Kher satisfied himself on his findings. Shri Kher bought the piece of land in 1978 from a descendent of Bhusari Brahmin family at Pathri. Construction of a Sai temple there began in 1994 and On 19th October 1999, the Sai Janmasthan Temple was inaugurated.

Sai Janmasthan temple at Pathri, Maharashtra.

So, it is now more or less an agreed belief that Sai Baba was a Brahmin by birth. Even if he were to be a Muslim, Islam does not have any scope or provision to worship any person as God.

Saibaba reportedly traveled across several places of Marathwada along with his Fakir Guru. He (according to his own statements) was under the care of his guru for 12 long years and served him with love and humility and received love and blessings from his guru in abundance.  It is also believed that Sai Baba was indeed ‘born perfect’ and his innate divinity got just rekindled by association with such a formal Guru. Several statements of Saibaba reveals that he remained in a state of Advaita (a state of non-duality — being one with God) and uttered them with utmost authority and assurance.

It is learnt that Baba, after remaining a wandering monk upto his age of 25 to 30 and before coming and settling Shirdi, was staying in Aurangabad and he was the spiritual master of a fakir by name Bade Baba or Fakir Baba for 12 years. Incidentally,  many years later,  Bade Baba returned to stay with his erstwhile master at Shirdi in the year 1902.

Arrival at Shirdi

Sai Baba arrived for the first time at Shirdi some time the year 1868-1872, when he was around 25 to 30 years old. He was a serene looking young man, tempered by a disciplined life of tapas and austerity. He came to Shirdi along with a marriage party of Chand Patil of Dupkhed; Chand Patil (a muslim)  had brought Sai Baba along with him, to attend the marriage of his sister with one one Hamid of Shirdi.

How did Chand Patil get acquainted with Sai Baba?

The story goes that Chand Patil met Sai Baba on his way from his village towards to Aurangabad while going by walk after he unfortunately lost his mare. He met this young man (Baba) looking like a fakir under a tree, who told him that his lost mare was just in the nearby vicinity, close to a stream there. Patil went in search and was surprised to find his mare there. As he returned to the young Fakir to thank him, he found him preparing his hookah by getting a piece of burning charcoal and also some water by simply digging into earth! The fakir shared the smoke with the traveller too. Impressed by these miracles, Chand Patil took the Fakir reverentially with him to his home to be his guest. Subsequently, he also took him to the marriage ceremony at Shirdi to bless the couples.

No one knew the name of this Fakir. The story goes that when he arrived at Shirdi and got down from the cart, the local Khandoba temple owner and priest Bhagat Mhalsapati saw him first and welcomed him “Ya Sai!” (Welcome Sai) and this name Sai stuck. (The word Sai or Sain/ Sayi denotes Lord,God, saint, husband (beloved) or Fakir. Baba means father). Incidentally, after a couple of  years of arrival of  Sai Baba, Mhalsapati accepted Sai Baba as his Sadguru and became a lifelong devotee to serve Him.

After the marriage, the party with Chand Patil left Shirdi, but Sai Baba stayed back. Initially, Saibaba stayed at the outskirts of Shirdi in Babul forest for nearly 2.5 years, then under a neem tree for four to five years. During this period, he was deeply immersed in Self, ignoring rain and shine and living day and night in the open.

Living under Neem tree and Guru Sthan

According to another version of the story , it is said that he came to Shirdi much earlier, when he was about 16 or 17 years old and  lived with his Guru near the neem tree without much of public gaze across 12 years.

Sai Baba had mentioned about the existence of the tomb of his guru underground adjacent to the neem tree. When dug, four earthen lamps and a japa mala were found there. Baba prevented further digging as the tomb of the guru existed further below. Sai Baba mentioned the existence of a tunnel there where he did his tapas without getting disturbed from the outer world. His utterances on this matter were not so clear whether he was mentioning about his Guru and his life in the present Avatar or in his previous birth. This tunnel reportedly extended upto the Masjid to which Saibaba shifted to live later.

Later he shifted to the dilapidated Masjid where he lived permanently thereafter.

During these early years, Sai Baba had no proper food. He would go for alms and be content to eat whatever people gave him. However, a kind-hearted lady by name Bayajabai somehow seemed to understand the high spiritual status of Sai Baba and she took a vow to feed Baba before she ate her food. She would take the meals for Baba. go in search of him near the neem tree oand surrounding places in the jungle, locate him and feed him.

People by and large thought he was a mad Fakir, till a well known Vaishnava Saint by name Gangagir Bua, who often visited Shirdi, met Baba; he could grasp Baba’s true stature of divinity and he spread word.  Two other sadhus who lived in Shirdi at that time by name Devidas and Janakidas too started liking the company of the saintly Sai Baba. Soon, one by one people started going to him and were amply rewarded by his blessings.

Living at Dwaraka Mai (Masjid)

An old photo of entrance of Masjid (Dwarakamai). Sai Baba seen at the right extreme.

Mhalsapati, Kashiram Shimpi and Appa Jagle of Shirdi were the earliest disciples of Sai Baba, who surrendered to him and served him with devotion.  It is by their efforts that Sai Baba shifted from the neem tree to the dilapidated Masjid in Shirdi; This masjid became his permanent abode till the end of his life, spanning about 60 years. He named the place Dwaraka MaiMhalsapati became the closest of all and he served his Master till Baba left his mortal body.

An artist view of Sai Baba sitting inside the Masjid (Dwarakamai).

 In fact, it was Sai Baba who attracted devotees and ardent seekers living in distant places by creating circumstances in their lives or by sending word to them to come and meet Him. He said that his relation as  Guru with some of his disciples started a couple of births ago and he was duty-bound to take care of them and lead them to enlightenment across births.

After his permanent occupation at Dwaraka mai, more spiritually inclined seekers like Appa Kulkarni, Nana Saheb Dengle, Chidambar Keshav, Madhav Rao Deshpande, Nanasaheb Nimonkar, Nanasaheb Chandorkar, Das Ganu and others frequently visited Sai Baba and accepted Him as their Sadguru and surrendered to him.

By the grace and blessings of Sai Baba, Das Ganu  (real name Shri Ganapat Dattatreya Saharabuddhe) a former policeman left his job, surrendered to Sai and later blossomed into a great poet, singing the glory of his guru through his kirtans. He was hailed as a santkavi.

It was through Nanasaheb Chandorkar (a well educated person in Sanskrit and Hindu scriptures) that the outer world came to know of Sai Baba’s extensive knowledge on Bhagavad Gita and other scriptures of Hinduism.

Abdul, the Muslim disciple of Sai Baba too came to Sai Baba through his calling. Abdul was earlier a servitor of Amiruddin fakir of Nanded. It was through Abdul that the world came to know of the extensive knowledge Sai Baba had on Islam, the Koran, Sira— the life of Mohammad, Sunna (code of conduct) , hadith (traditions), sharia (laws) and so on.

Common people started coming to Sai Baba in large numbers for curing them of their ailments and seeking solutions to their worldly worries. During his early days, Sai Baba prepared some indigenous medicines and gave to them. People got cured miraculously and they spread words; more and more people came to him for the purpose.

The Dhuni and Udi as prasad

At Dwaraka mai, Sai Baba started a Dhuni — a fire place where he arranged to keep a sacred fire burning perpetually. Baba stopped preparing and giving medicines;  instead, he started giving the ash (Udi) from the Dhuni as his prasad.  Sai Baba’s udi prasad soon became a ‘cure all’ medicine for many people, including people having mental problems. Through the udi, what they really received was the unconditional love and divine blessings from Sai Baba.

As Baba’s popularity grew, people started bringing food for him to the Masjid and gradually, the need for him to go around the village for seeking alms came down.

Sai Baba as a Saint and Sadguru

Baba radiated divine love; his compassion flowed unconditionally towards all those who came to him with faith and trust hoping their problems to get solved. Spiritually inclined seekers who came to him, grasped his divine nature and surrendered to his feet considering him to be their Sadguru.

Baba remained a unique blend of all religious faiths and he did not discriminate people based on religion, sect, caste, race, sex or language. He strengthened the faiths of devotees to their respective religions and guided them individually on spiritual practices suited to each one’s capacity, calibre and taste.

He taught his devotees self-restraint, detachment, faith in God and faith in guru.Without being preachy, he taught philosophy, devotion, spiritual discipline, morality, right conduct for daily life and fellow-feeling towards all living beings.

He encouraged sadaks whose worldly duties were over, to live with him and concentrate on sadhana for spiritual enlightenment.  He discouraged youngsters from relinquishing worldly life out of over-enthusiasm without the necessary mental strength for renunciation.

Many devotees of Lord Dattatreya who came to him considered him to be an avatar of Dattatreya. Akkalkot Swami (Shri Swami Samarth)  was a highly revered and a contemporary saint of Sai Baba who was considered  an Avatar of Dattatreya. Many of his devotees held Sai Baba in very high regard. It is said that Akkalkot Swami directed some of his disciples to go to Sai Baba for guidance after his departure.

Likewise devotees of other God forms (Lord Ganesha, Hanuman and so on) too considered Saibaba as the divine Avatar of their personal Gods.  Some such devotees, who had taken vows to make certain money offerings to their deities in times hardships faced in their lives,  conveniently forgot to make the offerings to their deities once they came out of the difficulties. When they came to Saibaba, there were several instances where Baba asked for and collected such money from them!

Sai Baba strongly condemned religious conversions. Once a person who had  converted to Islam from being a Hindu came to Sai Baba for his darshan, Sai Baba slapped him on his face saying, “Are you not ashamed of changing your father?”

Baba’s daily Life – Simplicity personified

Saibaba always donned a Kafni (long full sleeved kurta), wore a langot (waist band) and covered His head with a piece of cloth. He sat on a piece of sackcloth, and his bed too was a sackcloth. He wore his dress till they were torn and turn to become rags. He always said “Poverty is better than Kingship, far better than Lordship. The Lord is always brother of the poor.”

During his early years, Saibaba went out for begging his food; whatever solid and liquid food items he was given, he collected them separately, brought them to the Masjid, kept them in open pots and ate from them. Those who came to him and those who did service to him (like cleaning the masjid premises) could also partake the food from the pots. Dogs too came to him and had their share from the collection.

In later periods, as the number of close devotees increased, devotees brought food for him from their homes to the masjid and the need for going out for daily alms stopped. Using the provisions that people brought, Saibaba sometimes cooked the food and offered it as prasad to the devotees. The prasad he made at times contained meat too that non-vegetarians devotees partook from him.

Baba’s close devotees always worshiped him and revered him as God. As part of the daily routine in Dwarakamai, an aarati (formal worship with lighted lamp) in the noon and one aarati at night was performed to Sai Baba by close devotees (like Mhalsapati) amidst chanting of hymns. Of course, this practice was not to the liking of some people of the Muslim community in and around Shirdi.

Baba had no personal wants or needs. For so many years, Baba never had any need for money. During his later years in life, Sai Baba accepted dakshina (offering of money) from his devotees. Whatever Sababa received — be food, provisions or cash, he distributed amidst the visiting needy devotees and also to his close associates who served him and had families to take care of. Many devotees observed that the money Sai Baba distributed daily to others appeared to be more than what he used to receive as dakshina!

When Sai Baba attained Samadhi, a Policeman present on duty at Dwarakamai at that time officially took charge of Sai Baba’s possessions and according to the report, Sai Baba had just 16 rupees with him in his possession!

Baba and miracles

Baba in numerous miraculous ways played the role of God, a mentor, a Guru, a guide and a savior in the lives of devotees who surrendered to him with unflinching faith. Practically all devotees of Baba had some miraculous experience or other in their lives  to come out of worldly worries and calamities. Such experiences redoubled their faith on His divinity and helped them to tread the path of dharma and spirituality.

Baba’s devotees experienced that He knew every detail of their lives without the need of telling him; Baba read their good and bad thoughts and constantly warned them from going astray.  When caught up in deep troubles, Baba heard their prayers and came to their rescue in some way or other, in some human form or other wherever they were. Sai Baba willingly took up the bad prarabdhas (effects of bad karmas of the past) of some of his devotees on himself in order to reduce their suffering and burden.

There were many instances when Sai Baba blessed progeny to childless couples, saved devotees from accidents and life threatening diseases, protected them from financial disasters, helped them in getting the right match in marriages and so on.  Reviving the dead to life was also performed by Sai on one or two rare occasions.

Very occasionally, Baba also openly displayed a few miracles. Here are a few of them:

  • Baba in deep Samadhi bordering on death for 3 days. This happened in the year 1885. Sai Baba had a severe bout of asthma; he called Mhalsapati and said, “I am going into samadhi; please take care of my body for 3 days”. Mhalsapati stayed day and night with the motionless body of Sai that looked almost dead. Some people in Shirdi believed that Sai Baba was dead and wanted to cremate his body. But Mhalsapati stood very firm. Baba regained outer consciousness after three days.
  • Stirring boiling food with bare hands. Devotees had witnessed  Sai Baba sometimes cooking Prasad for feeding the gathering in a large pot. He would simply use his hands instead of a ladle to stir the boiling contents in the pot.
  • Arresting spread of Cholera. During 1910, Shirdi was affected by Cholera. A few people died. One day Sai Baba was seen single handedly grinding a sack of wheat in a hand grinding stone. Local ladies came to assist him and when the work was over, they attempted to take the flour with them to their houses. Sai Baba scolded them severely and asked them to collect the flour and spread it along the borders of the village. Wondering why, they obeyed his words. Sai Baba clarified later that by this weird gesture, he had prevented spreading of Cholera in Shirdi.  After this incidence,  no death occurred on account of Cholera in Shirdi.
  • Preventing Plague deaths. In 1911, plague epidemic broke out and it started affecting Shirdi too. At that time, seven or eight buboes appeared in Baba’s body and he got fever. His devotees got scared. Baba used his own medicine (ghee) for applying over buboes which he recommended to others too. Baba assured them that neither He nor anyone in Shirdi would die on account of plague and he had taken up the calamity on himself to ward off the epidemic. It was proved true.
  • Bringing holy waters. Once, Das Ganu thought that he should go to Prayag for a bath, and came to Baba to get His permission for doing so. Baba replied to him – “It is not necessary to go so long. Our Prayag is here, believe me.” When Das Ganu placed his head on Baba’s Feet, out came or flowed streams of water — of Ganga and Yamuna, from both the toes of Baba.

Baba’s two Biographers who were direct devotees

Shri Govind R Dabholkar was a Brahmin by birth and he was a 1st class Resident Magistrate in Borsad before he retired. Nana Saheb Chandorkar was his friend and due to the later’s insistence, he came and met Sai Baba initially with some reluctance in the year 1910. He was bowled by Sai Baba’s radiating divinity and his thirst to have a guru came to an end. He started visiting Baba regularly. in 1916, a year before Sai Baba’s departure, Shama, a friend of Dabholkar and an ardent devotee of Baba convinced Baba for the need of having an authentic biography of Him written and Baba gave his blessings to Dabholkar for writing it.

With the help of all close Sai devotees, Dabholkar collected information about Sai Baba’s sayings, leelas and miracles from the real life experiences of many devotees for 13 years from 1917 to 1929. He wrote Shri Sai Satcharitra in Marathi in the form of verses and they first got serialized in Sri Sai Leela magazine from 1923 (6 years after Sai Baba’s Maha Samadhi). Shri Sai Satcharitra complete in book form came out 1929. Sri Dabholkar passed away in the same year.

After his retirement, Dabholkar served Sai Baba very sincerely till Baba’s Mahasamadhi and afterwards managed very skillfully and efficiently Sai Baba’s Shirdi Sansthan till his death in 1929.

Shri Sai Satcharitra was the first authentic source book on the Avatar and leela of Shirdi Sai, and it was written not as a biography in chronological order, but in the form of a Pothi, a religious book. It contained 53 chapters and 9308 verses. This book, in later years, got translated into English and  other Indian languages.

Sri Vaman Prangovind Patel (Later Swami Sai Sharan Anand) was one of the most faithful and true disciples of Sai Baba. He was  a Gujarati Brahmin by birth, studied B.A., L.L.B and worked as a solicitor at Mumbai. When Vaman was five, Sai Baba (identified by his mother as an unknown person who appeared before her as a Fakir) saved his live from acute diarrhoea by giving sacred udi. Vaman as a youth longed for getting a Guru who can assure him of getting direct perception of God; he first met Sai Baba at Shirdi when he was 22 years old, in the year 1911.

He visited Sai Baba again in 1913 and was was retained by Baba to be with him for 11 months. Baba engaged Vaman in reading scriptures like Jnaneshwari under his guidance, made him do Gayathri Purascharan and seek alms from the local households.

Again in 1916, Vaman stayed with Baba for 3 weeks when he was blessed with valuable spiritual experiences. In 1946 (some 28 years after Sai Baba’s maha samadhi) Vaman wrote two books in Gujarati on the life of Baba — Sai Leelakhyan and Shri Sai Baba. After his wife and daughter passed away, Vaman  took up Sanyas (with the monaistic name Swami Sai Sharan Anand) at the age of 64. He lived to ripe old age (93 years) and passed away in 1982.  3 more books of him  Sainathne Sharane, Brahma Parimal and Siddhamrit got published posthumously.

His books exemplify his great devotion to Sai Baba and they remain one of the best sources of information on Shirdi Sai.

Sathe Wada – The first dormitory for visiting devotees

Over years, as Sai Baba’s residence in the Dwaraka Mai Masjid became permanent and devotees from outstation started coming in large numbers, Baba’s devotee Hari Vinayak Sathe bought the land covering the sacred neem tree, Gurusthan and adjacent areas. In 1908, he constructed a wada (traditional mansion) there which was called Sathe Wada. The wada served as the sole resting place for visiting devotees, till the time Dixit Wada too came up.

Dixit Wada – the second dormitory for visiting devotees

Kaka Saheb Dixit, a rich solicitor from Mumbai first met Sai Baba in the year 1909. He became an ardent devotee of Sai Baba and decided to settle in Shirdi to live the rest of his life in the holy company of Baba. He bought land adjacent to Gurusthan and constructed Dixit Wada,   to be his residence as well as a resting place for people visiting Sai Baba from distant places. The Wada was constructed and inaugurated on the day of Ram Navami in the year 1911.

Sai Baba and Muslims

Devoted Muslims

As we saw already, Sai Baba had two earnest devotees who stayed with him were Muslims – Abdul and Bade Baba (Fakir Baba).

Sai Baba had many other Muslim devotees who considered him as a Pir (A Sufi Saint) or Awliya (An Islamic guardian/ protector).

From 1911, when Ram Navami celebrations (with a procession ending at  Dwaraka mai masjid) became an annual festival celebrated with fanfare at Shirdi as per suggestion of Sai Baba, some Muslim devotees headed by one Amir Shakkar too pitched in with a Sandal Procession (Urus festival) on the same day; Hindus and Muslims participated in both processions, thereby building a good interfaith comradery.

Discordant Muslims

In 1894, some intolerant Muslims with the support of Kazi of Sangamner assembled with lathis in order to attack the devotees who worshiped Sai Baba as God inside the masjid. Mhalsapati, who used to do the  daily aarati was in a fix and he did not know what to do. However, Sai Baba summoned him inside and asked him to proceed with his daily worship. The militant assembly of armed Muslims stood there transfixed, unable to move their limbs! They got scared of Sai Baba’s divine power and retreated never to attempt any such move there after.

Some 20 years after this incidence, a fundamentalist Pathan was dead against Hindus worshiping Sai Baba and he sought Sai’s permission to massacre all the Hindus sleeping at the Chavdi. Sai Baba told him to cut His throat first before attempting to do any harm to Hindus. A few days later, with hatred brimming on Baba, the Pathan came to attack Sai Baba with a large stick. Sai Baba simply caught him by his wrist and the pathan fell to ground losing all his power.

Muslims also created trouble when Sai Baba attained Maha Samadhi. (This is covered later in the article).

Construction of Buti Wada – and the end of Sai Baba’s avatar

Gopalrao (Bapusaheb) Buti, The man who built Buti Wada where Sai Baba’s samadhi exists.

Gopalrao Buti was an extremely rich devotee of Sai Baba who hailed from Nagpur met Baba in 1907.  From 1910, he shifted to Shirdi permanently to live with Sai Baba and was contemplating to build a house for him there. One night, Baba appeared in Buti’s dream and asked him to construct a Wada (Mansion) with a temple in it.  Very surprisingly, in the same night, Baba appeared in Madhavrao Deshpande’s dream and said “Let there be a wada with temple so that I can satisfy the desires of all”. Both were sleeping in Dixit Wada when this happened.

When they shared the experience with each other, Buti decided to build a grand mansion with black stones. With Sai Baba’s blessing and also approval of the building plan, the construction started in 1915. Buti wanted to install, in the sanctum sanctorum, Lord Muralidhar (Krishna playing flute) there.

Madhavrao supervised the construction of the ground floor. Sai Baba visited the site while construction was in progress and offered some suggestions too. Sai Baba once said “When the temple is built, we shall inhabit it and ever live in joy there!”

While the construction was nearing the end, Sai Baba fell sick and his condition started deteriorating. Gopalrao Buti became restless. He wondered whether Baba would live to see the temple, let alone come and stay there as promised by him. “If Baba is not going to live there, what is the point in constructing this wada and temple?” he thought.

Baba’s close devotees nursed him with all love and care, but there was so sign of recovery. Baba’s last words were: “Take me to the wada. I would feel better there”.   But before his devotees could shift him, He breathed his last at 2:35PM on 15th October 1918 at the Masjid. News spread quickly and all close devotees of Sai Baba thronged at the Masjid.

Unfortunately, there were discordant opinions in conducting the last rites for Baba’ body  between Sai’s Hindu devotees (who were in majority) and the Muslims.  The Muslim devotees headed by Bade Baba did not want Hindus to touch Sai Baba’s body and they wanted to take the body to kabari-sthan as per Islamic rites. Against Muslims’ stiff resistance, Sai’s devotee Laxman Bhat performed puja to Sai’s body as per Hindu traditions and applied tilak at Sai’s forehead. Hindus planned to shift Sai’s body to Buti Wada and place it in a samadhi and started necessary digging work work there.

Mamledar (Revenue administrative officer) of Kopargaon mediated between Hindus and Muslims and a compromise was arrived. Muslims finally yielded and allowed the Hindu devotees to proceed with their Samadhi plan at Buti Wada on the condition that Muslims would be given continued access to Masjid and also to Sai Baba’s samadhi, to which Hindus gladly agreed.

On 16th October evening, Sai Baba’s body was taken ceremoniously in procession to Buti Wada and placed in the sanctum sanctorum where originally an idol of Lord Muralidhar had been planned to be installed. Saibaba’s body was laid and a samadhi was built there.

Sai Baba had said earlier:

  • “I never forsake anyone who relies on me.    If you cast your burden on me, I will bear it.   My eye is ever on those who love me.”
  • “Remember my words even when I am no more. My bones will assure you from my samadhi. It will communicate with you, it will respond to him who surrenders to it.”
  • Here, in Shirdi, my men will come like ants“.

It is indeed true — even after passage of a century!

Related reading:


Reference sources:











Essential teachings of Shirdi Sai Baba

SOURCE: ” Sai Baba of Shirdi – a Unique Saint” – By M V Kamath &  V B Kher — Jaico Publishing house ISBN 81-7224-030-9

The following are the collections of some of the sayings and teachings of Shirdi Saibaba to his devotees:



  • God is and there is nothing higher than Him. He is perfect, infinite and eternal. He is omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient. He is the Creator, Sustainer and Destroyer. Surrender voluntarily and totally to His will. Not a blade of grass moves without His will. Trust in Him and do the right. Let the inner light (enlightened conscience) guide all your actions.
  • Do not believe that God is not.
  • God’s name is eternal.
  • This universe is all a leela of God.
  • God is the Lord and the Master. There is no other truth.
  • His ways are unique, mysterious and inscrutable.
  • There is no one higher than God. How he will protect and sustain is known only to him.
  • He is the protector of the poor.
  • He is very compassionate. We falter in our faith in Him and lack sufficient patience.
  • Herculean effort is needed for the attainment of God.
  • Without unflinching faith and patience, you will not see Him. One who has both these will undoubtedly find Him.
  • Who says he is out of reach? He is there in the tabernacle of our heart, nearer to us than the fingernail to the finger.
  • God protects the righteous.
  • It needs insight to recognize God.
  • His will be done. He will show the way and all your heart’s desire will be fulfilled.
  • Who can really satisfy the desire of another? For the more you give, the more the desires grow. It is only the Lord and the Master who can give that which is everlasting.

Karma Yoga

  • Perform your duty conscientiously  and with detachment regarding yourself not as a doer but only as an instrument in His hands.
  • Surrender the fruit of action to Him so that action will not harm you or bind you.
  • Do good and offer it to God. He will bless you.

Right Behavior

  • Let your love and compassion flow to all  creatures of God.
  • Do not engage in controversy.  For every ten words you hear, speak only one word, if that is necessary.
  • Even the learned are confused. Then what of us? Listen and be silent.
  • Words (of others) cannot harm you; bear with others patiently.
  • Accept your lot cheerfully without comparing yourself with others.
  • Do not speak ill of others.
  • If you injure others, I suffer.
  • I feel disgusted when you quarrel with others.
  • Members in a family are bound to have differences. But do not quarrel.
  • Do not give tit for tat for each is answerable for his own actions.
  • Do not remain idle but engage yourself in some useful activity.
  • Read sacred books. Be moderate in your food and recreation.
  • Do good and God will bless you. Do evil and you will displease Him.
  • If you do good, good will follow.
  • Great is the reward of virtue. The vicious will suffer.
  • Be content with your lot.
  • You need neither praise nor blame others.
  • One who has received God’s grace is silent, but he who falls from His grace talks too much. His grace must be earned by merit.
  • remove the fangs of the serpent before he can harm you. Let us see to what length he goes.
  • He who lays hands on the devotee of God will suffer for it.
  • One who means well will do well.
  • Practice before you preach.
  • If wealth is used judiciously, it will be beneficial.
  • Do not cover others’ wealth.
  • Wholesome food will bring good health.  A man of restraint is better than a man of indulgence.
  • Are we born merely for sensual pleasures? The mind is tricky for it ensnares us in temptation. Restrain it to attain peace.
  • It is renanubandh (ties of previous births) which brings human beings, birds and animals to each other. Therefore do not shoo away anyone, even the meekest.
  • Be hospitable to anyone who comes to you. Give water to the thirsty, bread to the hungry, clothing to the naked and shelter to the homeless and God will bless you.
  • Whatever you give me will come back to you redoubled. If you sow, then only you can reap.

Sai Baba about Himself, his devotees and the people who come to Him

  • I am everywhere and in all places and the whole world is within Me.
  • I move everywhere and anywhere.
  • I pervade the universe. I am both the visible and the invisible.
  • I am unborn, eternal and ever lasting.
  • I am not the body or the senses; I am the eternal sakshi (witness).
  • Know that my spirit is immortal. Know this for yourself.
  • I am God’s slave.
  • I am merciful to all.
  • I am not beholden to anyone except God.
  • People inhabit towns and villages, I live in the jungle.
  • People have a roof over their head; I have none.
  • Even though my children be thousands of miles away, I call them to me.I am happy when they come. I enjoy their company and thrive on it.  I have to care for my children night and day because I am accountable to God for them.
  • I have to go thousands of miles to take care of men.
  • Fear not. I am always with you. I take care of my men, generation after generation, birth after birth.
  • Who can compare with all His munificence that God alone can give? The Lord Himself waits anxiously for the devotees to partake of the treasures that He offers, but instead, people come to me asking for worldly things. When I try to tell them this, nobody pays attention to what I say or listens to me. The coffers are overflowing with treasures, but no one will make the effort to pick up the treasure.
  • I give people what they want in the hope that they will begin to want what I want to give them!
  • I have now grown weary of people’s request for wealth, wife, child. No one wants the treasure I have. I will wait a while and one day, I will quietly leave.
  • Men will throng to Shirdi like ants. Men may come and  men may go. What do we have to do with it? How does it concern us?
  • My Udi (Vibhuthi – Sacred ash) will be most useful for my devotees. Preserve it carefully.
  • I do not babble or whisper any mantra in the ear. Our traditions are different.
  • Men of all sorts, good and bad,  come to my durbar. All are equal in my eyes. I have to care for them equally.
  • All kinds of people, good, bad, wicked, vicious come to my court. Why indulge in gossip about them?
  • Those who sow nettles expect me to give them corn. How can i do so?
  • I never forsake anyone who relies on me.
  • If you cast your burden on me, I will bear it.
  • My eye is ever on those who love me.

  • If one perpetually thinks of me and makes me his sole refuge, I become his debtor and will give my life to save him.
  • I am the bond slave of my devotees. I love devotion.  He who withdraws his heart from the world and loves me is  a true lover and he merges in me like a river in the sea.
  • If one meditates on me, repeats my name and sings about my deeds — he is transformed and his karma is destroyed. I stay by his side always.
  • If you make me the sole object of your thoughts and aims, you will gain paramatma.
  • In whatever faith men worship me, even so do I render to them.
  • Look up at me and I will look after you. Not vain is my promise that I shall ever lighten your burden.
  • There shall be no want in the house of my devotee.
  • Why go for Ganga elsewhere? Hold your palm at my feet — here flows the Ganga.
  • Whatever you do, wherever you may be, ever bear in mind that I am always aware of everything you do.
  • Remember my words even when I am no more. My bones will assure you from my samadhi. It will communicate with you, it will respond to him who surrenders to it.
  • Do not think I am dead and gone. You will hear me from my samadhi and I shall guide you.
  • Though I be no more in in flesh and blood, I shall ever protect my devotees. I shall be with you the moment you think of me.


  • See how selfish people are. When it suits them, they leave their companion. So attach yourself to one who will never forsake you.  There is no such companion except the sadguru. Love the creation, but keep company with the sadguru for his companionship will conduce to your welfare.
  • Once you entrust yourself to the hands of the sadguru, you do not have to worry.
  • One has to accept the guru wholeheartedly and not mechanically.
  • Trust the sadguru fully. This is the only sadhana. Sadguru is all the Gods.
  • For a human being, the guru’s place is preeminent. By keeping utmost faith in him alone, everything is obtained. A devotee’s entire strength is due to his guru. Devotion to guru is superior to devotion to Gods and Goddesses. The guru is the supreme being.


  • I have single horse carriage (the vital breath, praana) but it carries ten to twelve men (organs)
  • I will slay the four bodies (the gross, the subtle, the causal and the mahakaran) .
  • Light dispels darkness.
  • Why grieve or the loss of a son?Everyone has to die one day. In this mortal world, death is inevitable.
  • Whatever may happen, one should remain steadfast and watch everything with detachment.
  • One who is enlightened will not make a noise about it.
  • You cannot escape what is preordained. You may face it with a groan or a smile. Only that choice is yours.
  • Earth will return to earth and the soul will fly away.

Related reading:

Brief Life History of Shirdi Sai Baba