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First Visit To Tiruvannamalai

Once during the summer holidays in 1947, Ram Surat Kunwar came to Nardara to see his brothers. He also met Sri Kapadia Baba. In course of talks about various mahatmas and different schools of thoughts, Kapadia Baba talked about Ramana Maharishi at Tiruvannamalai in South India. Kapadia Baba explained about the Maharishi’s preaching, which was self enquiry by asking and contemplating “Who am I?” Such a serious enquiry would lead one to the destination, God, the Maharishi suggested to the devotees. During the conversation, Kapadia Baba indicated to Ram Surat Kunwar that the latter should seek his GURU in South India. He told Ram Surat Kunwar that without the grace of GURU, it’s impossible to attain GOD. On hearing these words from Kabadia Baba, Ram Surat Kunwar got the passionate feeling to see Ramana Maharishi, at Tiruvannamalai. He had known earlier that Sri Aurobindo Gosh, a great freedom fighter turned Spiritual Master was living at Pondichery. He also wanted to meet Sri Aurobindo at Pondichery. He was very happy to know that Tiruvannamalai was nearby Pondichery.

Even though Kapadia Baba was a great soul and capable of guiding sincere seekers like Ram Surat Kunwar, he deliberately drove Ram Surat Kunwar to South India. He was aware that Ram Surat Kunwar was needed to certain people, who had the access to Tiruvannamalai, a great pilgrim center in South India. This town Tiruvannamalai was a place of saints and sages of all times.

In 1947, Ram Surat Kunwar set out his journey in search of his guru, first to Tiruvannamalai in South India. He reached Tiruvannamalai in the hot summer. The holy hill ‘Arunachala’ greeted him with its warm breeze. On the first sight of the hill, which was considered Lord Siva Himself, Ram Surat Kunwar started loving it with great reverence. From the railway station he enquired the way to reach Ramanashram, where the great sage Ramana Maharishi lived. He reached the ashram and was directed to the old darshan hall to meet the sage.

Ramana Maharishi was sitting in a corner of the small room, on a raised platform. As soon as Ram Surat Kunwar entered the room, he could feel the deep, divine stillness that prevailed in the room. There were a few people sitting before the sage, enjoying the blissful peace of him. Ram Surat Kunwar sat before the sage. The sage saw the young man with all compassion for a few minutes. Ram Surat Kunwar was thrilled. His whole being was shaken and the great sage’s grace through his sight captivated him. Ram Surat Kunwar slowly and involuntarily closed his eyes. He went into deep meditation. After a long time, Ram Surat Kunwar slowly opened his eyes. He saw the great sage looking at him with compassion. A joyful smile was visible on his face. That’s how the great sage graced and greeted the young seeker in his first encounter.

Ram Surat Kunwar stayed in the ashram for a few days. Throughout his stay in the ashram, he spent most of the time with the sage, silently sitting before him. When he could not be with the sage, he roamed on the hill, visiting several caves, where sadhus and sadhakas were doing penance. He also visited the big Siva Temple, which was called Arunachaleshwara Temple and sat near the Padala Lingam, where Sage Ramana sat earlier for months together. He meditated there for a long time with great ecstasy. He was thrilled to see the temple. The big gopurams (towers) of the temple majestically radiated divine bliss and peace. The divine vibration there in the temple was a great benediction for Ram Surat Kunwar. He felt that it was the center and home for spiritual sadhakas. In the later years Yogi Ramsuratkumar used to say, “The Arunachaleshwara Temple is the real home for the people like this beggar.”

The encounter with Ramana Maharishi transformed Ram Surat Kunwar to a great extent. He realised the value of association with spiritual masters. Whenever he found time, he went through the teachings of Ramana that thrilled the young seeker. The path of self-enquiry, ‘Who am I?’ lead Ram Surat Kunwar to a natural samadhi state. A few days passed in divine ecstasy at Tiruvannamalai in the presence of Ramana Maharishi. He had to go back to his place. On the day he had to leave Tiruvannamalai, he prostrated before Ramana Maharishi and silently prayed, “Swami pour thy grace on me to attain your Holy Feet. Make me your own and put me ever at your Feet”. The sage said, “Sari” in Tamil and again gifted Ram Surat Kunwar with a broad smile, as if he had accepted young Ram Surat Kunwar. Ram Surat Kunwar was overwhelmed on listening to Ramana. He didn’t expect a verbal, that also a positive word, from Ramana Maharishi. He was in great ecstasy. In the later days Yogi Ramsuratkumar said, “This beggar learned the first Tamil word “Sari” from Ramana Maharishi.” ‘Sari’ means ‘Yes, I listened’ and the other meaning is just ‘Yes’. After a few blissful minutes, Ram Surat Kunwar left Ramana with heavy heart.

Ram Surat Kunwar saluted the holy hill Arunachala. He walked around the hill chanting “Arunachala Siva, Arunachala Siva, Arunachala Siva, Aruna Jata”. He left Tiruvannamalai with a heavy heart to Pondichery. There he tried to have the darshan of Aurobindo. But as the master was in silent retreat, he was not able to meet him. He purchased some books of Aurobindo and went back to Dahiya.

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