Making Fit To Receive The Grace

At Dahiya, Ram Surat Kunwar came to know that he was transferred with a promotion as Head Master to Naraipur High School, Bachwara. He went to Bachwara and joined duty at the school. The condition of the school was very bad. He recommended several actions and facilities to rejuvenate the school to the managing committee of the school. But the managing committee ignored his pleadings and Ram Surat Kunwar exercised his authority to close the school till the managing committee provided the basic amenities to the students. The managing committee had to oblige Ram Surat Kunwar, as he was stubborn to improve the standard of the school. Ram Surat Kunwar had never compromised his principles in his life. Within a few months, he was transferred to Navalgad High School, Navalgad. It was a small town. He joined the school on 6/12/1948. He arranged a small but comfortable house for rent and brought his wife and children to Navalgad.

The memories of Tiruvannamalai were always fresh in his mind and he wanted to go there again to see Arunachala, the holy hill and the great sage Ramana. He wanted to make himself fit to receive the grace of sage Ramana and the holy hill Arunachala. He started living by taking only raw milk and fruits particularly bananas. His wife Ram Ranjini Devi protested, but she was not able to force him to take cooked food. Occasionally she would manage to feed him with the raw surraikkai (bottle gourd) mixed with milk and sugar. He did not take cooked food with salt and chilies for another five years. When his friends asked him the purpose of such diet, he replied that he was preparing his body to get it divinized.

During 1948 to 1952, he studied several scriptures including the holy works of Swami Ram Thirtha, Swami Vivekananda, Bagavan Ramana, Aurobindo, and Adi Sankara. He gained divine spiritual knowledge from them and the same transformed him into a perfect human. He was a good teacher, a good administrator, a good husband, a good father, a good son, a good brother, a good friend, a perfect human and also a great sadhaka. Throughout his life, he never committed a single mistake. He was firm like a rock in his faith on the masters and God. He never allowed anybody to disturb his faith. He never demanded any material benefits or comforts from his spiritual masters or Gods.

Sometimes his wife would ask him to take her to the temple. He would enquire about the purpose of her visit to the temple. She would say that she wanted to see God. He became serious and would say, “If you are really serious to see God, see me, see your God in me.” On hearing those amusing words from him, she would just laugh and again insist him to take her to the temple. He would take her and the children up to the entrance of the temple and would refuse to go inside the temple to do the rituals. He would keep the children with him so that they would not disturb their mother to do her rituals at the temple.

He loved his children. Whenever he returned from the school, his children would run towards him and he would lift both the children in his arms and fondle them. His wife would warn him that the children would soil his dress. He would ask her, “The children are my Gods, my Rama, my Krishna. How can my Gods make me dirty?” He taught his children first to write “Rama” in Hindi even before they were taught the alphabets. He never abused or used harsh language against any person. He addressed even small children with great respect. He addressed the animals also with respect as if they were dignified human beings.

Amitabh Kunwar, Ram Surat Kunwar’s second child, narrated an event to the author. At Navalgad, Amitabh was consuming sugarcane sitting on the staircase of the house. After completing the major portion of the sugarcane, he carelessly threw away the small-hard root portion of the sugarcane on the road. At that time Ram Surat Kunwar entered the house and saw his son throwing the bottom piece of the sugar cane. He told his son to go and see whether the hard sugarcane piece hit anybody on the road. The young Amitabh went outside the compound wall and saw there none. He returned to his father and said to his father that there was nobody on the road. Ram Surat Kunwar asked his son to go and pick up the sugarcane piece he threw on the road. Amitabh picked the same and brought it to his father. His father told him to see how strong the sugarcane piece was and if suppose it hit anybody on the road, how painful it would be. So he advised his son not to throw anything on the road without seeing.

Amitabh remembered one more event too. Once, Ram Surat Kunwar took his son for a stroll on the bank of the Ganga at Nardara. There he asked his son to watch the fishes in the river. He told his son how beautiful the fishes were. Then he requested his son to promise him that thereafter he should not eat fish, should not tell lies and should not demand anything from anybody other than God.

In 1949, in the summer vacation, again he left his family at Dahiya, in his father-in-law’s house and started for Pondichery and Tiruvannamalai. He reached Pondichery first to have the darshan of Sri Aurobindo. He loved Sri Aurobindo and his teachings. But this time also he couldn’t see Sri Aurobindo. He wanted to stay in the ashram for a few days. But he was not able to get accommodation there. So, he left Pondichery and went to Tiruvannamalai. He reached Tiruvannamalai by train. From the railway station, he first saluted the holy hill Arunachala and ran towards Ramanashram to see sage Ramana. He was given a room to stay in the ashram complex. There was a different sort of painful calmness prevailed in the ashram. He came to know that the sage was sick and the doctors diagnosed the disease as Cancer. So, the darshan time was restricted to a short span in the morning and in the evening. Ram Surat Kunwar was shocked on hearing the news. When he saw the sage, he got immense pain and tears rolled down his face. The sage was totally indifferent to his ailments. His face was glowing and he was radiating divinity. When he saw Ram Surat Kunwar, the same mysterious joyful smile flowered in his face, as if it said, “Welcome my son”. On seeing the sage, Ram Surat Kunwar cried silently. The tears welled up uncontrollably from his eyes. He was just staring at the sage. The darshan time was over. The sage had to take rest.

Ram Surat Kunwar left the place and started climbing up the holy hill. There he sat on a rock in the hot sun and cried and cried. The whole day he was sitting on the rock on the hill. In the evening, he again came to the ashram to see the sage. The sage was lying on the couch. His eyes were glowing. He saw every individual. When he again saw Ram Surat Kunwar, the same mysterious smile appeared on his face. Ram Surat Kunwar was thrilled. His whole frame, the body, the mind and the intellect were shattered and there was a serene, divine peace prevailed upon him. The sage poured his abundant grace on the young seeker. Ram Surat Kunwar never attempted to talk to the sage. The sage communicated with the seeker in a subtle way through his compassionate divine look.

One day Ramana Maharishi was groaning apparently with immense pain due to the killing disease cancer. One of the close devotees of Ramana enquired with great concern, reverence and tears in his eyes, “Swami, is the pain very acute?” Suddenly Ramana sprang up from his bed and told, “Throughout the years I am telling that I am not the body. But you enquire about my body and its pain. Have all my teachings become a waste to you?” Saying this again he lay down on the bed and started groaning with great pain. The devotee was dumbfounded and thrilled.

Then within a few days, the visitors were not allowed to go near the sage. They were to salute the sage only from a distance and vacate the place. Ram Surat Kunwar roamed in the hill throughout the daytime. There he met several sadhus. One of the sadhus told him about the darshan day of Aurobindo at Pondichery. He went to Pondichery on that day to have the darshan of Sri Aurobindo. He saw Aurobindo from a distance and he was able to feel that Aurobindo also saw him. He returned to Tiruvannamalai. Again he ventured in the hill, visiting several caves. A sadhu at the banyan tree cave in the hill told him about Swami Ramdas, at Kanhangod, in Kerala State. He started for Kanhangod to see Swami Ramdas in his ashram, called Anandashram.

Swami Satchidananda, the immediate disciple of Swami Ramdas and Mataji Krishnabai, welcomed him and gave him a room to stay at Anandashram. Ram Surat Kunwar went for the darshan of Swami Ramdas in the Bhajan Hall. Swami Ramdas was sitting there in a comfortable sofa. The devotees of Swami Ramdas were singing “Om Sri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram” sitting around Swami Ramdas. Swami Ramdas was called ‘Papa’ by his devotees. Ram Surat Kunwar also sat among the devotees and stared at Papa. Suddenly Mataji Krishnabai appeared in the hall and she started saying something to Papa. Papa was all the time smiling and enjoying. When Mataji finished it, Papa started laughing loudly for a long time. Everybody around Papa and Mataji started laughing too. Papa, Mataji and the devotees, they were all talking in South Indian Languages like Malayalam, Konkani and Kannada. Ram Surat Kunwar was not able to understand anything. It was very strange for Ram Surat Kunwar.

So far he had met only very serious saints and Masters. But there at Anandashram, it was totally different. Papa was so jovial and moved with the devotees so freely and almost all the time He was laughing and laughing. After Ram nam chanting, Swami Satchidananda introduced Ram Surat Kunwar to Papa and Mataji. Papa enquired Ram Surat Kunwar, the meaning of his name. Ram Surat Kunwar told that his name meant that the child who had the passionate love for Ram. Papa again enquired about his place, job and family and Ram Surat Kunwar replied. Papa asked Ram Surat Kunwar, how many days he would stay there for which Ram Surat Kunwar replied three days.

Ram Surat Kunwar stayed at Anandashram for three days. He bought several books of Swami Ramdas like ‘In Quest Of God’, ‘In The Vision Of God’. He left again for Tiruvannamalai. He again saw Ramana Maharishi and prostrated before Him. The same mysterious smile again appeared on the face of the sage that thrilled Ram Surat Kunwar. A few days passed. Ram Surat Kunwar had to leave Tiruvannamalai for his place. With tears in his eyes, he saluted Ramana Maharishi and the holy hill Arunachala. He left Tiruvannamalai with a heavy heart and reached Dahiya.

In 1949, after he returned from Tiruvannamalai, Ram Surat Kunwar lost interest in the routine life. His search for Truth and God got intensified. He avoided carrying money. He stopped saving money. Whatever was his saving till date, he sent the same to his elder brother Manarakhan Kunwar at Nardara and that money was so helpful for his elder brother to make arrangements for the marriage of his two daughters.

During those days, Ram Surat Kunwar gave anything he had, if it was asked for. If any beggar raised his voice from the street for food, he would ask his wife to give whatever food was ready at that time to the beggar. Sometimes his wife would hesitate to offer the food to the beggar, as the food was meant for her children. On seeing her hesitation, he would prefer to offer his quota of food, which was milk and fruits, to the beggar and go to the school with empty stomach. On such occasions she had no other option. She would silently give the food meant for the children to the beggar and would prepare food again for the children.

After his return from Tiruvannamalai, he started reading the books of Swami Ramdas of Ananadashram. The first book he had gone through was ‘In Quest Of God’. There he was caught by Swami Ramdas. He repeatedly went through the book. The last chapter of the book ‘In The Cave’, the prayers of Swami Ramdas brought tears from the eyes of Ram Surat Kunwar. He regretted as he could not spend long time at Anandashram with Papa. That book had wiped away the image he had on Papa that Papa had lived with all the comforts like a king at Anandashram. He realised that Papa was indeed a great spiritual master.

In 1950, both the great sages Ramana Maharishi and Sri Aurobindo passed away. As soon as Ram Surat Kunwar received Ramana’s death message, he wept and wept for a long time. He felt as if he had become an orphan. He did not know what to do and where to go for his spiritual growth. Suddenly Papa Ramdas appeared in his mind with his joyful loud laughter. The laughing and loving face of Papa Ramdas penetrated Ram Surat Kunwar’s subconscious mind to its deep core even without the knowledge of him. But still the time was not ripe for Ram Surat Kunwar to identify his guru. Papa Ramdas had to wait for his beloved devotee for years together to impart divinity.

In 1950, after the Mahasamadhi of Ramana Maharishi, Ram Surat Kunwar stopped shaving and hairdressing. He started growing beard. (On the instructions of Swami Ramdas in 1953, he had his hair cut and removed his beard once. Thereafter he kept his beard throughout his life.) In the same year 1950, his wife Ram Ranjini Devi delivered a girl baby. Ram Surat Kunwar named the baby ‘Maya’.

Ram Surat Kunwar did not go to South India in 1950. In the physical absence of the great master, Maharishi Ramana, there was a great depression in his being. He wanted to spend some time in the Himalayas. He went to Rishikesh and spent some days there staying in the Sorkashram. From Rishikesh he went to Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. After finishing his tour in the Himalayas, he went back to Navalgad. During the yatra, he was in blissful ecstasy on seeing the divine beauty of the river Ganga and Himalayas. He met a lot of sadhus, sannyasis and sadhakas in the Himalayas, on the bank of the Ganga. In the later years, Yogi Ramsuratkumar said, “Due to the penance of sadhus and sannyasis at the Himalayas, this holy country India is being protected. The radiation of these great saints protects India.”

In 1951, during the summer vacation, Ram Surat Kunwar wanted to go to South India. The book ‘In Quest Of God’ of Papa Ramdas prompted the desire to see Papa at Anandashram. He went directly to Anandashram and stayed there for quite a long time. This time also Papa did not inspire him. Later days, once Yogi Ramsuratkumar said, “Papa did not allow this beggar to understand Him. The time was not ripe. This beggar had to wait till Papa Himself revealed His Divinity to this beggar, to make this beggar understand that Papa was his FATHER.” After a month’s stay, Ram Surat Kunwar went back to his place with a heavy heart.