There are several types of devotees. Some are serious and some are casual. Some are always demanding something from God and saints. Some other people are so childish that they imagine saintly people as magicians. In spite of the different attitudes of the devotees, Yogi would come down to everybody’s level to lift them to the higher level of consciousness. Yogi made them to stay with him for considerable time and would remove the clouds of ignorance by showering his brilliant rays of wisdom.
The devotees sometime felt elated when Yogi gave importance to them and spent considerable time with them. Some other time the same devotees were frightened on seeing the extraordinary pure divinity of Yogi. Most of the devotees always preferred to be at a safe distance from Yogi, so that they could make use of Yogi’s divinity, but not affected by Yogi’s renunciation and way of life. Renunciation, i.e. dropping the self, is the only way to perceive the divinity. The people clearly made the convenient excuses that Yogi was a great Yogi, so Yogi could live such a life and they were ordinary human beings who could not think about such a divine life. They desired to retain their self and tried to please Yogi through their apparent devotion to enrich their life!
Yogi did not expect everyone to live a saintly life, but, of course, he wanted people to live with minimum human attitudes, having love and concern, at least for their own family. Yogi emphasised that one should try to become a simple, normal and good human being, remembering Father at all possible times. Father would take care of such devotees, Yogi assured. Only a few people listened to Yogi’s wise words and changed. Some others tried to adopt the simple ways Yogi prescribed for their betterment. But most of the people pretended as if they had been transformed by the grace of Yogi, but in reality they remained the same. They didn’t know that they not only had deceived others, but also themselves. In due course a few among them realised their falsehood, repented and got transformation. But most of them were least bothered about their duplicity, continued their own way of life and suffered.
There were varieties of devotees who had association with Yogi. It is impossible to write about everybody, but the author would like to narrate about a few people who had played important roles in Yogi’s life. Sri S.P.Janardhanan is one among the devotees, who played a very important role in Yogi’s life. Janardhanan was married to Vijaya. Rathika was the younger sister of Vijaya. Janardhanan recommended Parthasarathy for Rathika and arranged for their marriage. The married life of Rathika became a problem and Janardhanan worried a lot. He was searching for a solution. He had come to know about Yogi Ramsuratkumar in Tiruvannamalai, through Sri Rajamanicka Nadar. He took his sister in law with her parents to Yogi in 1975 and narrated Yogi the problems of Rathika. Yogi listened to him with all concern. Yogi expressed his desire to see Parthasarathy. Janardhanan said that he would try to bring Parthasarathy to Yogi. Yogi thereafter used to say, “Janardhanan has come to this beggar not to demand something for himself but for the life of Rathika, initially.” After his first meeting with Yogi, Janardhanan started sending Rs100/- every month to Yogi regularly.
Janardhanan found Yogi very attractive. Whenever he visited Yogi at Tiruvannamalai, Yogi would give all importance to him and spend time with him. In the mid of 1975, Janardhanan demanded a photo of Yogi. Yogi gave one to him and enquired him whether he could print Yogi’s Photo in his printing press. Janardhanan agreed to print Yogi’s photo in his printing press at Sivakasi. Yogi told Janardhanan to collect the original photocopy from Krishnamurti in Tapovanam at Thirukkovilur. Janardhanan went to Tapovanam and collected the original copy of the photo print from Krishnamurti, the younger brother of Jay. This photo was snapped by Sri Vijayasekaran, son of Sri Rajamanicka Nadar, on the steps of Sivaganga Theertham, inside Annamalaiar Temple at Tiruvannamalai.
Yogi gave great importance to this photo and requested Janardhanan to take care in printing the photo. Janardhanan, with the help of his younger brother, got it printed in his printing press at Sivakasi. In December 1975, he delivered the printed copies to Yogi. Yogi thanked Janardhanan. Janardhanan delivered 2000 copies to Yogi. Yogi kept the Printed Photo copies with care. Yogi would get the photo copies framed and would give the framed photos to the devotees of his choice. Yogi used to say, wherever that photo was worshipped, Yogi and his Father would be there to look after the devotees. Yogi had a clear account for the printed photo copies. Yogi gave great importance to that particular photo, saying, “This is my Father’s picture.”
Janardhanan had been doing multiple businesses in Bangalore and at Sivakasi. At Sivakasi he had offset printing machines. His younger brother looked after them. In Bangalore Janardhanan looked after the sales office which was situated in a very busy market place. He was selling notebook wrappers, wedding cards, envelopes and fire crackers.
In 1976, Janardhanan was doing his firecrackers business at Bangalore. He had sent Rs.1lakh cash packed in a briefcase through his younger brother Dhamodharan to be delivered to his suppliers at Sivakasi. His brother travelled in a government night service bus. He had stored the briefcase in the parcel space of the bus. When he reached his place, he was shocked to see his briefcase was missing. Immediately he complained to the police and police registered a case. They started their investigation, but could not trace the briefcase. Janardhanan got shocked and worried a lot because Rs.1 lakh was a very huge amount for him at that time. He did not know what to do.
He had met Yogi a few months back but still he was not aware of the value of guru and faith. He tried through some of his friends in the police department to investigate the case properly and find out the lost money, but to his frustration, the police could not help him. Finally he went to Yogi and cried before him. Yogi pacified him and assured him that he would get his money back within two months time.
In the meantime Yogi asked him to go through the Ramayanam. A sort of faith sprouted in Janardhanan’s heart and he started reading the Ramayanam. After two months the police received an anonymous phone call, which informed them that in a particular village a middle aged woman was holding a lot of money. Police raided that woman’s house and found the money intact in a mud vessel. She had hidden the briefcase and the police recovered it too. It is really an amazing and thrilling story. The briefcase was kept in the parcel space of the bus under the lock. The door of the parcel space got opened itself due to the violent jerking and vibration of the bus during running on the rough roads. The briefcase slipped from the bus and fell on the road at night. The woman, who had set out from her hut early in the morning to do some farm work, happened to see the briefcase on the road side. She took it to her hut and opened it by breaking its locks. She was surprised to see a lot of rupees which she had never seen in her life. She spent around Rs.5000/- in those three months. The police could not find out who had reported them over phone about that remote village woman. Janardhanan believed that it was the work of Yogi to redeem his sorrows. That event made Janardhanan a great devotee of Yogi Ramsuratkumar.
After Rathika’s problem was solved by the grace of Yogi, the faith of Janardhanan in Yogi intensified. Janardhanan always liked to be in the limelight in all the occasions and Yogi used to enjoy his childlike nature. Yogi entertained Janardhanan with all the importance and it gave Janardhanan a sense of great achievement in his life. Yes, indeed it was really a great achievement. Yogi asked Janardhanan to go through the Kamba Ramayanam. Janardhanan purchased a copy of the Kamba Ramayanam book and gave it to Yogi to get his blessings. Yogi blessed Janardhanan and gave the book to him. Janardhanan went through it and gradually he got great inspiration from the Kamba Ramayanam. He memorised hundreds of songs. He was able to recite the songs and explain the meaning too. Whenever Janardhanan visited Yogi, Yogi would request him to tell Ramayanam and Janardhanan would tell the Ramayanam with great enthusiasm in his childish language. Yogi would rapidly listen to Janardhanan.
Yogi asked Janardhanan to narrate the Ramayanam to the devotees whenever he happened to meet them. Janardhanan made it a habit to narrate the Ramayanam whenever he met devotees of Yogi. Some devotees would listen to him and some others would run away when he started narrating the Ramayanam. However, he was never bothered and whenever he met the devotees of Yogi, he did not hesitate to narrate the Ramayanam in his own unique way.
In the late 1970’s, Janardhanan faced severe financial problems. He purchased an offset printing machine and run it at Sivakasi. The machine was not running properly and a huge loss was incurred. He was not able to fulfill his financial commitments to the bank. He was worried. He told Yogi about his financial problems. Yogi listened to him and suggested to him to run the machine under his direct supervision. Earlier the printing press was managed by his younger brother. As per the suggestion, Janardhanan visited Sivakasi frequently and supervised the proper running of the machine. Gradually the machine yielded good profits.
Janardhanan wanted to purchase another machine. He consulted Yogi. Yogi enquired him whether he had commitments for the previous machine to the bank. Janardhanan told that he had to pay a few thousand rupees to the bank for the previous machine. Yogi told him that he should not purchase another machine till he cleared the loan amount for the previous machine to the bank. Janardhanan agreed and went back to his place. However Janardhanan purchased another machine even though he owed a few thousand rupees to the bank for the previous machine. The new machine also arrived at Sivakasi. The machine was very problematic and it was not running consistently. So, a serious financial crisis happened to him again and he rushed to Yogi. He explained everything to Yogi. Yogi listened to him with all compassion. Yogi suggested to him to stay at Sivakasi to run the machines under his direct supervision. Janardhanan stayed at Sivakasi most of the days in a month and under his direct supervision he managed the printing press consisting of the two machines. Even though he was running the machines successfully, he became very tired at Sivakasi, living away from his wife and children.
After a few months he felt that it would be convenient if he shifted the machines to Bangalore, where he lived. He again visited Yogi and prayed for Yogi’s suggestion. Yogi responded that if his younger brother, who was living in Sivakasi looking after the machines earlier, was not offended, he could shift the machines to Bangalore. Janardhanan talked to his younger brother. His younger brother accepted the proposal. Anyhow, he compensated his younger brother with some other small machines, which were connected with the printing industry. Janardhanan shifted both the offset printing machines to Bangalore. From then Janardhanan mustered financial strength.
Janardhanan helped the author during his critical time. He gave shelter and a job to the author in his office at Bangalore. He also helped several other devotees of Yogi. In the late 1980’s, Sri V.Ganeshan, the grandson of Sri Ramana Maharishi’s brother, who was the Sarvadhikari of Ramana Ashram, faced a difficult situation. He was the guarantor for a local offset printer in a bank. Sri V.Ganeshan, at that time looked after the publication works of Ramanashram. He had to go either to Madras or Bangalore to print the books of Ramanashram. He found it difficult to shuttle between those places. He came across a local printer who won his confidence. The printer told Ganeshan that if he could purchase an offset machine, he could do all the jobs of Ramnashram in his press at Tiruvannamalai. Sri Ganeshan enquired what should be done to get an offset machine. The printer replied that if Ganeshan could stand as a guarantor for him in the bank, he could obtain loan from the bank and purchase a new offset machine. The new machine could be used for the printing of Ramanashram books, the printer assured.
Sri Ganeshan, who lived almost all his life in Ramanashram, had no exposure to the cunning business people. He used to believe everybody. He believed the printer too. The printer requested Ganeshan to stand a guarantor for him in the bank for the loan he was to obtain for the purchase of an offset machine. Ganeshan gladly accepted the proposal. He thought that the printer was a devotee of Ramana Maharishi and he would render all the services to Ramana by printing the books of the ashram. Sri Ganeshan signed as a guarantor for the loan. The printer purchased a new offset machine. For a few months he regularly repaid the loan amount to the bank.
After a few months, he stopped paying the monthly installment of the loan amount to the bank. In a few years the due amount swelled to the tune of several lakh rupees. The bank people issued several notices to the printer, but the printer did not bother to repay the loan amount. The bank people contacted Sri Ganeshan and explained the situation that if the printer would not pay the loan amount, then Sri Ganeshan should take the responsibility to repay the loan amount with interest as he stood the guarantor for the printer.
Sri V.Ganeshan, who was astonishingly innocent, was baffled. Throughout his life he never thought of the negative aspect of the life. He had no savings and never borrowed money from anybody. When he contacted the printer, the printer evaded and behaved irresponsibly. He told Sri Ganeshan that he would sell the offset machine and pay the loan amount, but the printer did not take any sincere effort to dispose the machine. The bank manager pressurised Sri Ganeshan to settle the bank dues immediately. Sri Ganeshan was worried and consulted his friend Sri Anuradha. Both Sri Ganeshan and Sri Anuradha contacted several Ramana devotees, who were in the printing industry. One or two devotees were ready to help Ganeshan by purchasing the offset machine, but they quoted a very low price, which was not sufficient to repay the bank loan.
For a few months Sri Ganeshan had the contact with Yogi Ramsuratkumar. He could see Bagavan Ramana in Yogi and his devotion on Yogi gradually strengthened on seeing the wholeness of Yogi. He visited Yogi whenever he found time and he also introduced several great Ramana devotees to Yogi. Whenever he visited Yogi in Sannathi Street house, Yogi would receive Ganeshan with all love and would spend time with him talking about Ramana Maharishi and his teachings. Yogi had great love and concern for Sri Ganeshan. Yogi knew that he was the editor of ‘Mountain Path’ the magazine brought out by Ramanashram. Yogi was extremely happy on knowing that Mataji Krishnabai of Anandashram directed Sri Ganeshan, to bring back all the old devotees of Ramana to the Ramanashram. As per the direction by Mataji he made sincere efforts and brought back about forty old devotees, who were doing penance in different places to the Ramanashram. He looked after every devotee with all care and love, as suggested by Mataji Krishnabai. Sri Ganeshan himself did the final rites for the old devotees, who passed away in the ashram. Sri Ganeshan used to spend time with the old devotees and would listen to their experiences with their guru Sri.Ramana Maharishi.
Sri Venkatraman, the father of Sri Ganeshan was the then President of Ramana Ashram. Sri Ganeshan helped his father to run the ashram. When there was a severe financial crisis in the ashram, Sri Ganeshan made contacts with the devotees and organised to publish several books of Ramana Maharishi and his teachings. He frequently visited far off places outside India, in Europe and the US and gave lectures on Ramana’s life and teachings. Money started pouring and the activities of the ashram were performed with all glory.
Sri Ganeshan was the author of several spiritual books. He was also the editor of Mountain Path, the Magazine of the ashram, for several years. All his life he worked for the ashram and spread the teachings of Ramana Maharishi all over the world. He never thought about himself and did not get married. He did not save money for his future. His whole life was dedicated to the service of Ramana Maharishi. Sri Anuradha, the best friend of Sri Ganeshan stood with him in all his difficult times. Yogi encouraged the friendship and Yogi insisted Sri Anuradha to look after Sri Ganeshan with all care and concern. Now Sri Ganeshan has followers from all over the world. Every year he visits the US and Europe and gives lectures on the teachings of Ramana Maharishi.
The manager of the bank warned Sri Ganeshan that unless he paid the loan amount immediately, he would take legal action to recover the money. Sri Ganeshan got frightened and rushed to Yogi. He narrated his problems to Yogi. Yogi listened to his problems with great concern. Yogi pacified Sri Ganeshan, saying, “Don’t worry, Ganesha. Father will help us to come out of this problem.” Yogi paused for a few minutes. He picked up one letter from the piles of letters. It was a letter from Janardhanan written on his letter head. His phone number was there. Yogi gave the phone number to Ganeshan. Yogi requested Sri Ganeshan to contact Sri Janardhanan over phone and explain the problem to him. Yogi allowed Sri Ganeshan to use Yogi’s name, while talking to Sri Janardhanan.
Sri Ganeshan took leave of Yogi and went back to his place. He talked to Janardhanan over phone. He introduced himself and explained the problem. He also informed Janardhanan that Yogi gave him the phone number and was interested in Ganeshan’s welfare. Janardhanan told Ganeshan that he would come to Tiruvannamalai and would talk in person. Within a few days, Janardhanan came to Tiruvannamalai to visit Yogi Ramsuratkumar. Yogi received him with all love and joy as usual. Yogi then narrated the problem of Ganeshan and asked Janardhanan whether he could help Ganeshan. Janardhanan replied that he would do whatever Yogi would ask him to do. Yogi expressed his joy and blessed Janardhanan. Yogi asked Janardhanan to meet Ganeshan in Anandaramana, Ganeshan’s residential place, which was just in the outskirts of Tiruvannamalai.
Janardhanan met Ganeshan and Anuradha. Both were in great anxiety and told their problem to Janardhanan. They asked Janardhanan whether he could help Ganeshan to come out of the problem. Janardhanan told them that when his guru had asked him to do a certain thing, he would do it with all sincerity. Both Ganeshan and Anuradha were surprised to listen to Janardhanan. Janardhanan did not bargain the rate of the machine. He did not bother about the condition of the machine. He did not even enquire whether the machine was worth enough to be purchased. All his thought was focused in Yogi’s words. Yogi wanted Janardhanan to help Ganeshan by purchasing the machine and he should buy it at any cost, that was his only thinking then. He went along with Ganeshan and met the printer. The printer also agreed to sell the machine. Then he went to the bank and informed the manager that he would purchase the machine and would clear off the due amount to the bank.
Janardhanan then went to Yogi with Ganeshan and Anuradha and explained the things. Yogi blessed Janardhanan abundantly. Yogi was in extreme joy and thanked Janardhanan. The bank manager too was a devotee of Yogi Ramsuratkumar. The bank manager helped Janardhanan to procure the loan from the bank at Bangalore to purchase the machine. Yogi had done almost all the works indirectly, to get Ganeshan out of the problem. This event also helped Janardhanan to flourish more in his business. Yogi’s one action brought multiple great things to his dear devotees.
Yogi had earlier asked Ganeshan whether he would oblige Yogi, when his problem would be over. Ganeshan readily agreed. Yogi suggested Ganeshan to go to Kasi and stay there for one whole year on the bank of the holy Ganga. Ganeshan, as soon as the problem was over, went to Kasi and stayed there in the Krishnamurti Foundation School. There he would daily go to the bank of the Ganges and sit there for a long time. He went through several experiences on the bank of Ganges. Yogi used Janardhanan, as a tool, to clear off the problems of Ganeshan and so Ganeshan could continue his sadhana without any mundane hurdles. Sri Ganeshan’s faith and devotion on Ramana Maharishi was reciprocated by Yogi Ramsuratkumar. All the masters are one and the same.
After Janardhanan purchased the machine, his business flourished. He developed confidence and expanded his business. He became one of the popular printers in Bangalore city. He printed spiritual books of Papa Ramdas, Ramana Maharishi and later Yogi’s too. Janardhanan’s devotion towards Yogi gradually strengthened. He remembered Yogi constantly. Yogi encouraged him to go through the works of Swami Ramthirth, Swami Ramdas and many other saints. Yogi emphasised the importance of the Ramayanam and wanted Janardhanan to recite the Ramayanam daily. Janardhanan also had the passion for the Ramayanam and he would never miss to narrate the story whenever he was in a congregation. Yogi encouraged him to go to Anandashram whenever he found time. Swami Satchidananda of Anandashram showered his love and compassion on Janardhanan. The latter also was recognized and loved by everyone in Ramanashram. Janardhanan was also attracted by Tiruchi Swamigal in Bangalore. Whenever he was not able to go to Tiruvannamalai, he would visit Tiruchi Swamigal and would get clarifications regarding his doubts and problems in his family or business.
In 1990, there were intense fights and riots over the sharing of the Cauveri river water between Tamilnadu and Karnataka states. Janardhanan’s printing press at Bangalore was torched during the riots. The whole press, the costly offset machines and paper stocks were destroyed. The inferno ignited, when Janardhanan was conducting the marriage of his daughter at Sivakasi. On hearing the news he immediately rushed to Bangalore, after finishing the marriage rituals. There he was able to see only the skeleton of the costly offset machines and ashes of the papers. The building exhibited the brunt of the fire.
Janardhanan and his brothers had worked hard to reach a certain height in their business and at that time this cruel incident happened. The fire burnt everything and it was a huge loss and a severe shock. However Janardhanan stood in fortitude and composed. He pacified and encouraged his brothers and family. The loss was huge and the insurance coverage was less, but still Janardhanan was not broken. He went to Yogi in Tiruvannamalai. Yogi listened to the horrible story. Yogi blessed Janardhanan saying Yogi’s Father would bless Janardhanan to withstand the shock and again Janardhanan would come up in his business.
As blessed by Yogi, Janardhanan financially came up again within a couple of years, much stronger than earlier, even without any compensation from the Government. He purchased two four color offset machines from Japan. He personally went to Japan and imported the machines. He printed Yogi’s picture first with the new machines.
Janardhanan worked hard for the next two years tirelessly after the devastation in his printing press. It told upon his health. In early 1993, he suffered with severe suffocation and could not breath. He felt as if he went up to the doorsteps of death. He started remembering his guru Yogi Ramsuratkumar. Instantly the fear of death disappeared. Still his physique was weak. He went to his doctor for consultation. The doctor advised him total rest at least for a month. Anyhow the doctor admitted him in his hospital for a complete check-up and close observation for two days. After his discharge from the hospital, he took rest for a few days in his house. He wrote a letter to Yogi that he wanted to stay in Tiruvannamalai for two weeks to refresh himself in the holy presence of Yogi. He went to Tiruvannamalai and had the darshan of Yogi. Yogi also encouraged him to stay in Tiruvannamalai for a few days.
In the meantime, after Murugeshji’s demise, Yogi started sitting in the verandah of the Sannathi Street house. A lot of remarkable personalities visited Yogi after 1984. From the cine field, Ilayaraja, a famous music composer, Jesudas a famous playback and carnatic singer and several actors visited Yogi. Several judges and advocates from the judiciary, from the lower courts to the Supreme Court also visited Yogi frequently. Some dignitaries like Sri Chandrasekar, the former Prime Minister of India, Sri P.Ramachandran, former Governor of Kerala and several other politicians visited Yogi to get spiritual benefits.
Yogi also attracted several popular Tamil authors like Balakumaran. The famous author Balakumaran, after his first meeting with Yogi, got great inspiration from Yogi. He wrote about Yogi in his short stories and novels. He also wrote articles on Yogi in several magazines. In his articles, he has narrated his spiritual experiences with his Guru Yogi Ramsuratkumar and the mysterious miracles he witnessed in front of Yogi. Balakumaran was the instrument to pull huge crowd towards Yogi. There was always a long, serpentine queue standing to the end of the street in front of Yogi’s Sannathi Street house, waiting to have the glimpse of Yogi. The devotees would stand patiently in the hot sun as well as in rains to have the darshan of Yogi.
In the early 1993, Janardhanan with his wife Vijaya went to Tiruvannamalai and stayed in Sivakasi Nadar Chatram. Daily in the morning 10 o’ clock, he would reach Sannathi Street house. On seeing them, Sashi, the personal assistant of Yogi would tell Yogi about Janardhanan’s arrival. Yogi would ask Sashi to allow them inside the verandah. Yogi would ask them to sit there in front of him. From 10 to 12 in the morning and from 4 to 6 in the evening, Janardhanan and Vijaya would sit before Yogi. A long line of devotees would stand outside the house to have the glimpse of Yogi and receive Yogi’s blessings. Yogi would see everyone and would give sugar candy to the devotees as prasadam. Whenever Yogi found time he would talk with the devotees sitting before him. Janardhanan and his wife Vijaya both found to be very happy and refreshed in the presence of Yogi. After the darshan times, the couple would visit Sri Ganeshan, Anuradha and several other devotees at Tiruvannamalai.
A few days passed. Janardhanan felt totally refreshed. He felt energetic and his health had improved to a great extent. Earlier a few years back, when he complained to Yogi about his health, Yogi after a deep contemplation suggested him to take cashew fruits. If cashew fruits were not available, Yogi suggested taking cashew nuts. Janardhanan obliged and took cashew fruits when it was available, otherwise he would take cashew nuts regularly. The health problem got solved then, but due to the cashew nuts, his weight increased. He complained again to Yogi about his weight. Yogi laughed and told him not to bother. It was a beauty to see Janardhanan talking with Yogi. He would talk like a child. Yogi would enjoy Janardhanan’s talks and frequently Yogi would request Janardhanan to narrate the Ramayanam. Yogi and the devotees would enjoy the story as narrated by Janardhanan, in his unique colloquial language, with childish gestures.