This Chapter taken from The book ‘Crumbs from His Table’ by Ramanananda Swarnagiri

Visit to Sri Ramanasramam

On 23rd December, 1933 the writer visited Sri Avadhuta Swami (An Avadhutha is one who has discarded everything of the ordinary work-a-day world, symbolised perhaps by outward divestment of even a loin cloth, and means a self-realized ascetic characterised by highest spiritual freedom. But this word is now ordinarily understood to connote an ascetic who has discarded the loin cloth and goes about stark naked, whether self-realized or not; this taking precedence over realization. The writer went to see him, therefore, partly impelled by curiosity to know how one controls sex-desire and remains stark naked and partly to obtain his grace by taking upadesa.) at Sendamangalam, Namakkal Taluk, Salem District (Madras State, South India). While going round the idol of Sri Dattattreya on the summit of the hill, where the Swami has his cave, he chanced to see a photo of a very young ascetic, who looked like a boy just out of school, not more than twenty years of age. The penetrating eyes and youthful appearance of the young yogi captivated him. He was told that the sage lived at Tiruvannamalai (North Arcot District, Madras State, South India) and was a perfect Jnani.

The author visited Sri Ramanasramam for the first time at 8 a.m. on Good Friday, the 30th March, 1934. He prostrated before Sri Ramana and remained in the hall till lunch, at about 11-30 a.m. Neither Sri Ramana nor any one else spoke. After lunch most of the visitors sat on the pial opposite to the Samadhi or Shrine of Sri Ramana’s mother. The writer told a gentleman seated near him, that he was sorry that pollution(Amongst Hindus, one is said to be under pollution for the first ten days after the birth of a child to any of his agnate cousins. )stood in the way of his obtaining any spiritual instruction from any of the saints or sages, for during the last few months the thirst for it had sprung up in him. He had gone to Sendamangalam last December and, just before commencing the journey, his sister-in-law gave birth to twins. Also, on his way to this place he heard at Mambalappattu that another sister-in-law had just given birth to a child. One Rao Bahadur Narayana Iyer, a retired accountant of the Madras Port Trust, said that he need not feel worried about pollution or anything else as, pollution or no pollution, Sri Ramana neither gave spiritual instruction (upadesa), nor had been given any by anybody else.

Because the author had recently visited the Avadhuta Swami in Sendamangalam, Mr. Narayana Iyer was inquisitive as to whether he knew of any miracles (siddhis) attributed to that Swami . He denied any such knowledge and remarked that he was impelled to go and see him, more to learn how to acquire sexual control, as the Swami is known to have moved in society for years without even a loin cloth, than to learn or to admire his so-called miracles. The writer added that he had heard that Sri Ramana and the Avadhuta Swami had lived together in Tiruvannamalai and if Sri Ramana could be persuaded to converse he could elicit from Him an accurate description of that Swami . The accountant, agreeing to this, conducted him to the hall where Sri Ramana was seated.

On going into the hall, Mr. Narayana Iyer himself asked Sri Bhagavan if He knew the Sendamangalam Swami (otherwise known as Kalpattu Swami(Native of Kalpattu, a village near Mambalappattu Railway Station. This is also the writer’s native village.). He replied that He knew him and characterised him as a good vairagya purusha (i.e. a person with very strong detachment). As this term is supposed to include every other quality needed to dub one a saint or Swami , the writer suggested to Mr. Iyer that no more questions were needed. He how- ever would not stop there but asked Sri Bhagavan if He knew that the Avadhuta had worked any miracles. Sri Bhagavan replied in the negative; and Narayana Iyer prompted the writer to put some questions. Not know- ing what questions to put, he hesitated, but as Mr. Iyer continued to goad him, he asked Sri Bhagavan if it was not a fact that both He and the Avadhutha Swami were doing tapas (penance) for some time at the same place and Sri Bhagavan replied that it was so, under a mango tree on the Hill. He was asked to put some more ques- tions but the writer was unable to do so. Sri Bhagavan was all the while looking at him, as if awaiting to hear his questions. He could not, therefore, desist any longer and said, “I am desired to put some more questions to you and I am wondering what to ask.”