A Selection of Teachings
Sri Gajapathi Aiyyer’s Unpublished 1936 Journal
Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi
40th Anniversary Event
Late in the evening today, the sarvadhikari [manager] requested the master to formally oversee and approve of the preparations the Ashram has made, for the celebrations arranged for tomorrow. Tomorrow is the 40th anniversary of the day on which the master is said to have attained Eternal Union with Arunachala: 1st September, 1896.
Many devotees, Indians as well as Caucasians, have gathered together here now, and the place is overflowing with people. Many items required for the day have been procured from the town in a bullock-cart. The Hall has been decorated profusely with clusters of mango-leaves strung together with jute-yarn, and using wet-flour and red-dye decorative patterns have been drawn across the floor throughout the Ashram.
Amid all the hustle and bustle, Bhagavan’s thought is this: I observe him taking the sarvadhikari aside and telling him seriously,
‘Don’t forget to consider the monkeys, the cows, and the crows in planning tomorrow’s culinary arrangements; also, suitable additional quantity of vellachcheedais must be unfailingly prepared for the rats…’
The sarvadhikari merely nods meekly and says, ‘Yes, Bhagawan…’.
1st September 1936
The anniversary-event today went grandly. A shadow puppetry group from Madras, accompanied by a musical troupe, showed us all the different Avatars of Vishnu, which flitted by on a screen, which was a simple cotton vaetti [cloth]. The dark figures moved on the screen to the accoutrement of matching music from the instrument-players. The life of each Avatar went on for circa 10 minutes, the performance being given in the Hall itself.
The group had come on their own from Madras – nobody had invited them. The sarvadhikari was highly pleased. Bhagavan also seemed to like the show. Keeping time to the music, he went on tapping the ear-rings of the kumuti [metal stove] used to burn sambarani in the Hall. It was a great joy to watch his nimble fingers move back-and-fro, striking at the iron rings in perfect rhythm. He was being so sensitive in paying attention to the melody that according to the varying pitch of the music, different fingers were used to hit the rings.
Not once did those delicately beautiful fingers miss their mark; yet – all the while – he was looking exclusively at the vaetti, and never at his hands! The feat of concentration enthralled but did not surprise me; I am aware he is a proven sahasravadhani, which is not a fact that many people know about the master – and he, of course, would never call attention to himself; moreover: “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.”
Chadwick: [ to SS Cohen] Mr . Prendergast exhausted half his film – roll yesterday on taking pictures of the anniversary celebrations. If he does not frank off the prints to the Ashram soon, the sarvadhikari will pounce on my throat and gobble me up alive, because he entrusted me with the responsibility of communicating to the fellow the rule at the Ashram that whatever photographs are taken here, one complete set of prints must be handed over. I told him once and reminded him twice, I think. Hope he does not let me down . . . [meanderingly] I have always been in support of their Saorstät cause, he ought to like me . . .
E.Z.: The Mees chap from Holland who visited early this year sent in his prints of Bhagawan promptly, I remember . . .
C.: Yes, he had a funny bellows – type machine of the olden – day variety, remember? I think it was a Tourist Multiple . . .
presently astonished the Hall by saying at this precise moment,
Oh! no; it was a Kodak Anastigmat. ”
All this while he had been fixedly staring into vacant space, and nobody would have guessed that he had been paying any attention to the usual trifling late – night chatter going on in the Hall! This is yet another instance which demonstrates that nothing and nobody escapes the attention of the master, although he might appear disconnected, aloof, or uninterested prima facie. .
Edited by John David Oct 2021