On Sivaratri night, the great writer-seer, Sri Raa Ganapathi, was absorbed in the great light of Siva.
I had the great good fortune of meeting him personally a few times, some years ago. Visiting him was to me, no less than visiting a revered sage. For his works in general, and his works of Paramacharya in particular, have been temples of knowledge, that have brought light to me, as to the whole world of readers.
When I accompanied my friend Kannan to his home in T Nagar, nothing prepared me for the humbleness of his dwelling. It was a small flat. The drawing room was empty. Not even a sofa. His bedroom was also sparse. There was his bed, and nearby a small stool sort of desk, which had some medicines. On one side were a few books. The walls of the house had just a few photographs, that of sages. That’s it. This could have been the parnashaala of Valmiki or Vyasa. Such simplicity….
And He, was even more simple. Clad in a veshti, he was bare chest. His body was lean, and he exuded a great radiance that was surely the very stuff of spirituality. His eyes were aglow with a power that one cannot fathom. It was as if he could see through you like an X-Ray, right into your depths of your being.
Physically he was not keeping well, but he was not deterred by that. Hearing was a challenge, so at times, he would catch the face of the other person and turn it in front of his eyes, so he could lip read. He was not keen on getting any hearing-aid. Mentally he was Alertness itself. Sharp as daggers. And he very clearly had his own mind… And he did not hold back any punch… He was very much in this world, alert to all that was happening. Yet he was untouched by any of it. Such was how he came across to me.
What does one say about his literary works! What a range of books! Each one of them so special. Books on Sri Ramakrishna-Sarada Devi, Satya Sai Baba, Sri Ramana Maharshi, Paramacharya, and ever so many more. And even among all these gems, to my mind the crest-jewel was his seven volume Tamizh Magnum-opus, ‘Deivattin Kural’ (Voice of God).
Among spiritual treatises bringing the words of a great Master to the world, there have been some supreme classics like “Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna”, “Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi”, “and others. And “Deivattin Kural’ while ranking right up there, has its own unique greatness. For one thing, the sheer size is staggering. Seven large volumes. Compilations of talks by Jagadguru Paramacharya of Kanchee spreading over decades. Connecting threads of talks across time and locations. Each of these seven volumes is a thousand pages or more. In terms of sheer size, in bringing to the world the words of a Self-Realized sage, ‘Deivattin Kural’, perhaps, has no parallel.
And what an effort it would have been. We, who struggle to put pen to paper to transcribe a single talk of an hour or so, can only wonder, awestruck, at what he has accomplished. And we can only conclude that this was no human task. This had to be powered by the divine. Yet the Pen was held by a human hand. And it was that Pen that brought to the world the whole, massive expanse of Jnaana-Ganga of Paramacharya, recording it for posterity. Yes, the effort was a Bhageerata-Prayatna all right.
And the greatness of ‘Deivattin Kural’ is that the author is invisible. He does not appear anywhere. He just brings you the great Paramacharya, paints the scenes, lets the Jagadguru speak to you, one on one. No one in between. Perhaps the only near comparison can be that of Lord Ganapathi writing down the great Mahabharata dictated by Veda Vyasa.
Sometimes one wonders whether it was indeed the same Vyasa-Ganesha drama that was enacted here. Was it the Supreme-All Pervading Consciousness that was Paramacharya, that as the Antaryami, dictated it all for Sri Ganapathi to write. A Ganapathi there, a Ganapathi here. How else can one explain the holiness, purity, and crystal clarity of each word and page of the seven volume compilation? Where the reader has no doubt at all that this is the authentic word of the Jagadguru.. this is indeed the voice of God…
Ganapathi Anna (as Sri Ra Ganapathi was called by my friend Kannan) was ailing for the last few years. One is given to understand that for the last year or two he was practically living on a frugal liquid diet…
In his room calender, the picture for the month of January was that of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi. When the month of February came around, he asked his attendant not to change the page of the calender. He wanted Sri Ramana’s picture to remain for the next month as well…
And from those near him one understands that he knew that his end was coming. He prepared them for that. The last few days, his food intake was barely a few spoons, and even that was getting rejected. Yet, his mind was as sharp as ever. He wr0te notes and letters. On the last day, one understands that he wrote a note in Tamil, saying “The Goddess of Salvation is waiting to welcome me with a carpet of jewels”.
That night of Sivaratri, at around ten minutes past seven, he sat and fixed his gaze on the calender picture of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi. And became One with that Light!
Om Nama Sivaya!
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya!