Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Have you brought a big vessel to take the upadesa with you?

Ammani Ammal, a lovely person of ripe old age with bent back, in white saree, lives at Ramana Nagar. She was serving the Ashram by lighting lamps in the temple, etc, but due to old age preferred to live all by herself -- such is her astute vairagya! (She has not agreed to receive food from the Ashram.) I succeeded in making her talk about her first conversation with Bhagavan. This is what she said:

"In the thirties I had darshan of Bhagavan, when I visited Him along with my mother. After that I could not stay at home any longer. Without informing my parents I ran away and arrived at the Ashram. I was very young then. I prostrated to Bhagavan and asked:

'Bhagavan! Give me upadesam!' Bhagavan gave a beautiful smile and said: 'Have you brought a big vessel to take the upadesam with you?' He stretched both His hands wide open to symbolise a big vessel! I was standing still. Then for a full fifteen minutes Bhagavan looked at me with intense compassion and grace. I experienced wave after wave of bliss; I was thrilled! This experience I never had in my life, either before or after. Summoning all my courage, I again asked Him: 'Swami! May I stay here, for good?' Bhagavan replied, 'I do not ask anyone to come here, neither stay here nor go out. Thiangs happen according to one's praptam (destiny).' I did not understand then what it all meant; now I know that it was that look of Grace which made me stick to Him and stay at His lotus feet till today.

Bhagavan is God. He is Compassion Suprme. His reply would appear as if He did not take up the responsibility of my stay here. But see, without His Grace could I have stayed here for the rest of my life till today, all alone?"

When I asked her: "If Bhagavan did not recommend your stay at the Ashram, what did you do?" She replied, "What do you mean? Bhagavan's one look was enough. The Grace started working. Immediately, Echamma took me to her house and I began living there. Then I moved to a cottage in front of the Ashram. To stay near Bhagavan, to look at His bliss-filled face and to listen to His exquisitely sweet voice was all I wanted and that I got in abundance!" I saw in her eyes the light of life's fulfillment.

~ V. Ganesan, The Mountain Path, Vol. 22, No. 1, January 1985

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