Sunday, August 16, 2020

"Nanna's divine feet are my refuge" - (By Dr.Usha Garu)

When I traveled for the first time to Tiruvannamalai, it was easy as I traveled by car with my junior, but traveling there for the next 2 years was difficult as I was told there was no train service nor direct bus, so I had to change 3-4 buses before I could reach my destination. People in bus stops didn’t know English & I didn’t know the local language (Tamil) by then, except for very few words. Also, the only language used on bus plates was Tamil (no other language), so had to ask people every time a bus arrived if it would go to a particular place. What would take 3 hours by car took me nearly 6-7 hours as I had to take a round-about route due to a lack of direct bus service.

Since I would have classes in the morning, I had to start only after lunch hour which made it more difficult. There would be long waiting hours for the buses and I would most times reach Tiruvannamalai at midnight. 

The next day morning when I would go for Nanna darshan he would speak to me with great compassion. He would mention the time that I have arrived that night & also how tedious the journey was without me ever having to tell him anything. He would ask me if it wasn’t getting hectic for me to travel like that.

I would answer him saying, ”When the focus is on you, nothing seems to matter to me except the fact that I shall be in your presence soon!”, for which he would bless me with both his raised hands & a cheerful smile.

Every time I traveled like this, I would be completely lost to myself. There wouldn’t be anything running in my head, no fear or worry or impatience. His embracing grace was felt throughout and I would remain in a state of calm. It would be like divine energy taking me home without my intervention. It would happen most naturally, so was never surprised at the divine help I received when I was stuck in the middle of nowhere. Nanna would guide me in his silence & the only time he would make it verbal was to clarify that everything was taken care of! The strength, courage & patience needed to travel in an unknown state all by myself without knowing the local language was provided from the silence within which made me gradually develop calm courage. He made my walk in the path of surrender easy.

One such incident is when I was traveling similarly, the bus that I took from Villupuram to go to Tiruvannamalai broke down in a small village, so I had to get down. The time was almost 11 PM. There were no women to be seen anywhere in the vicinity, only a few elderly men & one or two drunkards

After waiting for a while, I approached an elderly man and asked if any bus would come that would go to Tiruvannamalai. He said that the last bus left some time ago & that there would be no bus for that day. I was a little perplexed about how I would travel to Arunachala. As I was standing there clueless, an old lady came stood beside me, and asked where I had to go. When I told her I had to go to Tiruvannamalai, she said she wanted to go there too. 

When I mentioned that the last bus had already left, she said with a smile, “No, the last bus is running late today. It hasn’t arrived yet. It will arrive soon".

Within a few minutes after she said that, a bus arrived and we both got into it together, and she took a seat beside me. There were no ladies inside the bus except us both.

She asked me, "Where are you going to in Tiruvannamalai?" I replied that I was visiting Guruji who resides at Andhra Ashram.

After we got down at Tiruvannamalai, she accompanied me to the auto stand, spoke to one of the auto drivers & told him in Tamil to drop me safely at Andhra Ashram (as if I was related to her). I expressed my gratitude to her, within 10 mins he(auto driver)took me safely to the Ashram, and by the time I reached it was 1.00am (midnight).

The next morning when I met Nanna, he instantly said, ”It was very late by the time you reached last night, was the time 1 O’clock Usha? Anyway, you were guided and received help right?”

That statement amused me so much that I remained speechless looking at him in wonder. I thought to myself, “How beautiful is this life being guided with such love & care at every step of my external & internal journey” where I wasn’t given a chance to speak or express my gratitude. It was in fact too deep for it to be expressed in mere words.

As Nanna would often mention Bhagavan’s statement “When two hearts converse with each other in silence, what is the necessity of words?”

For the silent messages that Nanna would convey to me in a profound way, I would touch his feet with great reverence!

On this very trip, Nanna took us (devotees) to Skanda Ashram & Virupaksha Cave. When Nanna got down from the vehicle to proceed to Virupaksha cave he removed his footwear. When we told him it was quite hot as it was noon-time & the rocks would be hot, he told us that we can wear our footwear but he wouldn’t. This showed his pure devotion & respect for Arunachala mountain. This incident moved me & so I never wore footwear whenever I happened to climb the hill, however hot it was.

We spent almost 2 hours at Virupaksha cave. Nanna refreshed us with the memories of Bhagavan Ramana’s short conversations with the devotees that visited Virupaksha cave & Skanda Ashram during his time. Also, Nanna told us many interesting facts that took place when Bhagavan lived there.

Whichever God or sage Nanna spoke about (Be it Lord Rama, Krishna, Rama Krishna, Buddha, Sankaracharya, Ramana), he would be reliving them & he would bring their expression & teaching to life. Those moments would be precious because we felt we lived with every God (Avatar Purusha) & sage that we haven’t seen but only read about! He made us experience all the profound personalities that history has witnessed.

After some time in silence & peace, Nanna softly said, "I played here (Virupaksha Cave)as a child (but Nanna visited Tiruvannamalai for the first time in Jan 1959, which was at approximately 25yrs of age). In rare instances like these, he would occasionally reveal the glimpses of his past life incidents.


Nanna would sing with a great love for Bhagavan in Telugu, ”You are the one in our talks, in our songs, in our Play, the one in all & you are our everything, isn’t it Bhagavan! Little did we realize then, that what he sang for Bhagavan, he was making himself that to all of us.

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