Page after page of this book, written by Ganapati Muni’s grandson, reveals this Mahamanava (great man) as a Mahatapasvi, Mahakavi, Mahavidvan and Mahabhakta. He was indubitably a great tapasvin, poet, scholar and devotee extraordinary. His life of intense penance found its fulcrum the moment he met Ramana Bhagavan at Virupaksha Cave, when he was initiated into the meaning of tapas. Never did a greater poet-devotee meet a greater jnani-sadguru. The Muni instantly recognizing the young Swami’s unique greatness, named him Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi.
Many chapters of this book begin with a verse from Uma Sahasram, the Muni’s poetic masterpiece, which, by common scholarly consent, is one of the greatest Sanskrit poems of all times. Here too, the Muni acknowledged Ramana as the source of inspiration. Apt quotations from this monumental work also appear throughout the book, besides verses from other works of the Muni like Indrani Saptasati, Ramana Gita, Ramana Chatvarimsat etc., greatly enhancing the beauty and depth of this book.
A series of oxymorons mark the Muni’s life: He was a rational traditionalist and a rebel-reformer; He was proud of his country and religion but humble to a fault as an individual; a widely adored teacher and also a disciple totally surrendered to the Guru; impatient to reform the society but patiently learning the secret of Selfhood; a lion in the world at large but a lamb at the feet of his Master; a colossus in intellect, a mental giant who got peace from one who transcended the mind and intellect. This book throws light on all these aspects of this amazing personality who found refuge in the Mighty Impersonality that Ramana was. No greater tribute was ever paid to the Muni than what his Master himself said upon hearing of his passing: “When will come such another.”
Ganapati Muni beheld a yogi sitting in absolute silence on the Arunachala Hill. He recognized him to be a great rishi, accepted him as his Guru and declared that he should henceforth be called Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi.
He also declared that they both had a close relationship in their previous lives and expressed in verse that Sri Ramana was a manifestation of Kumara Swami, the son of the divine parents Uma and Siva, while he was the incarnate Ganapati, their elder son.
Ganapati Muni was a rishi, poet, patriot and reformer who obtained the grace of the Divine Mother to achieve literary excellence and knowledge of the essence of all things.
Tapas is defined as an intense spiritual effort. Tapas performed for the fulfillment of a desire is not true tapas. Divine visions are only the projections from one’s own mind. Until we reach the ultimate knowledge of the Self, we have to continue tapas, and this is what Ganapati Muni did.
He said that brahma granthi is the knot between the mrai self and the real Self. Tapas is necessary to break this ka. and it is also an essential aid to education. Knowledge achieved through sixty years of study is accomplished with years of tapas, and Ganapati Muni himself proved point by mastering the Tamil language with just ten days of tapas. Ganapati Muni engaged in severe tapas for the redemption of his Motherland from slavery and Ignorance. He awakened the Divine Sakti in the hearts of freedom fighters with his speeches and reformist ideals.
Each aspect of the Muni’s life provides adequate material to embody numerous books. To attempt to give a thorough biographic account of such a great personality is not possible without prolonged and dedicated research. I therefore limited my effort to bring out his literary excellence and the tapas he performed.
Dr. K. Subrahmanian was a high official in CIFL Education Institute of Hyderabad and the we1lknown columnist of ‘Between You and Me’ and ‘Know Your English’ in The Hindu newspaper. He was a great devotee of Sri Ramana Maharshi and lived in the service of his Master to the last minute of his life. He was the inspiration behind me taking up this great task of writing the biography of Nayana (Ganapati Muni).
One day Dr. Subrahmanian asked me, “Mr. Ramana! Nayana’s biography has not been written properly. Why don’t you do that?”
I was stunned: “How can I, Sir, since I have not even seen my grandfather. How can I attempt to write his biography?”
K. S. was silent for a moment. Then he looked into my eyes and coolly asked, “Has everybody who wrote on Rama seen Sri Rama?”
His devotional approach shook me up. He suggest that I should write in an attitude of surrender. Thus, I be to write.
My father, the late Sri Mahadeva Sastri, had a strong desire to publish a biography of Nayana in a glorious style. He was not satisfied with the existing biography. He used to say that the greatness of his father’s life lay mainly in his literary works and tapas. Therefore, one who wants to produce his biography must do research into his works and through proper sadhana bring out the essence. In the course of conversation over many years, he informed me of numerous unpublished events relating to Nayana’s life. I strongly believe that my fathers creative urge proved to be the primary impetus of my writing this book, for which I owe him supreme gratitude. I offer my prostrations to him, Sri Ramana and Ganapati Muni.
Sri Acharya Appalla Someswara Sarma, a scholar, respectable, simple, an adept in grammar and prosody, read with great interest the whole book and gave the necessary touches to it. He also blessed me. I proffer my humble salutations to Sri Vedula Sub ramanya Sastry, Sri Pudipeddi Lakshmana Murthy and my sister and poet Srimati P Visalakshi for giving me sufficient encouragement in bringing Out this work.
The collection of material for this biography presented enormous difficulties. My elder brother, Sri Purandar, sister, P. Indira and younger brother, Sridhar helped me in this task. Vasishta Vaibhavam, a Sanskrit biography of Nayana, proved to be of much help in my effort. I offer my regards to the elders and blessings to the young of my family who gave me their hearty co-Operation. The members of Sri Ramana Satsang of Hyderabad encouraged me by publishing one chapter in each of the issues of the satsang’s magazine, Sri Ramana Jyoti.
If the erudite and laymen, devotees and researchers, find this work valuable, I will consider that to be the great blessings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi and Nayana. My humble salutations to all great souls.
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