Photographer: Unknown to us
Date: c. 1939
From Sarangathi, August 2016:
Archival Listing GRO 136 (ca. 1939): Bhagavan with Balasubramanian (sitting) and (standing, left to right) Tippirajapuram Krishnaswamy Iyer (Balasubramanian’s father), Madhava Swami (attendant), and Koneriraiapuram Ramiah (son-in-law of Krishnaswamy Iyer).
K. Balasubramanian, later speaking of the circumstances in which this photo was taken, said,“It may have been the year 1939 or thereabouts. I was ten years old then and had a keen desire to be photographed with Sri Bhagavan. I approached Chinnaswamigal for the purpose. The Sarvadhikari said he would readily permit it and also arrange for a photographer to do the job. However, it was up to me to obtain permission from Sri Bhagavan. Accordingly, I waited near the steps at the rear of the ashram so as to meet Bhagavan on his return from his morning walk. When I made the request, Sri Bhagavan’s response was warm in the extreme. He said, “By all means, you can take the photograph. You may do it on my return from my evening walk on the Hill.” He also suggested the name of a particular photographer.
Tippirajapuram Krishnaswamy Iyer (Balasubramanian’s father): was an old devotee who had been coming to Sri Bhagavan from the Virupaksha days. He had arranged at his own cost, for extensive renovations of Pali Tirtham, the tank beside the ashram. Later, he was also in-charge of the rituals during the Kumbhabhishekam ceremony for the Mother’s Shrine in 1949.
Madhava Swami: Widely considered telepathic to Bhagavan’s wishes, the attendant served from the late 1920’s to early 1940’s. It was suspected, and never denied by Bhagavan, that the white peacock was an incarnation of Madhavaswami, one factor being due to this peacock picking out all the books from Bhagavan’s library which had been repaired by Madhavaswami, and other habits common to both. He was one of the few people who were allowed to massage Bhagavan’s body. He eventually left the Ashram and died in Kumbakonam. His funeral arrangements were taken care of by Kunju Swami, under personal instructions from Bhagavan.
Our source for high-resolution version and note: Sarangathi, August 2016.
Copyright in this photograph may be claimed by one or more of Sri Ramanasramam, Time Inc., Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos, and others.