Photographer: Unknown to us
Date: August 15, 1947
From Sarangathi, July 2014:
Left to right: T.S. Rajagopala Iyer, O.P. Ramasamy Reddiar, T.V. Devaraja Mudaliar, K. “Kittu” Krishnamurthy, Ramana, Mani (in front), T.N. Venkataraman, Sundaram.
(Archival listing GRO 44 was taken on the day of Independence, 15 August, 1947. TNV had spent the previous night decorating the Ashram, having arranged for Congress leaders to come to officiate at the Ashram flag-raising ceremony.)
O.P. Ramasamy Reddiar (1895-1970) from Tindivanam was a freedom-fighter and member of the Indian National Congress and went on to serve as the Premier of Madras Presidency (1947-1949). A staunch devotee of Bhagavan, he came to the Ashram to seek Bhagavan’s blessings for the Satyagraha of October 1940 for which he was subsequently jailed. O.P.R. later served at key junctures during the construction of the Mother’s Shrine and the subsequent Mahakumbhabhishekam in 1949. He also offered protection to the Ashram at TNV’s behest during the confused hours amidst the crowds following Bhagavan’s Mahanirvana in 1950.
K. Krishnamurthy, affectionately known as “Kittu” or “Kittu Mama”, was chief priest from 1950 till his death in October 1995. He joined the Ashram Veda Patasala at the age of 11 in 1938 and stayed put for the next 57 years. Prior to Bhagavan’s Maha Nirvana, Kittu Mama had the rare privilege of bringing naivedyam to Bhagavan in the Nirvana Room. Once, as prasadam was given, Bhagavan said, “As you make the offering to my Mother’s shrine, so do it to me. She is unable to eat it. Now I am also unable to eat it.”
T. S. Rajagopala Iyer served as attendant to Bhagavan and Ashram librarian as well as being one of six witnessing signatories of Bhagavan’s Will in March1938. In his later years when family members jovially complained to him of his persistent habit of talking, he declared, “I shall stop talking only when my Bhagavan bids me.” As it would happen, T.S.R. had a dream in which Bhagavan struck him with his stick and said “Keep quiet!” From that time onwards until his death, he maintained strict silence.
Our source for high-resolution version and note: Sarangathi, July 2014.
Copyright in this photograph may be claimed by one or more of Sri Ramanasramam, Time Inc., Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos, and others.