V. Ganesan, Ramana Maharshi’s grandnephew, writes here about Sadhu Natanananda.
THE DAY HE UNDERSTOOD HIS REALIZATION, he went incognito. The outward symbol of his becoming Self-realized was his obscurity. He lived alone — happy to be immersed in the Self all the time. After Bhagavan’s mahasamadhi in 1950 and until 1967, many did not even know if Natanananda was still alive. Though he stayed in a cottage in Tiruvannamalai, no one knew where he was. Like most of the old devotees, I too thought that he had passed away.
I had spent seven years in the ashram when suddenly one day my friend Dorab Framji asked me, “Do you know Sadhu Natanananda is alive?” I jumped with joy because I loved his book, Spiritual Instruction, also known as Sri Ramana Darsanam. I paid him a visit. He was an austere man with nothing in his room except for a few loincloths. He blessed me and asked, “What are you doing? Are you practicing Self-Enquiry?”
I replied, “I am not capable of doing Self-Enquiry. I only chant Arunachala Siva, Arunachala Siva.” His face was red with rage. I was taken aback because this was my very first meeting with him and I was accustomed to people indulging me whenever they met me. Not Natanananda! He was a stern and serious man. He raged, “What a fool you are! What do you think you have come to Bhagavan for? For what function has he chosen you? It is only to make you like him! Read his Forty Verses on Reality, practice Self-Enquiry, be the truth. That is why you have been chosen!”
I was stunned in disbelief.
Text copyright © V. Ganesan. This article is reprinted from Ramana Periya Puranam by V. Ganesan.
Photo: Sri Ramanasramam catalog number jh_71.
Sadhu Natanananda was a direct disciple of Sri Ramana Maharshi. He compiled Sri Ramana Darsanam, also known as Spiritual Instruction and Upadesa Manjari.
Edited by Sadhu Natanananda
Translated by David Godman
Sadhu Natanananda was a distinguished scholar and devotee who first met Sri Ramana Maharshi on the Arunachala Hill. His collection of dialogs with Ramana Maharshi — Upadesa Manjari in Tamil and Spiritual Instructions in English — has appeared in several editions of Collected Works of Ramana Maharshi. Sadhu Natanananda also edited Vichara Sangraham (Self-Enquiry) in both the essay and the question-and-answer formats. Ramana Maharshi also gave him the job of arranging the verses of Guru Vachaka Kovai, Muruganar’s authoritative compendium of Sri Ramana Maharshi’s teachings.
In the early 1950s Sadhu Natanananda wrote Sri Ramana Darsanam, a book that contained many previously unpublished stories about Ramana Maharshi. However, it is not merely a collection of anecdotes. Sadhu Natanananda uses these stories to make a penetrating analysis of Bhagavan’s life and teachings. Also included are previously unpublished poems that give a rare glimpse into the inner experiences that came to Sadhu Natanananda as a result of Bhagavan’s teachings and grace.
Edited by David Godman
In our opinion this superb collection of extracts from Ramana Maharshi’s writings and dialogues is the best single-volume introduction to his teachings. This is the book we recommend to people who want to read about Sri Ramana for the first time. The editor, David Godman, is probably the foremost living expert on Sri Ramana’s teachings. David has gone through dozens of books by and about Sri Ramana and collected passages which most clearly state various points of his teaching. These extracts are organized thematically into chapters with higher teachings first and less important ones last. David has also provided informative introductions to each chapter and to the book as a whole as well as a glossary and notes.
This page was published on May 14, 2017 and last revised on May 16, 2017.