current suggested assesment
|Tradition||Nonsectarian devotional Hinduism|
|Gurus||Sri Aurobindo, Ramana Maharshi, Swami Ramdas|
|Important Devotees/Disciples||Ma Devaki, Sadhu Rangarajan, Hilda Charlton, Krishna Carcelle, Lee Lozowick, many others|
|Assesment||saintly eccentric True Guru, Fully Realized. In the West he would probably be associated with "Crazy Wisdom" or perhaps nonduality, but really he transcends such limited classifications. Little known in the West.|
I first encountered Yogi Ramsuratkumar when I stumbled upon his biography (well, hagiography), Only God: A Biography Of Yogi Ramsuratkumar, by Regina Sara Ryan, while browsing Amazon com. For some reason this book stuck in my consciousness, it wouldn't let go. So even though I had a lot of books on my wishlist, I ordered it.
At the time I was travelling, but when I came back (in late October 2008) it was waiting for me. It was a few days before I started reading it, but when I did, it immediately made a huge impression on me. I was immediately impressed by the Light that came from the photos, the narrative, and the fact that of Yogi Ramsuratkumar three spiritual "Fathers", two of whom, Sri Aurobindo and Ramana Maharshi, were also my "gurus". The third was Ramdas, who I first heard of interestingly enough while staying with a friend in Canberra, just before coming back to Melbourne
The more I read Only God, the more it affected my consciousness. There is truly a Light there, a Presence, in both the text and photos. I can only compare Yogi Ramsuratkumar to other fully and completely Realised beings, such as Ramana and Nityananda, to whom I also resonante strongly with. He is without doubt the real thing.
A number of synchronicities seemed to occur; here is one. While talking (well, messaging, via internet chat) with a good friend on the Path, and we were discussing our experiences (she is an elevated devotee of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, and I was telling her about Yogi Ramsuratkumar) she mentioned "keeping the company of saints". This phrase stuck in my consciousness, because I can recognise this Light in the words and presence of the various Realised beings; it isn't something one just finds in one or two. So I wrote a blog post on keeping the company - that is, keeping in one's consciousness the Presence of - saints, that is, realised beings. The next day, I was reading about Yogi Ramsuratkumar in Only God, and there is reference to, yes, you guessed it, "the company of saints" (bottom of page 378).
Reading the biography of Yogi Ramsuratkumar, I kept noticing how many times reference to Sathya Sai Baba comes up. As it turns out, during the 1970s and 80s, (when these events take place), the Ramana ashram at Tiruvannamalai was on the "guru circuit". Many Westerners who went to India were devotees of Sai Baba, and after staying at or near his ashrams at Bangalore and Puttapparthi, would go south to visit Ramana's ashram. Being in the same vicinity, they could then easily visit (or look for) Yogi Ramsuratkumar (p.361).
Amazingly (and perhaps frustratingly) I was at Bangalore and Puttapparthi in the early 1980s, duirng my Sai Baba period. If I wasn't locked into my own immaturity, the way would have been open and I could have seen an authentic Realised Being in person.
But perhaps a connection was made on the subtle level anyway, only it took more than a quarter of century before I became aware of it. In the same way, I first heard about Sri Aurobindo and the Mother through a letter written by my uncle, when The Mother was still alive (this would have been in 1972 or 73, ten years before I travelled to India), but did not actually inquire into his teachings until some years later, when I was at University.
So the Divine still works, regardless of whether one's outer being is ready or not. In the Inner Being there is a Call, and it develops from there.
Rather than "reinvent the wheel", or repeat what is in the book, I'll quote Wikipedia (with slight editing). A lot of this material is quite devotional, and I expect in following months it will be heavily trimmed and sanitised, to meet the fanciful standards of "Neutral Point of View" (in fact there is no such thing; Wikipedia's "Neutral Point of View" is actually jkust a euphamism for the standards of secular academia and materialism)
Yogi Ramsuratkumar was born in a village near Kashi on December 1, 1918. In his childhood, he loved very much to meet the yogis and monks. He was befriended by a number of holy men who built their huts on the Ganges shore or simply wandered nearby.
He grew up as a Grihasta but eventually, the tugs of spirituality in his heart took over. In search of his "guru", he visited and spent time in the ashrams of both Sri Aurobindo and Ramana Maharishi. He later moved to Kerala at the ashram of Swami Ramdas. In his own assessment, Sri Aurobindo gave him Jnana, Sri Ramana Maharshi blessed him with tapas and Swami Ramadas gave him the nectar of Bhakti. Swami Ramadas initiated him into the holy mantra : " Om Sri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram ", by pronouncing it thrice in his ears. Yogi Ramsuratkumar often refers to this instance as his "death", since from this moment on, his ego no longer existed, and he had a profound spiritual experience.
Yogiji travelled across the country from 1952 to 1959. Not much is known about the exact whereabouts of the yogi in this period. He finally reached Tiruvannamalai (a small town in Tamil Nadu which is famous for attracting spiritual seekers worldwide and has had a continuous lineage of enlightened souls) in the Southern India in 1959. He was a "hidden" saint during this early period, with not too many individuals realizing that this "beggar" was someone whoc would bring riches to the lives of countless many. He was seen near the Temple chariot, at the corners of the Road, under the trees of the Temple. As more and more people started acknoleding the divine presence in him, Swamiji then began living in a small house in Sannadhi Street beneath the Temple. He continued to bless the devotees who thronged at thousands to His house at the Sannadhi Street. At a point, his devotees became too many to be handled in a small house and the Devotees wished Him to have an Ashram which He gently accepted after much persuasion for the sake of his devotees. The Yogi Ramsurat kumar Ashram is constructed at Agrahara collai with a total area of 3.5 Acres.
He left his body (Mahasamadhi) on 20th Feb 2001 at Tiruvannamalai in the Ashram premises.
Yogi Ramsuratkumar was a true saint and he has affected the lives of thousands of people towards incorporating the divine presence in their lives. To his followers, he assures that the mere thought of him amd meditation with the repetition of the following mantra would address any difficulties that they have in dealing with their day to day problems.Yogi Ramsuratkumar Yogi Ramsuratkumar
Yogi Ramsuratkumarara Jaya Guru Raya
The following excerpts are taken from one of his addresses to his followers. He often times referred to himself as a "beggar" as a message for followers to not take their egos seriously."This beggar learnt at the feet of Swami Ramdas the divine name of Rama, and beg, beg all of you not to forget the divine name Rama. Whatever you do, wherever you are, be like Anjaneya Maruthi thinking of Rama and doing your actions in this world. Live in the world and the problems will be there. If we are remembering the Divine name, we are psychologically sound. May be, we may feel a little some of the problems. Even then the intensity with which we feel if we don't have faith in God is much more than a man of faith - a man who remembers the name of Rama. So this beggar is always begging, begging for food, begging for clothes, begging that you should compose songs on this beggar, build a house for me - a cottage for me - this thing - that thing - so many things. But this beggar will beg of you this also, and you are always giving what this beggar has begged. So this beggar begs please don't forget the name of God. This Divine name has been always of great help to all in the world. You read Kabir, Tulsi, Sur, Appar Swamy, Manickavasaga Swamy - how they emphasized Namasivaya. Don't forget it- this is your heart- this is your soul. Whether it be Om Namasivaya or Om Namo Narayana whether Rama, Siva or Krishna whatever name you choose, whatever form you choose doesn't matter.
But remember the lord with any name, with any form of your choice. Just as when there is heavy rainfall, we take an umbrella, and go on doing our work in the factory, in the field, wherever we go for marketing and catching hold of the umbrella we go though the rain is falling there. But still we work-still we work-do our work. Similarly we have got so many problems all around. This divine name is just like an umbrella in the heavy rainfall. Catch hold of the divine name and go on doing your work in the world. This beggar begs of you and this beggar has received all he has begged of you. So I think none of you will shrink away, when this beggar begs of you, don't forget the divine name. This beggar prays to his father to bless you all who have come here. My Lord Rama blesses you- My Father blesses you. Arunachalaswara blesses you. It doesn't matter to me what name it is. All the blessings of my father for all of you! Well, that is the end. That is all."
Only God: A Biography of Yogi Ramsuratkumar by Regina Sara Ryan (2004). Hohm Press.
Unfortunately this book, despite having many beautiful photos and conveying a lot of wonderful Presence of Yogi Ramsuratkumar, does not present a totally unbiased account as it is heavily slanted towards Lee Lozowick and his followers. For another (but also earlier) account, see Truman Caylor Wadlington, Yogi Ramsuratkumar: The godchild, Tiruvannamali, Madras, Diocesan Press, 1979, or the online books listed below.
Free online books from this page (bilingal - French and English). I haven't properly read them, so I've included the blurb from the site in question. If and when I do get around to reading these books I'll replace this with my own blurb
Yogi Ramsuratkumar, the miracle of becoming God, by Olga Amman (Yogi Ramsuratkumar Bhavan, 2008) 191 pp; pdf file 7 megabytes
"The best work that has been written about Yogi Ramsuratkumar by a Westerner. It is the only objective and deep book written by a Westerner. The only problem is that it has not been published, the Ashram management having refused, nobody knows why ! The Bhavan has the luck to have this book, it is wonderful, splendid ! If there was a book to be read by a Westerner, it was this one !"
Meetings with Yogi Ramsuratkumar by Will Zulkowsky (Yogi Ramsuratkumar Bhavan, Jan. 2008) 168 pp; pdf 4 megabytes
Will is an American who has lived, with his wife Joan, for some time with Yogi Ramsuratkumar, this in the 70's.
Will was writing a book on his meetings with Yogi Ramsuratkumar. He had already written two chapters. It seems he stopped the book when Lee Lozowick, who had been strongly requested by Yogiji to go and meet Will, sent him one of his students for an interview to be used for the book "Under the Punnai tree" published later. Will passed away not long later.
His notes and words are very important concerning this part of Yogiji's life. And they are full of humility, dedication and love. Will's papers have been given to Krishna (Krishna Carcelle, see link below) who was asked to go through them to see whether 'something would be useful'. It is why the Bhavan is happy to release this e-book .
Yogi Ramsuratkumar - the Divine Beggar By Ma Devaki (Yogi Ramsuratkumar Ashram, 2008) (Electronic edition : Yogi Ramsuratkumar Bhavan, Dec 2008) 141 pp. pdf file 4.17 megabytes
Ma Devaki was perhaps Yogi Ramsuratkumar's most important disciple and devotee. She is mentioned in Regina Sara Ryan's book. As such, this is an important biography, which hopefully will rectify shortcomings in the books put out by Holm Press.
From Krishna Carcelle's page:
At last, after 7 years of expectation, the Yogi Ramsuratkumar Ashram has released the first biography of Yogiji ! But what a jewel, written by Ma Devaki ! After two wonderful books that the Head of the Ashram refused to publish for some vague reasons, Ma has done what 'had to be done' for this wonderful book to be published. And it seems good that Ma's book is the first to be published by the Ashram.
This being said, most of the episodes narrated by Ma Devaki were already narrated in the book "Waves of Love", some copies of which were printed in 2003. Then one wonders why the Ashram did not publish "Waves of Love" at that time... When we compare both the books, an answer comes, purely 'human' ...
Ma Devaki's Diary 217 pp.; pdf file 4.65 megabytes
"The Bhavan presents, in the form of a book, all the excerpts that were published so far, from Ma Devaki's diary. It will be completed each time a new part will be published. These excerpts are already available on this website."
Yogi Ramsuratkumar the most comprehensive website, by yogiji's Western disciple Krishna Carcelle. It was first created in 1997, with Yogi Ramsuratkumar's blessings. All other websites appeared after his mahasamadhi (post-2001). Includes also biography and bibliography, and some translations (Swami Rama Tirtha, Swami Vivekananda, Shankaracharya, and many others) in French.
Yogi Ram Surat Kumar - homepage /website
Yogi Ramsuratkumar - Godchild Thiruvannamalai. - home page/website, includes pictures, movies, audio, online books and poems.
Ramsuratkumar - biography
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