This book begins and ends on an autobiographical note but the rest of the
book is, like her earlier book Letters from Sri Ramanasramam, wholly a
gripping narration of the events that unfolded themselves day after day
around Sri Bhagavan at the Old Hall, her own personal life progressively
blending and then merging in life at the Asramam.
As if to prepare Nagamma for her spiritual life under the silent guidance
of Sri Bhagavan, destiny in its cruel kindness had tested her in the fire of
continuous suffering right from her childhood. She had plumbed the depths
of despair and depression and yearned for peace which a number of
practices like austerities, worship, chanting, medi-
tation, pilgrimages, social service etc. did not vouch
her. When finally she came to Bhagavan in 1941 at
the age of 39, she. instantly realized that she was in
the presence of her Dream-Guru, the one who
actually came to her in a dream. From then on she
never looked back. She came looking for peace but
found that she was in for the Peace that passeth
understanding. Bhagavan lifted her from the depths
of depression to the peak of inner joy which sings
through the pages of all her books on Bhagavan and
rubs off on the reader. The Dream-Guru was
A few years after Bhagavan's Mahasamadhi,
Nagamma settled down at her native place visiting
the Asramam during Bhagavan's Jayanti and
Aradhana and staying each time for a month or two.
Even at Kolanukonda, her native place, Nagamma's
'life at Sri Ramanasramam' continued for she could
have said what Sri Muruganar once told an admirer
at Chennai: "Ramanasramam is where I am."
: Srimathi Suri Nagamma is well-known to the devotees of Sri Ramana Maharshi through her Letters from Sri Ramanasramam originally published by the Ashram in Telugu and subsequently in English. At the request of some devotees she has now written about her life at the Ashram.
From a perusal of the present book My Life at Sri Ramanasramam it will be noted that Nagamma's early life was full of trials and tribulations. She lost her father when she was four years of age, her mother when she was ten and her husband when was twelve. As a result of the series of calamities she got drowned in an ocean of sorrow and confined herself to a small room in her parent's house rarely getting out of it, so much so, she did not know what sunshine was for several years. At that time there happened to be in that room some books on ancient lore such as Mahabaratam, Bhagavatam and Bhagavad Gita which she read over and over again. Her mind thereby got attuned towards God.
After some years she came out of her solitude and began moving about in the midst of the families of her brothers and sister with the intention of serving them by way of Nishkama Karma. Soon she got dissatisfied with it and began going about on pilgrimage to various places in the country in search of a Sadguru. That is how she ultimately landed at Sri Ramanasramam.
She went to the Ashram all alone and without knowing anybody there. By patient and persistent efforts she gained the grace of Bhagavan and in due course became one of the important inmates of the Ashram. Bhagavan showed her the correct way of Sadhana, encouraged her in all her efforts and slowly led her into the path of Self-enquiry. Nagamma has given in her book a graphic account of her life in the Ashram which makes interesting reading.
Life in an Ashram is never smooth sailing; it is beset with hardships, innumerable obstacles and several pitfalls, and Nagamma has had her due share of them. This book gives a detailed description of how Bhagavan; with his advice and guidance, helped her to get over all those difficulties.
Nagamma is now leading a quiet unostentatious life, peacefully and in solitude, living in a small house in Maruthinagaram, Vijayawada, built specially for her by her brother. She has installed therein a photo of Bhagavan and does Puja and Parayana mornings and evenings. Devotees drop in now and then and she helps them with her advice and guidance on spiritual matters. She cooks for herself; eats Satvic food; puts on pure white clothes and spends most of her time in meditation. She stays at home practically all the time and does not take part in any activities, social or religious. She visits the Ashram once a year usually at the time of the Jayanthy or the Aradhana.
This book gives such great details of the life of a Sadhak in an Ashram, it can be confidently expected that one who goes through it carefully and does Sadhana in the manner indicated therein will be greatly benefited thereby.
AKHANDAM SITARAMA SASTRI
39, Janakiram Pillai Street,
At the request of the President of Sri Ramanasramam I have translated Srimathi Suri Nagamma's book in Telugu into English. In doing so I have found the work much easier than translating her earlier book in Telugu Letters from Sri Ramanasramam as the present book is more biographical in nature and does not contain the Maharshi's talks and observations to the same extent. This translation is also not literal as in the earlier case but free and some portions from the original have been omitted as they were too personal and sometimes controversial. I am confident that the reader will find the book interesting and informative. I am grateful to Sri Philip Pegler, a resident of the Ashram, for going through my manuscript with meticulous care and for the valuable suggestions he has made in this regard. -D.S. Sastri
10, Vijayaraghavachari Road,
Dated: November 1, 1974.
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