Yogi Ramsuratkumar - His Early Life
India is known as Bharata Desam which means the land that revels in the light of sacred wisdom. The great glory of Mother Bharat lies in her delivering an endless succession of saints and sages, right from ancient times till today. In the sky of the world, Tiruvannamalai in South India shines as a brilliant divine sun. This town has been identified as the spiritual heart of the world by Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi. The Arunachala Mountain here is considered as Lord Shiva Himself. In the beginning, this was a mountain of fire. In course of time, this solidified into the stone mountain that we see today and it has the fame of drawing lakhs of people to its abode in general and sages, saints and sadhaks in particular. Among them, in the recent times, three great sages, Sri Seshadri Swami from Kanchipuram where reigns Goddess Kamakshi, Sri Ramana Maharishi from Madurai which is the home of Goddess Meenakshi, and Yogi Ramsuratkumar from Varanasi wherein resides Goddess Visalakshi, have added more glory to this temple town with their unique greatness and spiritual Ministry.
Bhagwan Shri Yogi Ramsuratkumar was born on December lst, 1918 in a small village by name Nardara, on the banks of the river Ganga in Ballia district, Uttar Pradesh, to a very pious Bhumihar Brahmin couple. Right from childhood, He loved the company of the mendicants, who gathered around their Dhuni fire on the banks of the Ganges. He even spent nights with them. Ever so often, sitting in the lap of His father, He would listen to the stories of Ramayana and Mahabharata with shining eyes. He could never bear to see sadhus going hungry. Immediately, He would run home and take all the chapatis prepared by his mother for the family and distribute them to the sadhus. His mother used to call Him, “my sadhvi child.” When this little boy was studying in a school near the village, He would often seek solitude and meditate. At home, He would help His mother with house chores.
One evening, when He was twelve years old, He went to draw water from a nearby well and saw a small bird perched on the edge of the well. In playful innocence, he threw the rope at the bird only to shoo the bird away. But, unfortunately the bird was hit and it fell dead. Ramsuratkumar froze in shock and tried His best to revive it but in vain. Grief-stricken, He cried and cried, not knowing what to do. For the first time, the question of birth and death arose in Him. He understood in depth what suffering and sorrow was. This formed the foundation for His future Father’s work. After this, He began to seek solitude more and more and plunged into meditation.
At the age of sixteen, He went to Kashi instructed by Kapadia Baba, His earliest mentor from a nearby village and stood in the shrine of Vishwanath Ji. He found the whole place filled with a glorious effulgence and was completely lost in the experience. After wards He went to the famous Manikarnika Ghat where the dead bodies were burnt continuously and had a deep experience. Then He walked the thirteen kilometers to Sarnath where Sri Buddha had given His first teachings. When He stood near the stupa, He felt a deep peace unknown to Him so far. Yet, He was able to come back home and complete His schooling. He received a B.A. degree from Allahabad University and B.T. from Patna University. At this time, under the guidance of Mahatma Kapadia Baba, He often spent a lot of time in meditation on the banks. However, as per the tradition of those times, He married Sri Ram Ranjani Devi at the age of twenty-one and began leading the life of a householder. He also preferred to work as a teacher in a school, to other higher posts that could have easily been His. Once, Sri Kapadia Baba held His hand in His own and hailed that one day this hand would have more power than His! One day when He was returning from Kapadia Baba’s Ashram, He heard a voice like an Oracle which said, “This is Vivekananda speaking. What you are now doing is not your work!” The first time, on hearing the voice, He turned around to see no one was around and thought to himself that it was His own imagination. Another day, it happened again, and He knew it was truly a call from Vivekananda Himself. After that, He once again engaged Himself in more vigorous sadhana. For nine years, He ate only green vegetables, fruits and milk. Also, every year during the Navratri celebrations of the Divine Mother, He would observe rigorous regimen. He would not even take water sometimes. After nine days, with a thin body, He would stagger His way to the Ganges with His students helping Him. He would drink a little water and conclude His fasting. He said that the reason was to make His body divine. Thus, His own Tapas, the nearness of Kapadia Baba and His growing longing for God, would not allow him to stay put in a householder’s life. The one goal of His life was to become one with God. He was also drawn to Sri Aurobindo’s book, ‘Lights on Yoga’. All put together added fuel to the divine fire of His longing for God.
By then He had reached a state of mind when nothing but God alone became the goal of His life. He decided to take a long leave from school and go to Sri Aurobindo’s Ashram, Pondicherry. He managed to board the crowded train and find a place to sit. When the T.T.R came and asked for the ticket, He put His hand into His pocket only to find it empty!
Why, there was no pocket at all! Someone had pickpocketed His money, ticket and everything! Had it happened to ordinary people like us, we would have taken it as a bad omen and returned home. But to a lofty mind like His, it seemed like God was teaching him not to depend upon money as a strength. Some kind hearted fellow passengers collected money and bought a ticket up to Anakaputhur station for him. He walked further distance and reached a school where He begged the Headmaster and the students to give him enough money to reach Pondicherry.
As soon as He entered Sri Aurobindo’s Ashram, He found a deep peace filling His entire being. He knew instantly that it was Sri Aurobindo! He was impressed with the way the Ashram functioned under the guidance of the Mother of the Ashram. About two thousand devotees were staying and working for the sake of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. After a few days there, He came to Ramana Ashram at Tiruvannamalai and sat down before Sri Ramana Maharshi. Under the powerful and compassionate gaze of Bhagwan Sri Ramana, He could go into higher reaches of consciousness but the final fulfilment was evasive. A fellow visitor gave him information and details of Anandashram of Papa Ramdas, Kerala, upon which He felt a prompting to visit the place. Yet, even after two visits to Papa, by a Divine Will, He returned to the Himalayas. In 1950, the news of Mahasamadhi of Sri Ramana and Sri Aurobindo came as a shock. A deep inner urge took him to Anandashram in 1952. This time, Papa Ramdas welcomed this young man of 34 years with great love, just as a father would welcome a long-lost son. Further, Papa described the intimate spiritual experiences of Ramsuratkumar which no one else knew except him! Completely overwhelmed by Sri Papa’s love, Ramsuratkumar decided to stay there.
One day, He saw Papa Ramdas initiating a lady devotee with Ram Mantra, when He too also felt an inner urge to be initiated by Papa Ramdas. He approached Swami Satchidananda and expressed His desire. Swamiji told him to approach Papa Ramdas directly. With a smile, Papa Ramdas immediately initiated Ramsuratkumar with the mantra “Om Shri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram” and gave an instruction to chant this mantra all the twenty four hours. This entered like the killer arrow of Sri Rama and triggered Him to do ceaseless japa. He climbed up to a cave in the nearby Manjapathy Hills and plunged into unbroken japa of Ram naam. With no thought for food or sleep, His ceaseless japa continued only for a week. On the following day, the final enlightenment, the Supreme Knowledge dawned on Him! He dissolved in the Eternal Ocean of ecstatic peace and bliss. Referring to this experience later on, He would say, “My master Papa Ramdas finished this beggar once for all. This beggar died at the Lotus Feet of Papa Ramdas.
From then on, there is only the Supreme Father in this body, nothing else, no one else!” Thus, in the days that followed the Godchild, in God madness, stood out from the rest of the devotees. Completely lost to the world, He was caught in the grip of spells of ecstatic singing of Ram naam, dancing and sometimes rolling on the floor. It was difficult for other people to accept and understand. Swami Ramdas then asked Him to leave the Ashram saying, “A domestic tree is generally found weak. But a forest tree grows strong, seasoned by rain and shine.” And when Papa asked, “Where would you go?”, the spontaneous reply of Sri Yogiji was, “Tiruvannamalai.”
But it took seven years of wandering before He landed there. In those seven years, He wandered from Kanyakumari to the Himalayas like a mad beggar completely surrendering to the will of God. Amidst varied difficult experiences, there were instances of getting kicked out of the train into dark water logged fields for ticketless travelling in the middle of the night. There were days when He had to go with no food or shelter. Later, He told His devotees, “The mothers of Gujarat were especially kind to this beggar. You see, it is the land of Mahatma Gandhi.” The wandering days helped Him to learn the weaknesses and strengths of people and their mentality. This formed the foundation for His future work which He described as His Father’s work! After seven years of wandering, in 1959, He arrived at Tiruvannamalai.