BRAHMANIRVANA
The small tumour which showed itself on the left upper
arm of Bhagavan in November 1948, began growing from
day to day so that by 1-2-1949 it became as big as a marble.
The doctor in charge of the Ashram hospital, Dr. Sankara
Rao, and a retired surgeon, Dr. Srinivasa Rao, pointed it out
to Bhagavan and offered to remove it by a small surgical
operation. Bhagavan however did not agree to it. As it
continued to grow rapidly, the doctors got perturbed and
somehow prevailed upon Bhagavan to agree to its removal.
Accordingly the first operation was performed on the
morning of 9-2-1949.
All the devotees wanted the bandage to be covered so as
not to be visible to outsiders. But then, was there an upper
cloth to cover it? Was there a shirt to wear? The only thing
Bhagavan had was a white cloth, half-a-yard wide and threefourths of a yard long. He tied it around his neck so as to
conceal the bandage. Still the bandage was visible through
the gaps. When some people who had the courage to ask him
what the matter was, Bhagavan used to reply with a laugh,
that he had worn a bracelet on the arm or that a Lingam had
been born there, or that it was a Swayambhu Lingam.* Some
time later the bandage was removed. People said that the
wound was healing up. Somehow, everyone forgot about it
during the bustle of the Kumbhabhishekam which took place
on 17-3-1949. As soon as the festivities were over all people
came to know that the tumour had shown itself again. Some
suggested treatment with green leaves and milk of the fig
tree. Others brought a medicated plaster and put it on. On
27-3-1949, Raghavachari and other doctors who came from
* Swayambhu Lingam is a lingam which springs or arises from
the ground by itself. It is associated with Lord Siva.

Madras, said that none of those remedies would do and that
the tumour must be operated upon again. They left after
deciding that a second operation should be performed and
promised to come back on 3-4-1949 for the purpose.
I was somehow frightened and in a prayerful attitude,
entreated Bhagavan, saying, “Why all these operations? Why
do you not cure yourself by getting some medicine
prescribed by yourself and using it, the same as you did
when you had jaundice?”
Bhagavan replied, “They are all reputed doctors. Let
their treatment be carried out.”
When I said that they had already performed an
operation which had been found unsuccessful and enquired
why Bhagavan should not have his own treatment,
Bhagavan said, “Let it go this time. If it appears again, we
will see about it.”
On the morning of 3-4-1949, while we were discussing
about the details of the operation in the presence of Bhagavan,
the doctors came. Seeing them, Bhagavan said, “Look. The
doctors have come,” and began arranging his legs preparatory
to getting up. Bhagavan was demonstrating the practical
application of his upadesa (teaching), whatever is to happen will
happen, and whatever is not to happen will not happen. Then
Bhagavan said with a firm voice, “Yes. That which is to happen
will not stop even if we say ‘no’.” So saying he got down from
the couch and went into the hospital. Till about the middle of
May 1949, everything went on fairly satisfactorily. But
afterwards there was an all round anxiety and worry because
when the stitches were removed blood began oozing from the
place where the operation had been performed. The tumour
had not healed and was clearly exhibiting its malignancy.
As it was suggested that it would do good to expose the
tumour to the sun’s rays, in June 1949, the doctors used to

seat Bhagavan behind the Gosala (cowshed), open the
bandage, wash the wound and keep it exposed for some
time to the sun’s rays. On such occasions, devotees who
expressed their fear and anxiety were told by Bhagavan,
“See how nice it is! It is like a precious ruby. It has become
an ornament to my arm. See how red it is! It is glowing
brilliantly with the sun’s rays falling on it. Look at it!” And
when they saw blood oozing out and remarked about it with
great grief, he used to say, “Why worry? Let the blood flow
out. It is a ruby, you see. Like the ‘Syamanthakamani* this is
also producing gold every day. The only difference is, in
that case, the gold that was produced was yellow while in
this case it is red. See how much is oozing out.” And if any
devotees prayed to him to heal himself, he used to say “What
have I to do with this?” or “What can I do?”.
On 5-7-1949, an old man from Valuvai, a village nearby
and a reputed Ayurvedic doctor, started applying the juice
of some green leaves and bandaging the wound. Before he
began the treatment, he saw the wound in all its malignancy
and remarked with immense grief. “Oh Bhagavan! How
serious this is! Swami, this is cancer. This should not be
touched at all. Why did you allow it to be operated on? If I
had known it in the beginning, I would have dressed it with
green leaves containing medicinal properties and cured it.
It is too late now Swami.”
When Bhagavan was returning to the hall after leaving
the hospital in the evening of 1-7-1949, his body began to
shake and his legs began to falter. He had fever. He
somehow reached the hall and squatted on the couch. While
we were all alarmed and were anxiously looking at him,

Santhamma could not contain herself and, being elderly,
and a very old devotee, took the liberty of addressing
Bhagavan and said, “Oh, the body!” No sooner had she
said this than Bhagavan remarked, “Oh, the body? Why?
What has happened? It is shaking. What if it shakes?” So
saying, he suppressed the shivering, and looking at his
attendants, said with a laugh, “That is Nataraja’s* dance.
Why should you be afraid? If everyday the body is giving
you darshan in its static form, today it is giving it to you in a
dance pose. Why all this anxiety?” So saying, he sat there
in dignified silence. The Veda Parayana was then done.
On 7-8-1949, Dr. Guruswami Mudaliar was here
personally to supervise the third operation. I had already
written to you that it was from that date that questions and
answers in Bhagavan’s presence had become rare. After the
final operation was performed on 19-12-1949, Bhagavan
did not come into either the new hall or the old hall. He
confined himself to the small room opposite the big hall.
After homeopathic treatment was tried Ayurvedic treatment
began. The Moos (a famous Ayurvedic doctor from Kerala)
who was treating Bhagavan felt discouraged and on 3-31950 he wrote a stotram in praise of Bhagavan and arranged
for its parayana along with Vishnu Sahasranamam (thousand
names of Vishnu), every day. Some devotees performed
Surya namaskar (salutation to the Sun) and some began doing
Mrityunjaya Japam (prayer to Lord Siva, the conqueror of
death). Just as he had handed over his body to the doctors
to do whatever they liked with it, saying ‘Yes, yes’, he was
accepting the offerings of those devotees in the shape of
tirtha (consecrated water) and Prasadams (offerings of food
to the gods).

After the Mrityunjaya Japam was over, the people
concerned asked him if they could proceed with the Mrityunjaya
Homam. He nodded in assent and as soon as they left turned
towards Venkataratnam and said, “Extinction of ego and
abidance in Self is the Mritunjaya Homam. In Devikalottaram,
verse 16 and 17, it is stated that one should not get immersed
in mantrams, homams and such things. Also in Sarvajnanottaram,
verse 35, it is said that abidance in Self itself is the mantra, the
devata, the diksha, the tapas, the homam and the dhyana.”
About the same time a lady devotee had Chandi Homam
performed. Another lady lighted holy candles to appease
Sani (Saturn). Some had abhisheka and other pujas performed
in Arunachaleswara Temple.
On 17-3-1950, Bhagavan had some vomitings with
consequent discomfort and so did not take any food
subsequently. Hearing that, his sister Alamelu went to him
and said, “Oh, Bhagavan! It seems you have not taken
anything at all. Today’s payasam (pudding) is very tasteful.
You have not taken even a drop of it.” Bhagavan however
sent her away with some words of comfort.
From the time the cancer showed itself, I always used to
pray to Bhagavan whenever I could manage to see him, “Please
get yourself cured of this ailment and remain in this world for
our sake.” Bhagavan used to console me with some comforting
words or other. When the third and the fourth operations were
performed and I expressed my fear and anxiety, he used to say
that there was no need for worry and there was nothing really
seriously wrong. Hence, however serious the ailment was, and
however much other people felt anxious and discouraged, I
used to think that Bhagavan would hint to me if there was
anything imminent. That egoism enveloped my whole being
and blinded me to the grim realities of the situation. I was
therefore confident that he would get cured ultimately.

19-3-1950 was the Lunar New Year’s Day. From the time
I had come here, it had been usual for me to offer to Bhagavan
for his personal wear a khaddar towel and a kowpeenam and
arrange for bhiksha in the Ashram that day. As I did not like to
give it up this year, I took with me a towel and kowpeenam in the
evening at about 7 o’clock of 18-3-1950, went into that small
room accompanied by our postmaster, Raja Iyer. Bhagavan
stared at me. I quietly placed the clothes on the table and said
the next day was the Ugadi (New Year’s Day). Bhagavan started
at that and said, “Is the Ugadi come? Is the Vikruti (the name
of the new year) come?” There was something strange and
perplexing in that voice. And I cannot explain why, but it seemed
to forebode something disastrous and it was to me heartrending. The two attendants stood aghast. I too could say
nothing and so mumbled, “I felt it would be inauspicious if
I gave up my usual practice.” Bhagavan said, “Oh! What is
there in that?” and looking at one of the attendants by name
Anjaneyalu who was by his side, he said, “Keep those clothes
carefully. Nagamma has brought them. Tomorrow it is Ugadi,
it seems.” So saying, in a very gentle manner he gave us leave
to go. As the attendants were removing the clothes, I went near
the couch and asked Bhagavan, “How is the arm?” Bhagavan
said, “What shall I say how it is?” I told Bhagavan, “You must
somehow cure yourself.” Bhagavan replied, “Ahem. I cannot
say anything now.” I pleaded with great humility, “How could
you say that, Bhagavan?” Perhaps he felt that my hopes would
not go unless he told me the bare truth and so looking at me
with compassion, he said, “Ahem. Cure? What cure?” I said,
“Ayyo! Will it not be cured?” Bhagavan replied, “Ahem. Cure?
What cure? How could there be any cure now?” The previous
assurance that there was nothing to worry about and nothing
would happen — all of them disappeared at that moment and
when I heard those words, my whole body shook with fear. My

eyes filled with tears and my voice got choked. I wanted to ask
about our fate for the future and so was trying to gather some
composure of mind and open my lips when someone from the
office came in hurriedly on some urgent work. I was startled by
that noise and came out without asking what I wanted to ask
and slowly retraced my steps to my hut. The next morning
I thought of approaching Bhagavan again and ask for his final
message, but could not get an opportunity. The resonant voice
of Bhagavan that said, “Is the Ugadi come?” appeared to me to
say, “All is over.” With that Ugadi the great privilege I had all
these years of hearing and enjoying the nectar of Bhagavan’s
voice ended.
On the evening of 14-4-1950, I went at 6-30 and stood
in the queue arranged for an orderly darshan of Bhagavan
and when I got up on the raised mound opposite the door
of the room where Bhagavan was sitting, and stood there
for a while with my sight concentrated on him and prayed
to him mentally, “Oh Prabho! Won’t you for once radiate on
me your compassionate look?” Bhagavan’s eyes slowly began
to open and from those eyes, a mild and compassionate look
came on me. That was the last time I had the great fortune
of his compassionate look.
At 8-47 that night, Sri Ramana, the embodiment of light
and enlightenment, left his mortal coil.
When the mortal body of Gurudev, who was at once my
mother, father, Guru and God and who has protected me all
these years, ceased to be the abode of that great soul, I remained
still as a statue, drowned in inexpressible grief and sorrow.
The writing of these letters was begun on 21-11-1945
and continued uninterrupted all these days through the grace
of Bhagavan, and with the end of the Avatar of Bhagavan,
I am giving up the writing of these letters.
OM TAT SAT


* Syamanthakamani is a kind of valuable gem, said to yield daily eight
loads of gold and also protect the wearer from all kinds of dangers and
calamities.

* Nataraja is another name for Lord Siva, one of the Trinity. He
is reputed to dance when in ecstasy.