At the Feet of
Leaves from the Diary of
T. K. SUNDARESA IYER
DUNCAN GREENLEES, M.A. [OXON]
Tiruvannamalai 606 603
© Sri Ramanasramam
Second Edition: 1988
Third Edition : 1996 -- 2000 copies
Fourth Edition : 2005 -- 1000 copies
CC No. 1002
Tiruvannamalai 606 603
Sri Bhagavan, while defining what Upadesa is, says:
"Upadesa means showing a distant object quite near.
Brahman (God), which the disciple believes to be distant
and different from himself, is near and not different from
Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi's life itself is
Upadesa. His every action, His every movement was
the eternal Upadesa -- the Golden Silence. Though
His written teachings are themselves standing
monuments of Truth, yet, for those who could not have
direct access to His teachings through the privilege of
living with the Master -- what is the next best recourse?
The seeker if sincere and earnest to tread the direct
path of Vichara as taught by Sri Ramana, will find it easier
to attach himself to the older devotees who have lived
with the Master and directly imbibed His words of nectar.
Thus the writings and reminiscences of older devotees of
Sri Bhagavan assume great importance.
Precious indeed are the records left by those to whom
the Master showed His Grace. Fortunately for us, such
sincere devotees have come forward to share their
experiences with their Master, by putting them down in
words. Posterity owes a deep debt to the blessed memory
of these old devotees.
It is my proud privilege to write about my teacher,
Sri T.K. Sundaresa Iyer. He was not only a bhakta of the
highest order but also an erudite scholar, though he did
not possess any academic qualifications. His knowledge
of English, Sanskrit and of course Tamil, was vast and
deep. Added to these, Sri T.K.S., as he was addressed
affectionately by all, acted as an interpreter to English-
speaking visitors in their conversations with Sri Bhagavan.
He also replied to correspondence received by the Ashram
on spiritual matters, consulting Sri Bhagavan every time
he had to reply to specific spiritual questions. Thus he
acquired a full and comprehensive knowledge of
Sri Bhagavan's teachings which have been incorporated
in this book. His reminiscences of the Master portray the
beauty, tenderness and compassion of Sri Bhagavan's
personality. The narration of Sri Bhagavan taking care of
the cracked egg is, perhaps, the standing example for this.
His language is simple but in content its richness does
not lag behind any similar spiritual literature.
Sri T.K.S.'s life itself is a dedication to the spiritual
quest and as such, is worth emulating by earnest seekers.
He paid his first visit to Sri Bhagavan in 1908. Having
once seen Him, he became His ardent devotee. He was
also one of those captivated by the magnetic personality
of Sri Kavyakantha Ganapati Muni. When the Muni left
for Belgaum in 1926 he remained in Tiruvannamalai and
practically made the Ashram his home. Although materially
poor, Sri Sundaresa Iyer had ample spiritual wealth, which
he shared with fellow-devotees, devoting much of his time
in service to the Ashram. For quite a while before his
death he remained permanently in the Ashram precincts,
as a living example of humility and devotion. In February
of 1965, after being a close devotee of Sri Bhagavan for
nearly fifty years, at the age of 68, he passed away peacefully,
conscious to the very end, in Sri Ramana Nagar, thus
ending a lifetime with Bhagavan.
He has helped many seekers, including myself, in
clarifying the path of Ramana. There are still many who
would unhesitatingly express their deep debt to
Sri T.K.S. for their spiritual maturity. I can, without
hesitation, affirm that he was not only a Rishi in appearance
but also in experience.
By odd circumstances the manuscript of this book,
which was so well edited by no less a scholar-devotee than
Mr. Duncan Greenlees, as far back as December 1962,
was lost in the Ashram archives. It was brought to light
recently, thanks to Sri Jim Grant and Sri David Godman,
who are doing yeoman service by classifying the Ashram
archives and rearranging the whole Ashram Library.
Now it is available to every one of us. I treat this as
an act of Sri Bhagavan's Grace! I request fellow-devotees
and earnest seekers to possess this book and thereby benefit
|September 1, 1980|
|Holy Day of Sri Bhagavan's|
|The Mountain Path|
|Advent at Arunachala|