In 2006 Amido and I found our way to the ashram of Bhagavan Arabbi-Nityanandam lovingly known as Ajja. The entire story of that meeting can be found at Meetings With Two Remarkable Men. -purushottama
Life sketch of Ajja
It is well known that the lives of Saints are at several levels. Only the outermost is visible to all. Their real existence remains hidden from public view and they are mysterious most of the times. Ajja was no exception to this rule. His actions had several dimensions and no one could fully comprehend him. We still attempt to present the description of earthly sojourn for the benefit of the devotees, acknowledging that we are too small to comprehend His grandeur and magnificence.
The Early days:
Ramachandra was born on 15th June 1916 after his parents had gone for a pilgrimage to Rameswaram. A silent person, he was consulted often for advice on various matters by his neighbors and friends. Extremely hard working and industrious, he was well versed in all aspects of rural life like, growing vegetables, animal husbandry of cattle, masonry with mud and laterite, in addition to the main job of Areca nut cultivation and paddy farming. He was married in due course and lived a normal ordinary life.
The incident: This person called Ramachandra, who was a living a normal householder’s life till his 36th year, felt a chest pain , as though suddenly, in his left side. The pain gradually spread and was felt in different ways in different parts of the body. The ensuing discomfort was verily a bondage for him. It was as if the life force would depart from the body. Seeing him suffer thus, the family members arranged for medical aid. As the medical aid was ineffective astrological consultation and esoteric remedies were tried out. It was at this time that he met Ismail who participated in the various treatments. Even at this critical phase the routine activities were performed. There was no desire whatsoever to be free from this bondage of pain. The mind was focused on the pain to that extent. This continued for some 6 months or so. The muslim Ismail took complete responsibility of the physical needs at that time as no one else was forthcoming.
When the state of affairs was thus, the pain vanished as it had appeared, as though suddenly. The body was freed from this bondage. When such a terrible pain disappeared of its own, not only was there was an astonishment felt by the mind , it went on into enquiry(Shodhana) as to the cause of the bondage.
The observations during this enquiry were as below:
1.0 What is this? Why did the body undergo this bondage
The Answer: The cause for bondage is Karma alone. Mind alone is the cause of Karma. What is the mind? A conglomerate of the feelings of I and mine is the mind. Karma is of two kinds- Sakama and Nishkama Karma. The fruit of sakama Karma is Sukha-dukha(Bondage) cause for rebirth. The fruit of Nishkama Karma is Bliss-cause for liberation.
Mind alone is responsible for both these actions.
Constricted feeling- Sakama Karma
Expanded feeling- Nishkama Karma
2.0 Which are the foremost of Karmas? Karmas enjoined in the Vedas are the foremost of Karmas. Karmas as spelt out in the Karma Kanda of Vedas are the cause of bondage.
3.0 Which is the most important thing in the world? Money. As the Karmas enjoined in the Vedas require money so it is the most important thing.
Certain other aspects of money were revealed. Thus by question and answer the enquiry proceeded effortlessly. At this time the mind was centred in the intellect(one pointedness).
On the last night of enquiry, the mind embarked on the nature and root of money whereupon in the central portion of the horizon “a surpassingly beautiful yet frightening” female form was seen. It was known to be the personification of indescribable Death. It was known to be the root of money. The form vanished immediately and the likeness of a small door was seen in its place. Then the scenes of the second zone became visible.
4.0 The revising all the observations made during the enquiry so far, the enquiry as to whom all these occurred was undertaken(who am I).The outer senses became lifeless and only the inner sense remained awake, a power left the body and crossing the abode of Death reached an atmosphere of self effulgent light( the exit of the jivatma). There was guidance from the guides and conjunction of divine forces. Instantly a self effulgent power left at lightening speed from that zone and appeared near the frontal portion of the body(The entry of the Divyatma). All these were seen by the mind of the jivatma which had left the body.
Instantly, the divine power became invisible and revived the outer senses and brought consciousness to the probe form. An indescribable bliss resulted. Sleep descended in this state of bliss. On awakening the sun had arisen. Then the words that came forth:
The earlier one has gone, the present one has come.
The further words that emerged I am not this body but the one who resides in it. I have neither mother ,father or near and dear ones. This house, property, living, money, family are not mine.
1972-1996: The first set of devotees gathered around him notable among them Late Dr. Devdas Nayak who beheld him first in a vision and then actually saw Him, Kini mam, CS Kamat(Gemini) and others. He would often come to Puttur from his home in Nettar, frequently walking all the way. One of the earliest to recognize him was the avadhoot Vittal Madhav. His following was rural/semi urban
1996-2001 The second big batch of devotees gathered around him many of whom were working and in their middle ages largely from a completely urban background. Many of them joined up and worked under Ajja’s guidance in the Ashram after it being set up. Amongst them, Ms. Shanta was Ajja’s personal attendant. Finally some kind of infra structure was there for conducting Satsang
2001-2006 Ajja shifted his living quarters from the old block to Bayalu(In Nirvana building) and then to Nithyananda Dhama and finally to Shanti Niketan(The last two on Sri Viswanath’s property adjoining the Trust premises.) He supervised several major projects like construction of Yoga sadan complex in Trust premises, Prashanti Nilaya, Muli Kutira(Thatched hut), Shanti niketan and Samadhi mandir in Sri Viswanath’s land. Finally he supervised leveling of the new plot in the Trust side and construction of the big retaining wall there before he took ill. A new dining hall was to be built on the leveled ground but presently it is put on hold. In all these projects, it was the basic earthwork, landscaping & drainage provision which were his forte. The actual masonry was done by qualified masons. He would get done the preparatory works for the day starting 0600 hours and be present himself for greater portion of the day. He was of frail health having had several major heart attacks but was possessed of indomitable spirit and lead from the front always. Many of those around him were totally ordinary people who could scarce comprehend His stature, but their only joy was to work along side Him. It was sheer bliss and the energy flowing around was simply amazing. The premises would also resound with bhajans, kirtans. He would meet people on Sundays, though the way the discussion would proceed was quite unpredictable. He would convert even the most mundane questions into highly abstract ones and give flabbergasting answers which would leave the questioner wondering whether his question actually contained such matters. Such was his absolute mastery over the entire realm and range of spirituality
The Last days: He took ill on 31st Jan night and was admitted to the hospital following acute respiratory distress. It turned out that he had had a massive stroke. 2 days later his lungs filled with water and the kidneys packed off. It was decided to shift him to Mangalore for better treatment when he had a cardiac arrest for 11 minutes. He was then brought back to Ananda Kuteera when there was a pulse again. He was then shifted to Mangalore where his systems picked up and he was none the worse for the cardiac arrest. After about 3 weeks stay in the hospital he was shifted to a private residence for recuperation. Here after about 2 weeks he stopped respiration at 0020 hrs on 12/03/07. He was then brought to Puttur and interred in the Samadhi mandir.
Here is a link to a video of Ajja.
An interview with Ajja can be found here.
Meetings with Two Remarkable Men tells the story of the time Amido and I spent with Ajja.
Here you can find all posts from Ajja.