Devaraja Mudaliar was a lawyer by profession. He is had his first darshan of Bhagavan Ramana at the Virupaksha cave in the first decade of the twentieth century and over the years occasionally visited him. It was however much later, in the 1930’s, that he became a close devotee of the sage.
Devaraja Mudaliar’s approach to Sri Bhagavan was like that of a child with his father – free, simple and spontaneous. He was one of the very few devotees who have questioned Sri Bhagavan on various problems that confront man, whether trivial or profound. He came to live in Sri Ramanasramam in 1942, where he lived for many years until 1966. He was thus able to observe Sri Bhagavan and his life and interact daily with him.
In 1945, Devaraja Mudaliar began writing a diary of events and conversations that took place in the Old Hall of Sri Bhagavan. Here we come across a variety of questions from devotees and visitors and Sri Bhagavan’s answers to them. The sage’s humour compassion and above all his mighty spiritual statue are wholly brought out in this work.
A word as to the origin of this work may not be out of place. It was my great good fortune to live for more that four years, from August 1942 till the end of 1946 at Sri Ramanasramam and to have the inestimable benefit of daily contact with our Bhagavan. After I had been there for some months various people who visited the Asramam began to suggest that it would be a good thing if I recorded Bhagavan’s utterances on spiritual topic either in answer to questions from visitor or in any other context. For a long time, however I was too lazy to make the effort. Nevertheless, whenever I read the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa’, as I used to now and then I felt how desirable it was that a similar book should be compiled in the case of our Bhagavan. When I had drifted on like this for some years, on the morning of January 1st 1945, within the space of about an hour three different person – a lawyer’s clerk son of Sankara Ammal doing service in the Asramam, a businessman of Madras by name M.V.P. Sastri, whom I had known since his boyhood at chittoor and O.P. Ramaswami Reddi who later became Chief Minister of Madras – all urged me to undertake the task as in their kind opinion I was best fitted for it besides having the necessary facility of constant close contact with Bhagavan.
The appeal coming form such widely different persons on the first day of the year and all of them approaching me in such quick succession and without any previous consultation amongst themselves made such a deep impression on me that I took it as a call really from Bhagavan. So that very day I started keeping an Asraman diary. My idea was to preserve for Bhagvan’s devotees all that took place in the Asraman that might be of view or another and mainly Bhagavan’s answers to question addressed to him by visitors form from all quarters of the globe for many of whom I acted as a sort of official translator in Bhagavan’s Court.
I told Bhagavan of the circumstances under which I started the work thus asking for his blessing on it. Then I obtained permission from the Sarvadhikari. Also for the first few days I read out to Bhagavan whatever I had recorded so that he could correct me anywhere where I had gone wrong. Even when I was interpreting Bhagavan to visitors, if I made the slightest mistake Bhagavan would pull me up. Whenever I myself was in doubt as to what Bhagavan meant I used to ask for further clarification and Bhagavan willingly explained things again for my benefit. After the first two or three days I gave up reading my entries to Bhagavan daily but on any day when I was in doubt whether I had accurately recorded what Bhagavan has said. I used to read out my entry for the day and correct it whatever he indicated that it was necessary.
Only a part of these records of mine seems to be available to the Ashramam authorities for publication just now. I am glad that at least so much is to be published by them immediately. I believe they come into existence because Bhagavan willed it and I believe it is his will that at least a part of them should now appear in print. I hope and pray to Bhagvan that the publication may prove not merely of interest but of great use to those who read it and he bestow his grace on all who go though it in earnestness and faith.
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