Shivramanji served my guru, Pujya Swami Chinmayanandaji, for many years. He came from his village as a youth and never returned home.
On December 6, 2010 at the earthly age of 86 years, this powerful, loving Being left his body to merge and rest at the Feet of His Master – as he had done from the day he came to Powai Ashram to be with Swamiji.
I had a special relationship with Shivaramnaji. I used to go into his room with Asha Kamdar in the 1970s and 1980s to chat with him about Swamiji.
We would see him watering the garden outside Swamiji’s kutia (hut) every evening. His power was silent and he exuded love. If you asked him “Shivaramanji what do you want? Can I get you anything?” he would say, “Yes give me ten kilos of Love!” So we would shower him with biscuits, or shoes, or umbrellas, or socks and occasionally money!
After Swamiji’s Mahasamadhi in 1993, Shivaramnaji decided to move to Sidhabari for good. He stayed in his tiny room outside the main entrance of Swamiji’s kutia and would put sandal wood paste as a blessing on our foreheads when we went to greet him. My sister, Neeruji, saw him looking sad in the early days after Swamiji’s departure and told him that he should serve coffee every morning to his Guru – just as he had done when He was alive. His eyes lit up and so he made this a seva (practice) –preparing the early morning coffee and placing it in the samadhi mandir/temple next to Swamiji’s statue. Later he would give it to us as prasad.
It is always a privilege to serve those who serve God and the Masters. I would press and oil Shivaramnaji’s feet on every visit to the ashram. I would spend some time with him in the mornings and evenings in satsang (spiritual communion). We would talk mostly about the ‘good ole’ days with our Guru or else just sit in silence. His eyes portrayed deep Love for God and his Guru. He was an embodiment of detachment and equipoise. He would often say, “Become a sakshi (observer), just watch everything, Swami knows everything – just hold on to Him!”
The images that come to mind about ‘father’ (as my friend Jyoti Madhavan called
Shivaramnaji) are: the peals of laughter when you told him something funny, the serious reflective face as he sat alone outside in the yard, the gentle words he spoke, his infinite love, his compassion and care as he inquired about your life, and his communion with the flowers in the garden!
We will miss his physical presence. My final meeting with him was towards the end of 2008, when I spent one month in the ashram. Ten days before he was hospitalized I called and spoke to him. When I said I would see him for Shivaratri , March 2011 in Sidhabari he said, “No, I don’t think so.”
As he lay in the hospital still conscious and alert, Srinivasanji, who was attending to him, put the phone near his ear. “Father, I love you,” I said.
Shivaramanji is everywhere now – merged with his Guru and the Divine…he resides in every tree and flower and the gardens in Sidhabari, and most of all in spirit as the guardian at our Guru Swami Chinmayanandaji’s kutia door. Shivaramnaji’s soft smile fills my heart – I will always feel him there at the ashram when I visit.
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