DRRT - GENESIS
In his own words, “I know too well the face of Death. He has been a frequent visitor to this family. He came calling for those I said were too young, and he came to clasp those I said were not too old. I have remained the survivor, but the first visitation that shattered my youthful complacency was reminder enough - my turn will come. There was no despair, only an awakening. The law of life includes death. Law means justice, equal and consistent, always and for all. I should never again be caught confused and victimized, frightened and helpless. I must be consciously aware of the laws that govern creation and I must harmonize with them.”
That resolve stayed with me. Self-enquiry was my inner life and it became my strength and support. Outwardly my work was laid out. I had to fill the gaps left by the departed, care for the young, build up a nascent family-owned industrial enterprise, earn and provide. Success came. Wealth grew. At the same time my quest after ultimate values endowed me with detachment and peace inwardly and dynamism outwardly.
Thus in 1983, when the younger generation seemed equipped to take over the management of factory and family, I quietly sought retreat at Tiruvannamalai, Arunachala. The great sage, Sri Ramana Maharshi, had spent most of His life there. His words filled my being and my longing; He was to me the indisputable proof and fulfillment of the wisdom and the promise of all scriptures. Therefore a home near Ramanashram was my natural destination. Staying alone and without any involvement, I arrived at an age of late seventies. Growth of business had enhanced the value of my “residual wealth”, left as mine after I had done my duty towards members of the family. All of them were reasonably prosperous. I saw no merit, no righteousness, in bequeathing my share again to sons, daughters and grand children as a matter of course; instead, I sought to give it the status of virtuous tradition. It belonged to Bharath, my country, in which millions lived in poverty.
An uncaring society negligently denied them support to live with dignity. Willing hands could find no work, willing minds had no access to education, healthy bodies turned feeble through starvation and insanitation,and the sick had nowhere to turn.
I made a trust out of my personal funds, grateful to Ramana Maharshi for guiding me on this path. It is named “Ramanarpanam Trust”. A problem still remained. For any enterprise on that scale, a sound plan of action is essential. Goals must be clearly identified, priorities must be set, ambition and prudence must be balanced, duties and demand must co-exist, and there must be management that is committed, dedicated and answerable. The cause must be the master, the Trust the willing servant. How was this to be ensured, while evidently I could not be a participant, given my age and my life of introspection?
There is this little but profound narration in The Song of the Bird by Anthony De Mello:
On the street I saw a naked child, hungry and shivering in the cold. I became angry and said to God, “Why do you allow this? Why don’t you do something?” God did not reply. That night he said, quite suddenly, “I certainly did something. I made you.”
I suppose I likewise burst out, “Bhagavan Ramana, why don’t you do something?” And he gently said to me, “I did. I gave Anita as a daughter to you.”
I slowly understood what it meant.
In creation there are no islands in isolation. In mankind, there are no individual pools, separate from the stream of humanity. Cosmic happenings are an interwoven web of one fabric, and not separate, unrelated strands of random events. Long before I even knew the direction my life may take, Bhagavan’s integrated plan had seen to it that when my material wealth grew, and my mind could offer it to the needy, I had also been blessed with a daughter who had grown in service and could use it scrupulously and intelligently for the welfare of the downtrodden.
I had the answer. The problem was solved. I would entrust Anita with the sacred task of turning this wealth into worship.
This Trust will be recognized by its fragrance, the sweet fragrance of selfless love. The acceptance of this offering by the needy is all the blessings I seek in return.”
And so the The Ramanarpanam Trust was born, as the offering or “arpanam” of a devoted “sadhaka” to his spiritual master, Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi.