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  1. Dearest Sriram Anna,

    Our condolences to Vivek, Vidya, you, and your grand-children from the bottom of our hearts for the tragic and untimely demise of a wonderful, affectionate, friendly-with-all, jealousy-free, positive-thinking, upbeat, intelligent, and one-of-a-kind “Rama Manni” as we called her fondly. Manni possessed many good qualities, and I truly wish I were Kavi Kaalidaasa to write a “Charama Sloka’ on her….. I am truly thankful to the Lord for having brought me in contact with such a sweet person and made me call her and HER ALONE as “Manni”. I will always cherish my memories of dear Manni.

    Manni’s shocking demise brings forth in my mind the same unanswerable question (ati prashna they say!) many of us ask, especially at these times – Why does the Lord cut such wonderful and productive people’s lives short and let evil-doers and terminally-ill and incapacitated people live longer? Only the Lord knows……

    I’ve had the good fortune of discussing with my beloved Manni about divya prabandams of aalwaars and the last one having been in December when you were in India. During one of those discussions, she introduced me to a novel Paasuram of Thirumangai Aalwaar written in ‘Chitra Kavi’ style of poetry that she used to speak highly of. It is called ‘Ratha Prabandam’ because it contains numerological words which can be arranged in the form of a chariot and is titled “Thiru Aezhu KooTru irukkai”. I took out the copy of that Paasuram Manni had emailed me a couple of years ago and recited it to the Lord today in memory of her, as my homage to her, and for her to attain the “Parama Padam” she always wanted and prayed for. The Lord will certainly take her to His abode of VaikunTham, for, she is a “PuNyaatmaa” who has had his divine grace to visit over 90 of 108 Mangalaa-shaasana divya daeshaas of His. Rama Manni has always been and will always be coming to my mind whenever I think of divya prabandams and 108 divya daeshas.

    I had hoped to visit Manni someday to learn a lot more about divya prabandams and have the vicarious pleasure of visiting the divya daeshas through her description (some of which she has already given me), but I procrastinated. And as they say, procrastination is the thief of time indeed and in this case, the thief of my golden opportunity. What can I say? I am destined to learn this fact the HARD way……

    The only solace we have now is that Lord has assured through many slokas that He will take good souls like Rama Manni who were devoted to Him to His abode and the following charama sloka is one of them:

    sthite manasi suswasthe shareere sati yo narah
    dhaatu saamye sthite smartaa vishwaroopam cha maam ajam
    tatas tham mriyamaanam tu kaashTa-paashaana sannibham
    aham smaraami mad bhaktam nayaami paramaam gatim

    If a person who while having mind and body in good shape with all the natural
    elements in fine fettle, thinks of me as the birth-less one, when such a person
    reaches the time of death lying insentient like a log of wood or stone and
    becomes unable to think, I will remember that person at that time and take him
    to the highest state.

    Keeping my dear Rama Manni as my inspiration, I shall henceforth recite without fail the following Paasuram of Periyaalwaar in which he appeals to the Lord thus:

    Lord Ranganaatha who sleeps on serpent-bed! I am thinking of you now, not only meant for this moment but also meant for the time of my death, for at the time of my death, I may not be in a position to think of You. Keep that in your super-mind and grant me Parama Padam after my death.

    ‘துப்புடையாரை அடைவதெல்லாம் சோர்விடத்துத் துணையாவ ரென்றே
    ஒப்பிலேனாகிலும் நின்னடைந்தேன் ஆனைக்குநீ அருள்செய் தமையால்
    எய்ப்புஎன்னை வந்துநலியும்போது அங்குஏதும் நானுன்னை நினைக்க மாட்டேன்
    அப்போதைக்கு இப்போதே சொல்லிவைத்தேன் அரங்கத் தரவணைப் பள்ளியானே!’

    Anna, Shankar and I will pray to the Lord to give you the strength, the Viveka, and the Vairaagya to cope with this great loss, for, I don’t know how else to console you. Shankar and I will visit you sometime in July and spend some time with you. Though this may not be the appropriate time to quote Vedaant, I shall take the risk of concluding my email with the following sloka from “Bhaja Govindam” ONLY because you are a firm believer of Gnyaana Maarga:

    Kaate Kaantaa Kaste Putraha Yah Samsaaro Ayam Ateeva Vichitraha

    Kasya tvam vaa Krutaa Aayaataha tatvam Chintaya tad idam Bhraataha

    Who is your wife ? Who is your son ? Strange is this material world! Of whom are you ? From where have you come ? Brother, ponder over these truths here.

    Parama Vedaantam pallai pidungum-nu summavaa sonnaa ? Azhaama irukka mudiyalaye Anna ! Nenachchu nenachchu azharene, enakke ippadi irundaa ungalukku eppadi irukkum?

    With a heavy heart,

    Dharma Thiruvaiyaru

  2. Dear Raam Anna,

    We, your friends at Augusta, GA, have been in shock since hearing the tragic news on Monday. We offer our heartfelt condolences to you and your family. Rama was a simple, gentle, always-smiling, and ever-loving person. Rama was also a well-accomplished person in her career. Rama was there for you in all your musical endeavors. We can only imagine how much you will miss her. We know no words can express the feelings you are going through, but we pray that God will give you strength and courage to make it through the weeks and months to come. May be it will be of comfort to know that those we love don’t go away. They walk beside us every day. Unseen, unheard, but always near. Still loved, still missed and very dear.

    Our thoughts, our prayers, and our love to you and your family.

    Sankar Sethuraman
    On behalf of your Augusta friends

  3. Dear Sriram,
    Words fail us to express our deep condolences regarding the passing of Rama.
    She was so close to Shantha and to my whole family. We remember her smiling face whenever she had greeted us during the temple concerts.
    Our prayers and thoughts go to you and to your family during this immeasurable loss.
    Suresh and Shantha

  4. Dearest Ram uncle:

    Very very very sorry to hear the tragic end for Rama aunty. Our most sincere condolences to you and your family . We cannot even imagine how difficult it is for you to bear this loss. We will always Rama aunty smiling and talking to us in Kannada with her famous words ‘kobbu’, We will cherish the good times and the positive energy that she spread around her.

    Sincerely,
    sumathi andBharath

  5. Rama always brought joy and a smile to her co-workers each and everyday she worked at CDC. She was a friend who always was interested in people’s lives and families. Her sweet, caring, and loving heart will truly be missed by all. I will never forget our many conversations, her smile, and her helpfulness.

    My condolences to her family.
    Stephanie Johnston

  6. Rama was such a pleasant person at work. She always had something good to say about everybody and everybody always had something good to say about her. She worked hard, but always had time to help anyone someone else who needed help or advice. She will be missed by a lot of people. My heartfelt sympathy to her family and all those affected by her loss.
    Susanne Wahlquist

  7. Dear Sriram,

    Rama was a simple, gentle and soft person always with a smile. She always used to enquire about my parents in Kumbakonam and other family members even though she’d never met them. That shows how much she cares about others. Once, Rama asked me to find out about Sarangapani temple and Tiruvezukuuttrirukkai that is inscribed in a Ratham format near Desikar sannidhi. Though I visit the temple frequently whenever I am in Kumbakonam, I paid attention to it only after Rama mentioned about it and asked for a picture of it. Whenever I read and come across Tiruvezukuuttrirukkai, I am reminded of Rama.

    We will miss Rama and her smile. Our most sincere heartfelt condolences to you and all your family. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

    Sincerely,
    Sundar and Radhika

  8. We are shocked beyond words with this tragic loss. A gentle and infectious smile has been in our minds. Our prayers to give the family strength.

  9. Dear Sriram Swamin.

    With the untimely departure of Smt. Ramaji to heavenly abode, we are going to miss her friendly conversations in Kannada, her affectionate smile and her kind hearted personality for ever. May Bhagavan give you strength to bear this shock.

    With heartfelt condolences,

    Hema and Shrinath

  10. Very shocked to hear about this loss of yours. Rama mami was a gentle, caring person you cannot miss in any temple event or CAMAGA concert. May you have the strength to bear this sudden loss.

    With deep condolences.

    Priya & Balaji

  11. Dear Ram:

    We can’t express the sadness and shock this unexpected news brings to us. Rama was one of the most genuine and helpful people we know. We still remember the happy, music-filled hours at your home in Baton Rouge. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, Vidya and Vivek in these challenging times.

    Ram and Uma

  12. Dear Uncle,

    Words cannot express our shock and sadness at Aunty’s passing away in such an untimely and unexpected manner. It was less than a month ago that I was chatting pleasantly with both of you after the concert at Mr. Ramaswamy’s residence, and I still remember the happiness with which Aunty was talking about her grandkids. Please accept our heartfelt condolences to you as well as to Vivek and Vidya on your profound loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you as you go through these difficult times.

    Take care,
    Lakshmi and Shashi Prabhakar

  13. Dear Sriram, Vidya and Vivek,

    Please accept out heartfelt condolences. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

    Sudha and Vaidy,

    Baton Rouge

  14. Absolutely dismayed and devastated to hear the news. What a wonderful person! We can never forget her love and affection when we were at Baton Rouge. Our heartfelt condolences.

    Govind and Jayashree
    Tempe, AZ.

  15. Dear Sriram, I was out of the country and learned of the tragic tragic death of your beloved wife Rama only last night. As you know so well, there are no words …. but I wanted you to know you are in my thoughts and prayers. I thought this may be a better way to contact you than direct email. holding you and your family in my heart. joyce

  16. Dear Sri Ram,
    We were shocked beyond imagination when we heard the news. Rama was such a sweet, friendly, kind person and always spoke to us in her Kannada which made us feel so homely with her. Her infectious smile comes to mind every time we think of her. We cherish Her encouragement and blessings to our son with regard to his Mridangam performances. The community has lost one of its gentle, lively persons, who are very rare to find these days. We pray to God to give you strength to cope with this loss.
    With very heavy hearts,
    Sandya, Ananth and family

  17. Dear Sriram, Vivek and Vidya,

    Please accept our heartfelt condolences. We were shocked to hear about your loss. We remember the music get together that Rama often had at your house. May fond memories of Rama bring all of you peace and comfort.

  18. Dear Sriram

    I was shocked to hear of your sudden loss…I have very fond memories of music gatherings in Baton Rouge. Rama would always greet me with a smile. My thoughts are with you and your family – may your memories with your time with Rama sustain you in the difficult time ahead.

    Chitra (Guruswamy) Solomonson

  19. Dear SriRam uncle

    May her soul rest in peace. Gather strength to move ahead with divine grace.

    shobha

  20. Dear Dr Sriram,
    We were extremely shocked and distressed to hear of Rama’s sudden and untimely passing away. The last time I saw her at the temple during a concert, she was her usual smiling self, doting on her grandkids. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your children at this time. Time is the greatest healer – may the Lord stand by your side during this difficult time.

    Heartfelt condolences,
    Mark & Sujatha

  21. Dear Ram Anna: Shocked to hear the news about Rama. It is indeed a great irreplaceable loss for you. Our heartfelt condolenlces to you. Kala

  22. Dear Prof. Sriram, Vivek & Vidya,
    My heartfelt condolences to you and your family on this terrible and untimely loss. Although we’ve not been in touch for the past few years, I will always be thankful for the many kindnesses Rama Aunty showed me in Baton Rouge. Prayers and love, Chitra

  23. Dear Dr. Ram Sriram,

    We are very shocked and saddened to learn the news about Rama mami. She is one of the sweetest persons we have met! Our memory of her is her ever smiling face. Our heartfelt condolences to you and your family.

  24. Dear Dr. Sriram,
    We are extremely shocked, saddened and distressed to hear this devastating news, that we came to know of only this morning. I can never forget Rama’s smile, love, affection, her helpfulness and her uplifting nature that I experienced while working with her and knowing her socially. She will be missed a lot. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
    Sincerely,
    Kakali and Dibyendu

  25. Dear Dr. Sriram: I heard from my nephew, Kumar Sivakumar, about the tragic passing away of your dear wife and our dear friend, Rama in early June. Even though we are in Atlanta, we were unaware of this tragic event as I was in the hospital with an ailment at that time. Words cannot describe what a loss it is for you , your children, your grand children and the countless friends that she had. She was indeed a very nice person, soft spoken, very knowledgeable and extremely kind . We will miss her dearly and pray that God gives you and your family the strength to bear this unbearable loss. May her soul rest in peace.
    Radha and Raji

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