82-year-old in Chennai takes sloka classes for free

V Ramasundari

Chennai: At 82, V Ramasundari does not look her age. A resident of Thiruvanmiyur, she is lovingly called ‘Guru Mami’, as she has been teaching slokas and puranas free of cost for the past two decades.

Until a few years ago, she would go from house-to-house for the training sessions, it is said. The inspiring teacher speaks to News Today about her journey so far.

“I was a student of Gomathi Mami of Nanganallur,” she says, referring to her teacher Gomathi Shankaranarayan, who taught her Vishnu Sahasranamam.

In 1956, the then president, Dr Rajendra Prasad, awarded her a silver medal for her achievements.
“I was teaching music till I turned 75. It was only from 1996 that I began focusing only on slokas,” she states.

She takes Narayaneeyam, Devi Mahatmiyam, Sundara Kandam, Saundarya Lahari, Vishnu Sahasranamam and so on, for some of which, she composes tunes herself.

“Until the age of 75, I used to personally go as far as De’Monte Colony, Mandaveli, R A Puram, Alwarpet and to many places within the neighbourhood, where people would assemble in groups, for my sessions,” she states.

Calling herself and her students (aged between 20 and 90) ‘blessed’, she says, “Every time we finish Narayaneeyam, we go to Guruvayoor as a group of 20, and recite it there. I have taken seven batches of students to the temple till date.”

Her fondest memory is reciting at Sabarimala near the sanctum sanctorum. “We were asked by the Devasthanam board to recite at the temple, after which 16 of us chanted from 7 am to 1 pm. We were the first ones to do so,” she says.

Apart from teaching, Ramasundari also has another passion – to help others. “I offer to be a helper at hospitals. I stay with the patient from 7.30 pm to 7.30 am, like a night-duty nurse and attend to their every requirement. Since I can’t donate money, I am doing this for the last 25 years. Making myself available is a service to humanity,” she notes.

On the benefits of chanting, she says, “Mental tension gives way to diseases. For all this, Vishnu Sahasranamam is the medicine.”

She can be reached at 99403 60275.

Ramasundari narrates how her classes have done miracles in the lives of many. “I had a couple from Nanganallur. They were diabetic and kept quarrelling with each other. I told them to walk together reciting Vishnu Sahasranamam when they come and go from classes for 45 days. Now they are happy, as they are busy reciting and have no time to argue’, she quips, and adds, ‘Chanting relieves the mind of negativity.”

 

Naomi N