IT was the Ardra darshan celebrated as the day when Siva showed his ananda [?]-tandava (dance of bliss) to Patanjali and others at Chidambaram in fulfillment of a promise made to Adisesha at Daruka forest. In the village of Tiruchuzhi, Bhoominatheswara along with his consort Sahayamba, was about to enter his abode after going round the streets of the village blessing his devotees.
To the northeast of the temple was the house of Sundaram Iyer, whose wife Alagamma was in labour to deliver her third child. Lakshmi Ammal the mother of Sundaram Iyer and an old lady of poor eyesight, their neighbour, were in the room.1
That was December 29, 1879 well past midnight, hence it was December 30. The moon was in the constellation of Punarvasu. Bhoominatha halted a little while at the entrance of the temple and there in the house a male child was born. Sundaram Iyer's mother was disappointed and gave expression to it. The lady of poor sight asked the reason for her disappointment to which she replied, "You know very well that my daughter Lakshmi is no more, her son Ramaswami is growing up here. The first child was a girl who has gone. The second is Nagaswami. Now again it is a boy. If the child had been a girl we could have married her off to my daughter's son. Where is the chance now? How will the family tie continue? This is all I am destined for!" The old lady admonished her and consoled her, "Enough of this, be quiet. The boy is a darling. He is enveloped in great light. Don't you see, he is an avatar? How can you weep over this?"
How did that lady of poor sight know? According to the solar calendar it was the 16th day of Margazhi of Pramadi year. According to the Lunar calendar it was Pramadi, Margaseersha, Krishna paksha (dark fortnight) 2nd day, night 19 1/2 ghadis, Tula lagna.
1 This house has since been taken over by the management of Sri Ramanasramam and is known as Sundara Mandiram. Daily worship is offered to Sri Ramana's picture here.