Author Topic: Bhagavan Ramana's towel and codpiece.  (Read 2618 times)


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Bhagavan Ramana's towel and codpiece.
« on: November 01, 2008, 10:14:05 AM »
Once, when He was in the Hills, Bhagavan Ramana's bathing towel,
became so tattered that He had to hide in a hole in a tree without
anyone observing it!  Sesha Iyer, a devotee happened to see it
and feeling very bad about the sacrilege committed to Brahmana Swami,
he immediately brought some newones, about six, and Bhagavan
Ramana just took one!  Describing the bathing towel as one with
1000 holes, Poet Muruganar sung a composition in Sri Ramana 
Sannidhi Murai, Homage to the Presence of Sri Ramana, that "He
was wearing Indra, as his garment, because Indra is said to have
a thousand eyes.   The same was the position of his codpiece.  It
contained a lot of stitches to mend the holes.  Pazhaniswami on seeing that,  brought a new one to Bhagavan Ramana.

(Source:  Arunachala's Ramana - Ocean of Boundless Grace - Vol 1)

Once, when the famous Chengalvarya Pillai, a Muruga bhakta and
compiler of various songs of Tiruppugazh and a great Saivite Tamil
scholar, came to see Bhagavan Ramana and when Muruganar asked
him, what Bhagavan Ramana was wearing, Pillai saw Bhagavan,
and exclaimed that "the Self is wearing the Self as his codpiece!"
This is in line with a famous Tiruvachakam Song, in Tiruc Chazhal,
verse 2.  The verse reads as:

Oh my Father, my God, the god of all the gods,
Why is wearing a coupina, with a lot of holes and stitches?
Oh, He,the Self,  is wearing the four Vedas as the threads,
And a codpiece of the Self, with those threads, please see!

(Tiruc Chazhal, the Song of Scolding)

Arunachala Siva.


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Re: Bhagavan Ramana's towel and codpiece.
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2010, 05:52:13 PM »
Ramana Maharshi recollects his experiences with his towel during his stay in Pachiamman Koil as below

5th February, 1946

“About forty years back — perhaps in 1906 — when I was in Pachiamman Koil, I had with me only one Malayalam towel. It was given to me by somebody. As the material was flimsy it became worn out within two months and was torn in several places.

Palaniswami was not in town. I had therefore to look after the cooking and all other domestic work. As I used to dry my feet and hands with the towel every now and then, it got all sorts of colours. Its condition would be seen if I used it as a cover for the body. So I used to roll it and keep it near at hand. What did it matter to me? It was enough if the required work gets done with its help. After bathing, I used to dry myself with the towel, and then put it out to dry. I used to guard it carefully so that no one else would know about it.

One day a mischievous little boy saw when I was drying it,and said, ‘Swami, Swami, this towel is required by the Governor. He has asked me to get it from you. Please give it to me.’ So saying he mischievously stretched out his hand.

‘Oh, dear! This towel! No, I cannot give it. Go away!’ I said.

“As that towel gradually got torn more and more with a thousand holes in it, I ceased to keep it with me lest it should be seen by Sesha Iyer and others. I used it after my bath,and then after drying it, hid it in a hole in the trunk of a tree within the temple precincts.

One day, when I went out somewhere, Sesha Iyer and others, while searching for something else, happened to search that hole in the tree trunk, and found the towel. Seeing its condition and blaming themselves for their neglect, they began offering profuse apologies when I returned. ‘What is the matter?’ I asked. ‘Is it this towel with a thousand holes that you are daily drying your body with after your bath? Shame on our devotion to you! We could not find out even this.’ So saying, they brought several bundles of towels.

“Something else also happened before this.

My kowpinam (small piece of cloth, usually a small strip, worn over the privities) got torn. I do not usually ask anyone for anything.Bodily privacy has however to be maintained. Where could I get a needle and thread available to mend the kowpinam? At last, I got hold of a thorn, made a hole in it, took out a thread from the kowpinam itself, put it into the hole and thus mended the cloth, and, so as to hide the place where it was mended, I used to fold it suitably before putting it on. Time passed like that. What do we need? Such were those days!” said Bhagavan.

It was quite natural for him to tell us all this but we who heard him felt deeply grieved. Having heard this incident from Bhagavan some time back, Muruganar is reported to have written a verse. The purport of that verse is:

“Oh, Venkata Ramana, who wore a kowpinam mended by a thorn, and who was served by Indra as a towel with a thousand eyes.”

Source: Letters from Sri Ramanasramam VOLUMES I, II & Letters from and Recollections of Sri Ramanasramam By SURI NAGAMMA Translated by D. S. SASTRI


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Re: Bhagavan Ramana's towel and codpiece.
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2010, 01:30:51 PM »

Wonderful.  In think, at some other instance, Pazhaniswami felt
very bad and went and showed Sri Bhagavan, a small trunk box,
having many coupinas and towels.  I think Sri Bhagavan took only
one pair of them. 

Mastan Swami who was a weaver, used to present coupinas and
towels, woven by him in his village.

Sri Manikkavachagar sings:  I am having only my alms bowl and
coupina as my relations.  My only job is to attain Siva's anklet
-wearing feet.  Let this jiva and body dance, [as per prarabdha],
I shall see the dance of Siva soon.  [Kula Pathu - Decad of
Joyful Heckling, Tiruvachakam.].

Muruganar says in his Ananda Paravasam, Verses 1116 and 1117
of Sri Ramana Sannidhi Murai:-


This sleepy sluggard you aroused
By a single glance from slumber deep
And made him yours.  O Venkata!
You made the dumb@ one speak and sing
The greatness of your glory.  What
A matchless marvel is this!       

[@ Muruganar till age of five, was almost dumb and could hardly


This wretch you would not scorn as base
And cast away.  Instead you gave me
Life and in your heart some space.
O Master, since you took me up
I have lost my will, and have become
Wholly yours.  Victorious Venkata, do,
Do with your own what you deem best.

[Tr. Prof. K. Swaminathan]

Arunachala Siva.