Author Topic: Ramana Maharshi explains purpose of decorating floor with rice powder  (Read 1072 times)


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14h December, 1949

On a festival day in 1944, some ladies were decorating the floor of the Ashram with rice paste prepared by soaking rice in water and then grinding it. While returning from the cowshed, Bhagavan remarked to the people following him,“Look at those people. See what they are doing. They concentrate their mind on that sort of work. What to do? Let them carry on. Be careful not to step on the drawings. Why should we step on them when they are doing it with such great devotion?” So saying, he walked carefully without disturbing the designs and sat in the hall.

Immediately after that, Bhagavan noticed an old lady of the Ashram carefully drawing designs with dry lime powder on the floor below the steps opposite to the hall.

Bhagavan called her by the familiar name, Granny, and when she came with great expectations, he said, “Look here,Granny. You are taking so much trouble for decorating the floor with that powder, but is it rice flour?” When she replied that it was powdered lime only, Bhagavan said, “What a pity! It will not be useful even for the ants. The ladies there are also doing the same thing. It is mere waste of time.

Their work is of no use whatsoever. The paste they are using is made of rice dough which sticks to the ground and so the ants cannot eat it. Decorating the floor really means feeding the ants. If that dharma is given up and powdered lime is used not only the ants cannot eat it but if, by mistake,they come anywhere near, they die because of the strong pungent smell. Why all that? Please add at least some rice flour to it.”

An Andhra gentleman enquired, “Is it for feeding the ants that in the dhanurmasa, i.e., in the month of December- January, that floors are decorated with rice powder?”

“Yes, of course!” said Bhagavan. “Out of their feelings of happiness and joy at the receipt of the fresh crop of rice, they decorate the floor with rice powder thus feeding the ants. Practices laid down by elders are always based on kindness to living creatures. But who cares for those traditions now? They do most things just for the sake of beauty only.”

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