Author Topic: Final Part - Living with the Master Ramana Maharshi By Chhaganlal Yogi  (Read 1397 times)


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ONCE when Sri Bhagavan was very debilitated, the doctors recommended that he take some nourishing food. But he would not listen to them or the devotees who appealed to him to follow the advice. Some of them were earnestly begging him to eat thickly-buttered bread, others were trying to make him drink milk and orange juice. But to all of them he had only one answer to give. With his usual genial smile he would say, "But how can we afford to have such a luxurious diet? For us there can only be the poor man's rations."

"But what is the harm in changing one's diet for the sake of one's health?" ventured one devotee in a plaintive tone. "Even Mahatma Gandhi takes a special diet and Sri Aurobindo too does the same, to keep up their health. Please, therefore, take a tumblerful of orange juice, at least for our sake."

"But do you know the cost of a tumbler of orange juice?" asked Sri Bhagavan.

"Oh, only four annas," rejoined the devotee, with hope gleaming in his eyes.

"No, It won't be four annas. We will require about 200 tumblers of juice. Do you want me alone to gulp down the drink with all of you watching, empty-handed ? Moreover, how can poor people like us provide for 200 tumblers of juice, costing fifty rupees daily?"

This answer checked the devotee's pleas for a while, but he would not give up so easily. He still had a lingering hope that if once Sri Bhagavan started to take the nourishing diet, he would continue to do so for at least enough days for his health to improve a little. So, the next day, he quietly prepared hot rotis well smeared with ghee, and filled two tumblers, one with milk and the other with orange juice. Then, with the assistance of a few other devotees, he took all these things to Sri Bhagavan on a tray.

"What's all this?" he inquired as he saw them walking towards him. The devotees placed the tray before him, uncovered it and begged him to accept the offering. He refused point-blank even to touch the food, asking instead that the devotees should consume it. Repeated appeals to him from other devotees were also of no avail.

Then, in the heat of the moment, a woman devotee who was present at the time burst out, "O Bhagavan! Just as you are kind enough to agree to sit on your sofa - instead of on the floor like everyone else - for our sake, why not also favor us by taking this special diet?" Though the woman spoke these words in good faith, the outcome was quite the reverse of what was expected.

Hardly had she finished when, to her and the other devotees' dismay, Sri Bhagavan got down from his sofa and squatted on the floor. The woman was horrified by the consequences of her suggestion. She called out with anguish in her heart and tears in her eyes, "Bhagavan! No! Please don't! What a stupid woman I am!" Then she got hysterical and started screaming.

All the others stood around, aghast at what had happened. The remedy had turned out to be worse than the disease. The rotis, the milk, the juice were abandoned as everybody racked their brains to find a way out of this impasse and reseat Sri Bhagavan on the sofa.

It was certain that no appeal or argument would move Sri Bhagavan to change his decision. Eventually a devotee who had been associated with Sri Bhagavan for over thirty-five years resolved to take a desperate step. Without any fuss, he simply started lifting Sri Bhagavan bodily. Seeing this, one or two other devotees joined him and together they succeeded in placing Sri Bhagavan's body back on the sofa. Sri Bhagavan did not resist, nor subsequently did he try to come down from the sofa. But the devotees had been so upset by the incident that even after seeing Sri Bhagavan sitting quietly on the sofa again, they began to beseech him not to get down again.

Sri Bhagavan accepted the new situation graciously. Thus, a loving attempt by devotees to make Sri Bhagavan agree to take a special diet came to a fruitless end.

Though he would usually get annoyed if devotees tried to give him special treatment, or if he saw people needlessly inflicting suffering on others, Sri Bhagavan could never be provoked to anger by anyamount of criticism or personal abuse. Two separate incidents illustrate this very well.

Once when Sri Bhagavan was sitting in his cave on Arunachala, a sadhu who was jealous of his increasing fame urinated on his back as a deliberate act of provocation. Sri Bhagavan remained as unperturbed and Self-absorbed as ever. Not a tinge of anger rose in him. The sadhu was baffled by his calm response. Realizing that nothing could irritate Sri Bhagavan, the poor sadhu quietly went away.

On another occasion, many years later, a young man visited Sri Ramanasramam with an evil purpose. After entering the hall and taking his seat in the front row, he began to put all kinds of aggressive questions to Sri Bhagavan. We found out later that he wanted to extort hush-money from the ashram by trying to expose Sri Bhagavan as a hypocrite and a fraud. He had already successfully tried his trick elsewhere, and by repeated practice he had cultivated this art into a paying profession. Having gained successes in other ashrams, he had come to Sri Ramanasramam to try his tricks there.

Sri Bhagavan's own method of meeting insolence, malice, jealousy and misbehavior in general was the observance of complete silence. This powerful weapon baffled and disarmed all aggressive and insolent visitors.

When the youth tried to draw Sri Bhagavan into a controversial discussion so he could catch him when he made a potentially embarrassing answer, Sri Bhagavan remained completely silent. The poor man could make no headway at all. He tried insults, he tried belching out foul language, but Sri Bhagavan did not utter a single word. He did not accept any of the insults or respond to them in any way. He merely remained calm, unperturbed and smiling. The young man, after exhausting all his insults, saw the impossibility of achieving his object. He had to admit defeat and quit the ashram.