Author Topic: Incidents Happened When Guru Ramana Stayed In the Small Temple of Gurumurtam  (Read 1733 times)


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Ramana when living in Subrahmanya temple after he shifted from Patala Lingam.After spending some weeks at this shrine Ramana moved to the adjoining flower garden.

Finally, Ramana moved to the hall where the vehicles for the temple processions were kept (vahana mantapam).

After some time Ramana left the vahana mantapam and sat under the Illupai tree which was inside the outer wall of the southern temple tower. The path used for the temple processions passed nearby.

Here Ramana was fully exposed to the weather. Sometimes a cold wind blew and his body would be covered with dew. To protect himself against the cold he would cross his arms about the upper part of his naked body. Later he reflected that no woollen blanket could compare to the arms laid across the chest and that this was the first upper garment that he used.

At the following Kartikai festival Sri Ramana’s first disciple, Uddandi Nayinar, arrived and became a permanent companion. He took care of his bodily needs and prevented him from being disturbed or bothered. He settled down at a short distance from him,observed the crowds of visitors for hours at a time and drove away the urchins who found it amusing to cause trouble for the young ascetic. He also cooked simple meals, which he shared with him.

It was because of Uddandi Nayinar that Annamalai Tambiran first noticed Ramana.

One day, as he was walking past the Illupai tree he saw the young Swami sitting there and was deeply impressed, from that day on he accompanied Uddandi Nayinar.

Finally they both suggested to Sri Ramana that he should move to Gurumurtam. There he could meditate undisturbed as the place was secluded and in addition offered better protection from the cold. Ramana agreed and in February 1897,not quite six months after his arrival at Tiruvannamalai, he left the temple area and was brought to Gurumurtam by Tambiran and Uddandi.

At times Tambiran, due to his devout but excessive veneration,became a nuisance to Sri Ramana. One day he made preparations to render homage to his new guru like to one of the idols of the goddesses in the temple (abhishekam). He obtained flowers, oil,sandal paste, milk and other ingredients and actually wanted to pour this over the head of his “living god”. To prevent this, Ramana took a piece of charcoal and the next day, before Tambiran arrived, wrote on the wall in Tamil, “This [food] alone is the service [needed] for this [body].”

So Tambiran was forced to abandon his plan. Through this incident people learned that the silent Swami was educated and able to read and write.

Amongst the admirers who had started to visit Ramana regularly,was a highly-placed official called Venkataramana Iyer. When he realized that the Swami was able to write, he felt he must find out his name and where he came from. But Ramana, despite repeated questioning, remained silent. Iyer finally explained that he would not leave until his questions were answered, even if that meant that he would have to go hungry and get into trouble because of his lengthy absence from his office. This moved the young Swami and he wrote down the words, “Venkataraman, Tiruchuli”. The place,however, was unknown to the official. So Ramana reached for the Periyapuranam, which was lying at his side, and pointed out Tiruchuli as the name of a village, whose temple was honoured in the famous hymn by Sundaramurti (one of the 63 Tamil saints). Thus,not only the official but Tambiram and all those present discovered his name and his origins. From now on Ramana was no longer nameless and unknown.

Ramana was absorbed in deep samadhi most of the time unaware of his body, which he neglected, completely disregarding his outward appearance. He was filthy, his hair had grown very long and had become a dishevelled and matted mass and his fingernails had grown so long and crooked, that he was unable to use his hands for any useful purpose. Neither Tambiran nor Uddandi did anything about this and he himself felt no need to change his bodily condition. Only later, when Palaniswami took care of him, did the daily bath become a routine.

Once, however, he was forced to bathe and on another occasion to have a shave, “Even so, a lady, by name Minakshi, who used now and then to bring food to give me, one day brought a large pot and began to boil water. I thought it was for some use for herself,but, taking from a basket some oil, soap-nut, etc., she said,‘Swami, please come’. I did not move. But would she keep quiet! She pulled me by the arm, made me sit, smeared the oil all over my body and bathed me. The hair on the head which had got matted for want of care, was now spread out and hung down like the mane of a lion. … Shaving was also like that. The shave I had on the day I came here has been recorded; the second was after a year and a half. The hair had got matted and woven like a basket. Small stones and dust had settled down in it and the head used to feel heavy. I had also long nails, and a frightful appearance. So people pressed me to have a shave, and I yielded. When my head was shaven clean, I began to wonder whether I had a head or not, it felt so light. I shook my head this way and that to assure myself that it was there. That showed the amount of burden I had been carrying on my head.”

The place where Ramana sat was infested with ants, but he took no notice of them as they crawled over his body and bit him incessantly.After a while his devotees sat him on a stool against the wall. To keep the ants away they placed the legs of the stool in jugs of water, but to no avail, as the ants merely ran up the wall and bit his back. To this day the imprint of his back can be seen where he sat leaning against the wall.

During the first two months spent in Gurumurtam, Tambiram used to give him some of the food which had been offered at the Gurumurtam shrine. But then Tambiran went away, after first asking Uddandi to look after the Swami. He promised to be back in a week but, in fact, only returned a year later. Some weeks after he left, Uddandi also had to return to his own math. So suddenly no one was there to care for Ramana. But, as a result of his increasing fame, food was always brought to him. After the departures of both Tambiran and Uddandi the only problem was that there was no-one there to keep the crowds away. This problem was finally solved when Palaniswami joined him.

Palaniswami was a Malayali from Kerala and at least 20 years older than Sri Ramana. He paid homage to the idol of Goddess Ganesha in a temple in the town. His only food was food which had been offered to Ganesha, which consisted of a single meal a day, to which he added no spices, not even salt. Someone noticed his devotion to the Goddess and said, “What is the use of spending your lifetime with this stone Swami? There is a young Swami in flesh and blood at Gurumurtam. He is steeped in austerities (tapas) like the youthful Dhruva mentioned in the puranas. If you go and serve him, and adhere to him, your life would serve its purpose.” Others also drew his attention to the fact that the Swami was without an attendant at the time and that it would be a blessing to serve such a great soul. Spurred on in this way Palaniswami went to Gurumurtam.

Some time in May 1898, after a little over one year spent at Gurumurtam,Ramana and Palaniswami moved to the adjoining mango grove. Here they spent several peaceful months undisturbed by the numerous visitors, as Venkataraman Naicker, the owner of the garden, let no-one enter who had not been asked in. There they lived in two narrow sheds under a mango tree. Ramana remembers,“Under a mango tree they erected something overhead to prevent rain from falling on me. There was, however, not enough space under it even to stretch my legs fully while sleeping. So I used to sit almost all the time like a bird in its nest. Opposite my shelter Palaniswami also had a small shed. In the huge garden, only two of us used to stay.

Palaniswami, who had access to a library in town, brought back a number of books in Tamil on Vedanta, such as Kaivalya Navaneeta,Yoga Vasistha and Shankaras Vivekachudamani. But, as his knowledge of Tamil was not very good, he used to struggle through the scriptures word by word and often had difficulties in understanding.Ramana read each of the books, immediately grasped the meaning,remembered everything and imparted the essence of it to Palaniswami. In this way Ramana gradually learned about all the important Vedanta scriptures and discovered that his personal experience corresponded with them. The experience he had had on the upper floor of his uncle’s house in Madurai was exactly the same as the experiences he found described in the scriptures.

Source: Ramana Maharshi: His Life A biography by Gabriele Ebert


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The story of Bhagavan Ramana's early years were really heart-melting.
Bhagavan Ramana stayed in two Subrahmanya Temples which you
see as you enter the Eastern Towers of the Big Temple.  One is
Subrahmanya at the Pillar (Gopurathu ILaiyanar Temple).  This is where Saint Poet Arunagiri Natha made Muruga to appear, in a debate with another saint Sambandhandan.  Another is Gopura Subrahmanya Temple, where you see Muruga with his two consorts, unlike the first temple, where Muruga is only with Javelin and there is only peacock.
The famous Patala Lingam shrine is close to Gopura Subrahmanya
Temple.  Vahana Mantapam, the Hall for Siva's vehicles - is now
under lock and key.

Arunachala Siva.