Author Topic: Incidents Related To Ramana Maharshi In Mango Grove And Pavalakkunru  (Read 1376 times)


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Ramana’s disappearance and his parting note were soon noticed.His family was stunned. His mother Alagammal, who was living in Manamadurai, was informed and every effort was made to try and find him. But nobody, neither friends nor neighbours, had any idea where he might be. People hoped for his return, but in vain, as weeks and months went by without any news. Alagammal’s anguish increased and she beseeched both her brothers-in-law, Subba and Nelliappa Iyer, to try and find him. It was rumoured that Ramana had joined a theatrical troupe performing religious dramas in Trivandrum. Nelliappa Iyer twice went there to look for him among the various troupes, once accompanied by Alagammal – but without success.

Almost two years went by and people started to believe that they would never see the lost son again. On 1st May 1898 Subba Iyer died. Nelliappa Iyer and the rest of the family came to the funeral in Madurai. During the funeral a young man from Tiruchuli brought the unexpected news that he had met Tambiran and had heard him talking about a young Swami, called Venkataraman, who came from Tiruchuli. The Swami was a venerated saint in Tiruvannamalai and was undoubtedly the person they were looking for.

Immediately after the funeral Nelliappa Iyer and a friend started out for Tiruvannamalai. There they learned that the young Swami was living in the mango grove. However, when they went there they were prevented from entering by the owner of the garden,who said that Ramana was a mauni, a silent saint, and should not be disturbed. Nelliappa Iyer therefore wrote the following message ona piece of paper for his nephew, “Nelliappa Iyer, pleader of Manamadurai,wishes to have your darshan”, and asked Naicker, to pass on the message.

Ramana recognized his uncle’s handwriting. The piece of paper came from a records office and had on the back some official entries in the handwriting of his older brother Nagaswami. From this he was able to conclude in addition that Nagaswami had become an employee in a records office. He agreed that his uncle should enter.

Nelliappa Iyer argued and pleaded with all the eloquence of a lawyer. But Ramana did not move and gave not the least sign of recognition.

The uncle finally had no alternative but to give up. He sent Alagammal the joyful news that he had found her son, but that he had changed a lot and sadly would not return. Nelliappa Iyer himself returned to Manamadurai after five days, unsuccessful in his mission.

About his two uncles, Nelliappa and Subba Iyer, Sri Ramana later remarked, “Subba Iyer had great courage and pride, but this man [Nelliappa] was very meek and mild. If it had been Subba Iyer, he would never have gone back home leaving me here. He would have bundled me up and carried me away. As I am destined to stay here, my whereabouts were not known so long as he was alive.Nelliappa Iyer, being spiritually minded and mild in his ways, left me here saying, ‘Why trouble him?’”

Later, Nelliappa Iyer visited his nephew twice while he was living in the Virupaksha cave. Ramana had by then started to give spoken answers to his disciples’ questions and to interpret the holy Advaita scriptures. Once, whilst he was in the midst of an explanation about the Dakshinamurti Stotram, his uncle unexpectedly came to visit and was astounded by his nephew’s erudition. From that day on Nelliappa knew that he need not trouble himself anymore and returned home deeply satisfied. Soon afterwards he died.

A few months after Nelliappa’s first visit, Sri Ramana left the mango grove to live in a small temple in Arunagirinathar. He had decided that he should no longer be dependent upon the care of others and that from now he would look for his own daily meal. So he said to Palaniswami, “You go one way, beg your food and get on. Let me go another way, beg my food and get on. Let us not live together.” But Palaniswami, in the evening returned to the Arunagirinathar temple, saying, “Where can I go? You have the words of life.” Now Ramana felt compassion for him and Palaniswami was allowed to stay with him.

After they had spent about four weeks during August and September 1898 living in the small temple, they went to live for a week in the quiet upper rooms of the towers of the Arunachaleswara temple and in the Alari garden, one of the temple gardens. There Ramana was again tracked down by admirers. He withdrew from them and went to Pavalakkunru, one of the eastern foothills of Arunachala where there was a Shiva temple, a cave and a spring.

He sat most of the time in samadhi in a tiny room in the temple,which was so small that it was impossible to stand upright. Several times, after performing the puja, the priest forgot to see if the Swami was sitting in his room and inadvertently locked him in.His admirers also tracked him down in Pavalakkunru. Patiently they waited until he appeared from inside the temple or the cave to have his darshan.

In the meantime Ramana had decided to look for his own food and used to go into town to beg for his meals. About the first time he went begging he said, “The first day, when I begged from Gurukkal’s wife, I felt bashful about it as a result of habits of upbringing,but after that there was absolutely no feeling of abasement. I felt like a king and more than a king. I have sometimes received stale gruel at some house and taken it without salt or any other flavouring, in the open street, before great pandits [scholars] and other important men who used to come and prostrate themselves before me at the Ashram.”

During the Christmas holidays of 1898 his mother came to visit him for the first time, accompanied by her eldest son Nagaswami,who had a few days off work. They had searched for him in the mango grove in vain. Now they had climbed up to Pavalakkunru.Ramana was laying on a rock in a state of neglect such that he was barely recognizable, clothed in a dirty scrap of a loincloth only.Twenty-eight months had passed since his mother had last seen him. Bitterly she complained about his neglected bodily condition and implored him to come home with her, but he did not react.

Day after day they came up to see him, brought him sweets and entreated him tirelessly, but all to no avail. Ramana remained silent.Alagammal tried everything. One day when she broke down in tears, he was unable to bear it any longer and simply went away.

Once she despairingly turned to the others present and asked for their support. Then one of them said to Ramana, “Your mother is weeping and praying. Why do you not answer her? Whether it is ‘yes’ or ‘no’, why not give her a reply? Swami need not break his vow of silence. Here are pencil and paper. Swami may at least write out what he has to say.” So Ramana wrote down, “The Ordainer controls the fate of souls in accordance with their past deeds – their prarabdhakarma. Whatever is destined not to happen will not happen, - try how hard you may. Whatever is destined to happen will happen, do what you may to stop it. This is certain. The best course, therefore, is for one to be silent.”

Whether this message convinced his deeply religious mother or not, there was nothing left for her to do but to leave him to the life he had embarked upon. Furthermore Nagaswami’s holidays were coming to an end and he had to return to his office. Without having achieved what they had set out to achieve and with a heavy
heart, they returned to Manamadurai.

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


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I think Mother came to Bhagavan four times.  At the time of fourth
visit, she was totally helpless and desolate.  Bhagavan Ramana
as per the pleadings of the devotees, made her to stay with her.
Nagaswami had passed away.  Nagasundaram (Sarvadhikari) had
come to stay with Him.  What could Mother do?

Arunachala Siva.