Author Topic: Incidents Related To Daily Life At The Ramana Ashram  (Read 2352 times)


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Incidents Related To Daily Life At The Ramana Ashram
« on: May 15, 2010, 10:58:31 AM »
Life at the Ashram was extremely well-ordered. Tidiness, cleanliness,thrift and punctuality were expected from everyone. Arthur Osborne remarked, “Bhagavan Sri Ramana was meticulously exact,closely observant, practical and humorous. In everything he was precise and orderly. The Ashram Hall was swept out several times daily. The books were always in their places. The cloths covering the couch were scrupulously clean and beautifully folded. The loin-cloth, which was all he wore,was gleaming white. The two clocks in the Hall were adjusted daily to radio time. The calendar was never allowed to fall behind the date. The routine of life flowed to a regular pattern.”

In the later years, when Ramana had ceased working in the kitchen and had started to supervise the building projects, his timetable was as follows - he would rise at approximately 3.30 a.m., at half past five he took his bath and at half past six breakfast was served.This was followed by the first walk on the hill. At 8.30 he read the incoming mail and at 9.45 he made a short visit to the cowshed.Lunch was served at 11.30. Around midday he went for a second walk, which this time lasted an hour and took him to Palakothu. At 2.30 p.m. there was coffee and at approximately 4 p.m. he read the outgoing mail. Half an hour later he again went for a walk for an hour. After this the Veda parayana was chanted, followed by the Tamil parayana. At half past seven the bell called everyone to dinner.Afterwards Ramana went to the cowshed again and at 8.45 p.m. all devotees retired to their lodgings.

It is reported that Sri Ramana slept very little at night. He also never lay down flat, but remained upright, leaning against the back of the couch. After lunch everyone in the Ashram liked to withdraw to take a nap – not so Ramana. He often made use of this quiet hour to feed the animals or make a round through the Ashram and inform himself of the progress of the building projects.

In spite of the increasing numbers of visitors Sri Ramana led an active life. In addition to cooking and supervising the building projects,he read the proofs of the books which were to be published.By now his works had been translated and printed in a number of Indian dialects. He had written his famous hymns to Arunachala around 1914. From 1923 to 1929 he wrote Upadesa Saram (The Essence of Instruction in 30 Verses), Upadesa Manjari (Spiritual Instruction) and Ulladu Narpadu (Reality in Forty Verses) with supplementary verses. This was followed in the thirties and forties by various translations into Tamil, Malayam and Telugu of important advaita scriptures, such as certain parts of Vivekachudamani and other scriptures by Shankara, some verses of the Bhagavad Gita and parts of Yoga Vasishta and the Agamas. The English translations of all these works can be found in ‘The Collected Works of Ramana Maharshi’. So Ramana regularly spent a lot of time proof-reading these publications. He also read everything that was written about him and was very particular that everything should be accurate.When a biography was to be published about him in Telugu, entitled ‘Ramana Leela’, he painstakingly went through it correcting any mistakes.

He also did bookbinding work. Now and then people would bring him old books in poor condition. He checked whether they were complete, added any missing pages by copying them out himself and inserting them, and then repaired the books.

Just as he never wasted any food, so he also never wasted any paper.He would collect any paper which was still usable, often cutting it up into small sheets, which he would then bind together to make notebooks. Even the pins from the newspapers would be kept. “They will otherwise be merely thrown away. We shall use them. How should we get new ones? They have to be bought.Where is the money?”, he would say.

In the early years Sri Ramana attempted on a couple of occasions to leave the Ashram for a life of solitude. Vasudeva (the same who once witnessed Ramana’s second death experience at Tortoise rock) relates, “Once Bhagavan and I went round the hill during the Skandashram days. When we reached near Esanya math about 8.30 a.m., Bhagavan sat on a rock and said with tears in his eyes he would never again come to the Ashram and would go where he pleased and live in the forests or caves away from all men. I would not leave him and he would not come. It became very late. We went there about 8 or 8.30 a.m. and even when it became 1 p.m.we were still in this deadlock. Bhagavan asked me to go into the town and eat my food and then come back if I wanted. But I was afraid that if I went Bhagavan would go away somewhere.”

Sri Ramana also reports about two other escape attempts, “Another time too I wanted to run away from all this crowd and live somewhere unknown, freely as I liked. That was when I was in Virupaksha Cave. … But on that occasion my plans were frustrated by Yogananda Swami. I tried to be free on a third occasion also. That was after mother’s passing away. I did not want to have even an Ashram like Skandashram and the people that were coming there then. But the result has been this Ashram [Ramanashram] and all the crowd here. Thus all my three attempts failed.”

Another fixed part of the daily schedule was the chanting of the Veda parayana. At first, Brahmin boys used to come from town to do the chanting. Later, with the assistance of Major Chadwick, the Ashram opened its own Veda school (patasala), which is still in existence today.

The chanting of the Vedas in the morning and evening lasted around 40 minutes. Texts from the Vedas were recited, as well as other Sanskrit texts, such as for example the Forty Verses in Praise of Ramana by Ganapati Muni and Sri Ramana’s Arunachala
Pancharatna and Upadesa Saram. This was then followed by the so-called Tamil Parayana with other works by Sri Ramana.

The Maharshi attached great importance to this chanting, stressing its calming effect upon the mind. If he was asked if people should not also understand the texts, he would say that it was not necessary,it was sufficient to use them as an aid to meditation. He himself would sit upright on his couch during the chanting, his eyes taking on a faraway look.

Sri Ramana left the management of the Ashram to his brother.
As sarvadhikari, Chinnaswami endeavoured to retain full control over everything that happened there. This frequently led to arguments with devotees who disagreed with his decisions. But whatever was eventually decided had to be accepted by all. If someone comRamana plained to Sri Ramana about Chinnaswami, the Maharshi protected his brother and never reversed his decisions.

There was no point in complaining to Sri Ramana, as he never interfered in such disputes. When Ganapati Sastri (not to be confused with Ganapati Muni) was banished from the Ashram, he complained to Sri Ramana, “Chinnaswami has told me not to come to the Ashram. Bhagavan is just sitting like a stone Vinayaka statue. I have served the Ashram for a long time. I have also donated three almiras [cupboards] full of books to the Ashram. Will Bhagavan not ask Chinnaswami why he is not allowing me to come to the Ashram?” But he received no answer to his complaint.

Whenever someone wanted to interfere in Ashram affairs Ramana would warn, “People walk up the drive to the Ashram in search of deliverance and then get caught up in Ashram politics and forget what they came for. If such matters were their concern they need not have come to Tiruvannamalai for them.” And to enthusiastic reformers he advised that it would be sufficient for them to reform themselves.

There were, however, cases when Maharshi raised objections.When, for example, the Ashram management decided to close the doors of the Hall for two hours after lunch because of his weakened health, he protested by leaving the Hall and sitting outside to welcome the visitors, commenting, “The management is welcome to close the doors but I am free to meet the visitors here.” In cases such as this, where the decision of the management meant that his devotees were prevented from coming to him for a time or if it would lead to some injustice, he could be uncompromising, saying,“You can look after your Ashram. I am going back to the hill.”

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


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Re: Incidents Related To Daily Life At The Ramana Ashram
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2010, 08:45:42 AM »

Major Chadwick (Sadhu Arunachala) had great liking for Vedas and
Vedic chanting.  When the Asramam had enormous difficulties
in running the daily chore, the Veda Patasala became dysfunctional
for some time.  Major Chadwick took great care and lent funds and
support to re-start the Veda Pata Sala.  Even today, it is being run
effectively.  In fact on 11th May 2010, it was these young boys
who were chanting Taittriya Upanishad and Rudram and Chamakam
with great fervour.  Major Chadwick was also interested in Sri Vidya
Homam and he lent support for this too.  Sri Vidya Homam is now
taking place on select Fridays in Mother's Temple.

Bhagavan Ramana used to say about Chadwick:  "It is his prarabdha that he had to live for sometime in the West. He is our person."

He was the one, who never left the Asramam, when people started
leaving after 14.4.1950.  He remained till his final days  in the Asramam and merged with Bhagavan in Vellore Hospital.

Arunachala Siva.