Author Topic: Incidents Related To Sri Ramana Maharshi’s Personal Attendants  (Read 1338 times)


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Sri Ramana’s personal attendants were chosen by Chinnaswami.Ramana himself never asked anyone to serve him, nor ever sent away an attendant who had been allotted to him. It became the tradition in the Ashram that the attendants were always young unmarried men. Annamalai Swami reports, “Once, when a woman who was a qualified nurse from North India volunteered to be an attendant, Bhagavan replied by saying, ‘Ask the people in the Hall’. Krishnaswami, the chief attendant, and some of the other people in the Hall objected. ‘No! No! We cannot have ladies doing service to Bhagavan. It is not proper.’ Bhagavan turned to the woman and said, ‘These people all think like this. What can I do?’”

One of the attendants’ tasks was to receive the food offerings brought by devotees and give some of it back to them as prasadam.They had to be careful that the men sat on one side of the Hall and the women on the other. Whenever Maharshi left the Hall, one of them had to accompany him. The other one stayed back to clean the Hall. The cloths on the couch had to be kept clean. Washing the cloths and preparing warm water for the morning bath was also the duty of the attendants, as was accompanying Ramana on his nightly walks to the toilet. There was, therefore, someone there to be helpful to him round the clock.

Major Chadwick tells the story of the betel. In this case the attendant’s omission resulted in Ramana simply giving up chewing betel.“One morning Bhagavan was about to go out and was only waiting for the attendant to give him the betel, which was always placed by his side when it was time for his walk. For some reason the attendant did not do it, everybody in the Hall was waiting expectantly but could do nothing about it as the management did not allow anybody to attend on Bhagavan except those who had been specially detailed. Eventually Bhagavan got up and left the Hall without it. From that day on he never chewed again.”

Although Sri Ramana could be very strict with his attendants, he was also very concerned for their welfare. In summer, when he used to walk to Palakothu between midday and 1.30 p.m., the sandy path was so hot that walking barefoot could be very painful.Ramana always walked at the same steady pace, whether it was raining cats and dogs or whether the sun was blazing down, but he used to say to the attendant walking behind him, “Run, run and take shelter under that tree. Put your upper cloth under your feet and stand on it for a while.”

Similarly Ramana’s concern was extended to Rangaswami, when he had to copy out several pages of a book. “One day Bhagavan asked me if I had completed the job. ‘I do not have the time for it’, I said. ‘What are you doing now?’ he queried. ‘I am going to Palakothu to wash your cod-piece’. Bhagavan said, ‘Okay, you do my job and I will do yours’, so saying, he copied the remaining pages.”

He insisted that all others had to be served first and that he should be served last. One day when Suri Nagamma was handing out fruit from her nephew in the Hall, she served Sri Ramana first, then everybody else. At the end it was found that there was not enough fruit for everyone. So one of the attendants cut the remaining bananas into small pieces. Ramana said indignantly, “This is what I don’t like. Why do you serve when you cannot give the same quantity to all people?

There are lots of dining hall stories which make clear how fiercely Maharshi resisted any preferential treatment of his person, as,again and again, devotees tried to serve him a special delicacy or a larger share than others. The cook Santamma also had to learn her lesson. At the beginning of her stay at the Ashram she served Sri Ramana an extra portion on his leaf, which he at once noticed saying angrily, “Why did you serve the Swami more of the curry than the rest? Have you come all the way here to learn this? If you serve more to others and less to me I would be happy. Do you want to purchase grace by serving extra? If you show the devotees the same love as you have for me, then your love for me too will grow.”

For the Brahmins’ sakes a certain importance was attached to the observation of caste rules. Brahmins are only allowed to eat together with members of their own caste. To enable them to obey this rule the dining hall was separated in two by a bamboo screen.On the one side the Brahmins had their place, on the other side the non-Brahmins. Sri Ramana sat in the opening of the screen on the non-Brahmin side and was visible to all. Again and again Brahmins tried to sit on the non-Brahmin side and circumvent their own caste rules in the Ashram. They argued that with Ramana there were no caste differences. But he did not accept their arguments as long as they continued to apply caste rules at home.

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


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Re: Incidents Related To Sri Ramana Maharshi’s Personal Attendants
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2010, 08:38:23 AM »

Bhagavan Ramana found no difference between men and women.
He 'saw' everyone as Arunachala Swarupam.  Once when Mother
Azhagamma was reluctant to give food coolies who had come to
Skandasramam, because she had not yet taken food as yet,
Bhagavan Ramana told her:  "See, whom do you think these
people are?  They are all Arunachala Swarupam!  Go and bring
the food."  Mother Azhagamma looked at them and she really
'saw' them as Arunachalas.  She had thus the first glimpse of the
Self.  Sri Sankara says:  "When Desikan* points out, you 'see',
then you will know who you are!"   


Arunachala Siva.