Author Topic: Incidents Related To Ramana Maharshi Devotees During Ramana Ashramam  (Read 1282 times)


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The Tamil Poet Muruganar came to Sri Ramana in 1923.

Once he said about Sri Ramana, “He is the robber chief. He has taken three – my body, my mind and life itself – and given in return one only, that One, Indivisible Supreme!”

In 1932, M.A. Piggot was the first Western woman to visit him. More Westerners followed, such as Maurice Frydman and the famous film star Mercedes De Acosta. In 1938 Mercedes De Acosta spoke with Sri Ramana about the spiritual Heart. He pointed to the right side of her chest and said, “Here lies the Heart”. This made such a deep impression on her that she gave her autobiography the title ‘Here lies the Heart’.

Paramahansa Yogananda and Swami Ramdas were also among the visitors. A meeting with Mahatma Gandhi almost took place, when one day Gandhi gave a talk in Tiruvannamalai. But as his car drove past the Ashram gate, his companion gave a sign to the driver to drive on and so it did not happen. Later Krishnaswami visited Mahatma Gandhi in Madras. When he introduced himself as a resident of Ramanashram, the Mahatma replied, “I would love to come and see Bhagavan but I don’t know when the time will come.”

When a devotee brought a nice walking stick with a silver handle for Sri Ramana he said jokingly, “Good. It is very nice. Please use it carefully.” The disciple replied, “But it is not for my use. I have brought it thinking that Bhagavan would use it.” “What an idea!”, said Ramana. “A nice walking stick with a silver handle should be used only by officials like you. Why for me? Look, I have my own walking stick. That is enough.”

At the beginning of the forties a devotee brought an electric table fan for Ramana. The answer was as usual, “Why this fan? The ordinary fan is there. We have hands. I will fan myself with it whenever necessary. Why do I require all these things?” But the devotee would not leave it at that and argued, “Is it not some trouble? If the electric fan is used there is no trouble whatsoever.” But Ramana replied, “What is the trouble? If the ordinary fan is used we get just as much breeze as we want. The electric fan blows too much breeze and with a whizzing noise. Moreover, some electric current is consumed. For that, there will be a bill. Why should we make the office bear that expense on our account?”

Sri Ramana repeatedly complained about the many things which were offered to him and which he did not actually need, “I am a poor man. For my status, even what I now have is too much. This sofa, these mattresses, these pillows – why all these? You people
do not agree, but how happy would it be if I could spread out this towel and sit on the floor!” Mudaliar replied, “You say even that towel should be no bigger than the present one!” Ramana replied,” Why a bigger one? It is half-a-yard broad and three-quarters of a yard long. It is sufficient for drying the body after bath, for spreading over the head if you walk in the sun, for tying round the neck if it is cold and for spreading on the floor to sit on. What more could we do with a bigger one?”

All his life Sri Ramana resisted being venerated as a Guru. The disciple shows his veneration, for example, by touching the feet of the master. However this was strictly forbidden at Ramanashram.

When Roda McIver felt a deep longing to touch Sri Ramana’s feet,he answered, “Why do you want to touch these feet? Bhagavan’s feet are over your head.” And to another devotee who expressed the desire, to lay his head on his feet, he put the question, “Which is the foot and which is the head?” The devotee knew not what to answer. After a while Maharshi said, “Where the self merges, that is the foot. It is in one’s own self. The feeling ‘I’ ‘I’, the ego, is the head. Where that ego dissolves, that is the foot of the Guru.”

Prostration (namaskaram) is also widely used as an expression of veneration for Guru and God. With hands folded above the head the devotee throws himself flat on the ground, face downwards.When devotees entered the Hall, they used to do namaskaram to Sri Ramana and occasionally they also overdid it. But the Maharshi repeatedly stressed that the real namaskaram is in the heart. When a man prostrated innumerable times to him, he said, “Where is the need for all these gymnastics? It is better to show your devotion by keeping quiet!”

Likewise the water with which he washed his hands after meals was sought after. Not even his bath water was safe from devotees.It is again Suri Nagamma who reports the following fantastic incident,“In the room where Bhagavan takes his bath, there is a hole through which the water that is used drains out. Below that, a gutter was constructed to drain off the water. At the time of his bathing,some devotees used to gather at that place, sprinkle on their heads the water that came out of the room, wipe their eyes and even use it for achamaniyam (sipping drops of water for religious purpose). That was going on quietly and unobserved for some time. But in due course people began bringing vessels and buckets to gather that water and soon there was a regular queue. That naturally resulted in some noise which reached Bhagavan’s ears. He enquired and found out the facts. Addressing the attendants, he said, ‘… What nonsense! Will you get this stopped or shall I bathe at the tap outside? If that is done, you will be saved the trouble of heating water for me, and there will be no trouble for them either,to watch and wait for that tirtha [holy water]. What do I want? Only two things, a towel and a koupina. I can bathe and then rinse them at the tap and that completes the job. If not the tap, you have the hill streams and the tanks. Why this bother? What do you say?’” As a result, Chinnaswami immediately put an end to these practices.

Once a devotee from the West was clearing away the leaf plates in front of the dining hall, which was a completely useless occupation,as the used leaves were in any case meant to be thrown away.When Ramana saw him, he asked him why he was doing it. The devotee answered that he had not found any means to be of service since his arrival at the Ashram, so he wanted to do this work.But Ramana replied indignantly, “Is sweeping the used leaf plates the means to get salvation? Is it to perform this tapas that you have come here all the way from abroad. Go! Go! Enough of doing this kind of service! Go inside, sit to one side, turn your mind inward and find out he who wants to be saved. The service of purifying your heart is alone the highest service. That alone can truly redeem you.”

Sri Ramana made no distinctions between his devotees. Whether they lived with him, came to visit now and then or even if they never saw him at all in the body, his grace flowed and continues to flow for all of them. He would say, “To me there is no distinction.Grace is flowing like the ocean ever full. Every one draws from it according to his capacity. How can one who brings only a tumbler complain that he is not able to take as much as another who has brought a jar?”

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


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There were a few devotees of Bhagavan Ramana, who were given
the best darshan and these became the closest devotees.  Mastan
Swami on meeting Bhagavan, stood speechless in the Cave for
7 hours.  The darshan had completely killed his ego.  Muruganar
was another case.  He was a great Tamil scholar.  He came to
Bhagavan Ramana only when his father in law Dandapani Swami
asked him to visit Bhagavan once.  Muruganar was in Madras at that
time and after reading Who am I?, given by his father in law, he
was deeply impressed.  He came during a week end, went to the
Big Temple first and there he quickly wrote a poem titled Desika
Padigam, (Decad on Guru.  This is in Sri Ramana Sannidhi Murai),
and came to Bhagavan.  He stood before Him and became speechless.  He took the paper and started reading his poem.
His tongue became tied and he could not read even beyond two lines.  Bhagavan Ramana told him:  "Oye! Give that to me!" and
took the paper and read it Himself.

The poem reads:

You came from Kailash to Tiruperundurai,
To listen to the nectarine songs of Manikkavachagar,
Now you have come to Tiruvannamalai,
To listen to this fool's wasteful words too......

Muruganar was so deeply taken over and ruled by Bhagavan
that many times, for returning to Madras, he went up to the
Railway station and came back, without boarding the train.
After this, some devotee used to accompany him, push him
into a compartment, wait till the train starts and then came back!

Arunachala Siva.