Author Topic: Incidents Related To Ramana Maharshi's association with Animals And Plants  (Read 1868 times)


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One day a female leopard came to the watering place near the Virupaksha Cave. The frightened devotees beat upon their plates and drums to drive her away. But she quenched her thirst unconcerned and then went on her way with a roar. Ramana said astonished,“Why do you worry so much? The leopard intimated to me by the first roar that she was coming here. After drinking water she told me by another roar that she was going. She went her own way.She never meddled with your affairs. Why are you so scared? This mountain is the home of these wild animals, and we are their guests. That being so, is it right on your part to drive them away?”

Ramana was equally fearless with regard to scorpions. Vasudeva Sastri recounts, “One day, when we were at Skandashram, I was aghast to find a scorpion climbing up over Bhagavan’s body in the front and another at the same time climbing down his back. I was terrified and wanted to do something. But Bhagavan remained calm, as if nothing happened, and the two scorpions, after crawling over his body as if over a wall, eventually left him. After they left,Bhagavan explained to us, ‘They crawl over you just as they would crawl on the floor or a wall or tree. Do they crawl over these,stinging as they go? It is only because you fear them and do something,that they fear you and do something in return’.

However, in so far as concerns insects which were a nuisance to people, Sri Ramana did not object to killing them. When once a whole army of black ants invaded the Hall through the water drain,he told Annamalai Swami to detect where they were coming from and to put an end to it. The hole was cemented over without further ado. He also used to pluck blood-sucking insects out of the coats of the dogs and throw them into the gleaming coals. Similarly he did not object if devotees killed mosquitoes or used insecticide in the cowshed.

Maharshi had the same compassionate attitude towards plants as towards animals. One day workers had been deputed to gather mangoes from one of the trees. But instead of climbing up the tree and picking them one by one, they knocked them down with sticks. In this way a large number of leaves were knocked down along with the fruit. Ramana, who was as usual sitting in the Hall,heard the beating and sent a message via his attendants that it should stop at once. When he later passed by the tree and saw the mango leaves in heaps on the floor, he cried out harshly, “In return for giving us fruit, is the tree to be beaten with sticks? Who gave you this work? Instead of beating the tree, you might as well cut it to the roots. You need not gather the fruit. Go away!”

When one of the attendants beat the monkeys, because they had stolen nuts, Bhagavan rebuked him, “You are not beating the monkeys, you are beating me. The pain is mine.”

The monkeys often stole the fruit which devotees had brought as a food offering, if the latter were not careful or were meditating.One of the attendants was entrusted with the task of receiving the fruit from the visitors. One day he was sitting with eyes closed, a basket full of fruit at his side, listening to the radio. In the mean time the monkeys were freely helping themselves to the contents of the basket. When people in the Hall tried to chase the monkeys away, Ramana joked, “When these attendants are immersed in deep meditation, the monkeys come and see to the work of the attendants. Someone has to look after the work! The attendants put the fruit into the basket, the monkeys put the fruit into their stomachs; that is all the difference. While people forget themselves while listening to the music over the radio the monkeys busy themselves in enjoying the sweet juice of the fruit. That is good, isn’t it!”

The monkey mothers liked to come with their babies, to show them to Ramana full of pride. Suri Nagamma reports, “Yesterday a monkey with her baby stood in the window by the side of Bhagavan’s sofa. Bhagavan was reading something and so did not notice it. After a while, the monkey screeched and one of the attendants tried to drive her away by shouting, but she would not go. Bhagavan then looked up and said, ‘Wait! She has come here to show her baby to Bhagavan; do not all the people bring their children to show them? For her, her child is equally dear. Look how young that child is.’ So saying, Bhagavan turned towards her, and said in an endearing tone, ‘Hullo! So you have brought your child? That is good!’ And, giving her a plantain, he sent her away.”

Sri Ramana felt a deep admiration for the monkey tribes and was convinced that tapas was not unknown to them. Once he said, “I have known something about their organisation, their kings, laws,regulations. Everything is so perfect and well-organised. So much intelligence behind it all. I even know that tapas is not unknown to monkeys. A monkey whom we used to call ‘Mottaipaiyan’ was once oppressed and ill-treated by a gang. He went away into the forest for a few days, did tapas, acquired strength and returned.

When he came and sat on a bough and shook it, all the rest of the monkeys, who had previously ill-treated him and of whom he was previously mortally afraid, were now quaking before him. Yes, I am clear that tapas is well known to monkeys.”

One day when Ramana inadvertently bumped against a sparrow’s nest, an egg fell out and cracked. He was dismayed and cried out to his attendant Madhava, “Look, look what I have done today! Oh,the poor mother will be so sorrow-stricken, perhaps angry with me also, at my causing the destruction of her expected little one! Can the cracked eggshell be pieced together again? Let us try!”

So saying he took a piece of wet cloth, wrapped it around the broken egg and laid it back into its nest. Each third hour he took it out again, removed the cloth, took it in his hand and glanced at it for a few minutes. Seven days later, after taking the egg from its nest, he announced with the astonishment of a schoolboy, “Look what a wonder! The crack has closed.” Some days later he found the egg hatched out, the little bird had come out. With a face beaming with joy he took the nestling into his hand, stroked and caressed it and handed it to the others, that they could also admire it.

One day some new born squirrels had fallen out of their nest and landed on Ramana’s couch. Their eyes were still closed and they were very tiny. The mother, however, did not take them back. But how should one feed such tiny things? The squirrels laid in Ramana’s palm. His face was glowing with love and affection towards them. The devotees looked on helplessly, but he was happy and cheerful. He asked for some cotton and made a soft bed for them.Then he took a piece of the cotton, rolled it up so that the end looked like a sharp needle, dipped it into some milk and trickled it in their tiny mouths. This he did repeatedly. He looked after them with great care and love until they grew up and started running around. They did not run away, however, but always ran around their ‘mother’.

Something similar happened, when a cat ate the mother of some young squirrels. Again Ramana took on the task of caring for the young. As he liked to use daily events to teach his devotees he said to them, “These little ones do not know that wisdom lies in remaining in their nest. They keep attempting to come out. All trouble lies outside but they cannot remain within. Similarly if the mind is not externalised, but remains sunk in the Heart then there would only be happiness. But the mind keeps moving out.” When Rangaswami asked, “What is the path for keeping it inward?”, Bhagavan said, “It is exactly the same as what I am doing now. Each time a young squirrel comes out, I keep putting it back into its nest. When I go on doing it, it learns the happiness of staying in the nest.”

Shantamma reports, “Once Lakshmi came into the Hall. She was pregnant at that time. It was after lunch time, when Bhagavan was reading the newspapers. Lakshmi came near and started licking the papers. Bhagavan looked up and said: ‘Wait a little, Lakshmi.’ But Lakshmi went on licking. Bhagavan laid his paper aside, put his hands behind Lakshmi’s horns and his head against hers. Like this they stayed for quite a long time. I stood nearby looking at the wonderful scene. After some ten minutes or so, Bhagavan turned to me and said: ‘Do you know what Lakshmi is doing? She is in samadhi.’ I looked at her and tears were flowing in streams down her broad cheeks. Her breathing had stopped and her eyes were fixed on Bhagavan. After some time Bhagavan changed his position and asked: ‘Lakshmi, how do you feel now?’ Lakshmi moved backwards, as if reluctant to turn her tail towards Bhagavan,walked round the Hall and went out.”

Several dogs lived in the Ashram. The most famous was Jackie,who was later buried in the Ashram compound alongside the deer Valli and a crow. He did not much like playing and did not join the other dogs, but would sit in front of Sri Ramana, fixing his gaze on his eyes incessantly. He would also not start eating until Ramana had taken a mouthful of food. One day when a stray dog entered the Ashram through the back door, Jackie started barking. Ramana calmed him saying, “You just close your eyes. You just close your eyes. You just close your eyes. If you do this you will not be able to see the dog.” At once Jackie closed his eyes.

One day Jackie was attacked by a ferocious pig and was seriously injured. His stomach was torn open and the intestines came out. It required a lot of stitches to close it up and afterwards Jackie was carried to a mantapam opposite the Ashram to recover. At the same time Kunju Swami was suffering from a severe abscess on his foot and was also staying in the same mantapam. When Sri Ramana came to visit them, Kunju Swami was crying out in pain and fell at Maharshi’s feet. But Ramana said to him, “See, how Jackie is silently bearing his pain after such a major operation, without so much as a whimper!” This was helpful to Kunju Swami and his pain became bearable for him. Ramana stroked Jackie and enquired if the meal had been brought and then left both patients.

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