Tuesday, September 1, 1946
“The ashram of Saint Ramana of Arunachala drew crowds of devotees on September the 1st to mark the completion of 50 years since Ramana first set foot on the sacred soil of this historic mountain shrine. From far and near they flocked for darshan of the holy saint who by the severest austerities and profound contemplation has attained spiritual wisdom and serenity unique in the country. Thousands draw comfort from his mere presence for he neither preaches nor (blames?) setting at ease all who come, by the essential goodness he radiates to all around. A good man in a troubled world.
He adhered to a punctual routine which included going out for a stroll twice a day. At these times, he would walk up on the slopes of his beloved Arunachala hill, and if any attachment to any thing could be said of him, it was surely an attachment to the hill. He loved it and said it was God himself – the spiritual heart or center of the earth. He seemed to be never so happy as when wandering around its slopes and once remarked that there was not one spot on the hill where he had not set his foot. He also encouraged devotees to walk around the eight mile circumference of the hill as it has been well known from ancient times to be a very potent spiritual exercise.
Generally the Maharshi appeared to be indifferent, a witness to what was going on around him. Nevertheless he was always aware of what was happening and seemed to be very particular about certain matters. First of all he insisted that he should be accessible to devotees and visitors at all times. Even on the day of his death when he had no strength to even hold his head erect, he asserted that devotees should not be prevented from seeing him. He was also very keen that visitors should be fed immediately upon their arrival and food should be well cooked and nutritious. He participated (in) and supervised meal preparations for many years. The Maharshi was adamant that no preferences should be given to him in way of food or conveniences. If it is good for me it must be good for all he would say when some special food preparation or medicine was offered him. He would then make the attendants distribute the items to everyone present before he would take it himself.
In his company one would notice a total absence of distinction between men and women of different castes and creeds, of different races and religions, between a prince and a peasant, an ascetic and a householder. His equality extended far beyond human beings and embraced even plants and animals. His love for and affinity with animals can be compared only to that wonderful child of Christ, Saint Francis of Assisi. They all came to him – dogs, snakes, monkeys, crows, deer, peacocks, chipmunks and cows to name a few. Their silent language was known to him and when he spoke, they understood and obeyed. He arbitrated the monkeys’ quarrels. He has been known to speak to the wild leopards and cobras and the whole animal kingdom accepted him as their guardian and defender. All felt his grace and acted with intelligence in his presence. He considered every living creature as equal. Those who came to him deserved an equal share to the land and resources of Ramana ashramam. He often mentioned that this was their territory all along. We humans have just come and occupied it. If they could speak they would claim their rights as well. Besides this, he maintained that every creature from man down to the smallest insect was an equal manifestation of the supreme self, the imperishable one. And even an animal can progress spiritually and on rare occasions, attain liberation. This was demonstrated in the life of the cow, Lakshmi. For over 20 years she lived in the ashram and exhibited a rare devotion to Bhagavan and intelligence in all matters. Bhagavan fully reciprocated her gentle devotion and on her last day when her end was near …
He often said that the true teaching was in silence. But this does not mean verbal expositions also were not given. And although he authorized many different methods of spiritual practice he however laid the greatest emphasis on the path of self-inquiry. The first and foremost of all thoughts that arise in the mind is the primal I thought. It is only after the rise or origin of the I thought that innumerable other thoughts arise. Search by means of a deeply introverted mind wherefrom this I arises. If we go inward questing for the source of the I the I topples down and immediately another entity will reveal itself proclaiming I-I. Even though it also emerges saying I it does not connote the ego but the one perfect existence.
People of all religions came to him and he never advised any of them to change their faith or abandon their creeds. He answered all (their) questions patiently.”
Thanks to Ravi S. Iyer for this transcript.
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