Edited April 30, 2018

Sakthi Vikatan   15 Nov, 2011



Sri Ramanamaharishi


Ramanar was affectionate with younger friend Rangan (his schoolmate). Rangans had financial problems. He wanted to attain a loftier position because of his association with Bhagavan.

He was in a dilemma: Should he become a sannyasi or continue to bungle in family life. There are a multitude of people in the world, who bore children and want to help them attain realization. Bhagavan knew about them well. It is said the duty of a recluse or sannyasin is to bring the householders to maturity.

Bhagavan bears no anger towards others. He never said, “You are caught in the net. Perish.”  “Shake them (aspirants seeking help) off. Let them get lost,” was never the harsh speech of Bhagavan. “Do what you undertook in a proper manner,” was the advice. “From there, one could advance spiritually,” is the common saying.

Are difficulties the exclusive domain of the householder?  Impediments and sufferings afflict even the Sannyasi. Bhagavan said, restrictions of food, health problems, accidents… cause agony to them. The householders with family burdens also enjoy spiritual growth.

One woman said her mind goes in many directions. Bhagavan said, “Turn your mind in one direction.” Rangan wondered, “If she attains it, she would be a Jñāni.”

Bhagavan continues:

When visitors come here, they want to gain Jñānam. Getting Jñānam is easy, they think. They don’t pay attention to impediments in their chosen new path. If a person becomes a king because of austerities, a good reign is likely. But is Tapas easy? There are very many impediments in that.

The group of devotees returning from Pandaripuram sang after-dinner devotional songs and embraced Bhagavan. When Rangan embraced him, Bhagavan's body was red and sun-beaten.  Rangan enquired about it. He answered, “These devotees embrace the God in Pandaripuram. That was made of rock. This (Mine) is a living body (subject to maladies). But, they never gave up the habit of embracing me.”  

Bhagavan narrated a story on another occasion.

A man performed severe austerities. Siva appeared before him and asked him what boon he wanted. He said, “I want poverty and sufferings every day.  Siva could not believe it. He asked him to state the reason why he did not ask for wealth. He said, if I was rich, my eyes would not see what I should see, and my ears would not hear what I should hear. I would be immersed in the worldly affairs and entanglements and take may rebirths as a consequence. My suffering will keep me thinking about you constantly.

If what you say is correct, is there an antipathy between wealth and Jñānam?

For the rich, there is deep involvement with and immersion in wealth. Inclination to Jñānam is scarce, said Bhagavan.

On another occasion, Bhagavan told Rangan, “Some visitors opposing palms in homage appear to hit (offend) me.” Rangan understood that Bhagavan meant the cruel people make factitious homage.

Rangan asked Bhagavan why his gums were receding and black.

He said, “A man tested me (my spirituality) by giving poison to me.  I ate the poison, which did not kill me. But it eroded my gum making it black and receding. Umai is there to prevent the descent of poison in Siva (Nīlakantappa). Who is there for me?”

A self-appointed officious man in the Āśramam stating that Bhagavan was on a restricted diet, rejected ‘the poison-like foods’ brought by devotees. The bananas brought by Rangan were not accepted. Disappointed, Rangan asked Bhagavan about rejection of his bananas; Bhagavan said, “Serve your bananas as you do usually.” Rangan placed a banana on each banana-leaf plate.

That (officious) Āśramam (pseudo-)official came running and yelled at Rangan, “You violated the dietary restrictions of Bhagavan.” Bhagavan looking at him said, “What disease do I have? Why restrict my foods? One wisecrack posed a question to Bhagavan, “What price has he (the meddlesome interloper) paid to buy you?” Bhagavan smiling retorted, “5000 Rupees.”

Bhagavan told Rangan, “Men come here with some unknown specific purpose on their mind. Once his purpose is accomplished, he will leave.”  In one week, the officious interloper was chased out of Āśramam. Bhagavan smiled.

Bhagavan’s observation. “A new visitor on his first day will get Darśan from a distance. Next day, he comes a little closer. As the days go by, he gets too close to me. Later he wields a stick threatening people ‘go there, go here.’ Later he considers himself as the autocrat of the Āśramam.” Bhagavan knows the diverse Gunas of the visitors.

Bhagavan had titubation, shaking of the head, not from old age but right from the time he came to Tiruvannamalai as a teenager. When asked about it, he said, “If you tie an elephant in a small hut, what will happen? Won’t the hut be shaking? It is like that here.” Without the walking stick, Bhagavan could not stand or walk.  (Because of the age of onset of titubation in teenage years, Bhagavan probably had Essential Tremor.)