Sonntag, 14. September 2008

10.1. Ramanashram Comes into Being

The first buildings at Ramanashram

Now you see what changes have come outwardly, what buildings have been raised and how the Ashram has grown all-round. But I am ever the Same.

Puja was performed regularly each day at Alagammal’s tomb (samadhi), ending at midday. As it was too hot to return to Skandashram a small hut was built which was used for cooking and the return journey to the Ashram was delayed until the evening. Eventually Chinnaswami decided to stay there permanently and lived in the hut along with Dandapaniswami. Due to the fact that some of the food now had to be brought here, there was at times not enough to eat in Skandashram. This led to differences of opinion, which Sri Ramana settled with his usual diplomacy.

Sri Ramana’s followers soon noticed that he visited his mother’s samadhi each day. They therefore started to wait for him there. One day he was invited to a lavish meal by a devotee. A large number of townspeople also turned up and the meal turned into a feast which continued into the evening. As nightfall had set in, Ramana was unable to return to Skandashram, so he remained at the foot of the hill overnight. The following day the same thing happened again. In addition, Ganapati Muni had joined them and gave an enthralling lecture which lasted late into the night. Over the days that followed Sri Ramana was always detained for some reason until it was too late to return to Skandashram.

Finally Kunju Swami and Gopal Rao were asked to look after Skandashram. For a week they waited for Ramana’s return in vain. As they did not like to stay up there without their master they came back down and from that time on the Ashram was left empty. A short time later the deserted Ashram was broken into. Amongst other things the thieves removed a clock and a wooden plank which Ramana had used. When he heard about it, he said, “It is good. Nobody need go there to look after the place anymore.”

This marked the beginning of Ramanashram. Sri Ramana once expressed it thus, “The same shakti (power) that had brought me from Madurai to Tiruvannamalai brought me down here from the hill.”

In 1924 there was a robbery at the Ashram. One summer night Sri Ramana and four of his companions were sleeping in one of the thatched huts near the windows, when they heard thieves trying to climb in through the window. Kunju Swami was furious and wanted to confront the thieves, but Ramana dissuaded him saying, “Let these robbers play their role; we shall stick to ours. Let them do what they like; it is for us to bear and forebear. Let us not interfere with them.” He suggested to the thieves that he and his companions would leave the hut so that they could take whatever they wanted. But when they came out, the robbers beat them with sticks. They also beat Ramana on his thigh, who said, “If you are not satisfied yet, you may strike the other leg also.” And to Ramakrishna, who wanted to protect him, he said humorously, that he had only received his appropriate puja (puja in Tamil means worship but also beating).

The Ashram inmates waited in the northern hut while the thieves rummaged through everything. The things they found, however, were worth no more than a few rupees. Being extremely disappointed and not willing to believe that this was everything, one of them returned brandishing a stick and threatened, “Where is your money, where do you keep that?” Maharshi answered that there was no money as they were poor sadhus living upon alms.

At two in the morning the thieves finally left and Kunju Swami, who had managed to escape to get help from town, returned accompanied by several policemen. But Ramana was sitting in the northern hall conversing calmly with his disciples about spiritual matters as if nothing had happened.

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