Sonntag, 14. September 2008

10.3. Mother's Temple

One of the most important and lengthy building projects was the erection of the new temple over the mother’s samadhi. The project was started on 1st September 1939, exactly 43 years after Sri Ramana’s arrival at Tiruvannamalai. Again he showed great interest in the construction work. Exceptionally it was not he who did the drawings but a master temple builder, who brought with him several stonemasons experienced in temple construction.

The temple building placed an enormous strain on the Ashram finances. Chinnaswami obtained the best teak wood from Burma and wanted to use only the highest quality material. At times there was not enough money to pay the workers, but then, unexpectedly, donations would be received.

Feroza Taleyarkhan61, a member of an aristocratic Parsi family, reports how she raised considerable funds for the mother’s temple and the New Hall on behalf of Chinnaswami. Ramana, however, was insistent that the collections should not be done in his name.

The construction of the temple took nearly 10 years. It was called Mathrubhuteswara (God in the form of the mother) and was ceremonially opened in March 1949. The official ceremony (kumbhabhishekam) lasted for four days. On the last evening but one before the feast, the Sri Chakra Meru was installed in the inner shrine. Major Chadwick reports how Ramana himself supervised the installation, “It was an extremely hot night and with three charcoal retorts for melting the cement adding to the heat, it must have been intolerable inside the airless cave of the inner shrine, but for about an hour and a half Bhagavan sat there telling the workmen what to do. On the last night of the function he went in procession, opening the doors of the New Hall and temple and passing straight up into the Inner Shrine, where he stood for some five minutes with both hands laid on the Sri Chakra in blessing.”62

At the time of the kumbhabhishekam Sri Ramana was ill with cancer and had already been operated upon twice. The New Hall was finished at the same time as the mother’s temple. The Old Hall had become far too small to accommodate the large numbers of visitors. These were the last buildings to be constructed during the Maharshi’s lifetime.
61 Feroza Taleyarkhan also played an important role in the renovation of the Patala Lingam and in the purchase of Ramana’s birth house in Tiruchuli (Sundaram Mandiram) and the house in Madurai (Ramana Mandiram) through Ramanashram.
62 Chadwick: Reminiscences, pp. 59ff

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