Sonntag, 14. September 2008

12.2. The Ashram Management

The various Ashram rules had to be followed by all. For example it was considered important that men and women should sit in separate areas in the Hall. Women were not allowed to stay in the Ashram overnight. In general only those who worked in the Ashram were allowed to live there. Anyone who wanted to meditate could take up residence at the Palakothu sadhu colony, but they had to take care of themselves. Families lived in Ramana Nagar, a settlement near the Ashram. The rich devotee Gounder (the same one who had offered the first couch to Sri Ramana) had purchased the area for this purpose. So in the Ashram itself there was only accommodation for visitors and devotees who worked there, with one or two exceptions, such as, for example, Major Chadwick, Devaraja Mudaliar and Yogi Ramiah.

Sri Ramana left the management of the Ashram to his brother. As sarvadhikari, Chinnaswami endeavoured to retain full control over everything that happened there. This frequently led to arguments with devotees who disagreed with his decisions. But whatever was eventually decided had to be accepted by all. If someone complained to Sri Ramana about Chinnaswami, the Maharshi protected his brother and never reversed his decisions.

If a devotee was guilty of a serious breach of the management rules, he could be banned from entering the Ashram, but this was generally only a temporary exclusion. It was enough to apologize or to promise to abide by the rules in future, to be allowed to return.

There was no point in complaining to Sri Ramana, as he never interfered in such disputes. When Ganapati Sastri (not to be confused with Ganapati Muni) was banished from the Ashram, he complained to Sri Ramana, “Chinnaswami has told me not to come to the Ashram. Bhagavan is just sitting like a stone Vinayaka statue. I have served the Ashram for a long time. I have also do-nated three almiras [cupboards] full of books to the Ashram. Will Bhagavan not ask Chinnaswami why he is not allowing me to come to the Ashram?”76 But he received no answer to his complaint.

Whenever someone wanted to interfere in Ashram affairs Ramana would warn, “People walk up the drive to the Ashram in search of deliverance and then get caught up in Ashram politics and forget what they came for. If such matters were their concern they need not have come to Tiruvannamalai for them.”77 And to enthusiastic reformers he advised that it would be sufficient for them to reform themselves.

If conflicts were brought to him to settle he would answer, “If people with different opinions give up their mouna (silence) which is the embodiment of love, and come to me and say, ‘We will do this,’ and ‘We will do that,’ and enquire of me what I like better of the two, what can I say? If you all agree upon a course of action and then ask me for my opinion, I would then say it is all right. But when you are of two opinions, why do you come to me and ask me which I like the better? What I like is, to know who I am and to remain as I am with the knowledge that what is to happen will happen and what is not to happen will not happen. Is that not right? Do you now understand what Bhagavan likes best?”78

There were, however, cases when Maharshi raised objections. When, for example, the Ashram management decided to close the doors of the Hall for two hours after lunch because of his weakened health, he protested by leaving the Hall and sitting outside to welcome the visitors, commenting, “The management is welcome to close the doors but I am free to meet the visitors here.” In cases such as this, where the decision of the management meant that his devotees were prevented from coming to him for a time or if it would lead to some injustice, he could be uncompromising, saying, “You can look after your Ashram. I am going back to the hill.”
76 Godman: Living by the Words, p. 199
77 Osborne: Ramana Maharshi and the Path, p. 120
78 Nagamma: Letters, p. 385

Keine Kommentare: