Sonntag, 14. September 2008

14.6. Other Ashram Animals

Ramana with the white peacock

One day devotees brought a deer named Valli to the Ashram. Again Ramana did not want to accept it at first. Finally Madhava Swami said he was willing to look after the deer and so it was allowed to stay. It soon became the darling of the Ashram. Annamalai Swami relates, “Valli often came to the Hall and put her forehead on the soles of Bhagavan’s feet. Sometimes when she did this Bhagavan would play with her by pushing his feet strongly against her head. Valli would respond by playfully butting Bhagavan’s feet. At other times, when Valli danced on her hind legs, Bhagavan would stand alongside her, imitating her actions by dancing with his feet and waving his arms.”113

One day Valli disappeared. A search was organized and she was found injured with a broken leg. She was bandaged and placed in a corner of the old dining room, but she did not have long to live. Shortly before her death Sri Ramana sat at her side. He laid one of his hands on her head and with the other one touched her Heart and kept both hands in this position for more than one hour. He stayed at her side until she died at around five p.m. Ramana helped Annamalai Swami to build a small shrine for Valli near the back door of the Ashram.

Another well-known Ashram animal was the white peacock. He was presented in April 1947 as a gift from the Rani of Baroda. When Ramana saw him he said, “Isn’t it enough that ten or twelve coloured peacocks are here? They may come to fight with this one because it is of a different variety. Besides that it has to be protected against attacks of cats. Why this? It is better to send it back to its own place.” The person who had brought it, however, took no notice and simply left the peacock there. It was decided that Krishnaswami should care for it.

Once when the peacock ran away, Krishnaswami caught it and brought it back. Ramana soothing laid his hand on its neck saying, “You naughty chap, where did you go? How can we manage to look after you, if you go away like this? Please don’t. There will be cruel animals elsewhere. Why not stay on here?” Thus he persuaded it. The peacock did not run away anymore but instead liked to walk about the Ashram premises. Each day he would visit the site where the Temple for the Mother was being built, so Ramana jokingly called him ‘supervisor’. Sometimes he strutted along the queues of people eating in the dining hall and so received the title ‘the sarvadhikari’s assistant’.

The peatcock had its perch near Ramana’s couch and it also slept there at night. Ramana took great care of it, plucked lice out of its feathers and taught it not to eat insects and caterpillars but to feed itself on vegetarian food only.

The Old Hall had by now become too small, so Ramana usually sat in the open Jubilee Hall. He also slept there outside in summer. The peacock made a lot of mess, so a cage was built for it and installed in the Jubilee Hall near Ramana’s couch. The management decided that in winter the animal should stay outside at night, whereas Ramana was meant to sleep in the warm Old Hall. But Ramana refused saying, “The peacock came to us from somewhere. What respect is it to that guest if we make him sleep outside while we sleep inside? If a relative comes to your house, is it proper to make him sleep on the veranda while you sleep inside the house?” And he made the point by staying outside in the Jubilee Hall together with the white peacock for the next two nights.

The rumour circulated in the Ashram that the white peacock was a reincarnation of Sri Ramana’s former longstanding attendant Madhava Swami, as the peacock displayed similar patterns of behaviour. It had been one of Madhava Swami’s duties to repair books and rebind them. When the peacock made its rounds, it often pecked at the books which Madhava had given a new binding to, leaving the others untouched. The peacock also did not like to have anything to do with females of its species, as had been the case with Madhava Swami. It also liked to lie down in his former favourite place. For that reason Ramana also called it ‘Madhava’.

On the night Sri Ramana died the white peacock sat on the roof of the room in which he was dying and screeched continuously.

Several dogs lived in the Ashram. The most famous was Jackie, who was later buried in the Ashram compound alongside the deer Valli and a crow. He did not much like playing and did not join the other dogs, but would sit in front of Sri Ramana, fixing his gaze on his eyes incessantly. He would also not start eating until Ramana had taken a mouthful of food. One day when a stray dog entered the Ashram through the back door, Jackie started barking. Ramana calmed him saying, “You just close your eyes. You just close your eyes. You just close your eyes. If you do this you will not be able to see the dog.” At once Jackie closed his eyes.

One day Jackie was attacked by a ferocious pig and was seriously injured. His stomach was torn open and the intestines came out. It required a lot of stitches to close it up and afterwards Jackie was carried to a mantapam opposite the Ashram to recover. At the same time Kunju Swami was suffering from a severe abscess on his foot and was also staying in the same mantapam. When Sri Ramana came to visit them, Kunju Swami was crying out in pain and fell at Maharshi’s feet. But Ramana said to him, “See, how Jackie is silently bearing his pain after such a major operation, without so much as a whimper!” This was helpful to Kunju Swami and his pain became bearable for him. Ramana stroked Jackie and enquired if the meal had been brought and then left both patients.

Jackie also died in Sri Ramana’s arms.

113 Godman: Living by the Words, p. 82

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