Sonntag, 14. September 2008

15.4. Political Events

Sri Ramana reading

When one considers the momentous political events which occurred during this decade in particular, both in India and throughout the rest of the world, it is surprising what a small part they played in the life of the Maharshi and the Ashram. For example, in 1939 India entered the Second World War and on 15th August 1947 Mahatma Gandhi's non-violent resistance movement against British colonial power finally achieved its aim of Independence for India.

Sri Ramana always read the newspapers and he and his devotees listened to the news on the radio. Occasionally politics were discussed in the Hall. Professor Subbaramayya reports the following interesting conversation, “It was June 10, 1940. The radio announced the fall of Paris to Germany and the entry of Italy into the war against the Allies. … I had just heard a rumour that to counteract the action of Italy, Turkey had declared war on the side of the Allies. I asked Narayana Iyer, who was the latest arrival from the town whether he had heard any such announcement on the radio. Before Narayana Iyer could reply, Sri Bhagavan Himself said ‘No, it cannot be true.’ Narayana Iyer confirmed this rare reply of Sri Bhagavan, and turning to me, observed ‘France, a first-rate Power has fallen in three days, Then do you think our Britain can hold out longer than three weeks at the most?’ Upon this, Sri Bhagavan again observed ‘Um! – but Russia – ‘ Abruptly Sri Bhagavan cut short his speech and resumed silence. Neither of us had the courage to ask Sri Bhagavan what Russia was going to do, though it appeared strange that Sri Bhagavan should mention Russia who was at that time friendly to Germany. It will be remembered that war broke out between Germany and Russia only one year afterwards, and it was in fact Germany’s attack on Russia that turned the tide of fortune in favour of the Allies.”118

When on 30th January 1948 Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated in New Delhi, the whole of India went into mourning. A newspaper reporter came to the Ashram to ask the Maharshi his opinion about the tragedy. Ramana said with a shaking voice, “For the Mahatma’s death in this tragic manner, every person’s heart is mourning. What is there in particular that I could say? Who is there who is not grieved? If I say anything, you will publish it and then, one after another, people will come and ask me. What is the good of it?” With these words he sent the reporter away and went for his walk. At half past four the women sang ‘Raghupati Raghava Rajaram’ (one of Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite songs). With tears in his eyes Ramana indicated that they should continue with the singing. At 5 p.m. a conch was blown and an arati-celebration (waving of lights) was held in the Mother’s Temple for the death of the Mahatma.

After Gandhi's assassination the whole country was plunged into turmoil. There were arson attacks and murders everywhere. The radio in the Hall reported that the situation was very serious. In Tiruvannamalai too people were worried and the town was placed under police guard. Sri Ramana’s grand nephew V. Ganesan reports, “It was 9.30 in the morning. Suddenly loud cries of ‘Catch them, kill them’ were heard. One mad crowd was chasing another and all of them entered the Ashram from the hill-side. There was panic inside the Ashram. A devotee in the Old Hall rushed to the doors and bolted them; the meditating devotees were naturally disturbed. In the midst of all the tense commotion, Bhagavan was unperturbed, a picture of attention, correcting some proof.”119

118 Subbaramayya: Reminiscences, pp. 77ff
119 Purushottama Ramana, p. [16]

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