Sonntag, 14. September 2008

6.1. Sri Ramana's Steadfastness

Sri Ramana with Mother

Silence is unceasing eloquence. It is the best language.There is a state when words cease and silence prevails.

Ramana’s disappearance and his parting note were soon noticed. His family was stunned. His mother Alagammal, who was living in Manamadurai, was informed and every effort was made to try and find him. But nobody, neither friends nor neighbours, had any idea where he might be. People hoped for his return, but in vain, as weeks and months went by without any news. Alagammal’s anguish increased and she beseeched both her brothers-in-law, Subba and Nelliappa Iyer, to try and find him. It was rumoured that Ramana had joined a theatrical troupe performing religious dramas in Trivandrum. Nelliappa Iyer twice went there to look for him among the various troupes, once accompanied by Alagammal – but without success.

Almost two years went by and people started to believe that they would never see the lost son again. On 1st May 1898 Subba Iyer died. Nelliappa Iyer and the rest of the family came to the funeral in Madurai. During the funeral a young man from Tiruchuli brought the unexpected news that he had met Tambiran and had heard him talking about a young Swami, called Venkataraman, who came from Tiruchuli. The Swami was a venerated saint in Tiruvannamalai and was undoubtedly the person they were looking for.

Immediately after the funeral Nelliappa Iyer and a friend started out for Tiruvannamalai. There they learned that the young Swami was living in the mango grove. However, when they went there they were prevented from entering by the owner of the garden, who said that Ramana was a mauni, a silent saint, and should not be disturbed. Nelliappa Iyer therefore wrote the following message on a piece of paper for his nephew, “Nelliappa Iyer, pleader of Manamadurai, wishes to have your darshan”, and asked Naicker, to pass on the message.

Ramana recognized his uncle’s handwriting. The piece of paper came from a records office and had on the back some official entries in the handwriting of his older brother Nagaswami. From this he was able to conclude in addition that Nagaswami had become an employee in a records office. He agreed that his uncle should enter.

When Nelliappa Iyer saw his unwashed nephew, with his unusually long fingernails and his unkempt hair, he was seized by the contradictory feelings of pleasure at seeing him and concern about his physical condition. As he regarded him as a mauni he did not speak to him directly but said to Palaniswami and Naicker, that it was a great joy to see a family member in such a high state of development. Nevertheless the welfare of the body should not be totally neglected. His family would certainly have no desire to make him give up his vows and lifestyle, but they would like to have him near them in Manamadurai so that they could care for him. He could live there undisturbed as an ascetic and mauni at the shrine of a great saint. All his wants would be seen to. Nelliappa Iyer argued and pleaded with all the eloquence of a lawyer. But Ramana did not move and gave not the least sign of recognition.

The uncle finally had no alternative but to give up. He sent Alagammal the joyful news that he had found her son, but that he had changed a lot and sadly would not return. Nelliappa Iyer himself returned to Manamadurai after five days, unsuccessful in his mission.

About his two uncles, Nelliappa and Subba Iyer, Sri Ramana later remarked, “Subba Iyer had great courage and pride, but this man [Nelliappa] was very meek and mild. If it had been Subba Iyer, he would never have gone back home leaving me here. He would have bundled me up and carried me away. As I am destined to stay here, my whereabouts were not known so long as he was alive. … Nelliappa Iyer, being spiritually minded and mild in his ways, left me here saying, ‘Why trouble him?’”23

Later, Nelliappa Iyer visited his nephew twice while he was living in the Virupaksha cave. Ramana had by then started to give spoken answers to his disciples’ questions and to interpret the holy Advaita scriptures. Once, whilst he was in the midst of an explanation about the Dakshinamurti Stotram, his uncle unexpectedly came to visit and was astounded by his nephew’s erudition. From that day on Nelliappa knew that he need not trouble himself anymore and returned home deeply satisfied. Soon afterwards he died.

23 Nagamma: Letters, pp. 358 ff

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