Sonntag, 14. September 2008

8.1. In the Virupaksha Cave

Entrance of Virupaksha Cave (2003)

In the first room of Virupaksha Cave

The beautiful floor in the first room

Entrance to the second room of the Cave

Sivaprakasam Pillai: ”Swami, who am I? And how is salvation to be attained?”Sri Ramana: “By incessant inward enquiry ‘Who am I?’ you will know your-self and thereby attain salvation.”

The Simple Life in the Virupaksha CaveSoon after his mother and his brother returned home Sri Ramana left Pavalakkunru and moved up the hill. He lived for a short time in the Satguru Swami Cave on the south-eastern slope, then in the Namasivaya Cave. He finally settled down in the Virupaksha Cave, where he remained from 1899 to 1916.The Virupaksha Cave is quite large and is about 330 feet above the Arunachaleswara temple on the south-eastern slope. The inner part of the cave contains the remnants of the Saint Virupakshadeva, who performed severe acts of penance there in the 13th century. At the time Ramana took up abode there nobody felt responsible for the Virupaksha math and the cave was empty. There was a lawsuit in progress between two different groups, who both claimed possession of, and the income from, the math. But as no decision had yet been made, nobody was caring for it. The issue of possession was, in fact, only resolved some years later. At the following Kartikai festival the successful litigants came up to the cave and started charging a fee to visit it. So access to the Swami who lived there suddenly became conditional upon payment of a fee, although he himself was not informed of the matter. As large numbers of people were now coming up to see him, quite a few had to go away disappointed when they were told they had to pay.

The tomb of Virupakshadeva today

When Ramana heard about this practice, he left the cave and sat down under a tree. Those collecting the fees then declared this place also to be an outer area belonging to the math and continued to demand money from all those who wanted to approach him. He had no alternative, therefore, but to go away again. At first he lived in the Satguru Swami Cave which was lower down, then in another cave, consequently the Virupaksha Cave was no longer a source of revenue. The owners of the cave finally understood that they could not misuse the young Swami for their own purpose, so they gave up the fees they had collected and asked him to continue to live in the cave. As a result Ramana returned and stayed there until 1916.

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