Sonntag, 14. September 2008

8.7. Sannyasins and Sadhus

In people’s eyes Sri Ramana led the life of a sannyasin, but he never had any formal initiation. Once a disciple of the present Shankaracharya of Sringeri45tried to persuade Ramana to be initiated into sannyasa. Ramana refused. But the sannyasin was stubborn, arguing for more than three hours. Then he went away to get all the things needed for performing the ceremony of initiation saying Ramana should think it over in the meantime. Shortly after the sannyasin left, an old man, who Ramana had never seen before, came to the Virupaksha Cave carrying a bundle of Sanskrit books. The old man asked permission, to leave the books there for a while and to pick them up later on his way back. Ramana leafed through them with interest. The first book he picked up was the Arunachala Puranam. It fell open at the following verse, “Those who reside within the radius of three yojanas (30 miles) of this place [Arunachala], even if they have not had initiation, shall by my supreme decree attain Liberation, free from all attachments.” He copied this out on a slip of paper, laid the book back and closed his eyes. When he later looked up the books had disappeared. Finally the sannyasin returned. Sri Ramana gave him the piece of paper and he was forced to accept that for Maharshi no initiation was needed.

Some of the other sadhus who lived on the mountain, watched Sri Ramana’s increasing fame with suspicion and envy. An elderly sadhu felt particularly envious and wanted to drive Ramana out of the Virupaksha Cave. He threw some rocks over a ledge at the young Swami sitting under it, but they missed. When the sadhu tried it again, Ramana got up and caught him. But the sadhu only laughed and said that it was meant only as an innocent joke. Without rebuking him Ramana let him go.

A certain Balananda was particularly intrusive. One day he said to Ramana, “I will say I am your Guru and get money from the visitors. It is no loss to you so don’t contradict me.” Ramana did not reply and when visitors came, Balananda said to them, “This young Swami is my disciple. Yes, give the child some sweets.”

Once Balanada sat beneath Ramana and gazed steadily into his eyes in order to put him into nirvikalpa samadhi (samadhi without bodily awareness). But all that happened was that Balananda fall asleep, Ramana got up and went away with his disciples.


45 In Sringeri in the South Shankara founded his first monastery. The Shankaracharya is the head of the monastery following a strict line of succession.

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