Sonntag, 14. September 2008

8.8. At the Tortoise Rock

Virupaksha Cave (Photo Ananda)

In 1912 Ramana had a kind of second death experience. One morning, around 10 a.m. he was on his way back from the temple tank at the Pachaiamman Shrine together with his companions Palaniswami, Vasudeva Sastri and others. There they had taken an oil bath. The sun was by now burning hot and the ascent to Virupaksha Cave was causing additional strain. When they came near the Tortoise Rock, which is a huge boulder on the path, Ramana was suddenly overcome by a bodily weakness. He supported himself against the rock. His skin turned dark and his companions thought he was going to die.

Vasudeva Sastri reports, “While all else stood at a distance weeping, I suddenly embraced him. I was a bachelor at the time and had the liberty to do so. No one else used to touch Swami’s body. He was in that state for about ten minutes, I think, and then gained consciousness. I jumped about with joy. ‘Why this weeping? You thought I was dead? If I am to die, will I not tell you beforehand?’ Bhagavan said, consoling us.”

Ramana described his experience as follows, “Suddenly the view of nature in front of me disappeared and got covered up like a sheet of white cloth. … All around me was the view of the white cloth. My head was reeling. The circulation of blood and the beating of the heart stopped, and my body began to get dark in colour, same as what happens to a dead body, and as that slowly increased, Vasu thought that I was really dead and began to weep, and embraced me. The change in my body’s colour, Vasu’s embrace, the shivering of his body, and the talks of the others around me – I was conscious of all these. I was also conscious of my hands and feet getting chill, and the stopping of the beats of my heart, but I had no fear in me. The flow of my thoughts and the consciousness of my self were not lost and I was not worried about my body’s condition. I sat cross-legged in the padmasanam pose [lotus seat]. I was not leaning on the rock behind. The circulation of blood stopped but the sitting posture remained intact. All that lasted for about fifteen minutes. Suddenly energy permeated throughout my body. The circulation of blood and the beating of the heart commenced. The black colour of my body disappeared. I began to perspire pro-fusely from all pores in my body. I opened my eyes, got up and said: ‘Come on. Let us go.’ We then reached the Virupaksha Cave without any further incidents.”46

It is possible that this event allowed Ramana’s final transition to a normal outer life. One thing is certain, around this time his life started to follow a normal path again. This development had been gradual and had started to set in in the years leading up to this event. He had started to react to visitors and had slowly started speaking again, although still very little. He ate and drank regularly and took care of his body. He performed all kinds of domestic work. He also carved many walking sticks, which he then gave away, and likewise sthingys and cups which he carved out of coconut shells and then polished so long that they started to shine. He developed a good deal of practical ability in daily life, became an extraordinarily good and painstaking cook, a talented architect and in all that he did was extremely economical and tidy. Increasingly his life followed a precise timetable, in which everything had its fixed place.
46 Both reports in: Nagamma: Letters, pp. 121ff

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