Sonntag, 14. September 2008

16.2. In the Nirvana Room

The Nirvana room today

Sri Ramana found it increasingly difficult to climb the steps of the eastern entrance of the New Hall. When it was suggested that he should use the northern entrance, where the steps were not so high, he refused, as the northern part of the Hall was the women’s area and he did not want to disturb them by entering there. But from now on, whenever he was not giving darshan, he remained in the small room on the eastern side of the New Hall, which had its own bath. This room became known as the ‘Nirvana room’, as it was here that he died.

Ramana continued with his daily routine for as long as possible. He would take his bath one hour before sunrise. Mornings and evenings he gave darshan at fixed times, he went through the Ashram post and supervised the printing of the Ashram publications. He was extremely attentive to everything and everybody, the only thing he paid no attention to was his illness. Nevertheless, more and more restrictions became necessary.

A glance through the window into the small Nirvana Room gives sight of the things which Ramana has used during his life. You see his stick leaning against his bed.

When one day the Ashram management decided that Sri Ramana needed more rest and kept the doors closed for several hours, he rebelled against their decision saying, “Many people come from great distances for darshan and cannot wait till evening; they must not be disappointed.”

On 7th August the growth was removed for the third time by a well-organized team of doctors under the guidance of the renowned South Indian surgeon Dr. Guruswami Mudaliar. All the instruments he needed for the operation had been brought from a clinic in Madras. There were about thirty doctors present. As the electricity supply was unreliable, precautions were taken to avoid any power cuts during the operation.

Large numbers of devotees were also present and after the operation, when Ramana learned that so many people were waiting outside, he insisted on giving darshan for them on the veranda of the dispensary.

After the third operation the wound was again treated with radium and over the following months a slight improvement was noticed, so that once again people began to hope. But by the end of November the tumour had returned, this time higher up the arm. Day by day Ramana’s strength was gradually ebbing away and his rheumatism was worsening. More than fifteen doctors came from Madras to decide if another operation was necessary; including Dr. Raghavachari. The District Medical Officer from Vellore also had a look at the growth. The doctors once again decided that another operation was needed.

Major Chadwick reports, “The night before this operation took place I went in to see Bhagavan and on my knees begged him not to have it. It was obvious it could do no good. Each time the tumour had grown bigger and bigger, spreading up his arm to the arm-pit. I prayed that this extra suffering was useless and that he would let us be spared the strain, but he refused, for, as he said, the doctors had taken so much trouble, it would be a shame to disappoint them now.”122

The fourth operation was performed on 19th December. The doctors were in unanimous agreement that if the tumour were to return after this operation, then they would be unable to do anything more for him and the most they could do would be to relieve his pain. After the operation the Maharshi was very weak and hardly able to keep anything down. By now the wound had spread so that it covered nearly the whole of his upper arm.

T.S. Iyer, a homeopathic doctor famous throughout South India, was called in and started his treatment. The Maharshi's condition improved for a while and devotees again started to hope. The darshan hours could be prolonged to two hours each, mornings and evenings.

Sri Ramana moved definitively into the small Nirvana room. Each morning and evening he would sit on the veranda of the tiny room for one hour to give darshan. As the Nirvana room is very narrow, devotees were no longer able to sit in his presence as they did previously.

Various rumours circulated about the state of Ramana’s health. A continuous stream of doctors visited the Ashram. Several renowned astrologers came to read his horoscope. It was said that the Maharshi did not have long to live, days perhaps, weeks at most.

Large crowds of people came for his 70th birthday (jayanti) celebrations on 5th January 1950. Sri Ramana stayed with them for several hours in the morning and evening.
122 Sadhu Arunachala: Reminiscences, p. 78

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