Sonntag, 14. September 2008

2.4. Bhakti

The Meenakshi temple in Madurai, a free photo from

After the death experience, bhakti, the loving veneration of and devotion to God, gained in importance for Ramana. Some months before his enlightenment he had read the first spiritual book in his life, Sekkilar’s Periyapuranam, the life story of the 63 Tamil saints (nayanars). Their statues can be found in the Meenakshi temple in Madurai. Ancient legends tell how the 63 saints had obtained Shiva’s grace and had renounced everything and left home.

After his enlightenment Ramana started to visit the temple regularly. He recalled, “Formerly I would go there rarely with friends, see the images, put on sacred ashes and sacred vermilion on the forehead and return home without any perceptible emotion. After the awakening into the new life, I would go almost every evening to the temple. I would go alone and stand before Shiva, or Meenakshi or Nataraja or the sixty-three saints for long periods. I would feel waves of emotion overcoming me. The former hold on the body had been given up by my spirit, since it ceased to cherish the idea I-am-the-body. The spirit therefore longed to have a fresh hold and hence the frequent visits to the temple and the overflow of the soul in profuse tears. This was God’s (Isvara’s) play with the individual spirit. I would stand before Isvara, the Controller of the universe and the destinies of all, the Omniscient and Omnipresent, and occasionally pray for the descent of his grace upon me so that my devotion might increase and become perpetual like that of the sixty-three saints. Mostly I would not pray at all, but let the deep within flow on and into the deep without. Tears would mark this overflow of the soul and not betoken any particular feeling of pleasure or pain.”10

During his last month in Madurai, Ramana suffered from an unusual intense pain in his head and a burning sensation. But all symptoms of his profound change disappeared when he stepped into the temple at Tiruvannamalai for the first time on 1st September 1896.

10 Narasimha Swami: Self Realization, pp. 23ff

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