Sonntag, 14. September 2008

3.1 Departure for Arunachala

Ramana's farewell letter

"When I left home, I was like a speck swept on by a tremendous flood, I knew not my body or the world, whether it was day or night."

Ramana now faced a continual conflict between the demands placed upon him by his everyday life in the form of family and teachers, and absorption in the Self, which was now almost constant. This conflict could not last for ever and on 29th August 1896, approximately six weeks after his enlightenment, it finally came to a head. One day he had failed to study properly some lesson on English grammar. As punishment for this he had been given the task of copying out the lesson three times. When he came to the third copy his mind revolted against this soulless mechanical exercise. He pushed the work aside, sat upright in yoga posture, closed his eyes and started to meditate. His elder brother Nagaswami, who had been watching him all the time, cried out ill-temperedly, “Why should one, who behaves thus, retain all this?” The meaning was, that for one who behaves like a sadhu, family life and school made no sense anymore and he had no right to the comforts of domestic life. It was not the first time his brother had made such remarks and reproaches. But this time the shot went home.

Ramana saw that what his brother said was true. At the same moment the thought of Arunachala took full possession of him. He understood that the strong attraction which he felt was a call and decided there and then to set off for Arunachala. He knew, however, that his family would not let him go if he were to explain his plans to them, so he devised a scheme which would enable him to leave secretly. He told his brother that he had to attend a special class in electricity at school at 12 noon. Nagaswami, who had no idea of what was going on in his younger brother’s mind, said, “Well then, do not fail to take five rupees from the box below, and to pay my college fees.”

Ramana went downstairs, ate quickly and obtained the five rupees from his uncle’s wife. He, of course, told her nothing about his plan. He later reflected that this white lie, which was the only one he told during his life, was necessary to enable him to come to Tiruvannamalai.
In an old atlas he searched out the nearest railway station to Tiruvannamalai and saw that it was Tindivanam. Three rupees would suffice for the fare he thought. He wrote a short parting note and left it along with the remaining two rupees.

His letter read, “I have, in search of my Father and in obedience to his command, started from here. THIS is only embarking on a virtuous enterprise. Therefore none need grieve over THIS affair. To trace THIS out, no money need be spent. Your College fee has not yet been paid. Rupees two are enclosed herewith. Thus, _______”11

The letter changes from the personal “I” to the impersonal “THIS” and ends with a long line instead of a signature. From this day on he never signed with his name again. When he was asked later why he did not sign his letter, he answered, “There was nothing deliberate or conscious about it. Simply that the ego did not rise up to sign it.”

11 Narasimha Swami: Self Realization, p. 28

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