Sonntag, 14. September 2008

14.2. Wild Animals and Plants

One day a female leopard came to the watering place near the Virupaksha Cave. The frightened devotees beat upon their plates and drums to drive her away. But she quenched her thirst unconcerned and then went on her way with a roar. Ramana said astonished, “Why do you worry so much? The leopard intimated to me by the first roar that she was coming here. After drinking water she told me by another roar that she was going. She went her own way. She never meddled with your affairs. Why are you so scared? This mountain is the home of these wild animals, and we are their guests. That being so, is it right on your part to drive them away?”104

Ramana was equally fearless with regard to scorpions. Vasudeva Sastri recounts, “One day, when we were at Skandashram, I was aghast to find a scorpion climbing up over Bhagavan’s body in the front and another at the same time climbing down his back. I was terrified and wanted to do something. But Bhagavan remained calm, as if nothing happened, and the two scorpions, after crawling over his body as if over a wall, eventually left him. After they left, Bhagavan explained to us, ‘They crawl over you just as they would crawl on the floor or a wall or tree. Do they crawl over these, stinging as they go? It is only because you fear them and do something, that they fear you and do something in return’.”105

Sri Ramana defended all living things, including snakes. When Chinnaswami and others noticed a snake on the Ashram premises near the Hall, they shouted out, “What kind of snake is it? Beat it! Beat it!” When Ramana heard the noise of the beating he cried out, “Who is beating it?” But his protests went unnoticed by the party and they killed the snake. He commented afterwards, “If these persons are beaten like that, then they will know what it means.”

One day, during the time in the Virupaksha Cave, Ramana was stung by hornets when he inadvertently stepped on their nest. He reports, “As I was walking in the bed of a hillstream, I saw a big banyan tree on a boulder, with big leaves, and crossing the stream I wanted to get to the other bank and view from there this big tree. When I accidentally put my left foot near a bush on the way to the other bank, the hornets clustered round my left leg up to the knee and went on stinging. They never did anything to my right leg. I left the left leg there for some time, so that the hornets could inflict full punishment on the leg which had encroached on their domain. After a time, the hornets withdrew and I walked on. The leg got swollen very much and I walked with difficulty and reached ‘Ezhu Sunai’ (Seven Springs) about 2 a.m., and Jadaswami, who was camping there then, gave me some buttermilk mixed with jaggery.”106 When Ramana returned to the Virupaksha Cave he was attended by Palaniswami who carefully drew each sting out of the left leg and rubbed it with oil.

However, in so far as concerns insects which were a nuisance to people, Sri Ramana did not object to killing them. When once a whole army of black ants invaded the Hall through the water drain, he told Annamalai Swami to detect where they were coming from and to put an end to it. The hole was cemented over without further ado. He also used to pluck blood-sucking insects out of the coats of the dogs and throw them into the gleaming coals. Similarly he did not object if devotees killed mosquitoes or used insecticide in the cowshed.

Maharshi had the same compassionate attitude towards plants as towards animals. One day workers had been deputed to gather mangoes from one of the trees. But instead of climbing up the tree and picking them one by one, they knocked them down with sticks. In this way a large number of leaves were knocked down along with the fruit. Ramana, who was as usual sitting in the Hall, heard the beating and sent a message via his attendants that it should stop at once. When he later passed by the tree and saw the mango leaves in heaps on the floor, he cried out harshly, “In return for giving us fruit, is the tree to be beaten with sticks? Who gave you this work? Instead of beating the tree, you might as well cut it to the roots. You need not gather the fruit. Go away!”

Big tree in the Ashram-garden

Sundaresa Iyer reports a similar incident, “One morning K. was cutting down the ripe coconuts from the trees while Bhagavan was returning from the cowshed. Bhagavan asked K. what rod he was using to pluck the coconuts, whether it had a bamboo bit attached to the end or an iron point. K. remarked that it was only an iron sickle. Bhagavan asked, ‘Will not the trees be hurt by the sharp iron? Would not a rod with a bamboo bit at the end serve the purpose?’ But he did not wait for a reply. K. went on with his work without changing his implement. He continued to use the same iron sickle every morning. A week later, at the same time as on the previous occasion, while K. was cutting down the coconuts from the trees, one fell on his forehead, striking his nose very painfully. This news was reported to Bhagavan. While expressing pity for the man, Bhagavan also remarked, ‘Now he will know what it is to be hurt, and also how much his iron sickle must have hurt the uncomplaining trees.’”107
104 dto., p. 26
105 Mudaliar: Day by Day, p. 277
106 dto., p. 187
107 Sundaresa Iyer: At the Feet, p. 33

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