Sonntag, 14. September 2008

15. 1. The Later Years

Sri Ramana at the age of 68

Seeing the world, the jnani sees the Self which is the substratum of all that is seen; the ajnani, whether he sees the world or not, is ignorant of his true Being, the Self.

Sri Ramana’s health was never particularly good. His head used to shake and in the later years he always used a walking stick to get about. He also looked older than he was. When once Kunju Swami mentioned the matter to him he replied, “What is there so strange in it? If a big elephant is tied down in a small hut, what else happens to that hut except troubles of all sorts? This is the same.”

As time passed he became increasingly weak and suffered from severe rheumatism. The devotees did their best to provide relief, mainly in the form of massage with a variety of oils.

Dr. Srinivasa Rao once said, “You are always in a reclining posture. It is bound to be painful for the body. A little massage would be a great relief.” Ramana answered, “I cannot allow these things. How do you know that I am having some pain?” As the doctor did not give way, the Maharshi replied, “If you think that Ramana is the body stretched out on the couch you may ask the body, if the body is feeling the pain then let it answer by itself. If you go on doing this there would be no end to the attention paid to the body.” To satisfy him Ramana finally let him massage his legs, but said after a few minutes, “Let me also earn some merit [through service for the guru] by massaging my legs.”114 He then continued to massage his legs himself. He liked to joke in this way whenever devotees wanted to massage him. He would let them do it for a while, but then he would take over himself.

The rheumatism gradually spread to his back and shoulders. In addition, a general state of weakness was evident, although he himself took no notice of it. He was in urgent need of more nourishing food, but would not agree to special food being prepared for him.

Ramachandra Rao, an ayurvedic healer and devotee, wanted to prepare a special tonic for him and wrote a long list with all the ingredients and presented it to Ramana. The Maharshi went through it with interest, but then said that he had not the money to buy such expensive things. “If that medicine is good for me, it must necessarily be good for all the others here. Can you give it to them also as well as to me? If people who do physical work don’t need a body-building tonic, how do I who merely sits here and eats? No, no, that can’t be!”

In 1942 Ramana had a bad fall. A dog was chasing a squirrel and he wanted to hold the dog back and so stretched out his walking stick, as a result he slipped and broke his collarbone.
114 Unforgettable Years, pp. 151ff

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