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- Eastern Religions & Beliefs
Living in This World Without Body Consciousness!
Ramana at Thiruvannamalai after he left home!
Liberated even while alive!
After a bout of ill health, one loses his mental stamina. But there are some courageous souls who remain indifferent to the illness that affects their bodies. In fact, they do not identify with their bodies. They are called “Jeevan Mukthas”- “Liberated even while alive”. The foremost name that comes to my mind is “Sri Ramana Maharishi” who lived in South India at Tiruvannamalai, a holy temple town of South having a gigantic temple complex known as “Arunachaleswara temple”. I don’t claim that Sri Ramana achieved this rarest feat in just one life time. In several of his previous births, Ramana might have performed penances and austerities which culminated in Self-Realization. In fact, at the tender age of fourteen, the boy Venkataramana’ left his home in husk without informing his dear mother and elder brother about his sudden departure! He only left a handwritten note stating, “This one is leaving to search his father! Of course, his father has passed away even before Venkataramana tuned fourteen! He referred Lord Arunachaleswara seated in the holy temple at Tiruvannamalai.
The holy hill above the temple!
The boy Venkata Ramana leaves the home in search of his father!
Having decided to leave the home, he had only five rupees in his possession. At that time, the train tickets were costing fractions of rupees known as ‘ana’. Sixteen such anas make one rupee. He had referred a old map and came to understand that Tiruvannamalai is near Dindivanam. He purchased a ticket for the train going to Dindivanam. With the few anas left, he could crunch a mini breakfast at the railway station, boarded the train and sat there calmly. When the station was reached, he alighted and thought of proceeding to the destination by foot which was around sixteen miles away. The weather was sultry. Ramana started walking for a few miles and he was not able to tolerate thirst and hunger. He fainted in front of a Brahmin house! The benevolent owner of the house noticed the boy lying on the street. He immediately carried the boy inside and revived him by sprinkling water. When Ramana opened his eyes, he was given water to drink and a breakfast. This brought him fully into consciousness. The house owner enquired him where he was going in the hot sun? Ramana wanted to avoid revealing any information about him, lest someone may trail him. He gave some vague answer. That day was the birthday of Lord Krishna celebrated throughout India. Lot of Sweet and savories will be prepared and offered to Krishna in the evening rituals. The lady of the house found a glow in the face of Ramana and she told him to take his meals and rest to witness the evening celebrations. After meals, Ramana was given a bundle of the preparations for eating on the way. He thanked the family and proceeded further.
Ramana in Ashram with the temple in background!
On the way to Arunachala!
Since he had eaten his fill and rested, he could walk now energetically and soon after he entered the precincts of the famous pilgrimage town! He saw the huge temple tank. Someone asked him whether he wanted to tonsil his head (hair). He accepted and sat there. Head fully shaven, he removed his dhoti, cut a portion of it and wore as a loin cloth. Even nature was gracious on that day. There was a downpour which drenched him which is more than equivalent to sumptuous bath. He was walking towards the temple looking at the gigantic tower. Soon, he entered into the sanctum and saw the beautiful Shiva Linga and poured his heart, “as per your command, I have reached here my Lord! He was standing before the sanctum for several hours. The temple in charge, asked him to move away as the sanctum was about to close. He came out and sat near a shelter. The offerings to the Lord were distributed to the drummer and other music players. When Ramana stretched his hand, he was not given any. But the drummer shared a portion of his share with Ramana.. He used to sit for hours in deep meditation, when he would forget himself completely and oblivious of the surroundings. Many times this has happened. Some mischievous boys used to throw small stones at Ramana. But his concentration was not at all disturbed. One day, he thought of hiding himself in some remote spot beyond the reach of the boys. There was an underground cellar which was found to be a suitable place for his meditations. He descended there through the steps and sat there as a sculpture without moving. He forgot hunger and thirst. The cellar floor was always wet and many insects, cockroaches abound there beside some creepers of poisonous varieties. The insects started biting his posterior skin. Blood and pus used to come, but Ramana was oblivious of pain or surroundings. Six months passed thus without food or water. Long nails started growing. Fortunately one devotee casually saw someone meditating in the dark wet cellar oblivious of hunger and thirst. With the help of some of his friends, he descended there with light. The scene was horrific. Blood and pus from the skin was spreading on the floor. They tried to lift him up slowly but the skin was completely attached to the floor and peeled off. Somehow he was brought up and taken to a safer place in the hill. The dedicated team treated his wound, fed him forcibly and cleaned his body. Because of the dedicated sprit of the group, Ramana was alive until the year 1950.
His statue at his Mahasamadhi!
Ramana's life on the hill cave!
He was mostly silent, self absorbed and had no body conscious throughout his life. He acted as the Atma within and cleared the doubts of many visitors who thronged to his place to see him and put their doubts in front of him. His benign silence solved the doubts that arose in the mind of the visitors. His mere look dissolved their doubts. Sometime on rare occasion, he used to write the answer on a slate or note book. To some devotees. he clarified their doubts in few words. After a long search for the missing son, his mother along with a relative reached Tiruvannamalai after knowing that a boy was staying in the hill. When the mother saw the boy, she wept piteously for deserting them and leaving the home. The mother pleaded with Ramana to return. But the boy was stubborn and he did not even utter a word. When some visitor pleaded with Ramana to give a reply to his mother, he simply said, “what is destined to happen can’t be prevented, hence it would be wiser to keep quiet. Finding their pleas failed, the mother returned to her home. After few years, the mother came back with his brother and stayed there serving him in the best way possible.
His room with the bed and other items kept as memorabilia!
Sarcoma removal without anesthesia!
In the later years, due to his neglect of the body, sarcoma developed on his arm. His devotees were anxious that he should be restored back to health so that he will teach them further on the intricacies of Atma and Self-realization. Even surgery was performed but it arose again in the same place. At some point, when the Surgeon insisted for one more surgery, Ramana told him he need no anesthesia during the surgery. The Doctor had to abide his wish. Just before operation, Ramana was able to detach completely from the body feeling. The operation was performed and Ramana was not showing any pain. This is how he detached from body conscious always. To the spiritual seekers, he used to affirm, “you are not the body, mind, senses or intellect, you are the Self within which is ever existing in constant bliss, full of wisdom! Annihilate the thoughts one by one and the thoughtless state is you. After teaching the truth of existence to one and all including many Westerners, Ramana passed away fully conscious and a glowing star was seen reaching the top of the hill at that time. When someone lamented what will happen to them when the Master leaves them, he told them, ‘where I can go? I am always here!
Ramana proved to the world that anyone can live without body consciousness once they know the answer to the query, “Who Am I”?