The life of Ramana Maharshi as an individual ended in the great meeting that took place in the Sanctum Santorum of the Arunachala Temple. In his words he was, thereafter, in the hands of a higher power which did with him whatever it pleased.
The young renunciate sought out places inside the temple where he could sit in spiritual absorption. His peace was disturbed by “urchins” who took pleasure in pelting stones at him. He withdrew into a dark pit in an underground cave. Here his body was ravaged by vermin and poisonous insects viciously feeding on his blood. His body was besmeared with unwashed dirt, his hair became a clotted mass, and his fingernails grew so long and curly that his hands were not useful for any purpose. He sat for some weeks on a floor which was always infested by ants and, despite their constant crawling and biting, he sat for hours with eyes closed, leaning against the wall in samadhi (contemplation), which receieved the imprint of his back. The visitors could not endure for even a few minutes the ants which he endured for hours, days and weeks, losing his body consciousness. Further details about his life can be found in several excellent biography on his life.
His state may be beyond the grasp of most human beings but we can certainly relate to the impact His presence had on those who were drawn to Him. We will study a few of them.
About 1902 Sivaprasakam Pillai put several questions to the Maharshi and, since the Sage was not then speaking, they were answered in writing. These answers constitute the first set of instructions written by the Maharshi and remain the quintessence of all the teachings he gave thereafter.Sivaprakasam Pillai underwent a transformation under the influence of the Maharshi. He regretted his passion for woman and started pursuing a spiritual life. He resigned his job and started living a life of intense devotion. Maharshi commented on his death that he became “one with the Light of Siva”.
Suri Nagamma was a simple religiously inclined lady who became widowed as a child. She came under the influence of the Maharshi and became a permanent resident of the ashram. She looked upon the Maharshi as her father and Guru. She developed the power to write Telugu poems and eventually authored “Letters from Sri Ramanasram” which is regarded as a definitive work of the teachings of Bhagavan.
Ganapati Muni was a poet, scholar and seeker of spiritual powers for the welfare of the world. In spite of his vast scriptural knowledge he was not sure of the most effective spiritual path. He approached the Maharshi and received the instructions of the Maharshi. He found the instructions so original and illuminating that he told all his disciples to follow him thereafter.
A cow was gifted to the Maharshi against his objection that compassionate care for a cow would be difficult to provide. The cow known as Lakshmi became very attached to the Maharshi and showed great signs of devotion that would be the envy of a human devotee. Lakshmi calved on the Jayanti (birthday) of the Maharshi. When a new cowshed was constructed Lakshmi would not enter it. She first came to the Maharshi and implored him to step into her new home before she would live there. On her death the Maharshi proclaimed the she had attained liberation. Regular worship to her is offered every Friday at the ashram.
While the Maharshi was meditating near the temple a dancing girl known as Dasi Ratnambal used to bring food to him for some days. Though she received no instructions from the Maharshi the offering of food influenced her. She eventually lead a simple life rearing a son who distributed religious literature when she passed away.
Paul Brunton an Englishman was curious about occult powers and supernatural phenomena. He toured India taking interest in “wonder workers” with thaumaturgic powers. After many disappointing encounters he met the Maharshi and experienced the peace that passeth understanding. His book “A Search in Secret India” influenced many Westerners to make their way to the Maharshi. Interested readers may read “The Maharshi and His Message.”
Fortunate are those who came in contact with the Maharshi during his earthly life. The accounts of some of those devotees are available in video format on this website. Those who practice His teachings can experience His Grace first-hand.
Quote from Bhagavan
By a steady and continuous investigation’ into the nature of the mind, the mind is transformed into That to which the ‘I’ refers; and that is in fact the Self.