Thursday, 9 April 2009

Ramana Maharshi and Mahatma Gandiji

On the night of January 30th, the news of Mahatma Gandhi’s death became known everywhere. I heard the news at home only, because women cannot be in the Ashram in the nights. I went at 7-30 next morning. A prayer was being broadcast over the radio. The news of the death was in the newspapers, and Bhagavan reading it and hearing the prayer,said, “This is the prayer of people who prayed like that throughout his life.” The song “Vaishnava Janato” was broadcast over the radio and Bhagavan listened to it sadly. At 9-45, Bhagavan was about to go out when a newspaper reporter came and requested him to give his views on the tragedy so that they might be published.Bhagavan, his voice choked with emotion, said, “For the Mahatma’s death in this tragic manner, every person’s heart is mourning. What is there in particular that I could say? Who is there who is not grieved? If I say anything, you will publish it and then, one after another, people will come and ask me. What is the good of it?”

So saying, Bhagavan sent the reporter away and went for his walk. On his return, “Vaishnava Janato” was again being broadcast and tears fell from Bhagavan’s eyes.At 4-30 that afternoon, all the ladies began to sing “Raghupati Raghava Rajaram”.With tears in his eyes Bhagavan signed to us to continue. At 5 o’clock the conch shell blew and in view of the Mahatma’s death a special arati (waving of lights) was offered in the Mother’s temple. When the sacred ash and vermilion powder were brought,Bhagavan took them with great reverence.

The day before yesterday, while reading the paper,Bhagavan remarked to someone sitting near him, “Look, didn’t a comet appear some time ago? It is written in this paper that the death of the Mahatma was due to that. So the first result of it is now over.”

What exactly was in Bhagavan’s mind when he said that? Meanwhile, he took up another paper and on reading it,said, “The person who fired the shot, it seems, came up to the Mahatma and, after bowing down, asked him, ‘Why have you come so late today, Sir?’ The Mahatma replied that it was due to some work. The shot was fired immediately after.” Bhagavan then drew a parallel from the Ramayana, saying,“It seems that after Rama killed Ravana, he forgot that he,Rama, had to go to Vaikuntha. So the Devatas took counsel among themselves and then sent Yama, the God of Death,to him. Yama came in the garb of an ascetic, and respectfully said, ‘The work for which you have come is now over; please come to heaven’. This is similar; ‘Swaraj has been obtained; your work is over; why are you still here? Shouldn’t you go back? It is already late’. Thus the Mahatma appears to have been sent away.”

I asked, “The story you have just told us is from the Uttara Ramayana, is it not?”

Bhagavan: “Yes, but not only there. It has been written in another book that, in the case of Krishna, the arrow of Vyadha was the cause of His death; similarly it happened with the Mahatma.”

Yesterday, Harindranath Chattopadhyaya2 showed a photo of Mahatma, and said, “It is a pity that there was never any meeting between Gandhi and Bhagavan.”

Bhagavan: “Some time ago, he came to Tiruvannamalai.A meeting had been arranged for him to be held on the road around the hill, beyond the Ashram. People here thought that he would come to the Ashram on his way back, but owing to the pressure of the crowds it was impossible, and he went away direct to the station. It seems that he very much regretted this afterwards. Shankarlal Banker was very keen on bringing him here, and in 1938, when Rajendra Prasad and Jamnalal Bajaj came here and saw Skandasramam, they wanted to induce the Mahatma to stay there for some time.But it did not happen. If at Sabarmati, or at Wardha anyone said that he was mentally depressed, the Mahatma used to say, ‘Go to Ramanasramam and come back after a month’s stay there’.When Ramaswami Reddiar went to see the Mahatma immediately after taking office as Chief Minister, Madras State,the Mahatma, it seems, asked him for how long he had been going to the Ramanasramam. When he answered that he had been going there for over thirty years, the Mahatma said, ‘Is that so? I have tried thrice, but so far have not been able to go there’. What could he do? How could he come here when he was not left alone for one moment?”

Bhagavan read in today’s paper a report to the effect that the Mahatma had had from a dream the night before the tragedy, a premonition of his death, and that therefore,he had quickly disposed of his papers which had caused the delay in his coming to the prayer. Bhagavan commented, “Yes. For enlightened people, will there not be that much of premonition? They will know, but will not tell others.”

Source: Letters from and Recollections of Sri Ramanasramam Book

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