Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Ramana Maharshi never agreed to take any initiation by any mutt

A devotee who had heard about the meetings of the head of the Sivaganga Mutt and the discussions about Narasimha Bharathi asked Bhagavan, ‘It seems a long time ago someone from the Sringeri Mutt requested Bhagavan to accept diksha [formal initiation].’

Bhagavan: ‘Yes. That is so. That was during the early days of my stay at the Virupaksha cave. A Sastri residing in the Sringeri Mutt came to see me one morning. He saw me, spoke to me for a long time, and before going to the town for meals, drew near me and with folded arms and great respect said, ‘Swami! I have a request to make. Please hear me.’

When I asked him what it was, he said, ‘Swami, as you are born a brahmin, should you not take sannyasa in the regular way? It is an ancient practice. You know all that. What is there for me to tell you? I am anxious to include you in the line of our Gurus. Hence, if you give me the permission, I will come here with all the requisite articles from my Mutt and give you the initiation. If you do not care to wear the full ochre-coloured robes [akhanda kashayam], I respectfully submit that it is enough if your loin cloth at least is of ochre colour. You may think over this well and give me a reply. I am going down the hill to take my meals and will come back by 3 p.m. All the members of our Mutt have heard of your greatness and I have come here to see you at their request. Please do this favour.’

‘A little while after he left, an old brahmin came there with a bundle. His face appeared familiar. It could be seen from the outside of the bundle that there were some books in it. As soon as he came, he placed the bundle opposite to me and like an old acquaintance said, ‘Swami, I have just come. I have not had a bath. There is no one to look after this bundle. I am therefore leaving it with you.’

So saying he left the place. As soon as he went away, why, I do not know, but I felt like opening that bundle and seeing the books. As soon as I opened it, I saw a Sanskrit book in nagari characters with the title ‘Arunachala Mahatmyam’. I did not know before that the Arunachala Mahatmyam is in Sanskrit also. I was therefore surprised and as I opened the book I found the sloka describing the greatness of this place in the words of Iswara:

‘By my ordinance I, Lord Siva, truly bestow my Sayujya [the state of non-dual union with me], which is devoid of attachment, upon those who reside in this holy place [sthala], which extends for three yojanas [around this Hill], even without their receiving initiation and so on, which remove defects.’


‘As soon as I saw that sloka, I felt I could give a fitting reply to that Sastri by quoting that sloka and so hastily copied it out, for the brahmin might come back at any moment, and then tied up the bundle as before after replacing the book. I showed this sloka to the Sastri as soon as he came in the evening. As he was a learned man, he did not say anything further but with great reverence and trepidity saluted me, went away and, it seems, reported everything to Narasimha Bharathi. Narasimha Bharathi felt very sorry for what his disciples had done, and told them to stop all further efforts in that direction. I subsequently translated that sloka and wrote it in a verse in Tamil, ‘Yojanai Munra Mittala Vasarku’. It has now been added at the beginning of the five verses in praise of Arunachala [Arunachala Sthuthi Panchakam]. In the same way, many people tried to convert me to their path. So long as it was mere talk, I used to say, ‘Yes, yes,’ but never agreed to take any initiation. I always used to find some ruse to escape.’

Sources:
1) Letters from Sri Ramanasramam, 13th January, 1949
2) http://sri-ramana-maharshi.blogspot.com/2008/06/greatness-of-arunachala.html

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