This article, Ramana Maharshi's biography, talks about His natural disposition.
When a regular Ashrama came into being, life in it followed a strict routine. Everything about the Ashrama was neat and tidy. There was a spontaneous simplicity and humility about Ramana Maharshi. He would join others in dressing vegetables in the kitchen and would himself willingly follow other regulations of the Ashrama for others to emulate.
One of the few things that made him apparently angry was any special attention on him while serving food. If anyone gave more of any delicacy to him than to others he would severely rebuke him. He once gladly partook of a simple fare brought to him by a devotee, leaving rich dishes and delicacies for others. He never liked people to rise when he entered the hall where he met the devotees. He would tell them that if they stood up for him they should do that for everyone entering the hall. Such was his samadarsitva.
In later years when a Western devotee sat in his presence with her legs outstretched — for she found it difficult to squat — another devotee nearby pointed out to her that such an act was considered disrespectful. The Maharshi reprimanded him, and himself withdrew his outstreched legs (his legs were affected by rheumatism) and tried to squat with difficulty. He remarked, 'They say it is disrespectful to sit with one's legs stretched; how can I be disrespectful to so many people sitting here?'
Most of the time that day the Maharshi sat in a squatting position. The devotee was crestfallen and begged his pardon. He felt relieved only when the Maharshi resumed his usual posture after narrating to them some incidents from the lives of saints about the all-pervasiveness of Brahman.
His forbearance and forgiveness could be characteristic of only a man of realization. Thieves once broke into the Ashrama. They expected a rich booty but were disappointed with their small earnings. Before leaving the place the thieves beat the Maharshi and those around him. The Maharshi's non-resistence was, however, total. When people around asked his permission to retaliate, he dissuaded them saying, “We are sadhus. We should not give up our dharma. If you go and strike them some may die and that will be a matter for which the world will rightly blame us. They are only misguided men, blinded in ignorance, but let us note what is right and stick to it. If your teeth suddenly bite your tongue do you knock them out in consequence?"
While in the hills he was troubled by some pseudo holy men on some occasions. Ramana Maharshi was unmoved but the offenders had their retribution in strange ways. When he was once climbing a rugged and steep part of the hill he disturbed a hornet's nest with his leg. The hornets attacked his offending limb in a fury of revenge. Ramana Maharshi stood still until their fury abated, meekly accepting it as a punishment for his intrusion.
The Ramana Maharshi's later life till his Mahasamadhi in 1950, was one of silent spiritual ministration. We see it revolving round those who came to him for spiritual solace and illumination.
To be continued
About the author
Swami Yuktatmananda of Ramakrishna Mission Vidyalaya, Coimbatore, is a monk of the Ramakrishna Order. This article is an excerpt from His 'The Holy Beacon of Arunachala,' which is a narration of Ramana Maharshi's biography. In this article he describes about Ramana Maharshi's natural disposition.