Monday, March 18, 2013

The story of how Bhagavan's journey started from home to Arunachala, when he was possesed by Divine.

On the map Venkataramana located the station closest to Tiruvannamalai (Arunachalam). He needed three rupees to reach the place. That day his brother gave him five rupees and asked him to go to his college and pay his fees. After leaving home Venkataramana wrote a letter to his brother as follows:

I have left to seek Father. Nobody need worry about me. No money need be spent to search for me; no one should try to find me. I have not paid your college fees. I have taken three rupees out of the college fees, and the balance of two rupees is with this note.

From home Venkataramana went straight to the railway station. He bought a ticket for two rupees and thirteen annas; he still had three annas. Venkataramana boarded the train and early next morning reached Viluppuram station. He decided to walk the rest of the distance to Tiruvannamalai. He was hungry and tired. He entered a hotel on the way. As food was not ready he had to wait for a long time. After taking food he wanted to pay for his meal but the owner refused to take any money as he realized that the boy had very little money left with him. The owner on hearing that he was planning to walk the distance to Tiruvannamalai suggested that he take the train. So Venkataramana walked again to Viluppuram station. He took the train to Mambalapattu and from there he started to walk.

By evening he reached the village of Arayininallur. There was a Shiva temple in the village. He entered the village temple and fell into meditation. He had a vision of an intensely bright light enveloping the entire place. He stayed absorbed in meditation until he was aroused by the temple priests who wanted to lock the place for the night. He followed some worshipers to another temple nearby and there became lost in meditation once again. When the priests had finished their duties food was served to the other worshipers but none was offered to him. However the temple drummer was impressed with his devout appearance and shared some rice with him and directed him to go to a Shastri’s house nearby for water. Tired and thirsty he went to the Shastri’s house and there fainted from exhaustion. He was given water and slept the night at that place.

The next day was Gokulastami, commemorating the birth of the Avatar Krishna. Venkataramana first wanted to eat some food and then proceed to Tiruvannamalai by train. By then he did not have any money. The only possession he had of value were his gold Brahmin ear rings with small inlaid rubies. He stood outside a house and asked the owner for some food. The owner of the house was Krishna Bhagavathar. The mistress of the house was a kind lady. She was more than happy to feed the young Brahmin. Now Venkataramana needed money to complete the rest of the journey. He took off his earrings, gave them to Bhagavathar and asked him for four rupees. Bhagavathar gave the boy four rupees, wrote out his own address on a piece of paper and gave it to him saying, “Come and take back your ear rings any time.” The mistress of the house gave the boy some sweets to take on the journey.

Venkataramana reached Tiruvannamalai the next day. He went straight to the great temple dedicated to Lord Arunachaleshwara. When he reached the temple he not only found the inner temple doors open but also there was no body around. With his heart full of joy he went and stood in front of Lord Arunachaleswar. Later he wandered into the town and someone called out and asked if he wanted to have his head shaved like a sanyasi. He agreed and had his head shaved. He threw away the money that he had. He also threw away the sweets the kind lady gave him the previous day. He removed all his clothes except for a small loincloth he made from the cast off clothes. He returned to the temple. He remembered that the scriptures enjoined a bath after having the head shaved. But he thought, “Why give this body the luxury of a bath?” Just then there was a brief shower so that before he entered the temple he had had his ceremonial bath.

Venkataramana settled down in the temple. He now began his life of complete inner absorption in the great Universal Self. He sat to meditate in various places within the temple complex. Soon some naughty boys began to tease him. As he sat in meditation, they would throw stones at him. To escape from them Venkataramana changed the place of his meditation to the under-ground cellar. This cellar was called Pathalalinga. For days he was there without being troubled by the boys. But the naughty boys found out that place, too. In the temple there was an old sanyasin called Seshadri. He not only saw to it that Venkataramana was not teased by the boys, but also under took to find food for them. For days, and weeks on end Venkataramana was lost in deep meditation unconscious of the world and his body. He was so deeply absorbed within himself that insects and worms would crawl over his legs and chewed his flesh and he would not be aware of it. Later the Maharishi told his devotees,

“I knew nothing, had learned nothing before I came here. Some mysterious power took possession of me and effected a through transformation. I knew nothing and planned nothing. When I left home in my 17th year, I was like a speak swept on by a tremendous flood. I knew not my body or the world, whether it was day or night. It was difficult even to open my eyes. The eyelids seemed to be glued down. My body became a mere skeleton. Visitors pitied my plight, as they were not aware how blissful I was. It was after years that I came across the term Brahman when I happened to look into some books on Vedanta brought to me. Amused, I said to myself, “is this known as Brahman“

His body began to loose weight. Seeing the condition of his body a group of devotees picked him up bodily and took him out of the dark temple recesses to the shrine of Subramaniam nearby. Seeing Venkataramana deep in meditation completely lost to the world, one devotee named Palaniswami decided to look after him. In order to shield him from the many visitors who were coming daily, Palaniswami moved him to a nearby mango orchard whose gates could be locked. It was here that Ramana Maharshi began to come back to a more normal waking consciousness.

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