Ramana Maharshi, End of the Body, and After
Visit From District Medical Officer
I was left alone with Bhagavan. As usual, he did not speak with me. I was also silent. But the vibrations that emanated from him were celestial. His body must have been in terrific, mortal pain, but his heavenly spirituality was unaffected by it. A rapturous thrill electrified my entire being.
I administered to his body; but I was hardly conscious that I was a District Medical Officer. I was conscious only of an intense desire to worship this illumined soul. I had learned that Bhagavan did not allow devotees to touch his feet. But I felt a deep urge within me not only to touch his blessed feet but to press them lovingly. I took courage in both my hands and pressed them. The wonder of wonders! Bhagavan let me do so! His grace was abounding. I considered myself in the seventh heaven. I glorify those few minutes of my life.
Dr. Lt. Col. P. V. Karamchandani
The end came on the 10th of April, 1950. That evening the sage gave darsana to the devotees that came. All that were present in the Asrama knew that the end was nearing. They sat singing Ramana’s hymn to Arunachala with the refrain Arunachala-Shiva. The sage asked his attendants to make him sit up. He opened his luminous and gracious eyes for a brief while; there was a smile; a tear of bliss trickled down from the outer corner of his eyes; and at 8:47 p.m. the breathing stopped. There was no struggle, no spasm, none of the signs of death. At that very moment, a comet moved slowly across the sky, reached the summit, of the holy hill, Arunachala, and disappeared behind it.
T.M.P Mahadevan, Bhagavan Ramana
Departure from the Body
On the final evening, thousands were cramped into the ashram grounds around Bhagavan’s room. A gloomy mood enveloped the area, as Bhagavan’s end was anticipated at any moment. The fan being waved over Bhagavan’s body by the attendant was visible through the door, and all eyes were fixed on it. knowing that when it ceased moving, Bhagavan’s heart would have ceased beating.
Shortly there after, the fan stopped, the famed meteor slowly floated across the heavens, and it was all over. The light that illumined the earth as Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi had now merged with the Eternal Light, the source of all creation.
N. Balaram Reddy, My Reminiscences
A Big Star in the Sky!
Later in the evening, after dinner, my wife and I with children came out into the courtyard and were discussing among ourselves where to sit, when suddenly my younger son, Vijayan started looking at the sky. “Papa, see what is in the sky, a big star?” We all looked up. Somewhere in the western sky was a bright meteor moving at an unusual speed, too slow for a shooting star, and too fast for an aircraft. My immediate intuition was about Bhagavan and I exclaimed, “It is Bhagavan passing away”.
K. K Nambiar, Guiding Presence of Sri Ramana
A Luminous Shooting Star Unlike Any Other
At about 9 p.m., Monsieur Cartier-Brassen, the French photographer, who has been here for about a fortnight with his wife, related an experience of his to me. “It is a most astonishing experience,” he said. “I was in the open space in front of my house, when my friends drew my attention to the sky, where I saw a vividly-luminous shooting star with a luminous tail, unlike any shooting star I had before seen, coming from the South, moving slowly across the sky and, reaching the top of Arunachala, disappeared behind it. Because of its singularity we all guessed its import and then raced to the Ashram only to find that our premonition had been only too sadly true: the Master had passed into Mahanirvana at that very minute.” Several other devotees in the Ashram and in the town later told me that they too had seen the tell-tale meteor.
S. S. Cohen, Memoirs and Notes
Where Shall I Go? I Shall Always Be Here
When Sri Ramana lay dying, people went to him and begged him to remain for a while longer as they needed his help. His reply is well known.
“Go! Where can I go? I shall always be here.”
A.W. Chadwick, A Sadhu’s Reminiscences of Ramana Maharshi
Was He Not Purna (Complete) From Birth?
I have often wondered about the great event which formed a turning point in Bhagavan’s life, the dramatisation of the act of death he conducted about six weeks before he left Madurai (his childhood home) for good. Was it this dramatisation alone that transformed the school boy into a sage? Was he not purna (complete) even from the instant of His birth on December 30th, 1879? Did not the blind lady who delivered Him see a bright light as he was born? Was there not a link between this light and the meteor that cut a golden path across the sky and faded over Arunachala at the moment of His passing? Did He not at the age of ten contemplate on death when His father died? Was it not a fact that in His youth nobody could wake Him up from sleep, even by severely beating Him? I sincerely feel that out of compassion for us, and so we may not swerve from His teachings, he chose to hide the Supreme State He was experiencing from the very day of His birth. His decision to wear only a kaupina (loin cloth) after throwing away all his possessions on September 1st, 1896 was not for His own edification. It was for us He did this. He Himself later observed “Some power acts through the body of a Jivanmukta (realized being) and uses his body to get the work done.”
Sri V.S. Ramanan
I Am Not the Body
At first people felt lost (after his passing), they had relied too much on the personal form, though Bhagavan himself had repeatedly warned them: “You attach too much importance to this body, I am not the Body.”
Still it was only natural that this body should be missed, though as time went on the loss became gradually less keen, his presence was felt so strongly in the Ashram, and daily the feeling of this actual presence grew. A visitor remarked to me lately, “One does not miss the presence of Bhagavan in the Ashram, he is there just as he was before.” And this is true. He is there and he is surely working and the Ashram will grow in strength and renown as time goes on.
There have been dark days since that night three years ago. But, those days are past. The Ashram has taken on a new life. There is a new feeling in the air and the stagnation is over. The Veda Patasala school has been revived and pujas are now performed so carefully and enthusiastically that the whole place rings up with the vibrations thus set up. I went away never to return, but he brought me back. And now I thank him every day that I have been allowed to take part in this renaissance. It is thrilling to the core to feel it happening. One should have known that it was bound to be like this all the time, for how could anything happen to the place he had sanctified with his presence for so long. The whole of India was blessed by his life, how much more so the place in which he made his home.
Major Allen Chadwick
If You Look Within, I Am There
(At the time of Bhagavan’s passing) I was at Rajapalayam. That night I saw a blue light beautifully rising up into the sky. I knew Bhagavan had left the body. I felt that I did not want to live after that and started a fast. By fasting I wanted to drop the body. After five or six days of not touching food I had several visions. In one of them I was taken inside the Arunachala Hill and saw there rishis performing yagnas and yoga. I also saw Sri Bhagavan seated there. Some munis or rishis offered some prasad to Bhagavan. Then Sri Bhagavan himself gave it to me, and I was made to eat. I remembered that I was fasting, but couldn’t refuse Bhagavan’s prasad. How can I say that it was a dream? I consider it was Bhagavan’s grace alone. He also said to me, “You say and repeat ‘I have gone away, I have gone away’. Where have I gone? I am right here. You are not looking inward. If you look within, I am there.”
For many days afterwards the smell of that prasad lingered. The aroma even spread all through the house. My brother and sisters kept talking about it. When I was fasting, my brother and sister were also fasting with me. The morning following that vision we started taking food again.
In the dream I also remember Bhagavan was seated near a tank and rishis and munis were serving him. He looked splendid, gracious, magnanimous, and magnificent. It was a beautiful sight. I saw there Kamadhenu, the celestial cow, the celestial tree, and many other wonderful things. It was a divine sight indeed. From that day onwards I had no thought at all that Bhagavan had left us. He is all pervading, and I experienced him particularly in my heart. I no longer felt sorrow. He is even here now. When I came again to Tiruvannamalai I was filled with bliss. You can feel Bhagavan’s presence every minute. Right this very minute I feel his Divine Presence. I have no unhappiness. I am happy all the time. Sri Bhagavan’s Presence is so overpowering.
Rajapalayam Ramani Ammal
A Devotee in Romania
First, I would like to tell you a little story which made me wonder how life can be sometimes unpredictable and yet so beautiful. There is a friend of mine in Romania who is a fully qualified medical doctor. She earns about $50 a month, which is almost less than what a person needs to live on in Romania. She is working about two hundred miles from Bucharest in the only office which services a group of villages. Everyday she wakes up at 5 a.m., takes an unheated train, changes two buses, or hitchhikes on trucks to travel to those remote villages. Her husband left her and went to France four years ago. Lately, she had been suffering with headaches, anxiety and increasing moments of depression. One day she happened to read a book wherein something about Bhagavan was mentioned. Other names were also mentioned in that book, but somehow only Ramana Maharshi’s name kept coming Backto her. When she told me briefly about this experience I had the sudden idea to send her my photo of Sri Ramana. And one day (this was when she had just started to take some anti-depressant medicine), exhausted, she felt like sitting on the floor. She then shifted into the padmasana position-without really knowing what she was doing-and gazed at that photo of Ramana, which she had come to love dearly. She then gave over all her pain and suffering to Bhagavan and was immediately filled with so much peace and love that she at once quit the medicine and felt at peace and at ease. She now gathers the necessary courage and strength each day by simply gazing into the eyes of Bhagavan.
I wanted to write this to you and share my wonderment at how a sincere call of the heart can be responded to even when the person lives far away in a remote area, knows no English, knows nothing of the spiritual teachings which have been, in fact, forbidden in her country for almost fifty years. She didn’t really talk much about what she experienced. She said with these things it is better to remain silent, with which I totally agree.
Yolanda Levi, letter sent to New York Arunachala Ashram