Reminiscences of Ramana Maharshi – Dr. M. Anantanarayana Rao

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Reminiscences of Ramana Maharshi – Dr. M. Anantanarayana RaoBack


Dr. M. Anantanarayana Rao was for a long time doctor-in-charge of the Ashram’s dispensary.

In July 1929, while travelling in a train, a fellow passenger gave me a photo of Sri Ramana and also told me where he resides. Almost immediately thereafter I went to England on study leave. On my return, being busy with my official duties, I forgot about the incident of the photograph. In May 1932, when I had to go to Tiruvannamalai on official duty, I suddenly recollected the incident.

I went to see Sri Ramana. He was sitting in the open space near the Ashram well. I asked him a couple of questions about my problems when I meditated. His answers were short, clear and to the point. I at once felt his greatness. My first visit to the Ashram ended in a couple of days, but Sri Ramana’s smile and sparkling eyes had an irresistible influence on me.

In 1942, I took long leave preparatory to retirement and lived near the Ashram. In September that year I wished to see the Gurumurtam and the adjoining garden where Sri Ramana stayed and did tapas in the 1890s. When I returned after visiting the place Bhagavan asked me what I saw.

He then described to me the condition in which he then used to be. He said that at one moment he felt it was morning and at the next moment it was evening and that he was in a blissful state. He added how happy he then was.

As we heard his description, we were transported into a very happy condition and when he stopped his narrative we felt as if we were suddenly dropped down Backinto the humdrum life of a busy world. His grace flowed into us and made us happy.

Many people have experienced happiness when they sat in Sri Bhagavan’s presence even without a word being spoken!

I have had the privilege of massaging Sri Ramana’s legs, feet and arms once when he had a shooting pain in the thigh up to the hip; I took his permission to rub the part with some wintergreen oil. This gave him relief. I then asked him to lie down on the bed and not to recline on the pillows as he usually did. He smiled and said in his usual way that he had not slept flat on the ground or on the couch ever since he came to Tiruvannamalai. He told me that he could get in a few moments as much or more rest than what we could by sleeping on a nice bed for hours. This puzzled me for some time and then it struck me that Sri Ramana could establish himself into samadhi of which we had no experience.

Bhagavan was always awake though in a state of samadhi. Once I went to him with a small pot containing an ointment, which he wanted. As I heard him snore lightly I thought he was asleep. I stood thinking whether to keep the pot on the shelf quietly or wait till he was awake. Within a moment he opened his eyes, smiled and asked me why I was waiting without handing over the ointment to him. I replied that he was asleep and I did not wish to disturb him. Sri Bhagavan at once asked me how I concluded that he was asleep. I mumbled some reply, handed over the pot to him and sat in the hall along with some others. Bhagavan again closed his eyes and was snoring lightly.

At that time as some bhakta, a newcomer to the Ashram, came near the couch and prostrated, he at once opened his eyes and smiled at him. Again, Bhagavan reverted to the sleepy condition. When an Ashramite came and prostrated, he did not open his eyes, but practically on the Ashramite’s heels came a newcomer who prostrated and Bhagavan immediately opened his eyes, saw him and smiled.

In December 1948, while I was massaging Bhagavan’s hand, I felt a small nodule above his elbow. In July 1949, the damaged tissue flared up. I begged him to make a resolve to heal himself. He smiled and sat silent till I repeated my request. He then answered, “There is no mind here, so the question of a resolve does not arise.

To Bhagavan, the body with its ills did not exit. While dressing a large wound, pain is inevitable, but he did not show any pain and even assisted with his right hand in adjusting the bandage, as if it were an arm belonging to another.

During dressing ofthe tumour, I had to wipe it with rectified spirits. One day the spirits from the swab flowed on his arm and body. He at once said that he had a ‘spirit bath’ and that all should have such baths. I did not understand the significance of this and asked him to kindly explain the same.

He smilingly said, “Fish are always in water and cannot survive on coming out of it. Similarly, we are in Spirit or Pure Consciousness and should always be in it as fish in water. One should always consciously remain in Pure Consciousness or Self.” That made me believe that he was always in sahaja samadhi. Often on seemingly small matters he spoke great words of instruction. Those instructions had a grip on us.

In the course of a conversation in 1949 he described to us that tears flow from the outer canthus of the eye of a man when he is very happy and from the inner canthus when he is sad. It is a correct observation. On the evening of his nirvana day (April 14, 1950), I was in that room among others. At his request he was assisted to sit up, with legs stretched in front. He had kept his eyes closed, and his breathing was gradually becoming shallow. The devotees outside began singing ‘Arunachala Siva’.1 He opened his eyes, looked at the direction from where the voices came and then closed the eyes. Tears came gushing from the outer canthus of the eyes. I felt that it was the visible sign of the Supreme Bliss of rejoining the ONE without a second. The body was discarded very peacefully.

1. The refrain of famous hymn composed by Sri Ramana in praise of Mountain Arunachala. Refer annexure-I, p. 410.

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