THE DELIVERANCE OF LAKSHMI, THE COW
20th July, 1948
In my letter to you under the caption “Worship of the Cow”, I described to you the grandeur of Lakshmi, the queen of the cows, and the amount of regard Bhagavan had for her. To that queen, as for his own mother, Bhagavan on Friday the 18th instant gave Videha Mukti (deliverance from the body). That morning when I went to the Asramam, I was told that Lakshmi was seriously ill and would not survive the day. So I went straight to the cow shed, without seeing Bhagavan even. The room built for the calves was vacated, cleaned and Lakshmi was given a bed of straw to lie down upon. As it was Friday, she was as usual decorated with turmeric paste, vermilion mark on the forehead and a garland of flowers round the neck and horns. Venkataratnam was sitting by the side fanning her. Lakshmi was lying down with her majestic look spreading lustre all round. She reminded me of Kamadhenu going to Kailas to do Abhishekam with milk over the great Lord Siva.
When I went to Bhagavan and prostrated before him and got up, he looked at me with a divine look. Taking it as an order, I said I would go and stay with Lakshmi. He nodded his head in assent and I went immediately. Venkatratnam gave me the fan and left. Sitting in that place I began repeating Ramana Dwadasakshari (twelve letters of Ramana Mantram), Ashtotharam (108 names of Ramana) etc. and Lakshmi appeared to hear them carefully.
When Bhagavan came to the cow-shed at 9-45 A.M. as usual he came to see Lakshmi. Bhagavan sat on the hay by her side, lifted her head with both his hands, and passing one of his hand lightly over her face and throat, and then placing his left hand on the head, began pressing with the right hand fingers her throat right down to the heart. After pressing like that for about a quarter of an hour he said, addressing Lakshmi, “What do you say, mother? Do you want me to stay here alone? I could stay, but what to do? All people could be round you as in the case of my mother. Even so, why? Shall I go?” Lakshmi remained calm, devoid of all the bonds of this world and of the pains of her body as though she were in Samadhi. Bhagavan sat there unwilling to move and with a heart full of compassion. I was overwhelmed at the sight and exclaimed involuntarily, “Oh! Mother Alagamma had the greatest luck. So has Lakshmi now.” Bhagavan looked at me with a smile. Subramaniam came and said, “It seems the doctor will not be coming till 10-30 as there is no immediate danger to Lakshmi.” “All right. So Doctor will not be coming now. Have you brought the medicine for injection?” asked Bhagavan. Turning towards Lakshrni and gently stroking her head and neck, he said, “What do you say? May I go?” Subbulakshmi said, “She will feel happy if Bhagavan is by her side.” “That is so, but what to do?” So saying and looking into the eyes of Lakshmi, Bhagavan said, “What? May I go? Won’t you tell me?” Lakshmi looked at him proudly. What reply Bhagavan got, we do not know but he got up and went away saying, “See that the flies do not get into the mouth.” I assured him that we would take due care of Lakshmi and Bhagavan left the place very reluctantly.
With the divine touch of Bhagavan, the outer breath of Lakshmi began subsiding and the movement of the body began to decrease. When the doctor came at 10-30 and gave an injection Lakshmi remained unaffected as if the body was not hers. There was no death agony. Her sight was calm and clear. The doctor turned her over into the posture of Nandi, put some medicine on the boils and went away instructing us to keep some support for the head. As it was 11-30 by then, Venkataratnam came Backafter having his meal. He asked me to hold up the head saying he would bring some more hay. The tongue touched me and it was icy cold; the life of Lakshmi reached the feet of Sri Ramana and was absorbed in Him.
Ten minutes later, Bhagavan came into the shed saying, “Is it all over?” and squatted by her side, took her face in both his hands as though she were a little child, and lifted it and said, “Oh Lakshmi, Lakshmi,” and then, to us, controlling his tears, he said, “Because of her, our family (i.e. Asramam) has grown to this extent.” When all were praising Lakshmi, Bhagavan asked, “I suppose the doctor has not troubled her much, did he? How did her life cease?” We told him all that had happened. “That is all right. Did you notice this? The right ear is uppermost now. Till yesterday she was lying down on her other side. Because of the boil she was turned over to this side. So this ear had to come up. Look, in the case of people who die in Kasi, people say Lord Siva will whisper into the right ear. Lakshmi too has her right ear up,” said Bhagavan, and showed that ear to all people there. By that time, crowds gathered. After a quarter of an hour, Bhagavan got up and said, “Ramakrishna has been saying for the last ten days that a good tomb (samadhi) must be built for Lakshmi.” Bhagavan then went away to the hall.