The snake and the meditator
This incident was narrated by Swami Madhavatirtha. He was a Gujarati devotee of Bhagavan and came to Sri Ramanasramam in 1944 and stayed there for sometime. He has written in a Biography of Bhagavan in Gujarati:
There was an incident which I witnessed in Maharshi’s Hall. There was however a devotee who had had a desire to go and meditate in a cave on the Holy Hill of Arunachala. Bhagavan gave him permission to go. The devotee went to the cave,but many snakes were there. A little later, while the devotee was sitting in meditation, a snake and hit its hood on his thigh. The devotee opened his eyes and discovered that the snake had not bitten him. The snake went away and the devotee started meditating again. Later, the snake came Backand repeated its strange action.
The devotee thought to himself, ‘If this keeps on happening it will not be possible to stay in this cave and meditate. ‘
He went to see Bhagavan who immediately asked him what had happened. Bhagavan commented, ‘The snake came to you to say ‘You must stay there only’. If you could have caught the snake by the mouth, he would have said, ‘Stay here only.’ God came to test you in the form of a snake.’
After listening to this answer the devotee went Backto the cave to meditate the next day also.
(Source: Power of the Presence, David Godman, Part I.)
One afternoon in 1946, at 2 p.m. some savouries prepared in the Ashram were distributed amongst the devotees. A few of them were given to Bhagavan also. Bhagavan ate them, drank some water, went out and came back, when some monkeys came to the window near his sofa. Seeing them, Bhagavan asked his attendants to go and bring some of the savoury preparations, saying, that the monkeys would relish them very much. The attendants returned saying that the people in the kitchen refused, saying that they had not prepared enough savouries to feed the monkeys also. “Oho! How did we get them then?” said Bhagavan. “This is ration time,” said a devotee. “What if it is ration time? When we have rations, why should they (monkeys) not have rations as well? The problem will be solved if a ration card is obtained for the monkeys as well. They will eat these things with greater relish than we. If they do not have it, why should we have it either? When we are eating, see how those children (i.e., the monkeys) are looking at us,” said Bhagavan. Thereupon, they also got their share. From that time onwards, Bhagavan used to accept things only after the monkeys’ share were given to them. It seems there was an earlier practice of taking out their share first before anything was distributed. The change that had come about in the interim period disappeared with this reprimand from Bhagavan. In the past, on festive occasions like Jayanti and Mahapuja, Bhagavan used to see that some food was taken out separately, made into balls, placed in a basket and then
taken into Palakothu where he used to sit and personally hand over the balls one by one with great joy to the monkeys. A photo was taken of this event at the time of Bhagavan’s Shashtiabda-purthi festivities in 1939. The radiance on Bhagavan’s face at that time can be seen and appreciated if that photo is looked at.
– Letters from Ramanasramam by Suri Nagamma, 23rd May, 1949
Frog & Yogi
Bhagavan used to say, ‘A Frog is often compared to a Yogi. It remains quiet for a long time. The only sign of life is being the rhythmic movement of the under-skin below the neck. Giant frogs can remain for extraordinarily long periods with their animation suspended. They are said to swallow their tongue. Swallowing the tongue is a Yogic practice. The animation is suspended. The yogi does not die because the tongue is drawn out by someone else before life activity is resumed. It is a wonder how the frog brings out the already swallowed tongue and resumes activity.
While in Skandasramam, Sri Bhagavan saw a white toad, small and long at a distance about 10 feet from Him. Bhagavan stared at it and it stared Backat Him. Suddenly, it took a long jump and lodged itself precisely on the right eye of Bhagavan who quickly closed it. The Asramites gasped, fearing harm to His right eye.
Attendant asked if Bhagavan was alright. Bhagavan did not answer, though His broad smile and slight chuckle said something like, ‘No need to worry. He is just saying ‘Hello’.
(Source: Talks with Ramana Maharshi, Talks No. 324.
Hobblers and Monkeys of Arunachala.)
You know what happened one morning in 1946? Squirrels came on to Bhagavan’s sofa for cashew nuts. The nuts, which used to be in the tin near Bhagavan, were exhausted. Groundnuts were given instead. The squirrels would not eat them and began to express their discontent in
all possible ways. “We don’t have them, my dears. What to do?” said Bhagavan, as he tried to cajole them. No. They would not be appeased. They were crawling over the legs and hands of Bhagavan continuously as a sign of their displeasure.
So Bhagavan asked Krishnaswami to go and find out if there was any stock of cashew nuts in the storeroom. Krishnaswami went and brought a few nuts. “Is that all?” asked Bhagavan. Krishnaswami said that they were preparing payasam that night and so they could spare only that much. Bhagavan felt annoyed and said, ” I see. Payasam will not be less tasteful if the cashew nuts are a little less in quantity than usual. What a pity. These squirrels do not like anything less and they are worrying me. The storekeepers have declined to give cashew nuts saying that they will have to put them into the payasam. Who will be worried if there are no cashew nuts in the payasam? See how these children are worrying themselves for want of cashew nuts!” With that, the cashew nuts which should have gone into payasam, went into the stomachs of the squirrels and also into the tin by his side (for future feeding of the squirrels). The same evening, Dr. Anantanarayana Rao brought
from Madras two visa (about 4.5 kilograms) of cashew nuts, saying that he had brought them for the squirrels. With a smile, Bhagavan said addressing Krishnaswami, “Look at this. They are earning whatever they want. There is no need to beg of you. These cashew nuts are their property. Keep them carefully. Note that they should not be given to the storeroom. Take care.” – Letters from Ramanasramam by Suri Nagamma