Dhiksha for Monkeys
The monkeys were Bhagavan’s companion throughout His stay on the Hill/ Stories about monkeys abound in every book
of Bhagavan. During His stay in Virupaksha Cave and Skandasramam, Bhagavan would divide the alms collected equally among those present including monkeys. After eating their portion, the monkeys would make loud noises expressing gratification. When Bhagavan came to the present Sri Ramanasramam, the same monkeys visited Him. Soon they settled in the Asramam groves.They were fed in the Asramam presently also.
Year by year the number of human devotees steadily increased. Gradually, for monkeys, the intimate access to Bhagavan was reduced. However, as the visitors came in large numbers, so did their fruit offerings, which Bhagavan was always keen to share with His four-legged devotees. Streams of visitors came for festivals. On such days, Bhagavan saw to it that His monkey companions were also included in the festivities.
On festive occasions like Bhagavan’s Jayanti and other festival days, Bhagavan would see to it that food was taken out separately made into balls, placed in a basket, and then taken to Palakottu. Bhagavan used to sit personally and hand over the balls one by one with great joy to the monkeys. The monkeys were must disciplined and would express their joy with a big cry in unison! A photo has been taken of this even at the time of Bhagavan’s Shastiapta Purti (60th birth day) in 1939. One can see the radiant smile on Bhagavan’s face in the photograph. This photo is there in Sri Ramanasramam.
Bhagavan used to refer Sri Rama Navami days as ‘monkey day’. He was insisting that they must be fed sumptuously especially on that day. On a Sri Rama Navami day, one of the attendants Vaikuntavasar, was sent to Palakottu with a lot of tasty food to feed the monkeys. Bhagavan followed it up and inquired from Vaikuntavasar as to what happened. he replied, ‘When I went there there were only two or three monkeys. But after a time, all came. They were well fed. The did not quarrel or bite each other.’
Bhagavan said, ‘They don’t fight when there is enough for all. All trouble arises only when there is a want. They also raise a big cry as an indication of their joy, whenever they get plenty to eat.’
Bhagavan’s devotee G.V. Subbaramayya records that on Mother’s Aradhana Day i.e Maha Puja Day, the monkeys were given a big feast supervised personally by Bhagavan. A vast troop of monkeys sat in a row. They came in turns to receive food from Bhagavn’s hands in a most orderly manner. After all of them were fed, they screeched in chorus with joy as if to say thanks to Mother Azhagammal.
(Sources: Moment’s Remembered, V. Ganesan; The Hobbler and the Monkeys of Arunachala; Letters and Recollections,
Suri Nagamma; Timeless in Time, A.R, Natarajan, Bangalore; Sri Ramana Reminiscences, G. V. Subbaramayya.)