More Life Incidents
Not a great deal is known about this period of Ramana’s life, but what is known makes it clear that he was a lively boy who liked to play pranks.
One day, when he was about six years old, he climbed up to the loft of his house along with some friends. The place was full of bundles of old papers and documents, which his father had decided to store there and which related to lawsuits long-since settled. The children took one of the bundles down and made a fleet of paper boats out of it, which they then sailed in the temple tank.When Ramana’s father came home, he was furious, so Ramana quickly made himself scarce. When he did not return for the midday meal, a search was organized. He was found sitting in the temple in the shrine of goddess Sahayambal (one of Shiva’s consorts),from whom he had sought solace.
On another occasion Ramana went even further, he climbed into the house of a neighbouring lawyer and carried away some papers he found in a cupboard, unaware that they were important documents relating to a court case. He invented a game for himself,distributing the documents to passers-by on the street, as if they were advertising leaflets. When the lawyer returned home and saw what had happened, he demanded the papers back, but it proved impossible to recover many of them. Of course when he told Ramana’s father what had happened, the latter became very angry and shouted, “Undress the boy! Shave his head completely and give him only a loincloth to wear! Don’t give him any food! How far the punishment was carried out is, unfortunately, not reported.
Ramana, however, in addition to his predilection for playing pranks, also had a compassionate heart, as is illustrated by the following story, which he later recounted himself, “One day he [referring to a neighbouring boy three years his younger] got a sugarcane and a knife, and as he could not cut it himself, he requested his brothers to help him, but they went away without heeding his request.
He began weeping. I felt sorry for him. I took the sugarcane and tried to cut it. My finger got cut and began to bleed. Even so, I felt sorry for him because he was weeping and was a little fellow,so somehow I managed to cut the cane into pieces. I tied my finger with a wet cloth; the bleeding, however did not stop.
The rite of Upanayama (putting on the sacred Brahmin thread) was performed when Ramana was around the age of eight, and he thus became a full member of the Brahmin caste, but still he showed no special spiritual inclination.
Although this fortunate family was no more religious than any other, there was one peculiar feature in its history. An old family legend tells how, one day, an ascetic came to the house begging for food, but, against all tradition, he was not treated with the proper respect and was not given a meal. The ascetic promptly issued a curse, stating that henceforth one member of each generation of the family would wander about begging as an ascetic like himself.This “curse’ had its effect, because in each generation one member renounced worldly life to become a wandering ascetic. One of Sundaram Iyer’s uncles on his father’s side had taken the ochre robe, the staff and the water jug of a sannyasin and had left to live life as a wandering renunciant and beggar. His elder brother Venkatesa also disappeared from the village one day, no doubt to embark upon the same path.
He was never heard of again and since that time Sundaram had been the head of the family.
There are no indications that Sundaram Iyer ever thought that one of his sons would one day also leave home. And no doubt the thought never crossed the mind of the young Ramana either.
Source: Ramana Maharshi: His Life A biography