A Selection of Teachings
Sri Gajapathi Aiyyer’s Unpublished 1936 Journal
Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi
An Incident between Bhagavan and Brother,
the Ashram Manager[sarvadhikari].
At that moment the sarvadhikari arrived, dhoti wet as usual, to prostrate to Bhagavan. Bhagavan took no notice, but steadily looking at me, said:
நிலைமையை ஆய்வு பண்ணிப் பார்க்கும் பொழுது சிலர் கொலைக்குக் கூட அஞ்சுவதில்லை என்றெல்லாம் தெரிய வருகிறது பாரேன் (See, when we analyse the situation we come to know that some persons are not even afraid to murder!)
I flinched, for when Bhagavan is angry- an extremely rare occurrence- waves of ire are felt by his devotees to be radiating everywhere in the ether. The sarvadhikari, however, seemed to be too pre-occupied with the contents of his head to pay any attention to what he must have surmised to be a conversation going on between Bhagavan and a devotee. He rose from his prostration and went to the door.
B.: ஓய் பிச்சை! உம்மை தானடா! (Hey! Pichai! (I am) calling you only!)
The sarvadhikari stopped dead in his tracks with a startled jerk. He came and stood nervously before the master. He was the living terror of the ashram. If anyone spoke cheekily to him, he would be bundled up- lock, stock, and barrel- and thrown out of the ashram once and for all. Thereafter he would have to be content with taking Bhagavan’s darshan at Palakoththu exclusively, merely for a few minutes everyday, when the master returned from his walk on the Hill.
Bhagavan’s Grace was unwavering, but without the sarvadhikari’s grace you could not set foot inside the ashram. Such a despotic Emperor Ozymandias, King of kings, was he. But yet, here he stood now, in Bhagavan’s placid presence, quaking from tip to toe like a dry linen-smock waiting to be collected away from a washing-line jiggled about by rough wind.
He said skittishly: ‘Bhagavan must pardon me. I do not understand what Bhagavan is trying to tell me…’
B.: Did you not ask Pillai to cycle and buy some rat-poison from the town?
Ozy.: But the rats are marauding all the rice and other jute-bags filled with foodstuffs, ruining the contents!
B.: So? Is murder the solution?
O.: But after all they are mere rats…
B.: Oh! Is that so? In that case, ‘this’ [loudly striking own chest with open palm] is also a rat. Ask Pillai to buy double the quantity. One portion may be given to the four-legged rats; another may be given to this hefty two-legged rat.
Why are you blinking? After all, you are planning on doing away with thembecause you consider them pests- i.e., according to you, they are eatingfoodstuffs but not doing any productive work in the ashram, and the punishment is the death-penalty inflicted by means of administration of poison. Good. But why are you showing partiality in applying the logic? ‘This’ is the biggest pest in the ashram. The four-legged rats, poor things, swallow a few morsels to fill their tiny bellies and go away; this two-legged rat swallows entire mouthfuls three times a day. Does he do any work for the ashram in return? No.
So, let your penalty remain as it is: only, let its jurisdiction cover this giant2-legged rat also… [turning to face me] Who are we to question the propriety of decisions taken by the Sovereign? We are ‘after all’ nude beggars who ought not to be permitted a say in anything. What do we know? Of course the Sovereign is right. Let the weeds be expunged. கொலையிற் கொடியாரை வேந்தொறுத்தல் பைங்கூழ் கலை கட்டதனொடு நேர (The punishment of the king of a wretched who is worst than a murderer is like weeding [in the paddy field]) I have only one last wish. [turning to the shocked sarvadhikari again] Will you please grant it? Please ensure [again loudly striking own chest with open palm] this weed is plucked out first. I do not want to see anybody being killed…
Bhagavan leant back on the Sofa and turned his face away from us. He had becomeemotional, and his chest was heaving. He was perspiring. The sarvadhikari had become a statue. My cheeks were drenched in silent tears. Suddenly the sarvadhikari burst into a loud wail and a cascade of tears. He caught hold of the master’s feet and pressed his head on them. Those sleeping at the back of the Hall woke up in alarm and looked about them with panic. The sarvadhikari was banging his head against the wall, cursing himself,முண்டமே! மஹா பாதகா! ராக்ஷஸா! இப்படி பண்ணி விட்டாயே! (Oh, Headless Body! Oh great sinner! Oh Demon! You have done like this!) Now all rushed from the back of the hall and seized the sarvadhikari by the shoulders; they tried to calm him down. But he continued to squirm and thrash about until Bhagavan looked into his eyes again. The master said kindly,
B: It is alright. On 1st Sept., you are planning to make vellachcheedai [traditional Tamil snack], are you not? Enhance the quantity. I will myself ask Pillai not to buy poison but rat-booby-traps. Therein we will place the vellachcheedais. For the rats fry it in கடலை எண்ணெய் (ground nut oil). They will feel tempted toward the smell and fall for it. Then we can ask Pillai to release them in the forest behind simha-theertham. It is a location too far for them to return from.
The sarvadhikari’s sobs were yet to abate. Sri Bhagavan then added in a graciouscadence of voice, ‘Have you understood?’. The sarvadhikari bent down, wiped his eyes and blew his nose on his wet dhoti, prostrated full length on the ground, pressed either ear alternately upon the floor several times successively, got up, stooped down with folded palms and closed eyes in front of the master, and left, still sniffing every now and then. Everyone in the Hall was looking dumbfounded. Some bent down and asked me in a low voice what had happened. I was about to respond when Bhagavan- for a single second- directly turned and looked into my eyes. I fell
Edited by John David Oct 2021