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Guru Ramana   Deepam   Day  

Sri Bhagavan's Daily Routine

Excerpt from Guru Ramana

by S.S.Cohen

The years 1936-1938 were very blissful, indeed. Bhagavan was then enjoying the sound, robust health of middle age, and could very well afford to be available at almost all hours of the day to devotees. We could gather round his couch and speak to him as intimately as to a beloved father; tell him all our troubles and show him our letters without let or hindrance.

Some disciples and his attendants used to sleep on the floor of the hall at night. Bhagavan's sleep was very light: he woke every now and then, and almost always he found an attendant nearby fully awake to say a few words to, and slept again. Once or twice he would go out for a few minutes, and, by 5 a.m., when the Veda chanters came from the township, they found him fully awake and chatting in a soft, subdued voice. Now the parayanam would get started and go on for a little less than an hour, during which everybody abstained from talking, and Bhagavan often sat cross-legged and completely indrawn. Then he went out for bath, breakfast, and a little stroll on the hill, and returned at about 7.30, when visitors and devotees began trickling in - men, women and children - till they filled the hall by about 9 a.m. This morning hour of the parayanam was the best time of the day for meditation: the congregation was small, women and children were absent, the weather cool, and the mind had not yet completely emerged to run its usual riot. Over and above this Bhagavan then shone in the stillness of his samadhi, which permeated the hall and the meditation of the disciples. But unfortunately I could not keep up this attendance, nor could I benefit by it even when present, for my mind remained in the fog of somnolence. Being a life-long bad sleeper I never succeeded in making the requisite six-hour sleep before six in the morning. Another tendency which I could not completely overcome was intolerance to noise, of which the hall was seldom free. Apart from the free access to it by all and sundry there was also the freedom of singing, which at times took one by surprise at a moment when the hall was plunged in silence and the atmosphere conducive to meditation. All of a sudden a soprano voice rose from somewhere in the hall intoning some hymn or other, or reciting some shloka in a South-Indian language, to be succeeded by a tenor or another soprano, often the latter, in competition with a male of the species, till Bhagavan went out at his usual hours. These were: 9:45 for a few minutes, 11 o'clock for luncheon, followed by the midday stroll in Palakottu, evening 4:45 on the hill, preceding the evening Veda parayanam, and 7 o'clock for dinner.

After 8 p.m. when the hall contained only the local residents, we sat round him for a "family chat" till about 10 o'clock. Then he related to us stories from the Puranas or the lives of Saints, yielding to transportations of emotions when he depicted scenes of great bhakti, or great human tragedies, to which he was sensitive to the extreme. Then he shed tears which he vainly attempted to conceal.

On one occasion Bhagavan recited from memory a poem of a Vaishnava Saint, in which occurred the words "Fold me in thy embrace, O Lord," when the arms of Bhagavan joined in a circle round the vacant air before him, and his eyes shone with devotional ardour, while his voice shook with stifled sobs which did not escape our notice. It was fascinating to see him acting the parts he related, and be in such exhilarated moods as these.

updated: Thu 27 Apr 2017 20:26:45 -0400