Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Avane kattindu azhattum - Let him get tied up and cry: Ramana advise to scholar about ashram manager position tussle

In Page 87 of Ramana Periya Puranam (available here:
http://www.aham.com/RamanaPeriyaPuranam/), there is a description of a tussle between a scholar in scripture, Kavyakantha Ganapati Muni, who had two hundred odd scholarly devotees, and Bhagavan's brother Niranjananda Swami (also known as Chinna Swami) about taking over the management of Ramanasramam. The scholarly devotees of Kavyakantha felt that the future of Ramanasramam would be good with Kavyakantha being the manager whereas there was another group which supported Ramana Maharishi's brother, Chinna Swami, being the manager.

One day, Kavyakantha and his devotees went to Bhagavan's hall. Kavyakantha's devotees approached Bhagavan Ramana Maharishi and told him that they feel that Kavyakantha (also known as Nayana) should become the manager.

A short extract from the Ramana Periya Puranam is given below about what happened next:
Bhagavan, after a long silence, instead of replying to the devotees, turned to Nayana, “Nayana, why do you get involved in such things? Let him take over and suffer.” In Tamil, he used the words 'avane kattindu azhattum,' meaning, 'let him hug this and cry.' Nayana prostrated before Bhagavan, got up and declared, “Bhagavan, from now on, Chinna Swami will be the manager.”

When he took leave, the other devotees also came out. Nayana told TKS, “From today, all of us must give unconditional support to Chinna Swami to manage the ashram.” [Ravi: TKS refers to another devotee, T.K. Sundaresa Iyer who, in response to Nayana's words, started helping with the Ramanasramam office work and handled its correspondence.]
--- end short extract from Ramana Periya Puranam ---

Ravi: I would translate the Tamil words, 'avane kattindu azhattum' as 'let him get tied up and cry'. I think that shows the tremendous wisdom of Ramana Maharishi in handling this matter and the wisdom of the scholar Kavyakantha in recognizing the higher wisdom of Ramana Maharishi and following his instructions.

Ashram management is a horrendous and THANKLESS job. For those who want to focus on spiritual study and spiritual sadhana in the traditional sense (guys like me), getting involved with ashram management would be a huge emotional, time & energy drain which would hinder rather than help their spiritual study & sadhana. Very fortunately for spiritual aspirants, there are some others who want to do these ashram management jobs (like Ramana Maharishi's younger brother, Chinna Swami), and perhaps that is the suitable path for their spiritual upliftment. The wise thing for spiritual aspirants including scholars of scripture is to follow the path of Kavyakantha by giving unconditional support to ashram managers in their management of the ashram, instead of trying to remove them from their position and place themself(ves) in that horrendous and THANKLESS job.

Actually it is worse than THANKLESS as the ashram managers/administrators get blamed, sometimes quite viciously, for all the problems in the ashram. How can the top ashram managers/administrators be held responsible for every problem in the ashram? Many times, the problems happen due to lower level staff or volunteers but the culture and the loose and unstructured organization setup of the ashram is such that a transparent investigation of such problems cannot be done and the guilty punished. I mean, if one starts punishing guilty lower level staff and/or FREE SERVICE volunteers, there might be an exodus of such people crippling the ashram in the execution of day-to-day ashram management activities.

I recall reading somewhere that Late former Prime Minister of India, Shri P.V. Narasimha Rao, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P._V._Narasimha_Rao, said that if there is a fight between husband and wife (in India) they blame the Prime Minister for the fight! I think the same can be said about Indian ashrams where blame for anything & everything tends to get put on the heads of the ashram management/administrators!

I would further add that such spiritual aspirants should COMPLETELY STAY AWAY from money related squabbles and rumours of money mismanagement in the ashram. Especially in spiritual ashrams, ashram money matters are SUPER, SUPER SENSITIVE and can very, very easily ruin a spiritual aspirant's sadhana efforts. Rumours abound about money mismanagement and there seems to be a devilish kind of trap LURING ashram residents & some visitors into participating in spreading rumours about ashram money being swallowed by almost anybody who is involved with such ashram money matters. It is a very sad aspect of ashram life but it is an inescapable reality of Indian ashram life. Note that many impoverished people come to such ashrams as a kind-of last resort or last hope for their life. For such people even a little money can be a very big matter.

[I thank aham.com/RamanaPeriyaPuranam and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above short extracts from their website on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

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