Wednesday, May 3, 2017

How and why Ramana Maharishi made his Will, as related by Sadhu Arunachala (Major Chadwick)

Prior to extracts from Sadhu Arunachala's book, I felt it appropriate to share below the key part of Ramana Maharishi's Will from

All the properties hereunder described and comprised in what is called Sri Ramanasramam (and the accretions thereto) are dedicated by me to the Idol already installed and consecrated therein, viz., Sri Mathrubhutheswara Swami and also to the Idol or Statue as my symbol to be installed and consecrated after my demise on my Samadhi at a suitable place in the Asramam itself. I appoint my brother, Niranjanananda Swamy, as the sole manager. After him his son, T.N. Venkatarama Iyer,will be the sole manager. This right of management or trusteeship will vest as a hereditary right in the latter's family so as to devolve successively on his lineal male descendants from generation to generation.

--- end Ramana Maharishi Will extract ---

The above link has other interesting information regarding the legal case against Ramanashramam including Ramana Maharishi's responses to questions posed to him. Some related extracts from it:

Ramana was asked how the ashram accumulated property. He said, "Property is thrust on me. I neither love nor hate it." And "Properties came and I accepted them. I agree that owning properties relates to worldly affairs, but I do not hate worldly affairs...I used to accept anything if given to me. Moneys were given only on my behalf."

He was then asked whether the property was given to himself. He said it was given to the Swami in the world to his body. Donations were accepted by the ashram, and Ramana neither approved nor disapproved of these actions.

Ramana was asked how he had approved the building of the ashram. He said he was guided by the same Power which made me come here and reside on the Hill. As for people living near him, he said that he was not a guru and that he did not have any disciples. If people considered themselves his disciples and wanted to live near him, he could not help it. If he did not find it agreeable, he could always move away.
The civil suit in the District Munsiffs court at Tiruvannamalai was filed by one of the erstwhile disgruntled attendants of Bhagavan named Perumalsami claiming right to the land which the Ashram was constructed (on) and allied properties.
The legal action was apparently settled in 1938, although it is not clear on what terms.
--- end additional extracts from ---

Ravi: So Perumalsami's civil lawsuit is what is referred to in extracts below from Sadhu Arunachala's book.

Given below are some extracts from the book, 'A Sadhu’s Reminiscences of Ramana Maharshi', written by Major Chadwick (Sadhu Arunachala), These are from Page 98 to page 100 (pdf page 104 to page 106):

For twenty years a law case hung over the Ashram, causing a lot of worry to everybody. An old devotee claimed the place as his private property and wanted to take over the management of the Ashram, including Bhagavan. When the Ashram eventually got rid of the bother, some of the old disciples went to Bhagavan for his help and advice. They explained that, even with him there, they had been badgered in this way; there was no knowing what might happen when he was no longer there to protect them, what would he advise? What did they suggest? he asked them. That the Ashram should be controlled by a board of Trustees appointed by him, might be a good idea, they thought. But Bhagavan demurred. --snip-- Rather than that, would it not be better to arrange for a hereditary management? The matter was discussed and it was decided that, in that case, the best thing to do was to make a Will. Bhagavan agreed to this suggestion.

There was a retired High Court Judge, an old devotee living in Salem, and to him was entrusted the task of making a draft of the Will. This he did, first doing pooja to a portrait of Bhagavan and then praying to him for help and guidance. When it was ready, a number of old devotees collected in the Ashram and a meeting was held in the big room that I had occupied on my arrival in the Ashram. Clause by clause the draft was read and discussed, a few alterations being made; after each clause Bhagavan would be asked if he had understood and if he agreed, and not until his consent was given to each one in turn did they pass on to the next. Eventually it was re-typed and Bhagavan put a line in lieu of a signature. He also authorised Sambasiva Rao to sign in his place, so the attestation was made doubly sure. A number of people witnessed the document and the Sub-Registrar, who was present, asked Bhagavan if he understood the document, agreed to it and wanted it registered. To all of which Bhagavan answered, “Yes!” So there is no doubt as to the legality of the document and Bhagavan’s part in it.

That Bhagavan knew exactly what he was doing and intended to do it, not just submitting to influence as some pretend, is proved by the sequel. A number of years afterwards the authorities of the Ashram decided that the Will was not very satisfactory from their point of view as it seemed to have some legal loopholes in it, and so a new one was drawn up. Bhagavan was lying in his last illness in the new Hall and there he was approached by the Manager and a number of his supporters. They explained their difficulty to Bhagavan and handed him the new document and asked him to certify it. But he would have nothing to do with it. “Is there not a Will already?” he asked, and that finished the matter.

“How can a Jnani make a Will?” people say, “it’s absurd.”
There are no restrictions on a Jnani, no question whether he can or cannot own property; he would not be a Jnani otherwise. He is bound in no imaginable way. People gave him presents and these out of his grace he accepted. Property had accumulated under the management of his brother, who alone handled money and was interested in the organisation. The Ashram would obviously continue as a spiritual centre after the demise of Bhagavan, so the natural thing was to listen to the prayers of the devotees and see that it should be protected. The wisdom of this has since been amply proved. Many cases have been brought against the Ashram by discontented people and much propaganda has been made, but there has always been the Will to see that it continued as a going concern, so that people might still come and enjoy its peace and find the Master still present.

Bhagavan had personally no desire to make a Will nor did he care about property, but he could see our difficulties and it was on that account that he agreed to the above. Nobody pretends that he sat down and wrote it himself; he left that to others, but, personally, I am convinced that he did inspire the document. Anyhow, he gave his full consent to it.

Once he remarked that whatever a Jnani said, however absurd it might seem, must eventually come to pass. He signed the Will which said that the Ashram must be maintained as a spiritual centre and that is being done in spite of opposition. Surely in time it will grow from strength to strength, to be known at length to the whole world.

--- end extracts from Sadhu Arunachala/Major Chadwick book ----

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

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