Life with Sri Ramana Bhagavan

Sri Bhagavan accepts nothing for himself.There is an ineffable tenderness in his look. It is not only sympathy for the immediate troubles of his devotees but for the whole vast burden of samsara, of human life. And yet, despite the tenderness, the lines of his face can show the sternness of one who has conquered and never compromised. This aspect of hardness is usually covered by a soft growth of white hair, for, as a sanyasin, his head and face are shaved every full moon day. Many of the devotees regret it the growth of white hair on face and head so enhances the grace and gentleness of aspect but none presumes to mention it to him.

Sri Ramanasram

When the devotees followed Sri Bhagavan down to the Mother’s samadhi at the foot of the Hill in December 1922 there was only a single thatched shed for Ashram. Through the ensuing years the numbers grew, donations came in and regular Ashram premises were erected — the hall where Sri Bhagavan sat, the office and bookshop, the dining hall and kitchen, the cowshed, the post office, the dispensary, the guest-room for male visitors (really not a room but a large dormitory for such as wished to stay some days at the Ashram), a couple of small bungalows for guests who made a longer stay — all single-storey buildings whitewashed on the outside in Indian fashion.

Animals in Ramanashram and Compassion for Animals

The animals felt his Grace. If a wild animal is cared for by people its own kind boycott it on its return to them, but if it came from him they did not; rather they seemed to honour it. They felt the complete absence of fear and anger in him. He was sitting on the hillside when a snake crawled over his legs. He neither moved nor showed any alarm. A devotee asked him what it felt like to have a snake pass over one and, laughing he replied “Cool and soft.”


One was often impressed by the tolerance and kindliness of Sri Bhagavan. It was not merely that he recognised the truth of all religions, for that any man of spiritual understanding would do, but if any school or group or ashram was striving to spread spirituality he would show appreciation of the good it was doing, however far its methods might be from his own or its teachings from strict orthodoxy.

F.H. Humphreys

The first Western devotee of Sri Bhagavan was already grounded in occultism when he came to India in 1911. He was only twenty-one and had come to take up a post in the Police service at Vellore. He engaged a tutor, one Narasimhayya, to teach him Telugu and in the very first lesson asked him whether he could procure a book in English on Hindu astrology. It was a strange request from a white sahib, but Narasimhayya assented and got him one from a library. The next day Humphreys asked an even more astonishing question, “Do you know any Mahatma here?”

Ganapati Sastri (Kavyakanta Ganapati Muni)

In 1917 Ganapati Sastri and other devotees put a number of questions to Sri Bhagavan and the questions and answers have been recorded in a book entitled Sri Ramana Gita, more erudite and doctrinal than most of the books. Characteristically, one of the questions that Ganapati Sastri asked was whether someone who attained Jnana (Self-realization), as it were, by the way while seeking some specific powers would find his original desires fulfilled. And nowhere is Sri Bhagavan’s swift and subtle humour better illustrated than in the reply he gave, “If the Yogi, though starting upon Yoga for the fulfilment of his desires, gained Knowledge in the meantime he would not be unduly elated even though his desires were likewise fulfilled.”