Letter 21

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4th January, 1946
People occasionally bring to Bhagavan prasad consisting of Vibhuti (holy ashes) and Kumkum (vermilion) from various places such as Tiruchendur, Madurai and Rameswaram.

Bhagavan accepts it with the greatest reverence saying,

“Look, Subrahmanya from Tiruchendur has come. See there, Meenakshi from Madurai has come. Here is Ramalingeswara from Rameswaram. Here is this God, there is that God.”

Others bring holy water saying, “This is from the Ganga, that is from the Gouthami, this is from the Cauvery, that is from the Krishna.” Whenever such water is brought in Bhagavan accepts it, saying, “Here is Mother Ganga, there is Gouthami, this is the Cauvery and that is Krishnaveni.” At first this used to puzzle me. When Ramana himself is the embodiment of that Eternal Being, who is the origin of all thirthas (holy waters) and who is shining in his abode as himself, how foolish of these people to bring him prasad of water from thirthas as if they had done a great thing! Are they mad? I wondered!

Sometime back someone brought sea water (sagara thirtha). Bhagavan accepted it saying, “Upto now all the rivers have come to me, but not the sagara, the ocean. This is the first time it has come. That is very good. Give it here.” When I heard that, I suddenly remembered all the ancient lore where it is stated that all thirthas (rivers), samudras (seas) and devatas go to such Sages as Ramana to pay respects to their lotus feet. I then used to feel that they were all hyperboles because stones and waters cannot walk to the places where great people live. But now, what I find is that without anybody desiring it, all these holy waters, holy ashes and the like are brought by bhaktas and Bhagavan accepts them, saying, “They have come.” I could now see from incidents that occur in the immediate presence of the Mahatmas that one should read the inner meaning of things carefully. If that is done, it becomes clear that dharma is one thing and dharma-sukshma (the underlying principle of dharma) is another.

Since Bhagavan accepts all these waters with evident pleasure, it should be interpreted as his accepting the service of all thirthas and prasadas. This inner meaning occurred to me when sagara thirtha, i.e., holy water from the sea, was brought in. You remember that when he was living in a cave Bhagavan said when a leopard came, “Many who belong to the class of siddhas (realised souls) come to see me in different forms.”