24th October, 1947
Yesterday a monkey with her baby stood in the window by the side of Bhagavan’s sofa. Bhagavan Ramana was reading something and so did not notice it. After a while, the monkey screeched and one of the attendants tried to drive her away by shouting, but she would not go. Bhagavan then looked up and said, “Wait! She has come here to show her baby to Bhagavan. Do not all the people bring their children to show them? For her, her child is equally dear. Look how young that child is.” So saying, Bhagavan turned towards her, and said in an endearing tone, “Hullo! So you have brought your child?
That is good!” And, giving her a plantain, he sent her away.
Did you hear about what the monkeys did last
Independence Day? A few days before, on the 11th or 12th, while Bhagavan was seated in the Jubilee Hall, an army of monkeys came clamouring for fruit. Krishnaswami, the attendant, tried to drive them away by shouting, whereupon Bhagavan said, “Remember, the 15th of August is an Independence day for them as well. You must give them a feast on that day instead of driving them away.”
On the 14th, while some of the Asramites were busy making arrangements for the hoisting of the flag, the army of monkeys came again and again. One of the servants tried to drive them away. Seeing this, Bhagavan said with a laugh, “Do not drive them away, please. They too have attained independence, have they not? You must give them Bengal-gram, lentils and parched rice and feast them. Is it proper to drive them away?” “But tomorrow is the Independence Day, Bhagavan,” said the servant, “not today.” Bhagavan laughed, “So that’s it, is it? But when you are making arrangements for the celebrations, should they not make their own arrangements? That is why they are busy, don’t you see?”
You know what happens with the monkeys on other occasions? One of the attendants will be sitting with a basket to receive the fruit offered to Bhagavan by devotees. Off and on the attendant sits with closed eyes being drowsy or listening to the radio. Waiting for a suitable opportunity, some of the monkeys come and snatch away the fruit. When the people in the hall try to scare them away, Bhagavan would say, “When these attendants are immersed in deep meditation (dhyana samadhi), the monkeys come and see to the work of the attendants. Someone has to look after the work! The attendants put the fruit into the basket, the monkeys put the fruit into their stomachs; that is all the difference. While people forget themselves while listening to the music over the radio the monkeys busy themselves in enjoying the sweet juice of the fruit. That is good, isn’t it!” If the monkeys come while no attendants are there, Bhagavan says, as soon as one returns to duty, “See, not one of you was here and so the monkeys have been looking after your work. They are actually helping you. So you can take some rest. When I was on the hill, they were my constant companions. You now drive them away, but in those days, theirs was the empire.”
Sometimes these great monkey-warriors knock the fruit out of the hands of newcomers, while on their way to Bhagavan, and at times even snatch away the fruit which people keep by their side after having had it given back to them as prasadam* by Bhagavan’s attendants. Noticing these things Bhagavan would say, “They take their share of the fruit, why be angry with them? There is the concentrated look, the ‘lakshya drishti’. Somehow they find out where the fruit is kept and in the twinkling of an eye, all of them come and take away their share. Their attention is always on the fruit. That is why, in Vedantic parlance, the monkey’s look is given as an illustration of the concentrated look, lakshya drishti.
The moment the Guru makes a sign with his eye, the disciple should understand; otherwise the disciple cannot achieve his aim.
(* It is customary in India, on offering fruit or flowers to the deity or a holy man, for a portion of the offering to be returned to the devotee.)