Ramana Maharishi was known for his friendly co-existence with animals and birds who fearlessly neared him, even lapping up food from his palm! Many squirrels had built nests in the ashram, some dared to build nests on Shri Ramana’s couch itself! He used to feed them bits and pieces of nuts. A devotee asked why he didn’t give them whole nuts. Ramana answered that the squirrel didn’t hoard, but only filled its stomach.
If he gave the whole, then other squirrels would quarrel and snatch it . The devotee wondered if the squirrel was not foolish in not providing for a future need? Ramana firmly replied, “There are so many living beings who live from moment to moment. Are they all starving and dying? It is only man that lives wretchedly in this manner thinking that he has to take care of his future.”
Swami Chinmayanandaji gave the example of a child saying , “Daddy, We don’t need mummy now. Just open the fridge and find the sandwiches!” We are that child who knows not ‘who’ out of love and concern made the sandwiches and stored them. There is a Super Provider who not only provides food but also life savers like water and air! He provides a new mother’s body with milk, and has already taught the infant how to suck! Yet, we hoard and tirelessly feather our nest, worrying ourselves sick with thoughts of future insecurities.
“The monkeys are the true sanyasis“, said Ramana, they are “the true renunciates, as they do not build a house for themselves. They live on any tree for the evening, they eat whatever they get during the day.”
As Swami Chinmayanandaji also said “Sanyas is not the colour of the cloth. It is a state of the mind.”
Prarthna Saran, President Chinmaya Mission, Delhi.
Email: prarthnasaran@ gmail.com