That a human being could speak with animals is not commonly accepted nation. But in the life story of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, there are abundant reports from those who witnessed first-hand the sage communicating with Animals, especially the monkeys that lived on Arunachala Mountain.
Ever since he went up the hill in 1899, Sri Bhagavan moved closely with monkeys, understood their cries and gestures, and even followed their individual stories. Once such story is that of Nondi the Hobbler who got his name from Bhagavan as he had the tendency to limp. As a youth, he was abandoned by his clan but was blessed to find his way into Bhagavan's care. After years of mentoring, Hobbler was not readmitted to his clan but rose to a position of prominence and even earned the respect of the other on the hill.
The present volume is Hobbler's tale. But more than that, it tells the life story of one of the greatest saints of modern times- the sage who spoke with animals.
From the time he started living on the mountain, Bhagavan Sri Ramana moved closely with monkeys. To his observant eyes, it became evident that monkeys had their own morality, territories, forms of government and codes of war. Bhagavan watched them at sport and play, and bestowed his tender care on those in need. In time they accepted him as one of their own. As with St. Francis of Assissi, Sri Bhagavan had a special relationship and ability to communicate with animals that was beyond ordinary human understanding.
Taken from chronicles by devotees, the anecdotes of the present volume come from Ashram publications though some are appearing in print for the first time. Through the medium of stories, we hear about life on the hill and of monkeys such as Bhagavan's friend, "Nondi' ('the Hobbler'). In many cases, when reading them, it is hard to believe that such things could ever have actually happened. Nevertheless, the events portrayed here are taken from the direct testimonies of devotees who witnessed them. Though segments of the story have been dramatized where there are gaps in the record, the storyline is nevertheless of Sri Bhagavan's life, the chapters within each overlap and may not always follow a precise historical time sequence.
For those needing help with Tamil and Sanskrit terms, there are brief footnotes. For more detailed treatment, please consult the glossary on page 103. Portions from the Ashram literature have been freely adapted throughout the text- paraphrased in some places, in others, in others cited word for word. For the sake of simplicity and readability, however, sources have been footnoted but are listed by chapter in the references beginning on page 97.
Let us ponder the lives of those blessed souls who by Bhagavan's grace were fortunate to be in Bhagavan's continuous presence and receive his blessings in full. Let us not only be entertained and edified but allow the compassion that Bhagavan so glowingly exemplified inform our interactions and relationships with all creatures, great and small.
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