Kitty Osborne, daughter of Arthur Osborne, first came to Ramana Ashram in 1941. Though sent to boarding school in Kodaikanal she nonetheless spent much time at the ashram right up to Bhagavan’s mahasamadhi in 1950. It was a wonderful and rare opportunity to ask her some questions about the unusual stories Robert Adams told about Ramana Ashram.
Question to Kitty Osborne:
How likely is this quote from Robert to have happened:
“Another thing Ramana used to do. People used to tell him that
were some intellectuals coming to see you, some Pundits. Who are
coming to have a discourse with you about the religion, about hinduism, about this, about that. So he used to go outside of his place and he
always wore loin cloth. And he would rub himself with mud and become
filthy and sit there in the mud. And when they’d come by they would say, “Where does the sage live?” and he would say, “he’s gone, he doesn’t live here anymore,” and then they would inquire up the hill and they would
say, “you just passed him sitting in the mud.” (laughter) And they would become disillusioned and go away.” –p.216 Robert Adams Complete Transcripts
Or this one:
“I recall a Westerner, I’m trying to think of his name, Henry Wells,
from Scotland. He apparently had read a lot of books about Ramana,
and this was his first visit. He came into the hall, and I was watching this.
He ran over to Ramana and prostrated himself on his stomach, and
started going crazy. His feet were shaking, and he was chanting. The
devotees wanted to pick him up, and Ramana said, “Let him stay.” When
he came out of it he told Ramana, “At last I have found you. You are my father, my mother, my son, my daughter, my friend.” And Ramana just
smiled at him. And I said to myself, and I was only eighteen years old, I said to myself, “Someone who is this enthusiastic, let’s see what happens, if it lasts.”
The days went by and he kept prostrating himself every day for
about a month. Then he finally stopped, and he sat down like everybody else. And after about two months or so, looking around the room at
everybody, and he started complaining, that this wasn’t right, that wasn’t right. After about four months of being there he donated forty-thousand dollars to the ashram, and I’m just watching all these things going on.
After about six months of being there, he started to find fault with the management. At that time Ramanas brother was managing the ashram.
He started to whisper to the other disciples, of course the devotees had nothing to do with this. It was the disciples and the seekers. He started spreading rumors. He hardly ever talked to me. I guess I was too young.
He was about forty-five years old.
When about the seventh month he came over to me one day and
he asked me, outside the ashram, “Do you think Ramana is really
enlightened?” So I just smiled at him, I didn’t answer and walked away.
He started getting devotees to fight against each other and rebel
against the rules of the ashram.
On about the eighth month he saw me again and he tells me, “Do
you think it is right for Ramana to stand naked like this? Let’s buy him some clothes and dress him up, so when Westerners come they wont be
frightened.” So I told him what Ramana said: “Remember the reason for
why you came.” And this went on.
A couple of days later I didn’t see him in the hall. Second day
passed and I didn’t see him. Third day passed and I didn’t see him. And the fourth day I inquired, “What happened to him?” And the house guest he was living with said, “Oh, Henry packed his suitcase and went back to Scotland,” and nobody ever heard from him again.” –p.758 Robert Adams Transcripts
The first question about Bhagavan rubbing himself with mud etc sounds completely spurious. …I can safely say that the first one was entirely made up. Bhagavan would NEVER dirty himself up in order to mock seekers. He would never dirty himself up anyway, and he was almost always kind and patient with genuine seekers after knowledge…. however annoying they might seem to others. The only people he had no time for, as I said yesterday, were egoists playing ‘look at me, aren’t I wonderful’.
Bhagavan was scrupulously clean in his person and in his habits,ie the way he ate for instance. Not a grain of rice was left on the floor. He did not encourage self-agrandisement in any one, nor did he condone exhibitionism. When he ignored someone it was memorable!
The second story about the Scotsman sounds as though it was cobbled together from various questionable bits of gossip… there were many weird people who came to the ashram and I didn’t meet them all.
The gift of 40,000 dollars is pure fantasy…that I can state categorically.
Ps. If anyone gave $40,000 to the ashram in those days we would ALL have heard about it! The ashram was poor and that amount of money would have bought most of Tiruvannamalai! I suspect that story was invented in order to nudge people into the idea of substantial gifts of money!
Pps. What was a Scotsman doing with dollars?