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The elderly and serene Sri Ramana Maharshi in his final years
slide 7 of 7

Taught by the true brahmin, Venkata,
Flourish ever, this dharma of the cross
The dharma of vicarious penance.

Jesus Christ was crucified on the cross. Sri Ramakrishna suffered from throat cancer. Sri Ramana’s body suffered from sarcoma for many long months from early February 1949 to April 14, 1950. Four operations had to be performed on his body and the pain was excruciating. The world is unable to understand the suffering of the bodies of the saviors of humanity like them. “Why should the pure, spotless ones suffer?” is the question which arises in the minds of many. The reason for this is given in the above verses of Muruganar. The crucifixion of the bodies of world teachers is a logical corollary of their universal love and compassion. They suffered for the sins of others. Theirs is vicarious penance.

The devotees panicked after Ramana’s fourth unsuccessful operation. Each came forward with his pet theory as to what would be the best course of treatment. In December 1949, when the devotees were at a loss as to what treatment should be tried next, one of them approached to ask Ramana. He replied with a smile, “Have I ever asked for any treatment? It is you who want this and that for me. So it is you who must decide. If I were asked, I would always say, as I said from the beginning, that no treatment is necessary. Let things take their course.”

Ramana’s breathing became gradually slower and slower and at 8.47 p.m on the 14th of April, 1950, it subsided quietly.

We also have the first-hand account of what happened precisely at this moment in the heavens. “Suddenly, a bright and luminous body arose from the southern horizon, slowly went up and descended in the north somewhere on the Arunachala hill. It was not a meteor as it was bigger than what Venus looks to our vision and its movement was slow. It was so lustrous that when it was at the zenith the light shed by its trail stretched as far as the horizon like an arc in the sky.”
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