Ramana’s Will

The following excerpts are from ‘A Sadhu’s Reminscences of Ramana Maharshi by Sadhu Arunachala (A.W. Chadwick),
Publisher: Sri Ramanasramam, Tiruvannamalai, 1961.

Alan Chadwick, a retired British military officer was one of the first European devotees of Ramana Maharshi. He came to his Guru in November of 1935 and stayed until Ramana’s passing in 1950 (April 14, 1950 at 8:47 p.m.). He had the remarkable experience of being intimate with Ramana on a daily basis which gives this book it’s unique insight into the day to day life of this great Sage of Inida.

Sadhu Arunachala passed away in April 1962.

A Sadhu’s Reminiscences of Ramana Maharshi by Sadhu Arunachala (Alan W. Chadwick) 1961.

pp. 99-102

There has been considerable discussion as to whether Bhagavan could and did make a Will. A number of people disparage the idea altogether, while others place all the responsibility for it on the evil machinations of those surrounding him, who in some mysterious manner concocted a document which had still say that what passes as a Will is no will at all, although it has been upheld in a Court of Law. As no record of it has been published in any of the Ashram books I have thought it espedient to give an account of it here.


For twenty years a law case hung over the Ashram causing a lot of worry to everybody. An old devotee claimed the place as his private property and wanted to take over the management of the Ashram including Bhagavan. When the Ashram eventually got rid of the bother, some of the old disciples went to Bhagavan for his help and adivce. They explained that, even with him there, they had been badgered in this way, there was no knowing what might happen when he was no longer there to protect them. What would he advise? What did they suggest? he asked them. That the Ashram should be controlled by a board of Trustees appointed by him, might be a good ideas, they thought. But Bhagavan demurred. Trustees had no real interest in an institution, they would only use it a a milch cow and when it was dry they would leave it to its own resources. Rather than that would it not be better to arrange for a hereditary management? in that case, the best thing to do was to make a Will. Bhagavan agreed to this suggestion.


There was a retired High Court Judge, an old devotee living in Salem, and to him entrusted the task of making a draft of the Will. This he did, first doing Pooja to a portrait of Bhagavan and then praying to him for help and guidance. When it was ready, a number of old devotees collected in the Ashram and a meeting was held in the bg room that I had occupoed on my arrival in the Ashram. Clause by clause the draft was read and discussed, a few alterations being made; after each clause Bhagavan would be asked if he had understood and if he agreed, and not until his consent was given to each one in turn did they pass on to the next. Eventually it was re-typed and Bhagavan put a line in lieu of a signature. He also authorized Sambasiva Rao to sign in his place, so the attestation was made doubly sure. A number of people witnessed the document and the Sub-Registrar, who was present, asked Bhagavan is he understood the document, agreed to it and wanted it registered. To al of which Bhagavan answered, “Yes!” So there is no doubt as to the legality of the document and Bhagavan’s part in it.


that Bhagavan knew eactly what he was doing and inteded to do it, not just submitting to influence as some pretend, is proved by the sequel. A number of years afterwards the authorities of the Ashram decided that the Will was not very satisfactory from their point of view as it seemed to have some legal loopholes in it, in his last illness in the new Hal and there he was approached by the Manager and a number of his supporters. They explained their difficulty to Bhagavan and handed him the new document and asked him to certify it. But he would have nothing to do with it. “AIs there not a Will already?” he asked, and that finished the matter.

“How can a Jnani make a Will? people say, “it’s absurb.”


There are no restrictions on a Jnani, o question whether he can or cannot own property, he would not be a Jnani otherwise. He is bound in no imaginable way. People gave him presents and these out of his grace he accepted. property had accumulated under the management of his brother, who along handled money and was interested in the organization. The Ashram would obviously continue as a spiritual centre after the demise of Bhagavan, so the natural thing was to listen to the prayers of the devotees and see that it should be protected. The wisdom of this has since been amply proved. Many cases have been brough against the Ashram by discontented people and much propaganda has been made, but there has always been the Will to see that it continued as a going concern, so that people might still come and enjoy its peace and find the Master still present. Bhagavan had personally no desire to make a Will nor did he care about property, but he could see our difficulties and it was on that account that he agreed to the above. Nobody pretends that he sat down and wrote it himself; he left that to others, but, p;ersonally, I am convinced that he did inspire the document. Anyhow he gave his full consent to it.


Once he remarked that whatever a Jnani said, however absured it might seem, must eventually come to pass. He signed the Will which said that the Ashram must be maintained as a spiritual centre and that is being done in spite of opposition. Surely in time it will grown from strength to strength, to be known at length to the whole world.

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