One chapter from book The Hill about life Sri Ramana Maharishi published by Sri Ramanasramam
Somu and his father took turns in driving the cart, from early morning till late in the night. Somu preferred the mornings for his work. He still kept learning-outside of school. He went to a lending library regularly and found many interesting books in Tamil including a small one titled, 'All is One'. It spoke about the underlying unity of the universe. He did not quite understand it and wished he could have shown it to Visu.
Somu learnt in other ways too. Like his father, he did not talk unnecessarily with customers and spoke only when spoken to. But he listened to the conversation going on in the cart and thus he gained access to news, views, gossip and some knowledge. He also developed a talent to explain to visitors the various landmarks in the town and around the Hill.
The hot dry summer, usual for the town, had passed. The weather was getting a little more acceptable-for the town's standards. That day he was taking Mudaliar, a well to do landowner, to the temple. Mudaliar was to perform an elaborate puja in the evening and he wanted to bring in much of the puja articles and offerings earlier in the day. Somu took those articles from the cart and followed Mudaliar into the temple. They entered through the eastern gate and were passing by the thousand pillared hall. Several boys were engaged in mischief, throwing stones and brickbats down steps which led into an underground vault in the hall. Mudaliar was furious that the sanctity of the temple was being violated. With the walking stick he usually carried as a sign of status, he advanced towards the boys, waving the stick. The boys ran away. Presently out of the darkness Seshadri Swami came up from the steps. "Are you injured, Swami?", asked Mudaliar. "No", Swami replied as he went away, "but look at the boy there". They went down groping their way through.
In a small underground room, a boy was sitting motionless with his eyes closed. He might be of the same age as Somu, someone with whom Somu might have played. But this one was different. He was in deep meditation, totally oblivious to the surroundings or their approaching footsteps. There was a linga in the room and he sat between it and the wall in the cramped space. He had obviously been sitting for long hours in total disregard of whatever was happening to his body. Despite the poor light, one could see that ants and insects were all over him.
The sight and the rocklike stillness of the boy rendered them speechless for a moment. They quickly came to their senses. Mudaliar asked Somu to get some help. Somu ran up and called some people working in the temple garden nearby. With difficulty they lifted the boy and slowly brought him out. They were startled to see sores in his thighs and legs and pus coming out. There was no sign of movement or recognition from the boy. He seemed totally unaware, with an unworldly calm and radiance in his face which only deep meditation could generate. In Tiruvannamalai, sadhus sitting in the lotus posture, with eyes closed were not rare. But Somu had never seen such a total immersion inwards.
The boy was still not conscious of his surroundings. He was clad only in a loin cloth and even that was not in place. They placed him in the Murugan shrine near the tower. A sadhu who lived in the temple and always kept silence went to the shrine of the Goddess and brought the liquid that had come out of the sanctum sanctorum when the stone figure of the Goddess had been ritually bathed. It was a mixture of milk, turmeric, fruits, yoghurt and several other things. They poured some of the liquid down the boy's throat after shaking him repeatedly to bring him to consciousness. He gulped it and almost immediately slipped back into his still state.
Somu had to go on with his errand with Mudaliar. However, over the next few days he could partially unravel the mysterious presence of the boy, by talking to various people and reconstructing the events. A barber near the Ayyankulam tank said he had shaved the head of a young boy, evidently a brahmin boy, for he was wearing a sacred thread. When he was collecting the tools of his trade, he saw that boy throwing away some money and also his sacred thread. The boy tore off a piece from his dhoti, used it as loin cloth and threw away the dhoti too. Someone in the agraharam had seen a boy of that description running towards the temple under a quick passing shower. Some people had seen him sitting motionless in the thousand pillared hall. Some of the miscreant boys admitted that they had thrown stones at him 'just like that', while one of them said that since a boy of their age could not be in such deep meditation, he simply wanted to find out whether the boy was feigning that posture. Then came Seshadri Swami trying to drive away the boys in his crankish way. This added zest to their pursuit. They threw stones and Swami threw back the stones at them. This was a game they enjoyed. The boy had not spoken or done anything to protect himself. He simply moved into the underground room. The boys were hesitant to go down the dark steps and so were throwing things at him from the top of the steps. Seeing that Seshadri Swami was acting as his guardian, they called him 'Chinna Seshadri'. A pious lady said she used to give him some food but when she arranged a feast for him and for all sadhus, he silently declined and went to a nearby house, where the lady of the house, on hearing the clapping of his hands, recognized him and gave him some food.
In the next few days, Somu made it a point to see the boy sometime or other every day. The boy continued in his trance like condition. A pious elderly lady succeeded in giving him a bath once. A temple priest arranged for daily supply of milk.
In the meantime the whole town was agog with the information about the new arrival. With so many people there who respected austerities and spiritual attainment, crowds started to collect. Some sadhus took it on themselves to keep the crowd under control. Even though he was in a trance like condition, it was clear that the boy wanted to be left alone. He moved to different parts of the temple and its garden over the next few weeks. Once the annual festival began, almost all the pilgrims who came to the temple, also started looking for the boy and prostrating before him. They did not know his name and called him simply Brahmanaswami.