Sri Ramana’s mother lived with him in physically difficult conditions and in poverty in the caves of Arunachala. Life was hard for her due to her age as well. One day, Bhagavan Ramana’s sister came and said to their mother, “Mother, you are not well. Come, I have a comfortable house.” She refused and turning to Bhagavan told him, “I want to die only in your arms. After my death you may even throw away my body into some thorn bushes, it does not matter.”
Soon after this incident, Bhagavan’s Mother fell seriously ill. On the day of her passing away, from early in the morning, Bhagavan sat next to her with his left hand on her head and his right hand on the right side of her chest. He remained like that for nearly eight hours. The devotees who had gathered there knew that her end had come. They observed the beauty and sanctity of a son elevating his mother’s soul to the Infinite. Kunju Swami who was present later said that the devotees observing this felt it was a physical demonstration of the soul’s journey to the Absolute; it was like heat and light spreading from a flame. When that soul and mind had merged in the Self, Bhagavan took his hands off and then said, “When the soul merges with the Self and is completely annihilated, a soft ring like that of a bell can be felt.”
It was a common practice that after witnessing a death, all those present must bathe. However, Bhagavan said that in this case there was no need as there was no pollution. “She did not die. Instead, she is absorbed in Arunachala,” he stated. Later, the devotees who were there enquired, “Bhagavan, what did you do by keeping your hands on her head and her chest? What exactly took place?” Bhagavan explained, “Innate tendencies and subtle memories of past experiences that lead to future possibilities became very active when my hands were placed on her. Scene after scene rolled before her in her subtle consciousness. The outer senses had already gone. The soul was passing through a series of experiences, thus avoiding the need for rebirth and making possible the union of the mind with the Self or the Heart. The soul was at last disrobed of all subtleties before it reached its final destination, the supreme peace of liberation from which there is no return to ignorance.” From Ramana Periyapuranam.
Note:To commemorate the anniversary of Ramana Maharshi’s mother’s death, a special puja known as her Aradhana or Mahapooja, is performed every year at the Matrbhuteshwara.