After attaining the enlightenment, do all people renounce the world, sit unmovable in the cave, not taking care of the body, focusing only on inner reality as young Ramana Maharishi did?
Not necessary. In the end, it always comes to the fact that such people do eat. They are also cleaned up and healed if necessary – by others. They may be in the mood of not wanting it – that I understand. Sometimes, this shiny illusion we call the world is just too much. The feeling of tiredness and overwhelmingness prevails. It is only right to stop all this and gracefully die. There are hundreds of people who died that way. Other people saved only some of them. And those saved, become well-known saints.
They are, in the way, pushed forward by Life itself. It was not their wish; it happened that way.
However, it is dubious to think that it always has to be “saved by the people” scenario. Since there is no difference between this body and the body of someone else, there is no difference between this mind and the mind of someone else. The desire to be “saved” and preserved for the world, can come from this mind too.
Regarding „not caring to live“ situation, there are two scenarios. One is that anyone, not enlightened, can fall into the trap of a death wish. The instinct to survive can be overridden by sickness, despair, fear, even love. It is in no way the sign of true enlightenment. Or, in other words, you can not judge enlightenment by that.
The second situation is the enlightenment itself. It seems that enlightened ones do tend to test the will of the Life with complete surrender. It goes like this: “Ok, there is nothing else coming to this mind. Maybe it is time to give up? If it is not, then something will happen.”
And something happens. Or not.
In the first case, you live. In the second case, you die.
Now, you have to understand that enlightened people are always born into some culture. They are born not-enlightened, and then by some struck of the lightning, they become enlightened. Anyway, they are part of that culture.
Ramana Maharishi was born as Venkataramana Ayyar. An Indian. In the year of 1879. You can not expect from him to behave like someone born in America two hundred years before, or in France, a hundred years later.
So, he did what was implicit in his cultural environment. He becomes a sanyasi. As such, it was only logical not to care about the body, thinking that ants may as well eat it. And when it comes to his food… well, he will certainly not do anything to provide it for himself. Dying from hunger was an acceptable option.
He was respected for that. He would be respected even today. Back then, it was a part of Indian collective mind that such things happen: from time to time, a divinity descends upon people. And with such background, what else Venkatarmana could do? It was logical, implicit, and unavoidable.
But, that does not mean that you should do it (you don’t have to do anything specific, of course), or that this is a sign of true enlightenment.
You could stand a mosquitos and ants bites, and you could give them to eat you alive. Probably, it will be a horrible experience, and you will scream and cry and suffer. But, you could even get your self into the state of not feeling the pain and horror of such a destiny. All this would mean nothing and have no connection with enlightenment whatsoever.
It is just scenery.
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