“Smaranath Arunachala Mukthi” - ‘the thought of (Agni Kshethra) Thiruvannamalai ensures deliverance. The Mountain is also synonymous with Sri Ramana Maharshi, who made it his abode for five decades.
An epitome of compassion, his overflowing love touched animals and birds that he treated on par with humans by addressing them too as ‘he' or ‘she.' No wonder sparrows and squirrels built their nests around him even as cows, dogs and monkeys found shelter in the ashram.
Sri Ramana ensured that the animals were taken care of and obsequies performed on their death. Lakshmi the cow and Jackie the dog were not his only ‘pets'. Crows, monkeys, peacocks, etc., were ‘close' to him too. Once a visitor brought to Bhagavan two baby cheetahs he was rearing. The sage caressed them and fed them milk and they started moving freely among the people in the Ashram, climbed on to Sri Ramana' sofa and slept there. Their presence did not inhibit the squirrels and sparrows from coming and taking their share of nuts and grains.
Once noticing the attendants preventing a monkey from entering his room with her newborn, the Maharishi said, “Let her in. She too wants to show her child to me, just as the visitors here do.”
One early morning, an Ashramite was shocked to see the Seer sitting in an isolated place permitting a stray dog lick his body all over. He clarified that the Ashram dogs were not letting the stray come close to him and so he was allowing it to express its love to him, the way it knew.
Ramana was extremely cautious while sitting or leaning, as squirrels would always be running over his couch, body and under his pillows. Finding a sparrow's nest missing, he made enquiries and admonished Madhava, his attendant, who had removed it. “They gather material with their tiny beaks and construct their homes. Don't destroy them,” he said. On another occasion, he picked up a fallen egg and found that it had cracked. He wrapped in a wet piece of cloth and put it back in the nest. He checked it daily and was delighted when the cracks disappeared and the mother hatched it too.
At Skandashram, a peacock would regularly follow him whenever he went out. One day when a huge black cobra appeared the peacock fiercely attacked it. The latter put up a fight spreading its hood. Bhagavan whispered to the cobra to escape and it instantly left.
Ashramites watched with bated breath as the sage climbed down a ledge in the hill to rescue a sheep. The little girl grazing the herd fell at his feet in gratitude.
Thanks to his initiative, saplings were planted on the Girivalam path to offer shade to devotees walking in the hot sun.