More Reminiscences of Ramana Maharshi
Know Who You Are !
It was in 1919 that I first came to Sri Bhagavan. He was then living at Skandasramam on the slope of the Hill Arunachala. His mother and brother lived with him. Palaniswami used to attend to his few personal wants. Plague had driven away most of the inhabitants of the town and consequently visitors to Sri Bhagavan were few. I was, therefore, left alone with Sri Bhagavan most of the time. I related to him all the spiritual practices I had been doing, what I had been studying, and what experiences I had. At that time I was very unhappy because in spite of all I had done I was unable to experience samadhi. After patiently hearing me out, Bhagavan quoted from Kaivalya Navaneet
“If you realize who you are, there is no cause for sorrow.”
“So if you come to understand who you are, then there is peace,” said Bhagavan.
Well, I did not know what was meant by “know who you are.” Bhagavan went on to explain that the mind is only a bundle of thoughts and that if I seek the source of all thoughts I would be drawn into the Heart. He simultaneously pointed to his Heart. Bhagavan was looking at me intently and I focused my attention in the manner he instructed me and within a few minutes I was led into samadhi. I was thrilled. Coming to my senses we went for lunch. Then again, I sat before him and by a single look he put me into that blissful state. This experience occurred again and again-during all seventeen days that I stayed with Bhagavan. I was like one intoxicated. I was absolutely indifferent to everything. I had no curiosity to see anything, no desire whatsoever. What I did I did most mechanically. I would have continued to live in this state if it had not occurred to me that it was not proper to partake of the food that was offered to Sri Bhagavan by his devotees without paying anything.
I thought that he had initiated me into the experience of Brahman and that I had nothing more to gain by staying in his presence. I, therefore, returned to my native place and began to practise meditation in a room in my house all by myself. I could succeed to gain and retain that experience only for a few days; it started to diminish gradually and at last one day it was lost. I could not regain the experience. I decided to return to Sri Bhagavan. This I did, and great good fortune awaited me when I came.
The Stillness of His Mind Haunted Me
1939. “Bhagavan,” I said on a day then near my hut, “I feel a strong urge to go on Yatra (pilgrimage). I feel that I need a change for some months, which I intend spending in holy places.” He smiled approval and enquired about the date and time of my starting and whether I had made arrangements for my stay in the various places I was to visit. Extremely touched by his solicitude, I answered that I was going as a sadhu, trusting to chance for accommodation.
For three months thereafter I lay on a mat in Cape Comorin, immensely relieved of the mental tension which the Master’s physical form had caused me. In solitude I plunged into reflections on his blissful silence and calm repose. The stillness of his mind haunted me everywhere I went – in the beautiful, gem-like temple of the youthful virgin goddess, on the shores of the vast blue ocean around me and the sand dunes, in the fishing villages and endless stretches of coconut groves, which ran along the seashore and the interior of the Cape. I felt his influence in the depth of my soul and cried: “Oh Bhagavan, how mighty you are and how sublime and all pervasive is the immaculate purity of your mind! With what tender emotions do we, your disciples, think of your incomparable qualities, your gentleness; your serene, adorable countenance; your cool, refreshing smiles; the sweetness of the words that come out of your mouth; the radiance of your all-embracing love; your equal vision towards one and all.
S.S. Cohen, Guru Ramana
A Jnani has No Separate Will of His Own
In the evening Sri Bhagavan recalled a marvelous occurrence. He said, “Some time ago, a paralytic was brought in a conveyance and brought into the Hall in the arms of some persons and placed before me. I was looking at him as usual. After about half an hour, the man with some effort got up by himself, prostrated, and rising came forward and handed to me a notebook. I found it to be his horoscope wherein it was stated that he would have darshan of a Mahatma by whose Grace he would be cured miraculously. The man after expressing his fervent gratitude walked by himself to his conveyance outside the Hall. All people present were struck with wonder which I also shared because I had not consciously done anything for him.” Now Sri Bhagavan again repeated that a Jnani could not have any sankalpa (will) of his own.
Subbaramayya, My Reminiscences of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi
Initiated into the Search for the Self
In 1927, three other ladies and I went to Tiruvannamalai. By that time Bhagavan had come down from the hill and was living in a hut near his mother’s samadhi (grave). We rented a place in the town, had a bath and went to see him. He was seated on a cot in a grass-thatched shed. Muruganar was by his side. As soon as I saw him I knew he was God in human form. I bowed to him and said, “The dream of my life has come true. Today I am blessed. Grant that my mind does not trouble me anymore.”
Bhagavan turned to Muruganar and said: “Ask her to find out whether there is such a thing as mind. If there is, ask her to describe it.”
I stood still, not knowing what to say. Muruganar explained to me, “Don’t you see? You have been initiated in the search for the Self.”
Ramana Maharshi – An Avatar of Skanda
In 1908, from January to March, Nayana (Ganapati Muni) lived with the Maharshi at the Pachai Amman Temple. One early morning Nayana and other disciples were all sitting in front of the Maharshi who was, as usual, indrawn. The Muni saw a sparkling light come down from the sky and touch the forehead of the Maharshi six times. The Maharshi also was aware of what was happening. Immediately the Muni had the intuitive realization that the Maharshi was none other than an incarnation of Lord Skanda.
Sri K. Natesan
This was later confirmed in an indirect way by the Maharshi himself. Skanda by tradition was a son of God Shiva. He presides over the process of enlightenment and is also called Subramanium, Karttikeya (Child of the Pleiades), Murugan and other names.
An Invisible Being Accompanies Him
During those days I had a dream. A resplendent lady with a luminous face was seated by Bhagavan’s side on the sofa and Bhagavan was adorning her with meticulous care. Another lady, as beautiful and full of light and splendor, was moving about the Ashram, doing all kinds of service. I asked Bhagavan how it was that he was giving so much attention to one and none to the other. Then I woke up. When I told my dream to Muruganar, he told me that it was true that an invisible being was always near Bhagavan. She was the Goddess of Salvation and Muruganar had composed several songs about her.
Gives Boon of Vision of Rama
In May 1933 on my 36th birthday, after the usual bath and prayers, I sat in Sri Bhagavan’s presence in a pensive mood. I addressed a prayer in the Tamil viruttam style to Sri Bhagavan complaining, “O Bhagavan, I have completed three-and-a-half decades and yet have not had the experience of the real you. Pray let me have this day the touch of your grace.” Handing over this slip of paper I prostrated before him. Bhagavan bade me sit down and gazed steadily at me; I was still in a pensive and meditative mood. All of a sudden I lost body-consciousness and was absorbed in Sri Maharshi. I was turned inward and the voice of Bhagavan bade me see whatever I desired. I felt that if I could have the darshan of Sri Rama my life would be fruitful, as I was very much devoted to Sri Rama. I had then immediately a darshan of Sri Rama, with Sita, Lakshmana, Bharata, Satrughna and Hanuman. The ecstasy of the vision defied description; I simply sat on with Maharshi perhaps gazing on me without my being aware of his gaze. Two hours may thus have passed in pin-drop silence, lost in the vision, until it vanished. I prostrated at the feet of Sri Maharshi, with tears of ecstasy in my eyes and my hair standing on end. To Bhagavan’s enquiry I replied that I, of course, had seen my dear Rama.
Meeting a “Long Distance” Devotee
After reaching London, I took an early opportunity to go to Epsom, which was about three quarters of an hour journey by train to meet Mrs. Victoria Doe at her quiet residence, at 17, St. Martins Avenue. It was on May 19, 1946, Mrs. Doe, who was nearing 80, lived with her only daughter, Miss Leena Doe. She had never come to India, never seen Bhagavan Sri Ramana in flesh and blood. Yet I was deeply moved by her devotion to Him. She had read about Him, prayed to Him, meditated on Him and lived in Him day in and day out. There was something trans-mundane, something related to a sphere other than the physical world that occasioned my visit to this elderly lady, who was a recluse to the social life in England. It seems she had written to the Ashram that much as she would have liked to go over to India to have a darshan of Sri Bhagavan, her circumstances did not permit it, and that she was very desirous of at least meeting some one who had seen him and had the good fortune to sit at his feet. Hence, the visit I paid her on the suggestion from the Ashram, was, in fact, the fulfillment of her long cherished desire.
Mrs. Doe, with shaking hands, took from her shelves sheaves of letters received from the Ashram and after kissing them with great reverence handed them over to me for perusal. All those were letters from the Ashram and had been meticulously preserved by her for many years. She had also with her all the English Publications of Sri Ramanasramam. She opened one of the books and running her shaky finger along the inscription on the first page “with Gracious Blessings from Sri Bhagavan”, burst into tears of joy and devotion. When she composed herself, she said “Mr. Nambiar, how lucky you are to have been able to be with Him, to see Him and hear Him speak. Here we treasure these books and letters as representing Him. Now He has sent you here. I feel that He is with us now”. Such love, such devotion to the Sage, so tenderly expressed, moved me to the depths of my being. Verily His Kingdom is the Heart of the devotee, and I have always found Him there enthroned.
K. K. Nambier
In the Self There is No Space-Time
Mr. and Mrs. S. were visitors from Peru to the Ashram. The couple narrated all their story to Bhagavan, all the privations they had undergone to have a look at Sri Maharshi. Bhagavan was all kindness to them; He heard their story with great concern, and then remarked: “You need not have taken all this trouble. You could well have thought of me from where you were, and so could have had all the consolation of a personal visit.” This remark of Sri Bhagavan they could not easily understand, nor did it give them any consolation as they sat at His feet like Mary. Sri Maharshi did not want to disturb their pleasure in being in His immediate vicinity, and so He left them at that.
Later in the evening Sri Maharshi was enquiring about their day-to-day life, and incidentally their talk turned to Peru. The couple began picturing the landscape of Peru and were describing the sea-coast and the beach of their own town. Just then Maharshi remarked: “Is not the beach of your town paved with marble slabs, and are not coconut palms planted in between? Are there not marble benches in rows facing the sea there and did you not often sit on the fifth of those with your wife?” This remarks of Sri Maharshi created astonishment in the couple. How could Sri Bhagavan, who had never gone out of Tiruvannamalai, know so intimately such minute details about their own place? Sri Maharshi only smiled and remarked: “It does not matter how I can tell. Enough if you know that in the Self there is no Space-Time.”
Ramana Maharshi’s Detachment from the body
Once at Skandasramam, after Bhagavan and I had a bath and he was drying his body with a towel, I noticed that down from his knee to his ankle the skin had peeled off and blood was oozing. I asked him what the matter was with his leg. He said he did not know. I asked, “Is it not from your legs that blood is oozing? You seem to know nothing about it!” He replied very casually, “When I was sitting down, the fire from the charcoal brazier in which incense powder was being burnt might have burnt my skin and caused this sore.” I at once sent for some ointment and applied it to his legs. From this I learned how, completely detached from his body, Bhagavan lived only in the Self