N.O. Mehta was a devotee from Gujarat.
Dilip Kumar Roy [No.8] and myself reached the Ashram on February 17, 1949, and promptly went to the Maharshi’s hall. Bhagavan, as Maharshi is universally called here, was reclining on a sofa surrounded by a low, wooden barrier to distance the worshippers from touching him. Close to the couch was an incense burner, which was going on all the time. There was one more burner containing incense sticks. The purifying smoke was rising in the air.
People were coming and going out after prostrating before the Maharshi. But all this homage left him untouched, or was it only my illusion, for those wonderful eyes seemed to take in everything even though they had a faraway, distant look.
Prayers from the Upanishads were being recited by three young disciples. I felt the magnificent rhythm of the Sanskrit language more powerfully than I had ever felt before. The recitation was wonderful, the intonation accomplished and ‘ egoless ‘, making one immediately hushed to devout silence.
I felt that I was face to face with a Reality which has transcended all that I had dreamt of him. Here was a great sage whose darshan was undoubtedly a privilege. I instinctively felt that here was India at its highest, for here was the deepest realization of the Reality transcending all mundane factors and bringing peace which surpasses all understanding. We were in a world totally different from the one we had left behind.
We attended the evening prayer on the eve of our departure. There could be no farewell, for Bhagavan’s presence would never be forgotten. As we were bidding farewell to the Ashram, a friend said that we could not possibly leave without taking Bhagavan’s permission. We reached Bhagavan as he was coming out of the dining hall. Our reward was immense. Bhagavan gave us a penetrating glance of immeasurable grace, which even now, is one of the most abiding memories of our sacred pilgrimage. It is astonishing how Bhagavan’s presence and his usual, apparently routine activities cast such a magic spell over all those who are blessed to come near him.