Reminiscences of Ramana Maharshi – Emmanuel Sorensen

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Emmanuel Sorensen (Sunya Baba), a Danish devotee, was once referred to by Sri Ramana as ‘a natural born mystic’. He visited the Ashram many times during 1936-46. Most of his life was spent living in an ashram near Almora in Uttaranchal.

In 1929, when in England, Rabindranath Tagore, invited me to India. He discerned in the simpleton’s Being a quality of Sunya-Santi-Silence and intuitive awareness, which was felt to be congenial and appreciated in India. The invitation gave me the needed push or pull to venture forth simply and solitarily in India, and the proposed 3 or 4 months stay stretched into 45 years of Himalayan ananda – grace. The solitary pilgrim in Consciousness had come ‘Home.’ In India I read the Vedas, the Upanishads and the writings of genuine Masters.

I heard of Sri Ramana Maharshi while in Kashmir and Tibet from Lamas, and later from Paul Brunton [No.1] and Dr.W.Y.Evans-Wentz1. After spending several years in the Himalayas, I came to Sri Ramana the Maharshi in 1936 and was introduced to him by Paul Brunton. I also came three times or more later at a few years’ interval. But the first darshan of the Maharshi remains an unforgettable experience, especially Sri Ramana’s casual, as it were, statement, “We are always aware,” and this made a most powerful impact on me. It resounded in my consciousness like a chime and continued to linger in my memory like a mantra or echo. I also remember some passages mentioned by him from the Bible:”I am That I am”, “Be still and know that I am God”, “Know ye not that you are God.I found Ramana Maharshi’s was a pure Advaita experience, and his chief language was radiant silence, to which only mature souls familiar with solitude could easily respond. When Sri Ramana was questioned by officious officials and was later asked if it had tired him, he said, “No; I did not use my mind!” He was mind-free and ego-free.2

1. He was professor of philosophy at the University of Oxford, England.

2. The reference seems to be to questions put to Sri Ramana by the Commission which came to the Ashram in 1936 to interrogate him in regard to dispute over the ownership of the Ashram property. For details refer David Godman’s Living By The Words Of Bhagavan, pp.136-43.

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