Santanam Iyengar was headmaster in a high school in Tanjore. He served as an accountant at the Ashram after retirement.
Till thirty second year of my life, I knew nothing about God or Guru or Liberation. All of a sudden a complete change took place. I lost all taste for worldly goals. I could see clearly their worthlessness. I felt that the only thing that mattered was to attain the Self, since atman and God alone are eternal.
After sometime I happened to read Swami Ramtirtha’s booklet The True Atma. That set me thinking. Don’t the scriptures emphasize the need for a sadguru for attaining Self-knowledge? Where could I find such a sadguru? I knew only one recourse and that was to pray to Sri Rama, my chosen deity. I prayed, “Oh Lord, please lead me to a sadguru who is blemishless like you.“
One night I had a rapturous dream. I saw two cottages surrounded by a forest situated in front of a hill. In one of the cottages a divine person was seated in samadhi. I heard a voice urging me to go there saying, “He is Ramana Maharshi, a true jnani for whom you have been yearning.“
This dream made such a strong impression on me that at the earliest I proceeded to Tiruvannamalai to surrender at the feet of Sri Ramana. Wonder of wonders, what I saw before my eyes was the exact reproduction of my dream. Bright stars formed a halo behind Sri Ramana’s head. This convinced me that there was no difference between’Rama’ and ‘Ramana’, a conclusion which has been with me ever since.1
1. It is of interest to note that Sri Ramana himself has confirmed that the words ‘Rama’ and ‘Ramana’ are one and the same. Refer p. 91, para 3.