Y. N. (alias Bhaurao) Athavale was one of the few Maharashtrian devotees of Sri Ramana. He used to sing Marathi bhajans before Sri Ramana in the hall.
Even before I had darshan of Bhagavan, I was brought up in a religious and spiritual atmosphere at home. From 1939 to 1942, I suffered from sciatica due to over exertion in my engineering work, and became very weak. I used to pray that I should have darshan of a great mahatma like the swami worshipped by my grandfather, and whose grace had done a lot of good to our family.
In February 1942, when I was in a state of utter depression, I had a wonderfully vivid vision-like dream at dawn. I saw in a mountain cave, a great mahatma and throngs of people going up the mountain to listen to him. I was one of them. I waited and asked the people around me, “How is it that the lecture has not started yet? Where is the Saint?” Near me sat an old man who raised his hand and said, “Silence is the Master’s speech and his disciples have no doubts left.” I asked, “Where is the Master?” He replied, “He is sitting near you.” Searching near me, I found a slender young man wearing a white codpiece, with a smile on his face. I bowed to him and asked his name. Pointing a finger to his heart he said in Marathi, “This is known as Ramana Maharshi.” Having said this he smiled in a charming manner and instantly I woke up in delight. I took it to be the answer to my repeated prayers and felt happy.
I had not heard much about Ramana Maharshi’s greatness, as his name was not then (in 1942) well-known in Maharashtra. For about ten or twelve days I was longing to get some information about him. All of a sudden, one day a gentleman of my acquaintance told me that during his pilgrimage to Rameswaram he went to Tiruvannamalai and had a blissful darshan of Ramana Maharshi. He advised me to go. I reached Sri Ramanasramam at 6 a.m. I saw Bhagavan coming towards us. My joy knew no bounds. As I prostrated before him, he asked, “Have you come from Poona? You seem to be quite exhausted.” I was wonderstruck to hear this.
In the afternoon, when I sat before him in the hall, he enquired about my health. I replied that I had been suffering terribly from sciatica for three years, had no sleep, no desire for food and was growing from bad to worse in spite of the treatment by the best of doctors. He graciously said, “You can stay here in peace. Your disease is not incurable.” He quoted a verse from the Gita (II.14): “O son of Kunti, the contacts between the senses and their objects, which give rise to the feelings of heat and cold, pleasure and pain, etc., are transitory and fleeting. O Arjuna, endure them,” and pacified me. I felt extremely relieved. In three or four months I was completely cured of the disease. Thereafter, I used to see him three or four times a year up to 1950 and came in close contact with him. He rejuvenated me physically and spiritually and brought me eternally into the fold of his benign Grace, to describe which I have no words.
On receiving a telegram, I went to the Ashram on the day of his mahasamadhi. My emotions and feelings were checked somehow during the day he left the body. But next day, at night, I began to weep bitterly feeling very uneasy that I shall never henceforth see Bhagavan in an embodied form and enjoy the bliss of his presence. All of a sudden in the dead of night, some footsteps were heard and lo! There came Bhagavan with a lantern in his hand! He straightaway approached me, and said in a soft, gentle, loving voice, “Why do you weep? Did I not tell you that I am here?” I controlled myself and bowed down to him. By the time I raised my head, he had disappeared, leaving me in utter surprise and desolation. My thousand pranams to Ramana Bhagavan.