Reminiscences of Ramana Maharshi – Ramaswami Pillai

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Ramaswami Pillai (1895-1995) was a long-time associate of Sri Ramana.

I first saw Bhagavan when I was studying in school. He looked indescribably majestic. Since then He has been God to me in human form. I did not ask for anything. He turned on me that look of heart-melting grace that He so often bestows on newcomers. I felt filled to the brim just by seeing Him.

Miracles did take place in the presence of Bhagavan. Strangely people like me, very close to Bhagavan, never cared to notice anything happening, as we were all so thoroughly absorbed in Him, in His Presence! I am able to recollect a ‘miracle’ that took place. A person from a town near Tiruvannamalai lost his eye sight owing to small pox or severe fever. He was advised that if he went to Sri Ramanasramam, Ramana Maharshi would give him Backhis eyesight. He arrived at the Ashram and enquiring his way reached Sri Bhagavan’s hall.

A few days earlier, two young doctors had arrived for darshan of Bhagavan. They were totally captivated by Him. They were to take leave of Bhagavan before going Backto Madras. They came to the hall, prostrated and went up to their car, when they had an urge to have one more glimpse of Bhagavan. Meanwhile, the blind man had entered the hall and was praying to Bhagavan that his eyesight be somehow restored by His Grace. Bhagavan was listening to everything, but kept absolutely silent. The doctors who witnessed this, voluntarily took the blind man in their car to Madras and treated him.

After some months, I saw a man prostrating to Bhagavan with deep and sincere gratitude for having restored his eyesight. Bhagavan listened to him unmoved, as if He had nothing to do with it. This was the natural way He performed miracles.

The other ‘miracle’ occurred when Bhagavan was staying at the Skandasram. In those days, He was taking only one meal a day. In the evening a disciple got rice and coconut as bhiksha. Bhagavan told us to make gruel by grinding the rice and coconut, and add sugar to it. But there was no sugar in the Ashram. Even salt, which Bhagavan suggested as an alternative, was not to be found.

At about nine p.m. there was a knock at the Ashram’s door, which was opened by me. To our great surprise, we saw two young men, who had braved through the drizzling rain and darkness, with a packet of sugar candy and a bunch of plantains. Bhagavan jokingly said, “Aye! Sugar candy has come with bananas to supplement.” The sugar candy was powdered and duly mixed with the gruel.

Bhagavan asked the visitors how it was that they had to come at that time. One of them replied, “Bhagavan, it was my good fortune to have read three articles by Mr. Humphreys [No. 92] published in the International Psychic Gazette. Ever since, it has been my greatest ambition to see Bhagavan and have His darshan. Somehow, it is only today that we had the opportunity. As college students at Coimbatore, we came for an excursion here and are going Backtomorrow morning. Not willing to lose this God-sent opportunity, we came here not minding rain or darkness. We shall never forget this most memorable meeting.

V. Ganesan in his Moments Remembered records:

One day, when Ramaswami Pillai entered the hall, discussion was going on as to who was the greater of the two: Siva or Sakti. Bhagavan, as usual, sat in silence, with a look of amusement. The trend of the talk was that without Sakti, Siva could not do anything and this argument looked infallible. Ramaswami Pillai also joined the fray and said, “Yes, yes! ‘He’ is contained in ‘She’!” The Sakti party became jubilant. “But” interrupted

Pillai: “He can be independent and be without ‘She’; but ‘She’ cannot be without ‘He’!” The Siva-party looked triumphant. Bhagavan laughed till tears came to his eyes; he enjoyed the spelling-game thoroughly!

David Godman records:

Bhagavan could turn the most mundane event into an opportunity for spiritual instruction. Once, for example, Ramaswami Pillai was searching for a key that he had lost. After sometime he came into the hall and told Bhagavan about the missing key, who said to him, “The key is where it always was. It is not lost. Only your memory is lost. Atman (the Self) is always there, but due to ajnana (ignorance) we spend our time searching for it.

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