Reminiscences of Ramana Maharshi – Morarji Desai

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Morarji Desai, Prime Minister of India (March 1977 to July 1979), was President of Ramana Kendra, Delhi, 1968-70.

I had the privilege of seeing Ramana Maharshi in August 1935 in the hall in which he usually sat. He was sitting on a sofa and wore only a loincloth. I could see an aura on his face, which was glowing with peace and joy. I sat opposite to him but did not ask him anything. He too did not say anything to me. I sat just over an hour and just looked at his face. Till today I have not seen that aura, that joy or peace on anybody else’s face. That hour of perfect stillness in that silent presence has been a precious memory ever since.

While I sat there, no questions arose in my mind, nor did I feel any desire to ask anything. I was at complete peace with myself. It was this experience which convinced me that Ramana Maharshi had realized God or Truth. Some of his disciples who were present asked him some questions, which he answered. He, however, said nothing of his own accord.

I had to leave the place next day by train at about twelve. About an hour-and-a half before the time of departure, I approached Ramana Maharshi for permission to leave. He told me that I should go after I had eaten. We sat down for lunch along with the Maharshi, at about eleven O’clock. After lunch, I bowed down to him and left.

The visit left an abiding impression on me and convinced me that Ramana Maharshi was a realised soul and that the ideal of ‘action in inaction’ as propounded in the Gita is really attainable.

Presiding over the 99th Jayanti celebrations of Ramana Maharshi at Ramana Kendra, New Delhi, on 13th January 1979, Morarji Desai as Prime Minister, said:

The Maharshi seemed to know everything. He knew the language ofthe animals. He listened to their complaints. He treated every being in the same way, whether it was a cow or a dog, a crow or a monkey. All were equal in his eyes, the beggar and the millionaire. He never went out of Tiruvannamalai. He refused to go out and preach. He said, “If I am a jnani, I consider everybody else a jnani too. What is there to give?” He regarded everybody as himself. He made no attempt to convert anybody. One got transformed by his very presence.

Many civilizations have flourished and then disappeared. But in this country you find our old culture and the ancient religion still alive. And it is this that keeps the country alive. It is persons like the Maharshi who keep it alive^All learning should come from within. That is the way the Maharshi showed. He did not criticize others way of life. He said, “Stick to your own religion and follow it properly.” Ramana Maharshi taught that one could do sadhana in one’s chosen way and reach the goal.

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