Reminiscences of Ramana Maharshi – Taleyarkhan, Firoza

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Taleyarkhan, Firoza (1898-1984) was born in Hyderabad. Her father was in the service of the Nizam of Hyderabad. She belonged to an affluent Parsi family of Bombay, and had spiritual inclination since her childhood.

I was in Buddha Gaya for doing sadhana. I had wonderful experiences, but my heart was longing to meet a person who could show me God. One day someone told me about Ramana Maharshi. The moment I opened the book given to me, I was struck by the beauty of his face.

I first visited Tiruvannamalai in 1937. At that time I was planning to open an ashram in Bombay to be called ‘The Home of Devotion’. I thought that before embarking on the venture I should have blessings of the Maharshi. I stayed at the Ashram for four days and showed him the blueprint of my proposal. I left the Ashram thinking that I had his blessings, as it was not his way to say definitely ‘yes’ or ‘no’ when people told him about their schemes. But to my great surprise, I received a reply from the government refusing to rent us the land and building on Khandivli Hills, which they had promised us. I really lost my temper with Bhagavan.

It was only much later that I understood that I had had his grace all along.

Meanwhile, a Polish lady [No. 194] came to the Ashram and told Bhagavan that she was working hard to collect money to help people in distress and asked him whether it was a good thing to do. Bhagavan took out a copy of Kalyan Kalpataru [a monthly journal of the Gita Press, Gorakhpur] and showed her a passage to read. As I was sitting beside her, I could read it too, and it made me smile. Bhagavan looked at me and said, “It is for you too.” The passage stated, “A frail woman who knows how to find God’s peace through prayers can do more to help a country or mankind than all the intellectuals put together.

That very moment something within told me that the Maharshi was right. He knew that I was not ripe for the responsible work of helping others. I needed to cure myself before I cured others. For the first time I got up and prostrated before him and from that moment my life, mind and heart changed and I felt his unbounded Grace flowing over me.

Once the sarvadhikari asked me to go to Madras and see Minister Bhaktavatsalam about the possibility of getting railway connection to Tiruchuzi, Bhagavan’s birthplace. I went but was shocked to hear how much it would cost. I decided to leave it to Bhagavan and thought no more about it. But imagine my joy, when years later Bhaktavatsalam became the Chief Minister of Madras and the line was actually constructed. Bhagavan’s Grace is sufficient to accomplish anything, big or small, if one’s life and soul are laid at his feet. He has brought about many seemingly impossible things for me.

I had his Grace when T.H. Tarapore, a Parsi friend, took up my plan to renovate the Patala Linga, an underground cavern, where Bhagavan had sat performing austerities as a youth when he first came to Tiruvannamalai. He did this beautifully and C. Rajagopalachari [No. 192], the then Governor-General of India, performed the opening ceremony on May 14, 1949.

[In this regard the following has been recorded by Taleyarkhan in her book1: That evening All India Radio broadcast a recording of the function. When it was over, Bhagavan said with a sigh of relief that for three or four days he was moving in dread lest I should pick him up and take him to the function. What an opportunity I had missed, I shouted, but Bhagavan motioned me kindly to resume my seat and said, he was much relieved.]

For over a week after the mahanirvana I was quite desolate at missing the physical presence of Bhagavan. I did not know what to do. Between tears, thoughts of ending the life often came to my mind. One afternoon as I lay asleep, I saw Bhagavan coming down Arunachala with his stick and enter my house. He asked me, “Why are you weeping?and bade me wipe my tears assuring me he was always with me here. Then he went out by the opposite door. This dream is yet vivid in my memory and were I an artist I would have drawn a picture of the scene.

Some Muslim servants of mine, who protested to the presence of the photo of Bhagavan, have been granted the vision of Bhagavan. Now they not only do not protest but have themselves become his devotees.

1. Sages, Saints and Arunachala Ramana by Bhagavan Priya Ma F. Taleyarkhan, Orient Longman, 1970.

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