Swami Rama (1925-96), a well-known spiritual figure, was the head of Karvipitham in South India, from 1949-53. He went to USA in 1969 and founded the Himalayan Institute to create a bridge between the ancient teachings of the East and the modern scientific approach of the West. He authored Living with Himalayan Masters.
Dr. T.N. Dutta, a prominent physician from Gajipur in U.P., came to see me at Nasik, where I was staying. He told me that he was very anxious to take me with him to Arunachala to have darshan of Maharshi Ramana. It was winter of 1949. My stay at the Ashram was brief, but very pleasant. During those days, Maharshi Ramana was observing silence. There were several foreigners staying in the Ashram.
In the Maharshi’s presence I found something that is very rare and which I seldom found elsewhere. For those whose hearts were open to that voice of silence, which was perennially radiating in the Ashram, just sitting near the Maharshi was enough to find answers to questions arising from within. It is true that to be in the presence of a great man is the same as experiencing samadhi. “He is the greatest and holiest man born on the soil of India within a hundred years’ period,” said Dr. S. Radhakrishnan. A glance of such a great man purifies the way of the soul.
According to the Maharshi, contemplating on the single query, “Who am I?” can lead the aspirant to the state of self-realization. Though this method of contemplation is the foundation stone of the philosophies of both the East and the West, it was revived again by the Maharshi. The entire Vedanta philosophy has been brought into practice by him. He has put the Iliad 1 in a nutshell: By knowing oneself one knows the self of all.
After five days’ stay in the spiritually vibrant atmosphere of the Ashram, we came Backto Nasik. My visit to Arunachala and the darshan of the Maharshi added fuel to the fire which was burning within me. ‘Renounce, and you will attain’: this echoed in my heart so powerfully that my stay at Nasik became more and more impossible. It was not easy for me to run away, abruptly leaving all the responsibilities – but one day the courage came to me, and I left Nasik for my Himalayan home.
I have firm conviction that no one can be enlightened by anyone else – but sages inspire and give inner strength, without which selfenlightenment is impossible. In today’s world, human beings do not have any example to follow. There is no one to inspire them, and that is why enlightenment seems to be so difficult. Great sages are the source of inspiration and enlightenment.
1. Iliad is a Greek epic poem attributed to Homer.