Reminiscences of Ramana Maharshi – Swami Paramahansa Yogananda

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Swami Paramahansa Yogananda, a well-known spiritual guru, visited Sri Ramana in November 1935. He has authored Autobiography of a Yogi.

Before leaving South India, I made a pilgrimage to the holy hill of Arunachala to meet Sri Ramana Maharshi. The sage welcomed us affectionately and pointed to a nearby stack of East-West magazines.

During the hours that we spent with him and his disciples, he was mostly silent, his gentle face radiating divine love and wisdom.

To help suffering humanity regain its forgotten state of Perfection, Sri Ramana teaches that one should constantly ask himself: “Who am I?” – the Great Inquiry indeed. By stern rejection of all other thoughts, the devotee soon finds himself going deeper and deeper into the true Self, and the sidetracking bewilderments of other thoughts cease to arise. The illumined rishi of South India has written:

Dualities and trinities on something do hang, Supportless they never appear;

That support searched for, they loosen and fall.

There is the Truth. Who sees that never wavers.

Swami Yogananda asked the following questions:

S. How is the spiritual uplift of the people to be effected? What are the instructions to be given to them?

M. They differ according to the temperaments of the individuals and according to the spiritual ripeness of their minds. There cannot be any instruction en masse.

S. Why does God permit suffering in the world? Should He not with His omnipotence do away with it at one stroke and ordain the universal realization of God?

M. Suffering is the way for Realization of God.

S. Should He not ordain differently?

M. It is the way.

S. Are yoga, religion etc. antidotes to suffering?

M. They help you to overcome suffering.

S. Why should there be suffering?

M. Who suffers? What is suffering?

No answer!

Two of the many questions asked by the swami’s secretary C.R.Wright, were:

Q. How shall I realise God?

A. God is an unknown entity. Moreover, He is external. Whereas the Self is always with you and it is you. Why do you leave out what is intimate and go in for what is external?

Q. What is this Self again?

A. The Self is known to everyone but not clearly. The Being is the Self. Of all the definitions of God, none is so well put as the Biblical statement “I am that I am” in Exodus (Chap. 3). Knowing the Self, God is known. In fact, God is none other than the Self.

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