Prof. B.L.Atreya, M.A., D.Litt., was Head, Dept. of Philosophy and Psychology, Benaras Hindu University.
I had the privilege of being at the Ashram of Ramana Maharshi for a short time in March 1940. He made a deep impression on my mind, a mind that has been moulded by a study of scientific and philosophic writings of the East as well as of the West. The greatest peculiarity of Ramana Maharshi’s life is that although he has moulded and perfected his personality on the lines of Advaita Vedanta, a purely Indian way of Self-realization, he is highly appreciated and resorted to by the Western seekers and by those Indians who have been educated on Western lines.
Ramana Maharshi’s greatness is deeply founded. It is based on his actual living by the creed of the Advaita Vedanta, which holds that the reality is one without a second, that everything in this universe is but one Reality, which is Existence-Consciousness-Bliss. True to his creed, he regards nothing alien, none as other, no event as undesirable. For him the ideal is the real and the real is the ideal. He has no other relation with any body but that of love. Love, affection, kindness, mercy etc., which are expressions of one and the same thing, and the feeling of unity with all, ever flow from him. Jnana is like akasha [the sky]. The supreme Self which is to be known through sadhana is like the ether. The various objects we see in the world as well as the souls are also like the ether. Therefore, who is to know which? What is to be known by what? The supreme realization is that there is no plurality. True knowledge is ‘distinction-less’.
That knowledge is the Self, the light divine. That knowledge is Bhagavan Ramana.This is the secret of the Maharshi’s unique greatness and consequent popularity. The whole of humanity owes its homage to this great Sage amidst us.