Reminiscences of Ramana Maharshi – P.L.N. Sharma

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Reminiscences of Ramana Maharshi – P.L.N. SharmaBack


P.L.N. Sharma, a Gandhian, met Sri Ramana in 1932, when he went to Tiruvannamalai to attend a conference of co-operative organizations.

In the subdued light of the hall Bhagavan’s body shone like burnished gold and his eyes were luminous, full of flashes of some very intense inner life. The more I looked at him, the more his face seemed to be radiating a mysterious light, the source of which was somewhere deep within. I could not make out whether he was aware of the world or not, whether he saw me or not, whether he was in some yogic trance or contemplation of something quite beyond my vision and knowledge.

The hall was full of silence, serenity and peace. About twenty people sat on the ground, apparently in deep meditation. When the bell rang for midday meal, the Maharshi invited us all with a nod of his head and we followed him to the dining hall.

Next morning, I sat facing the Maharshi. A government officer accompanied by his retinue entered the hall and at once started telling Bhagavan how corrupt the government servants were, how they abused and misused their positions, how he had been entrusted with the task of cleaning up the government machinery and in his anxiety to make a success of himself, he had lost his peace of mind and had come to Bhagavan to make him calm and contented. It was clear that he thought of himself to be a very important person whose request must be promptly met. After he had finished his long oration, he looked expectantly at Bhagavan as if saying, ‘Now it is your turn to show what you can do.’ Bhagavan did not even look at him. The clock was striking hours, but Bhagavan was completely silent. The officer lost patience, got up and said, “You are silent, Bhagavan. Does it mean that you want me to be silent too?” “Yes, yes”, said Bhagavan, and that was all.

One day, all the delegates to the conference for which I had come to Tiruvannamalai, went in a body to the Ashram. The president of the conference said, “Bhagavan, we are all social workers and disciples of Mahatma Gandhi. We have sworn to devote ourselves to work for the removal of untouchability. Be gracious to tell your view on the subject.Again there was no reply. One could not even make out whether he had heard the question. Time was passing. The delegates were getting tired of sitting quietly. When the situation grew embarrassing, Yagnanarayana Iyer, principal of Pachayappa College, Madras, got up and said, “Bhagavan our question concerns worldly life. Perhaps it was improper to put it to you. Kindly forgive us.” “There is nothing to forgive”, said Bhagavan quite readily and with a bright smile. “When the ocean is surging and carrying away everything before it, who cares what are your views or mine?” The delegates could not find much sense in the answer. Only the great events years later gave meaning to it.

I was told that in Bhagavan’s presence doubts got cleared without the need of questions or answers. Nothing of the kind happened to me. On the three previous days I tried to catch his eye, but could not. On the fourth day I managed to address him, while he seemed to be looking into the infinity of space, “Bhagavan, my mind does not obey me. It wanders as it likes and lands me into trouble. Be merciful and tell me how to bring it under control.” Bhagavan looked at me affectionately and spoke most kindly, and his words sparkled with meaning, “All religious and spiritual practices have no other purpose than getting the mind under control. The three paths – Knowledge, Devotion, and Duty, aim at this and this alone^The path of Devotion is the easiest of all. Meditate on God or on some mental or material image of Him. This will slow down your mind and it will get controlled of its own accord.” I felt satisfied, and there was deep peace in me when I looked at him for the last time.

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