D.S. Sastri was an official of the then Imperial Bank of India. It was at his behest that his sister Suri Nagamma (no. 39) wrote 273 letters to him during 1945-50, about happenings at the Ashram. These are a treasure trove to any Sri Ramana devotee.
I had my first darshan in 1941, when I was on transfer from Cochin to Ahemdabad. As I was mentally worried, I thought of going to Tiruvannamalai and obtain some solace from the sage. Some years earlier, a friend of mine had asked me to accompany him to the Ashram, but I had refused as my experience of so-called holy men had been unfortunate.
Having nothing particular to do, I strayed into the bookstall. Bhagavan, while returning from the bathroom, stopped near there to talk to someone. The attendant pointed him out to me; a thrill went through my whole body. What a difference from the swamis and holy men I had seen before! That lustrous body, those shinning eyes, that beauteous smile, that gentle speech and halting gait – all took me by surprise.
Later, on entering the hall, the ego in me did not permit my prostrating before him. Instead, I just folded my hands by way of namaskar and sat down, watching critically all that was happening. The prevailing serene atmosphere was infectious. I sat motionless. I was lost in wonder and admiration at the peace and silence. The thought uppermost in my mind was: if people could be happy thus with a minimum of food and clothing, why not I? Why grieve about official worries and domestic calamities?
In the afternoon, when I sat before Bhagavan during Vedaparayana in the open space adjacent to the hall, and the chanting of the Vedic hymns began in those idyllic surroundings, I felt that I was in another world altogether. It was only when the chanting was over and devotees began leaving that I realised I was in this mundane world.
After supper, when Bhagavan came Backfrom a short walk, he sat on an easy chair in the open space between the hall and the well. One of the few devotees present, asked him about an incident in the Yoga Vasishta. Instead ofjust explaining it, he began narrating the whole story at length. The pleasant way he spoke, the simple language he used and the dignified manner in which he related the story captured our hearts and kept us all spellbound. At the end of it, the devotees told me that I was particularly lucky because Bhagavan rarely spoke much or for such a long time. I felt extremely happy and gratified.
That night my wife and I fully agreed that we had reached our haven and found our real guru. Thus began our attachment to Bhagavan and the Ashram.