Reminiscences of Ramana Maharshi – Sadhu Ekarasa

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Sadhu Ekarasa (Dr. G.H. Mees, M.A., LL.D.) was a Dutch scholar who came to the Maharshi in 1936. For him it was a case of deep devotion from the very first meeting.

When Kon-Fu-Tse met Wen-Poh-Hsuche-Tse, he did not speak a word. Then his companion, Tse-Lu, said, “Master, for a long time you have wished to see Wen-Poh-Hsuche-Tse. Why is it that you don’t speak, now that you see him?” Kon-Fu-Tse answered, “One only needs to look at someone like him. There is no need for speaking. One must see a sage in order to experience him.

In the presence of the Maharshi, the same thing happened to me when I saw him for the first time, and during the many years that I visited him again and again, especially during the three years that I stayed near him almost without interruption. It is for this same reason I find it ever difficult to speak or write about the Maharshi, as I am often asked to do. For a sage who always lives in the realisation, St Dionysius’s words hold good: “All that you may say about God is untrue, for God is beyond speech and therefore what you say about God relates to something else.” Therefore, if in India someone asks me to speak or to write about the Maharshi, I am inclined to answer that the questioner ought to visit the Maharshi and see for himself.

Westerners have often asked me, “What exactly does the Maharshi do?” One should in fact answer, “The daily occupation of the Sage is to be himself.” Because he really succeeds in doing so, the Maharshi makes such a great impression on many of his visitors.The Maharshi effects drastic changes in the lives of many like me. That’s what he does, and he does so by doing nothing at all. Often ‘the great of this earth’ feel like small schoolboys while standing before him. The late Maharaja of Mysore kneeled humbly before him and stood motionless for a long time with tears in his eyes. He kneeled once more and departed without a word.

If a man were to do the greatest deed in the world and come and sit in the presence of Ramana Maharshi he would realise that his deed was nothing compared to the perpetual deed of Self-realisation of the Sage.

If a man were to write the greatest book in the world and come and lay it as an offering before the Sage he would realise that the Sage was a greater Book, which is written from day to day, not with the medium of pen, ink and paper, without intermediation, and even without any conscious effort, in the inner being of all who care to come and read it.

In the case of other personalities it is always possible to make a distinction between theory and practice, or between spirituality and intellect on the one hand and action on the other hand. With the Maharshi no such distinction exists.

The Maharshi is above the spirit of time. His immortality stands out from his every word and look. It lives in the inner heart of all who have had the great privilege to come and sit in his presence. It is reflected only poorly in the books and articles that have been written about him. How could it be otherwise? No one can truly describe God or Truth. Even so, no one can truly describe a Son of God and an embodiment of Truth.

After having studied the lives and ways of teachings of saints and sages of the world, it strikes one that Sri Ramana falls into a class of his own. No one has achieved God-Realisation merely by hearing a name of God. Sri Ramana received ‘initiation’ by merely hearing the name of Arunachala, pronounced only for the purpose of conveying information about a journey.

Sri Ramana claimed his spiritual heritage without even having been told there was a heritage to claim. He is a Guru in the true sense of the word – the word means ‘dispeller of darkness’. The Maharshi’s way is as direct as it is simple. But it is so profound that it fails to reach the consciousness of many. Many come to him for something definite, or, in other words, finite. They do not understand that they stand in between the true Initiation into the Mystery of Being and themselves.

Many times it has happened that visitors and resident disciples have asked the Maharshi to vouchsafe them initiation, grace, blessings or spiritual experience, and that he replied, “I am always giving it. If you cannot comprehend it, what am I to do?

In contradiction to gurus of a less exalted level, who are inclined to be aware of their spiritual superiority, Ramana Maharshi considers all beings to be potential jnanis with God-Reality shining within them, even if they are not aware of it. Some of his utterances run parallel to that of the eighth century mystic Hui Neng who said: “The only difference between a Buddha and the average man is that one realises what the other discards.

Sri Ramana proclaims that the Divine Heritage is ever there, waiting to be received; God-Reality is ever present within the Heart of all.

The average man is inclined to pity the Sage, whom he regards as having foregone the pleasure of life.The Sage, however, pities his sympathizing fellow human beings, because the latter do not know what real happiness is.

From the point of view of the restless worldly mind, which delights in movement and change, an unbroken stay of fifty years in one place seems to be a tremendous achievement. It is indeed unique. But surely Sri Ramana has never looked upon it as being in any way remarkable. He has attained the Great Magnet of the world, the centre of the Heart, and became as immovable as his Father, Lord Arunachala.

Extracts from his poem:

Hearts Homage to Sri Ramana

To that incomparable Maharshi, the father and mother of all, In whom Siva and the Goddess are ever united in Bliss,

To that Sage, whose presence delights the heart,

And whose leela is the wonder of all -To him be offered mind, heart, body, – all creation!

If future generations will ask what was The special note of Ramana the Sage,

I shall reply: If any, it is certainty;

The certain safety of a Rock, unmoved, Unchallenged in a storm-swept sea,

The immovable solidity of a mountain In an ever-wavering world of doctrines and philosophies, Yea, truly art thou the Sage of ‘Arunachala’!

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Prof. Banning Richardson, M.A. (Hons.) (Cantab.), A.B. (Princeton), came to teach English literature at St. Stephens College, Delhi, in the 1930s. He felt ‘ravished’ by the description of the Maharshi in A Search in Secret India (no. 1).

In the presence of Sri Ramana Maharshi I felt an inward joy, which suffused my consciousness, and made thinking seem superfluous. I had come into touch with spiritualism of the finest type. When I was in the presence of the Master I was so filled with joy and peace that the desire to ask questions disappeared.This happened throughout the brief three days [In May 1937] I stayed at Sri Ramanasramam.

When one comes into the presence of a man who is ‘good’ not merely because he shuns ‘evil’ but because his love is universal and falls alike on the just and unjust, then one experiences immediate recognition of a soul that is not great as the world values greatness, but great when compared to an absolute standard of values – a precious stone, an emerald without flaw. It is a difference not merely of quality, but of kind. What Jesus the Christ taught 2000 years ago that “I am in my Father and my Father is in me. My Father and I are one” is the same as He who teaches today at Tiruvannamalai.

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Justice K. Sundaram Chettiar, B.A., B.L., of Madras High Court wrote a foreword to the first well-known biography of Sri Ramana by B.V. Narasimha Swami entitled Self Realization (1931).

The years 1909 and ’10 and the earlier part of 1911, when I was the District Munsif of Tiruvannamalai, I deem it to be auspicious in my life for the only reason that I had the privilege of sitting at the feet of Sri Bhagavan.The more I came in contact with him, the greater was my devotion to him. Sri Bhagavan is a mine of Wisdom. Questions on abstruse subjects have been answered with clarity and directness, which would not be possible except for a realized soul or jivanmukta. He sees everything in himself and himself in everything. Whatever seems to happen in the world is incapable of affecting his peace, which passeth understanding. He has gone beyond the pair of opposites and looks at events in the light of the Absolute. At no time the Sage has done anything on his own initiative as if he has a particular desire for something, nor he has directed others to do anything in fulfilment of any purpose. He has all the characteristics of a sthitaprajna described in the Gita.

His very presence generates an atmosphere of peace which is felt by devotees visiting him with sincerity and faith. Some of those who approached him with a few questions in their mind found that the answers were given anticipating their questions. Some find their doubts cleared while sitting silently within his aura, without any speech by him.

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