Dilip Kumar Roy of Sri Aurobindo Ashram was a well-known personality of his time and has authored many books. He was a bhakta and a musician. Sri Ramana’s famous quote, “Bhakti is jnanamata”(the mother of jnana) was in reply to his query whether Sri Ramana advocated jnana and disparaged bhakti.
I first heard of Ramana Maharshi when I was a member of the Ashram of Sri Aurobindo. I asked Sri Aurobindo about the Maharshi and he wrote Backthat he was a yogi of remarkable strength and attainments and that his tapasya had won ‘glory for India.’ On another occasion he characterised him as a ‘Hercules among the yogis.’ So I longed to pay a visit to Sri Ramanasramam.
When I arrived at the Ashram, I felt a deep malaise. How could I hope to get peace and inspiration from the Maharshi if I had failed to get it at the feet of my own Guru, who was surely no less great? Yet I felt sincerely that I had done well in coming to seek inspiration from the great yogi who was venerated by spiritual aspirants of every category.
I entered the hall of the great sage, where he has been living a singular life, blessing all, but belonging to none, interested in everything but attached to nothing. He gave the impression of Siva, the great God of compassion, living a blissful, free and open life, with no walls of ego to cabin the summit vision. What I saw impressed me deeply, though I find it far from easy to portray what I saw or rather experienced. Here was a man who lived like a god, supremely indifferent to all that we worldlings clamour for without cease. Dressed in a bare koupin (loincloth) he yet sat ensconced in grandeur of plenary peace and egoless bliss which we could but speculate upon, yet never fathom.
I touched his feet and then, without a word, sat down near him on the floor and meditated, my heart heaving with a strange exaltation which deepened by and by into an ineffable peace and bliss which lasted for hours and hours. Words seem utterly pale and banal the moment you want to describe an authentic spiritual experience, which is vivid, throbbing and intense.
Later, as I reclined, bathed in peace, in an easy chair under the stars at which I gazed in an ecstasy of tears, I felt deeply gratefUl towards the Maharshi. I recalled a pregnant saying of his: “Just be. All is in you, only a veil stands in between. You have only to rend the veil and then, well just be.” I had found this favourite remark of his rather cryptic till now. But at this moment I understood for the first time and wrote a poem in homage to the Maharshi.
The Maharshi’s self-obliviousness was enchanting for me. Greatness sat easily on him as beauty on a sunset cloud, but with a devastating effect. All our ideas as to how the great should act seem to be dismissed by him with a smile of simple disavowal. I saw with my own eyes day after day during my five-day stay at the Ashram of this unique sage, the like of whom I am sure is not to be met within this vast world.
I have never in my life of varied experience and wide travelling met a man so utterly indescribable and yet so profoundly moving. I cannot say why he moved me to my depths with eyes where no soft light of emotion presided, and yet it bathed me when I met his gaze with a peace that I find as unaccountable as it was delectable.
The Maharshi has not the slightest use for pretentiousness and self-importance. He is for no trappings either of speech or learning.
I saw indeed a man, who in his exterior was anything but distinguished, far less handsome or captivating, and yet – how shall I put it – he was so compelling and so disarming! I shall never forget how deeply stirred I was when I saw his austere yet kind face in the light of electric lamps. The peace I felt reminded me of the startled, though unvoiced query, of Paul Brunton [No. 1]: “Does this man, the Maharshi, emanate the perfume of spiritual peace as the flower emanates fragrance from its petals?”
I sang songs more than once in his presence. And everytime I was ravished by his kind glance and bewitching smile. I realised for the first time what is really meant by the word ‘sacred’.
Extracts from his poem:
To Sri Ramana Maharshi
O Son of Dawn! Who only knowest the Sun, And through His eyes of Light see’st all that lies Revealed – a flawless Plentitude which none But Sun’s own children ever might surmise!
For only the chosen few so far have won The Truth that shines beyond world’s wounds and cries; Who see Thee, throned in the high dominion Of Self’s invulnerable Verities,
Enjoy a glimpse of Bliss of the Beyond.
Thou singest: ‘Nay, ’tis here’ – yet without Thy Compassion’s pledge – how few would understand? Homage to Thee, O minstrel of Clarity!