Mouni Sadhu (M. Sudouski), an Australian, authored the classic In Days of Great Peace. He lived in the Ashram for some months in 1949, after he got attracted to Sri Ramana through Brunton’s A Search in Secret India (no.1).
At the age of 25 years, theosophy attracted my attention. I began practising concentration and meditation. After some years of rather fruitless efforts my enthusiasm began to diminish. I experimented with many schools of occultism, magic etc. Finally, I happened to get A Search in Secret India, the last two chapters of which convinced me that I had found my true Master. I started practising the path of self-enquiry in a Roman Catholic monastery in Paris. Months later I got firmly established on the path; but it was only in 1949 that the vital transformation took place in the presence of Sri Ramana.
I was struck by the softness and serenity of the gesture with his hand as if inviting me to come a little nearer, so simple and dignified that I immediately felt I was facing a great man. All theories, all acquired knowledge fall into dust when standing face to face with the Maharshi. One gets peace that passeth all human understanding. Moments of inner experience with the Maharshi are so fraught with consequences that they may influence not only one but many incarnations. His face is full of inspiration, unearthly serenity and power, of infinite kindness and understanding. He reigns in silence.
The atmosphere of utter purity and peace constantly radiated by the Sage compels us to examine and verify, as it were, all our beliefs and opinions; yet it comes by itself spontaneously, without any effort on our part; it is not imposed, it is simply the result of a sudden enlargement of consciousness. The inner process is accompanied by a sense of great happiness.
The glow, the reflection of the Real which I see through the Master illumines the mind. A wave of endless bliss surges through and overwhelms me. It carries me beyond thought, beyond suffering and grief, neither death nor change exist there, only infinite being. Time disappears – there is no need of it any more.
The Maharshi’s spiritual alchemy could transmute the hard materialism into something pure and noble. Sometimes when I sat near him absorbing the invisible radiation of His light, I thought: “To whom and when can I repay this bliss? Who is it that is taking away the burdens and debts of my life?”The former young dreamer was now sitting at the feet of and face to face with a being who has solved all human problems.
The tragic comedy of earthly love now appears in all its unattractive nakedness before the tribunal of his consciousness. A new vision was entering the temple of my soul, just vacated by the impostors – a luminous ideal, incorruptible, pure, devoid of any stains of selfishness, resplendent with spiritual beauty and independent of all short-lived physical forms. Here was no more possibility of disappointment, of friction, and of misunderstanding.
The Maharshi has a strange power to awaken love for himself in the hearts of all. The devotion uplifts his pupils, incalculably raising the level of their lives, enabling them to touch the purest form of the power-energy which is perhaps the creator of the universe.
I have never seen, and undoubtedly shall never see in any other face, such an inexpressibly wonderful smile as the Maharshi’s, a transcendent beauty reflected in physical form.
In the presence of the Saint the mind gets tuned to silence, and does not dare to indulge in endless questioning as it used to do.
The invisible, but in its influence the most efficacious, light emanated by the Maharshi brings about a total change in our opinions and in our appreciation of all the values of worldly life. He is like the highest tribunal of our conscience, the Father Confessor whose ‘very presence purifies us from all sins’.
In the presence of the Master, our mind ceased to be a hindrance to seeing Reality. I noticed for myself that questions and problems which sometime ago were unintelligible or postponed for later solutions got solved themselves.
Light and life are constantly flowing through the eyes of the Maharshi with a majesty and intensity unimaginable to those who have not seen them. A stream of peace, powerful yet sweet, flows from his eyes.They glow with a perfect understanding of all the weaknesses, defects and inner difficulties of those who look into them. Whenever the Maharshi spoke to us his eyes had much sympathy, wisdom and understanding. An incredible loving kindness radiated from them.
Like a lofty beacon whose beams point the way to a safe harbour for all on the high seas who are searching for a haven, so this great Rishi of India sheds light on those who have ‘eyes to see and ears to hear.’ I felt that this light permeates our being through and through to give us an insight into all the mistakes and imperfections of our ‘ego’, our little insignificant personality.
Being near the Maharshi one feels the presence of God as a matter of course – no arguments or proofs are necessary. The greatest miracle is the Maharshi himself. I know that not all are able to feel or even guess it. Such miracles can be known only by plunging into silence and into our own depths. The proximity of the Maharshi makes the effort of stilling the mind infinitely easier than it would be elsewhere. In the presence of the Maharshi we are able to find intuitively by ourselves the proper attitude.
I approach him to bid farewell. He looks into my eyes. He has seen each word in my mind even before I put them together. I bow my head and feel the touch of his hand on my brow, the delicate touch of his fingers along my head. A subtle current of power and purity passes through my whole frame. Like in a lightning flash I realise that the power of this moment will sustain me in all the years to come, and its light will forever shine on my life.
At his feet, I learned to stop the thought-currents in my mind, a thing that formerly devoured long years of effort and had never been completely successful despite the many exercises. In some wonderful way, the Maharshi seemed to supervise the inner processes in us, just as an operator watches the working of a complicated machine, which he knows thoroughly. He mysteriously helped in the inner experiences, but how still remains closed to me. A man emerged from these experiences greatly changed and often with a totally different conception about everything in this world. For myself, I call it the ‘spiritual alchemy of the Master.’
In an article immediately after Sri Ramana’s mahanirvana he wrote:
The light from those luminous eyes was forever engraved on my memory when leaving the Ashram. It would be ridiculous to say that the light of eternity has been extinguished. I know this light is not a material one, though it is conveyed through a material body. So his death did not deprive me of his reality.
There were most mysterious and inspiring evenings at the Ashram, when the beautiful hymn ‘In Praise of the Lord of the Universe’ (Five Hymns on Arunachala) was sung in the hall. Sri Bhagavan evidently loved the hymn, for there would appear a peculiar expression of other than human beatitude and delight on his face. And now I experienced once again, the same beautiful melody heard before with my outer ears.
Letters came from devotees from other continents. My friends tried their best to console themselves and me, saying that the physical departure of the Master could not break our spiritual link with him. And yet the ink in the last paragraphs of such letters was often blurred as from fallen tears.
In an article sixteen years after the mahanirvana he wrote:
Enough time has now elapsed to permit us a certain desirable perspective of the luminous appearance of the Maharshi on the spiritual horizon of our small planet.
It is a well-known fact that in the Maharshi’s presence everyone felt himself to be different and better than before in his everyday life. The spiritual magnetism of the one who himself had found the final peace and wisdom could not fail to radiate on all of us, just as the sun sheds its rays on everything and everyone, good and bad alike. That is beyond doubt.
When I realised the greatness of the Maharshi’s achievements, I involuntarily turned to myself and said, “Here sits the sage without boasting of any titles or degrees, like the sun in comparison to my poor little candle.” And then the first battle was won. I realised the emptiness of all human titles and degrees.
He taught us that the attainment is as much possible in a noisy London flat, as in a secluded ashram. And yet, so many people still worry because they were unable to undertake a long and costly journey to a ‘holy place’, in which they hope to achieve what they cannot otherwise.