Reminiscences of Ramana Maharshi – A European Sadhak
A European Sadhak, who withheld his name
Sri Bhagavan is unique, peerless. One gracious and understanding look from him and a few sympathetic words from him had always meant oceans to the earnest seeker, to the aspiring pilgrim. And which sincere voyager has gone to him and returned empty-handed?
The intellectual quibbler might have got short shrift from him. The dry philosopher might have found in him a steel wall. The eternal doubter would have returned from him not any better. But those who have unreservedly surrendered themselves to the pursuit of truth have never failed to find in him a great guide. Sometimes the sought-for guidance would come through an answer given to somebody’s question. Sometimes it would be provided through a direct monosyllabic answer. And sometimes it would come through an actual experience.These experiences are intimate and are provided only for the personal spiritual advancement of the particular aspirant. It is, therefore, not usually considered necessary to take the world into confidence regarding such an experience. But since I have been invited to write on how Sri Bhagavan has been helping the aspirants, I venture to refer to just one experience of mine.
Once I was going on the eastern side of the hill in full belief and confidence that I had unreservedly surrendered myself to Sri Bhagavan. Suddenly, I saw a leper woman walking towards me. Her face was terribly disfigured by the disease. Her nose had been completely eaten away and in its place were found two holes. The fingers on her hands had all gone. She advanced towards me, and extending the stumps of her hands asked me to give something to eat. The sight of her disgusted me, frightened me. My whole frame shuddered with terror that she might touch me. Overcome with repulsion, I hastened to move away from her.
Suddenly, I heard the voice of Sri Bhagavan coming clear and ringing from across the mountain. It said, “To surrender to me is to surrender to every one, for the Self is in every one.” Hearing this, I regained my poise and offered the leper woman the plantains that I had in my bag.
In a few minutes, I saw myself standing before not the disfigured woman but before a tall old man with white long hair and beard. The man looked like a rishi and was smiling. When the thought of prostrating before the rishi entered my mind, I saw before me the old leper woman again. I bowed, happy at heart though somewhat confused in mind and then resumed my walk up the hill. I have cited this as just one of the ways through which Sri Bhagavan teaches, guides and helps.