Reminiscences of Ramana Maharshi – Eliot C. Clark

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Reminiscences of Ramana Maharshi – Eliot C. ClarkBack


Eliot C. Clark was a renowned American painter who visited Sri Ramana in 1938.

The Maharshi sits half reclining upon a raised divan. He wears only a loincloth. I have no preconceived thought but pass before his presence respectfully. He seems quite oblivious, and if he has noted the stranger there seems no reaction or awareness. Although I am the only foreigner present, no one seems to have any visual or curious interest. I sit among others on the floor. No word is spoken.

My attention is at first a purely objective one. I study the head of the Maharshi. He is a man past sixty, with hair close cut and white, a short moustache and a beard, his complexion rather light. His features are not typically Hindu.The Backof his head is unusually full and round; high forehead, the brows almost in the center of the head, the eyes high set, the ears long and pronounced, the body in a state of composure.

A tall, dark-skinned pilgrim enters. He is nude to the waist. Then a woman enters. She kneels, bows her head three times.The Maharshi shows no sign of recognition.

The collective quietude creates a natural tranquility. Objective thought and self-consciousness gradually subside and one merges in the prevailing unity.

At the moment I have deliberately ceased my curious interest and am about to close my eyes in reverie, the Maharshi’s head is slightly turned, his eyes meet mine and there is an inexpressible radiance, the slightest indication of a smile. Then visual awareness ceases.

The teaching of the Maharshi is very simple.Quite impersonal in content, it can only be realized by personal practice and experience. The real teaching is in the revelation of silence: when the perturbation and the fluctuations of the mind are stilled, the inner presence radiates itself.He says: we know the mind only by its change; just as one is aware of the motion from a static standpoint. The mind, like motion, is a relative movement. We are made aware of its presence by change. But if the mind turns inward in quest of its origin, the ‘I’-awareness vanishes in its Source. The ‘I’ becomes identified, not with its egotistical consciousness and the world of change but with its Source, which is constant. ‘I’-consciousness is relative and finite; but the Source is infinite and eternal. In the womb of silence the light is ever shining.

The Maharshi does not lecture. He will answer questions; but in the magic of his presence the questions begin to vanish with the quietening of the mind.

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