Raghavachariar was Superintendent of Public Works Dept. at Tiruvannamalai from 1910 onwards. He paid occasional visits to Sri Ramana.
Whenever Raghavachariar went up the hill in 1910, he found a crowd with the Maharshi in whose presence he felt disinclined to speak. One day he went up with an intent to submit three questions or requests: (i) Can you grant me a few minutes for private personal talk – free from the presence of others? (ii) I should like to have your opinion on the Theosophical Society of which I am a member. (iii) Will you please enable me to see your real form, if I am eligible to see it? He says:
When I prostrated and sat before him, there was a crowd of about 30 persons; but they gradually dispersed. So I was alone with him, and my first query thus got answered without my stating it. Then he asked me, of his own accord, if the book in my hand was the Gita and whether I was a member of the Theosophical Society, and remarked even before I answered his queries, “It is doing good work.” My second question also thus being anticipated, I waited eagerly for the third.
After half an hour, I opened my mouth and said, “Just as Arjuna wished to see the form of Sri Krishna and asked for darshan, I wish to have darshan of your real form, if I am eligible.” He was then sitting on a platform with a picture of Dakshinamurthi painted on the wall next to him. He silently gazed on as usual and I gazed into his eyes. Then his body and also the picture of Dakshinamurthi1 disappeared from my view. There was only empty space, without even a wall, before my eyes. Then followed a whitish cloud in the outline ofthe Maharshi and of Dakshinamurthi, before my eyes. Gradually, the eyes, nose etc. and other details were outlined in lightning-like lines. These got broadened till the figure of the Swami and Dakshinamurthi became ablaze with very strong and unendurable light. I closed my eyes in consequence. I waited for a few minutes and when I opened my eyes I found the Maharshi and Dakshinamurthi in the same form as before. I prostrated and came away.
The impact of the above experience was such that I did not dare go near the Maharshi almost for one month. Later, when I went up to the Skandasram, I narrated the above experience and requested him to explain. After a pause, he said, “You wanted to see my form. You saw my disappearance. I am formless. Ganapati Muni had a similar experience and you may consult him.” I did not consult the Muni.
B.V. Narasimha Swami in his book Self Realization records:
Raghavachariar was coming to Maharshi off and on. His wife and mother feared that he might give up his social duties and become a recluse. They went to the Maharshi and told him their fear. The Maharshi consequently admonished Raghavachariar about the dangers of becoming a recluse without the severe training required for it. The Maharshi was giving similar advice to numerous others also.
1. Refer annexure – V