Glimpses of the Life and Teachings – Introduction

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This is an impressive and instructive description by a young man (eager in search of Mahatmas for enlightenment) of his visit to, and experiences with Mahatma Sri Ramana Maharshi.

I took to him a bundle of photographs of great men including those of our Maharshi and Ganapathi Muni. I silently placed the bundle before him on his table and quietly went to Mr. L. Clift, another police gentleman whom I was then teaching. When I returned to the writer of this booklet an hour later, he invited me with the words: “There is the likeness of your Guru. Is he not your preceptor? Tell me.” Thus saying, he pointed to me the photograph of our Ganapathi Sastriar separated from others. This act of his surprised me. I was caught and I could not hide me or my master. I had regarded (and I do still regard) Ganapathi Sastriar as My Guru.

About the end of 1911, he returned from the hills. One day when I was teaching him Telugu in Vellore, he asked me for paper and pencil and drew a picture of a mountain cave with some sage standing at its entrance and a stream gently flowing down the hill in front of the cave. He said he saw this in his sleep and asked me what it would be. Immediately the thought of our Maharshi, then dwelling in the Virupaksha Cave came to my mind and I told him about Sri Ramana Paramatma. From the day he saw Ganapathi Sastrigal in his dream, he had been asking and urging me to take him to the Sastriar. How he happened to meet Ganapathi Sastriar and how he was taken to the Maharshi, he has himself clearly explained in his book. Subsequently he took several independent trips to our Master whenever there was a doubt to be cleared or a question to be asked.

Now I shall relate what transpired in the presence of the Maharshi during his first visit to him. He saluted the Mahatma and remained in silent prayer and meditation for a few minutes. When permitted to talk, the first question he asked was, “Master, will I, be helpful to the world?” The Mahatma’s answer was “Help yourself, you will help the world”. The same question repeated had the same reply with observation that he was in the world but not different (separate) from it, nor was it different from him, and that therefore by helping himself, he would help the world – (meaning thereby the oneness of Jiva with Atman).

The next and the last question was: “Master, can I perform miracles as Sri Krishna and Jesus did?”

This question was met by a counter question: “Were they, at the time when they performed miracles, aware that they were performing miracles?” Mr. Humphreys, after a minute’s silence, replied: “No, Master. They were only the media through which God’s power did its work.” How much importance can be attached to things mystic in nature is vividly explained in this book.

S. Narasimhayya

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