Tributes to Ramana Maharshi

His Look Sent Us Into Samadhi

Bhagavan’s look was real magic. You could not do anything but just look into his eyes, which would transform Ou into Samadhi. EverOne in the hall used to feel Bhagavan was looking at them alone. This was the true experience of each one of us. In his inimitable way he was giving the glance of grace to each and everOne seated in the hall. Bhagavan’s look used to take us deep into Samadhi. Just by looking into his eyes, we came to know what meditation is. This was, and is, the common experience of all devotees. You ask anOne and Ou will get the same reply. Once he gave me such a look and for a very long time I was absorbed in Samadhi. Bhagavan was reading the newspaper, letters were being brought in, normal activity was going on, but I was oblivious of the happenings outside of me. In fact, I was unaware of my body.

– Ramani Ammal

Just Being With Him, My Mind Would Stop

When I was able to sit for long hours in Bhagavan’s presence my mind would just stop thinking and I would not notice the time passing. I was not taught to meditate and surely did not know how to stop the mind from thinking. It would happen quite by itself, by his grace. I would sit, immersed in a strange state in which the mind would not have a single thought and yet which would be completely clear. Those were days of deep and calm happiness. My devotion to Bhagavan took firm roots and never left me.

– Sampurnamma

I believe the most unique characteristic of Bhagavan was the power of his presence. In Bhagavan we found a being that was surcharged with the Reality to such an extent that coming into his presence would effect a dramatic change in us. This Divine Power of his presence was something remarkable, entirely outstanding in this century. But why just this century? It must be so for many centuries.

– N. Balaram Reddy, My Reminiscences

The Memory is Ever Present in My Heart

Bhagavan was one day reading and explaining Tirupuhazh in Tamil to Alamelammal of Madura. I did not know Tamil and I could only look on. I saw a change in Bhagavan. A light was shining from within him. His face was radiant, his smile was beaming, and his eyes were full of compassion. His words reverberated in the mind and were instantly and deeply understood. All my being was carried upwards on a current of strange vibrations. The memory of this experience is ever present in my heart. A great joy has remained with me that I was privileged to sit at the feet of the Divine Being.

– Varanasi Subbalakshmi

My first darshan of Bhagavan Sri Ramana was in January, 1921 at Skandashrama, which is on the eastern slope of Arunachala and looks like the very heart of the majestic hill. It is a beautiful quiet spot with a few coconuts and other trees and a perennial crystal-clear spring. Bhagavan was there as the very core of such natural beauty. I saw in him something quite arresting which clearly distinguished him from all others I had seen. He seemed to live apart from the physical frame, quite detached from it. His look and smile had remarkable spiritual charm. When he spoke, the words seemed to come out of an abyss. One could see immaculate purity and non-attachment in him and his movements. I sensed something very refined, lofty and sacred about him. In his vicinity the mind’s distractions were overpowered by an austere and potent calmness and the unique bliss of peace was directly experienced. This I would call Ramana lahari, the blissful atmosphere of Ramana. In this ecstasy of grace one loses one’s sense of separate individuality and there remains something grand and all-pervading, all-devouring. This indeed is the spirit of Arunachala, which swallows up the whole universe by its gracious effulgence.

– Swami Viswanatha

Bhagavan was a very beautiful person; he shone with a visible light of aura. He had the most delicate hands I have ever seen with which alone he could express himself, one might almost say talk. His features were regular and the wonder of his eyes was famous. His forehead was high and the dome of his head the highest I have ever seen. Bhagavan always radiated tremendous peace, but on those occasions when crowds were attracted to the Ashram such as Jayanthi, Mahapooja, Deepam and such functions, this increased to an extraordinary degree. The numbers seemed to call up some reserve of hidden force, and it was a great experience to sit with him at such times. His eyes took on a far-away look and he sat absolutely still as if unconscious of his surroundings, except for an occasional smile of recognition as some old devotee prostrated.

– A. W. Chadwick, A Sadhu’s Reminiscences of Ramana Maharshi.

The third of February 1936, early morning, saw my horse-cart rolling on the uneven two-and-a-half-mile road from Tiruvannamalai railway station to Ramanashram. I was led to a small dining room, at the door of which I was asked to remove my shoes. As I was trying to unlace them, my eyes fell on a pleasant looking middle-aged man inside the room, wearing nothing but a kaupin, with eyes as cool as moonbeams, sitting on the floor before a leaf-plate nearly emptied, and beckoning me with the gentlest of nods and the sweetest smile imaginable. I was alone in the Hall with him. Joy and peace suffused my being – such a delightful feeling of purity and well-being at the mere proximity of a man, I never had before. My mind was already in deep contemplation of him – him not as flesh, although that was exquisitely formed and featured, but as an unsubstantial principle which could make itself so profoundly felt despite the handicap of a heavy material vehicle.

– S.S. Cohen, Memoirs and Notes

I looked around. Squatting on the floor or sitting in the Buddha posture or lying prostrate face down, a number of Indians prayed-some of them reciting their mantras out loud. Several small monkeys came into the hall and approached Bhagavan. They climbed onto his couch and broke the stillness with their gay chatter. He loved animals and any kind was respected and welcomed by him in the ashram. They were treated as equals of humans and always addressed by their names. Sick animals were brought to Bhagavan and kept by him on his couch or on the floor beside him until they were well. Many animals had died in his arms. When I was there he had a much-loved cow that wandered in and out of the hall, and often lay down beside him and licked his hand. He loved to tell stories about the goodness of animals. It was remarkable that none of the animals ever fought or attacked each other.

– Mercedes de Acosta, Here lies the Heart

Once an Ashram deer was attacked by some animal and the wounds turned from bad to worse. Sri Bhagavan sat near the deer and held its face in his hands, looking at its tearful eyes. Sri Bhagavan sat like that for a couple of hours. Chinnaswami (Ramana Maharshi’s Ounger brother) asked my uncle who was standing close to look after the deer and relieve Sri Bhagavan. Sri Bhagavan heard this but did not make any response. Sri Bhagavan sat there till the deer breathed its last. That was the compassion that Sri Bhagavan had for that deer. Soon after, Sri Bhagavan went to the hall. There is a Samadhi for the deer in the Ashram.

– From: Dr. D. K. Subrahmanian, A Tribute

A Jnani has No Separate Will of His Own

In the evening Sri Bhagavan recalled a marvelous occurrence. He said, “Some time ago, a paralytic was brought in a conveyance and brought into the Hall in the arms of some persons and placed before me. I was looking at him as usual. After about half an hour, the man with some effort got up by himself, prostrated, and rising came forward and handed to me a notebook. I found it to be his horoscope wherein it was stated that he would have darshan of a Mahatma by whose Grace he would be cured miraculously. The man after expressing his fervent gratitude walked by himself to his conveyance outside the Hall. All people present were struck with wonder which I also shared because I had not consciously done anything for him.” Now Sri Bhagavan again repeated that a Jnani could not have any sankalpa (will) of his own.

– Subbaramayya, My Reminiscences of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi

In May 1933 on my 36th birthday, after the usual bath and prayers, I sat in Sri Bhagavan’s presence in a pensive mood. I addressed a prayer in the Tamil viruttam style to Sri Bhagavan complaining, “O Bhagavan, I have completed three-and-a-half decades and yet have not had the experience of the real Ou. Pray let me have this day the touch of Our grace.” Handing over this slip of paper I prostrated before him. Bhagavan bade me sit down and gazed steadily at me; I was still in a pensive and meditative mood. All of a sudden I lost body-consciousness and was absorbed in Sri Maharshi. I was turned inward and the voice of Bhagavan bade me see whatever I desired. I felt that if I could have the darshan of Sri Rama my life would be fruitful, as I was very much devoted to Sri Rama. I had then immediately a darshan of Sri Rama, with Sita, Lakshmana, Bharata, Satrughna and Hanuman. The ecstasy of the vision defied description; I simply sat on with Maharshi perhaps gazing on me without my being aware of his gaze. Two hours may thus have passed in pin-drop silence, lost in the vision, until it vanished. I prostrated at the feet of Sri Maharshi, with tears of ecstasy in my eyes and my hair standing on end. To Bhagavan’s enquiry I replied that I, of course, had seen my dear Rama.

– T.K.Sundaresa Iyer

After reaching London, I took an early opportunity to go to Epsom, which was about three quarters of an hour journey by train to meet Mrs. Victoria Doe at her quiet residence, at 17, St. Martins Avenue. It was on May 19, 1946, Mrs. Doe, who was nearing 80, lived with her only daughter, Miss Leena Doe. She had never come to India, never seen Bhagavan Sri Ramana in flesh and blood. Yet I was deeply moved by her devotion to Him. She had read about Him, prayed to Him, meditated on Him and lived in Him day in and day out. There was something trans-mundane, something related to a sphere other than the physical world that occasioned my visit to this elderly lady, who was a recluse to the social life in England. It seems she had written to the Ashram that much as she would have liked to go over to India to have a darshan of Sri Bhagavan, her circumstances did not permit it, and that she was very desirous of at least meeting some one who had seen him and had the good fortune to sit at his feet. Hence, the visit I paid her on the suggestion from the Ashram, was, in fact, the fulfillment of her long cherished desire. Mrs. Doe, with shaking hands, took from her shelves sheaves of letters received from the Ashram and after kissing them with great reverence handed them over to me for perusal. All those were letters from the Ashram and had been meticulously preserved by her for many years. She had also with her all the English Publications of Sri Ramanasramam. She opened one of the books and running her shaky finger along the inscription on the first page “with Gracious Blessings from Sri Bhagavan”, burst into tears of joy and devotion. When she composed herself, she said “Mr. Nambiar, how lucky Ou are to have been able to be with Him, to see Him and hear Him speak. Here we treasure these books and letters as representing Him. Now He has sent Ou here. I feel that He is with us now”. Such love, such devotion to the Sage, so tenderly expressed, moved me to the depths of my being. Verily His Kingdom is the Heart of the devotee, and I have always found Him there enthroned.

– K. K. Nambier

Representatives of the Supreme Here On Earth

In July (1999), I had the blessingful opportunity to speak to Mani’s brother, Sundaram, on the phone. The President (of Ramanashram) and I had a very illumining conversation about Avatars. I was telling him that each human being is a God representative, while Avatars like Maharshi Ramana are the direct representatives, supreme representatives, of the Absolute Supreme. We are trying to follow in the footsteps of these mightiest, giant souls who came to earth and whose consciousness is still here on earth and will forever remain here to illumine the world and elevate the consciousness of the world.

Sri Chinmoy