This chapter is taken from The Silent Power – Selections from The Mountain Path and The Call Divine – Part II – On Bhagavan
Saint Sages are the salt of the earth. They are the saviours of humanity. They are the sustainers of society. Philo remarks, “Households, cities, countries and nations have enjoyed great happiness, when a single individual has taken heed of the good and beautiful. Such men not only liberate themselves, they fill those they meet with a free mind.”
In all sects of Hinduism, the worship of saints and sages forms an important feature. In the galaxy of spiritual giants of modern India, a great Sage answering to the description of Philo in a supreme way is Bhagavan Sri Ramana, popularly known to the world as ‘Maharshi’. He stayed at Tiruvannamalai in South India for over fifty four years and attained Mahasamadhi in April 1950.
His teachings have a unique appeal to thinkers of both east and west. He was considered as the living embodiment of God-centred life, a perfect image of the life divine in the mirror of human existence. In the words of the world-renowned psychoanalyst, Dr. Carl Jung, “Sri Ramana is a true son of the Indian earth. He is genuine, and in addition to that, something quite phenomenal. In India, he is the whitest spot in a white space.”
The Maharshi was not one of those teachers who tried to make an impression on his devotees and others by mystifying matters. Nor did he utilise any of the psychic powers to attract the curiosity-seekers and miracle-mongers. His method was direct. He disclosed the truth in the simplest possible language, as realised and lived by him. He spoke very little, but in his look there was not only love and compassion, but a subtle spiritual vibration which went deeper into the heart of the visitor.
He regarded nothing as alien, none as other, no event as undesirable. He thought of others in the same way as he thought of himself. Love and love alone influenced his relationship with others. His teaching through mouna or silence was difficult to be understood by the average person. Once a visitor from the west put the question to him as to why he was staying at one spot for years together, without moving about and preaching to people the truth he had realised. The Maharshi gave his characteristic reply as follows:
“How do you know that I am not doing it? Does preaching consist in mounting a platform and haranguing the people around? Preaching is simple communication of knowledge. It can really be done in silence only. What do you think of a man who listens to a sermon for an hour and goes away without having been impressed by it, so as to change his life? Compare him with another who sits near a holy presence and goes after some time with his outlook on life totally changed. Which is better, to preach loudly without effect or to sit silently sending out inner force?” On another occasion, answering a similar question by an Indian devotee, he remarked,
“Vivekananda was perfectly right when he said that if you thought a good thought in a cave it would have repercussions on the whole world.”
So, let us meditate in silence on Bhagavan Sri Ramana. Though he has given up his physical body, his presence is felt by thousands as before. It is not confined to Tiruvannamalai. It never was. But the hall where he sat for years has a special attraction. Visitors come there even today from the four corners of the globe.