This chapter is taken from The Silent Power – Selections from The Mountain Path and The Call Divine
(These articles were written to commemorate Bhagavan’s third Aradhana)
On May 11th the Ashram celebrates Sri Bhagavan’s third Aradhana, when one will be carried back to that momentous night three years ago when he passed. One can still see the tense crowds seated in rows under the veranda of the new hall, waiting, waiting, waiting till the last breath should be breathed and the one they all loved so much should once and for all relinquish his body. Most of us felt it would be a happy release. We prayed he might be spared any further suffering. The sickness and pain had been so long drawn out, it was an agony to watch the loved one being slowly wasted away by the malignant disease.
Doubtless he was a jnani and was beyond all suffering, he was dwelling in the bliss of the Self, but suffering there undoubtedly was, though he himself would have asked, “To whom is the suffering?” It is a mystery beyond my comprehension. Vaguely, I sense that if one is liberated, one is free from all pain as the Self is all bliss. Behind even suffering there must be a special bliss for such. It is only a surface appearance, though very real and painful for the onlooker.
Swami Ramathirtha used to say that when he had high fever he experienced the most ecstatic bliss during meditation, more so than when he was in normal health. At first people felt lost, they had relied too much on the personal form, though Bhagavan himself had repeatedly warned them, “You attach too much importance to this body.”
Still it was only natural that this body should be missed, although as time went on, the loss became gradually less keen. His presence was felt so strongly in the Ashram, and daily the feeling of this actual presence grew. A visitor remarked to me lately, “One does not miss the presence of Bhagavan in the Ashram, he is there just as he was before.” And this is true. He is there and he is surely working and the Ashram will grow in strength and renown as time goes on. There have been dark days since that night three years ago,but those days are now past. The Ashram takes on a new life. There is a new feeling in the air and the stagnation is over. The school has been revived and pujas are performed so carefully and enthusiastically that the whole place rings with the vibrations thus set up.
I went away never to return, but he brought me back. And now I thank him every day that I have been allowed to take part in this renaissance. It is thrilling to the core to feel it happening. One should have known that it was bound to be like this all the time. How could anything happen to the place he had sanctified with his presence for so long? The whole of India was blessed by his life, how much more so the place in which he made his home.
I have one piece of advice to offer to one and all. Do not believe the stories you hear about Sri Ramanasramam because you can always test the truth of such tales for yourself without relying on hearsay. It is very easy. Come and see for yourself. You will not be disappointed.