Bhagavan in His embodied state occupied our whole heart, being dear to us as father, mother, God and Guru, all in one. We were loath to leave His presence, be it night or day. We slept outside the Old Hall, and Bhagavan was always visible to us on the sofa from where we were.
On the night prior to Deepavali in 1929, the first year of my settling in the Ashram, Bhagavan suggested my going home for the ‘Ganges’ bath (Gangasnanam). To me (why, to all of us!) the very sight of Bhagavan is a bath in the Ganga, the sight of Bhagavan is the worship of Siva, the sight of Bhagavan is the fulfilment of every ritual and the practice of all austerities. Yet I did not want to go against the mandate of Bhagavan as I went home, late in the night. I was impatient to be back with Bhagavan, so I woke up my wife and children even at 2 a.m., finished the ceremonial Ganges bath, and hastened to His blessed Presence.
Bhagavan lay reclining on the sofa. It was about 3-30 a.m.; I made the usual prostration and sat down by the sofa. All of a sudden an aura was visible around the head of Bhagavan. It was like the glory with clusters of evenly arranged flames, just as we see round the deities in our temple processions. Bhagavan’s face shone with beaming smiles. It appeared to me that on this occasion Bhagavan was giving darshan (gracious view) of Sri Nataraja, the Lord of the Cosmic Dance. In my ecstasy, I think I must have sung hymns from Thevaram, which I love as dearly as the Vedas. The vision lasted for half an hour, and then the glory vanished.1 At 4 a.m. Bhagavan sat up for His Pansupari.2 I related to Him what I had seen, and Bhagavan again gave a beaming smile.
A similar experience is recorded by the Buddhist Lama Anagarika
Govinda in his Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism P.164, quoting the experience of Baron Dr. Valtheim-Ostaur: ‘While my eyes were immersed in the golden depths of the Maharshi’s eyes, something happened which I dare describe only with the greatest reticence and humility in the shortest and simplest words, according to truth. The dark complexion of his body transformed itself slowly into white.This white body became more and more luminous, as if lit up from within, and began to radiate. I saw him sitting on the tiger-skin as a luminous form. This was no rare occurrence in the life of devotees; though Bhagavan Himself would have playfully dismissed it, with all other observed wonders of the senses, with “It’s all in the mind!”. Yes, that is true, but how many of us can see such beauties in the mind in place of the ugly and commonplace which
obsess it all the time? 2 i.e., betel-nut, with a leaf, chunam, and flavourings, taken after meals as a digestive to be chewed — as customary over most of Southern Asia.