Before I had the first darshan of Sri Bhagavan in 1942, I was brought up in a religious and spiritual atmosphere at home. Ever since 1914, I used to visit Alandi, near Poona, to have darshan of the samadhi of the Maharashtrian saint, Jnaneshwara. About 90 years ago, there stayed in Alandi a great realised saint and yogi, Swami Narasimha Saraswati. My grandfather was his staunch disciple and the Swami’s grace has been showered on our family ever since then. Even though the Swami left this world and was enshrined in samadhi before my birth, I knew that many devotees had the good luck to have his darshan even after his nirvana. I also felt ardently that I should have his darshan in flesh and blood and I used to pray to him for many years. In spite of many happy incidents of grace in our family, my yearning for his darshan remained unsatisfied and I was rather insistent on it. I was not satisfied with his darshan in a dream and so continued to pray for the same off and on.
From 1939 to 1942 I suffered from sciatica due to overexertion in my engineering work, and became very weak. As I did not like in this state to be a burden to my old father I went to Vai, a sacred place on the bank of the Krishna, about fifty miles away from Poona, rather dejected about my health. Still I used to pray to the Swami of Alandi to give me darshan. But because my prayer was not granted and I was not feeling well, I made a slight change in my prayer that I should at least have a darshan of a great Mahatma like the Swami before my death. After a month or so, in February 1942, when I was in a state of utter depression, I had a wonderfully vivid vision-like dream at dawn.
In a cave of a mountain, a great mahatma was staying and throngs of people of different religions and castes, sannyasis, yogis and householders were going up the mountain towards the cave to listen to the speech of the mahatma. I was one of them. The cave was spacious enough to hold the 150-200 people who had assembled there and were sitting close to one another in a crowd. I also sat there among them, waiting. I waited for an hour or so and still the speaker was not seen nor heard. Naturally I was bored and asked the people around me, “How is it that the lecture has not started yet? Where is the Saint?” Near me sat an old man with matted hair. Afterwards I came to know that his name was Kavya Kanta Vasistha Ganapati Muni. He raised his hand and said to me, “Silence of the Master is his speech and the disciples have no doubts left.” I was wonder struck to hear this, as I could not understand who that silent Master was and could not follow his silent speech. So again I asked, “Where is the Master?” He replied, “He is sitting quite near you.” I began to search among the people near me and found a slender young man of twenty-two years wearing a white codpiece and a smile on his face. I bowed down to him immediately and asked whether I could know his name and would understand the silent speech. He pointed his finger to his heart and said in Marathi, “This is known as Ramana Maharshi.” Having said this he smiled in a charming manner and instantly I woke up in delight. I took it to be the answer to my constant repeated prayer, felt happy and began to reflect.
Though a resident of Poona, I did not hear much about Ramana Maharshi’s greatness then (in 1942) as his name was not then well known in Maharashtra. In a big library there were one or two books of Paul Brunton, but very few people would read them. A few educated pilgrims visiting Rameswaram might have heard his name in the Madras province. But in a distant town like Vai, nobody knew Bhagavan’s name and hence it was very difficult to account for my vision. For about ten or twelve days I was eagerly longing to get some information about him. All the while, I was praying. All of a sudden, one day a gentleman of my acquaintance from Poona happened to meet me and having seen the photograph of Narasimha Saraswati Swamy on my table, instantly remembered something and told me that recently, during his pilgrimage to Rameswaram he heard from some pilgrims about Sri Ramana Maharshi, and went along with them to Tiruvannamalai and had his blissful darshan. He further told me that Bhagavan was a Siddha Purusha (a liberated Being) like this Swami and advised me to go and have his darshan once.
Thus unexpectedly my dream was accounted for and immediately I sent money by telegraphic money order for two or three books of Bhagavan. My curiosity and longing were intense. In four or five days the books came but before I could read them, a friend of mine took them away and when I wrote to him, he ordered them again, and in the next week I got them. Their reading increased my longing to see Bhagavan. Even though I had become very weak due to the disease, my earnest desire to have Bhagavan’s darshan did not allow me to keep quiet. I started in that very condition by rail and reached Tiruvannamalai station on the third day at dawn. I hired a horse- cart and reached Sri Ramanasramam at 6 a.m. The driver showed me that Bhagavan was coming towards us. My joy knew no bounds. As I prostrated before him Bhagavan approached me and said, “Have you come from Poona? You seem to be quite exhausted.” I was wonder struck to hear this, as I had not written to the Ashram about my whereabouts and the date of my coming there. Thereafter arrangements were made for my stay.
In the afternoon, when I sat before him in the Meditation Hall, he enquired about my health. I replied that I had been suffering terribly from sciatica for three years, had no sleep, no desire for food and was growing from bad to worse in spite of the treatment of the best doctors. I further told him that my father was old, my children were young and my young wife helpless, and being extremely pestered by the disease I continued praying to Swami Narasimha Saraswati of our family and as a result was blessed by Bhagavan’s darshan in a vision-like dream and hence had come there. I handed over the Swami’s photograph to Sri Bhagavan. He smiled and indicated his divine intimacy with the Swami. He graciously said to me, “You can stay here in peace. Your disease is not incurable.” He quoted a verse from the Bhagavad Gita, (II: 14): “O son of Kunti, the contacts between the senses and their objects, which give rise to the feelings of heat and cold, pleasure and pain, etc., are transitory and fleeting. O Arjuna, bear them,” and pacified me. I felt extremely relieved. In three or four months I was completely cured of the disease by his grace.
Thereafter I used to see him three or four times a year up to 1950, and came in close contact with him. He rejuvenated me physically and spiritually and brought me eternally into the fold of his benign Grace, to describe which I have no words.
On receiving a telegram I came to the Ashram on the day of his mahasamadhi. My emotions and feelings were checked somehow during the day he left the body. But next day, at night, when everybody was asleep, I began to weep bitterly feeling very uneasy that I shall never henceforth see Bhagavan in an embodied form and enjoy the bliss of his presence. All of a sudden in the dead of night, some footsteps were heard and lo! there came Bhagavan with a lantern in his hand! He straightaway approached me, removed the curtain and said to me in a soft, gentle, loving voice, “Oh! Why do you weep? Did I not tell you that I am here?” I controlled myself and bowed down to him. By the time I raised my head, he had disappeared, leaving me in utter surprise and desolation. My thousand pranams to Ramana Bhagavan.