This Chapter is taken From The Book ”Guru Ramana Memories and Notes” Part-I Retrospect by S.S.Cohen
The influence of Sri Maharshi on genuine seekers, who leave the world behind and turn pilgrims on the path of the Absolute, is great indeed; for such aspirants touch a sympathetic chord in his soul, evoking spiritual responses of great magnitude.
A close friend of mine once related to me his experience when a brief talk with the Master made him stop his fruitless pursuit of the “occult” and take to the path of knowledge (Jnana), which Bhagavan propounds and which has proved of immense benefit to those who had followed it. I let him use his own words:-
“On one of those happy days of July …. I decided at last to acquaint the Maharshi with the disturbed state of my mind, after a number of months’ stay in the Ashram, during which I had listened, reflected and argued with myself. Having been a keen student of Theosophy for twelve years, I had imbibed notions and theories which conflicted in almost every important respect with the Maharshi’s teaching. Theosophy and Vedanta, I discovered, notwithstanding the claim of Theosophy to the contrary, run along parallels which never meet. “Occult” Theosophy speaks of spheres and planes, of journeys into planets, of invisible Masters, hierarchies, Adepts, rays, supersensuous initiations and meetings, and hardly, if at all, of the Reality, with which the Vedanta and Maharshi exclusively deal, namely, the one Self, one Life, one Existence. In fact seekers are again and again reminded that occult powers are diametrically opposed to the truth they seek.
“I was finally convinced that the Maharshi spoke from direct, valid experience, and on that day I made up my mind to speak alone with him, before the hall filled with devotees.
“It was eight in the morning. Sri Bhagavan had just entered and had hardly settled in his usual place, when I drew near his sofa and squatted on the bare floor. The attendant alone was present, keeping alive the incense fire and fixing new incense sticks in their silver stand, but he did not understand English. Nothing I knew gave greater pleasure to the Maharshi than to listen attentively to his devotees’ spiritual difficulties and give his advice. This knowledge encouraged me to explain to him slowly and briefly in clear, simple English the agitations of my mind. After I finished, he remained pensive for a few seconds and, then, in the same language but with considerable deliberation, said: ‘Yes, you are right; all preconceptions must go. Practice alone will show you where the truth lies. Stick to only one form of sadhana.’
“That was a clear pointer. But apart from the words he uttered, I was suddenly gripped by an overwhelming urge to surrender unreservedly to him to guide me in my spiritual hunger, abandoning all the methods I had previously followed and all the beliefs on which I had built my hopes. My fate and all that I was, passed from that moment into the sacred hands of Sri Bhagavan for ever.”
But this was not the only case of spontaneous surrender. Spiritual surrender, we are told, is not a mental, still less an oral act, but the result of Grace, which comes in its own time and of its own accord, to cause the automatic subsidence of that self-asserting element in the sadhaka’s nature, which stands in his way to ultimate realisation. Sometimes it is sudden, and sometimes so gradual, that the devotee himself may not become aware of it. Grace, though it comes from the Guru by his very presence, is not fortuitous, but fully earned by hard internal fight, by long periods of suffering, prayer, self-purification, and intense yearning for release. Suffering turns the mind inward and eventually draws out the cry from the depths of the soul for the liberating light of Truth, and for the appearance of the Divine Teacher, who alone can lead to it and, thus, to Redemption.