I first knew about Sri Ramana Maharshi about seventeen years ago (December 1937) in my fifty-first year. I soon read about his life and teachings from that excellent book Self-realisation, by Sri B. V. Narasimhaswami and at once made up my mind to see him. The opportunity came almost immediately and I saw Maharshi for the first time on 31-12-1937. The desire to know everything about him and his teachings having increased, I secured all the books I could get at the ashram book depot, by and about Maharshi and read them all closely, also at the same time reading and taking cuttings of the articles by devotees that appeared from time to time in the dailies and weeklies especially the Sunday Times of Madras. From 1938 onwards I was a frequent visitor at the ashram for a number of years. I have even talked to him which event I consider as the rarest privilege of my life. I will always remember the beautiful smile of blessing which shone on his divine face whenever I took leave of him after doing my sashtanga namaskar. Below I give reminiscences of what took place in three of my visits at the ashram though they may seem to be of a trivial nature to many.
In one of my visits, I took a bunch of grapes as my offering, placed it on the stool in front of the Maharshi and took my seat along with other visitors in the hall. In a few minutes a monkey came and took away the whole bunch. In that holy and still presence of the sage, none would dare drive away the monkey which would disturb the tranquillity and peace of the atmosphere. Maharshi remarked, “How is it you are all looking at this? [the monkey, etc.]” And after a pause said, “Let it go.”
In another visit, about which I had not intimated to the ashram in advance, and Maharshi would not have known about my coming, he remembered me so well as to call me by name which was a surprise to me, and asked if I knew Mahrathi language, to which I replied that Mahrathi was my mother tongue. He then informed me that a book in Mahrathi was being published by Gunaji which may perhaps interest me.
On a later visit, which was more important for me, when visitors had just left the hall for the morning meal at 10-30 or 11 a.m., and before Maharshi started to go, I went near his couch and explained my particular difficulty, which occurred at certain times, the same as St. Paul gave expression to before Christ, viz., “The good that I would, I do not; the evil that I would not, that I do,” which I quoted from memory and asked how to act in such situations. Maharshi listened closely to this and said, “Do it all in a spirit of surrender.” Later studies of Maharshi’s teachings as recorded by devotees, e. g., in Maharshi’s Gospel and other books have taught me the importance of surrender. I only pray for his grace to live more and more the life of the spirit which he has taught us so admirably and in a unique manner for nearly fifty years.