This chapter is taken from The Silent Power – Selections from The Mountain Path and The Call Divine – Ramana Reminiscences
My joy found no limit when I had the darshan of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi on the 8th of June, 1947 at 9.20 a.m. Apart from Ashram inmates, Indians and foreigners, there used to be a stream of visitors both in the morning and the evening. Some visitors, with the permission of the Ashram authority, used to take snapshots of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi.
In my heart of hearts I was deeply thinking whether I could be so fortunate as to have a photo taken along with Sri Bhagavan. A good and pious idea indeed! But, the question of its fulfilment was entirely left to the entire grace of guru dev.
It so happened that a rich and a pious soul with a band of devotees from Andhra, came to the Arunachala temple and then to Sri Ramanasramam. They had the darshan of Sri Bhagavan in the morning and they arranged for a group photo to be taken along with him in the evening.
Sri Bhagavan stood in front of the small gate towards the eastern side, facing Arunachala Hill. Another devotee and myself were observing all this very keenly from a very respectful distance. One of the devotees seeing Sri Bhagavan standing, had very wisely brought a stool from the Ashram, upon which, gurudev sat. The photo was about to be taken when the sarvadhikari, in hurrying up to the spot, saw me and another devotee standing, and asked us to follow him. We both immediately followed him and joined the group photo. The photo was taken. My happiness was beyond expression. I have a copy of this eventful photo with me. This is how ‘kripa‘ of Bhagavan works miraculously.
Bhagavan can be compared to the saptha rishis of the ancient times. Those who came in contact with such a great personality, an embodiment of supreme Self-hood are really blessed. They should consider themselves very fortunate.
Those who lived at Sri Ramanashram knew full well how punctuality used to be observed in every activity of the Ashram. Even breakfast, lunch, tea and supper used to be served precisely at 7a.m., 11a.m., 3p.m., and 7.30p.m., respectively.
At the ringing of the bell, Sri Bhagavan would go to the dining hall from the main darshan hall. The devotees would follow him with great reverence. He used to sit in the middle of the dining hall and of all the devotees sitting in rows.
Different varieties of delicious dishes used to be served systematically and briskly by some of the devotees. Every variety, each in small quantity, used to be served to Bhagavan. He used to mix up the food, vegetables, chatnys and other things all into one paste and keep it ready.
When serving was finished Sri Bhagavan used to ask, “Finished?” meaning whether serving was completed. Sarvadhikari replying in the affirmative used to prostrate before him. Sri Bhagavan would then cast a benign glance all round and would nod his head signifying to commence eating. Perfect silence would be prevailing in the dining hall, although the number present would be more than a hundred. Sri Bhagavan would leave the plantain leaf after his meals, in such a clean manner, as it was placed, before meals were served. Not even a particle of rice would be left on it.
The very life of Sri Bhagavan was itself sacred scripture. He was moving Veda and Upanishad. His teachings were through silence. Who could have understood his immutable silence, the very nature of one’s own Self!