This chapter is taken from The Silent Power – Selections from The Mountain Path and The Call Divine – Ramana Reminiscences
Srimathi Madhavi Ammal, a staunch devotee, was fortunate in having many opportunities to talk to Sri Bhagavan freely and appeal to him direct for upadesa. Sri Bhagavan made things easy for her in many ways, one of which was talking to her in her native Malayalam. He gave a patient hearing to her tales of woe which were many. This is visible in a film on Sri Bhagavan which is screened occasionally at the Ashram. The devotee seems to have almost wrested the upadesa from the Guru by her perseverance according to the following narrative of hers.
I knew full well that Sri Bhagavan gave no formal upadesa (initiation) but I kept on asking for it whenever an opportunity presented itself. Invariably Sri Bhagavan used to reply, “Who is the Guru and who is the sishya (disciple)? They are not two. There is but One Reality. It is in you and It can neither be given nor taken. But you may read books for intellectual understanding.”
On March 12, 1934 after prayers at the Shrine of Sri Mathrubhuteswara I went to the old hall. Only the attendant Madhava Swami was with Sri Bhagavan. When I made my usual request Sri Bhagavan laid aside the newspaper he was reading and sat in padmasana, quite absorbed. I then recited a (general) hymn of praise to the Guru in Telugu and also Aksharamanamalai in Telugu (the hymn on Sri Arunachala by Sri Bhagavan). Sri Bhagavan turned to Madhava Swami and said, “She has prayed to Sri Arunachala.” This struck me as meaning that Sri Arunachala will give the initiation and also that Sri Bhagavan and Sri Arunachala are not two. Sri Bhagavan resumed his state of absorption and I had my persistent request for upadesa. But he continued to sit motionless. Finally I begged of him, “Am I not a competent person to receive upadesa? Sri Bhagavan should himself tell me about this. Even if Sri Bhagavan confirms this how is it that I adopted him as my Guru immediately on hearing of him (she was just told that a Rishi lived at the foot of the Hill)? Will it all be in vain?” Immediately on my speaking thus I found a bright light emanating from Sri Bhagavan’s holy face, and the effulgence filled the whole Hall. I could not see Sri Bhagavan’s body but only the brilliance. I shed tears in profusion. The whole incident could have lasted just two seconds! I prostrated to Sri Bhagavan. There was a smile on his face but no movement otherwise. After a while Sri Bhagavan turned to me as if to ask, “Are you rid of your mania?” Yes, I was. He then took a piece of paper, wrote a sloka (verse) on it and gave it to me saying, “You can make use of it in meditation.”
This is the sloka:
I adore Guha the Dweller in the Cave of the Heart, the Son of the Protector of the Universe, the Pure Light of Awareness beyond thought, the Wielder of the weapon of Jnana Sakti and the Remover of the ignorance of blemishless devotees. 1
And again he smiled graciously. This was wonderful upadesa indeed by a Master rare to see. My Master taught me the great truth that there is only ONE. The proper Guru is one who shows what is. This was but a practical demonstration of the saying
“The Master’s face reveals Brahman. You attain Brahman through Grace.”