This chapter is taken from The Silent Power – Selections from The Mountain Path and The Call Divine – Ramana Reminiscences

A saint is as great a necessity for human society as is a great scientist, a great thinker and a great leader, nay the necessity is even greater. For a scientist discovers the secrets of life and of the Universe, a thinker tries to understand the meaning and purpose of existence, and a leader tries to shape and transform humanity or a portion of it according to his own notions of what it ought to be.

A saint is one who makes a wholehearted effort to realise in himself, in his own life, the highest and furthest possibilities of human life, which in a natural course of evolution may take centuries to actualise.

A saint is a man perfected, a fulfilled hope of humanity, a successful experiment in human sublimation, and a source of inspiration and guidance to the travellers on the path to perfection. He is the embodiment of the highest values of humanity, an indubitable indication that ideals can be made real, that man can be what he ought to be, here and now.

His life is a measure of man’s manhood, when it is lived in the midst of humanity and not in sanctified seclusion. It is a practical solution of the various puzzles of life, provided it is a comprehensive one. Considered from various points of view, a saint is the greatest asset to human society. A perfected being, he is the eternal beacon to sadhakas the world over.

I have read the biographies of many a saint, seen a number of them and have come in contact with some. I have had the privilege of being at the Ashram of Sri Ramana Maharshi for a short time in March 1940 and since then have been in correspondence with him.

He made a deep impression upon my mind, a mind that has been moulded by a study of scientific and philosophic writings of the east as well as of the west. The greatest peculiarity and merit of Sri Ramana Maharshi’s life is that although he has moulded and perfected his personality on the lines of Advaita Vedanta, a purely Indian way of Self-realization, he is highly appreciated and resorted to by western seekers and by those Indians who have been educated on western lines.

One of the reasons for this fact may be that some English and French writers happened to praise him highly in their books. But the fact remains to be explained why these western seekers were themselves so well impressed by the Maharshi. Mere publicity does not in the least establish the greatness of saints, although it may make them known, as in the case of Jesus Christ, to a wider public.

Maharshi’s greatness is more deeply founded. It is based on his actual living by the creed of Advaita Vedanta which holds that reality is one without a second, that everything in this Universe is but that reality which is Existence-Consciousness-Bliss.

True to his creed, he regards nothing as alien, none as other, no event as undesirable. For him the ideal is the real and the real is the ideal. He has no other relation with anyone but that of love. He thinks as much of others as he thinks of himself. Love, affection, kindness, mercy etc. which are expressions of one and the same thing, and the feeling of unity with all, ever flow from him. This is the secret of Maharshi’s unique greatness and consequent popularity. The whole of humanity owes its homage to this great sage amidst us.

Jnana is like akasha. The supreme Self which is to be known through sadhana is also like the ether. The various objects we see in the world as well as the souls are like the ether. Therefore, who is to know which? What is to be known by what? The supreme realization is that there is no plurality. True knowledge is distinctionless. That knowledge is the Self, the light divine. That knowledge is Bhagavan Ramana.

May we offer our obeisance to this supreme Lord who came to save the world and who still abides and will ever abide with us in order to make us perfect.

May we, on this auspicious occasion, renew our faith in our Bhagavan and pay homage to him so that not only we, but the entire world may be saved.