This part is written by K.R.K.Murthy
One superficial observer of Sri Bhagavan once told me that Sri Bhagavan simply sits quiet without doing anything useful to anybody and even without talking or explaining. My personal experiences, which are very real to me and some of which are narrated below convinced me that Sri Bhagavan was always lending his helping hand actively and silently in his own characteristic way whether people understood him aright or not. Sri Bhagavan used to help the devotees so secretly that no one knew anything about it except the recipient. Sometimes even the recipient of help is kept in the dark. How can others be aware of this?
On one occasion I saw the handwriting of Sri Bhagavan in Telugu. It was just like print, if not better. I had a keen desire to preserve as a memento some letters written by Sri Bhagavan. I was feeling it very delicate to ask Bhagavan, especially when there were so many in the hall. Just then someone in the hall remarked loudly that I wrote in Telugu script that morning the songs selected by Sri Bhagavan from the writings of the saint Thayumanavar. Sri Bhagavan wanted to see the same. I was somewhat taken a back and also was ashamed to put before Bhagavan what I wrote in a hurry. Further, I was sure that there would be some mistakes which should be corrected at leisure, Bhagavan took the book and patiently corrected the first stanza. I was overjoyed when Sri Bhagavan wrote so many letters in my book. Sri Bhagavan satisfied my burning desire, even before it was expressed by me and that too before everybody, without appearing as though he was showing a special favour to me or without wounding the feelings of others in the least.
In the Holy presence of and due to the Grace of Sri Bhagavan every devotee including myself used to get many wonderful, inexplicable and elevating spiritual experiences.
If we compare the devotees to students, we can say that Sri Bhagavan was handling several classes, from the infant to the highest, simultaneously and silently without causing disturbance to any one, and every student was kept ever busy. Can this feat be done by anyone? People can memorise some texts and quote them freely and exhibit their learning. But can they attend to the needs of the individual members in the audience and do what is necessary according to their spiritual growth? Can they revolutionize the devotees by making their inner power to flow through the devotees and produce changes undreamt of? Sri Bhagavan’s activity and help was mostly in the spiritual plane and in the most effective internal way. Such were the ways of Sri Bhagavan. He knew what was happening everywhere, without anybody telling him, and he is incessantly helping all the beings. But who can gauge what all he is doing?
Sri Bhagavan never used to lecture to any audience voluntarily. When questions were asked, Sri Bhagavan used to reply in his own characteristic way. No one knows when the divine voice emerges, stops or starts again. If one is not fortunate enough to get an answer, he will have to simply keep quiet as no one in the Holy Presence is bold enough to demand an answer. Sometimes the questions are answered by monosyllables and sometimes by signs. The explanations are always very brief and to the point. The few words seemingly ordinary are of so much significance to the questioner, so full of inner meaning, that they serve as a turning point in the spiritual life of the person concerned. The golden words will be ringing in the ears and are always treasured in the memory. Not only that. The person cannot help broadcasting the same at the earliest opportunity.
Many ears will be eagerly waiting to catch the unforgettable words of Sri Bhagavan directly (first hand) and, if either due to the distance from Sri Bhagavan’s sofa or insensitivity of the ear or some other outside disturbance, they failed to catch a word or two they feel it is an irreparable loss.
Once one devotee of Bhagavan was abused, ill-treated and prohibited from entering the Ashram. Though Sri Bhagavan was aware of this, he never uttered a word or passed any remark favouring the devotee or the other side. His silence might have been misinterpreted as a favour shown to one side. But what happened? The devotee never used to come to Bhagavan as usual, but Sri Bhagavan himself used to pass by the abode of the devotee and give darshan in a different place. Who can prevent Bhagavan? Sri Bhagavan is interested in all his children even though some of them might behave in a naughty manner at times. Sri Bhagavan never used to condemn people openly and wound their feelings even though he is All-Powerful.
On one important occasion arrangements were made for feeding the poor in the Ashram. As the meal time was approaching, people were rushing into the place set apart for dining. Then someone in authority cried aloud that sadhus should keep out. Accordingly, some poor sadhus were sent out to some other place. After all the seating arrangements were completed they wanted to begin serving. But the chief guest, i.e. Sri Bhagavan was not to be found anywhere there. People began to search for Bhagavan in all places and proceeded in all directions. One party noticed that Sri Bhagavan was sitting under a shady tree far away from Ashram. They requested him to go over to the Ashram for meals. Sri Bhagavan replied, “You never wanted sadhus to remain there. As I am also a sadhu I left the place as desired by you.” He identified himself with the lowest and never wanted any special privileges for himself. He used to rectify the wrong doers, not by showing anger or dissatisfaction, but by self-denial or self-punishment.
If someone in the Ashram behaved in a very unjust manner, Sri Bhagavan used to know it (even though no one expressed it to him) and inflict some self-punishment and deny himself some dishes or courses, etc., without expressing anything to anybody. Everyone used to come together to find out why Sri Bhagavan has given up a certain thing. As no one was bold enough to face Bhagavan and ask the real cause, they used to examine their own conduct and behaviour and discover the causes that might have caused displeasure to Bhagavan. They used to approach Bhagavan, prostrate, beg his pardon, and promise to be more careful in the future. This is Sri Bhagavan’s way of rectification of wrongdoers.
Once devotees were singing songs in praise of Ramana with great devotion. While they were singing the following song in Tamil: “Ramana Sadguru Ramana Sadguru Ramana Sadguru Rayane,” Sri Bhagavan also joined and began to sing with them. The devotees were taken aback when they found Ramana himself was praying to Ramana. They were so surprised that they could not but question, ‘Why Sri Ramana was singing that song?’ Sri Ramana replied that Ramana Sadguru refers to the unlimited, All Pervasive Paramatma, who illuminates the hearts of all beings and not to the limited body. Bhagavan thus focused the attention of the devotees on Sri Ramana, the Real, the Imperishable and the Eternal.
Though Bhagavan was demonstrating from his boyhood that he was different from the body, by utter disregard and supreme indifference to the same, people forgot again and again and sought to identify Sri Ramana with the physical frame. Sri Ramana was reminding again and again by example and precept and was always behaving as a Universal Spirit.
Sri Bhagavan explained on many occasions that sincere enquiry about the real ‘I’ leads one away from the body consciousness and towards the one Self, which is the source of everything.
When the tumour that developed on the left arm of Bhagavan was operated upon, the devotees could observe that Sri Bhagavan was living a life apart from the physical body.
He never recognised the pain or gave expression to it. On the other hand, he was always cheerful and moving as if nothing worthy of note happened. When devotees questioned how he could ignore the tremendous pain, he invited their attention to a verse in Yoga Vasishta, the meaning of which is as follows: “When a person realises that he is not the body, he will not be conscious of the pain even though his body is cut to pieces. He is ever happy and sweet as the sugar candy which does not lose its sweetness even though it is cut into bits or powdered, etc.”
Once Sri Bhagavan expressed that the world is not different from him and that when people were eating, he himself was eating through those mouths, (though his mouth was idle). This shows clearly that Sri Bhagavan was ever identifying himself with the All Pervading Atman in all and not with his physical body.
May this Oneness be experienced by us all through his Grace!