This part is taken from “Sri Ramana Maharshi” by Prof.D.Gurumurti
South India has the proud privilege of possessing, the worldwide celebrity, Maharshi Ramana’s Ashram at Tiruvannamalai.
Sri Ramana’s uniqueness lay in his own realisation, he was one of the few Indian saints and sages that answered the call of renunciation at a tender age, in fact, in his teens, unlike the majority of our saints who lived the life of the world and achieved detachment at a later stage.
He is a pure Jnani. Other saints have been great bhaktas, great teachers, great men of action and have influenced humanity in their own characteristic ways. But Sri Ramana remained a calm lake of spiritual power, radiating all round him benign peace and calmness. No manifestations of miracles or yogic siddhis, no sudden conversions, no dramatic occurrences ever marked his presence. The serenity and equilibrium were his most remarkable features.
Of course, the main feature in the Ashram was darshan of the Maharshi. On the day of our visit, we found Sri Ramana walking a few steps to the verandah with great effort. His body looked extremely weak, pale, and limp. He could scarcely stand as he moved forward. He had grown very thin and weak. But the moment he ascended the chowki and settled down for the one- hour public darshan, a marvellous change came over him. It was as though he was summoning the spirit to dwell visibly in his body.
Gone was the look of pain and the expression of weakness. His face shone radiant with peace. It was a marvel of conquest of the body. The stream of visitors, in addition to the seated devotees, advanced to his presence, to a distance of six feet, placed their offerings of fruit and flower and incense, prostrated and withdrew in orderly fashion. This process went on intermittently for the full hour.
This was the outer routine. But if one looked deeper, other things could be seen and felt. As the many devotees advanced to the presence of Maharshi and bowed down in utter faith and fervent dedication, vibrations of power could be felt. At every bow a wave of devotion would flow towards the sage and there would come back a powerful flood of benediction from him to the devotee. And as one sat gazing in reverence the whole atmosphere would take on a radiance, having its centre in the Maharshi, enveloping the gathered bhaktas for an area of several yards.
If one attuned oneself to this vibrant wave of power, one would be physically overcome by the purifying flood. It was as though standing on a high peak, facing a valley, turning east in the early morning hour, one suddenly became engulfed with the glorious sunrise from deep down in the valley. It was as though one standing at the brink of the waters of an ocean, was suddenly lashed by an oncoming super-wave and drenched in the waters.
A veritable miracle was being performed. An aged body, bent down by terrific penances, exhausted, enfeebled by a mortal illness, the dreaded incurable cancer, subjecting the victim to excruciating pain, health enfeebled by daily loss of blood as the dressing on the abscess was renewed, subsisting on liquid food and yet the immortal spirit of the emancipated sage triumphed over the weakness of the body, shining resplendent, shedding benign grace on the assembled devotees. Few among mankind have had the great privilege of participating in such a spiritual feast.
The doctors had come to the end of their resources. Allopathy, Ayurveda, Homeopathy and other systems of treatment had done all they could and failed. We have heard in the case of some saints that they could cure themselves by willpower. But it is certain that such a great self-realised sage as Sri Ramana would not have thought it worthwhile to use spiritual power for this purpose. We are strongly reminded of the parallel instance of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa who gave up his body after it had suffered from cancer of the throat for several months. He also, in the midst of intense bodily suffering, remained serene to the end. The fact is that the wielders of spiritual power are governed by certain laws, though unknown to us, which pertain to that sphere.
An instructive incident is narrated of Sri Ramakrishna and Vivekananda. In the early days of his contact with the saint of Dakshineswar, Narendra was having great domestic troubles – poverty, unemployment, a large family of dependants, etc. Some one told him that he should seek the help of Sri Ramakrishna to find some solace. Sri Ramakrishna asked Narendra to pray in the Divine Mother’s presence. Accordingly Narendra visited the shrine of the Goddess and returned after a while. Sri Ramakrishna asked him if he sought the Divine Mother’s help for succour to his family. Narendra replied that as he prayed in the Mother’s presence he forgot everything about the world and so had not sought succour. In the presence of the Divine, all else is transcended.
I sat in the evening session of darshan. After a few minutes, the question formed itself in my mind. What will happen to the hundreds that will be deprived of spiritual nourishment? As I was mentally addressing this question to Sri Ramana, a radiance was felt by me. His physical form on the chowki gradually became shrunken, smaller and smaller and vanished into the radiance. The radiance grew deeper and more powerful. I felt I had the answer to my query. Even though the body may disappear the concentration of spiritual power which was focused round it will continue to shed its influence. And as long as one can put oneself into attunement with that form and with that radiance, one can draw spiritual sustenance.