As Told by Ramana Maharshi
The mind seeks to define the infinite. In doing so it has used its own resources to bring down Supreme Truth in a simple and yet potent language. Scattered throughout the religious scriptures of India, parables and stories abound, weaving a colourful thread around the most profound spiritual truths of mankind. Handed down from parent to child these religious treasures of India remain a relevant force today.
Sivaprakasam Pillai, one of the earliest devotees to recognise the spiritual greatness of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, commented “Sri Ramana Bhagavan has attained the state of Brahman without knowing the word Brahman.” For it was not until years later, that books were brought to Sri Bhagavan by devotees, describing the very state he himself had intuitively experienced. With his pure and retentive memory, he retained the essence of all these books at a glance, and brought forth at a moment’s notice, the perfect story or parable suitable to the occasion. In Sri Ramana’s own words the beauty and wisdom contained in such stories are made ever more beautiful and the essence made even clearer.
Sri Bhagavan would not only tell the story but would act out the part to the delight of his devotees. If the story was particularly moving, tears would flow freely from his eyes. “Such was the attraction of these stories”, Kunju Swami related, “that when we heard Sri Bhagavan beginning a story, even if we had heard it numerous times before, we would literally stop whatever we were doing and run to his side to hear it again!” S. S. Cohen in Guru Ramana relates, “Bhagavan was reciting from memory a poem of a Vaishnava Saint, in which occurred the words, ‘Fold me in Thy embrace, O Lord’, whereupon the arms of Bhagavan joined in a circle round the vacant air in front of him, while his eyes shone with devotional fervour and his voice shook with stifled sobs which did not escape our notice. It was fascinating to see him acting the parts he related, and being in such exhilarated moods as these.” On another occasion while Bhagavan was reading and explaining a story about Tara Vilasam his eyes became full of tears and his voice became tremulous. It looked as if the whole drama was being enacted in his presence. Noticing this Suri Nagamma remarked, “Bhagavan appears to have been transformed into Tara herself.” Pulling himself together the master said with a smile, “What to do? I identify myself with whosoever is before me, I have no separate identity. I am universal.”
At the suggestion of Mrs. Lucia Osborne, we have included the incidents which inspired Sri Bhagavan to relate the story. A few new stories have been added, along with a glossary of Sanskrit and Tamil words. Special thanks must be made to Sri S.Tyagarajan who with great care went over the entire manuscript with Sri Kunju Swamigal. Sri Kunju Swamigal’s unfailing enthusiasm and keen interest helped us greatly.
With deepest salutations this little work is offered to Sri Bhagavan, whose guidance, grace and love has prompted this collection of stories. We pray for the grace and blessings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana. May his words inspire us to turn within.
August 5, 1984
Everyone knows that Sri Bhagavan Ramana was a master story teller! Sri Ramanasramam publications, like Letters, Day by Day, and Talks, abound with marvellous accounts of how Bhagavan picturesquely narrated, rather enacted, incidents that took place in the lives of sages and saints and traditional stories of great spiritual content, like the story of Sage Ribhu.
Seeing how the first edition of this book was serving devotees, the compiler, Mrs. Joan Greenblatt, worked one- pointed to enlarge and improve it; the result is the excellent second edition now in your hand!
We hope all seekers will find this book both interesting and enlightening and partake of the Spiritual Presence which lies within its pages and the abundant grace of the narrator Sri Ramana Himself!
Sri T. N. Venkataraman Maha Sivarathri President, Board of Trustees
- Various Stories & Tales
- Brahma, Vishnu, Siva
- Yoga Vasishtam