This chapter is taken from The Silent Power – Selections from The Mountain Path and The Call Divine
The author was a well-known and ardent devotee of Sri Bhagavan, who stayed at the Ashram for over a quarter of a century without any thought of return to England. He used to spend many hours in meditation adhering strictly to a regular time-table. He was a model of steadfast sadhana which he kept up after Bhagavan’s Mahasamadhi till the end of his life in 1962.
Rramana Maharshi was unique in that he was an out and out advaitin. There were no half-measures with him. Now to be an advaitin of this description is extremely difficult. While for most of us, it is all intellectual gymnastics, for him it was his life. At the early age of sixteen he had realized the Self, and had never swerved from it or come down to a lower function ever after. When he was asked about his movements in the temple and his period of mounam, if his state had not become more stabilized as a result of this sadhana he emphatically stated that, “No change had occurred, nothing new since then had ever happened. It’s the same now as then.”
But for himself he saw nothing wonderful in it. It was the natural state and it was really strange that others should find any difficulty in realising or being it themselves. “You are the Self “, he repeatedly said, “nothing but the Self. How can you be anything else? There are not and cannot be two selves, one to know the other. Just be yourself!”
Put like this, of course, it sounds easy but experience teaches us another tale. Every word is true, but vasanas are so persistent and desires of such long standing that they get in the way and prevent the pure vision. Habits are deep within us and refuse to be rooted out.
Countless are the number of existences lived in the past with which we have been associated. Just to sit quiet and forget them even for a moment seems impossible. Rather does it seem to cause those long forgotten existences to bubble up and fill the mind with their inanities.
Yet sitting in his presence the thing became so transparent that one was convinced for the time being, that all troubles were ended, and one was forced back on oneself in spite of all obstacles. And this was the wonder of his presence.
It was not in the few words he set on paper or the verbal instructions he gave to sincere enquirers that his real teaching lay but in his silent presence. Then questions would drop away unasked, difficulties of meditation vanished and the mind became still. It was unbelievable how easy it suddenly became.
Not only the effect of his presence but the shining example of himself, left indelible marks on those who had the good fortune to spend some time with him. There was no use in saying it could not be done. Here was one who had done it. One might tell oneself that the state could be nothing but one of blankness and convince oneself that it was not to be desired but here was he, exhaling bliss which overflowed out of its superabundance to even the meanest of us sitting there with him. It was marvellous! Was there ever another like him? What silent power! And what a fountain of hope!