This part is taken from “Remembering Ramana” by Chagganlal Yogi
“I own the fact that a person’s external activities stop automatically when his heart is fully saturated with love and his sense of non-duality with all beings reaches its consummation. If we happen to meet such a person who has attained oneness with all, his mere darshan will drive away our miseries. But from among lakhs and crores, we will find only one mahatma of this type”, thus said Saint Vinobaji.
Indeed, one such mahatma of our times was Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, the Sage of Arunagiri whose mere darshan bestowed Grace on thousands and relieved them of their miseries. Even today his grace is available to all those who yearn for it, though he is not with us physically. After giving up his small mortal coil he has now assumed a huge all-pervading form.
As Sri Ramana himself has said, “The Guru is within; meditation is meant to remove the ignorant idea that he is only outside. If he be a stranger whom you await, he is bound to disappear also. Where is the use of a transient being like that?”
He further says: “One of two things must be done; either surrender yourself because you realize your inability and need a higher power to help you, or investigate into the cause of misery, go into the source and so merge in the Self. Either way you will be free from misery. God or Guru never forsakes the devotee who has surrendered himself.”
Thus he himself has shown us the path of winning his grace. We have only to follow it faithfully and then wait to reap the sweet fruits of his grace ‘full of love and oneness with all beings’. We will not have to wait for a long time if our efforts and devotion are sincere. His grace is bound to descend on us and relieve us of our miseries.
Replying to a question of a visitor to Sri Ramanasramam a few years ago, Sri Ramana Maharshi had said that, “To have darshan of a saint is sure to bring good to you. Thousands of persons pass by Tiruvannamalai in the trains daily, but a few alight here and fewer still visit this ashram. About darshan of and association with a saint, the scriptures say that it is a vessel which enables you to cross the vast ocean of samsara. What more benefit do you want?”
Indeed, darshan of a saint is so very efficacious that it occupies an important place in the curriculum of a sadhaka or a bhakta. In this connection I am reminded of a very inspiring experience that a devotee from Nepal, Sardar Rudra Raj Pande had, when he came for darshan of Sri Ramana for the first time. After having Sri Bhagavan’s darshan he went to Lord Arunachaleswara’s temple situated in the town at the foot of the Arunachala Hill. Narrating his experience about the darshan of Lord Arunachaleswara, Sri Pande says in his article published in the Golden Jubilee Souvenir: “All my attention was directed to the one purpose of seeing the image or lingam in the Sanctum Sanctorum. But strange to say, instead of the lingam, I see the image of Maharshi, Bhagavan Sri Ramana, his smiling countenance, his brilliant eyes looking at me. And what is more strange is that it is not one Maharshi that I see, nor two, nor three but in hundreds, I see the same smiling countenance, those lustrous eyes, I see them wherever I may look in that Sanctum Sanctorum. My eyes catch not the full figure of the Maharshi but only the smiling face from the chin above. I am in raptures and beside myself with inexpressible joy. That bliss and calmness of mind I then felt, how can words describe? Tears of joy flowed down my cheeks. I went to the temple to have darshan of Lord Arunachala, and I found the living Lord as he graciously revealed himself. I can never forget the deep, intimate experience I had in the ancient temple.”
Truly speaking, darshan and grace go together; one follows the other. Darshan begets grace and if it does not beget it, it ceases to be the darshan of a saint or a sage. A sage’s darshan will always be fruitful. It will surely bring some good. But as Sri Vinobaji says, in the vast multitude of lakhs and crores, there will be one sage. Hence, when we find such a sage, we must avail of his darshan and grace to our fullest capacity.
Speaking of my own experience about Sri Bhagavan’s benign grace, I have found it playing a prominent part in solving the most difficult problems confronting me and guiding me safely through thick and thin. I propose to narrate here a few glaring incidents of my intimate experience.
In 1945, I decided to wind up my printing press at Bombay in order to go and settle at Sri Ramanasramam. I had no prearranged plan for closing down my business. I did not know how things would be shaped, I solely relied on Sri Bhagavan. And he in turn did respond to my devout prayer.
In the early hours of one morning, while I was still in my bed half awake, I saw a vision in which Sri Bhagavan appeared before me. By his side stood the gentleman whom I recognized as a friend of mine, who had neither been in the ashram nor had any faith in Sri Bhagavan. The following conversation then took place between Sri Bhagavan and myself:
B: You want to sell away your press, don’t you?
I: Yes, Bhagavan, but I should find a buyer.
B: (Showing my friend standing by his side). This is the
buyer. He will buy your press, so sell it to him.
I: When Bhagavan is so very kind to show me the buyer may he favour me by stating the amount at which I should execute the sale?
Sri Bhagavan thereupon showed me five figures on the opposite wall which were shining like a neon sign. The amount indicated to me was quite reasonable, neither low nor exorbitant.
Sri Bhagavan then disappeared from my sight, and with him also disappeared my friend. The vision ended.
I was simply wonder-struck and when I entered my press that day at 11 a.m., my friend was waiting there for me. Of course, he had come to see me for some other work. I narrated to him my vision of that morning. He heard me very attentively and when I had finished he simply replied: “I will buy your press at the price indicated by your Guru.” There was no limit to my joy. It was all over in a minute. My desire was fulfilled by his grace. I could leave Bombay with my family and settle first at Bangalore and later at Sri Ramanasramam itself, and spend about three years in his Holy presence. Our shifting from Bombay and settling at Bangalore was a series of incidents bespeaking of his benign grace. Those were the days when prices were soaring very high for everything. Bangalore was a new place for us. In view of the wishes of a few devotees at the Ashram I had agreed to buy a printing press at Bangalore for the purpose of executing the printing work of the Ashram. Thus I had to get a printing press as well as a house for us to live.
It was his grace which had drawn us to Bangalore and it was the same grace which got us both a printing press and a residence there, without the least difficulty.
In a good business locality of Bangalore there was a very old press established in 1885, lying idle for the last 6 months. It was for sale. I saw its proprietor and told him the purpose for which I was to buy the press. He agreed to sell it to me but haggled about the price. I proposed that both of us visit the Ashram and after having Sri Bhagavan’s darshan, might talk about the bargain. He at once agreed to it, and both of us went to Sri Ramanasramam. I took him to the holy presence of Sri Bhagavan whom I informed that I proposed to buy his press. Sri Bhagavan did not say anything but simply nodded. Within a few hours of having had Sri Bhagavan’s darshan, there was a wonderful change in the attitude of my Bangalore friend, who left the question of price to me. Of course I did not want to exploit him, so I stated a reasonable amount which he quite willingly accepted. Though he had insisted that no business talks should take place at the Ashram it was he himself who proposed that the bargain might be settled at the Ashram only. Of course his wish was carried out and the agreement of sale was executed and signed there and then.
Within a week thereafter, the press came into my possession. It was a fairly big press where I could do all types of printing work including the Ashram books in various languages, such as English, Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, Gujarati and Kannada. It was named ‘Aruna Press’ by Sri Bhagavan himself.
The press was idle for six months. It was to be put in working order. For this purpose a lot of work was to be done. It was really a heavy task, but due to his merciful grace I did not feel the burden. In a short period, the entire press was put in order and renovated, and publications of the Ashram began to be printed one after the other.
Throughout the period that I ran the Aruna Press at Bangalore, I felt his hand of grace extended to me on many occasions.
On 1st September, 1946, the devotees of Sri Bhagavan had decided to celebrate the Golden Jubilee, ‘in commemoration of the day, the 1st September, 1896, on which young Venkataraman reached Arunachala and in devout and humble recognition of his fifty years of transcendental life’. On that day, the Golden Jubilee Souvenir was to be published. The printing of this Souvenir was, of course, entrusted to my press. Up till now, the press had printed small books for the Ashram but as this was going to be a big volume and time at my disposal was short, I was rather diffident. But his grace eliminated my diffidence, and help and cooperation in the successful execution of this work began to pour in from all quarters, some of them being unexpected.
Only ten days were at my disposal and the major portion of the Souvenir Volume was yet to be printed. I lost courage and at once ran up to the Ashram. Having prostrated, I placed the entire position before Sri Bhagavan and then pouring out my heart pleaded that “Unless the help of some other press is taken, the volume will not come out on 1st September.” Then I sat before him in a praying mood, enjoying his blissful darshan and waiting for his gracious reply. After a few moments he said in a low melodious tone, “Do your work.” These three simple words were indeed magical words. They fired me with fresh vim and vigour and there arose in my heart a strong faith that the volume would surely be out on the scheduled date. There was the order for me I had simply to obey and “do my work,” and the rest would be looked after by him. I returned to Bangalore. I told the story of my experience at Sri Ramanasramam to my co-workers in the press. All of them accepted Sri Bhagavan’s order in the same spirit as I did and all of us worked with full faith, zeal and enthusiasm day and night. The bulk of work turned out in those last ten days was really surprising. For the last three days a party of about ten devotees came to my house on its way to the Ashram, going there for attending the Golden Jubilee. Three or four of them were expert bookbinders, whose timely help completed the work of the Souvenir a day early.
Indeed, wonderful are the ways and modes of his grace, which made so many impossible things possible and difficult things easy for us. All through the period of our stay at Bangalore we experienced the beneficial working of his benign grace.
There flows a perennial stream of nectar of his grace, which is freely available to one and all, provided we care to avail ourselves of it by following the path shown by him.
May all respond to his call divine and be devoted to Him, by adhering to his teachings.