This part is written by R.Narayana Iyer
The following was written just a few months after the Mahanirvana of Sri Bhagavan by an ardent devotee of the Master.
“Before some stars appear, light appears. After they vanish from vision light alone remains. That is the state of a jnani – his birth and death.” These were the words of SriBhagavan in a talk about jnanis. The exact import of the words is as puzzling as the strange phenomenon that passed vividly before our eyes on the 14th April, 1950. It was about a quarter to nine at night. I was sitting in the open space in front of my house facing east. The sky was clear, the air still. A grave and subdued solemnity pervaded the atmosphere as though reflecting the anxiety of so many sincere devotees of the Maharshi who had come to Tiruvannamalai on account of his illness.
Suddenly a bright and luminous body arose from the southern horizon, slowly went up and descended in the north somewhere on Arunachala Hill. It was not a meteor as it was bigger than what Venus appears to our vision and its movement was slow. It was so lustrous that at its zenith the light shed by its trail stretched as far as the horizon like an arc. The sight dazed me. Instinctively, as it were, I jumped to my feet and ran as fast as I could to the Ashram, a hundred yards off. There was a crowd of people moving about and quite a hustle and bustle. It didn’t strike me to enquire of anyone what it was about. Access to the Maharshi was naturally then selective and restricted to a few. I cared not for the Ashram rules and regulations, but like a tethered calf let loose and running to its mother, I took a short cut, jumped into the garden, scaled the parapet and rushed into the room where the Maharshi, Bhagavan, my Ramana, Guru, Father, God in flesh and blood was lying.
Lo! My heart thumped, breath choked. He was no longer in the flesh and blood. He had just breathed his last. As the star descended on the Hill, he had left the body. It was held in padmasana position by the attendants. I touched the body. There was no warmth. In a frenzy, I clasped the hand, the mere touch of which used to give the thrill of eternity. Coldness of death froze my nerves. All was over like a dream. Sobs, hymns and chantings filled the air, and my head reeled with dizzy thoughts. We will no longer see our dear Bhagavan in that beautiful form of molten gold, which charmed and enchanted us for decades! We will no longer see those compassionate eyes that gleamed like twin stars, peered into our innermost depths and dispelled the shadows that blurred our vision and understanding! No more that kind and godly look of grace that solaced our wearied souls and inspired our depressed hearts in speechless silence with peace unbounded, or that bewitching and enchanting radiant smile that fascinated us and drew us to him, to heights of bliss, far, far above this world. No more could we hear that sweet and ringing voice, the talks of sparkling wit and humour, or those words of profound wisdom from the depths of deep realization which intellect could not fathom! Tears gushed forth from my eyes as from a fountain. ‘Roll! Roll! you beads of Love, from the fountain of Love to the Ocean of Love! It is not fruit and flowers, nor sweets and savoury dishes that can be offered at Thy feet any more. The only oblation that would reach Thee are tears of love from that perennial spring that is the core of our Being, of which you are the Source in your disembodied fullness. The divine leela (play) is over.’
So his leela was really over on that momentous fourteenth day of April, 1950. No one was kept in doubt or suspense or taken by surprise. It was a prolonged ailment and abundant opportunity was afforded to one and all from far and near to come and see him. It was one of the worst maladies that could afflict the human frame and the way he bore it was an object lesson to all. Not once did his face reveal agony or suffering, but he carried on the normal routine with his majestic smile of supreme bliss in his face and the mirthful repartees and sallies of wit. It was also plain that he used no mysterious yogic or superhuman powers to alleviate or conquer pain as the following remark he made about the disease would show: “Appah! Who could conceive that such a disease as this could be in this world? When a hiccough comes the whole body splits like the flashes of lightning in a cloud!” This remark was made by him in such a cool and composed way as though it was not his body that was suffering.