This Chapter taken from The book ‘Crumbs from His Table’ by Ramanananda Swarnagiri
Some Experiences and Consecration
On the night between the 17th and 18th July, 1935, at 4 a.m., the writer sat for his usual meditation and as soon as he closed his eyes he had absolute internal quiet. This lasted for full thirty minutes, as his wrist watch showed after the experience. During this experience he felt as if a number of ants had been racing up his back and a mild and harmless fire was ablaze all around him, he himself feeling bodiless and merged with the light. The light was comparable to that of evening sunshine when there is also a drizzle. Tears had trickled down from his eyes. At the close of the experience he gave an exclamation and breaking from the meditation began to tell his beads in the usual way. He did not narrate this to anybody till about 8 a.m., when, due to the choking up of his throat and tears trickling from his eyes as before, he was unable to proceed with the comparison of the 1st and the 4th impressions of a few chapters of Mr. Paul Brunton’s A Search in Secret India. Sri Bhagavan, who noticed this choking of the throat and consequent throttling of the voice asked what the matter was. He then told his experiences of the early hours of the morning. Sri Bhagavan said that everything would be all right soon.
A little later when he came to the passage referring to Kumbakonam Kamakotipeetadhipathi Sri Jagadguru Shankaracharya having referred Mr. Brunton to two holy persons, able to enlighten him on the question of Atma- vidya, of whom Sri Ramana was one, he desired to know who the other person was and was given to understand that the other person was the late Sri Ramananda Swami, then residing at Mahadanapuram, near Trichinopoly, as reported by Mr. K. S. Venkataramani (journalist and author) who accompanied Mr. Brunton to Chingleput to visit Sri Shankaracharya. As the writer lived very near Mahadanapuram and, as he had already told Sri Bhagavan that he had seen the Avadhuta Swami at Sendamangalam, Bhagavan asked him if he had also seen Sri Ramananda. He answered that he had not but, from what he now heard, he was anxious to do so, adding however that his books led one like himself almost to despair of ever attaining salvation, as he had spent the greater part of his life in a way which the Swami would consider irreligious and sinful, lacking in both knowledge of the Vedas and essential practices of a Brahmin, so that he was not fit even to moot the question of mukti (salvation). He longed to attain salvation, but this insistence on the study of a vast ocean of Sanskrit literature, or any literature for the matter of that, appeared to him a stumbling block. He was anxious to know whether there was any way out of this impossible condition at his age and in his state of life and, having found what seemed to be a possible solution, setting at rest all these doubts, at the hands of Sri Ramana, he was no more inclined to go and see anybody else.
Sri Bhagavan said that vast study or high education was not compulsory for Self-realization (Cf. The humble knowledge of oneself is a surer way to God, than deep researches after science. –Imitation of Christ, By Thomas a Kempis )and that sometimes it could prove more a hindrance than a help. A highly educated Pandit has a greater samsara (family) than an ordinary man, whose immediate obstacles to the quest of the “Self ” only centre round his wife, children and a few relations and friends. If such a one can, by constant enquiry, break these bonds, he is well on the path to salvation, whereas a Pandit has, in addition to breaking the immediate ties of his relations, etc., to break also the doubts and despairs which the various books he has read present to him, and as a matter of fact at one stage of the path it would be necessary to strive to forget what he had read. He added that knowledge of Self is True Knowledge and incomparable to any knowledge gained by study, and that Self Knowledge or Self-realization is not to be obtained by any amount of study but by practice only. The writer cannot describe what consolation and relief this reassurance gave him.
The writer stayed in the ashram till Sunday, 21st July, 1935 and then he said that he would rather not go back to his job but wished to stay permanently with Bhagavan. Bhagavan replied that He was not bound by time and space, and therefore the writer need not worry where he stayed, obviously meaning thereby that merely for the purpose of obtaining His grace it was not necessary to remain there. As the writer had read some letters, from persons in distant
countries, who had not so far seen Sri Ramana, saying that they had guidance from Him day after day, he was easily persuaded to accept this assurance and returned to his job on the morning of the 22nd.
Before going to the ashram, a friend of his had given him a book of Spiritual Instructions by Sri Swami Brahmananda (of the Ramakrishna Mutt) and the following passage therein, on page 225, appealed to him so strongly, especially after his experience at the ashram, that as soon as he returned home he wrote to Sri Niranjanananda Swami of Sri Ramanasramam, that henceforth he had consecrated himself to the service of Sri Ramana:
Ordinary people understand by the term Guru, a person who whispers some Mantram into the ear of the disciple. They do not care whether he possesses all the qualifications of a true Master. But today such a conception is losing ground. It is now recognised that none but a realized soul is qualified to be a spiritual teacher. He who does not know the path himself cannot show it to others.