This part is written by Natanananda
WAS twenty years old in 1917-18 and a schoolmaster. Being naturally of a pious disposition I used to go about from place to place frequently to have darshan of the deities installed in temples. A noble soul who saw this, brought to me of his own accord, the two books (in Tamil), Sri Ramakrishna Vijayam and Sri Vivekananda Vijayam, and asked me to read them. As soon as I had read them I was seized with an intense longing for obtaining the vision of God and for finding out the Guru who would show the way to it. While I was engaged in this search, I heard about the extraordinary greatness of Bhagavan Sri Ramana through a holy person whom I happened to meet at Sriperumbudur. On 2nd May 1918, I saw Sri Ramana for the first time at Skandasramam on Arunachala.
I beseeched him fervently thus: “It is my great desire that I should actually experience your gracious wisdom. Kindly fulfil my desire.” In those days Sri Ramana was not speaking much. Still he spoke kindly as follows: “Is it the body in front of me which desires to obtain my grace? Or is it the awareness within it? If it is the awareness, is it not now looking upon itself as the body and making this request? If so, let the awareness first of all know its real nature. It will then automatically know God and my grace. The truth of this can be realised even now and here.”
Besides telling me this, he also explained it as follows through my own experience. “It is not the body which desires to obtain the grace. Therefore it is clear that it is awareness which shines here as ‘you’. To you who are of the nature of awareness there is no connection during sleep with the body, the senses, the vital airs and the mind. On waking up you identify yourself with them, even without your knowledge. This is your experience. All that you have to do hereafter is to see that you do not identify yourself with them in the states of waking and dream also and try to remain yourself as in the state of deep sleep – as you are by nature unattached you have to convert the state of ignorant deep sleep, in which you were formless and unattached, into conscious deep sleep. It is only by doing this that you can remain established in your real nature. You should never forget that this experience will come only through long practice. This experience will make it clear that your real nature is not different from the nature of God.”