This Chapter taken from The book ‘Crumbs from His Table’ by Ramanananda Swarnagiri
Sri Bhagavan: “Who are you?”
D: I am Narayanaswami.
B: Is it the body, the mouth or the hands that represent the “I” you are talking about?
D: The mouth, the tongue, the body, all together constitute the “I.”
B: (Pointing to the disciple) Whose body is this?
D: My body.
B: So, you are different from the body? You are the possessor and the body is your possession?
D: I now realize I am different from my body, but I cannot however clearly see the line of demarcation between my body and my “Self.” I cannot see Who I am.
B: Go and put the question to your “Self ” and you will know who you are.
D: To whom is the question to be put and how?
B: Put the question to your “Self,” trace the source from which the “I” springs and the answer will come to you.
The writer felt that, contrary to what Mr. Narayana Iyer and others said, namely that Sri Ramana Bhagavan was not in the habit of giving upadesa (spiritual instruction and guidance), He had actually given him something to work on. He was satisfied with this lesson and, having purchased a copy of His Life and Teaching (in Tamil), read it that very night at the ashram itself. The more he read it the more he was attracted to Sri Bhagavan, and His example and teachings appealed to him more than any that he had heard of.
The next day, in company with some of his friends and a close relation, he visited a scholar learned in Sanskrit and Tamil, who was for some time a Sanskrit teacher in one of the Local Board High Schools and who was living close to most of the places where Bhagavan was reported to have spent his early life. When the writer came to a place where Bhagavan was said to have sat in the evenings, he took a small quantity of the earth from it and smeared it on his forehead (as is usual with Hindus when they revere a person) and dropped a bit of it into his mouth. He felt “the very ground on which such a holy person sat was sacred, His footprints were worth all the spheres that rolled in the heavens.” His relation immediately flew into a rage and protested against his deifying Sri Ramana, who, according to him, (as belonging to the orthodox school of philosophers) had contravened the injunctions of Manu (The Hindu Lawgiver) by performing the last rites of His mother. This is contrary to the established rule that an ascetic should have no more connection with his parents. Though not educated enough to be able to refute his arguments from ancient lore, the writer remonstrated with him that Sri Ramana was another Manu in the present day with all the authority to lay down codes for human conduct, but, in concentrating mainly on spiritual guidance, He was on a very much higher plane than Manu. Unfortunately, however, he added a curse to the protest, saying that his relative would soon reap the result of his ignorant derogation of the Lord. Within less than ten minutes, on coming down to the plain, his relative tripped over quite a small stone and fell headlong on the ground. The writer was walking a few paces ahead and had turned the corner of a street, when he was recalled by a friend, to find that his relative had not only sustained an injury, but was lying unconscious in a hut, with one of his legs swollen from the fall. He ran to the spot, engaged a horse-cart and took him to the railway station, after rendering what first aid he could by dashing cold water on his face and giving him some water to drink etc., till he regained consciousness. The writer would like to leave his readers to draw their own conclusion on the connection between his curse and the immediate accident, inexplicable as it is to him even now.
The writer does not like miracle-mongering, nor does Sri Bhagavan claim any supernatural powers for himself, but there is no limit to the number of persons who have attributed such things to Him.
The writer visited Sri Ramana again on 27th May and 20th October the same year, staying for only two hours on the former date and for a day on the latter. Sri Niranjanananda Swami, the secular head of Sri Ramanasramam, casually remarked to him that if he desired to obtain the full benefit of Sri Ramana’s Grace he had better make up his mind to stay in the ashram for a minimum of five days. He could neither grasp the real import of this suggestion nor was he very enthusiastic about such a stay then. He continued, however, to practise the “Who am I?” enquiry from the date he first saw Sri Ramana.