Saturday, May 9, 2009

As one deeply interested in poetry, I have read the poems of Muruganar and said to myself, good heavens, the man who could inspire this kind of poetry is divine. It moved me completely; Muruganar completely converted me. Then, when Grant Duff came to my college, I took him around. After a week with him, he casually asked me, "Have you seen Ramana Maharshi?" I said to myself, here is an Englishman steeped in Indian philosophy telling me about the Maharshi. I felt ashamed, and I was ashamed. All these events convinced the obstinate camel that an oasis he badly needed was near and easy to reach.

When I told Sri Sivaswami about my decision to visit the Ashram, he said, you are a young man with many responsibilities; when you go to Bhagavan you will be swept off your feet and fall into an abyss. Don't go alone, tie yourself in many bonds; take somebody you like, you are attached to, to hold you. So I took my wife and two of my students with me.

The Maharshi deprived me of none of the persons or pleasures that were dear to me. He left them all with me enriched and sanctified. Shakespeare, Keats, Wordsworth and the Bible meant much more to me when illuminated by the light he shed on all he saw. From the Bible he often cited passages like: Be still and know that I am God; the kingdom of God is within you; my father and I are one.

My first darshan of the Maharshi on September 29, 1940, was the most memorable event of my life. The last darshan occurred a fortnight before his mahanirvana on April 14, 1950. In between, during many weekends and college vacations, repeated visits to the Ashram kept me (as spells of sound sleep keep one) in health, happiness and taut efficiency. The pure happiness I enjoyed was that of a child when it sits securely in its mother's lap.

Bhagavan was a perfect Impersonality, like the sun in the sky or like unnoticed daylight in an inner chamber. This impersonal being would suddenly become a Person full of sattvic power, highly human, charming, mother-like, who could communicate with sharp precision his own Awareness Bliss to other persons according to their needs and moods. The sun now came down and played with us as the light of the moon to illuminate the mind, or as the fire in the home to cook our food.

Bhagavan listened like a child to passages from Shakespeare's plays and Keat's letters and quickly and convincingly revealed the universal truth in each flower unique in its own beauty. On Keat's letter on 'negative capability' his passing comment was: "So there are Upanishads in English as in Sanskrit." After a passage from Shakespeare was read, discussed and duly praised, Bhagavan said, "Shakespeare the Self enjoyed writing this, so that, born again, he might enjoy reading it." No wonder then that Bhagavan not only permitted Muruganar in his copious outpourings but also joined him in playing the grand game of rhyming and chiming in words that double a common joy. Was he not the sole begetter of thousands of marvellous poems by Muruganar and so many others?

~ Prof. K. Swaminathan (excerpt from Face to Face with Sri Ramana Maharshi)

No comments: