Face To Face with Ramana Maharishi – Dr. Paul Brunton – 3

Face To Face with Ramana Maharishi – Dr. Paul Brunton – 3

இதன் தமிழ்ப் பதிவைப் படிக்க இங்கே க்ளிக் செய்யவும்.

Anecdotes recorded by Dr. Paul Brunton

The following are a few of the many anecdotes recorded in A Search in Secret India:

(i) Among the strangely diversified company of human beings who pass through the hermitage, a pariah stumbles into the hall in some great agony of soul or circumstances and pours out his tribulation at the Maharshi’s feet. The Sage does not reply, for his silence and reserve are habitual. Instead he gazes quietly at the suffering man, whose cries gradually diminish until he leaves the hall two hours later a more serene
and stronger man.

(ii) A cultured Brahmin, college-bred, arrives with questions. One can never be certain whether the Sage will make a verbal response or not, for often he is eloquent enough without opening his lips. But today he is in a communicative mood and a few of his terse phrases, packed with profound meanings as they usually are, open many vistas of thought for the visitor.

(iii) A peasant and his family have travelled over some hundred miles to pay a silent homage to the Sage. He is totally illiterate, knows little beyond his daily work, his religious rites and ancestral superstitions. He sits on the floor quietly after having prostrated himself three times. The family stays for a few hours, hardly speaking, and gaze in reverence at the Maharshi. It is clear that the Maharshi’s mere presence provides them with spiritual assurance and emotional felicity.

(iv) A large group of visitors and devotees are in the hall when someone arrives with the news that a certain man, whose criminal reputation is a byword in the town, is dead. Immediately, there is some discussion about him, and as is the wont of human nature, various people get engaged in recalling some of his crimes and the more dastardly phases of his character. When the discussion appears to have ended, the Maharshi opens his mouth for the first time and quietly observes, “Yes, but he kept himself very clean, for he bathed two or three times a day!”

Brunton records in his second book The Secret Path:

In the Maharshi I discovered the last remnants of that ‘Mystic East’ about which most of us often hear, but which few of us ever find. I met an unusual man who quickly earned my humble veneration. For although he belonged by tradition to the class of Wise Men of the East, a class which has largely disappeared from the modern world, he avoided all record of his existence and disdained efforts to give him publicity.

The world wants its great men to measure their lives by its puny foot-rule. But no rule has yet been devised which will take their full height, for such men, if they are really worth their name, derive their greatness, not from themselves but from another source. And that source stretches far away into the Infinite. Such sages dwell outwardly apart, keeping alive the divine secrets, which life and fate have conspired to confide in their care.

The Maharshi interested me much despite the fact that his wisdom was not of a kind which is easily apparent and despite the strong reserve which encircled him. He broke his habitual silence only to answer questions upon such recondite topics as the nature of man’s soul, the mystery of God, the strange powers which lie unused in the human mind, and so on, but when he did venture to speak I used to sit enthralled as I listened to his soft voice and inspiration gleamed in those luminous eyes. Each phrase that fell from his lips seemed to contain some precious fragment of essential truth.

In the presence of the Maharshi one felt security and inward peace. The spiritual radiations that emanated from him were all-penetrating. I learnt to recognise in his person the sublime truths which he taught, while I was no less hushed into reverence by his incredibly sainted atmosphere. He possessed a deific personality which defies description. I might have taken shorthand notes of the discourse of the Sage, I might even print the record of his speech; but the most important part of his utterances, the subtle and silent flavour of spirituality which emanated from him, can never be reported.

One could not forget that wonderful pregnant smile of his, with its hint of wisdom and peace won from suffering and experience. He was the most understanding man I have ever known; you could be sure always of some word from him that would smooth your way a little, and that word always verified what your deepest feeling told you already.

The words of the Maharshi flame out in my memory like beacon lights. “I pluck golden fruits from rare meetings with wise men”, wrote trans-Atlantic Emerson in his diary, and it is certain that I plucked whole basketfuls during my talks with this man. Our best philosophers of Europe could not hold a candle to him.

Brunton writes in his fourth book A Message from Arunachala:

I found my own good fortune and needed no other, for I discovered one of the last of India’s spiritual supermen, the Illuminated Sage of Tiruvannamalai. I ‘sat at his feet’, as the ancient Indian phrase of pupilship poetically terms it, and thereby learned, through a dynamic experience, of what divine and deathless stuff man is really made. What higher fortune than that can we, pitiful mortals, require?

He sat as immobile as a rock in the ocean, cross-legged in meditation. We foolishly imagine that such a man has failed to put up with the bustling procession of life; it never occurs to us that he may have far out-stepped it.

The Maharshi said, “Suffering turns men towards their creator.” Such simple words – yet what a whole philosophy is congealed within the phrase. You may think them to be platitudinous, and they would be, did they not derive from a man who knew what he was talking about because he ascended to spiritual regions beyond our ken, to regions where God is.

The following is from The Note Books of Paul Brunton (vol.10):

Ramana Maharshi was one of those few men who make their appearance on this earth from time to time and who are unique, themselves alone – not copies of anyone else. Face to face with the Maharshi, sometimes one felt in the presence of a visitor from another planet, at other times with a being of another species.

Gazing upon this man, whose viewless eyes are gazing upon infinity, I thought of Aristotle’s daring advice, “Let us live as if we were immortal.” Here was one who might not have heard of Aristotle, but who was following this counsel to the last letter.

The following is from The Silent Power: 1

(i) A Pure Channel for a Higher Power: Forty years have passed since I walked into his abode and saw the Maharshi half-reclining, half-sitting on a couch. After such a long period most memories of the past become somewhat faded, if they do not lose their existence altogether. But I can truthfully declare that in this case nothing of the kind has happened. On the contrary, his face, expression, figure and surroundings are as vivid now as they were then.What is even more important to me is that – at least during my daily periods of meditation – the feeling of his radiant presence is as actual and as immediate today as it was on that first day.

So powerful an impression could not have been made, nor continued through the numerous vicissitudes of an incarnation which has taken me around the world, if the Maharshi has been an ordinary yogi. I have met dozens of yogis, in their Eastern and Western varieties, and many exceptional persons. Whatever status is assigned to the Maharshi by his followers, my own position is independent and unbiased. It is based upon our private talks in those early days when such things were still possible, before fame brought crowds; upon observations of, and conversation with those who were around him; upon his historical record; and finally upon my own personal experiences. Upon all the evidence one fact is incontrovertibly clear that he was a pure channel for a Higher Power.

No physical phenomenon of an occult kind was ever witnessed then; nothing at all happened outwardly. But those who were not steeped too far in materialism to recognise what was happening within him and within themselves at the time, or those who were not congealed too stiffly in suspicion or criticism to be passive and sensitive intuitively, felt a distinct change in the mental atmosphere. It was uplifting and inspiring: for the time being it pushed them out of their little selves, even if only partially.

(ii) A Spiritual Torch: Since the day when I first found him, absorbed in the mysterious trance of samadhi, I have travelled in many lands but always my thoughts turned towards Tiruvannamalai as the Muhammedan turns his face during prayer towards Mecca. I knew that somewhere in the wilderness of this world there was a sacred place for me.

At the Sage’s feet, I picked up a spiritual torch and carried it to waiting souls in the lands of the West. They welcomed the light with eagerness. There should be no virtue to be accredited to me for that, for whatsoever benefit has accrued to Western seekers comes from the torch which was lit by the Maharshi himself. I was only the unimportant ‘link boy’ the humble carrier.

~ to be continued…!

Featured image courtesy: Watkins Magazine

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