Shuddhananda Bharati


By Kavi Yogi Shuddhananda Bharati

DURING my dynamic silence of thirty years, about five years were spent in going from saint to saint, ashram to ashram. Even samadhi was not the summum bonum of realisation. My heart wanted something which I did not find anywhere during my long journey from Mt. Kailas to Kanyakumari. I stood in silence at the feet of the gigantic Gomateswara up the hill of Shravana Belagola when I was living among the Digambari Jain sadhus, wearing just a codpiece. At midnight a bright face rose like the sun in the crimson dawn, and a hymn from the Vedas came to my mind, ‘There he rises, the brilliant sun spreading a thousand rays, the cosmic form of the effulgent splendour, unique light, life of beings’! The crimson glory opened two lotus eyes, then coral lips emitted pearly smiles. I quickly remembered Ramana Maharshi and felt his inner call. I put a semicolon to my spiritual pilgrimage and went quickly to Arunagiri. I went up the hill, took a bath in the waterfalls, meditated in the Virupaksha cave and came down. Accidentally Seshadri Swami met me and smiled at me. I went near him and in his silvery voice he declared, “Go on and on, Shuddhananda, until you go deep in and in”. He accompanied me a few yards and ran away saying, “Run, run, Ramana waits for you. Go in and in”.

I reached Ramanasramam and entered the small shrine of the Mother. There was a square room adjoining it and Nayana stood up exclaiming, “Welcome, Welcome! Swagatam”! Ramana’s gentle voice said, “Let Bharati come in. Bharati varattum”.

I saw no human form. I felt dazed. An effulgence enveloped me. My mind disappeared into silence. I sat down, closed my eyes and entered the inner cave - nihitam guhayam. An hour passed like five minutes. I came back to myself, opened my eyes and saw Ramana’s lotus eyes riveted on mine. He appeared like a linga spreading rays of burnished gold. “Now you have felt That’, the cave is open! the ‘I’ is the Self-nectar!’. After all these years of sadhana, here I experienced a delightful inner reality which is beyond word and thought — Yato vaacho nivartante aprapya manassa saha. I caught hold of his feet and shed tears of delight singing with Saint Manickavachakar, who sang, “Today Thou hast risen in my heart a Sun destroying darkness”.

Blaze on, O Light Divine
Swallowing I and mine.
The Self rose like the Sun
The many merged into the ONE.
Behold the beacon of I
Inner Light of every Eye,
Towering above He, She and it,
A new dawn of inner delight.

(All songs that I dedicated to Bhagavan are contained in my book Arul Aruvi, Torrents of Grace.)

Nayana, whom I already knew in the Gurukulam congratulated me saying, “Like myself, you have found the right guru in the right place! Now the cave is ready for you”. Sri B.V. Narasimha Swami entered the room and said joyfully, “Happy, Happy! Bhagavan has touched your heart”!

Then Niranjanananda Swami called me to the dining room. I opened my bag and brought out ground nuts and plantains and gave them to Bhagavan. He took one fruit and a few nuts, and I took the rest as his prasad. That has been my diet for many years.

The next morning after my bath I was meditating when Ramana came and we spoke for half an hour about practical Self-realisation. We had plenty of meetings during the nights. Maharshi is the beacon light of hope to seekers. He kept me in the Virupaksha cave silent. Only Nayana, Seshadri Swami and B.V. Narasimha Swami (who wanted to know about Sai Baba), used to visit now and then. Ramana gave a finishing touch to Shankara’s “Brahma Satyam, or Brahman is the unique reality”. Bhagavan located that Brahman in the heart and called it Heart itself:

I, I shine the Truth in the heart’s core.
That’s Brahman; be That; seek no more.

Deepam crowds disturbed my cave life in Tiruvannamalai. Ramana made me live with Nayana in a mud cottage near the ashram. I had the joy of hearing Vedic hymns and Nayana’s verses all day long as I remained silent and self-immersed, and prepared myself for the future fulfilment of my life.

The last day was fully spent at the feet of Bhagavan and that was my golden day. What he taught me on that day sustained me for twenty-five years:

The egoless ‘I am’ is realisation. The experience of ‘I am’ is peace. The meaning of ‘I’ is ‘God’. The outgoing mind is bondage, the in-going mind is freedom. The heartward mind brings bliss. The restless worldly mind brings bondage and misery. The triads of knower, known and knowledge are one. You go to a cinema. Observe the projector light. If the projector light fails the whole show stops. Be Self-centered and finish your work in silence and come out. The world is nothing but the objectified mind.