Karin Stegemann


By Karin Stegemann

ALREADY in early childhood 1 felt a deep religious longing. But only after many years of seeking and intense study of religion and philosophy did 1 finally find the answers to my questions in Buddhism. Later on it was the practice of Zen Buddhism in particular which guided me on the path of realization.

In 1952 my husband founded a Buddhist Society in Hamburg, Germany. 1 became his colleague and worked for more than twenty years, my main duty being the editing of a journal. During this time I first saw Sri Ramana Maharshi’s photograph and it made a deep impression on me. 1 also found in the book, Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, a dimension of spiritual experience which attracted me as if by magic. From that time onwards this book became my daily spiritual food, and my longing to see the places where the sage had lived grew daily.

The love of Bhagavan was with me most powerfully when sat for meditation. This was immediately after the passing away of my husband. In those days 1 experienced a Being beyond birth and death, and he revealed himself to me as the Sadguru, working from within. Many years had to pass until I was able to arrange everything in such a way that all my activities could go on without me for some time. This set me free for my first pilgrimage to Sri Ramanasramam.

Never in my life was I so happy and so full of deep peace as during that blessed time at the foot of Arunachala! After my return to the West, I expressed my gratefulness in a series of lectures in which 1 showed slides of all the sacred places where the sage had lived in the body and of those who work nowadays in a selfless way to keep the Ashram running and to preserve the atmosphere as it was during his bodily presence.

After a second visit I was certain that Bhagavan is working within us beyond time and space, and that it is only the body which travels from one place to the other. After my first journey there was still the painful dualistic feeling of departing; now it had disappeared. Where is coming and going? In a similar way I experienced that sickness and other difficulties cannot disturb the inner peace, once the wrong identification has dropped off.

To meet the wishes of my friends for a seminar on Bhagavan, I studied anew all available material on the sage, which points to the incomparable greatness of this Enlightened One, who, almost as a child, experienced the true nature of man without any help from outside, without a further development, without falling back into ignorance. After his great experience he remained once and for all the embodiment of the supreme wisdom of India. May his birth centenary remind us to follow gratefully and wholeheartedly the path which he has opened to all.

Sayings of Bhagavan

“What will it be like when one achieves Self-realization?” a devotee asked. “The question is wrong, one does not realize anything new”, said Bhagavan. “I do not get you, Swami”, persisted the devotee. “It is very simple. Now you feel you are in the world. There you feel that the world is in you”, explained Bhagavan.