The Maharshi and the Mahatma
By H. G. Nilkant

The following has been translated from a passage in Sri Narayan M. Desai's Gujarati book, Santa Sevata. Sri Narayan is the son of Sri Mahadev Desai who was Mahatma Gandhiji's secretary.

LET ME DESCRIBE right here an incident that happened during our return from the South India Hindi Prachar meeting.

Bezwada (Vijayawada) is a station on the railway route from Madras to Wardha. The talk came up before we reached Bezwada. Jamnalalji (Sri Jamnala Bajaj) had then recently been to Ramanashram. He was lavish in his praises before Bapu (Mahatma Gandhi) of the holiness and peace of that Ashram's atmosphere. Whenever a saint happened to be the subject of a conversation, my father's heart would melt like butter. With devotional interest he began to inquire about Ramana Maharshi. Jamnalalji, Bapu and my father started on the subject with equal interest. In the course of the talk Bapu suggested, "Mahadev, why not visit the Ashram yourself?" On hearing this, father's heart leapt from sheer joy. Jamnalal-ji also urged him: "Yes, yes. Do it. It is really worth a visit. And now that you have come so near the place, you can go there right away. When, otherwise, are you going to have the leisure for it?"

My father asked me to pack up his kit-bag. The train had by then already reached the Krishna Bridge. Jamnalalji was telling Bapu, "The peace I felt at Ramanashram, I did not even find at your Ashram." After a short while Bapu said to father, "Don't be in a hurry to return. If you have the same experience of peace as Jamnalalji, you may stay on longer. Don't worry about the work."

Bapu uttered these words in quite a natural tone and manner. But the very thought of keeping away from Bapu for any length of time was unbearable to my father. He turned towards me and said, "Babla (a pet name), unpack the kitbag." I was stunned. Bapu too looked on in mute surprise.

"Why Mahadev, what makes you ask him to unpack?"

"I have given up the idea."

"But why?"

"One Swami is enough for me."

- The Mountain Path, 1969

This is from THE MAHARSHI News Letter