By M. M. Mennon

IT happened on 5th may, 1948, during my second visit to Bhagavan Ramana at Tiruvannamalai. I was seated in the hall a few yards away from the couch of Bhagavan, immersed in the serenity and the peaceful silence emanating from Him, when suddenly an idea entered my mind. I had heard that a disciple should get initiation from a guru for the success of his sadhanaor spiritual discipline, and that that was why Saint Kabir lay himself down on the ghatof the Ganges to be touched by the blessed feet of Guru Ramananda who would not otherwise initiate Kabir because he was a Mussalman.

I knew that Bhagavan Ramana did not formally initiate anyone by any mantra except by his benign, penetrating and peaceful look; so I sat in the hall thinking what to do.

It was soon noon, and the bell rang calling devotees to their noonday meal. After lunch, I approached the young sannyasinwho attended on Bhagavan and requested him to ask Bhagavan whether he would graciously clear a doubt of mine. In the afternoon when Bhagavan took his seat among the devotees the sannyasin pointed at me and whispered my request in Bhagavan's ears. Bhagavan readily consented and gave me an encouraging look.

It was very easy for me to make the request, but I felt hopelessly embarrassed to carry out my decision. I thought that it would be an unpardonable crime to disturb the silence of the hall by my attempt to address Bhagavan and that the people in the hall might not look with favour at my audacity. I was confused and did not know how to start. I perspired profusely and felt very shy. I had no courage to open my mouth and so was forced to keep quiet, even though I felt a great urge to talk to Bhagavan.

After about 15 minutes Bhagavan beckoned to the sannyasin and asked him to tell me to go ahead with my doubt clearance. Again I felt very shy and nervous and could not speak. Another quarter of an hour elapsed and still I did not address Bhagavan, when Bhagavan told the sannyasin again to ask me what my doubt was. Seeing how merciful Bhagavan Ramana was and how much interested He was in my welfare, I closed my eyes and prayed to be excused for the sacrilege of addressing Him and disturbing the deep silence prevailing in the hall. I prayed for courage and I felt courage entering my mind. I could not delay any longer and blurted out in Malayalam thus, “Bhagavan! I have heard about your vichara marga, but have no clear conception of it. Is it to sit in a quiet place and ask oneself the question ‘Who am I’ repeatedly or meditate on that question as on a mantra.”

On hearing my words all eyes were turned towards me and I felt very shy. Then Bhagavan looked straight at me and replied tersely and clearly in Malayalam. “No, it is not repeating or meditating on ‘Who am I?’ It is to dive deep into yourself and seek the place from where the ‘I’ thought arises in you and to hold on to it firmly to the exclusion of any other thought. Continuous and persistent effort will lead you to the Self.”

I was overwhelmed with happiness. Though I had only a vague idea about what Bhagavan said, I felt that Bhagavan had initiated me and that His Grace had descended on me. The bliss I felt cannot be described. I could not contain myself and I felt like sobbing. I would have become overwhelmed with ecstasy in this hour of the fulfillment of my desire, but my neighbor, a Telugu gentleman, who could not follow the conversation between Bhagavan and me, interrupted to ask what Bhagavan had said. I explained that I was unable to speak Telugu and his query ended there.

I am able to recall even now the happiness I felt then in all its intensity, and I consider myself especially blessed by Bhagavan. When I recall this incident I realize how infinitely merciful Bhagavan was to all, and how tenderly he cared for the spiritual welfare of humanity. If we took one step towards Him, he willingly took ten steps towards us.

! Glory Be To Bhagavan Ramana !

— from Fragrant Petals

This is from THE MAHARSHI News Letter