T.P.Ramachandra Aiyer

More Than A Dream
By T. P. Ramachandra Aiyer

"Is there any significance in a dream or is it a mere phenomenon?" was the question I put to Sri Bhagavan in writing. In those times, the subjects of 'guru and sishya,' of 'initiation and diksha' were the foremost topics of general discussion. Does Sri Bhagavan give diksha to us and if not, why not?

In the earlier days, the presence of Bhagavan was sought above all by people who desired liberation. Our ambitious aspirations saw no bounds in the grace of his presence. My intense feeling was, that whether there was significance or not in all these dikshas and initiations, if Sri Bhagavan was to give me initiation, it would be a blessing for me in any case. His pithy utterances were very cryptic, ever pregnant with meaning and power: "Who is the Guru? Who is the sishya? Who is to give and to whom? What is there to give? You think the 'Self' to be the body and take yet another body for the 'Guru' and demand the one to bless the other. Is the 'Guru' regarding the body as the 'Self'? There is neither Guru nor disciple other than the 'Self'. Guru is Self."

Though convinced by his presence and utterances, there yet remained a lurking sense of something missing and unfulfilled. It was at that time that I had an extraordinary experience which left an impress on my whole being. It was neither a dream nor a waking state experience. I was perfectly alive to it and aware of its permeating nature, which consumed and overpowered me. After the experience, I immediately wrote the following in a notebook and later went to the Ashram. Reaching Sri Bhagavan's presence before dusk, I left my notebook with him for his perusal.

This was the record: 18th November, 1939, 3:00 a.m.

It was an apparent dream. I was in a huge quadrangle of some college buildings. I was studying when I suddenly saw that Sri Bhagavan had come down, youthful and vigorous in appearance, and had the impression that he was going to manifest himself and speak. Oh, it was a wonderful sight. Thousands of people gathered round at a distance encircling Bhagavan, perched on all walls, upper floors and any available space around. I saw Dandapani sitting at a distance echoing Sri Bhagavan's speech which was in turn echoed by another. It had never occurred to me that this would happen or that Sri Bhagavan would ever come here, and I, who was at a distance could not stand any separation. I darted towards Sri Bhagavan and embraced him with so firm a grip the like of which I have not the strength to do or achieve in physical consciousness. And Sri Bhagavan embraced me. In each other's embrace, we left the place. At once I found him in my house. First welcoming Sri Bhagavan was my mother, more robust than she ever was in life. Then my father, calm and unperturbed as he always was, followed by my sister. Sri Bhagavan had a cold bath, myself pouring pots of water over him. Then in a few moments he went up and down our house throwing us all in confusion, but I alone followed him without a second thought. By this time my mother appeared to be losing her confidence and faith. In the midst of this embarrassment, and in her presence, Sri Bhagavan appeared to put me to the test, as it were, and asked me, pointing to my sacred thread and other things: "What is all this! Now I say, throw, throw them away and I shall give you this." He was holding in his hands a bunch of darba (kusa grass) and I did not perceive how it came into his hands. At first I hesitated for a moment to discard my sacred thread for kusa grass, but a moment's reflection made me surrender to his will and with all vehemence I tore off the sacred thread and flung it on the ground, to the dismay of my mother and perplexity of my father. Immediately, Sri Bhagavan gave me two handfuls of kusa grass in a 'horseshoe' shape, and the moment I touched and received them a great serenity pervaded my entire being. Just then I experienced a descent of dynamic force into my being, flowing as it were from and through the sahasrara, permeating downwards slowly to the heart-centre, at which moment I felt apprehensive that my physical frame could not withstand this permeation and impact any more without jeopardy.

With courage and determination I looked up at Sri Bhagavan to ask him what all this was about. There was no answer, but I saw Sri Bhagavan's form change into the shape of Sri Rama and tell me something that I could not catch. So I asked, "Who are you?" and the reply was "I am Sri Rama, Sri Rama," whereupon this vision disappeared and I saw Sri Bhagavan in its place.

My mother began to cry aloud, having lost her balance of mind by this time, and said, "I will die, I will die, thinking I fell a prey to Sri Bhagavan's lures."

The mention of death caused irrepressible laughter in me, and Sri Bhagavan said at once, "Yes, die; you should die." When Sri Bhagavan said so, I turned around to my mother and with ferocity cried out, "Yes, die! die!"

She was rolling on the ground when Sri Bhagavan asked me, "What is the earliest train to Bombay and the cheapest route?" He said he had to go there and to one or two more places, and then go on a tour in the north. I was thinking how best to take Sri Bhagavan and go with him when I felt completely awake and began reflecting on the event. Did it have any significance or was it merely a dream phenomenon?

As usual, the following morning I entered the Old Hall. Sri Bhagavan's welcome nod and penetrating look overwhelmed me, and even as I was halfway through doing my obeisance he turned to the shelf beside him, took out the notebook and handed it to me. Immediately he began, "Don't you know what Madhavan did? One day he was massaging my limbs. Leaving him to his job I reclined, closing my eyes. After some time I felt some variation in the friction, so I opened my eyes and saw him with his head bent down clutching my feet in his hands. I asked, 'What are you doing?' 'Nothing,' he replied, resuming his task. He took it as diksha by the feet."

Immediately I said that I had had an unusual experience by Sri Bhagavan's touch, which stirred my being, though in a dreamy condition, and asked if initiation or diksha could be had in this way also and whether these were real and effective regardless of the swapna (dream) state? Sri Bhagavan slowly spoke, interspersed with short intervals of silent gaze: "Jagrat and swapna are states that come and go. If these states are real they must be unchanging, permanent. Our real nature is constant being. It never changes. Be it upadesa or diksha, the efficacy of the Guru's influence or God's grace is not conditioned by the different states. The influence is an experience being itself. Guru, God and Self are one and the same. So long as the Guru, God or the Self are deemed external, all upadesa, initiation and the several dikshas mentioned have a relative meaning and significance. But 'Guru' is external and internal, and is the very Self. Such influence is efficacious whether the experience is in the jagrat or swapna states"

- This article and the following two have been reproduced from early editions of the 'Mountain Path' magazine.

This is from THE MAHARSHI News Letter