Lord Krishna assured his devotees by saying, ‘As I am shining as the Self in the hearts of all beings, in whatever form I am worshipped, I bless the devotees in that very same form’. Even today Lord Krishna showers his grace on devotees in whatever form they conceive him to be. In the same way, Sri Ramana appeared in devotees’ visions as Lord Subramanya and as Sadguru. In these forms he has showered his grace, given spiritual instructions, and fulfilled desires.
The following experience of a lady devotee, who had come from Poland for Bhagavan’s darshan, will serve as a good example. She once went by herself to see Skandashram, and on the way she started to feel thirsty. Not finding any way of quenching her thirst, she began to think, ‘If it is true that Bhagavan is the omnipotent universal Self, why can’t he appear here and remove my thirst?’ The very next moment Bhagavan appeared there with water in his kamandalu and satisfied her thirst. Although this incident actually took place, it should be noted that at the time Bhagavan was present in the ashram, seated in his usual place, not in the least aware of this miracle concerning himself. That lady devotee, who was a devout Christian, believed that a person could only demonstrate divinity by having supernatural powers. She also had pure love and devotion. It is the experience of devotees that God can be ‘caught in the net of devotion’.
The supremely compassionate Bhagavan, who accepts only devotion as a true offering, appeared before her in conformity with her outlook and fulfilled her wish. Although incidents such as these are miraculous, they are of no use to sages such as Bhagavan. However, it is true that they are a great help in increasing and intensifying the devotion and faith of devotees of various temperaments. There is no connection between siddhis and miracles such as the one mentioned above. Siddhis are obtained through effort, operated with a sense of doership, and hence are limited. However, incidents such as this one are solely due to the grace and power of the divine that dwells in all. As it is reflected from within, according to the outlook of the devotees, it is unlimited.
Some who came to Ramana regarded him as their ishta devata, [chosen deity] who could grant all their desires. Bhagavan, early on, would warn such boon-seekers by saying, ‘There are no siddhis in this place. So, do not wait here expecting to get siddhis and get disappointed.’
Because he was always abiding in the Self, the source of all religions, people belonging to various creeds such as Saivism, Vaishnavism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Islam and Christianity took refuge in him.
11 The same sakti that is working here is also working there
Rajendra Prasad, who later became the first President of India, came for Bhagavan’s darshan at Gandhiji’s behest. When he was about to take leave he humbly requested Bhagavan, ‘Mahatmaji has sent me here. Is there any message that I can take to him?’
Bhagavan, looking at him graciously, replied, ‘What message is needed when heart speaks to heart? The same sakti that is working here is also working there.’
This reply of Bhagavan was based on his non-dual perception and is clear evidence confirming the divinity of both. It indicated that the same divine sakti was manifesting in the hearts of both Gandhi and Bhagavan, although in one case it was tending towards activity and in the other towards renunciation of action.
‘There are two great persons living in our midst today. One of them never permits anyone to keep quiet even for a minute. The other does not allow anyone to rise as “I” even for a moment.’ These aphoristic remarks by the queen of poets, Sarojini Devi, about the Mahatma’s life of self-sacrifice devoid of ‘mine’ and Maharshi’s life of jnana devoid of ‘I’ confirm Maharshi’s views.
A part of the speech delivered by Sarojini Devi at Tiruvannamalai, when she came for the first time to have Bhagavan’s darshan, is worth noting.
Mahatma’s blemishless life based on purity of mind and Maharshi’s life of jnana based on unconditioned existence are a commentary on the path of action and the path of knowledge respectively.
According to the sacred wisdom of Tirukkural, ‘He who has got rid of the delusion of regarding the body as “I” and the objects as “mine” reaches the superior state beyond the reach of even the gods’.
The two paths differ only in their means and not in the end. Among the spiritual leaders who have appeared over the ages, only these two persons were followed by the whole world even during their lifetime.
David Godman Books
Books by David Godman on Ramana Maharshi, his devotees and his teachings