I remained absorbed in the Self, without body consciousness, for about three hours. The experience was so intense, even when I opened my eyes I found I was incapable or either speaking or moving. The realisation had caused an immense churning within the nervous system, so much so that when body consciousness returned, I felt extremely weak.
When I was finally able to register what was going on around me, I noticed that everything was perfectly normal. Bhagavan was still sitting on his couch and all the assembled devotees were pursuing their normal duties and activities. My tears and my loss of consciousness had not attracted any attention at all.
I remained where I was for another three hours because I was incapable of movement of any kind. I remember hearing the dinner bell and the noise of the Vijayadasami procession as it went round the temple, but I was too absorbed in the Self to contemplate either eating or joining in the celebrations. At 9 p.m. I finally rose to my feet and very slowly made my way back to my allotted place in the men’s dormitory.
The following morning I still felt very weak. Thinking that I might feel better if I ate some food, I started to walk towards town to see if I could get a meal at one of the hotels there. Unfortunately, I overestimated my strength. Before I could find a place to eat, I had an attack of dizziness and collapsed on the street. A friendly passer-by took me under his wing, ascertained that I needed food, and then guided me to a hotel that was located on the south side of the temple. I felt much stronger after the meal and I had no difficulty returning to the ashram.
Later that afternoon I went up to Bhagavan in the darshan hall, prostrated before him, and handed him a note via his attendant Venkataratnam. The note, which I had written in Telugu said, ‘Bhagavan, in your presence and by the quest [“Who am I?”] I have realised the Self’.
Bhagavan read the note, looked at me for a moment, and then his face lit up in a radiant smile. For some time we just looked at each other.
Bhagavan broke the silence by asking me where I had come from.
‘Gudur,’ I replied.
‘That’s in Nellore District, isn’t it?’ enquired Bhagavan.
‘Yes,’ I answered.
This was the only conversation I ever had with Bhagavan. After giving him these two brief replies, I didn’t speak again for another thirteen years.
As I returned to my place in the hall I heard Bhagavan tell Venkataratnam to keep my note on a shelf that was behind his sofa.
Bhagavan sitting in the crowded new hall sometime in 1949. On the day of his Self-realisation Lakshmana Swamy was looking towards Bhagavan through an open doorway that was about five yards to Bhagavan's left.
David Godman Books
Books by David Godman on Ramana Maharshi, his devotees and his teachings