At the end of about five months in the village, I was down with
severe malaria and had to be taken to Gudur, where the doctor declared
that I was likely to die. I, however, had a strong determination that I would
not die until I had seen my guru again. I placed a picture of Bhagavan by
my bedside and meditated on it throughout the ordeal. Whenever I looked
at the picture I felt as if Bhagavan was laughing or smiling at me. I am
convinced that it was the power and grace of Bhagavan that kept me alive
and enabled me to make a full recovery within two months.
I arrived at Sri Ramanasramam during the navaratri celebrations
of 1949. In the afternoon of the Vijayadasmi day, I stood in front of the
Mother’s shrine [See photograph no. 16 in the book], waiting for Bhagavan
to appear. He came accompanied by Swami Satyananda, entered the new
hall [Attached to the Mother’s shrine], and took his seat on the stone sofa.
I went up to him and made a full prostration. When I stood up, he looked
intently at me for a few moments. I withdrew and sat near a pillar outside
the hall where I could do Self-enquiry undisturbed.
Bhagavan could still see me from where he was sitting. Shortly
afterwards, I saw Muruganar taking a seat close to Bhagavan. After a
few minutes Muruganar came and sat down next to me. A few other
devotees came and sat near us. I closed my eyes and began meditation on
‘Who am I?’
Within a few minutes, the gracious smiling face of Bhagavan
appeared within me on the right side of the chest. There was something
like a lightning flash that resulted in a flood of divine light shining both
within and without. Bhagavan’s face was still smiling on the right side of
the chest. It seemed to be lit up with radiance that exceeded innumerable
lightning flashes rolled into one. The bliss and joy these experiences gave
brought tears to my eyes. Finally, the internal picture of Bhagavan
disappeared and the Self absorbed my whole being.
I remained in that state without body consciousness for about
three hours. The experience was so intense that even when I opened my
eyes I found myself incapable of either speaking or moving. I remained
where I was for another three hours because I was incapable of movement
of any kind. At about 9 p.m. I rose to my feet and very slowly made my
way back to my allotted place in the men’s dormitory of the Ashram.
Next day afternoon I went up to Sri Bhagavan, 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.” He read the note, looked
at me for a moment, and then his face lit up in a radiant smile. For sometime
we looked at each other. Then he broke the silence by asking me where I
had come from. “Gudur”, I replied. “That is in Nellore district, isn’t it?”
Enquired Bhagavan. “Yes!” I answered. This was the only conversation
I ever had with Bhagavan. After giving him those two brief replies, I
didn’t speak again for another 13 years.
~ Face to Face with Sri Ramana Maharshi