Memoirs

She found the Peace she craved


Arthur Osborne was an English writer on spirituality and mysticism, and a disciple and biographer of Sri Ramana Maharshi. From 1964, Osborne served as the founding editor of Mountain Path, a journal published by Ramanasramam. His wife, Lucia Osborne, lived there too. She was a warm-hearted lady whom devotees loved.

Their daughter, Katya Osborne, recalls:

My own unforgettable memory happened when I was still about ten years old. A lady from Delhi came to the Asramam. In those days, all foreigners were sent to our house as my parents spoke several languages, and could understand a number of travelers. Also in those days, whether a person came from New York, New Zealand, or New Delhi, they were foreigners.

This particular lady told us her story which I thought was unutterably tragic. She had married against her parents’ wishes, but she married for love and the first days of her marriage were blissfully happy. They went to the seaside for their honeymoon and she sat on he sand while her husband went for a swim. She actually saw him being caught by a shark and killed in front of her. Since then she was a nervous wreck.

She then started a trek around all the Asramams and the holy men of India. Why? She wanted to know. How had they harmed anyone and why should they be visited by such a terrible punishment? The point came when she could not listen to any more ambiguous anodyne answers, so she had written her questions down and her list went with her whenever she came to a new holy man. No man was going to fob her off anymore. If there was an explanation she wanted to hear it, and if not why not.

What I recollect most about this lady was that she was so tense and nervous that it was a strain to be in her company. I was not an especially sensitive child, but sitting in the same room as her was excruciatingly uncomfortable. I started to escape but my mother got me.

“Take her to the Hall’, she instructed to me. I had things to do I told her, but my mother said, ‘Go’.  I went.

When we got to the Asramam I pointed to the Hall where Sri Bhagavan was sitting and then took myself off, to read my book in a mango tree.

I heard the bell for lunch and dragging my feet I went to fetch the lady home for food. Never in my life, neither, before nor in all the years, have I noticed such a change in anyone, and in such a short time. The lady was relaxed and at peace.

I trailed behind her on the way back, too shy to ask her what Sri Bhagavan had said but aching to know. What oh why hadn’t I stayed in the Hall with her. Whatever words were that Bhagavan had spoken, they must surely be the most important in the world. I wanted to know them for posterity. The rest of my life could be transformed by the words I had not heard. However, I knew that my mother would ask her so I stuck around like glue in order to hear the magic formula.

My mother, of course, noticed the difference immediately. One could not miss it. She asked the all important question. What had Sri Bhagavan told her?

‘Nothing’, the lady replied. She had sat there all prepared, with her list at the ready, then Sri Bhagavan looked at her. He just looked at her, full of understanding and compassion, and she suddenly lost interest in her crusade. It did not matter any more.

She had found the peace she craved.

Nothing could be more miraculous than what happened to that lady, and nothing more typical of Sri Bhagavan. He did not say a word.

Sri Bhagavan’s touch was always exquisitely light but sure. He would hint but never be obvious, whether He was performing a ‘miracle’ or letting a person know what was best for them to do. And yet a hint from Him should never be ignored,. If He takes the trouble to make us aware, well then, we disregard it at our peril.

Katya Osborne
Mountain Path
Sri Ramanasramam

She found the peace she craved

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