Ramana Maharshi

Face of the Self

The Real Self is said to be Being-Consciousness-Bliss (Sat-Chit-Ananda). However, a Guru, a Master who has realized the Real Self and abides in Perfect Peace, is essential for a devotee or an aspirant, for guidance and inspiration. And it really helps if we can associate the Blissful Inner Self with a Glorious Face. Here is such a Divine, Holy Face, the Face of Ramana Maharshi, the Face of the Self. 

Ramana Maharshi has stated several times that there is no difference between God, Guru and Self. He said that God takes pity on the loving devotee and manifests Himself as a being according to the devotee’s standard. He clarified that God takes the form of a Guru and appears to the devotee, that from the exterior he gives a push to the mind to turn inward and from the interior he pulls the mind towards the Self and helps the mind to achieve quietness. The Guru helps the devotees to see the errors of their ways, guides them in the right path until they realize the Self within.

Thus the Great Guru dwells inside and also appears outside to offer immense help and intense guidance to the devotee to remove ignorance, to offer release from bondage with the illusory world, and to realize the Eternal, Peaceful Self. Such a kind and loving Guru and Master is Ramana Maharshi. Therefore, His Face is the Face of the Self.

Paul Brunton, a prominent devotee of Ramana Maharshi, records his experiences and feelings regarding Maharshi, His quiet gaze and His powerful yet peaceful vibrations. His words as written in Search of Secret India clearly describes the extraordinary life-changing and calming effects that Ramana Maharshi had on him. Some sections from his writings, about how Ramana Maharshi stood alone among all the numerous spiritual masters he had met, are presented as follows.

He writes as follows.

Paul Brunton… Beginning ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Within a few days my ship will head its way to Europe. Once on board I shall bid farewell to philosophy and toss my Oriental quest into the waters of oblivion. 

But the inescapable mental voice persists in troubling me again.

“You Fool!” it flings scornfully at me. “So this is to be the empty result of years of investigation and aspiration! You are to tread the same road as other men, to forget all you have learnt, to drown your better feelings in hard egotism and sensuality?

I seek to defend myself against the merciless psychic voice, pleading my helplessness in the face of failure.

The voice answers: “Are you sure none of the men you met here in India can be the Master you seek? “

A long gallery of faces passes before my mind’s eye…friendly faces, foolish faces, wise faces, dangerous faces, evil faces and inscrutable ones.

A single face disentangles itself out of the procession and persistently hovers before me, its eyes quietly gazing into mine. It is the calm, Sphinx-like countenance of the Maharishee, the sage who has spent his life on the Hill of the Holy Beacon in the South. I have never forgotten him…

I realize now that he has passed through my life like a star, which moves across the dark void with its lonely light and then is gone. And I have to admit, in answer to my inner questioner, that he is the one man who has impressed me more than any other person I have ever met, whether in the East or West. But he had seemed so aloof, so remote from a European mentality, and so indifferent whether I became his pupil or not.

The Silent Voice now grips me with its intensity.

Silent voice: “How can you be sure that he was indifferent? You did not stay long, but hurried away.”

Brunton: “Yes,” I confess, feebly. “I had to carry out my self-imposed programme. What else could I do?”

Silent voice: “There is one thing you can do now. Go back to him.”

Brunton: “How can I force myself upon him?”

Silent Voice: “Your personal feelings are of less importance than success in this search. Go back to the Maharishee.”

Brunton: “He is at the other end of India and I am too ill to start my wanderings again.”

Silent Voice: “What does that matter? If you want a Master you must pay the price.”

Brunton: “I doubt whether I want one now, for I feel too tired to want anything. Anyway, I have booked a steamer berth and must sail in three days; it is too late to alter things.”

Brunton: The silent voice almost sneers at me.

Silent Voice: “Too late, eh? What has happened to your sense of values? You admit that the Maharishee is the most wonderful man you ever met, but you are quite willing to run away from him before you have hardly tried to know him. Return to him.”

Brunton: I remain sullen and obstinate. The brain answers ” Yes,” but the blood says “No!”

Once more the Silent Voice urges me:

Silent Voice: “Change your plans again. You must go back to the Maharishee.”

Thereupon something surges up from the inner depths of my being and demands immediate assent to the command of that inexplicable voice. It overwhelms me and so forcibly does it master my reason-born objections and the protests of my enfeebled body that I become as a babe in its hands. Through all this sudden overpowering urgency which asks my instant return to the Maharishee, I see his summoning irresistible eyes in a most vivid manner.

I cease all further argument with the inner voice, because I know that I am now helpless in its hands. I shall travel at once to the Maharishee and, if he accepts me, entrust myself to his tutelage. I shall hitch my wagon to his shining star. The die is cast. Something has conquered me, though I do not understand what it is.

I return to the hotel, mop my brow and sip a cup of lukewarm tea. As I drink it I realize that I am a changed man. I am conscious that my dark burden of wretchedness and doubt is falling from my shoulders.

Next morning I come down to breakfast aware that I am smiling for the first time since I came back to Bombay. The tall bearded Sikh servant, resplendent in white jacket, golden cummerbund and white trousers, smiles back in response as he stands with folded arms behind my chair. Then he says:

“A letter for you, sir.”

I look at the cover. It has been twice readdressed and has followed me from place to place. As I take my seat I slit it open.

To my delight and surprise I discover that it has been written in the hermitage at the foot of the Hill of the Holy Beacon. Its writer… had become a disciple of the Maharishee, whom he visits on occasions. I had met him and we were engaged in a desultory correspondence.

The letter is full of encouraging thoughts and suggests that I shall be welcome if I care to revisit the hermitage. When I finish reading it one sentence flames out in memory so as to obliterate the others.

You have had the good fortune to meet a real Master,” it runs.

I treat the letter as an omen favourable to my new-born decision to return to the Maharishee…

It is not long before I bid adieu to Bombay and carry out my new plan. I cross hundreds of miles…The train cannot roll fast enough for me. As it flies along the rails, I feel that I am speeding towards a great occasion – spiritual enlightenment and the most mysterious personality I have ever encountered. For as I look out of the screened compartment window, my slumbering hopes of discovering a Rishee, a spiritual superman, awaken once more.

When, on the second day, we have covered over a thousand miles and have begun to enter the placid Southern landscape, broken by a few red hills, I feel strangely happy…

I have to cross the scattered town in order to change on to the South Indian Railway. Finding that I have a few hours to spare before the train starts, I use the time… to have a hurried chat with the Indian author, Venkataramani, who introduced me to His Holiness Shri Shankara, the spiritual head of South India.

He greets me warmly, and when I inform him that I am on the way to the Maharishee, the writer exclaims:

“I am not surprised! That is what I expected.”

I am taken aback, but ask him: ” Why do you say that?”

He smiles. “My friend, do you not remember how we parted from His Holiness in the town of Chingleput? Did you not notice that he whispered something to me in the ante-room just before we left?”

I said, “Yes, now that you remind me, I certainly do remember it.”

The author’s thin, refined face still keeps its smile.

“This is what His Holiness told me. ‘ Your friend will travel all round India. He will visit many Yogis and listen to many teachers. But, in the end, he will have to return to the Maharishee. For him, the Maharishee alone is the right Master.'”

These words, coming as they do on the eve of my return, deeply impress me. They reveal the prophetic power of Shri Shankara more, they offer a kind of confirmation that I am taking the right course.

How strange are the wanderings which my stars have imposed upon me.

There are moments unforgettable which mark themselves in golden figures upon the calendar of our years. Such a moment comes to me now, as I walk into the hall of the Maharishee…

Pin-drop silence prevails throughout the long hall. The sage remains perfectly still, motionless, quite undisturbed at our arrival.

There is something in this man which holds my attention as steel filings are held by a magnet. I cannot turn my gaze away from him…

I become aware of a silent, resistless change which is taking place within my mind…

One by one, the questions which I have prepared in the train with such meticulous accuracy drop away.

I know only that a steady river of quietness seems to be flowing near me, that a great peace is penetrating the inner reaches of my being, and that my thought-tortured brain is beginning to arrive at some rest.

I surrender myself to the steadily deepening sense of restfulness until two hours have passed. The passage of time now provokes no irritation, because I feel that the chains of mind-made problems are being broken and thrown away.

Paul Brunton… End ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thus describes Paul Brunton about his experience in the presence of Sri Ramana Maharshi, and the effect of his gaze on him. Such is the Beauty of the Face of the Self, the Glorious Face with those illustrious eyes penetrating into a person’s Soul and relieving it from all misery and establishing it in Eternal Life, Awareness and Bliss. 

Vasundhara

Face of the Self

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