Wolter A. Keers was a Dutch teacher and writer who lectured extensively on Yoga and Advaita in Europe in the 1970s and 80s. He met Ramana a couple of months before Ramana’s passing in 1950. This is an excerpt of his account:
“Roda Maclver, a Bombay devotee who had been living near Bhagavan for several years took me to the Ashram and pointed out Bhagavan to me. The mere sight of him made me tremble all over because I had come face to face with the divine. This recognition affected me so much that my body shook involuntarily. As I gazed at Bhagavan, I felt I saw God himself sitting there.
In that early morning meeting I saw a blazing light that had taken a human form. It was more radiant than anything I had ever seen before. When I was very young, I had believed that God was some magnificent being, having a human form that radiated light and goodness. I had long since abandoned this childhood belief, believing it to be a fairy story that was told only to credulous children. Yet now this childhood belief turned out to be true, because here before me was a human form that seemed to be made of light itself. God became manifest before my eyes, announcing his presence to me by radiating a blazing, penetrating light, a light that went right through me like x-rays.”
“There was a radiant power and energy in Bhagavan’s presence that effortlessly swept through the mind and matter. His grace silenced my mind, it filled my heart, and it took me to realms that were way beyond the phenomenal. The light radiating from Bhagavan filled my being, sweeping away all my darkness in one stroke. Effort seemed redundant when his presence alone was enough to evaporate the usual mental flow of thoughts, ideas and problems.”
“He smiled at me. How can that smile ever be described? It contained the whole world. On this occasion I felt I was being bathed in a radiant glow of love and light.”
“My two months’ stay with Bhagavan had turned me inside out and upside down. My mind and heart had been illuminated by his grace…”
“For me, Bhagavan’s immediate presence was overwhelmingly potent and nothing could distract or disturb me there. However, I began to notice that the exalted state of experience in his presence gradually wore off when I went back to my little house opposite the Ashram. Sitting in Bhagavan’s presence I felt a quiet lucidity. All thoughts and problems would be swept away, burnt in the raging fire of his potent presence.
But after a few hours of being alone in my room, I would realise that these states were only temporary because my old thoughts and problems would eventually rise up again. I felt I had to confront Bhagavan with this problem. I had not come to him for blissful experiences; I had come to him to seek a permanent end to my mind and all its problems. That day when I passed in front of him, a quick smile passed over his face. I somehow felt that he knew what I had come for. Was he smiling at the audacity of my demand?
I sat down among the crowd close to Bhagavan, and began to bombard him with thoughts. With all the mental energy I could summon up, I shot out my complaint at him: ‘Bhagavan, of what use is all your radiance to me if I cannot solve my mental problems the moment I leave you?’ This, with minor variations, I repeated again and again. Bhagavan took no notice. He continued to go through his everyday routine.
Frustrated, I concentrated on him even more. I tried to shake his indifference with my thoughts. I felt I was shaking him the way I would shake a tree to get a fruit to fall off. The whole force of my will was focused on one thought, ‘I must have an answer; I must have an answer.’
Finally, my mental persistence paid off. He turned in my direction and looked at me with a smile of utter amazement on his face. Then his expression changed and its new configuration exclaimed, ‘You are looking for your glasses and they are on your nose!’ No words passed his lips, but the message came to me with unbelievable clarity. There was no doubt or conjecture or imagination. Bhagavan continued to gaze at me. Perhaps he was waiting for some kind of response.
Suddenly his eyes emitted light and spat fire at me. I can think of no other way of describing that sudden explosion in his gaze. His powerful look went straight into me, boring away at everything that made me think I was different and separate from him.”
“I felt the right-hand-side heart getting warmer as he continued to gaze at me, until I felt it to be a hot, fiery ball glowing inside me. I felt as if he was charging it with some immensely powerful spiritual electricity because, as he continued to look at me, I had the unmistakable feeling that my heart-centre was some kind of spiritual dynamo that was emitting sparks of light and energy. I felt as if some enormously potent electrical apparatus had been suddenly transplanted into my chest. I sat rigid and straight, my eyes glued to his. Fire flowed from his glowing eyes and drilled into the core of my being.
How long this transmission lasted, I cannot say. Time and space had no meaning in that never-ending moment when our eyes were locked together. At some point, I realised that my body could no longer stand the strain. The fire in my chest had expanded to the point where I felt that I was about to explode. Mentally, I asked Bhagavan to let me go.
I had received what I had come for. There was a complete transformation, inside and out, and it all happened without a word being spoken. That communication through silence was clearer and more direct than any explanation that could be given in words.”
“The problem I always encounter when I start to speak or write about Bhagavan is that the real Ramana, the Maharshi, is unimaginable and therefore indescribable.”
“I was inclined to compare him with Jesus or the Buddha. But they were images in my head, formed on the beliefs in which I had been brought up and on the stories heard and read later on. Sri Ramana Maharshi, from the second I saw him, was anything but an image in my head. He was a bomb that exploded the myth of my life. His look blasted away years of accumulated wrong ideas.
In his presence reality manifested itself. His presence revealed to me how stupid I had been all my life. I came to Bhagavan for help to climb a mountain, but after smiling at my idea of help, he showed me that the mountain did not exist. I regarded myself as a poor man in need of help. He revealed to me that I was more than a millonaire. He showed me that I was the source of all things. He enabled me to realize the timeless, unimaginable, unthinkable ‘I am’.”
“Simply by abiding in his luminous natural state, he made me experience myself as a light. I will not say that in his presence my sense of ‘I’ vanished completely; it simply diminished in significance. It took me three or four years for the full impact of Bhagavan’s silence to settle in me and become, if I may use such a phrase, ‘my own’.
Bhagavan encouraged us to examine through self-enquiry, questions such as,‘Who wants to realise? Who feels exalted or miserable? Who feels angry, desired or shunned?’ The purpose here is not to track down the person who had these feelings or emotions, it is to discover that such a person does not and never did exist.
By sitting in Bhagavan’s presence, there was a confrontation between illusion and truth, and in that confrontation illusion could not sustain itself. Whatever transformation took place in his presence happened of its own accord, not because he desired it or willed it. Darkness was exposed to light and ceased to be dark. Light did not orchestrate it in any way. It simply expressed its inherent nature. If you ask me how all this worked, my answer is, ‘I don’t know.’”
Source: David Godman, The Power of the Presence, p. 298 ff
Here is more by Wolter Keers from his teachings in the 70’s in Europe:
Below you can read a short preview of these three articles.