The following is an excerpt from a wonderful book called “Face to Face with Sri Ramana Maharshi” by David Godman. Many who came to Ramana’s Ashram in Tiruvannamali, in the south of India for a short visit or for longer wrote later of their impressions and experiences.
Sanjiva Rao, B.A., who belonged to the pre-Independence Indian Educational Service was one of these. These are his inspiring reminiscences of his encounter with Ramana:
Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi is a strange figure – one of the strangest and yet one of the most fascinating and striking personalities of all times. As a matter of fact he belongs not to any age, but to all ages, not to time but to eternity.
The Maharshi has renounced as valueless all that the modern world values most. He has no use for money; he is no respecter of rank and position. His detachment is as complete as it is perfect. Nothing seems to possess the power to disturb his super-poise, his marvelous tranquility and peace.
Tragedy does not move him in a personal way. Pilgrims who come to witness the yearly festival of lighting of the Beacon on the top of the Hill and worship it as the symbol of Siva, instinctively recognize the presence of that same power in the Sage and give to him the same worship. There is little doubt that an ageless Wisdom, as old as the Heart of the Hill shines through those wonderful eyes which look with such perfect tranquility and yet such deep compassion upon the suffering world.
The Maharshi is a living proof of the ancient advaitic (non-dual) thought. He demonstrates the reality of Self-transcendence. He states that the Ego-less state is the natural, the real state, that the Ego-state is the unnatural and the false state. In the Ego-less condition, the true ‘I’ stands apart from the apparent reaction of the mind. The Sage watches the movements of the mind with the same objective detachment and impartiality as the scientific investigator of a physical phenomenon. The immediate effect of such self-scrutiny is quietening and stilling of the mind.
The Maharshi represents a very perfect instance of the Ego-less state. He speaks little and only when he finds it necessary to do so. Silence is to him the most powerful expression of Being, which speech only hinders. He uses the Power of this Silence in a most effective fashion. When any visitor presents him with a problem for solution, he vouchsafes no answer but retires in the depths of his own being. He becomes the embodiment of the very essence of Silence, and in that tranquil quietness, the visitor finds his mind becoming still under an overpowering radiation from the sage. In that stillness, the problem dissolves and the visitor leaves the august presence marveling what mysterious power has come to his aid.
The Ego is the atom of the psychic world. If the disintegration of the atom has given us so much power, what may not be accomplished by the annihilation of this ego-self? The Sage of Tiruvannamalai can answer this question. He himself is the living answer.
Source: David Godman, Face to Face with Sri Ramana Maharshi, p. 34