My daughter passed me a book this morning just as she was leaving for work. The book was waiting to be taken in the section "Take One" of the school library where she was working. She had identified three books to her liking prior to this, but as she was pretty busy with work could not pick them up earlier. Yesterday she dropped by and noticed only one of the three books left. The other two had been taken up by others. So she picked the book that she had targeted earlier and happened to notice another. She thought I might like it. While browsing through she came to page 155 of it and read it. When she passed the book to me, she pointed out to the page and asked me to read it too. I cried reading it.
The book was "Wake Up and Roar" Satsang with HWL Poonja Volume 1, published by Papaji Satsang Bhavan, Lucknow. It was about one Harilal's experience with the divine. Harilal was sitting on the veranda of his fathers home when a sadhu appeared. Harilal invited him to have a seat while a meal was being prepared. Then Harilal told the sadhu about how he had left the army in search of fulfilling his desire to see God. He explained that he was doing all the rituals and prayers needed towards receiving their grace and darshan. He had seeked the means and ways to have his desire fulfill from all the mahatmas he had met but it was all in vain as no one could help. Neither could all his spiritual efforts bring him to have Sri Krishna's darshan. Harilal asked the sadhu if he knew of anyone who could reveal the secret of receiving Sri Krishna's darshan.
The sadhu replied in affirmation and mentioned that Ramana could fulfill his long standing yearning and desire.
Harilal followed as told. He soon found himself at Sri Ramana's ashram in Tiruvannamalai some days later. He found the Maharshi seated on his couch. He bowed to him and took a seat. After an hour he left the hall and prepared to leave the ashram grounds when someone stopped him from leaving, inquiring the reason for him to make a quick exit.
Harilal explains that he had seen the Bhagavan at his father's home in Punjab near Peshawar just two weeks ago. He went on to explain to him what had transpired earlier between them. Now rather angry, he questioned the need for the sadhu to have him travel some three thousand kilometers from his parent's home only to sit all oblivious to what was happening around him. Harilal questioned if indeed Bhagavan was really able to make him see Sri Krishna, he could have shown Sri Krishna back at his village home. Harilal was sore too that Bhagavan was indifferent to him, not recognizing him. He complained further that Ramana neither wore a tulasi rosary nor did rosary prayer. He hardly murmured the names of Sri Krishna or Radha.
The stranger who stopped Harilal was taken aback and replied that Sri Ramana never left the ashram nor the town in all his forty-odd years after arriving from Madurai. The stranger persuaded him to stay.
I had read of many saints making appearances but this was the first time I read about Ramana doing the same.
Harilal spent several days at the ashram before leaving for Madras. He made fortnightly trips back to the ashram. One day Ramana materialized again, this time in Harilal's puja room in Madras. Ramana whispered a mantra in his ears asking him to use it. Harilal began to recite the mantra. Wanting to clear his doubt, during his following visit, he asked Ramana if he was the one who appeared at his puja room. The Maharishi replied with "an indistinct hmmm-hmmm." Harilal questioned him if he should go on using the mantra to which Bhagavan replied, "If your heart tells you to."
Harilal took to repeating the mantra continuously till a miracle eventually took place. Bhagavan Sri Krishna appeared in front of him just as one does in the present, as a lad of about fifteen, whose beauty no one could possibly describe. Harilal's soul experienced great joy such as he had never, never felt before. Finally his desire had come true.
On his next visit to Ramana, Harilal prostrated before Bhagavan. He excitedly mentions that he had seen Sri Krishna in the flesh. But Ramana coolly replied, "Oh so Krishna came then?" Harilal answered in affirmation to which Ramana said, "Then he went away?" When Harilal affirms again, Ramana simply answered, "Oh, oh!" without any excitement or reaction to the news.
During another moment in prayer, Harilal saw both Sri Rama and Lakshmana. He returned to Bhagawan for an answer, having being disturbed by the vision of Rama and Lakshmana rather then his idol Krishna and Radha. Ramana simply answered,
"Krishna came to visit you and then went away. Rama has done the same. Why are you concerned with gods who come and go? Don't You see Japa, Mantras, Puja, prayer and rituals are all excellent up to a certain point. But the time comes when all that has to be left aside. You have to take a leap into the beyond... in the beyond you find the real only. When everything has been left behind, Devas along with everything else, can you find the vision which has no beginning and no ending, the vision of being, of the self."
Harilal then saw the vision told of by Ramana. He had desired to see God. God had finally revealed himself not somewhere else but so close to him that from that moment on it was impossible to see him and address him as "thou". The light was now shining in his own deepest self. After hearing Ramana speak, all his desires dropped.
"Krishna came to visit you and then went away. Rama has done the same. Why are you concerned with gods who come and go?" This was what Tavayogi too mentioned to me when I stated my desire to see Agathiyar and Ramalinga Adigal. "They will appear son, no doubt about it. But is that what you really want?", he answered me with another question.
Ramana was able to manifest in two places at the same time. The story of Neem Karoli Baba is told of how he took a moment leaving his chair to go to ease himself while having his beard shaved. The barber was complaining to him about his son who had ran away from home many years back and not heard off. As he was getting old, he found it an ordeal to support the family. He wished his son would come home. Baba returned shortly and the barber completed shaving his beard. The next day surprisingly the son appears at their home and tells them that an old man with a face half-shaved had arrived at his place some hundreds of miles away and forced him to return home immediately. Baba had manifested in another place while having a shave at home.
When Tavayogi and I arrived at the gateway to the famed Tanjore Brihadeshwar temple during out tour of Siddha spots, a peddler selling ornaments and accessories walked up to us as we alighted from the Ambassador. He immediately seemed to recognize Tavayogi, for he asked, "What are you doing here again Swamiji?" implying that Tavayogi had come again. How could that be for we were traveling together for the past several days? Tavayogi turned to look at me as I turned to look at him.