Sunday, November 17, 2019

Experience of Ramana

Some years ago, the author met a saint who called himself Sunyata. He was Danish but had been invited to come to India by Rabindranath Tagore, the poet and artist who received the 1916 Nobel Prize for literature. Tagore, while visiting Europe, recognized Sunyata's extraordinary stillness and meditative frame of mind and thought he would find India a welcoming place. Once in India, Sunyata lived as a hermit in silence for almost five decades in the Himalayas with neighbors like Lama Govinda and Dr. Evans-Wentz. Those who knew him in that area would sometimes send seekers from the West to meet with him and experience his presence.

Late in life, Sunyata was invited by some visitors to move to the United States. He began traveling around visiting seekers and giving informal talks on meditation. He had gone several times to visit Ramana over the years while in India. Describing his first meeting in 1936, he wrote about his experience of Ramana:

Never before had I awared [become aware of] such integral Self-Radiance in any human form, such light of Silence. One was being fed just awaring him. At the first sight of him, I felt no excitement or even awe, no solemnity or ecstasy, simply a calm recognition, a glad contentment, and gratitude in his darshan.

During his brief talk, Sunyata described Ramana's special communication to him that occurred during a later visit in 1940. Sunyata was sitting quietly in meditation when he became aware of a powerful message from Ramana seemingly directed especially at him. Suddenly out of the silence came a burst of light and the following telepathic message in English:

We are always aware of Sunyata
The experience had such a profound effect on him that he adopted the name Sunyata and used it for the rest of his life. Curiously, Ramana used the Buddhist term sunyata which is sometimes translated as the Buddhist Void or emptiness rather than a Hindu term closer to his own cultural tradition. Sunyata also denotes the illusory or insubstantial nature of phenomena.

The idea that we are always aware with some portion of our being of the ultimate reality is a common view in many yogic traditions. It takes silence, focused awareness, and a process of sifting through and in the language of the phenomenologist bracketing out one's myriad thoughts and impressions to become aware of this underlying reality. Ramama was simply emphasizing this fact to Sunyata by creating a powerful mental impression that would affect him for decades.

Such was the power of Ramana's presence that he could have a profound impact on visitors and change the course of their lives in an instant.

Image may contain: ocean, sky, cloud, outdoor, water and nature

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.