"Within an hour of his face-to-face meeting with Sri Bhagavan, his mental barriers were reduced to nothingness."
"This young boy, without any formal religious background or training, according to Ramana himself and the scribes recording it, was Enlightened to the same degree as found in the spiritual Awakenings attributed to the ancient classical masters and is now fully grown and living in the United States today."
The venerated Indian holy man, the Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi died in 1950. In that his death occurred nearly sixty years ago, people the world over are quickly falling by the wayside that either knew him, met him personally, studied under his grace and light, and or had darshan with him.
Probably the last two Americans of any note to have met with the Maharshi are found in the stories that circulate around that of a very young boy, thought to be Australian but actually American, in the early-mid 1940s and a few years later, that of a boy-come-man of then age 18 by the name of Robert Adams. Adams died in 1997. Adams' three year devotion studying under the Maharshi are most admirable and not to be discounted under any circumstances. First, however, our focus will be on the younger of the two --- who is now fully grown and living in the United States today and who, within an HOUR of his face-to-face meeting with Sri Bhagavan, his mental barriers were reduced to nothingness. He is probably the last American alive to have sat with Ramana in the ashram.
The foremost chronicler of the younger boy and his Enlightenment, Ramana adherent C.R. Rajamani, writes:
"Within an hour of his face-to-face meeting with Sri Bhagavan, his mental barriers were reduced to nothingness.(see) He shed tears for quite some time and later said to his mother, "I am so happy. I don't want to leave his presence. I want to be always with him!" His mother was most upset. She pleaded with Sri Bhagavan, "Swami, please release my son! He is our only child. We will be miserable without him." Sri Bhagavan smiled at her and said, "Release him? I am not keeping him tied up. He is a mature soul. A mere spark has ignited his spiritual fire." So, that casual look was a spark of tremendous power. Turning to the boy, He said, "Go with your parents. I will always be with you." He bowed to Sri Bhagavan and reluctantly left with his parents, immensely rich with the newly-found spiritual treasure."
In that there are so few individuals remaining who actually interacted with Ramana, especially anyone whose "mental barriers were reduced to nothingness," and, in the fact that the boy was one of the last of the youngest to have done so under Ramana's grace, the question is, where is the boy now? Is he still alive? Is he teaching? Was he really Enlightened? Did it matter?
The short answer is: even though many years have elapsed since the boy had darshan at the ashram under Ramana's auspices, who was toward the final years of his life, the boy was very young at the time AND remains in good health right up to this day. So saying, he IS still alive, and yes, he IS a U.S. born American citizen currently residing in the United States at this moment. And yes, he DID reach Full Attainment through the grace and light of Sri Ramana as a young boy --- albeit followed right on the heels of said event with an additional series of high-impact events, some of them positive, some unfolding so deeply adverse that in the end required Ramana himself to intercede --- as presented in the following four brief sections: - (I) PRELUDE TO THE MAHARSHI, (II) LETTERS FROM INDIA, (III) THE TRIP TO INDIA, and (IV) THE AWAKENING, along with their attending footnotes.
I. PRELUDE TO THE MAHARSHI
One day during a period of time just prior to the death of my Uncle the two of us were going over the many years we spent together as I was growing up. After rummaging around in a few boxes while we talked he came across several files and large envelopes filled with a jumble of handwritten notes --- notes he made over the years regarding any number of things, but mostly notes that contained references to our travels and times together.
Contained within those files, the majority of which my uncle refused to part with, but, since his demise, for reasons unknown, have somehow simply disappeared, were a dozen or more letters that my uncle wrote and mailed to my father. The letters were all written during the courtship period between my mother and father that led up to their marriage --- although before my uncle actually met my future mother in real life. How my uncle ended up with letters HE wrote and sent to his brother, MY dad, is not clear. However, in that a large portion of the content circulated around my mother and father, after I read them he eventually agreed that I could have and forward them, but none of the other stuff, to my younger brother for his own edification. Unlike the files and materials that remained in my uncle's hands and disappeared, my brother kept the letters I mailed him in safe and good order.
My uncle who gave me the letters, had a son that was the same age as my older brother. During the years I was under my uncle's auspices my older brother and cousin ran around together. In the process they became fairly good friends. When we all went our separate ways, like we always did, only this time for the last time as kids, the two of them lost contact. Following the death of my uncle, my older brother, after he suddenly realized that "he too was getting up there," decided he wanted to look up our cousin --- a cousin neither of us had seen or talked to in over forty years --- and requested I join him on his quest. Eventually we found him living in New Mexico.
Sometime prior to our departure I asked our younger brother to join us in our adventure. Although he graciously opted out citing mitigating circumstances, he did remember having our uncle's letters I had given him many years before. In that the letters were written by our cousin's father, my younger brother suggested I take them along. Which I did.
When my cousin saw the letters HIS dad had written it "dinged" in his mind that he had found a whole pile of letters MY dad had written. He came across them quite by accident one day while placing into storage an old roll-top desk that belonged to his father, my uncle, after he died. The letters, of which my uncle never mentioned during my various visits with him over all the years before, unbeknownst to him or anyone else and then apparently forgotten by all, had fallen behind and between the end of a broken drawer and the bottom of the back wall of the desk. Up until seeing them myself, I never had the remotest idea that my father even knew one thing about writing letters --- let alone that he would if he could --- and if he had, that any existed.
After personally seeing and holding the letters myself, even though they were written by my father in his own hand --- because they were intended for and sent to my uncle --- they were in a sense, owned by my cousin. As friendly as we all were on the surface, in the end he was quite reluctant to part with them. In so saying, my older brother and I holed up at our cousin's place out in the middle of the desert between Santa Fe and Albuquerque for a week or so and read every one of them over and over.
II. LETTERS FROM INDIA
The contents of the letters written by my father were a virtual treasure trove of my childhood. Stories about the three of us boys being born, my older brother starting first grade and me learning to read right along with him. All kinds of day-to-day activities. The most startling for me however, although I had come to know about the incident in a roundabout way over the passage of years, was seeing in my father's own hand his written confirmation of me being taken, without his approval, to India as a young boy even before the death of my mother.
Further backing up the confirmation by my father were three yellowed handwritten letters that had been sent to him from India. However, until I unsealed them, none of the three letters appeared to have ever been opened. The thing is, during the time period we are talking about here, that is, when the letters were actually written and mailed, because hostilities continued around the globe between Allied and Axis powers, letters mailed from overseas were typically opened and/or censored and/or both. I can offer no clear reason or explanation as to how or why the three letters slipped through unopened and uncensored, only that they did. It has been suggested to me it could be because it was quite apparent the letters were from a civilian directed to a civilian as well as being from India, far removed from the action --- as well as being under British post.
All three were done in pencil and all three were found to be difficult to read by anybody who saw them --- primarily because of the lightness of the lead on the paper combined with a nearly indecipherable cursive handwriting. All appeared to have been either written in, on the way to, or on the way back from India and mailed via air in care of my father, not to our home in California, but for reasons unknown, to the address where my grandmother on my mother's side lived in Pennsylvania. In that the three letters were found with the forgotten batch of letters written by my father stashed away in the rolltop desk, and with my uncle since deceased, how they ultimately fell into his hands and seemingly never read by my father or anybody else is not fully known. (see)
The earliest dated letter was written on a letterhead from a steamship line. The second dated letter was on a letterhead from a hotel in India, and the third on a letterhead from an India-based American religious sect. The first two were postmarked several weeks apart from India with the third a month or so after the last of the two, from Liverpool, England. All were written with an apparent preordained assumption of understanding by my father, but seemed highly cryptic to me because at the time of my reading of the letters I had very little to no real background knowledge relating to any of the circumstances contained therein. The two with India postmarks went on-and-on mostly just rambling with excuses of why I had been taken to India in the first place and how good it was going to be for me in the longrun. The third, except for the mention of picking up a handful of survivors amongst several dead in a lifeboat sometime after leaving Cape Town, South Africa, primarily circulated around bringing me home.
III. THE TRIP TO INDIA
As for the death of my mother, she died of an inoperable brain tumor while I was still quite young. Most of the later letters written by my father contained information about her I never heard before. Some two or three years or so prior to her death, the tumor, unknown to exist at the time to anyone during those early stages, began affecting her behavior. Slowly at first, but then more and more as time went on. During that period it became increasingly more difficult for my father to deal with her as well as take care of three young boys. Among the things he wrote was how my mother began fainting, falling down, passing out and going into trance like states. She also started seeing things, talking to herself and to people who weren't there, as well as what my father described as fortune telling or predicting the future. Soon others heard of her trance-like states and predictions and began blanketing her conduct, rightly or wrongly, with that of a more spiritual-like aspect. More and more began to visit her in a quest to hear more and more of what she had to say and about their futures.
How accurate any of those predictions were I don't know nor did my father ever say. However, people believed they were close enough to being accurate that they continued to come over. He wrote about one couple, a man and a woman originally from Australia but living in America, who were visiting neighbors next door for several weeks. The couple belonged to what he called "a sort of religious sect" called Theosophists. According to my father's letters, when the couple heard about my mother's abilities, like many others, they started to come over, staying for hours on end, often just the three of them alone in a darkened room, almost like a seance. By the tone of the letters you could tell my father didn't like it very much.
Although I do not remember any of this, the depth of my mother's illness seemed to increase almost exponentially from practically negligible to extremely serious almost overnight. As she became more and more immobilized my father began to farm us boys out to others on a more-or-less regular basis. We went from conventional short term babysitting during the day to being with our grandparents overnight or to others several days a week, as my father continued --- because of mounting medical expenses --- to put more and more working hours in to make ends meet. Apparently, because of same, the couple offered to take care of one of the boys on a full time basis. Although it would seem the couple did not fall into my father's favorite people catagory, for whatever reason, he agreed.
The couple selected me and I went to live with them. Still not remembering any of the events, after being with the couple a short time, according to one of the letters my dad wrote, they decided to go to India asking my father if it was OK for me to go with them. In one of the letters he said initially I refused to go to India with the couple, making a big fuss, putting up a big battle, and throwing huge fits, saying I did not want to be with them I only wanted to be with my "real" mother and father. I just wanted to go home. By that time however, and unknown to me, my mother was no longer at home, having become totally unable to care for herself, so much so my dad placed her into a full care sanatorium-like hospital in Santa Barbara, California on an around the clock basis. Before my dad had a chance to respond to the couple, the couple, knowing full well that my mother was in a sanatorium, without my father's grace, took me to India, simply sending him a note saying that in the end I had changed my mind about going. While I was gone my mother died. I missed the funeral and by the time I got back my family had disintegrated, my two brothers and myself all going separate ways, my dad disappearing into the countryside heavy into alcohol.
Upon my return from India, with my mother dead, my two brothers dispersed across the country living with separate families and my father long gone, my grandmother, before the chance arose for me to be placed into a foster home, took me. I was with her but a few months when we went to see her only remaining child, a daughter, my mother's younger sister. Her husband, Mac, unrelated to any of the events surrounding my mother or the falling apart of my side of the family, had swirled, somewhat quickly, into a relentless state of deep depression. My grandmother went to lend support to her daughter, taking me with her. One day, after going shopping all day long in town with my grandmother and her daughter and her two children, we returned and pulled up in front of the garage. I got out of the car and opened the two side-by-side wooden garage doors. There right in front of me on the floor of the garage only a few feet away in the glare of the headlights, in a slowly expanding pool of blood, was Mac. The whole back of his head blown out from the blast of a double barrel shotgun he stuck in his mouth. His body laying there apparently falling off a still upright straight-back wooden chair with his once onetime skull full of brain now empty. Gone were all the synapses and neurons and everything that went with them, turned now into nothing but bloody silver-gray yellowish meat splattered all over the upper reaches of the nearby open-studded walls and exposed rafters.
There I was, a young boy barely even closing down on six or seven years of age, not long returned from India, without a mother, having missed both her final days and her funeral as well, standing with my mouth open, staring down on what only minutes before was someone else dear to me, not just gone, but excruciatingly gone. My aunt , stunned into disbelief at what she saw, with the car still in gear and engine running let her foot slip from the clutch as she apparently tried to step out of the car and run toward her husband. The vehicle lurched forward in one huge leap, crashing into the swung open garage door knocking it and me down and rendering me unconscious. It took nearly two years and reasons unknown before I suddenly came out of a nearly amnesia-like walking coma. Everything that I knew and should have remembered about my mother's sickness, India, the time leading up to that moment in the garage, and being with my grandmother, either evaporated or was deeply covered over. Days, weeks, months, all gone. In closing that gap I remembered only up to one side, a side well before my mother ever got sick. A happy loving childhood with a mother and father and playing with my brothers and kids in the neighborhood. A house full of toys and my older brother learning to ride a bicycle. Then suddenly out of nowhere finding myself on the other side, somehow being almost two years older and getting out of a car clutching a tiny suitcase with nothing but a handful of crummy belongings and sack full of dirty underwear and not knowing how I got there. Standing on the sidewalk not much more than a simple beleaguered young boy with no mother and a father long gone, being taken by a stranger to live with a couple that owned a flower shop, a couple I was sure I had never seen or heard of in my life --- followed by a period of time which encompassed the failure of me to stay with the flower shop people for very long before running away --- on more than one occasion --- and because of same, ending up with living with my grandmother and uncle, with everything else in-between those two moments of my short childhood gone.
My father, of course, knew nothing of the events in India or how they applied to me, and his letters to my uncle reflect that. My father only knew that I was taken by the couple to India and it was done so without his consent. Since everybody is either gone or I do not recall them, most of what has come down to me about the incident is from outside sources such as the one by C.R. Rajamani titled Awakens the Child of Theosophists linked below. Otherwise, except for a brief incident that happened between a man from India and myself when I was with my uncle one day when I was around ten or twelve years old and a second one many years later as a grown man, I know nothing of it, primarily because of the rather long blackout period. It is mostly because of the lingering residue of that basically still in place, albeit in later years, eroding blackout period, that I say without hesitation, along with similar comments in other sources elsewhere and edited for our purposes here, the following as found in THE MEETING: An Untold Story of Sri Ramana:
"It should be brought to the attention of the reader that initially the incident as it transpired at the stage stop bore no specific relevance to any of the circumstances previously presented regarding Sri Ramana because WHO Sri Ramana was --- or even that he existed --- was an unknown to the Wanderling at the time. That is to say, the man in the doorway bore no significance being Sri Ramana because at that period in his life the Wanderling knew nothing about him one way or the other.
"It was not until the Wanderling was handed the pamphlet that he became aware of the outside existance of someone who looked like the person at the stage stop and that apparently, that SOMEONE, was a person of notoriety. It was sometime later before he learned the person at the stage stop was Sri Ramana."
Blackout or no, the most productive incident assisting in a semi-rollback of the veil of that period of time to some semblance of vague clarity, was my meeting as a grown-up with Adam Osborne. Osborne, as a young child and the son of Arthur Osborne --- a foremost author and writer of a string of highly successful books on Sri Ramana, basically grew up in and around the ashram of Sri Ramana during the same time I was there. As young boys the same age, the two of us met and played together. Osborne's insights and recall into those times after we eventually met together years later as adults --- as outlined in the Footnote at the bottom of the page --- helped enormously.
IV. THE AWAKENING
At the ashram Ramana turned and said, "Go with your parents. I will always be with you." Ramana knew, as I did, the couple I was with were not my parents. He also knew, which I didn't, that my mother was dying and my father would soon basically disappear because of the result of her death. Just as Ramana told Mercedes De Acosta, who visited the ashram some five years before, to return to America, saying: "You must return to America. Your destiny is not in India at this time," he was telling me that I should go with my parents, that is, return to BE with my REAL parents, back in America, my destiny was not in India at that time. Ramana, understanding the soon to be outcome of things on a spiritual level, meant for my return to America and the rejoining with my real parents to transpire as expediant as possible --- while my mother was still alive and my father was still in control of his well being. Even though the Australian couple followed Ramana's advice and took me back to America, they did so at their own leisure and in a roundabout way. By the time I arrived home my mother had passed away with the funeral completed and over, my brothers scattered to the four winds, and my father gone.
Ramana, readily aware the couple were not my parents, and he wanting me to beat the clock home, and the plot not unfolding to allow me to do so, played a significant role in the overall scheme of things. However, in THAT overall scheme of things, it is the second half of the sentence that carries the most weight wherein Ramana says: "I will always be with you." The fact that Ramana stressed the fact that he would ALWAYS be with me is the KEY to everything. Regardless of whatever insight Ramana may have had, the fact of the death of my mother followed then quickly on the heels of that event by the trauma incurred from stumbling across the blood soaked suicide of Mac, in a child-like effort to survive, my surface level mind caved-in, and any memory of recently perceived events thereof became basically erased. Inturn, the elimination from my mind of ALL that transpired between Ramana and myself at the ashram, required of him --- if he was always to be with me --- an intensive intervention on his part to resurrect it. As found in the words of the Enlightened Zen master Luangpor Teean:
"An individual that knows Dharma can be compared to a lamp that lights up the darkness. One who is close will see clearly, while those further away will see less clearly. After a period of time the lamp's light may go out or be extinguished, but then, from time to time, the lamp will be relit, again providing illumination."
In White Light Shields Robert Bruce puts into words a known manifestation that arises for those along the spiritual path:
"The more pure and spiritually developed a person is (especially if they are actively working towards real spiritual advancement) the more attention they will attract from the negatives to pull them down."
Ramana was quite familiar with such concepts. Mara was at work here. The Bhagavan, fully Abiding in the Self where there is no Space-Time, knew clearly the events at the ashram and any potential downstream ramifications. That is why, years later, in what was for all practical purposes a classical case of resurrection, Ramana interceded at the stage stop and implemented the use of, for him, the rarely used supernormal perceptual states known in Sanskrit as Siddhis. He was not about to let any spiritual traveler, little boy or otherwise, slip back into the day-to-day quagmire of the Samsara world after, through his grace, he, from a mere spark, had ignited a spiritual fire and in that same spiritual traveler, have had all his mental barriers reduced to nothingness. In THE MEETING: An Untold Story of Sri Ramana, where I tell how Ramana interceded, I write:
"He looked right into my eyes from a few feet away and somehow TIME SEEMED TO SLOW, maybe even stopping altogether. From far away I felt myself losing balance, all the while trying to brace myself with one arm while trying to hold the lantern high with the other. I weighed a ton and could barely move. In ultra slow motion the light, moving now at such an overwhelmingly reduced rate I could hear it, flickered and nearly went out. Then, just as the lantern reached the top arc of its swing and stilled to start back, the light rekindled itself. In that waffer-thin edge-on membrane of darkness the man was gone."
Even though the stage stop was thousands upon thousands of miles away from India, Ramana was there. What he was doing was replicating what happened considerably less than a few years before at the ashram, only now a super-concentrated effort on his part to bring about or re-insitgate the Experience. On my own accord, in the darkness, I sought out and found the matches and struck the flame. The "spark that ignited my spiritual fire" is mirrored in the spark of the match held to the light-generating properties innate to reasons of the lantern. I was holding the lantern high above my head, the lantern emitting a dim light --- or more accurately the room was so big and filled with darkness relative to that first small flame that the darkness simply absorbed the light --- giving the impression of a dimly lit room. The dimly lit room was me, the lantern and the light were one, the light intended to illuminate the room (me). With a turning sweep of dim light, at the top of the arc the light flickered and went out. I clearly saw the dark-skinned man standing in the open doorway and then, in that waffer-thin edge-on membrane of darkness he was gone. That membrane of darkness was when I entered the blackout period, and the man, Ramana, was gone --- gone from any memory. The light rekindled itself. That is, Ramana returned through the use of Siddhis to the stage stop to rekindle the lost light. Next to him was the man who was to become my Mentor, there to ensure Ramana's efforts were not lost.
NOTE: If you have not read any of the Footnotes as of yet, including the section on Robert Adams, please scroll down toward the bottom of the page.
Fundamentally, our experience as experienced is not different from the Zen master's. Where
we differ is that we place a fog, a particular kind of conceptual overlay onto that experience
and then make an emotional investment in that overlay, taking it to be "real" in and of itself.
AWAKENED TEACHERS FORUM
ZEN ENLIGHTENMENT IN A NUTSHELL
SPIRITUAL GUIDES: PASS OR FAIL?
THE AWAKENING EXPERIENCE IN THE MODERN ERA
IN THE WAY OF ENLIGHTENMENT: The Ten Fetters of Buddhism
ON THE RAZOR'S
AS FOUND ON
A quick word of explanation here. When I write about my grandmother's "only remaining child, a daughter, my mother's younger sister," all in one sentence, I am of course, writing in the classical sense about an Aunt. So too, when I write about my aunt's husband, the man who committed suicide, I am also writing about an uncle. However, the uncle that committed suicide is NOT the Uncle I write about in all my presentations. The reason I do not call my aunt's husband uncle nor her aunt is because I do not want to confuse him with the uncle or his wife I write about over and over in all my works. The uncle I write about all the time was my father's brother, the uncle that committed suicide was married to my mother's sister. It was she, my mother's sister (i.e., my aunt), that was driving the car the night I opened the garage doors and it was she, years later, that related the events of that night to me so graphically. Her daughter, my first cousin, was in the car with us that night as well, along with her brother and my grandmother. She, that is my cousin, got out of the car and followed me to the doors. Although she was quite some distance behind me and on the far side of the car before her mother either purposely shut off the headlights or they went out, to this day my cousin is still unable to recall what she saw or even one small detail surrounding any of the events of that night.
Years later my grandmother would tell me that when nearby neighbors heard all the screaming, commotion, and running around, several quickly came over to assist in whatever manner they were able. In the confusion my grandmother said I was all but forgotten. A neighbor found me and carried me into one of my cousin's bedrooms and covered me on the bed fully clothed. The police and an ambulance arrived outside the garage with law enforcement and paramedics running all over the place. Along the way I was attended to with my head wound somehow being dressed. After that what happened is not clear.
Sometime way late into the night or the still-dark early morning hours I apparently got up and wandered off. It wasn't until after sunrise that someone remembered me, only to go into the room and discover I was gone.
In the meantime an old man driving a jeep on the way back to his home located far away somewhere out in the middle of desert found me walking all alone along some road. How I got to where I was, or if I had been picked up and dropped off by someone else before I got in the jeep with the old man, as well as when or where it was the old man found me, was never learned. There was some speculation I initially curled up in the back seat of a neighbor's car on my own volition and when they drove off, without them knowing it, still asleep, I just went along. Then when they stopped, I simply got out of the car and started walking. The story told to my grandmother was that the old man had no money, so, in those long-before cell phone days, he wasn't able to make a phone call --- nor did he have a phone at his shack. Instead he took me to the house of a woman friend of his even farther out in the desert, also with no phone. Some weeks later they took me into town and left me at the sheriffs office.
When my grandmother came to get me the sheriff said he had personally known the old man and woman for a very long time and that both were fine and good people. The man was a rough and tumble old guy who was known to have been a onetime a muleskinner or swamper for the 20 mule team borax wagons that used to make the trek up and out of Death Valley and across the desert. Now days the sheriff said, the old man spent most of his time in one fashion or the other participating in Native American sweat lodge ceremonies and most likely I did too. The sheriff assured my grandmother there was no need to worry about anything related to my overall well being during the time I was in their company. According to the sheriff the two just didn't experience the passage of time like others seemed to. The period of days or weeks I was with them was really no more than just a matter of them coming into town relative to their needs.
When my grandmother picked me up, strung around my neck was small cloth sack like a Bull Durham tobacco bag filled with 50 or more pieces of buckshot. The sheriff told her that one day when the old man did not return the woman and I went out across the desert looking for him. We didn't find the old man during our search but we did come across a fairly large but barely alive coyote that had been all shot up in the hindquarters and left rear leg by buckshot. We took the wounded coyote, a coyote that was easily twice the size of any normal one, back to the woman's shack. We then spent the rest of night and next day pulling buckshot out of the rear and back leg of the animal, throwing the little lead balls into a pan. The woman patched the coyote up as best she could and nursed him back to health over a couple of days. Then with his regained strength the coyote simply limped off into the sagebrush. However, before she turned the coyote loose she took the buckshot we removed and counted it out into two equal piles, putting one pile into a little cloth bag and the other pile into a second identical cloth bag. Then she put one bag around my neck and the other around the coyote's neck.
Before we left town the sheriff told my grandmother the old man and woman had driven in that day and if she wanted to thank them for caring for me he could take us to see them. The old man was in the jeep on the passenger side alone when we drove up with the woman just coming out of a nearby grocery store. My grandmother said the old man excused himself for not getting out of the jeep during the introduction because he had taken a terrifically bad fall in the desert some days before having scraped up his rear and left leg so badly he could barely move. My grandmother thanked them and we left. She told me before I got home she removed the bag from around my neck because she was afraid because it was filled with buckshot it might upset my aunt considering how her husband died. My grandmother also told me there must be some kind of desert tradition or something because the old man in the jeep had what appeared to be small sack of buckshot tied around his neck just like mine --- a bag that seemed to be an EXACT same duplicate of the one I had tied around my neck.
NOTE: Not all the the information found in the above footnote was garnered exclusively from conversations with my grandmother. Some of it was extrapolated and added to the mix from an interaction that occurred some years later with a Native American tribal spiritual elder. When I was around ten years old or so my uncle and I spent a lot of time traveling in and around some very isolated sections of the desert southwest interacting with the indigenous populations thereof because of various, as he called them, "art" related ties he had with them. On one of those trips we crossed paths with a tribal spiritual elder that apparently recognized me from being with the old man at a sweat lodge ceremony. He knew the significance of the bags of buckshot between the old man and myself. He said he had been present at the request of the woman to observe the removal of the buckshot from the coyote and participate in a ritual-like ceremony to ensure the animal's and our overall well being. As well, he told my uncle he remembered that I was very special in that everybody knew as a young boy I had been touched by the Native American spritual deity or Yei he refered to as the White Painted Lady but known as White Painted Woman.
THE LADY ON THE DOCK, THE PBY, AND HIGH BARBAREE
THE HINDU MANSERVANT:
In regards to the incident that happened one day when I was around ten or twelve years old between a man from India and myself who recognized me as having been there --- the first I had ever personally heard of such a thing as all the time with my uncle, even though he had letters from my father confirming such, he failed to ever mention it --- and a second similar incident many years later as a grown man, I present the following:
My Uncle was a notorious mushroom hunter and bio-searcher from the desert southwest. He had field searched hundreds if not thousands of plants, herbs, and mushrooms, even to the point of having several previously undiscovered species named after him. In the process he became familiar with many sacred, medicinal, and hallucinogenic plants, even to the point of partaking in some. One day when I was around ten years old we went to a smoke shop inorder for him to obtain bidis, a handmade country cigarette from India that usually contains a small amount of, it is said, Sacred Datura. Because the cigarettes were questionable as to their legality, the proprietor, who knew my uncle, took us into a back room to conduct business. Several men of Indian descent were doing whatever men do when they hang around in the back room of a smoke shop. One of the men stared at me for quite some time, then went and got a woman that was working the counter in the front of the shop. They talked and pointed at me for a long while from the doorway that separated the front from the back. Then the man walked over and asked my uncle if I had ever been to India. My uncle, only knowing I had been to India through the letters from my father, but NOT knowing where I had been, what I had done, or who I had met, nodded yes that I had been to India, but wanted to know why he asked (the contents of the letters regarding me being in India were devoid of any specific information because my father had not been a fully notified recipient of such information, due to I would guess, the undue nature behind me being there with the couple in the first place). The man said he had not seen very many young white boys traveling in India and was sure he and his wife recognized me as having been on a train in southern India several years before and even told my uncle the name of the town the train was either traveling to or from.
Because I could not recall anything about India in the first place, the incident slipped from my mind as well as that of the name of the town, mostly because I couldn't even say it. Several years later found me in high school and working part time in a small mom and pop restaurant called Fred and Liz's. Fred had been a cook in the Navy during World War II. Somewhere along the way he met and married a woman from India that he and everybody called Liz. One day a minor actor by the name of Norman (sometimes Dean) Fredericks stopped by the restaurant. Fredericks played the role of the Hindu manservant Kaseem in the then running TV series Jungle Jim. Even though Fredericks was not of Indian descent, Liz fawned all over him. Later, although I couldn't remember one thing about being in India, but thinking it might help me score points with the boss's wife, I told Liz, unlike the actor, I had been there. When she questioned me as to where, dredging up the only thing I could think of the man from the smoke shop said --- remembered only because at the time, as a kid, I owned a Lionel electric train set which sparked a general interest in learning about trains --- was "meter gauge railroad," which meant nothing to Liz, India-wise, or me either really, for that fact. I got in touch with my father and asked if the next time he talked to his brother, my uncle, to ask the name of the place in India the man in the smoke shop said he had seen me. A few weeks later my dad told me he had talked to my uncle by phone. Then handed me a slip of paper with the name of the town in India written on it: Tiruvannamalai.
THE HINDU MANSERVANT KASEEM
The following is from ADAM OSBORNE: PERSONAL REMEMBRANCES:
Twenty-five years after the above high school incident, sometime in the spring of 1982 and a year or so after being gone two years in the Peace Corps, a very good friend of mine, a onetime philosophy major that I had known in college, but somehow now having morphed into a big time computer geek, contacted me.
She told me the man she loved was on the waiting list for a heart transplant at Stanford University and that she had moved to a small studio apartment in Campbell, California to work in Silicon Valley and be within driving distance to see him. She wanted to know if there was some way I might be able to console him as he was wrought with anxiety almost to the point of a total breakdown --- inturn adversely impacting his health and preparedness for the transplant. Before a new heart with his match was available he died.
The several days of my intended stay turned into several weeks, then several months. By then I had to leave. One night just before I left, at some function or the other, I looked across the room and made a strangely unusual eye contact with a man I was sure I knew somehow. Asking my friend if she knew who the man might be she told me he was some Silicon Valley computer multi-quadzillionaire. With the unexpected death of my one time millionaire friend Lance Reventlow some ten years prior, who at the time I knew him owned one of only two fully aluminum bodied Mercedes Benz 300SL gullwing coupes in the US, and having no reason to think I might know any kind of a millionaire now, let alone a multi-quadzillionaire, computer geek or otherwise, I let it pass.
Some nights later my friend was hanging out in a place down the street from her studio apartment called the Garrett, adjecent to the Pruneyard in Campbell, eating a pizza and quaffing down a few beers with friends when the same man stepped up to her. He told her he had tracked her down through mutual acquaintances and was sure that her friend, me, and he knew each other as kids. He wanted to know, implying that it was important, if she thought it possible if such could be the case. She told him since I had moved around and lived with so many families so often as a child --- and her not knowing any of the specifics --- she could not say one way or the other with any amount of certainty.
When she caught up with me I told her it might have been possible. I also told her that even though I could not place when or how, I still had this strange feeling that night I first saw him that I knew him from someplace. Then she dropped the bombshell. He said he thought he knew me from India! I had never told my friend I had ever been to India and for the man to claim such a thing out of the blue was most startling. I gathered up what few photographs of myself that I had as a child and flew back up to Silicon Valley see him.
Because he had met my friend at the Garrett and I knew where it was located, we set it as a meeting place. As soon as he saw the pictures of me in my youth he knew I was the one he knew as a kid in India. Then he told me his story. His name was Adam Osborne. He and I were basically the exact same age. When he was very young his father, a British subject, worked in Thailand. He and his family just happened to be on vacation in India when the war broke out. His father returned to his job in Thailand, but, because of how unsettled everything was, he had Adam and his mother and two sisters go to the south of India to stay with friends. Shortly after returning to Thailand his father was placed into an internment camp by the Japanese and not released until the war ended. In the meantime Adam grew up in Tiruvannamalai and the ashram of Sri Ramana.
Although I was truly not able to recall anything he told me about the two of us being in India together as kids, he said he remembered me quite well because I was the only anglo boy his age he ever really met in his early years. He said he could not remember if our time together was long or short, if it lasted just days or stretched into weeks, but he did remember, even though he was not doing meditation specifically like I was, the two of us still found time to run all over the place getting in trouble --- even to the point of being admonished by the Maharshi. He also told me we had participated in Giri Valam, circumambulation of the holy hill Arunachala, although he did not recall if we completed the walk or who we went with. Neither too, did he remember if the two of us ever climbed to the top or visited the caves.
In the main text above under the section The Awakening, I write:
"At the ashram Ramana turned and said, "Go with your parents. I will always be with you." Ramana knew, as I did, the couple I was with were not my parents."
In so saying, in the text I lay it out, mostly by inference, that Ramana knew the couple were not my real parents through a certain level or spiritual aspect of his "abilities." And I still feel such may well be the case. However, not to play down any abilities Ramana may or may not have had, spiritual or otherwise, when Osborne and I met at the Garrett many years later as grown-ups he told me that as kids I had informed him that the couple I was with were NOT actually my parents. Truth be told, in Ramana's court in the ashram nothing escaped him. Whatever happened was brought to his attention either through attrition, a genuine confidant, or told him by someone hoping to gain something. Osborne's mother was a well respected member of Ramana's inner circle and it could be in general conversation the fact that the couple were not my parents may have filtered up from son to mother to Ramana.
Osborne also said I told him at first I did not want to go to India with the couple and fought hard not to do so. After arrival, however, he said I had a much different view. When it was time to go, I did not want to leave.
In 1938, many years before I went to --- or was taken --- to India as the case may be, the movie Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was released. There was a song in the movie called "Whistle While You Work," a song I remember quite well in that my mother sang (and whistled) it well into the time of her being sick. The year after Snow White was released The Wizard of Oz came out. Sometime after their release but before my trip to India, I saw both movies. Even though Osborne and I were both little kids and I may or may not have given him the title of either movie at the time as a kids, he remembered them as a grown man and the connections I made to them.
I only say so because I want you, the reader, to know that even though I do not remember at what time in my before going to India life I saw either movie specifically, that is, at what age or when --- mostly because seeing either of them must not have been tied to a memorable date like a birthday or something --- I did remember the song from Snow White and my mother singing it. So too, I remembered "The Wizard of Oz" well enough to tell Osborne something that stuck with him the rest of his life. Years later, as a young adult, it dawned on him out of nowhere one day when it popped into his head that his name Osborne and what happened to me turned out for me, to be a new life. I was Oz born. According to what he remembered, I had told him about "this movie" I had seen that in the beginning started out black and white, but when the little girl in it ended up in a magical land the world had turned into color. That was why I told him I did not want to leave --- because while there, in the ashram, for me, the world had turned into color.
The references of Oz and the childhood association with the Awakening or Enlightenment experience we are talking about here, happened many, many years ago, as did the conversations between myself and Osborne later as adults. So too, my writing of the association and presenting it online came about quite sometime back as well.
Interestingly enough however, Evan I. Schwartz, author of the most recent and just published book Finding Oz wherein he discusses the Wizard of Oz author L. Frank Baum and where and how he created the Oz books writes:
"The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is less than a coming-of-age story, as some have suggested, and more a transformation-of-consciousness story. Like the Buddha, Dorothy attains Enlightenment."
How I as a young boy would ever concieve of such a thing on my own is beyond me. Another interesting sidelight from Schwartz's book --- as it applies here --- is that the mother-in-law of Oz author Baum was a Theosophist. Through her, Baum and his wife were drawn into that belief system. If you recall from the above, the couple that began visiting my mother and eventually took me to India were Theosophists.
She pleaded with Sri Bhagavan, "Swami, please release my son! He is our only child. We will be miserable without him." Sri Bhagavan smiled at her and said, "Release him? I am not keeping him tied up."
To the outside observer the couple and myself appeared to be a regular family. Not having the full set of facts, it is even written as such by C.R. Rajamani in the article Awakens the Child of Theosophists --- with some reservations on his part I might add (see below). Ramana, however, through his insight, knew the couple I was traveling with were not my parents. At the time the couple took me, which, after a short time, turned out to be not much less than an abduction, my father was practically at his wits end over my mother's worsening condition. Right or wrong, he just didn't have the strength or will to concentrate on much else. The Australian couple was childless and saw a chance by taking advantage of my father's weakened state. Before he or anyone could act I was gone.
The couple lived in the U.S. for the most part and were avid followers of cult-like sect called the Theosophical Society. It was founded by one Madame H. P. Blavatsky in New York City in 1875. By 1882 the Society moved its headquarters to Adyar near Madras, India. Hence the couple's interest in and traveling to India.
The Society was into seance and mediumship and the main impetus the couple was so heavily attracted to my mother and her, albeit unknown to them, tumor induced trance-like behaviors. As time went on and it became clear she was in a chronic state of total physical collapse it is my speculation the couple turned their interest toward the boys because of the potential possibility of similar abilities among one of us. I speculate as well I was selected out of the three brothers because they could tell my older brother and father had a strong personal bond and my younger brother was just that, young.
When the woman of the couple pleaded with Ramana to "release her son," that the boy was their "only child" Ramana knew I wasn't theirs at all. That is the reason Ramana replied with, "Release him? I am not keeping him tied up." What Ramana was insinuating was that it was them, the couple, that needed to do the releasing and it was them that was keeping me "tied up" (i.e., unable to return home or to my family because of them). It had nothing to do with Ramana or any sort of a power he held. For me I would guess, the Ramana ashram and the environment was a safe haven, a place, that if I couldn't be with my real mother and father at least I would be there of my own choosing.
As to C.R. Rajamani's observations, he writes:
I saw a white-skinned boy, a foreigner, of about ten years sitting a couple of feet to my left. Next to him was a white man, presumably his father. Further to my left, beyond the central aisle, was a white woman, whom I thought was the boy's mother.
Rajamani was not an interview reporter. He was a Ramana adherent visiting and meditating in the ashram who presented through his writings what he saw through personal observations --- most probably garnered from a distant and written sometime after the fact. Please note his speculative use and emphasis on "PRESUMABLY the boy's father" and "I THOUGHT she was the boy's mother." Presumed and thought, not knew. It could be that in the process of just being at the ashram he became aware there was a chance that I was not only NOT the couple's child, but possibly even kidnapped. Kidnaped is a strong word and was not truly applicable to my situation. However, in splitting hairs one way or the other, it is my guess Rajamani, rather than bring harm down on the ashram, and not seeing any abuse or misconduct on the couple's part, he just let it go, hence his use of "presumably" and "thought" in what he wrote.
He is correct about the "foreigner" aspect. However, he runs afoul in his designation as to me being of Australian descent. From the couple's accent Rajamani may have subjectively tagged the two of them as being from Australia, and thus then, assumed the boy (i.e., me) was too. Such was not the case. He is equally off base with his assessment of the my age, me being closer to half his guess. Rajamani also writes that the couple was in India for the Theosophical Society's world convention which is, he said, usually held at their international headquarters at Adyar, Madras in December-January and is no doubt accurate if such is the case. Even if the couple was not there for a convention, one way or the other the December-January timing is right for them to have been at the ashram. The Maharshi was insistant on me "beating the clock home." However, because of the length of time it took to cover the distance from India to the west coast of the U.S. traveling by train and ship in those days, added to the fact the couple most likely had no pressing need to comply other than to cooperate with the Maharshi, I didn't make it. By the time I got home my mother had already passed away, having died on Valentine's Day, February 14th.
Many years later, during the summer just prior to starting my first year in high school, my uncle decided to go to France and asked me to join him. His reasoning for doing so, however adventurous for me or however lofty or shortsighted of him, is summed up in the quote below as found in the source as cited:
"(My uncle's intention) was for me to meet the smartest man in the world, the greatest artist in America, then the greatest artist in the world. In those days the three were, at least as far a my uncle was concerned, none other than Albert Einstein, Jackson Pollock, and Pablo Picasso. My uncle knew the first two himself so he was able to set those meetings somewhat easily. Jackson Pollock coming down from his studio on Long Island to the city after a one man show in Paris and the finishing of his last action painting ever. Albert Einstein, along some lake one afternoon while we watched a rowing team practice. The meeting with Picasso never happened. My dad ending the trip before we got the chance to go to Europe." (source)
As you can see, because of my dad's intervention and for reasons cited elsewhere, I never made it to France that summer nor meet Picasso. My uncle and I did go through the whole process to do so, that is, get shots, passports, and visas. Some years later, needing a passport for my own trip abroad and intending to just renew my old passport, I wrote my uncle as to what happened to it and a few weeks later he sent it to me.
Eighteen years passed between the last time I saw my uncle that summer just before high school and we actually met again in the flesh. After that, up until his death, we met many times. One day in casual conversation the question of my passport came up. He told me how fortunate I was that he had done all the leg work to get me a passport because mistakenly as it turned out, when he decided to take me to France, since I had been out of the country he thought I already had one. Such was not the case. At least not a U.S. passport. He said to get out of the hole he dug himself into after telling the passport folk that I had been to India --- and still get me a passport --- he had to do what he called "an awful lot of fast talking and foot shuffling."
Apparently the couple, after arriving in New York City and not wanting to return me to the west coast because my immediate family had disintegrated, plus I guess, possibly face any potential wrath from remaining family members that knew about the situation and or who may have misinterpreted their intentions, took it upon themselves to just dump me off unannounced at my grandmother's house on my dad's side in a small little town located in the lower southeast corner of Pennsylvania --- a grandmother who I had never met in my life nor ever even heard about.
Before going to India it seemed that no matter what, the couple wanted me. After being there it was as if they could not get rid of me fast enough. For the most part, it seemed, as the very young boy that I was, I was fortunate they just didn't abandon me somewhere along the way. In the last of the three letters from India where I mention it was mostly about bringing me home they intimated, without trying to scare my dad, as if something was wrong with me, that something happened like I was sick. They wrote that I kept saying things like I could see but that there was no me, that it seemed like the whole back of my head was gone but I could still feel it with my hands, that I was both dirt and sky.
Then somehow, after returning to the States and being left with my grandmother on my father's side in Pennsylvania, my uncle told me, and he didn't remember how or how long it took, I was returned to California to be with my grandmother on my mother's side --- but NOT by the couple. They basically disappeared after Pennsylvania not to be heard from again.
Interestingly enough, well after the need for my own passport, when my uncle returned east following the death of his mother and he was going through her personal effects he came across a few things in a small box that related to me that I must have left behind and she inturn saved (I was the only grandkid of her three children she ever met). Included with the items were some travel papers, ticket stubs, a Captain Midnight decoder badge, and a passport. Prominently displayed on the photo page was a picture of me with the woman of the couple --- listed as her son. Here was my grandmother on my father's side, with me claiming to be her grandson and me being the ONLY grandchild-offspring from ANY of her three sons she ever met, ironically keeping all those years stored away amongst her treasures, a passport saying I was instead, the son of some man and woman she never heard of.
AND NOW THIS:
In Footnote  above, speaking of C.R. Rajamani in regards to what he has layed out in his article Awakens the Child of Theosophists, I write:
"Rajamani was not an interview reporter. He was a Ramana adherent visiting and meditating in the ashram who presented through his writings what he saw through personal observations --- most probably garnered from a distant and written sometime after the fact."
There is basically a twofold reason I suggest that what he wrote was "most probably garnered from a distant and written sometime after the fact," both reasons emanating from what is presented in his article by his own hand or that of a no doubt close surrogate.
First, in the preface paragraph to his article you find written that Rajamani "presented the following talk at the April 25, 1998 Aradhana program at Arunachala Ashrama in New York City." Even though for us on the internet we are privy to a written version of his talk in article form, it appears it was originally designed as a speech to be given, which it apparently was, before a group of people attending the 1998 Aradhana program at Arunachala Ashrama in New York. From there it is presumed it was thus then transcribed into article form.(see)
Rajamani starts out right away saying he was at the ashram in his early twenties and that he had been a devotee of Sri Ramana for over 55 years. He also says, in relation to the event that transpired between the Maharshi and the young boy, that the event was "still fresh in (his) memory." The conclusion I draw from his comments is that the contents of his article were NOT written on the scene in the 1940s, but possibly recalled some fifty or sixty years later specifically for the year 1998 Aradhana program.
Secondly, Rajamani has provided us with a couple of statements such as "I am not certain about the date or the month of my visit; it may have been December or January," as well as, as I have mentioned in the Footnote: seeing a a white-skinned boy, a foreigner, and next to him "a white man, presumably his father" and beyond the central aisle "a white woman, whom he thought was the boy's mother." The first quote is a little cloudy or ambiguous which inturn casts some suspicion on anything else he may or may not remember. The second quote sort of confirms what he knows or doesn't know (i.e., the white man was presumably his father; the white woman was thought to be his mother --- presumably and thought, not known). Tweaking any of Rajamani's potential observational skills toward his behalf however, in those days any paired male and female traveling together would be separated in the meditation hall as a matter of tradition anyway, as men always sat on one side of the hall, women at the other (i.e., "and beyond the central aisle a white woman"). Except possibly in the man and woman's case of being white, unless they were seen on the ashram grounds together for example, a couple as a couple could easily be missed.
Continuing, if any of you have read any of the stuff I write, you will find I am guilty of much of the same transgressions with what I write as with what Rajamani seems to be with what he writes. There is a reason. Basically, and quite simply put, it is because as life unfolded and went along at it's usual and natural pace, at least for me, I never thought about it one way or the other OR that any of it would ever amount to anything or need to be recorded for posterity. I could be off base here, but as I read his material, at least with the article, I pretty much think that that is the case with what Rajamani has presented.
My observations surely are not meant to be derogatory nor to undermine or impugn anything that Rajamani says in his overall thesis. I ONLY bring it up to fill in the holes as it were, and substantiate as factual my side of the story. There are some things he could not or would not know. To wit:
Rajamani cited the couple as being Australian and thus then by default, the boy with the couple being Australian. Of course, such was not the case. It may be even that it was only the man of the couple that was Australian, with the woman actually being American. My suspicions are such because of the passport situation as told to me by my uncle. I never saw the passport in question, but he stated he had seen a passport with a picture of the woman and myself among the things he found at his mother's following his mother's death. Although the couple left me at my grandmother's, how or why the woman's passport itself would fall into the hands of my grandmother on my father's side in Pennsylvania for any reason at all is not clear. However, if the woman was American and stayed in America she might not need one. Also, if she did need a passport and she was pictured with a son and no son was evident, that could cause a problem. As well, if she was Australian or an American traveling with her Australian husband she may have had a second passport --- an Australian one without a picture of a boy.
Every now and then someone comes forward and takes issue with --- or opines --- that Ramana would NOT have had, from his highly Enlightened state, as nearly a vested interest in MY overall well being relative to my REAL family at the level, or any level for that fact, as I have put forth in the above (i.e., Ramana's concern with my return home, real mother, etc.).
Sri Ramana was Awakened to the Absolute following what has been called his First Death Experience at age 17. Most people take it from there that he was thus then a fully Enlightened being and that was it, moving to the caves of the holy hill Arunachala then to his ashram in later years, eventually becoming the sage he came to be known by all.
However, what most people don't realize is that some fifteen years following that initial death experience, in 1912 at age 32, Ramana had a little known and little talked about Second Death Experience. That second death experience, even though Ramana was known and admired as a fully Enlightened being, did however, even though fully Enlightened --- and this may seem an oxymoron --- modifiy his long standing approach to obscurity and life. Ramana's second death experience seemingly opened the door for or an embracing of family and outsiders that previously had not manifested itself in Ramana's previous outward actions. To wit:
This new experience may not have upstaged his previous realization (but) it did serve to reintegrate him with his bodily vehicle and with life.
After this he was more at ease in everyday circumstances, and began to increasingly associate with those seekers who gathered around him.
As time plays out you can see the difference between Ramana's first death experience and his later 1912 second expericence. Within weeks of Ramana's arrival in Tiruvannamalai his mother and her oldest son visited Ramana and tried to convince Ramana to return home, all to no avail. Sometime shortly thereafter Ramana went up the hill to live in Virupaksa Cave. He stayed there sixteen years (1899-1916), then moved to Skandasramam Cave, a little higher up the hill (1916-1922).
Soon after Ramana's mother return home her eldest son died. Two years later, Ramana's younger brother, Nagasundaram, paid a brief visit. Ramana's mother visited a second time then a third. During the third visit she fell ill for several weeks with symptoms of typhoid. Ramana himself nursed her back to health and she returned home.
Not long after her return from that third trip, the wife of her youngest son died. Following the death of her son's wife, early in 1916, a mutual decision was made between mother and son to join Ramana in Tiruvannamalai, she resolving to spend the rest of her life with Ramana. In the process, after arrival, she received intense spiritual training, donned the ochre robe, and took charge of the Ashrama kitchen. Ramana's younger brother became a sannyasin taking the name Niranjanananda, albeit affectionately called among Ramana devotees Chinnaswami (the Younger Swami).
In 1920 the health of Ramana's mother began to deteriorate. For two years Ramana tended her with care and affection, spending many sleepless nights sitting up with her. She died on May 19, 1922. Her body was taken down the hill and interred. While the ceremonies were being performed, Ramana himself stood silently looking on. Chinnaswami took up residence near the tomb and Ramana, who continued to remain at Skandasramam, visited the tomb daily. Then, about six months after his mother's death, Ramana came down from the caves where he had lived those twenty plus years one last time --- to STAY at the tomb with her, and in doing so, the Ramana Ashram was born, being built from the ground up around him.
Here is Ramana, fully and totally Awakened to the Absolute, spending sleepless nights sitting up with his sick mother. Then when she died, moving down from his caves, this after over twenty years, to be near her tomb. Little wonder he might manifest some concern over my plight.
It is well known from a long verbal history of followers and eyewitnesses, as well as for example, from a number of highly valid and respected writers and authors such as Sri Ramana adherent David Godman, that in the last 54 years of his life Ramana NEVER traveled more than a mile and a half away from the base of his holy hill, Arunachala --- that is, traveled via what most would consider "in the traditional sense." Even so, he did have several fully conscious and fully recorded bilocation experiences he rarely discussed wherein he was translocated from his ashram in a matter of minutes to devotees many, many miles away.
Translocation or bilocation notwithstanding, throughout his life, especially so to outsiders, the Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi never exhibited the slightest interest in the instrument or method of use behind such experiences, namely Siddhis, occult abilities, or psychic powers. His personal belief was that a Realized person may not necessarily have Siddhis initially, but may later seek or acquire them after realization (i.e., Queen Chudala in the Yoga Vasishtha). He also said that some Realized persons need not have any siddhis.
In one of Ramana's most well documented bilocation experiences --- and the most interesting --- Ramana biographer Arthur Osborne writes in Ramana Maharshi And The Path of Self-Knowledge (York Beach: Samuel Weiser, Inc., 1995, pages 96-97):
"One day, some years ago, I (Sri Ramana) was lying down and awake when I distinctly felt my body rise higher and higher. I could see the physical objects below growing smaller and smaller until they disappeared and all around me was a limitless expanse of dazzling light. After some time I felt the body slowly descend and the physical objects below began to appear. I was so fully aware of this incident that I finally concluded that it must be by such means that Sages using the powers of Siddhis travel over vast distances in a short time and Appear and Disappear in such a mysterious manner. While the body thus descended to the ground it occurred to me that I was at Tiruvottiyur though I had never seen the place before. I found myself on a highroad and walked along it. At some distance from the roadside was a temple of Ganapati and I entered it."
The reason I say the above bilocation experience is the most interesting in regards to Ramana --- and to that of other bilocation experiences --- is because not only was it documented on Ramana's side, it was also documented on the other side by Ganapathi. Osborne writes:
"About a year after his first meeting with Sri Bhagavan, Ganapathi Muni experienced a remarkable outflow of his Grace. While he was sitting in meditation in the temple of Ganapati at Tiruvottiyur he felt distracted and longed intensely for the presence and guidance of the Bhagavan. At that moment Sri Ramana entered the temple. Ganapati prostrated himself before him and, as he was about to rise, he felt the Maharshi's hand upon his head and a terrifically vital force coursing through his body from the touch; so that he also received Grace by touch from the Master."
Other examples of bilocation experiences between Ramana and devotees include those of Paul Brunton and Robert Adams. Brunton had numerous visitations by Sri Ramana similar to the experiences described by Ramana in relation to Ganapathi Muni. Nearly all of Brunton's experiences occurred in England thousands of miles from the ashram, with the last occurring some fifteen months AFTER the holy man's physical death in 1950. The sage appeared before him and told him that they had to part. Brunton experienced no further similar visions after that.
In a biography of sorts of Adams by a former student, friend, and person in his own right, Edward Muzika, it is written that by age seven Adams, who lived in the United States at the time --- again thousands and thousands of miles away from the ashram --- was experiencing Siddhis that involved Ramana. According to Muzika, on more than one occasion, Adams, in his pre-teen years, was confronted by a man with white hair and white beard that "spoke to him in a language he could not understand." Muzika, speaking of Adams, goes on to say:
Years later, after his awakening experience, he was looking through a book on the teachings of Ramana Maharshi when he saw that sage’s picture. "I was shocked!" he said, "The hair on my head and neck stood straight up. The little man who had lectured me all those years was Ramana!"
In another thousands of miles away example of Awakening in both time and place, Lee Lozowick, also an American (born in the U.S., 1943), has said that the spiritual heir to Swami Ramdas, the venerated Indian holy man Yogi Ramsuratkumar, was the source of his Awakening --- an Awakening that occurred at least ONE FULL YEAR BEFORE he ever met the yogi in the flesh in the first place. In an interview Lozowick was asked how it could be possible that someone would be the source of somebody else's Awakening that occurred before they ever met? Lozowick responded with:
"Well, to a spiritual master there's no such thing as the past, the present or the future. To us everything happens very linearly. In 1975 this shift of context happened for me. In 1976 I met Yogi Ramsuratkumar (i.e., for the first time). In 1983 I really dedicated myself to him as my teacher. But to him when Jesus was born might be fifty years in the future. And some person that to us hasn't even been born yet, to him is like a living, breathing presence. Time is completely malleable. So for a master like Yogi Ramsuratkumar the past, the present and the future are completely interchangeable, and he can shift them around at his will. I can't describe that according to a law of physics although I'm sure that's possible. But that's how it is."
See: ABIDING IN THE SELF THERE IS NO SPACE-TIME
THE LAMP AND THE LIGHT METAPHOR
As previously cited above:"An individual that knows Dharma can be compared to a lamp that lights up the darkness. One who is close will see clearly, while those further away will see less clearly. After a period of time the lamp's light may go out or be extinguished, but then, from time to time, the lamp will be relit, again providing illumination." (source)
In things spiritual the lamp is truly an ancient symbol, cited by many as going back to, or possibly even before, the parting words of the Buddha: "Be a lamp unto thyself" --- the basis for the Ch'an idea of the Transmission of the Lamp.
In the Platform Sutra the relationship between Ch'an and Wisdom is explained in terms of the "lamp-and-light" metaphor. It is comparable to the lamp and the light that it gives forth. If there is lamp, there is light. If there is light, there is lamp. The lamp is the substance, t'i, of the light. The light is the function, yung, of the lamp. Although in name two, in substance they are not two. In Chapter IV, Samadhi and Prajna, of the Platform Sutra, the Sixth Patriarch of Ch'an Buddhism, Hui Neng, is quoted as saying:
"Learned Audience, to what are Samadhi and Prajna analogous? They are analogous to a lamp and its light. With the lamp, there is light. Without it, it would be darkness. The lamp is the quintessence of the light and the light is the expression of the lamp. In name they are two things, but in substance they are one and the same. It is the same case with Samadhi and Prajna."
The substance-function, t'i-yung, logic was present already in the "water-and-wave" metaphor in the Awakening of Faith. The nonduality of the rays of the sun from the sun has been spoken of by the Lankavatara Sutra. In the Platform Sutra, however, the "lamp-and-light" imagery is used to show Ch'an as both the means and the end. The mind is luminous and all illuminating. Enlightenment is only the mind (lamp) allowed to shine forth by itself (light). The mind is none other than its own Enlightenment. (Shen-hsiu)
In a somewhat further clarification of the light lamp analogy, but closer to those as seen in layman's terms, the Bhagavan Sri Ramana's first western disciple Frank H. Humphreys, writes:
"Take a piece of glass, paint colours and forms on it, and put into a magic lantern, turn on a white light, and the colours and forms painted on the glass are reproduced on the screen. If that light were not turned on, you would not see the colours of the slide on the screen.
"So is it with an ordinary man. His mind is like the screen. On it shines the light, dulled and changed because he has allowed the many-sided world to stand in the way of the Light (God). He sees only the effects of Light (God) instead of the Light (God), and his mind reflects the effects he sees just as the screen reflects the colours on the glass. Take away the prism and the colours vanish, absorbed back into the white light from whence they came. Take away the colours from the slide and the light shines clearly through. Take away our sight the world of effects we see, and let us look only into the causes, and we shall see the Light (God)."
Robert Adams was at the Ramana ashram --- or at least in the caves above the ashram --- some three years or slightly longer, from the fall of 1946 until the death of the Maharshi in 1950. The other American so alluded to in the above article, the much younger of the two, had arrived at the ashram a year or so BEFORE Adams and already departed before Adams' arrival --- in turn placing Adams in the day-to-day conventional time frame reference, physically, as most likely the last American sitting disciple in the ashram of the Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi. The "Last" in Last American Darshan refers to the incident at the stage stop some years afterwards as found in the link below --- as well as refering to our present time, with the Wanderling being the last of the two boys still alive.
A whole section on Robert Adams, who I met on at least two occasions, and how he relates to Sri Ramana and the incidents as they unfold in the context of above text as well as links to further information regarding him, his background, and various interactions between himself and followers, INCLUDING the rather interesting written account of both meetings beween the Wanderling and Robert Adams (the first meeting is presented briefly below), can be found by going to:
THE MEETING: AN UNTOLD STORY OF SRI RAMANA
THE FIRST MEETING:
Interestingly enough, in the year or so that elasped BETWEEN the time I was at the Ramana ashram and Adams' arrival at Tiruvannamalai, unbeknownst to either of us, we inadvertently crossed paths. Then again, many years later, both as grown ups, we crossed paths again, yet again inadvertently.
During that later crossing of paths sequence Adams told me he was sure he recognized me, having seen me once before, many years previously. He remembered me specifically because he was at the temple of Paramahansa Yogananda's Self-Realization Fellowship near San Diego in the process of possibly becoming a monk with the order. He said he was around 16 or 17 years old and been there a few months when I was brought in by a man with a beard to see Yogananda. He said it seemed I had been to India a year or so prior and returned with what the man with the beard --- my father --- was concerned with as being an odd preception of the world. Conjecturing somehow that the problem might be spritual in nature, my father began taking me around to a variety of people he thought might be able to shed some light on the situation. Eventually, in the process, ending up taking me to Yogananda at the exact sametime Adams just happened to be there (some years later, for much the same reasons, I would be taken to see another American of equally great spiritual Attainment by the name of Franklin Merrell-Wolff).
NOTE: In the above I have reported it as Adams recalled it regarding our encounter. However, at the time we are talking about here between Adams and myself at the Fellowship, circa mid-1940s plus, my father was NOT in the picture and would not be for several years. The man with the beard that Adams saw me with was not my father, but my uncle.
As described in the main text above, following the death of my mother my father dissolved the family and disappeared into the hinterlands heavy into alcohol. After returning from my trip to India I ended up living with my grandmother on and off for a few years. It was she who was initially concerned about my seemingly askew perspective on things. In turn, because of her concerns, she contacted my uncle to see if he had any idea where my father was. Almost immediately my uncle came out to assist, the first of several trips before he actually remained on a permanent basis.
My uncle, who, although he had at one time met and knew both Rabindranath Tagore and the Zen master Sokei-an, he was not totally versed in things spiritual. He only selected Swami Prabhavananda of the Southern California Vedanta Society and then Paramahansa Yogananda of the Self-Realization Fellowship for me to be taken to not because he knew them or was familiar with their works, but for no other reason than both were of the highest profile in the Eastern spiritual movement that had taken root on the west coast following World War II. The fact that Robert Adams was at the Self-Realization Fellowship at the exact same time as my visit was pure coincidence.
Some people have asked if, upon seeing me at the Self-Realization Fellowship and how I may have been in a possible altered state, that is, having an odd preception of the world as my grandmother so aptly put it after have been to India, Adams may have been directly influenced by ME to go to India himself and seek out Sri Ramana. I take no credit for any such endeavor on his part in reality or speculatively. Nor do I have reason to do so.
DARSHAN: Darshan is the blessings communicated through being in the presence of a holy person. Merely looking at the guru and receiving the guru's glance has been proven in cases over and over if the mind is ripe --- or so it seems --- to transfer an immense spiritual energy, which CAN, as seen above in the incident between Ramana and the young boy in the main text, profoundly transform one's consciousness. Although not exactly the same specifically, generally Darshan is similar in respect to the role that Dokusan plays in Zen and Buddhism. The formal meeting between student and teacher basically coming up through the system to Zen and Buddhism from Indian tradition. See:
DOING HARD TIME IN A ZEN MONASTERY
BEING UNDER BRITISH POST
Now, while it is true there were in place a number of strict, official and theoretically unbending rules and sanctions regarding the necessity of opening, reading, and censoring of ALL mail during the period, both domestic and overseas, as the war wore on and the allies began to strengthen their positions with an ever apparent possibility of an outright win and ending of the hostilities, the strict enforcement of censored mail began to wane. So too, local areas, districts, and country facilities designed specifically to read and censor mail approached their duties with a varying amount of discretion. The following quote from the era in question, albeit presented from a much larger context regarding the censorship of mail during World War II, seems to present the general prevailing mood. Speaking to a rather long statement regarding censorship, the author, a onetime official within the system, offers the following:
"(This is the statement that would) seem to make OFFICIAL the censorship of domestic mail --- as well as remedy the inadequacies of random sampling as a censorship technique. But, opening all mail is surely not a practicable procedure, and indeed, the evidence is that this was not the practice. The censors must quickly have abandoned that goal in favor of the kind of profiling that would single out possibly suspicious items from the mainstream of commercial and routine correspondence."
I have no excessive over concern or personal vested interest in how efficient censorship was or was not. My only interest initially was to learn why, then point out that it was not totally impossible or out of the question for letters of any kind, the ones to my father or anybody else, to slip through the censorship process unopened. If the letters had been opened by any means I would not have known if it had been done by censors and censors only, by my father, by both, or by the hands of others. In the fact that all three letters had NEVER been opened after they were posted means that NOBODY had ever been privy to the contents of the information inside until I read them.
There is one very mysterious caveat to this whole "postmarked letters from India" thing, which for me has remained unclear to this day. In with the letters my father wrote and my cousin found, was a large manila envelope addressed to the same street address I was living at the time while my mother was still alive and the family still intact. The envelope was postmarked as having been sent from the Pennsylvania town my grandmother on my father's side lived, intimating, because it had been postmarked --- and the fact that my cousin had it --- that the large envelope had been mailed alright, but most likely NOT received by someone on the California end. The reason the large manila envelope raises concerns is because when my cousin found it, it had NOT been opened. Able to feel something was in the envelope and hoping it might be money --- as he laughingly told me --- he opened it. What he found was the three letters from India.
It is my contention that after my grandmother on my mother's side received the letters, in that they were addressed to my father, she placed them unopened in the large envelope and sent them to the address where my family lived before my mother died --- apparently having arrived sometime well after her death, we moved, and my father left. The envelope was then most likely routinely "returned to sender" via the post office, only later to be found by my uncle when he traveled to Pennsylvania upon the death of his mother. I am unable to confirm all of the above because my cousin, after opening the envelope, cut out the section where the stamps were thinking they might be of some value, then disposed of the envelope. The section with the stamps had a postmark alright, but no sign of a "return to sender" imprint which must have been somewhere on the main body of the envelope.
Can a person truly be Awakened in a single sitting as the following from above, as quoted below, seems to intimate:
"Within an hour of his face-to-face meeting with Sri Bhagavan, his mental barriers were reduced to nothingness."
In the early stages of Chapter I of the Platform Sutra of the 6th Patriarch, Hui Neng, Hui Neng, offers us the following of how, as a very young boy out selling firewood one day --- with no known previous indepth spiritual training or religious background --- his Enlightenment came about:
"I was selling firewood in the market one day, when one of my customers ordered some to be brought to his shop. Upon delivery being made and payment received, I left the shop, outside of which I found a man reciting a sutra. As soon as I heard the text of this sutra my mind at once became Enlightened."
Prior to the Indian holy man Ramakrishna reaching Attainment, he was approached by the Digambara Monk Totapuri with the proposal that he receive initiation into Advaita Vedanta. When Ramakrishna, a follower of Mother Kali --- thinking to do so required concentrating deeply on the Goddess --- the austere naked monk Totapuri took a sharp stone and pressed it firmly against Ramakrishna's forehead. Totapuri then instructed him to concentrate on the pain, assuring him that he could transcend the divine form and merge into the infinite expanse of the Absolute. Once more, Ramakrishna meditated and, "with the sword of wisdom," cut through the divine form of Kali. Her form dissolved and his individuality completely disappeared. For three days Ramakrishna was completely lost to the world in a near state of suspended animation called Nirodha, all breathing and body functions slowed to a standstill.
Totapuri was amazed, because, like the Buddha's brother or cousin Ananda, Totapuri had practiced for forty years to achieve the same level of experience -- nirvikalpa samadhi -- the disappearance of individual identity in the Absolute. It occurred to Ramakrishna in a single sitting.
Coming Home, the Experience of Enlightenment in Sacred Traditions
Larson Publications, Lex Hixon, 1995
1942-1944 CAPTAIN MIDNIGHT Photomatic Code-O-Graph
The Captain Midnight decoder badge called the Photomatic Code-O-Graph found amongst the stuff at my grandmother on my father's side house, was distributed during the war years 1942-1944. Because of the metal shortage it was produced with enough overproduction early on so the same design could continually be issued throughout the war without the necessity of a new design created yearly as initially intended. The design allowed the owner to insert a photo of themself in a small open square at the top of the badge, replacing the photo of Captain Midnight that came with it. The idea for doing so was to create a personalized identification badge like those used in defense plants of the era. Once the picture of Captain Midnight was removed and the owner substituted it with a picture of their own, they were supposed to push down the four metal tabs at each of the corners so it could not be removed. The decoder badge found with the passport at my grandmother's had a photo of me as a young boy inserted in the square.