The author of this article, Sri C. R. Rajamani, presented the following talk
the April 25, 1998 Aradhana program at Arunachala Ashrama, New York,NY.
I have been a devotee of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi for over 55 years. I was in my early twenties when I first had His darshan. The event is still fresh in my memory not because I was at that age so mature, which I was not, but because of a very remarkable incident I saw on that occasion.
I went to the Ramana ashrama in the early forties when the Second World War was at its peak and our own independence movement was also at its maximum intensity. I am not certain about the date or the month of my visit; it may have been December or January. I remember the season was quite cool. The summit of the holy mountain Arunachala was shrouded in dense mist and clouds. The morning air was crisp and pleasant.
It was in the original small hall, that is remembered by the early devotees with justifiable fondness, that I first saw Sri Bhagavan seated on a raised platform. A cast-iron charcoal brazier was radiating a comfortable warmth, and a pleasing aroma of the incense thrown into it at regular intervals was pervading the entire hall. About thirty people, comprised of men, women and a few young boys were seated on the floor facing Sri Bhagavan. None spoke or even whispered between themselves. What struck me was, no one showed even an inclination to talk. Some were meditating with closed eyes. The silence was definitely not an imposed one.
Sri Bhagavan, his body luminous like burnished gold, was sparsely clad in his usual kaupinam and a small towel across his chest. He appeared to be occasionally dozing off and had to steady his head often. He frequently stretched his palms over the fire and massaged his long fingers. In spite of his apparent dozing, his eyes did not look drowsy. On the contrary, they were extraordinarily bright and alert. He was not looking at anybody in particular, nor were his eyes roaming about the hall in idle curiosity. Although my first impression was not a very uplifting one, I felt I was in the presence of an extremely affable person with a lot of natural grace, at perfect ease and without any pretension whatsoever. I was, however, aware of an effortless peace in the hall.
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. I then saw Sri Bhagavan's eyes alight on the boy for a brief minute. I thought it was just a casual look. The boy was all the time looking at Sri Bhagavan with a sort of fixation, as if on the verge of asking a question. But, no! He broke into tears. A cascade of tears came gushing out of his eyes. They were not tears of pain, for his face was radiant with joy. In temples, I have seen adults shedding tears in ecstasy, and had myself experienced that type of joyous outpouring on hearing a beautiful hymn or a moving melody, but I had never seen a ten-year-old boy from a far-off land exhibiting this type of beautiful expression in an extremely quiet and serene atmosphere. I could see that Sri Bhagavan's glance, though only resting on him for a brief moment, had opened in the boy's heart a veritable reservoir of pure joy.
I did not feel a remorse for my lack of receptivity that I ought to have felt. But I felt most fortunate to see a boy not even half my age showing such an alert sensitivity. The flat feeling I had experienced earlier was washed away by the joyous tears of another; I really felt blessed in an indirect way. Direct or indirect, blessing is blessing. Whenever I recall this incident, it creates a feeling of being very near to something truly Divine. Of course, I have had my own share of Sri Bhagavan's grace in my later years. I have also had some ever-fresh visions which I dare not devalue as creations of a fevered imagination for they have strengthened my faith in Sri Bhagavan. Some of them occurred decades after Sri Bhagavan's Mahanirvana. They have been firm confirmations of his continued Presence and reassurances of his immortal words, "They say I am going! Where can I go? I am always here!"
Now, returning to that first day at the Ashrama, I learned that the boy had come along with his parents, both of them Theosophists. The Theosophical Society's world convention is usually held at their international headquarters at Adyar, Madras in December-January. Some of the people from foreign countries choose to visit Sri Ramanasramam at that time. The boy's parents arranged a trip to Tiruvannamalai, but he stoutly refused to go with them, as he was not in tune with conditions in India which can never be adequate when compared with the posh amenities of his native Australia. However, he changed his mind at the last moment and did make the trip. Within an hour of his face-to-face meeting with Sri Bhagavan, his mental barriers were reduced to nothingness. 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 spoke in Tamil throughout, but the boy understood him fully. He bowed to Sri Bhagavan and reluctantly left with his parents, immensely rich with the newly-found spiritual treasure.
AND NOW THIS:
In an update to the Rajamani article above, the following paragraph is presented as found in SRI RAMANA MAHARSHI: The Last American Dharsan:
"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."(source)
Observations in the above paragraph are not meant to detract from anything Rajamani has presented. The information is simply being brought forth for the reader's attention because there are some things Rajamani would not have been privy to, or, in the end, could not or would not have known from his vantage point. Additionally, besides the information provided in the paragraph above, for example, there were the three letters written by the woman of the couple --- two postmarked from India and one from England and sent to my father with the contents of the letters outlining various aspects of the trip --- with all three left unopened and unread until I opened them.(see) As it was, Rajamani was not an interview reporter. He was simply a true Ramana adherent visiting and meditating in the ashram. He presented what he saw through personal observations --- most probably garnered from a distance and written sometime after the fact.
There are two fairly viable reasons why it is suggested that what Rajamani 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 no doubt that of a close surrogate --- and why, as found in the closing paragraph below, the suggestion carries any relevance.
First, in the preface paragraph to his article above, 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 "Original Source For Article" below.
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 to be drawn from such 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 "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.
SRI RAMANA MAHARSHI: THE LAST AMERICAN DARSHAN
RECOUNTING A YOUNG BOY'S NEARLY INSTANT TRANSFORMATION INTO THE ABSOLUTE DURING HIS ONLY DARSHAN WITH THE MAHARSHI
It should be noted that Adam Osborne, who, as a young boy grew up at the Ramana Ashrama and the son of one of the foremost Ramana biographers Arthur Osborne, played a prominent role in the Last American Darshan as linked above.
 ORIGINAL SOURCE FOR R.C. RAJAMANI'S ARTICLE
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
ON THE RAZOR'S
The three letters in question came into my hands well before Rajamani gave his talk at the 1998 Aradhana program. However, it was well after his talk and the publication of same under the title "The Grace That Brooks No Barriers" in the May/June 1998 (Vol 8 - No. 3) issue of The Maharshi (see) that what he said was brought to my attention. The following is part of what I have written about the three letters as found in the source at the end of the paragraph:
"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 liferaft sometime after leaving Cape Town, South Africa, primarily circulated around bringing me home." (source)