85. Swami Ramdas. Part Four
Ram’s protection. Here are two incidents (out of dozens) of the protection afforded to Ramdas by Ram. He was staying in a small deserted temple in a Jungle for one and a half months. He would spend whole night, sitting or resting on a mat, singing Ram-bhajans or meditating. There were a number of wild creatures in the jungle surrounding the open door of the temple: 20 to 30 wild pigs, and long black serpents. He would freely walk through the so called ferocious pigs at night, none molested him. In the morning when he would shake the mat of his seat, there would be a number of scorpions beneath
Once Ramdas climbed to the top of a hill. He was standing on the brow of a huge precipice; the bottom of the hill was several hundred feet. Walking over this vertical cliff was an act of madness, but it attracted Ramdas. He was walking with both hands holding dry grass. Suddenly the dried grass in his left hand came off and his left foot slipped. Now he was dangling, by the side of the precipice. But he was unruffled, repeating the name of Ram. With great effort he pulled himself up, by Ram’s help. That night his mind kept on going over that incident, again and again, and the miraculous power of Ram’s protection.
Miraculous events. There are many strange incidents narrated in his trilogy of books. He could heal patients by laying his hands on them and praying to Ram for their recovery. Many would recover, but in one incident the recovery was temporary. One time people saw him, from a distance, on a hill with two devotees and a little later in a nearby village. Once a woman saw the vision of a monk seated at the bedside of his deathly sick husband. The husband (a friend of Ramdas ) recovered. The woman, who had never seen Ramdas, gave a clear description of Ramdas, and instantly recognized him as the same monk who was sitting by her husband’s bedside that night.
Ramdas himself said on his world tour, in response to a question, that he has often seen that a very depressed person, becomes peaceful after he spends some time in his company.
I have omitted dozens of fascinating events, but I cannot ignore the following incident. It touched me at the core:
In a village, Ram ordered him to go door to door for foodstuff. Ramdas had stopped doing this type of begging for some time, because he did not cook. If somebody would gave him food, he would eat, otherwise stay hungry. But this was Ram’s command. After 2-3 hours of begging he got some wheat flour, dal (lentil ) and one anna ( 16 annas make one rupee ). A merchant standing on a balcony called him and said, that if he wanted food, he could come at 12 o’clock and have food served to him. Ramdas accepted. It was about 10 am. He was sitting on a verandah of a house, waiting, when he saw an old man begging for alms in hot sun. He called him and gave the proceeds of his begging. The man fell on the feet of Ramdas, and said:
“At last God has shown Himself to me. I have been praying for years to see God. Is this a dream? I have been begging whole day and got only half an anna. I have a sickly wife and two children. They were going to starve”
Vision of Jesus. Ramdas was in a cave in Himalayas. He had been fasting (except water) for 5 days, thinking incessantly of God. There was no light in the cave. Suddenly, one night, the cave was filled with a strange light. Ramdas opened his eyes, and found a shining person sitting before him. Something in him at once told him that this was the great prophet Jesus Christ. He was dressed in a long chocolate colored robe. Locks of hair were falling on his shoulders. His face showed utmost sweetness and serenity, glowing with divine radiance. Most prominent were his eyes which glowed like stars. Ramdas was transfixed and went into ecstasies. There was another man with Him. Christ spoke a few words, but Ramdas could not understand him. This vision lasted for maybe few seconds. Ramdas was lost in ecstasy for the whole night
Vision of Krishna/Ram/God. After his blessing from Maharshi Ramana, he returned to his cave. Suddenly he witnessed Ram, as Lord Krishna, dancing and dancing on His flute. Ramdas was seeing him with open eyes. But Ramdas was not satisfied. He knew the vision would soon end and he will revert to darkness. So he begged “Lord it is all very well but it won’t do”. He begged for the ‘great vision’ the ‘vision of visions’, which stays forever, never leaving.
And it came one morning apocalyptically: the entire landscape changed. All was Ram, nothing but Ram, wherever Ramdas looked! The trees, the shrubs, the ants, the cows, the cats, the dogs, the inanimate things. Ramdas danced with joy, like a boy who has been given a lovely present. He embraced a tree because it was Ram. He caught a man (I have written earlier) who became scared.
The bliss and joy became permanent, like a torrent of water rushing downhill and changing in a level stream.
A comment. Ramdas is a sweet saint, a humble saint, a lovable saint. He is a not a mighty saint like St. Augustine. He has given the most candid and detailed account of his struggles, his methods, and his conclusions, much more than any other modern saint. He wrote many books and started an ashram which is still working.
He did not achieve God-realization by secret yoga techniques, not by concentrating on spiritual eye, not by breathing exercises (pranayama), not by following a guide (guru), not by adherence to the tenets of any religion. Then how did he get it?
In this humble mote’s opinion, it is by complete surrender to God. This is the last step one must take to achieve God-realization. The closest phrase in Islamic mysticism which describes it is called Twakkal.