Author Topic: Written in Light - 1  (Read 1448 times)


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Written in Light - 1
« on: April 17, 2009, 04:31:30 PM »
Dev Gogoi writes in his article Bhagavan's Photographs - Written
in Light, in the Souvenir, commomerating the centenary of the
Advent of Bhagavan Ramana, 1996, as follows:

[ Dev Gogoi like Graham Boyd, the Adminstrator of the Forum, had
been engaged in image restoration of Bhagavan Ramana's photographs.]


When the ancient Chinese sage obsserved that one picture is worth
a thousand words, he was right.  When photography was born less
than two hundred years ago -- still yet so young -- collective wisdom drew from the equally classical Greek to name her, quite literally,
"Writing with Light."

Bhagavan Ramana attained Mahasamadhi in 1950 and more than a century ago, He quit school and home to Arunachala.  Today, we
are left with, among other ineffable blessings, His photogaphs. In a language more direct than speech, silently in the light, He speaks.  Every individual devotee will hae his or her favourite image. Whichever it may be, Bhagavan Ramana appears alive -- powerfully present, full of compassion, totally understanding, radiating an all-embracing wisdom, peace and love.

How many of these wondrous artefacts survive?  Most of the original negatives were lost in a fire.  A current serial numbering takes us to over five hundred separate images.  Taking not too good photographs, halftone reproductions for which negatives, are no longer available, out of focus, over focussed or under exposed, too dense or too thin, or irreparably damaged, the total would perhaps be close to a thousand extant images.

A drop in the ocean, is, nonetheless infinitely precious.

The earliest surviving photograph of Bhagavan Ramana is dated circa 1900 [ Mountain Path says, it could be between 1899-1902].  He was 21 years old, sitting in the easy posture, looking directly, piercingly, at the camera.  Dense head of hair, jet black; body long limbed and lithe, fingernails grown rather long.  Behind Him is the bare rock and a triangular niche in the partly plastered wall of the Mango Tree Cave.  Photographer unknown. [ Mountain Path says it is from a Kumbakonam professional photographer, vide my separate post a few weeks back.]  Not too long out of 24-hour samadhi, this youth.  No, He is still in samadhi.  God!  Looks like all heaven has broken loose. Why didn't the glass plate, the lens, the camera, the photographer shatter and disintegrate into a blizzard of elementary particles?  It is a miracle.

[ This is the famous photograph, which we see in all Who am I? editions of Bhagavan Ramana.  Sivaprakasam Pillai not only had the teachings written down for him, but would have also seen the Self in flesh and blood.]

On one occasion, when Bhagavan Ramana was talking about His days before coming to Arunachala, He mentioned that He had been photographed with His uncle, but that photograph had since been lost.  On April 20, 1949, when some people wanted to know the year in which Bhagavan Ramana's first photograph at Tiruvannamalai was taken, Bhagavan replied:  "It was taken four years after my coming in 1900.

(Source: As stated above.)

Arunachala Siva.