Author Topic: Ramana Maharshi Devotee Swami Chidbhavananda Shares His Experiences  (Read 3428 times)


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Swami Chidbhavananda joined the Ramakrishna Order at a very young age. Later he established his own Asramam near Tiruchi which is flourishing. His birth centenary was celebrated recently.

IT WAS in the year 1922 that a few of us religiously inclined college students undertook a pilgrimage from Madras to Tiruvannamalai for a darshan of Ramana Maharshi. The Asramam was then in its initial stage. An august person was seated on a raised platform, and it was evident he was the sage whom we had come to see.

Around him on the floor were seated a number of devotees, all intently looking at him, and we found our places among them. Silence reigned supreme. The presiding deity of the Asramam was the author of that silence, hence its perfection. This was a novel experience for us, but we took to this congenial environment quite happily.

There was no such thing as a formal introduction of newly arrived devotees. As others did, we sat quietly. Maharshi turned his penetrating gaze at us off and on. We felt ourselves highly blessed by his benign look. Occasionally he spoke a word or two, which was always pertinent and to the point. But his silence was more eloquent. An occasional smile revealed his bliss.

Visiting devotees often brought packets of sugar-candy or some such thing and offered them to him. He would help himself to a tiny piece from the packet and pass it on to the assembled group. Then and there it would be shared by the entire lot.

I made deeper personal contact with the Maharshi in the year 1928. I had renounced the world in 1923 and joined the Ramakrishna Math. In 1926 I entered the order of sannyasa.

From 1926 to 1940 I was in charge of the Ramakrishna Asramam at Ootacamund. During that period, when I travelled between Ootacamund and Madras, I took as many opportunities as possible to go to Tiruvannamalai in order to see the Maharshi. I was not inclined to talk much with him; being seated in his presence was more than sufficient. Occasionally he spoke, but his silence was what I sought and prized every time I went to him. A purified enquirer made a rich harvest of the blissful calmness that prevailed in his presence.

The Maharshi occupied a couch in a corner of a middle-sized hall in the Asramam. Barring this corner the entire hall was at the disposal of the visiting public, and anybody could go into the hall at any time of the day or night. Visiting devotees would quietly steal in, sit for a while in quiet meditation and then leave unobtrusively. One day a man following the path of devotion came in and occupied a place very near the sage. Then he unburdened all that lay buried in his heart.

His speech was choked with feeling. He poured forth, "I have gone on pilgrimage all over the land. I have been regular in my spiritual practices. Many a sleepless night have I passed in prayer. Still to this day I have had no mercy from the Lord. I am forlorn." He cried bitterly, but Maharshi sat unconcerned. Eventually all his suppressed feelings were worked out, and then in a measured voice the sage said, "Strange man. He cries – what is there to sob about? Instead of being poised in the blissful Self, he goes on wailing." This observation had a telling effect. The man saw that his problem was self-created, and a new chapter in his life started.

On another occasion a talkative man made his appearance in the hall. He chose to sit near the sage and unceremoniously raised a question, "Bhagavan, what is your view on birth control?" There was no answer, so the man explained at length the importance of the topic. Again getting no reply, he continued until he could say no more, and then fell silent. Silence reigned supreme in the hall. In the midst of this silence, Maharshi asked, "Do you know death control?" There was no response.

One day it was suggested to Maharshi that no spiritual progress could ever be made without sadhana, or spiritual discipline. After a pause he made these observations:

"Mind it is that binds man, and the same mind it is that liberates him. Mind is constituted of sankalpa and vikalpa, desire and disposition. Desire shapes and governs disposition. Desire is of two kinds – the noble and the base. The base desires are lust and greed. Noble desire is directed towards enlightenment and emancipation. Base desire contaminates and clouds the understanding. Sadhana is easy for the aspirant who is endowed with noble desires. Calmness is the criterion of spiritual progress. Plunge the purified mind into the Heart. Then the work is over. This is the essence of all spiritual discipline!"

During one of my visits I was seated at some distance from Maharshi. There were many devotees in the hall and the usual silence prevailed. I remembered his injunction to "Plunge the pure mind into the Heart," and decided to practise it then. I gazed at him and he gazed back at me. What followed was indescribable. His body seemed a glass case from which a blissful brilliance streamed out. More than half an hour passed this way. It was an experience unique and unforgettable.

It confirmed Ramakrishna's statement that spiritual experience can be transmitted from one person to another in the manner in which material things are handed over.

Bharata Varsha is ever the bestower of spirituality on mankind. Ramana Maharshi is verily a true spiritual son of this holy land, who spontaneously and impersonally showered benediction on mankind.

— The Mountain Path, Jayanthi, 1998



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Re: Ramana Maharshi Devotee Swami Chidbhavananda Shares His Experiences
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2010, 03:43:59 PM »

Dear prasanth,

Swami Chidbhavananda is quite popular in Tamizh Nadu.  In fact,
right from early 60's after he left SRK Math, he has been running
a Sri Ramakrishna Tapovanam, in a small town on the banks of
Kaveri river, called Tirupparaithurai, about 20 kms from Tiruchy.
He published a bulky hard bound book, a commentary on Srimad
Bhagavad Gita, in Tamizh, which was priced at Rs 5.00.  He has
also done a similar commentary on Tiruvachakam, equally bulky
and hard bound for Rs 5.00.  These two books have seen about
35 editions.  The price is somewhat more now because of inflation.
It should be priced around Rs 150 now.  The commentaries have
been interlaced with SRK's stories and anecdotes.  He is running
a orphanage in that small town, where Vedas and Tamizh bhakti
literature are taught to the children.

I am not sure whether he is still alive now.  My father had met
him several times, while we were in Tiruchy.

Like Chidbhavananda, Sri Chinmayananda has also met Bhagavan
Ramana, before his joining Swami Tapovan in Uttarakasi.  He has
said:  All that I had learnt for 6 years in Uttarakasi, had been taught by Bhagavan in about 15 minutes of His gazing at me!  He was
then called Balakrishna Menon.

Arunachala Siva.   


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Re: Ramana Maharshi Devotee Swami Chidbhavananda Shares His Experiences
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2010, 03:57:11 PM »
Thanks a lot once again for your valuable information Subramanian garu.

Sir, can you please let me know meaning of Tamizh sir?

I am seeing in your posts these days you are using "Tamizh" instead of "tamil" so got this doubt sir.

Is tamil nadu name now changed officially to Tamizh Nadu ?