Author Topic: The Quest - Arrival at Arunachala - Jan. - Mar. 2010. - Lucia Osborne.  (Read 1943 times)

Subramanian.R

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Our stay in Kashmir was nearing its end in September 1941, as Arthur's six months leave from the Chulalongkorn University
in Bangkok was nearly up.  We were getting ready to return to Siam without having seen Sri Ramana Maharshi because our
friends maintained that it would have been far too hot for the children to go there from April-September.  Unexpectedly,
we received a letter from the British High Commsioner that women and children should not go back as there was likelihood
of the war extending to Siam.  Men holding positions of prestige should return.  One of our friends, David McIver, had a cottage
in Tiruvannamalai and it was arranged for me and the children to stay in it as he himself would be traveling most of the time.
I was delighted, probably because of the possibility of making a sculpture of the Maharshi.  We all left Kashmir and parted
at Lahore, Aruthur on his way back to Bangkok, our friends on their travels and the children myself to Tiruvannamalai. David
had already informed the Asramam about our visit.  At the station in Tiruvannamalai we took two carts, one for the luggage and
the other for us.  I did not notice much on the way not even the mountain Arunachala, as I was too preoccupied with the
children, three live wires, and seeing to it that they did not fall out of the cart and that the street urchins hanging on to the
back of the running cart did not get hurt.  There was also excitement over Frania who was nearly one year old starting to speak
for the first time and fiercely telling the boys, 'Jao, Jao' in Hindi which means 'Go, Go' or 'let go'.

Our friend's commodious cottage was in a spacious garden full of flowers.  A riot of flowers, red and yellow predominating. 
The first few days I was very busy getting settled and did not go to the Asramam. Kitty was five years old then was the first to
see Him.  A sadhu swami friend of David was also living  in one of the rooms and he took Kitty to the Hall of the Maharshi.
She was the first Western child to come to the Asramam and created quite a stir with her golden locks and appearance. 
She was used to being stared at and admired and blessed.  There was a small table or stool before the couch on which the
devotees put their offerings but when Kitty stood with her tray of fruit, not quite sure what to do with it, the Maharshi smilingly
pointed out to the stool and so Kitty, still holding the fruit, sat herself down on it with her back towards the Maharshi!  Someone,
possibly Bhagavan Himself remarked that Kitty was making an offering of herself.  I wondered later how Marpa the Translator,
the Guru of the great Milarepa, would have interpreted it.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                     

Subramanian.R

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continues....

Before leaving Bangkok for our holiday in India, Arthur showed me a booklet, probably Who am I? or Spiritual Instruction
received from India with a picture of the Maharshi in it.  The picture impressed me greatly as a model, so caught up in sculpture
was I at that time.  Perhaps this was a sort of Vichara (Self Inquiry), in clay to express the essence of the model, "Who are you?".
Never have I seen a face so alive, so serene, and wise, so interesting.  Even as a child, I used to watch myself and wonder who
I was and here was a book showing the way to find out but I was not interested to read it or simply it did not occur to me to do
so.  If Arthur was disappointed, he never showed it.  After arriving in Tiruvannamalai I still had the conceited attitude of judging
for myself and finding out just by seeing the Maharshi without ever having gone deeply into His teaching. 

On entering the Asramam Hall for the first time, from the door I perceived a figure reclining on a couch.  Actually I did not see
anything much except His extraordinary eyes transparent like water, looking at me.  There was no more question of judging for
myself or finding out.  Genuine, so transparently genuine, was He that to doubt it would have been like doubting the innocence
of a baby.  An extraordinary combination of such innocence and great wisdom.  I greeted Him in Indian fashion with the palms
folded in namaskaram and sat down on the floor among others near the couch.  I closed my eyes and the thought came to me
or it had, I could almost say, 'recalled itself to me', "There is only God. All is One." 

There was a feeling of great ease  mixed with unease.  Those eyes could see through me. I sat like that for ten or fifteen
minutes.  Someone told me that the Maharshi never shifted His eyes from me and that it was very remarkable.  But it was
not initiation.  This happened later.

I started going to the Hall mornings and evenings and concentrated on the heart, the spiritual heart on the right side. (Heart).
I did not find meditation difficult but sitting cross legged was another matter. How painful it could be in the beginning. But
I persisted.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                 

Subramanian.R

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continues.......

One early morning I sat down in the Hall, a few yards away from the couch to meditate.  Sri Bhagavan was busy with some
letters and papers brought from the office.  Suddenly it happened.  What actually happened is very hard to say.  Indescribable
bliss of not being weighed down any more, waves of bliss and fear, of lightness, as if my heart was expanding, expanding. 
In the midst of it I noticed Sri Bhagavan suddenly turning to me with a searching, almost startled look, letters and papers
forgotten.  Afterwards I tried to describe this experience and it turned out to be a poem which was surprising, as I was given
to poetry and find it hard enough to express myself even in prose.  The beginning of it I have forgotten.  It was something about
my confined heart trying to free itself. Like a fluttering bird flying out of its cage, into the boundless sky, into freedom void.

High, higher so near,
Over the waves of bliss and fear
High, higher so near,
fly heart shrank in fear of death
Was it Life?

Actually the expression 'high' does not express it.  It was without dimensions or embracing all dimensions, including a bottomless
precipice of void.  Nothing to hold on to it in fearful blissfulness.  Word are so limited.  I showed it to Sri Bhagavan in the evening.
He read it with obvious interest, sat up from His reclining position to read it, then put it under His pillow.  It felt very much like a miss.

Soon afterwards, the war extended to Siam, the Japanese having invaded the country and all communications from Arthur ceased.
Not a letter for four years.  No news at all even though the Red Cross.  Prompted by me, Adam, who was about three years old,
went up to Sri Bhagavan and asked Him: 'Bhagavan, please bring back my daddy safely.'  Sri Bhagavan nodded, graciously assenting.
That was enough.  It was astonishing how we did not worry on the whole.  Really strange, for someone like me, who was given
to anxiety and worrying over matters of  scarcely any import, watching my anxious thoughts angrily, unable to shut them off. Yes,
'to shut them off' like a tap, that is what I felt one should be able to do.  Worrying never helps, never changes anything, so why
harbor and activate such negative feelings?                 

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.

Subramanian.R

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continues.....

Often the children would come into the Hall, Frania still in the crawling stage on all fours as if prostrating.  Once she
crawled first to Sri Bhagavan, then to me.  He patted her saying to those around, obviously delighted, 'You see she did
not go first to her mother;  Bhagavan comes first with her.'   This He said in a most impersonal way.  Adam would run
jumping for joy and breathing loud like a little colt up and down in the Hall between the two rows of seated devotees,
men and women apart, occasionally stopping in his tracks to give me a brief hug.  Sri Bhagavan looked on with a smile
which Kitty described to her father probably in the last letter to reach him from us.  'Oh, Daddy, I am so happy to be here.
When Bhagavan smiles everyone must be happy.'

A most amazing vital period of my life had started.

*****

Arunachala Siva.