Author Topic: Part 1 - My Meeting With Ramana Maharshi By Mercedes De Acosta  (Read 915 times)

ramana_maharshi

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She was a Hollywood screenwriter. He was the most revered sage in India. Here's what happened when she visited him for three days.

Mercedes De Acosta was a Cuban-American screenwriter of the 1920s and 30s who was famous for her love affairs with Greta Garbow, Marlene Dietrich, Isadora Duncan, and a host of other beautiful celebrities.

"I can get any woman away from any man," she liked to tell her friends.

In 1938 she traveled to Arunachala to meet Ramana Maharshi and stayed for three days. She later wrote in her autobiography that these were the three most significant days of her life.

In 1962 she sent Sri Ramana a copy of her autobiography, from which this article is excerpted, and inscribed it as follows:

    To Bhagavan Ramana Marharshi, the only completely egoless, world-detached, and pure being I have ever known.

This is her account of what happened during her stay in Arunachala in 1938.
        

A SEARCH IN SECRET INDIA [a book by Paul Brunton] had a profound influence on me. In it I learned for the first time about Ramana Maharshi, a great Indian saint and sage. It was as though some emanation of this saint was projected out of the book to me. For days and nights after reading about him I could not think of anything else. I became, as it were, possessed by him. I could not even talk of anything else. Nothing could distract me from the idea that I must go and meet this saint. From this time on, although I ceased to speak too much about it, the whole direction of my life turned toward India and away from Hollywood. I felt that I would surely go there, although there was nothing at this time to indicate that I would. Nevertheless, I felt I would meet the Maharshi and that this meeting would be the greatest experience of my life.

I had very little money, far too little to risk going to India, but something pushed me towards it. I went to the steamship company and booked myself one of the cheapest cabins on an Indian ship, the S. S. Victoria, sailing from Genoa to Bombay toward the beginning of October. In the meantime I flew to Dublin to see my sister.

I had booked passage to Ceylon intending from there to cross over to southern India and go directly to Tiruvannamalai, where Ramana Maharshi lived. But when the ship called at Bombay, Norina Matchabelli came on board to see me with a message from Meher Baba saying that Consuelo [a lady traveling companion who was a follower of Meher Baba] and I must get off the ship and come to see him in Ahmednagar, about two hours from Bombay. I did not want to do this as my real purpose in India was to see the Maharshi, and I was impatient to get to him.

[The author had met Meher Baba in California and for some time evinced considerable respect for him. However, her faith in him waned prior to coming to India, and once there, it all but evaporated. At Meher Baba's request-one of the few she consented to-she first made a tour of India, delaying her visit to the Maharshi.]

In Madras I hired a car, and so anxious was I to arrive in Tiruvannamalai that I did not go to bed and traveled by night, arriving about seven o'clock in the morning after driving almost eleven hours. I was very tired as I got out of the car in a small square in front of the temple [Arunachaleswara Temple]. The driver explained he could take me no farther. I turned toward the hill of Arunachala and hurried in the hot sun along the dust-covered road to the abode about two miles from town where the Sage dwelt. As I ran those two miles, deeply within myself I knew that I was running toward the greatest experience of my life.

When, dazed and filled with emotion, I first entered the hall, I did not quite know what to do. Coming from strong sunlight into the somewhat darkened hall, it was, at first, difficult to see; nevertheless, I perceived Bhagavan at once, sitting in the Buddha posture on his couch in the corner. At the same moment I felt overcome by some strong power in the hall, as if an invisible wind was pushing violently against me. For a moment I felt dizzy. Then I recovered myself. To my great surprise I suddenly heard an American voice calling out to me, "Hello, come in." It was the voice of an American named Guy Hague, who originally came from Long Beach, California. He told me later that he had been honorably discharged from the American Navy in the Philippines and had then worked his way to India, taking up the study of yoga when he reached Bombay. Then he heard about Sri Ramana Maharshi and, feeling greatly drawn to him, decided to go to Tiruvannamalai. When I met him he had already been with the Maharshi for a year, sitting uninterruptedly day and night in the hall with the sage.

He rose from where he was sitting against the wall and came toward me, taking my hand and leading me back to a place beside him against the wall. He did not at first speak to me, allowing me to pull myself together. I was able to look around the hall, but my gaze was drawn to Bhagavan, who was sitting absolutely straight in the Buddha posture looking directly in front of him. His eyes did not blink or in any way move. Because they seemed so full of light I had the impression they were gray. I learned later that they were brown, although there have been various opinions as to the color of his eyes. His body was naked except for a loincloth. I discovered soon after, that this and his staff were absolutely his only possessions. His body seemed firm and as if tanned by the sun, although I found that the only exercise he ever took was a twenty-minute walk every afternoon at five o'clock when he walked on the hill and sometimes greeted yogis who came to prostrate themselves at his feet.