Chinmayananda and Ramana Maharshi

Swami Chinmayananda was responsible for bringing the teachings of Advaita Vedanta to the masses, and making what had previously been reserved for the very few, freely available to all, regardless of gender, nationality, religion or position in life. 

Here is some of his story.

Swami Chinmayananda was an atheist in his youth. One day while traveling by train, he passed by Tiruvannamalai, and was told that a sage named, Ramana Maharshi, lived there.

Feeling a pull to see the Maharshi, Swami Chinmayananda decided to return to Tiruvannamalai by the next available train.

He walked from the train station to the ashram in the blazing hot sun. Arriving at the ashram, he entered in the dark hall where the Maharshi was sitting with a few others. 

Here is Swami Chinmayananda's first hand account of what happened, excerpted from "Mananam," a magazine published in America by the Chinmaya Mission in the late 70's early 80's. 

"It so happened that I had sat down at the foot of the wooden couch. The Maharshi suddenly opened his eyes and looked straight into mine; I looked into his. A mere look, that was all. I felt that the Maharshi was, in that split moment, looking deep into me and I was sure that he saw all my shallowness, confusions, faithlessness, imperfections, and fears.

I was ashamed. But I did not want to take my eyes away from his embracing look. Yet I could not stand that honest, kind, and pitying look of pure love and deep wisdom. In fact, it was I who had to look away and the next moment, when I gazed at his face again, he had again closed his eyes.

I cannot explain what happened in that one split moment. I felt opened, cleaned, healed, and emptied! A strange feeling fear mixed with love, hate colored by affection, love honeyed with shyness, joy drowned in sorrow.

A whirl of confusions: my atheism dropping away, but skepticism flooding in to question, wonder, and search. My reason gave me strength: "It is all mesmerism, my own foolishness." Thus assuring myself, I got up and walked away.

But I knew. The boy who left the hall was *not* the boy who had gone in some ten minutes before. 

After my college days, my political work, and after my years of stay at Uttarkashi at the feet of my master, Sri Tapovanam, I knew that what I had gained on the banks of the Ganges was that which I had been given years before by the saint of Tiruvannamalai on that hot summer day by a mere look."

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