The Maharshi did not encourage questions about rebirth. He would say: '"re you born now? Why do you think of other births? The fact is, there is neither birth nor death. Let him who is born think of death and the palliative thereof"
As to psychic powers, he said,: “In order to display siddhis, there must be others to recognize them. That means there is no Jnana in the one who displays them. Therefore siddhis are not worth a thought; Jnana alone is to be aimed at and gained"
Though the Maharshi usually taught only by silence, no sincere question posed to him ever went unanswered as is evident in the above sayings. He was once asked why he did not go about and preach the Truth to the people at large. He replied: “How do you know that I am not doing it? Does preaching consist in mounting a platform and haranguing the people around? Preaching is a simple communication of knowledge; it can really be done in silence only. ...Again, how does speech arise? There is abstract knowledge, whence arises the ego which in turn gives rise to thought, and thought to the spoken word. So the word is the great grandson of the original source. If the word can produce effect, judge for yourself how much more powerful must be preaching through silence"
The Maharshi saw to it that he was regular in this preaching of his till the last day of his life. Even when he was bedridden with a cancerous, painful growth on his left hand and consequent operations he was keen on giving his benign darsan to all the devotees who were waiting to have a glimpse of him.
A magnificent temple stands on the spot where the Maharshi's earthly remains were enshrined. Adjoining the temple is the 'hall' where the Maharshi 'held his court'. His silent preaching still continues in the hall, where devotees palpably feel his presence.
Sri Ramana Maharshi's teachings are as timeless as the Upanishads. They have an added significance in that they are directed towards people in all walks of life — not to the recluse in particular. The eternal principles of Hinduism that he taught were couched in simple terms — a simplicity that was surpassed only by his own simple life in Spirit. Even during his time his teachings had spread to the West and had drawn earnest seekers from abroad. He rejuvenated the Jnana-marga, Path of Knowledge, of the Upanishads, making it accessible to the modern man beset with problems peculiar to this age of strife and stress.
Acharya Sankara describes the Vedas as superior to thousands of fathers and mothers in their solicitude for the welfare of humanity.' They teach us about the immortal Atman, the real, luminous Self in all beings, and exhort us to know that Atman, leaving aside all futile talk.
One of the powerful channels through which the Vedic call was sounded in recent years was Sri Ramana Maharshi, whose plea to humanity was to find out one's real nature setting aside all vain disputations. Modern man will do well to hear this call and embark on the path to Freedom and Light.
About the author
Swami Yuktatmananda of Ramakrishna Mission Vidyalaya, Coimbatore, is a monk of the Ramakrishna Order. This article is an excerpt from His 'The Holy Beacon of Arunachala,' which is a narration of Ramana Maharshi's biography. In this article he describes about His teachings.