SelfDefinition.Org

Nisargadatta Maharaj

(1897–1981)

Nisargadatta Maharaj

Brief comments on Ramana Maharshi, as told by David Godman

From Remembering Nisargadatta Maharaj by David Godman

Q: What was Maharaj's attitude to Ramana Maharshi and his teachings? Did you ever discuss Bhagavan's teachings with him?

David: He had enormous respect for both his attainment and his teachings. He once told me that one of the few regrets of his life was that he never met him in person. He did come to the ashram in the early 1960s with a group of his Marathi devotees. They were all on a South Indian pilgrimage tour and Ramanasramam was one of the places he visited.

Nisargadatta with photo of Ramana

With regard to the teachings he once told me, 'I agree with everything that Ramana Maharshi said, with the exception of this business of the heart-centre being on the right side of the chest. I have never had that experience myself.'

I discussed various aspects of Bhagavan's teachings with him and always found his answers to be very illuminating. He asked me once, 'Have you understood Ramana Maharshi's teachings?'

Since I knew he meant 'Had I actually experienced the truth of them?' I replied, 'The more I listen to Maharaj, the more I understand what Bhagavan is trying to tell me'. I felt that this was true at both the theoretical and experiential levels. His explanations broadened and deepened my intellectual understanding of Bhagavan's teachings and his presence also gave me experiential glimpses of the truth that they were all pointing towards.

V. Ganesan, young with Ramana
V. Ganesan with Ramana

I have to mention Ganesan's visit here. V. Ganesan is the grandnephew of Ramana Maharshi and in the 1970s he was the de facto manager of Ramanasramam. Nowadays, his elder brother Sundaram is in charge. Ganesan came to visit Maharaj for the first time in the late 1970s. As soon as he arrived Maharaj stood up and began to collect cushions. He made a big pile of them and made Ganesan sit on top of the heap. Then, much to everyone's amazement, Maharaj cleared a space on the floor and did a full-length prostration to him. When he stood up, he told Ganesan, 'I never had a chance to prostrate to your great-uncle Ramana Maharshi, so I am prostrating to you instead. This is my prostration to him.'

top of page