Testimonial: Dr Abhimanyu Bishnu

Bhagavan for me.

I will try to keep it as short as possible, as Bhagavan himself might have liked it. He was a man of brevity.

It was probably three months ago that Pallavi mentioned about Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi to me. I had written a rather lengthy post on Facebook regarding life in general, someone had reconnected with me to her after 17 years (my ex-classmate) and I admit I knew very little about Bhagavan. Over the last four years, my spiritual quests had led me to Ramakrishna Mission Ashram (Chennai, Dakshineswar, Ranchi and Hyderabad) , Aurobindo Ashram (Kolkata, New Delhi and Pondicherry), Phool Chatti Ashram (Haridwar),  Deoghar Satsang Ashram (Deoghar) the Art of Living ( Chennai, Bangalore, Ranchi and Kolkata). Having only partially found my answers, I was tired, and in no way ready to allow some interloping “Bhagavan” to take over my life. I did not even take Pallavi seriously, because I had my own thoughts. I had not even read this blog properly, despite her giving me the link three months back. I was curious, but deluding myself, saying it was not time yet.

My problems are of not much relevance, but they include chronic prescription drug-induced health issues (might be fatal in 2-3 years time or even earlier), Dad’s death last year from bronchogenic carcinoma, loss of job/ financial issues and personal life issues (limited connectivity to my daughter post marital separation). Yes, all four things at the same time, and  I continue to dance among them like Shiva dancing, unmindful in the middle of all the problems of the world  (just to use a metaphor). Life was going on.

And then, it hit me, truly dramatically. Last month, my personal issues, which were resolving slowly, came back. My health dipped. I turned to the Bhagavad Gita to find answers.  Turned within, became still. Still no idea about Bhagavan. And then, one night, casually, I read about him on Wikipedia (no, I admit I had not even checked out Pallavi’s silent documentary by then).

It hit me like a train of bricks! Here was a person who was in the world but not of it, unaffected, detached. Loved sports before other things took over. Faced a complex relationship with his mother and dealt with it wisely. Studied in a Christian missionary school in his youth, was therefore exposed to multireligious complexities. Father’s death plunged his family into problems. Faced adversities, austerities. Health issues which might have crippled him, but couldn’t . Turned within himself , knowing the bliss and bane of solitude. Ardent devotee of Shiva, the three-eyed jnani . Dealt with his pain wisely, gracefully, and never gave up on loving people silently.

It may be heresy to say this since I am no one compared to him, but this situation eerily echoed my life and the way I had dealt with my problems. Here began the connect as I discovered Bhagavan inside myself. Add to this my several years (over a decade cumulatively) in South India, having seen some of the great Shiva temples of Tamil Nadu, and the prey was well and truly ensnared by the tiger ( to use Bhagavan’s own metaphor).

The next few days, I almost spent locked in my room, venturing out only for limited work (I work part-time), read, listened and meditated on Bhagavan. Listened to Aksharamanamalai, read up “ Nan Yar” and “Upadesha Saram”, saw videos on youtube and talked to Shiva ( yes, I do). I saw Bhagavan, Shiva and myself connected in the same continuum. And after several years of spiritual quests, my search was over. Or is the search just beginning, the earlier efforts were just a prelude?

Thanks, Pallavi. Truly grateful for your guidance and support in this period.

What appeals to me about Bhagavan? Let me not try to explain. It’s everything, includes everything. In Bhagavan’s own style, I prefer not to elucidate, but rather to infer. My true tribute to him is- Silent Admiration.

Was it a coincidence that all this happened around 14th April? My personal problems could have erupted earlier or later than this period. My inward journey could have been pre-dated or post-dated. But the fact that it happened around this time, and I was fortunate enough to view his Samadhi Divas on 14th April, means that whatever has to happen will happen, no matter how much one may try otherwise. In other words, the eternal play of Prarabdha Karma.

I have changed more in one and a half months than in the last four years. I am a different person, unaffected by events and the world. I have become silent, the FB page remains unattended, and my blogs, once my lifeline, need attention. The substrate (never overwhelming) desire for validation, of yore, has disappeared. The Ego is dying a slow death. But the Spirit has never been stronger.  It frightens me to death at times, but then Bhagavan’s and Shiva’s lustrous, peaceful eyes smile at me and say, “This is the play of Karma. Be still, be here in the Self and the Present.”

If Bhagavan had a monastic order, it wouldn’t have taken me a minute to make up my mind. But that’s his beauty- he believes in the Self and not in any formal religious orders. I can now extrapolate his teachings to most of my life issues. I plan to go to Tiruvannamalai in July (accommodation confirmed), health permitting. Bhagavan never let his physical problems come in his way. I don’t intend to, either.

Will my problems be solved? One of my friends recently passed away (I believe) from the same health issues as me. The other issues don’t have any immediate solutions, either. Fact is, I don’t know and don’t care. Solutions are damned, I am happy in just being. With Dakshinamurthy Shiva by my side, everything else seems irrelevant now.

Om Namah Shivaya

Om Namo Ramana

Jai Guru