Nama Article 5th Sep 2016
Source: The Vision
STRUGGLE AND INITIATION
Swami Papa Ramdas
For nearly a year, Ramdas struggled on in a world full of cares, anxieties and pains. It was a period of terrible stress and restlessness — all of his own making. In this utterly helpless condition, full of misery: "Where is relief? Where is rest?" this was the heart's cry of Ramdas. The cry was heard, and from the Great Void came the voice: "Despair not! Trust Me and thou shalt be free!" — and this was the voice of Ram. These encouraging words of Ram proved like a plank thrown towards a man struggling for very life in the stormy waves of a raging sea. The great assurance soothed the aching heart of helpless Ramdas, like gentle rain on thirsting earth.
Thenceforward, a part of the time that was formerly totally devoted to worldly affairs was taken up for the meditation of Ram who, for that period, gave him real peace and relief. Gradually love for Ram — the Giver of peace — increased. The more Ramdas meditated on and uttered His name, the greater the relief and joy he felt. Nights, which are free from worldly duties, were, in course of time, utilised for Ram Bhajan with scarcely one or two hours' rest. His devotion for Ram progressed by leaps and bounds.
During the day, when cares and anxieties were besetting him due to monetary and other troubles, Ram was coming to his aid in unexpected ways. So, whenever free from worldly duties, be the period ever so small, he would meditate on Ram and utter His name. Walking in the streets he would be uttering, "Ram, Ram". Ramdas was now losing attraction for the objects of the world. Sleep, except for one or two hours in the night, was given up for the sake of Ram. Fineries in clothes and dress were replaced by coarse Khaddar. Bed was substituted by a bare mat. Food, first, two meals were reduced to one meal a day and after sometime this too was given up for plantains and boiled potatoes — chillies and salt were totally eschewed. No taste but for Ram; meditation of Ram continued apace. It encroached upon the hours of the day and the so-called worldly duties.
At this stage one day, Ramdas' father came to him, sent by Ram, and calling him aside, gave him the Upadesh of Ram-Mantram — "Sri Ram, Jai Ram, Jai Jai Ram!" assuring him that if he repeated this Mantram at all times, Ram would give him eternal happiness. This initiation from the father — who has thereafter been looked upon by Ramdas as Gurudev — hastened on the aspirant in his spiritual progress. Off and on he was prompted by Ram to read the teachings of Sri Krishna — THE BHAGAVAD GITA, Buddha — LIGHT OF ASIA, Jesus Christ — NEW TESTAMENT, Mahatma Gandhi — YOUNG INDIA and ETHICAL RELIGION. The young plant of Bhakti of Ram was thus nurtured in the electric atmosphere created by the influence of these great men on the mind of humble Ramdas. It was at this time that it slowly dawned upon his mind that Ram was the only Reality and all else was false. Whilst desires for the enjoyment of worldly things were fast falling off, the consideration of 'me' and 'mine' was also wearing out. The sense of possession and relationship was vanishing. All thought, all mind, all heart, all soul was concentrated on Ram, Ram covering up and absorbing everything.
Please check these: Excerpts from a discourse by our Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji