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RAMDAS’S STRUGGLE AND INITIATION

Ramdas struggled on in a world full of cares, anxieties, and pains. It was a period of terrible stress and restlessness. “Where is relief? Where is rest?” 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!” These encouraging words of Rama proved like a plank thrown towards a man struggling for his 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. From then onwards, a part of the time that was formerly totally devoted to worldly affairs was taken up for the meditation of Rama, Who, for that period, gave him real peace and relief. Gradually, love for Rama – the Giver of peace – increased. The more Ramdas meditated on and utter His name, the greater the relief and joy he felt. Nights, which are free from worldly desires, were, in course of time, utilised for Rambhajan with scarcely one or Iwo hours’ rest. His devotion for Rama progressed by leaps and bounds.

During the day, when cares and anxieties were besetting him due to monetary and other troubles, Rama was coming to his aid in unexpected ways. So, whenever free from worldly duties, be the period ever so small, he would meditate on Rama 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 Rama. Fineries in clothes and dress were replaced by coarse khaddar. Bed was replaced by a bare mat. Food, first two meals, were reduced to one meal a day and after some time, this, too, was given up for plantains and boiled potatoes; chillies and salt were totally eschewed. No taste but for Rama; meditation of Rama continued apace. It encroached upon the hours of the day and the so-called worldly duties.

At this stage, one day, Ramdas’s father came to Ramdas and 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, Rama would give him eternal happiness. Ramdas hereafter looked upon his father as Gurudev. This Mantra accelerated the spiritual progress of Ramdas. Off and on, he was prompted by Rama 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 in Ramdas 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 Rama was the only Reality and all else was false. Whilst desire for the enjoyment of worldly things was 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 Rama. Rama covering up and absorbing everything.

In order to swim this wide ocean of universal life, Ramdas wanted strength and courage, for Rama intended to make His ignorant and untrained slave pass through a course of severe discipline. One night, while engaged in drinking in the sweetness of His name, Ramdas was made to think the following:

“Oh Rama, when Thy slave finds Thee at once so powerful and so loving, and that he, who trusts Thee, can be sure of true peace and happiness, why should he not throw himself entirely on Thy mercy, which can only be possible by giving up everything he called ‘mine’. Thou art the sole Protector in the world. Men delude themselves when they declare, ‘I do this, I do that. This is mine, that is mine.’ All, Oh Rama, is Thine and all things are done by Thee alone. Thy slave’s one prayer to Thee is to take him under Thy complete guidance and remove his ‘’I’ness.” A hazy desire to renounce all and wander over the earth in the garb of a mendicant – in quest of Rama – wafted over his mind. Rama prompted him to open at random the book “Light of Asia”, which was before him at the time. His eyes rested upon the pages, wherein is described the great renunciation of Buddha, who says:

For now the hour is come when I should quit

This golden prison, where my heart lives caged,

To find the Truth, which henceforth I will seek,

For all men’s sake, until the Truth be found.

Similarly, the “New Testament” was opened and the words of Christ were read:

And everyone that hath forsaken houses, or brethren or sisters, or father or mother, or wife or children, or lands for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold and shall inherit everlasting life.

Likewise the Bhagavad Gita, which said:

Abandoning all duties, come to Me alone for shelter. Sorrow not; I will liberate thee from all sins.

Rama had thus spoken through the words of these three great Avatars – Buddha, Christ, and Krishna – and all of them pointed to the same path- renunciation. The resolution was made. At five’ o’clock in the morning, he bade farewell to a world, for which he had lost all attraction and in which he could find nothing to call his own. The body, the mind, the soul – all were laid at the feet of Rama – that Eternal Being, full of love, full of mercy.

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