When India was a British Colony, there were hundreds of kingdoms within India. The biggest kingdoms were Hyderabad and Mysore. The Maharaja (King) of Mysore had a devotional nature.
One day, the Maharaja of Mysore came secretly in the middle of the night to see Bhagavan Ramana and stayed until early morning. He wanted a private audience with Bhagavan. But Bhagavan ate in public and slept in public in the Hall. People were always around.
However, because it was the middle of the night, the Ashram management permitted the Maharaja to see Bhagavan in the eight by eight foot bathroom where Bhagavan bathed. Upon seeing Bhagavan, the Maharaja fell at his feet, and wept so profusely that his tears drenched Bhagavan’s feet.
The Maharaja then got up and said, “Bhagavan, they have made me king and forced me to sit on the throne. For this reason I am not able to come and stay with you and be in your presence. These few moments are most precious few in my whole life. After this, I will not be able to come. Please bless me.”
When Santhammal, a devotee, asked Bhagavan about the Maharaja’s visit, Bhagavan just said, “He is a ripe soul.”
Bhagavan never encouraged people to give up their worldly obligations or duties. His advice to visitors was that one can gain the required purity, strength, and awareness to advance on the path regardless of one’s station in life or geographical location.
Whatever one wants to practice, devotional prayer, meditation, chanting, some form of yoga, or self-inquiry, all of these are good. Bhagavan often said that it is the not physical contact with the Guru that is important, but the mental and spiritual contact. Even a person who is no longer in the body can serve as a Guru, if we become connected and influenced by their thoughts and vibrations.
Adapted from Ramana Periya Puranam (278 Santhammal)