Swami Rama Tirtha (1873 – 1906) was born Tirath Ram in a village called Murariwala in the Gujranwala district of West Punjab, now in Pakistan. By all accounts, Tirath Ram was a bright and loveable child with an extraordinary love of learning. From an early age, he devoured the literature of his own and other cultures. As he grew, his interests expanded to include philosophy, psychology, poetry, physics and mathematics. He had a particular talent for discursive reasoning and excelled in math.
In 1888, despite his father’s insistence that he go to work to support the family, he enrolled, at the age of 15, in the Forman Christian College at Lahore, specializing in Mathematics, and in 1893, he received his bachelor’s degree. In April of 1895, he earned his M.A. degree in mathematics with high marks, and soon secured a teaching position at a Mission College in the town of Sialkot.
In early 1899, Tirath Ram quit his post at the College and set out into a life of freedom and inner communion. Taking with him his wife and two sons (one of which died young), along with his fledgling disciple, Narayan Das, he boarded a train for Hardwar, and from there he slipped away from the others and made a solitary pilgrimage to Gangotri, the source of the Ganges River which lay hidden in the icy crags of the Himalayas. Thereafter, Tirath Ram found the freedom to roam in the Himalayan heights, becoming a mountain ascetic, climbing in the snows, bathing in the mountain streams, taking shelter in the forests, and sleeping in the caves. And it was during this time that he was drawn through love to ascend to a vision of God.
He was all Stillness, pure Awareness, eternally single and awake; while from Him all exuded and evolved and dematerialized once more. It was not a new Self he had become, but it was rather a revelation of the Self he had always been behind the illusion of a separate, independent self. In this new awareness, he saw the entire creation in Himself, and yet, in that Self, He was above all that is manifest, ever unaltered, ever one and complete. Rama had become enlightened and could never again identify with that earlier notion of who he was.
In his notebook, Rama wrote the following about his mystical consciousness:
“How wonderful! I have now discovered and realized that I am Brahman myself. I am myself the Turiya (the absolute Consciousness). The One whom we addressed as the third person is Himself the first person. The ‘third person’ is now no more. It is all One. There is neither me nor He.
Everything is lost in One. Om! Om! Om!!
Tears are rolling down, as if it is the rain of ecstasy of union.
O head! You are very fortunate today. O eyes! You are blessed. O ears! Your efforts have after all been crowned with success. This union is blessed. This unity is divine. This realization is sacrosanct. Oh! The word “blessed” itself is blessed today.
The dolls of ego and intellect have both been burnt down today. O you eyes! Your tears deserve all praise. Your God- intoxication has been glorified. O my most loving Beloved! Run, if you can. Run away. But, where to? If you hide in the sky, I am already present there. If you go to mount Everest, You will find Me there. If you dive deep into the sea, I have already reached that depth. If you enter fire, it is my own mouth. I am present in all the names, forms and the bodies. Who is to talk and who is to reply? Oh, the all-embracing condition of supreme joy at this stage; it is indescribable.
Ha, ha, ha, ha. How beautiful am I!! No eyes, except those of My own, can appreciate My beauty. Who has power to perceive my beauty, My elegance, My brilliancy, My splendor and My magnificence?
I am all absorbed in My own sublimity. But the pity is that there is no one to appreciate My loveliness, because I am One without-a-second. There is no one to care for My beauteous exquisiteness. Who can pay to possess this priceless Jewel? I am Myself the Lover and also the Beloved. Lover or Beloved? Neither. I am Love personified.
When I see outside, every leaf or flower welcomes Me as My own Self. Within Me, the clouds of ecstasy are thundering to drown every other thing. Gradually the limbs are becoming as though paralyzed. Time and space have disappeared. There is no distance, inner or outer. It is all One. It is all One.”
Quoted from History of Mysticism by Swami Abhayananda.
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