Sulaiman Samuel Cohen was Jewish by race and Iraqi by origin. An accountant by profession, Cohen came to India in his early youth and settled down here for life. He worked in Bombay for a few years, then joined the Theosophical Society and lived at its headquarters in Adyar, Madras for five years.
During this time Cohen heard of Sri Ramana Maharshi, came to Sri Ramanasramam with the intention of staying fourteen days and stayed fourteen years, from 1936 until the Maharshi sed the body in 1950. He was one of the many staunch devotees who lived at Palakothu, a sadhu’s colony near the ashram.
Cohen was blessed to get an assurance from Bhagavan. After the house warming ceremony that he performed for the cottage he built at Palakothu, Cohen asked the Maharshi, “Bhagavan, you have given a home for my body, I now need your grace to grant the eternal home for my soul, for which I broke all my human ties and came.” Bhagvan stopped under the shade of a tree, gazed silently on the calm waters of the tank for a few seconds and replied, “your firm conviction brought you here; where is the room for doubt?”
Cohen remained at tiruvannamalai for some years after the Mahanirvana of the Maharshi. After a few years he retired to a Quiet life in Vellore. He died in May 1980 and his ‘samadhi’ is within the Ashram premises.
Cohen’s wide knowledge of Bhagavan’s teachings and steadfast devotion inspired him to write on his Master. His reminiscences are sublime and his elucidation of Bhagavan’s teachings is illuminating. His writings have inspired generations of devotees in their Quest. His booklet Residual Reminiscences has also been included with this publication and will serve to bring the Maharshi closer to the reader’s heart.
We are happy to bring out the 8th edition of this valuable and moving book on Sri Bhagavan written by S. S. Cohen. He was a staunch devotee who was privileged to move with the Master, was able to observe him at close quarters, experience his grace, study his teachings in the proper light and also record them all.
In this edition of Guru Ramana, we have included his small booklet Residual Reminiscences, recollections that are no less inspiring, hitherto published separately.
We hope spiritual aspirants will find this work both absorbing and useful in their quest.
This book, as its sub-title indicates, contains some of my reminiscences as well as the notes which I took down at odd times during my long residence in Ramanashram.
The memories of a close association with its celebrated Master Sri Ramana Maharshi, lasting for more than fourteen years, are vast, indeed, but the majority, being of spiritual nature, must needs remain unexpressed.
Part I Contains these reminiscences – my first impressions of the Master, his spiritual influence on his disciples, the conditions prevailing then in the Ashram, some autobiographical reflections and episodes, etc.
Part II consists of extracts from my notebooks, where from time to time I jotted down the English translation of the Master’s answers to questions almost as soon as they were given. They cover practically all the questions which a beginner on this path asks himself and which were actually put to him by me or in my presence.
Part III is the diary which I kept of the last two years of the Master’s life. It describes, in particular, the closing scenes of his earthly career as an illustrious member of that divine race of Rishis, who for thousands of years have sanctified this land by their presence and by their sublime teaching of the Absolute. Seekers of whatever cast or creed, race or colour, have found in him their ideal of a perfect Master. With the crystal clear reason of Gaudapada and shankara, and the peaceful, unwavering devotion (Parabhakti) to the supreme Quest, peculiar to the Vedantic Teachers and the path of Jnana, he satisfies both head and heart. Above all, the purity and love which radiate from him ceaselessly shed their beatific influence on all around him, justifying the appellation of “Bhagavan” given to him by his very early devotees when he was still in his teens, in consideration of his rigorous tapas and the original knowledge of the Absolute which he exhibited at that tender age.
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