"During the Fall of 1946, Robert Adams arrived by train to the town of Tiruvannamalai, a few miles from Arunachala Mountain, where lay Ramanashram and his future teacher, Ramana Maharshi. He took a bullock cart to the Ashram, was admitted, and stayed the night. Early the next day while walking back from the mountain, towards the Ashram, he spotted Ramana walking down the path towards him. An electrifying energy coursed through his body, and the last of what men call an ego left him."
BIOGRAPHY OF A SAGE, Edward Muzika
The American so cited in the above quote, Robert Adams, in the Fall of 1946 was marking the end of a long line of westerners that started in 1911 who visited or studied under the grace and light of the venerated Indian holy man the Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi.
Thirty-five years before Adams, the first in that line, an Englishman by the name of Frank H. Humphreys, serving as the Assistant Supervisor of Police in Vellore, India, visited that same venerated holy man, who eventually would become known as the Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, at the cave he inhabited on the holy hill Arunachala. In the process Humphreys became Ramana's first western devotee or disciple. In 1913 he published a series of articles in The International Psychic Gazette outlining his interactions with the Maharshi, putting into place, albeit to a limited audience, the first ripples of Ramana in the western press.
Following Humphreys' 1911 visit, a small smattering of westerners, almost all if not all, unrelated to Humphreys articles, happened upon Ramana. Probably the most noted was a largely anonymous young American world traveler seeking answers to life who visited the ashram in 1928 --- eventually staying two years --- having done so after having met and receiving advice from another venerated Indian holy man, Swami Ramdas. Ramdas and the traveler met in a temple in Madura and after hearing the traveler's story, suggested he go see Ramana saying, "He will give you what you are looking for." Which the traveler did. However, it wasn't until after a British author named Paul Brunton visited Ramana in January 1931, then having his book A Search in Secret India published in 1934 that attempted to exalt the full spiritual magnitude of Sri Ramana that he began spiraling upwards toward the level of fame he holds today. After Brunton's book a constant stream of people, including a slew of westerners, inundated the ashram to sit in Ramana's presence, pay respect, or seek his grace.
With his ever widening popularity, along with the good came an ever increasing outflow of disinformation. Although Ramana himself was unconcerned, having no real interest in such things one way or the other, a growing cadre of inner circle protectorates began ensuring the flow of information met their view of how the Maharshi should be preceived --- thus, in effect, creating a semi-power base that could if they were to so chose, the ability to discern who was or was not a disciple by supporting or advocating or eliminating or deleting.
Before Ramana's rise to fame, when he lived in the caves on Arunachala and in the early years of the ashram there was no control of information and what happened just happened, there was no one to say what should be said or stop it.
The aforementioned anonymous young American that visited the ashram in 1928, stayed two years, well before any controled flow of information was put into place, let alone thought of. He was also the same person that British playwright and author W. Somerset Maugham, chronicled the life of sixteen years later in the book The Razor's Edge. The anonymous American, conincidently enough, even though Maugham's book became a worldwide best seller, continued to remain anonymous because of Maugham's use of the cover-name Larry Darrell instead of his real-life real name as well as the thinly veiled Ramana-like holy man presented under the disguise of Sri Ganesha. The Darrell character was, however, one-and-the-same person that became my Mentor in things Zen and spiritual during my last years of high school and a few years thereafter.(see)
Interestingly enough, in my mentor's case, it didn't matter much if there was any formal or even informal information sanctions in place because the natural order of things took care of it. That hasn't stopped critics, skeptics, or guardians of the gate from pointing out there is little or scant evidence of him or anybody like him --- a Larry Darrell-like character for example --- having stayed at or visiting the ashram for any length of time in the first place. Those who lean in such a direction refute any claim that he WAS at the ashram, thus undermining that he did. It is pointed out that almost everything that ever happened to, about, or around Sri Ramana and the ashram was written down or recorded in some fashion. Yet, except for what Maugham has to say and perhaps myself, little else if anything, shows up anywhere that seems applicable to my mentor. Often cited as an example is Guy Hague, an American that visited the ashram in 1938. Hague shows up in photos with the Maharshi, on film, is mentioned in the official ashrama publication and is featured prominently in the book Here Lies the Heart by Mercedes De Acosta, who also visited the ashram in 1938. There is none of that for my mentor or a Darrell-like character.
You have to remember, when my mentor first visited the ashrama the Bhagavan had only just come down from Arunachala by a few years and located himself at the foot of the sacred mountain not far from Yama Lingam, the third of the cardinal point lingams. Until then he had been secluded in a small cave about 600 feet above and behind the present day ashrama called Virupaksa Cave for sixteen years (1899-1916) followed by another six years in Skandasramam Cave (1916-1922), about 200 feet above that. During all that time he was attended to by very few people and little was recorded by anybody until well after the fact --- especially aimed toward a western audience --- except possibly for the articles by Humphreys published in the International Psychic Gazette in England. Up until 1907 Ramana didn't even speak. For the most part, answers to any questions put to him, for example by his three primary devotees prior to that, Sivaprakasam Pillai, Gambhiram Seshier, and Ganipati Muni, were mostly written into the dirt or on a slate, with each answer ereased for the next question. When things did begin to be written down the information was scattered and incomplete, often from memory and usually revolved around the person doing the writing and THEIR experiences and interactions with Ramana and not that of somebody else. In that my mentor didn't write about himself, at least for public consumption or publication, that aspect of recording went undone.
THE ASHRAM DURING MY MENTOR'S STAY 1928-1930
In the early days the ashram wasn't anything like it is now or even how it turned out to be only a few short years after my mentor was there. At the time it was not much more than a mud and thatched hut stuck amongst a bunch of rocks at the foot of the mountain. It wasn't until much later when the ashram was more established with more permanent staff that extensive records began to be kept. By the time Maugham visited the ashrama in 1938 and Guy Hauge arrived for his stay some sixteen years after Ramana came down from the mountain, the place was huge with permanent buildings and offices, an oversize kitchen to feed the multitudes and growing so large that it even had the need for its own dispensary.
ASHRAM AS MAUGHAM SAW IT IN FEBRUARY 1938
As you may recall, only a few days before my mentor showed up at the ashram he had inadvertently bumped into Swami Ramdas on a spiritual pilgrimage one night in the Meenakshi Temple in Madura. Following the Swami's advice the young American traveled to Tiruvannamalai to meet Ramana. The Swami himself had left the auspices and good graces of the Maharshi some years prior after darshan before the Maharshi, followed by days in the caves on the mountain above the ashram. The time period for the Ramdas visit and my mentor was the same, but, unlike my mentor who was not much more than an itinerant traveler, Ramdas was a personage of some repute and status. However, you find very little written or recorded about his visit and stay by the Ramana camp. Almost everything revolving around the meeting emanates from Ramdas supporters.
Even as late as 1948, two years before Ramana's death, Henri Le Saux, a French Benedictine monk who eventually became known as Swami Abhishiktananda met the Maharshi, was very impressed by him and ended up living for months in the caves above the ashrama as well. Again, as with Ramdas, very little is recorded by the Ramana camp, almost everything coming from the Abhishiktananda side of things.
Maugham himself writes that Darrell did not stay at the ashram continuously. He had met a man that was a forestry officer and devotee of Ramana who would spend a few days at a time at the ashram. According to Maugham the forestry officer gave Darrell a key to a secluded forest service bungalow that was a two-day journey by bus followed by a long hike high into the mountains. Maugham describes it as a log cabin with nothing but a trestle bed, a couple of chairs, a table, and "not a living soul within twenty miles." My mentor pretty much agreed in principle with Maugham regarding the two-day bus ride and cabin story, relating it was an "isolated cabin" and a "forester's hut" and confirming the same or similar basic interior furnishings. The cabin was not completely of logs however, but made of at least some "irregular flat stones." The two-day journey by bus and hike into the mountains indicates two things: one, his Enlightenment experience, interestingly enough, did NOT occur on Arunachala, in the caves, or at the ashram like one might expect; and two, he was gone a good deal or at least part of the time. Taking into consideration the fact that he was at the ashram early on in its history along with the example of what little was recorded even of two such highly regarded individuals as Swami Ramdas and Swami Abhishiktananda by the Ramana contingent, plus adding the fact that my mentor was gone a lot, it could easily be that mention of him could go unrecorded, especially if you factor in that, except for a very short stop offering his thanks and bidding farewell to the Maharshi, he left the ashram immediately after his Awakening. Even though there is a ton of information out there regarding the traveler's visit to the ashram as well as a world wide best selling book outlining same, to this day, he is nowhere mentioned by the guardians of the gate of things Ramana.
At the top of the page it is mentioned that in Fall of 1946 an 18 year old American named Robert Adams, who was eventually to become a deeply spiritual person and teacher in his own right and considered by many to be in direct lineage of Sri Ramana, visited the ashram. Adams was said to have had a self-enlightenment experience sometime around age 14 or 15, with no real knowledge of what it meant. Through friends or study he somehow came to the conclusion that it might be spiritual in nature, so Adams, at age 17 and one year before going to India, seeking answers, went to the temple of Paramahansa Yogananda's Self-Realization Fellowship near San Diego with the idea of possibly becoming a monk with the order. He had been there a few months when a young boy was brought in by a man with a beard to see Yogananda. The young boy had been to India a year or so earlier and returned with what the man with the beard said was an odd perception of the world, a perception that was not too dissimilar to what Adams' recognized as his own.
For the man with the beard the meetings with the highly regarded yogis bore no fruit. However, years later Adams crossed paths with that same young boy in adulthood and told him he recognized him as having seen him at the Fellowship. He also said right after seeing him, rather than becoming a monk, he himself went to India and stayed at the ashram, or at least the caves above the ashram, for three years studying under Ramana's grace and light.
Two years before Adams' arrival at the ashram, that same young boy, also an American, arrived at the ashram, staying several months. He is still alive and well and living in America today. His story is well chronicled by longtime Ramana adherent and follower C.R. Rajamani (see below).
In 1981, in a series of 54 interviews with westerners on their search for spiritual fulfilment in India titled New Lives, Malcolm Tillis personally talked with Lucia Osborne, the widow of Arthur Osborne and a highly eminent person in her own right, in her home near the Ramana ashram. In that interview, given the number 34 in his book, the following is recorded as to have transpired between the two:
TILLIS: I was just thinking that you must be Bhagavan’s last living Western disciple who knew him in the flesh.
LUCIA: The last? — Oh — yes, perhaps I am.
The Tillis interview was in 1981, sixteen years BEFORE Robert Adams death in 1997, yet Tillis, in the phrasing of his question, seems to be of the opinion that Ms Osborne WAS the last living Western disciple who knew (Ramana) in the flesh. There in no thought, mention, or question of Adams, nor any of the boy that had been written about by Rajamani. That same boy is now a grown man and still alive living in America and was a close childhood friend of Lucia Osborne's son during the time the boy was at the ashram. So much so, that years later when her son reached adulthood, even in a sizeable crowd and across the room, he was still able to recognize the boy as a grown man.
The interesting part of it all is that a man of a high level of Spiritual Attainment by the name of William Samuel contacted her son, Adam Osborne, in an attempt to arrange a meeting with his father Arthur (i.e., Ms Osborne's husband), an effort of which is summed up in the following paragraph from the source so cited:
"Osborne told me that sometime prior to his father's death a man by the name of William Samuel had contacted him in the U.S. and expressed an interest in meeting his father. In their conversation Samuel told him that he and Osborne (the younger) had met at Ramana's ashram in India in 1944 and that during his stay, on the full moon of which he thought was April of that year, he, Osborne and another young boy and a few other people including his mother, circumabulated Arunachala. Osborne empasized the younger boy aspect with me specifically because Samuel thought, Osborne guessed, that the other boy (me) was his brother --- a twin brother --- because of our age, size, body build and look-alike curly haired mop tops."(source)
So, here is Samuel telling Adam Osborne that he saw Osborne as a young boy along with the other young boy and a few other people including his mother participating in Giri Valam --- circumabulation of the holy hill, Arunachala --- yet in 1981 she pretty much agrees with Tillis that she is the last living Western disciple who knew Ramana in the flesh, even though Samuel's death wasn't until 1996 and the young boy, now well into adulthood is still alive. 
It is not known how many times during her years at the ashram Ms Osborne participated in Giri Valam, it may have been many or few. One would think though, that most of the early stage circumabulations would have remained notable in some fashion --- especially so if they were few and her then young son accompanied her. As to the query by Tillis and Ms Osborne's reply, while it is true one could question if Samuel was a disciple of Ramana in the classical sense, having visited the ashram for only a week, it has always been clear that her son Adam Osborne was not a disciple. So said, from a mother's perspective, while discounting Samuel, in her mind she may have simply cast both boys, that is, her son and the other young boy, together into the same non-disciple pot. However, in the boy's case, unlike her son, it was known through the works of C.R. Rajamani and the scribes at the ashram that he had been in meditation sessions and darshan in the old hall as it has been recorded that:
"Within an hour of his face-to-face meeting with Sri Bhagavan, his mental barriers were reduced to nothingness."
SRI RAMANA MAHARSHI and the Last American Darshan
To show how protective keepers of the Ramana flame can be, take for example the highly respected and very pro-Ramana author David Godman who put together a small book about Annamalai Swami. The Swami was a former Ramana attendant and confidant that had Awakened to the Absolute through the grace and light of the Maharshi. The book contained transcripts of actual conversations between Annamalai and various seekers he met with at his ashram during the final months of his life. In it Godman included a few comments that came up regarding Sri Ramana's younger brother, Nagasundaram --- popularly known as Chinnaswami (the Younger Swami). The people at Ramana Ashram insisted the parts of the book related to Chinnaswami be expunged. Annamalai Swami agreed to a few of their requests but refused to delete others.
As mentioned above, in 1934, British author and self-described mystic Paul Brunton, after spending years in India under the auspices of a number of teachers, gurus and other spiritual notables including Sri Ramama Maharshi, had a book published titled A Search In Secret India. Over the next few years the book made both he and Ramana famous, Brunton rich, and spread Ramana's word and spiritual philosophy throughout the western world. Brunton, who died in 1981, was highly praised in the 1930s and 1940s, being considered a top dog and major mover in things spiritul India-wise --- however nowdays, even though he still has his supporters and followers, Brunton is either unheard of or fallen into disfavor.
Unrelated to any disfavor that may have come upon him in later years, in earlier years, after being a highly regarded member of the Ramana hierarchy, right after his book was published Brunton got banned from the ashram. Brunton said the ban was because of his 1941 book, Hidden Teaching Beyond Yoga considered by some as being critical of Sri Ramana.
In reality such was not the case. Brunton was actually banned in March of 1939, two years before the Hidden Yoga book was published because, it has been said, he did not have permission to write about Ramana in the first place and secondly, he had not given any profits from the Secret India book to the ashram --- the ban primarily formulated and enforced under the dictates of Ramana's brother.
According to Godman the original version of the manuscript for the book Talks With Ramana Maharshi, first published in three volumes beginning in 1935 up through 1939, but now done so in one, contained a record of Brunton getting banned in March, 1939. However, the whole subject surrounding Brunton being banned was deleted prior to publication and does not appear in any of the printed versions. Godman has published the original transcripts that show the undeleted version on pages 191-94 in his "Living by the Words of Bhagavan."
In reference to C.R. Rajamani cited above, the most respected Professor Laxmi Narain, compiled and edited a book entitled "Face to Face with Sri Ramana Maharshi, Enchanting and Uplifting Reminiscences of 160 persons" (Sri Ramana Kendram, 2005). Narain recently revised and updated his book by including an additional 40 face-to-face meetings with Ramana. Within those additional 40 face-to-face meetings, Rajamani's account of the young boy is now, and most rightfully so, included.
You can read the revised edition by going to the PDF online version of Laxmi Narain's book using the link below. Although all 200-plus meetings with the Maharshi are no doubt worth reading, for the specific one relating to the young boy, refer to Number 179, page 384, titled C.R. Rajamani:
FACE TO FACE WITH SRI RAMANA MAHARSHI
Enchanting and Uplifting Reminiscences of 202 Persons
Fundamentally, our experience as experienced is not different from the Zen master's. Where
we differ is that we place a fog, a particular kind of conceptual overlay onto that experience
and then make an emotional investment in that overlay, taking it to be "real" in and of itself.
AWAKENED TEACHERS FORUM
ZEN ENLIGHTENMENT IN A NUTSHELL
SPIRITUAL GUIDES: PASS OR FAIL
THE AWAKENING EXPERIENCE IN THE MODERN ERA
IN THE WAY OF ENLIGHTENMENT: The Ten Fetters of Buddhism
ON THE RAZOR'S
As to the subject of donations, for those who may be so interested as it applies to the gratefulness of my works, I invariably suggest any funds be directed toward THE WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT and/or THE AMERICAN RED CROSS.
When Humphreys returned to his native England he came into contact with the editor or the International Psychic Gazette, Felicia Scatcherd, telling her of his experiences with Ramana. Inturn, in three issues of the Gazette, May, June, and July 1913, she printed Humphreys impressions describing Ramana and his instructions. In 1925 the articles from the three issues were compiled into a limited run, limited release booklet. In 1931 the articles found their way into two chapters of Ramana's early biography by B.V. Narasimha Swami, SELF REALIZATION: The Life and Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi. Eventually they were put into a stand alone book titled Glimpses of the Life and Teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi listing Humphreys as the sole author. See:
A NON-DISCIPLE DISCIPLE:
Which brings us to the first western woman to be cradled under the wing of the Maharshi.
In the annals of ashram lore an English woman by the name of M.A.Piggot is invariably cited or given credit as being the first western woman devotee or disciple to have visited Ramana at the ashram --- the years given in some cases as 1932-1933, others after being influenced by Brunton's book published in 1934. However, as you will see below, her being the FIRST western woman devotee or disciple is not actually the case, having been preceded to the ashram by an American woman in 1929-1930 bracket.
During the first half of last century, unrelated to anything Ramana, there was a man of great spiritual prowess living in the United States named Alfred Pulyan (1896-1966). Pulyan was said to be an "American Zen Master" without the Zen nor the Buddhism, yet Enlightened in the Finality of the Absolute in the same tradition as in the spiritual Awakenings attributed to the ancient classical masters. However, as with what is often found in history it was HIS teacher who was actually responsible for his transformation. Although in things Pulyan she gets no applause or recognition, she does inspire a great deal of interest as well as an unending liturgy of curiosity for many because of her role in his Awakening and the fact that to this day she, a female Ramana without a mountain or a following, remains facetiously unknown.
While it is true Pulyan was not a disciple or follower of Sri Ramana, nor is it known if he ever claimed to be in his lineage, his unheralded teacher has been reported to have been at the ashram and studied under the Bhagavan during the same years as my mentor after a translocation visit by Ramana. Thus, even though her presence at the ashram was reported in the same annals of ashram lore as M.A.Piggot, it was done so in a rather obscure manner by a long time Ramana devotee Framji Dorabji. Even though the fact that she was there was recorded after a fashion, because of her own outlook and disposition, it never took traction. In personal conversations with me she did not disassociate herself from any connections to Ramana, but, in reality, she never truly embraced the Ramana type non-dualistic school of Hindu philosophy, Advaita Vedanta, at a very high level, chosing instead Zen and the precepts of Direct Transmission as her route to Enlightenment and what she advocated. Even so, according to herself and Ramana devotee Framji Dorabji, this American girl was there at the ashram under the invitation of and auspices of Sri Ramana himself, yet her name never shows up on any list of devotees or disciples, western or otherwise. It could be that the subject of translocation is too much of a hot button subject to introduce related to traditional devotees, OR if you are not on the approved list as the keepers of the flame see it, you don't exist. See:
It should be made clear the flow of information did ease up somewhat for the better in 1907 when Ramana decided to talk after years of silence following an interaction with Ganapati Muni.(see) That incident, added to his Second Death Experience five years later in 1912, which, as written by Peter Holleran in the Lost Years" of Ramana Maharshi, "seemed to mark his complete return to normal outward activity." Holleran writes, as found in the Second Death Experience link above:
"In 1912, when he was thirty-two, he (the Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi) went through a lesser-known second death experience which seemed to mark his complete return to normal outward activity. He remarked numerous times that the current of the self he had realized at aged sixteen had never changed, but while this new experience may not have upstaged his previous realization it did serve to reintegrate him with his bodily vehicle and with life."
After that second death experience Ramana was found to be much more at ease in everyday circumstances and began to increasingly associate with followers, seekers and disciples that sought him out or gathered around him. It was, however, with that increase in openess, and what was perceived by some of those around him as being an almost waiting to be exploited, child-like naivete of the Bhagavan, that the guardians of the gate --- perhaps initially viewing it as a good thing --- began circling the wagons.
For a complete rundown on the accuracy and authenticity of Ramana's writings and dialogues and how some of his early writings --- as well as later ones --- came about, written, or edited, with or without his grace, please go to the following by David Godman by clicking HERE. See also:
In a biography of sorts of Adams by a former student, friend, and person in his own right, Edward Muzika, it is written that by age seven Adams was experiencing Siddhis that involved Ramana. According to Muzika, on more than one occasion, Adams, in his pre-teen years, was confronted by a man with white hair and white beard that "spoke to him in a language he could not understand." Muzika, speaking of Adams, goes on to say:
Years later, after his awakening experience, he was looking through a book on the teachings of Ramana Maharshi when he saw that sage's picture. "I was shocked!" he said, "The hair on my head and neck stood straight up. The little man who had lectured me all those years was Ramana!"
The way the information has been laid out regarding Adams he must have seen the picture of Ramana before he went to India. That is to say, somewhere between his early through pre-teen years where he was 'confronted with a man with white hair and white beard' and the time he made his decision to go to the Fellowship in search of answers, he must have come across the book that had the picture of Sri Ramana in it. Realizing the man in the picture was the same man that showed up in his visitations, and learning the man was from India, Adams, like my uncle, rather than go to India first, may have sought out Paramahansa Yogananda at the Self-Realization Fellowship near San Diego not because he knew him or was familiar with his works, but for no other reason than he was one of the highest profile people in the Eastern spiritual movement that had taken root on the west coast during and following World War II.
How Muzika presents it, Yogananda would not allow Adams to become a monk at the Fellowship. Adams is reported as saying Yogananda couldn’t wait to get rid of him because he kept asking why he (i.e., Yogananda) constantly emphasized practices, mantras, affirmations and healing techniques that missed the point of Self-realization --- a point, by the way, that I am in full agreement with.(see) Muzika has written because of the nature of Adams' spontaneous Awakening, along with his visitations by the white haired man who Adams learned was Ramana AND Yogananda’s own devotional relationship with Ramana, Yogananda TOLD Adams to go to Ramana. How devotional that devotional relationship actually was is open to debate because in 1946 when Yogananda released his lengthy tome on his life titled Autobiography of A Yogi the meeting between he and Sri Ramana was conspicously absent. It is my opinion, Adams, realizing he wasn't going to find the answers he was looking for under the auspices of Yogananda, on and of his own volition, made the decison to go to Ramana.
As to the meeting between Yogananda and Ramana that was bypassed in the book by Yogananda, the Ramana side shows up in Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, 106 & 107.
Yogananda discusess his side of the meeting with a long time disciple, Swami Kriyananda (J. Donald Walters), who inturn offers follow-up comments of his own in a book titled Conversations With Yogananda: Stories, Sayings, and Wisdom of Paramhansa Yogananda (2004).
AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A YOGI
There has been some confusion concerning William Samuel relative to any interaction he may or may not of had between himself and Sri Ramana. The confusion stems from Samuel's contact with Adam Osborne as told to me by Osborne. As I have presented above, according to Osborne, Samuel told him that he and Osborne had participated in Giri Valam of Arunachala when Osborne was a young boy, telling him the circumabulation occurred on the night of the full moon in April of 1944.(see)
Nowhere in any of the books, works, writings, or public talks by Samuel is there any record of he himself personally stating any sort of interaction or contact with Ramana, in the flesh or otherwise that I have been able to ferret out. Private conversations seem to come across otherwise. Samuel supposedly told Osborne of the April 1944 incident sometime prior to 1970, the year Osborne's father, Arthur, died. Inturn it wasn't until circa 1983 that Osborne told me about Samuel and any comments thereof.
William Samuel died in 1996. Prior to his death, a long time close friend and confidant, a woman by the name of Sandy Jones, was made Samuel's literary executor with full rights to all his works. Apparently it was through Jones, at least in her written works and most likely from converstaions with Samuel, that word of Samuel's interaction with Ramana surfaced publicly. The first quote presented is somewhat ambiguous and says nothing of Ramana --- and the way it is written it would be tough for it to be such:
"After leaving China, William's quests to study at the fountainheads of the world's ideas took him twice around the globe, into the remotest places, including several years in the Orient and India. In India, William was the first American to visit and sit in silence with a guru who, William tells us, later became world famous. This was a week long stay, but William does not state specifically the name of this guru."(source)
"After leaving China" seems to indicate leaving China AFTER completion of his World War II service duties and having received his discharge, which would most likely would have occurred circa 1945 or 1946. The quote then jumps to Samuel's having had a week long stay in India with a guru he says later became world famous and that he was the first American to visit and sit in silence with him. Threrein lies the rub relative to Ramana. The first American known to have visited Ramana was in 1928, and after that there were several prior to 1945-46 era.
Except possibly for Sri H.W.L. Poonja, who had only just met the Maharshi in 1944 himself, there were very few Indian gurus of any note that became famous after the 1945 era --- especially any that are known to have had any American disciple(s) before becoming famous.(see) After taking into consideration what Osborne told me I think the quote contains a kernal of truth, just a misinterpreted run-on of facts. The quote below, also from Jones' work, is much more accurate and almost parallels what Osborne related to me:
"William visited Sri. Ramana Maharshi and was with him for about a week. When he was about 21 years of age in 1944 when he visited India while serving as an infantry captain in the US army during the second world war in China. When William left he realized that he had gained tremendous insight of Awareness."(source)
Notice the one week similarity between the two quotes. Then note it is stated he visited India while SERVING as an infantry captain during the war, not afterward as a civilian. Osborne told me of Samuel and the circumambulation of Arunachala years before the above quote came to my attention and more than likely before it even existed. How Jones became privy to what she has presented much clearer in the second quote, for me personally, it so closely parallels what Samuel told Osborne that I am of the opinion he may have repeated it is some fashion --- albeit not relating it to Osborne most likely --- somewhere along the way to Jones. It does come to me from two entirely separated sources, both credible in their own right, so I have to run with it.
Sandy Jones, formerly of Colorado, currently resides in Ojai, California and runs her own art gallery.(see)
ENLIGHTENED INDIVIDUALS I'VE MET
One week or not, it should be pointed out that the highly esteemed holy man Swami Ramdas, mentioned in the main text above as being the person most responsible for sending my mentor to Ramana in the first place, and who is almost always mentioned in the same breath as being a direct disciple or in the lineage of Sri Ramana, was himself only in the presence of the Maharshi for five minutes.
In late 1922 or early 1923, six years before Ramdas and my mentor met in the temple in Madura, Ramdas showed up at the then newly constructed Ramana ashram --- which at the time, if you recall from the photo in the main text above, was not much more than a crude thatched-stick mudhut. Ramana himself had only just come down to the ashram from his 23 year self-imposed life style sequestered in the caves of Arunachala. In the Introduction to the book, Essential Swami Ramdas, by Ramdas himself, it is written that during the meeting between the two, Ramdas only spent about five minutes infront of the Maharshi.
Immediately following the meeting Ramdas climbed up to a cave on the side of Arunachala and stayed in basic seclusion 20 days where it is said his complete transformation occurred. For more see Footnote  of the Ramdas page linked above.
It is not always the time in such things, but the intent.
ENLIGHTENMENT AND KARMA
SRI H. W. L. POONJA
"My father only knew that I was taken by the couple to India and it was done so without his consent. Since everybody is either gone or I do not recall them, most of what has come down to me about the incident is from outside sources such as the one by C.R. Rajamani titled Awakens the Child of Theosophists."
The Wanderling, as found in SRI RAMANA MAHARSHI and the Last American Darshan
C.R. Rajamani described in his article his visit to the Sri Ramana ashram and within it's contents, chronicled me being there as well. He was however, not specifically clear as to the exact dates, month or year he was at the ashram, thus then leaving, because of the mitigating circumstances presented in the Last American Darshan, my time being there in limbo as well.
Rajamani did include three general statements in his comments that narrowed down his stay fairly closely. First, he said he went to the Ramana ashram in the early forties (i.e., 1940s) when the Second World War was at its peak. Secondly, he said it may have been December or January because he remembered the season was quite cool. Third, that he learned the boy had come with his parents who were in India for the Theosophical Society’s world convention which was usually held at Adyar, Madras.
All three of his his given observations fit perfectly with the timeframe I have been able to work out for myself, of which for me include the date of the Theosophical Society’s world convention, the contents of a letter written by the woman of the couple to my father, and the comments of William Samuel to my childhood friend Adam Osborne that mentioned him seeing the two of us at the ashram during the time the full moon in April of 1944.
Nothing could be more specific for setting a date for a given event than knowing it happened during an exact phase of the moon --- especially so if the phase is known to have been a full moon. For Samuel, the fact that a full moon was in the picture was easily recalled because that is the holiest time to participate in Giri Valam, circumabulation of Arunachala --- which, according to what Samuel told Osborne, he did.
In April of 1944 the moon was full on Saturday April 8th. Backtracking from April 1944 to the closest Theosophical Society’s world convention would make it the 67th International Convention held December 26 to 31, 1943 at the International Headquarters, Adyar, India. That would put me at the ashram after the convention was over, most likely in the January of 1944 bracket. As for the letter to my father from the woman of the couple, because of events she wrote about that I chronicle in The British Motor Merchant Tulagi I narrowed down our trip home by ship via the Indian Ocean sometime toward the end of May, 1944 and back in the states sometime in June, 1944.
Why is all of the above important? It has to do with the revered Indian holy man and guru Sri H. W. L. Poonja (1910-1997), also known as Poonjaji or Papaji. Except for the somewhat reclusive Sri Lakshmana Swamy, Poonja was one of the foremost disciples, devotee, follower and advocate of the even more so venerated Indian holy man, the Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi. Anybody who holds themselves up to be anybody in the present day Advaita Vedanta come Enlightenment movement a la Ramana, but was too young or not born in time to have studied under Ramana in the flesh, had to have at one time bellied up to Poonja, hung on to his coat tails, or put their hat on his rack in some fashion or the other in order to flaunt their credibility.(see)
People ask me over and over, in that I was at the Ramana ashram in 1944 and 1944 was the same year Poonja met Ramana, were we there at the same time and did I see or meet Poonja at the ashram? In his biography Poonja states he was 34 years old when he met the Maharshi. Poonja was born October 13, 1910, so to have been 34 years old in 1944 he would have to have been at the ashram AFTER October 10th --- otherwise he would have been 33 years old. As I have so explicitly laid out above regarding my own timeframe at the ashram, I was at sea on the way home by the end of May, 1944, so, to answer the question, I wasn't even at the ashram when Poonja met Ramana.
Did I ever meet Poonja? That is a question for another day.
The Indian sub-continent has always been known to be crawling with sadhus, gurus, holy men, and saints. Every temple, cave, forest and blessed river has some. Anybody can put on an orange robe or become an ascetic. However, not all reach the level of Sri Ramana --- in reality or in the eyes of the public --- which doesn't mean they haven't, only that the minons haven't discovered them to such a point that they become famous. In Samuel's specific case we are told that he was the first American to visit and sit in silence with a guru who later became world famous. Now, while I do state India is full of sadhus, gurus, holy men and saints not many of them meet the criteria as set out by Samuel, especially so in the time period we are taking about here regarding Samuel. Once you move out of the having met Sri Ramana Maharshi in 1944 picture into the first American to visit and sit in silence with a guru who later became world famous picture, things become difficult to fulfill.
I have discounted Poonja already because of not meeting the criteria, which basically leaves only three other high profile, or famous post 1945 gurus or holy men that fall into that time period, Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950), Swami Ramdas (1884-1963), and Sri Ramsuratkumar (1918-2001). Ramdas was already famous, plus my mentor, an American, met and knew him from 1925 on. Aurobindo died in 1950. Ramsuratkumar is recorded as not having his Awakening experience until 1952. If Samuel was discharged from the Army in 1946 and called back in for the Korean War in 1950, then not let out of the service until the Korean War was over in July of 1953, that didn't leave much window of opportunity to interact with any of the gurus suggested.
"The Buddha said that neither the repetition of holy scriptures, nor self-torture, nor sleeping on the ground, nor the repetition of prayers, penances, hymns, charms, mantras, incantations and invocations can bring us the real happiness of Nirvana. Instead the Buddha emphasized the importance of making individual effort in order to achieve our spiritual goals. He likened it to a man wanting to cross a river; sitting down and praying will not suffice, but he must make the effort to build a raft or a bridge."(source)