In the Vision of God,
Volume 1, by Swami Ramdas, pp 23-26
GOD ASSUMES ALL FORMS
Another extraordinary experience worth mentioning in some detail befell
Ramdas. About ten o'clock in the night on a rainy day, a strange looking
individual entered his room. Besides his being clothed in rags, his hair was
disheveled. He had with him a small bundle suspended on a rough palm stick. He
looked as if he were demented. He came in and took his seat near Ramdas.
"May I rest here tonight?" he asked in a queer singsong manner. Ramdas said that
he was quite welcome.
He sat on the mat and opened his bundle which contained a bizarre assortment of
small bits of cloth in varied colors. Taking out the rags he scattered them on
the ground. Then glancing at Ramdas he laughed a merry laugh.
Ramdas thought to himself - "O Lord, Thou cometh in wonderful disguises." After a
while the strange visitor, gathering up the scraps, remade the bundle. Next,
approaching Ramdas, he chanted the burden of a popular Kanarese song, the
purport of which was: "Thou art the ever pure, all-merciful and mysterious
Govinda." He sang forth this verse in his own peculiarly passionate and
impressive style. He spoke in the Kanarese tongue. Suddenly, stopping his music,
he directly looked at Ramdas' face and said: "You see, my clothes are old and
worn out. Would you not part with one you are using, for me?" pointing to the
cloth worn by Ramdas.
Ramdas at once divesting himself of the cloth handed it over to him. The visitor
carefully folded it and laid it beside him.
In an imperious voice he spoke next: "Now let us sleep. Reduce the light. Mind
you, don't put it out." Obediently Ramdas carried out his bidding. He laid
himself down pretending to sleep, and Ramdas followed suit. Five minutes had not
elapsed when he sprang into a sitting posture calling on Ramdas to do the same.
Ramdas yielded. The light was made brighter.
"I have yet to demand something more," he said.
"Everything in this room," Ramdas replied, "is Ram's property, and since you are
He you have a right to it. You may freely ask and take."
Meanwhile, Ramdas had covered himself with the other spare cloth.
"I need also the cloth you have just put on," and he stretched forth his hand.
Without a word Ramdas surrendered up the second cloth.
Some minutes passed and he said: "I have need for a water pot. If you have no
objection, you may give the one over there," pointing to the vessel in the comer
of the room. Emptying the pot of its water, Ramdas passed it on to him. As
desired by him, Ramdas made up the things into a bundle. Then he called for the
mat, the deer skin, the lantern, the umbrella, the spare langot [loin cloth],'
one after the other, at almost regular intervals.
Ramdas felt that God was out to test him if he had any sense of possession
still left. His dedicated life did not admit of any attachment to things of the
world. Whenever he gave away the things to this strange friend, he did so in a
spirit of delightful spontaneity. With a rising emotion he addressed the
visitor: "O Lord, Thy tests are wonderful. Everything is Thine and Thine alone."
At this, the visitor broke out into his usual offhand laughter.
He demanded also a few religious books which were in the room. All articles were
tied up in a cloth and formed a pretty big bundle.
Later he said with a note of warning in his voice: "Look here, you have given me
many valuable articles. It is possible, when I am gone with them, you might
regret your folly. What say you?"
"No, not at all," quickly responded Ramdas. "Since you are taking away your own
things, Ramdas has no cause for regret."
"Now then," he broke out, "give me that board on the wall." It also went to
swell the bundle.
The room was now almost empty. Being monsoon it began to rain heavily. The night
had advanced and it was about 3 a.m. Ramdas had nothing on except a kaupin [loin
"One thing more," he still cried. "I may also require the pair of spectacles you
have on." The pair of spectacles was duly handed over to him, examining which he
remarked that it would fit him.
"Yet one more thing," he said.
"You may demand anything," replied Ramdas. "Ramdas has dedicated his entire life
"Pass me the kaupin you are wearing," he asked calmly.
It was beyond any doubt now that God Himself was here for a crucial test. Ramdas
with perfect nonchalance born of complete self-surrender loosened the kaupin
from his otherwise naked body to offer it to him. But before Ramdas had removed
it outright, the strange friend stopped him with his hand saying: "No, no, you
may retain it, I need it not." He then eagerly asked, "Can you follow me?"
Ramdas lost no time in replying: "By all means."
"Not now, some other time," he said and prepared to start. It was now raining in
torrents. In one hand he held the lantern and in the other the umbrella, and the
palm pole flung across his shoulder with the bundle suspended on it, at his
Standing on the landing steps he flashed a parting shot. "What do you think of
me? I am not mad. I am not," he said with great emphasis.
"You are He, you are He," gasped out Ramdas - his throat fully choked with
The friend descended the steps and walked away.
Ramdas returned to the room and the moment he sat down on the floor, he was lost
in a deep trance. It was broad daylight when he recovered from the trance. He
beheld quite a crowd swarming at his door, of whom Anandrao was one. The news
had been conveyed to them by the servant who was bringing for Ramdas his morning
milk and fruit. They assumed that a thief must have decamped with all the
missing articles from the room. They inquired of him how it had all happened.
Ramdas only replied: "The Lord Ram provides through one form and takes away
This brief and enigmatic explanation did not, of course, satisfy them. So he had
to give out a detailed account of the incident of the previous night. All
listened to the story with breathless interest. One of them suggested that the
rogue should be hunted down and captured.
"For what fault of his?" asked Ramdas. "He has taken only his own things. There
is no law on earth," added he, "that can punish him for it. He is not a rogue.
He is the Lord Himself."
An irrepressible smile lit up the faces of all who heard him.
In the Vision of God, Vol I - The Continuing Saga of an Extraordinary Pilgrimage