On this page we reproduce the account of the experience which appears in Sri Ramana Leela by Sri Krishna Bhikshu. This is the only biography which is known to have been checked for accuracy by Sri Ramana.
It was mid-July. One afternoon, Venkataraman was lying in the first floor room when, for no apparent reason, he had a sudden fright that he would die; "I am dying," he thought. Years later, Bhagavan narrated the experience in the following manner:—
"There was no reason for me to think like that. I did not even know what that state was nor why I was afraid. It did not occur to me that I should consult either a doctor or some elders. The only problem for me was what death meant and how it could be avoided. I resolved to solve it at once. Death meant that the limbs stiffened, lips tightened, eyes closed and breath stopped. By intense thinking, all this came to be experienced. But neither memory nor awareness disappeared. In other words, the sense organs ceased to operate externally and an inward look established itself. Even if the body died, the sense of 'I' did not go. The consciousness of individuality was very much there. When the body was taken to the graveyard and reduced to ashes 'I' did not perish because 'I' was not the body.
"The body was inanimate and without knowledge but I had knowledge. Therefore death was for the inanimate body whereas 'I' was imperishable and was consciousness.
"The knowledge one had when the body and senses ceased to function was not the product of the senses. The awareness of 'I' was direct, self luminous and not a product of any thought. The entity which survived death was consciousness."
Thus in a trice, Venkataraman had new knowledge.
Though the experience was described step by step, it all happened in a flash.
Reprinted from Bhikshu, Krishna. Sri Ramana Leela. Tiruvannamalai: Sri Ramanasramam, 2004. 17–18. Print.