(10) WORLDLY TROUBLES
30th November, 1945
About two years back, an old couple from Guntur, who have been visiting the Ashram for a long time past, came and stayed here for two months. The gentleman could not stay away from his house and children for more than two months at a stretch; however, with a view perhaps to put the blame on the wife, he approached Bhagavan and said, “I can’t bear these family troubles; I told my wife not to come with me, but she has come. Before even two months have elapsed, she says, ‘Come on, let us go. There are a lot of things to attend to at home.’ I ask her to go alone but she refuses. However much I tell her she does not listen to me.
Please, Bhagavan, you at least persuade her to go. Then I shall eat with you and stay on here.”
Bhagavan replied jocularly, “Where will you go, my dear man, forsaking your family? Will you fly up into the sky? After all, you have to remain on this earth. Wherever we are, there is the family. I too came away saying I did not want anything, but see what a big family I have now! My family is a hundred times bigger than yours. You ask me to tell her to go, but if she comes and says, ‘where am I to go, Swami? I would rather stay here,’ what shall I say to her then? You say you don’t want your family, but what shall I do with my family? Where shall I go, if I leave all this?”
The people in the hall were all smiles. The old man squatted on the floor, saying, “Yes, but what does it matter to Bhagavan? He is free from all bonds, and so he can bear the burden of any family however big it may be.”
You should see how humorously Bhagavan talks about things. Whatever he says has some teaching for us in it.
Devotees like myself have got into the habit of telling Bhagavan about some pain in the leg or stomach or back. A person once came and said, “My eyesight is bad. I cannot see properly. I want Bhagavan’s grace for my relief.” Bhagavan nodded as usual, and as soon as that person had left, he said,
“He says he has pain in the eyes, I have pain in my legs. Whom shall I ask for relief?”
We were all taken aback and kept quiet.