Letter 32

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30th January, 1946
For the last four days Bhagavan has been going through Sri Ramana Leela (in Telugu) which has recently been received from the printers. Seeing in it the translation of one of Avvaiyar’s songs, he said it was not correct. It had been written thus: “Oh, stomach! You will not go without food even for one day, nor will you take enough for two days at a time. You have no idea of the trouble I have on your account, Oh, wretched stomach! It is impossible to get on with you!” He said that it was not correct and that it should be: “You don’t stop eating for a day even. Why won’t you eat once in two days? You do not realise my difficulty even for a day. So the jiva says, ‘Oh, stomach! It is difficult to get on with you’!” People like us are afraid of death. Why? Because the belief that we are the body is not gone yet. To those who know the real truth about the Self, the body itself is a burden.

So long as the two are together, some effort is inevitable for eating and sleeping. Even that is a disturbance to the bliss enjoyed by such people, just as the clothes we wear appear to be a burden in midsummer. Under such circumstances, any effort at serving such people will perhaps be like asking them to put on a full suit when they are anxious to remove even the existing clothing on account of the distress caused by continuous perspiration. The jiva says that it is difficult to carry on with this stomach. Instead of that, Bhagavan has given a different meaning to the verse. According to him the stomach itself tells the jiva it is difficult to carry on with it! See the beauty of it: “O, jiva! You don’t give me, the stomach, even a moment’s respite. You don’t understand my troubles.

It is impossible to live with you.” That means, the jiva does not stop breathing even for a moment. So the stomach says, it is difficult to live with it indeed! When I read this letter before Bhagavan, a Tamil disciple after learning what it was all about said, “Avvaiyar’s song is well known but Bhagavan’s interpretation is novel. No one else has shown such consideration for the stomach. It is not known in what context Bhagavan wrote thus.” Smilingly Bhagavan said, “On a full-moon day in the month of Chitra we were all sitting together after a hearty meal with sweets and the like. As we had our food that day later than usual, we were feeling rather tired. Amongst us, Somasundaraswami sang the venba written by Avvaiyar, lying down in the hall, rolling about and patting his stomach. I wrote this venba in fun and sang it. What has been read just now is the meaning of those two songs.”