Letter 9

29th November, 1945

I believe it was about a year back. You know Ramachandra Rao, an Ayurvedic physician? For preparing a medicine that would give strength to Bhagavan’s body, he made out a long list of the necessary herbs and ingredients and showed it to Sri Bhagavan. Like a good boy, who would readily obey instructions, Bhagavan went through the whole list, praised the efficacy of the various drugs and finally said,
“For whom is this medicine, my dear man?”

He said quietly, “For Sri Bhagavan himself.” On hearing that, Bhagavan
“No doubt, you have given me a long list, but where am I to get the money for it? It may cost Rs. 10/-, and whom am I to approach for it?”

Someone quietly said, looking around at the Ashram property, “Whose is all this, Swamiji?”
“Yes, but what have I? If I want a quarter anna, I must go and ask the Sarvadhikari. How should I go and ask him? He gives me a little food, if I go there as soon as the bell rings.

I also eat along with the others and then come back, and I might be refused food if I was late. Even in being served food, I come last,” said Bhagavan.

The poor physician trembled with fear and, with folded hands, said, “Swamiji, I just showed you the list and I myself will get the required drugs.” Upon this Bhagavan said,

“Oh yes? You will get them? But if that medicine is good for me, it must necessarily be good for all the others here. Can you give it to them also as well as to me?”

When some people said, “Why do we want it, Swamiji?”
Bhagavan replied, “If people who do physical work don’t need a body-building tonic, how do I who merely sits here and eats? No, no, that can’t be!”

Once before, Dr. Srinivasa Rao told Bhagavan about an Allopathic medicine which gives strength and said that it would be good for Bhagavan if he took it. Bhagavan said,
“Yes, that is all right, you are rich and can take anything; but what about me? I am a mendicant. How can I have such a costly medicine?” Then the doctor said, “Bhagavan always declines everything that is offered, but if he agrees to take something, won’t it be forthcoming? Or if not medicines, why not take some nutritious food such as milk, fruit and almonds?”
Bhagavan replied: “All right; but I am a daridranarayana (God in the form of the poor and the destitute). How can I afford it? Besides, am I a single individual? Mine is a large family. How can all of them have fruits, milk, almonds, etc.?”
Bhagavan dislikes anything special for himself. He has often told us that if anybody brings eatables and distributes them amongst all he will not mind even if he is left out, but he will feel hurt if the eatables are given to him only and not distributed to others along with him. If he is walking along a path, and some people are coming in the opposite direction, he does not like them to step aside for him but instead he will himself step aside and allow them to pass and, until they do, he will not go a step farther. We should consider ourselves fortunate if we can imbibe even a thousandth part of this spirit of equality and renunciation.

If dull-witted people like me who do not know his ideas give him preferential treatment in matters of food, etc., he excuses a great deal since forbearance is his nature, but when it goes too far he gets disgusted and says,

“What am I to do? They have the upper hand, they are the people who serve, I am the one who eats. I must listen to what they say, and eat when they want me to. You see, this is swamitvam (life of a Swami). Do you understand?”

What more admonition can one want than this?

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