Letter 51

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12th July, 1946
About four days ago, i.e., in the morning of the 8th or 9th, I went to Bhagavan’s presence at 7-30. As I got up after prostrating before him, Bhagavan said, “Madhava is gone.” “Where to?” I asked, as he was in the habit of going away from the Ashram on pilgrimage now and then.

Smilingly Bhagavan said, “Where to? To that place, leaving the body here.” I was shocked and asked, “When?” “The day before yesterday at 6 p.m.,” replied Bhagavan, and looking at Krishnaswami, said, “Acharyaswami who was there came here and died, and the one who was here went there and died. Everything happens according to fate. For a long time Madhava had a desire that he should be independent and without anyone in authority over him.

His desire has at last been fulfilled. Anyway he was a good man. Merely for fun, when Acharyaswami who was in Kumbakonam passed away, I asked Madhava whether he would go, as there was no one there in the Math. He took up the idea, went there and thus fulfilled his desire. See how things happen! When I wrote Telugu Dvipada and other verses in Malayalam script in a notebook, he used to read them well just like Telugu people. He had some Telugu samskara (knowledge). He took away that notebook saying that he would be looking into it now and then. If it is there, tell them to bring it here. It was the same with Ayyaswami.

He took away a note book, saying that he would bring it back after reading it. He himself never came back. The same thing has happened with this man also.” So saying he changed the topic. When they heard that a person who had followed Bhagavan almost like his shadow for 12 years, and was extremely meek and gentle by nature, had passed away suddenly somewhere, there was no one in the Ashram who did not shed a tear.

Kunjuswami who had gone from here to supervise Madhava’s burial ceremonies, came back this morning at 8 a.m., and after prostrating before Bhagavan said, “Madhavaswamy was wandering about in search of peace of mind but could not gain peace, and so he told people that he would not live any longer, and came to the Math at Kumbakonam. He had a sudden attack of diarrhoea for a day, and as he complained of difficult breathing while taking soda water, he was made to lie down. He never regained consciousness, according to what the people in the Math told me. They kept the corpse till I got there. It did not deteriorate in any way even though three days had elapsed.

I got it buried and have come back. I could not find the notebook anywhere.” After he left, Bhagavan said, looking at Krishnaswami, “Madhava was a good man. That is why we all feel sorry that he is dead. But instead of feeling sorry that he is dead, we should all be thinking as to when we will pass away. A Jnani always looks forward to the time when he will be free from the bondage of the body and be able to throw it away.

A person who carried a load for a wage always longs for the time when he could reach the destination. When the owner tells him on reaching the destination to put the load down, he feels greatly relieved and puts it down. In the same way, this body is a burden to a man of discrimination. He always feels that the other man is gone, and eagerly looks forward to his own exit from the body. If that little thing called life is gone, four people are required to bear the burden of the body. When that life is in the body, there is no burden, but when that is gone, there is nothing so burdensome as the body. For a body like this, kayakalpa vratas (rejuvenation processes) are undertaken with a desire to attain moksha (deliverance) with the body. With all that, such people too pass away sooner or later. There is no one who can remain in this body forever. Once a person knows the true state, who wants this temporary body? One should wish for the time when he will be able to throw away this burden and go free.” Madhavaswami was a Malayalee. His birth place is a village near Palghat. He was a brahmachari. He came here about 15 years back, when he was only 20 years of age and did personal service to Bhagavan. For some time past, he had had a desire to visit holy places, and so used to go away frequently and come back. When Acharyaswami, who was another devotee of Bhagavan in charge of the Math which was built for him in Kumbakonam, came here some time back and passed away, Madhava went there as head of the Math and passed away within a short time thereafter.