Letter 55

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8th August, 1946
Yesterday morning Yogi Ramiah questioned Bhagavan thus: “Swami, some disciples of Sai Baba worship a pictureof him and say that it is their Guru: How could that be? They can worship it as God, but what benefit could they get by worshipping it as their Guru?” Bhagavan replied, “They secure concentration by that.” The Yogi said, “That is all very well, I agree. It may be to some extent a sadhana in concentration. But isn’t a Guru required for that concentration?” “Certainly, but after all, Guru only means guri, concentration” said Bhagavan. The Yogi said, “How can a lifeless picture help in developing deep concentration? It requires a living Guru who could show it in practice. It is possible perhaps for Bhagavan to attain perfection without a living Guru but is it possible for people like myself?” “That is true. Even so, by worshipping a lifeless portrait the mind gets concentrated to a certain extent.

That concentration will not remain constant unless one knows one’s own Self by enquiring. For that enquiry, a Guru’s help is necessary. That is why the ancients say that the enquiry should not stop with mere initiation. However, even if it does, the initiation will not be without benefit. It will bear fruit some time or other. But there should be no ostentation in this initiation. If the mind is pure, all this will bear fruit; otherwise, it goes to waste like a seed sown in barren soil,” said Bhagavan.

“I don’t know, Swami. You may say that a hundred times or a thousand times. To be sure of one’s own progress, a living Guru like you is required. How can we give the status of a Guru to a lifeless portrait?” he said. With a smile on his face, Bhagavan said, “Yes, yes,” nodding his head and then kept silent. Brother, all I can say is that that smile and that silence were radiant with knowledge and wisdom. How can I describe it?