Letter 71

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26th August, 1946
Rajagopala Iyer came back home some time towards the end of July to help in arranging the papers and books, handing them out when asked and generally to look after the library work.

During the early days, while rummaging the papers that had been lying there for a long time, he found a small piece of paper containing a Tamil verse in Bhagavan’s own handwriting and a Telugu translation of it.

When it was handed over to Bhagavan, he could not remember whose verse it was and so called me and, after showing it, asked me whose it was. On scrutiny, I found that it contained a Tamil verse by Narasimha Shetty about Tiruchuli written after the grihapravesam ceremony of Sundara Mandiram in Tiruchuli and a Telugu translation in verse written by myself. After informing Bhagavan about this I asked permission to take a copy of it, and he consented.

After the evening Veda Parayana, I bowed before Bhagavan and was about to go home when Bhagavan said, “Where is my paper?” Though he had agreed to my request to take it home and bring it back the next morning after copying it, he had doubts whether I would give it back to him or not. Whenever I see his beautiful handwriting with round pearl-like, characters on any paper I feel like retaining the paper with me. Sensing this, Bhagavan asked me to give the paper back so as to rid me of such desires.

Photo of Skandasramam exterior, 2006

That night I copied the Telugu verse and also the Tamil verse in Telugu script on another paper so as to show it to Bhagavan and then copy it in the Ashram notebook. So when I went to the Ashram the next morning at 7-30 and bowed before Bhagavan, he asked me again, “Where is that paper?” “Yes, Swami, I have brought it. I have written the Tamil verse in Telugu script. I shall copy it if you will kindly see whether what I have copied is right,” said I. Then he saw it and gave it back to me. I took out the notebook from the shelf and kept it with me before he came down from the hill.

He did not see that. As I was about to go out with the paper and my bag in my hand, Bhagavan said, “Give me back that paper after copying it. I shall need it.” I felt humiliated at being asked so many times for the paper. I could not contain myself and said, “In this writing work, ever so many papers have passed through my hands and I have not kept a single one. I have given back every one of them. He himself (pointing to Rajagopala Iyer) is my witness.” When I said that, Rajagopala Iyer said, “Yes, yes.” I still could not restrain my feelings and so said, “This is like the Telugu saying, ‘He who shouts, rules!’ All are asking and getting the writings of Bhagavan. If they chance to get such papers they quietly keep them with themselves. Am I to be misled into forgetting the Reality by this little piece of paper? I do not want it at all.

I shall give it back straight away.” As I said so, my throat got choked and tears welled up in my eyes. Unable to contain myself any longer, I went out, somehow copied it in the book, gave the book to Bhagavan and the paper into the hands of Rajagopala Iyer who was standing nearby and in a quivering tone said, “I have given back the paper to him.” With a heart full of compassion Bhagavan said in a soft tone, “Keep it if you like.” Am I lacking in pride? “Why? These letters get obliterated and this paper gets torn,” said I, in a quivering voice. As I was about to sit down in my usual place, Bhagavan said in a soft voice, “Is the Padyam (that is composed by you) with you?” Holding my breath I merely said, “Yes.” Though outwardly I appeared unconcerned, inwardly desire was tormenting me.

Two or three years ago, when Bhagavan composed a verse people vied with one other in getting it written in Bhagavan’s own hand. Some of them grabbed at the opportunity of securing his letters, hid them and refused to surrender them when asked. Seeing all this, and so as not to arouse such desires in me, I wrote a Telugu verse and contented myself with it.

You who are always present in the shape of Indestructible Being in this lotus heart, is it proper to ask for a handwritten letter unable to see the Reality because of the veil of karma vasana?

If only, some time or other, the eyes are washed so as to remove the veil, the akshara swarupa (the form of the imperishable spirit) will be clearly seen. That letter (akshara) will not get wiped out. That paper (lotus heart) will not get torn. It is more than enough if this aksharam is given away to those who can shout and the veil on the eyes of the voiceless child is removed. The child will then look after itself. The title of “Bhava Roga Bhishagvara” (the eminent doctor for the disease of mundane existence) is already there. Will he now live up to his title? Let us see. There is however one thing.

He is continuously administering medicine to all. And the dimness in the eyes is getting reduced little by little.

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