Letter 128

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3rd July, 1947
A devotee, who has been coming to the Ashram off and on, yesterday, during conversation regarding Bhagavan’s stay on the hill, asked him, “While Bhagavan was on the hill, it seems some one did abhisekham to Bhagavan with coconut water. Is that a fact?”

Laughingly Bhagavan said, “Yes, while I was in Virupaksha Cave, some ladies from the north came. I was sitting on a platform under the tamarind tree with half-closed eyes, without particularly noticing their arrival. I thought they would go away after a while. Suddenly there was a noise of breaking something. I therefore opened my eyes and saw coconut water trickling down my head. One of those ladies had done that abhisekam. What was I to do? I was in mouna and couldn’t talk. I had no towel even to wipe the water off, and so the water dried on my body as it was.

Not only that. There used to be lighting of camphor, pouring of water on the head, thirthas (sacred waters), prasadas, and several such troublesome performances. It used to be quite a job stopping such things.”

I myself have seen similar instances some four or five years back. In the room where Bhagavan takes his bath, there is a hole through which the water that is used drains out.

Below that, a gutter was constructed to drain off the water.

At the time of his bathing, some devotees used to gather at that place, sprinkle on their heads the water that came out of the room, wipe their eyes and even use it for achamaniyam (sipping drops of water for religious purposes). That was going on quietly and unobserved for some time. But in due course people began bringing vessels and buckets to gather that water and soon there was a regular queue. That naturally resulted in some noise which reached Bhagavan’s ears. He enquired and found out the facts. Addressing the attendants, he said,

“Oh! Is that the matter? When I heard the noise I thought it was something else. What nonsense! Will you get this stopped or shall I bathe at the tap outside? If that is done, you will be saved the trouble of heating water for me, and there will be no trouble for them either, to watch and wait for that tirtha. What do I want? Only two things, a towel and a koupinam. I can bathe and then rinse them at the tap and that completes the job. If not the tap, you have the hill streams and the tanks. Why this bother? What do you say?”

When Bhagavan thus took them to task, they told everything to Sarvadhikari who thereupon put a ban on any one going to the side of the bath room during the bathing hour.

Another thing happened during those days. Bhagavan used to go to the hill in the hot sun after taking meals in the forenoon. On his return, when he came to the platform near the hall, the attendants used to pour water on his feet from the kamandalu (wooden bowl) and he used to wash his feet and then go in. Some used to hide somewhere there and, as soon as he went into the hall, they used to collect that water and sprinkle it on their heads. Once an enquiry starts, all faults come to light, don’t they? Bhagavan appears to have noticed that also. One afternoon he saw through the window an old and long standing devotee sprinkling this water on his head. Seizing that opportunity, he began saying,

“There it is! See that! As I have not been taking any special notice of it, it is going beyond all limits. However long they are here and however often they hear what I say, these ridiculous things do not stop. What is it they are doing? I shall henceforth stop washing my feet, do you understand?”

He thus reprimanded them severely. That devotee was stunned, and with shame and grief, went to Bhagavan immediately and begged to be excused.

Not only did Bhagavan admonish him like that, but from the next day onwards, Bhagavan refused to wash his feet there even though the attendants pleaded with him to retain the existing custom. As I was then in the town, I did not know about this immediately. Four days later, somebody arranged bhiksha in the Ashram and invited me for meals.

After meals I stayed there. Bhagavan as usual came down the hill. As I had some doubts about my sadhana, I thought I could ask him leisurely after he returned to the hall and so, I stood at the western window outside the hall. It is usual for me to do so whenever I wanted to ask Bhagavan and clear my doubts. You know what happened this time? Instead of facing east, as usual, Bhagavan turned towards the side where I was standing. I stepped aside and gave way with some misgivings. He looked at me with concealed anger. I trembled with fear. I did not know why he looked at me like that. As he was turning the corner by the window, the attendants tried to give him water to wash his feet.

Bhagavan shouted at them, saying, “No.” When they said, “You have been in the hot sun,” he said. “What of that? If we look to cleanliness, a number of people wait for that water. Enough of this. If you want, you wash your feet.” So saying, Bhagavan entered the hall.

I was wondering if I had committed any fault resulting in Bhagavan getting angry and so went away, without trying to clear my doubts. In the evening, I enquired and learnt all that had happened before. It was only after that, I had some peace of mind.

Letter 127

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30th June, 1947
Recently a rich lady residing in Ramana Nagar was getting a basket of jasmine flowers from her garden everyday and giving them to all the married ladies in the hall. Bhagavan observed this for four or five days but said nothing. She did not discontinue that practice. One day she put the flower basket on the stool, bowed before Bhagavan and got up.

Bhagavan looking at someone nearby said, “Look! She has brought something. They are flowers perhaps. What for?” With some fear she said that they were not for Bhagavan but for the married ladies and began distributing them. “Oh! If that is so, they could as well be distributed at their houses.

Why here? If someone gives flowers thus, all others begin doing the same thing. Seeing that, people who come newly will think that flowers must be distributed and will buy and bring them. Then the trouble starts. I never touch flowers.

In some places, it is usual to present flower garlands. Hence, many people bring flowers. I have not allowed people to do puja to the feet or to the head. Why do we require such practices?” said Bhagavan.

With fear and trepidation she said, “No. I will not bring them any more.” Bhagavan said, “All right. That is good,” and looking at those still near him, went on as follows: “You know what happened at one of the Jayanthi celebrations? A devotee got a book by name Pushpanjali printed and said he would read it. When I said ‘Yes’, he stood a little behind and began reading. He appears to have had some flowers hidden in his lap. As the reading came to a close, bunches of flowers fell on my legs. On enquiry, it was found that it was his doing.

He did it thus because he knew I would not agree if he told me beforehand. What to do? Perhaps in his view it is no puja unless it is done like that.”

During the early days of my stay here, on a Varalakshmi Puja Day, one or two married ladies placed some flowers on Bhagavan’s feet, bowed before him and went away after seeking his permission for puja. Next year, all began doing the same thing. Bhagavan looked at them angrily and said, “There it is — one after another, all have started. Why this? This is a result of my keeping quiet instead of stopping it in the very beginning. Enough of this.”

Not only in regard to himself but even in regard to puja to the deities Bhagavan mildly rebukes devotees about using leaves and flowers. I have already written to you in one of my previous letters about the laksha patri puja (puja with one lakh of leaves) of Echamma.

There is another instance. During the days when Bhagavan used to go round the hill with devotees in stages, they camped one morning at Gowtama Ashram. After the men and women had cooked, eaten and rested, and were getting ready to go so as to reach the Ashram before sunset, a lady devotee by name Lakshmamma, who was born in Tiruchuli and was a childhood friend of Bhagavan and who used to talk to him familiarly, was plucking and putting in a basket the jasmine and tangedu flowers that had grown luxuriantly on the trees in and around the cremation ground there. Bhagavan noticed it and asked smilingly, “Lakshmamma, what are you doing?” She said, “I am plucking flowers.” “I see. Is that your job? It is all right but why so many flowers?” asked Bhagavan. “For puja,” she said. “Oh! It won’t be a puja unless you worship with so many flowers, is that it?” said Bhagavan. “I don’t know. These trees have abundance of flowers. So I am plucking them,” she said.

“I see. As in your opinion it will not be nice if there is a luxuriant growth of flowers, you are making them naked. You have seen the beauty of that growth and you do not like others to see it.
You have watered them and helped them in their growth, haven’t you? So you can take the liberty of plucking all the flowers and making them naked so that no one else can see that beauty. It is only then that you will get the full benefit of your puja, is it?” said Bhagavan.

Letter 126

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28th June, 1947
A few days back a meeting of the Vysya Sangam was held in this town. A number of prominent Vysyas from Andhra State attended it. Two days back all of them came to the Ashram in the morning and one of the chief men amongst them addressed Bhagavan thus: “Swami, God has become jiva. Will the grief that the jiva suffers affect God or not?”

Bhagavan did not give a reply immediately but remained silent. The questioner waited for a while and asked, “Swami, shall I wait until you give me a reply?” “Who is it that is asking the question?” said Bhagavan. “A jiva,” he said.

“Who is that jiva? What does he look like? Where was he born? Where does he get dissolved? If you enquire and find out, he who is known as jiva will be found to be God himself.

Then it will be known whether the grief experienced by the jiva will affect God or not. When that is known, there will be no trouble at all.”

“That is what we are unable to know,” said the questioner.

“There is no effort required to know one’s self. You exist during sleep but all the things in the world that you see are not visible then. When you wake up you see everything. But you existed then and exist now (during sleep and while awake). That which comes on you in your wakeful state should be thrown out,” said Bhagavan.

“How are we to throw it out?” enquired the other.

“If you remain as you are, it will go out of its own accord. Your nature is to be. If you see the Reality as it is, the unreal will go away as unreal”, said Bhagavan.

“What is the method by which this can be seen?” asked the questioner.

“By enquiring ‘Who am I?’ and ‘What is my true state?’” said Bhagavan. “How am I to enquire?” asked that questioner. Bhagavan kept silent.

The questioner waited for a reply for a while and then, saying, “Yes, this is the method,” he touched the feet of Bhagavan despite the objections of the attendants and went away with all the members of the Vysya Sangam.

After they had left, Bhagavan said to those sitting near him, “Don’t they know the reply? They just wanted to test me. They felt that their work was over, when they touched my feet. What more do they require?”

A rich Reddy from Nellore who happened to be there said, “Ananda is said to be Atma. Ananda is free from sorrow.

If so, when the jiva experiences ananda, will he be free from sorrow?”

Bhagavan replied, “There can be ananda (joy) only if there is duhkha (sorrow). It is only if a thing is known as duhkha then ananda can be known. If duhkha is not realised, how can ananda be realised? So long as there is one who knows, these two will exist. Vastu (the thing that is) is above sukha and duhkha. Even so, that vastu is known as sukha because Sat is above sat and asat. Jnana is above jnana and ajnana, Vidya is above vidya and avidya. The same thing is said about several other things. So what is there to say?” said Bhagavan. The same idea is expressed in stanza ten of “Unnadhi Nalupadhi”.

Letter 125

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27th June, 1947
This afternoon at 3 o’clock, a devotee from Eesanya Mutt came and bowed before Bhagavan. Seeing him, Bhagavan said, “A telegram has been received that the Swami in Kovilur Mutt is no more. Is Natesa Swami gone?”

“Yes. Two days ago. We knew beforehand that he was sick,” he said. Someone asked, “Who is Natesa Swami?” “The deceased who passed away at the Kovilur Mutt was originally in charge of the Eesanya Mutt. When the Matadhipathi (head of the mutt) of Kovilur passed away Natesa Swami was taken there and was made the head of that mutt. That is the most important Vedanta mutt this side. Though he was not very learned, he was a good sadhak and so he was chosen. It might have been about twenty years back,” said Bhagavan.

“Is he the same person that made Bhagavan get into a bandy?” I asked.

“No. That was the one who was in the mutt before Natesa Swami. He was not like this person. He was a powerful personality,” said Bhagavan. “When was that?” someone asked. “That was when I was still in Virupaksha Cave and about four or five years after I came to Tiruvannamalai. It is a funny story. One day when Palaniswamy and myself went round the hill and came near the temple it was 8 p.m. As we were tired, I lay down in Subrahmanya temple. Palani went out to fetch food from the choultry. He (the head of the mutt) was going into the temple. As usual there were a number of disciples around him. One of them saw me and told them about it. That was enough. While returning, he came with ten of his disciples and stood around me. He began saying, ‘Get up, Swami. We shall go.’ I was in mouna then, so I showed by signs that I wouldn’t accompany them. Was he the man to listen to me? ‘Lift him up bodily, lift,’ he said to his disciples.

As there was no alternative, I got up. When I came out, there was a bandy ready. ‘Get in, Swami,’ he said. I declined and showed them by signs that I would prefer to walk and suggested that he should get into the bandy. He took no notice of my protestations. Instead, he told his disciples, ‘What are you looking at? Lift Swami and put him in the cart.’ There were ten of them and I was alone. What could I do? They lifted me bodily and put me into the cart. Without saying anything more, I went to the mutt. He had a big leaf spread out for me, filled it with food of all kinds, showed great respect and began saying ‘Please stay here always.’ Palaniswami went to the temple, enquired about me and then came to the mutt.

After he came, I somehow managed to escape from there.

That was the only occasion on which I got into a cart after coming to Tiruvannamalai. Subsequently whenever new people arrived they sent a cart, asking me to go over to their place. If once I yielded, I was afraid there would be no end to that sort of invitation and so I sent back the cart, refusing to go. Eventually they stopped sending carts. But that was not the only trouble with them. Even if I did not go to them when invited, I used to go round the hill and would sometimes visit the mutt. He would then go in and say something to the cook. At meal time he would have a big leaf spread out for me, sit by my side and instruct the cook to serve me food over and over again. On other days he would not eat along with the disciples in the mutt. but when I visited the mutt he used to sit by my side for food. How could I eat all that was piled on the leaf? I used to touch a little of the various preparations. The balance used to be mixed together by the disciples and the inmates used to eat it saying, ‘It is Swami’s prasadam.’ Noticing that, I gave up eating from a leaf.

Whenever I felt like eating there in the mutt, I used to stay in Pachiamman Koil or somewhere nearby, go to the mutt soon after the naivedya bell was rung, stay near the main entrance and ask for the nivedana (food offering to God). They used to bring it, and give it into my hands. I used to eat without the aid of a leaf. Salt is not put into that nivedana, as it is a Siva temple. Even so, I didn’t mind it at all. All that I wanted was to satisfy my hunger. As the head of the mutt was staying upstairs, he knew nothing about it for some time. One day he saw it accidentally. ‘Who is it that is giving Swami food without salt?’ he enquired angrily.

Subsequently he learned all the facts and left the matter at that. The person who died recently was not like that. He was a very peaceful and easy-going man. He used to sit by my side along with all the others and arrange for serving me food in normal quantities, similar to the others.” “Bhagavan also once lectured there, didn’t he?” someone asked. “Yes,” he replied. “When the person who recently passed away was teaching some lessons to the inmates of the mutt, I happened to go there. They received me with great respect and made me sit down. ‘Go on with the lessons,’ I said. ‘Can I teach lessons in Swami’s presence? Swami himself must say something,’ he replied. So saying, he got a copy of Gita Saram, made his sishyas to read and requested me to explain it. As there was no way out, I gave a discourse.” “Ramachandra Iyer’s grandfather once took Bhagavan to his place, it seems,” said that questioner. “That was long back, perhaps in 1896. I was then at Gopura Subrahmanyeswara Temple. He used to come to me daily, sit for a while and then go. I was in Mouna. So there was no talk or consultation.

Even then he had great devotion. One day it seems he invited someone to his house for a feast. In the noon, before meal time, he came to me with another person. One standing on either side of me they said, ‘Swami, get up. Let us go.’ ‘Why?’ I enquired by signs. They told me the purpose. I refused.

But would they go? They caught hold of my hands and forcibly pulled me up. They were prepared even to carry me in their arms. He was tall, stout and with a big belly. I was at the time lean and weak. I was nothing before him.

His friend was even sturdier. What could I do? I was afraid they might even carry me in their arms if I resisted any further. I knew they were inviting me with great bhakti. So, thinking it was no use arguing with them I walked with them.

From the main entrance they took me into the hall with great respect, spread a big plantain leaf and fed me sumptuously and then sent me back. That is the only family house here where I have eaten on a leaf.”

Letter 124

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21st June, 1947
One morning two or three days back some people came with a young boy whose Upanayanam had been recently performed and went away after prostrating before Bhagavan.

Soon after they left, some devotee asked him about the significance of Upanayanam and Bhagavan related it to us as follows: “Upanayanam does not mean just putting round the neck three strands of cotton thread. It means that there are not only two eyes but a third also. That is the jnana netram (wisdom- eye). Open that eye and recognise your swa-swarupa (own form); that is what is taught. Upanayanam means additional eye. They say that the eye must be opened and for that purpose they give training in pranayamam (breath control). After that they give Brahmopadesam (Initiating about Brahman), give the boy a begging bowl and tell him to go about begging. The first bhiksha is mathru (mother’s). When the father gives Brahmopadesam, the mother gives three handfuls of bhiksha (rice) to enable the young boy to do manana (repeat inwardly), the upadesa given by the father. He is expected to fill his stomach by begging, stay in the Guru’s house for training and realise his self by opening the jnana netram. That is the significance of Upanayanam.

Forgetting all that, what is done at present is this: pranayamam has come to mean just closing the nose with the fingers and pretending to control the breath; Brahmopadesam means just to cover both the father and the son with a new dhoti when the father whispers something in the ear of the son; bhiksha means just filling up the begging bowl with money. What could they preach to the boy when thefather who gives the upadesa and the priest who gets this done, do not know the real significance of Upanayanam?

Not only that. After receiving the required knowledge by staying with the Guru for a sufficiently long time, the Guru used to send the boy to his parents to find out whether his mind would get caught in worldly affairs or turn towards sannyasa. After staying for some time in their own homes, the boys used to start on a pilgrimage to Banaras, devoid of worldly desires and with a view to renouncing them completely. At that time, parents having girls of marriageable age dissuade the boys from going to Banaras and offer them their daughters in marriage. Those that are strongly inclined towards renunciation would go without caring for the offers of marriage and those that are otherwise, return home and accept the offer of marriage. All that is forgotten now. Pilgrimage to Banaras at present means the young man puts on a silver-lined silk dhoti, his eyes are coloured black, his forehead bears a caste mark, his feet are ornamented with yellow and red paste, his body is smeared with sandal-paste, his neck is adorned with flower garlands, an umbrella is spread over his head and wooden sandals are worn on his feet and he walks on stylishly to the accompaniment of music.

When the girl’s brother comes and offers his sister in marriage and presses him to accept the offer, he says, “I want a wrist watch. I want a motor cycle, I want this and I want that. If you give them, I can marry, otherwise not.” Afraid that the marriage which is arranged may fall through, the parents of the bride give whatever is demanded. Then they have photos, feasts and presentation of cloths and the like.

Nowadays, bhikshas are used for filling up the begging bowl with rupees and pilgrimages to Banaras are used for extracting dowries.”

Letter 123

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20th June, 1947
Four or five days back, a notebook of Madhavaswami was found. As Bhagavan was looking into it, he saw a Tamil verse in it written by him, long ago. It was in Malayalam script, and while transcribing it into Tamil he told us its meaning:

“When a man attains jnana, he will not have any regard for this body. Just as, after taking food, the leaf on which it was taken is thrown away however nice it may be, so also after attaining jnana one will be waiting eagerly for the time when it can be thrown away.
This is the essence of what is stated in this verse.”

Madhavaswami with Bhagavan Ramana

One devotee asked, “For what reason did Bhagavan write this verse?”
“In Tamil, in a book called Prabhulingalila, the same idea was expressed in a verse of four lines, and so, seeing it I thought it better to write briefly in a smaller verse of two lines,” said Bhagavan. He then wrote it in Tamil script and began telling us further as follows: “The symbol of the used leaf has been given by many people. However nicely a leaf-plate is stitched, it is useful only until the meal is over.

After that will there be any regard for it? It is immediately thrown away. Rich people have food on silver plates with gold flowers inlaid in them. Why are such things required when we have hands given by God? “When I was on the hill someone got a leaf plate made of silver and requested me to eat from it. I sent it back saying that I did not require it. When the food can be eaten out of the hands, why silver and gold? For a long time I did not eat food from a leaf. If anybody brought food, I used to stretch out the palms of my hands and when the food was put in them I used to eat it. It is only of late that I have begun eating food served on a leaf.”

Another person said, “Is it because of that, that Ganapati Muni praised you saying ‘Karathamarasena supatravata’?” Bhagavan replied “Yes. When you have hands, why all these things? It used to be an exhilarating experience in those days. When I was going out for bhiksha, I used to take the alms in the palms of my hands and go along the street eating it. When the eating was over I used to go on licking my hands. I never used to care for anything. I used to feel shy to ask anyone for anything. Hence that karathala bhiksha (alms in the palms) used to be very interesting. There used to be big pundits this side and that; sometimes big government officials also used to be there. What did I care who was there? It would be humiliating for a poor man to go out for bhiksha, but for one who has conquered the ego and become an Advaiti, it is a great elevation of the mind. At that time, he would not care if an Emperor came there. In that way, when I went out for bhiksha and clapped my hands, people used to say, ‘Swami has come’, and give me bhiksha with fear and devotion.

Those who did not know me used to say, ‘You are strong and sturdy. Instead of going out like this as a beggar, why don’t you go out to work as a cooly?’ I used to feel amused. But I was a Mouna (silent) Swami and did not speak.

I used to laugh and go away feeling that it was usual for ordinary people to talk like that. The more they talked like that the more exhilarated I felt. That was great fun.”

“In Vasishtam, there is a story about Bhagiratha before he brought Ganges down to the earth. He was an Emperor but the empire seemed to him a great obstacle to atmajignasa (Self-enquiry). In accordance with the advice of his Guru and on the pretext of a yagna (sacrifice), he gave away all his wealth and other possessions. No one would, however, take the empire. So he invited the neighbouring King who was an enemy and who was waiting for a suitable opportunity to snatch it away and gifted away the empire to him. The only thing that remained to be done was to leave the country. He left at midnight in disguise, lay in hiding during day time in other countries so as not to be recognised and went about begging alms at night. Ultimately he felt confident that his mind had matured sufficiently to be free from egoism. Then he decided to go to his native place and there went out begging in all the streets. As he was not recognised by anybody, he went one day to the palace itself. The watchman recognised him, made obeisance and informed the then King about it, shivering with fear. The King came in a great hurry and requested him (Bhagiratha) to accept the kingdom back, but Bhagiratha did not agree.

“Will you give me alms or not?” he asked. As there was no other alternative, they gave him alms and he went away highly pleased. Subsequently he became the King of some other country for some reason and when the King of his own country passed away, he ruled that country also at the special request of the people. That story is given in detail in Vasishtam. The kingdom which earlier appeared to him to be a burden did not trouble him later when he became a Jnani. All that I want to say is, how do others know about the happiness of bhiksha? There is nothing great about begging or eating food from a leaf which is thrown out after taking food from it. If an Emperor goes out begging, there is greatness in that bhiksha. Now, bhiksha here means that you must have vada and payasam (pudding).

In some months, there will be several such things. Even for padapuja (worshipping of the feet) money is demanded.

Unless the stipulated money is tendered before hand, they refuse to take upastaranam (a spoonful of water taken with a prayer before beginning to take food). The unique significance of Karathala Bhiksha has now degenerated to this extent,” said Bhagavan.

Living only under trees, eating food out of their palms, disregarding even the Goddess of Wealth like an old rag, fortunate indeed are those dressed in a codpiece*.

[* Ed. loincloth/kaupinam]

Letter 122

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5th June, 1947
After leaving your house in Madras the day before yesterday night, I reached the Ashram yesterday morning by 7 o’clock. Though it was only four days since I had left the Ashram, I felt as if it was four centuries. So I went straight to the Ashram from the Railway Station. Bhagavan was taking his breakfast. When I prostrated before him and stood up, he said, “You have come back? So soon?” I said, “Yes,” and told him that ten copies of ‘Lekhalu’ were ready, that I had brought them with me and the printers said that they would send the remaining copies to the Ashram direct. Bhagavan said “Yes,” and remained indifferent.

After finishing my bath, etc., I took the bundle of books and went to the Ashram office, but the Sarvadhikari was not there.

So I thought I could as well show them to Bhagavan and then bring them back and so went into the hall. I did go into the office first, in accordance with the rules, to give books there, but the desire to show them to Bhagavan first was dominant in my mind. Whatever it be, taking advantage of the absence of the Sarvadhikari from the office, I went to the hall first. Bhagavan was reading the newspaper and appeared not to notice me. Afraid of giving the books into his hands, I placed them on the stool nearby.

In dedicating a book, it is usual to honour the person to whom it is dedicated by offering him fruits, flowers and presents according to the author’s ability. But you know the proverb: “For a God as big as a mountain, can you offer flowers, etc., mountain- high?” For Bhagavan, what is it that we could offer for worship? Even so, if I wanted to offer any of the classical puja articles such as patram (sacred green leaves), pushpam (flowers), phalam (fruits), thoyam (water), I was afraid Bhagavan would again scold me as he had done recently. So I merely folded my hands to salute him. You know what a nice thing happened then? As I bent down to prostrate, a devotee came there with a group of Brahmins and with a plate full of flowers, fruits, agarbathies (incense sticks), arecanuts, betel- leaves, etc. and placed it by the side of the books. When I got up and saw them, I felt extremely happy at the coincidence. All of them stood in a group and chanted the vedic hymn beginning with ‘nakarmana naprajaya dhanena’.

After the chanting was over, we all got up after bowing before Bhagavan. Krishnaswamy sent them away after giving prasadam. Bhagavan put the paper away and said to me leisurely, “Today it is Shashtiabdhapurthi for him, it seems.” “Is it so?” said I. Whatever it is, I was satisfied that though I never brought anything, unexpectedly someone else had brought flowers and fruits to make up for the omission.

Krishnaswamy left the books there. So I myself handed them over to Bhagavan. Turning them over this side and that Bhagavan said, “Give them to the office, let them come to me with the office stamp.” I opened a copy and showed Bhagavan that under his photo the press people had forgotten to print the name. “Oh! A mistake has been made.

It doesn’t matter. The namam (name) has merged in the rupam (form). Give them to the office,” said Bhagavan. I took them to the office and came back after handing them over to Sri Niranjanananda Swamy, the Sarvadhikari. After 9 a.m. Mounaswamy brought two copies of the book and gave them to Bhagavan. Bhagavan saw them and enquiring if one was for him and one for Nagamma, he told a devotee nearby, “Please give the copy to her. She wrote it and her brother got it printed. She herself brought and gave us some copies and from out of them we are giving her a copy. It is just like making an idol of Pillaiar (Lord Ganesa) with jaggery and, after puja, pinching a little of that jaggery and using it for naivedyam. When fruits are brought and given to us, do we not give prasadam?”

Letter 121

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28th May, 1947
Often it happens that in Bhagavan’s presence fruits and sweets are brought and placed before him; sometimes they are served on his leaf while taking meals and at times they are brought into the hall and Bhagavan is asked to eat them in the presence of all the people there. It is all right if they are new people but if they are old devotees Bhagavan would remark, “What more is there to do? Naivedya is over. Perhaps camphor also will be burnt?” or “Will swamitvam (the role of a Swami) be lost unless I eat whenever asked and do as requested?” If they are Asramites, he would even administer a mild rebuke, saying, “Why all this, instead of looking to the purpose for which you have come?”

It is, I believe, a year back, that one morning I brought fried jowar at the breakfast time, gave it to the people in charge of the kitchen and said nothing. What of that? As soon as I went to the hall Bhagavan complained, “I have eaten all sorts of foodgrains. Why do you take all this work on yourself?” From that time onwards, I have not been giving the Ashram anything prepared at home.

Recently when you sent figs and other fruit, I gave them to Bhagavan’s attendants secretly as I was afraid of what Bhagavan would say if I gave them in the presence of all the people. They waited for a suitable opportunity and gave them to Bhagavan. He did not say anything at the time, but you know what happened four or five days later? I went to the Ashram in the afternoon at 2-30. There was no one else with Bhagavan except the attendants. Squirrels were scrambling about the sofa and indirectly demanding their food. Bhagavan was emptying the tin and was saying “Sorry, nothing in it,” and turning towards me, he said, “The cashew nuts are finished. They do not like groundnuts. What am I to do?” I looked at the attendants enquiringly. They said that there were no cashew nuts even in the storeroom. The squirrels did not stop their fuss. I had to do something. At the same time I was afraid what Bhagavan would say if I got some from the bazar.

In the evening when someone was going to town, I gave him money to bring ten palams (1.5 kilograms) of cashew nuts.

The person who brought them did not give them to me immediately but gave them the next morning at 9 o’clock. Afraid of what Bhagavan would say if I gave them in his presence, I gave the packet to the attendant, Krishnaswamy, after Bhagavan had gone out at 9-25 a.m. I do not know what happened in the noon. I went to the Ashram at 2-30 p.m. and stayed on till 4.

This topic never came up. I felt greatly relieved, went home, came back in the evening at 6 and sat in the hall at a distance.

Veda Parayana was over. Krishnaswamy was pouring into a tin the cashewnuts I gave him. Bhagavan saw and asked him who gave them. He said, “Nagamma.” “When?” asked Bhagavan.

“At 9-45 a.m. when Bhagavan went out,” said the attendant.

“Is that so? Why not give it in my presence? Why this secrecy? Because I suppose she was afraid Bhagavan would be angry. These pranks have not been given up yet. Perhaps it is at her instance that Subbulakshmi brought cashewnuts a short while ago and gave them secretly to Satyananda through the window and slipped out. In addition, she gave an excuse to the effect that Athai (Bhagavan’s sister) had asked them to be given. She put it on to Athai as she thought I would not say anything in that event. These are the silly acts of people here. Why do they indulge in these things instead of confining themselves to the purpose for which they have come here? They try to hoodwink Swami. They do not know that they themselves are getting hoodwinked. This weakness has not left them in spite of years of stay here. Have they come here for this purpose?” said Bhagavan in a thundering voice.

As I sat there, I became still as a statue. I never told Subbulakshmamma nor did I know of her giving the cashewnuts. But I could not venture to open my mouth to mention the facts. I was however reminded of the purpose for which I had come. I thought that the lion’s dream known as Guru Kataksha was like this. The clock struck the half- hour. Startled by it, I looked at it and found it was 6-30 p.m.

As that is the hour at which ladies have to leave the Ashram, all of them were slowly going away. I got up somehow and bowed before Bhagavan. He was looking at me with piercing eyes indicating anger coupled with sympathy. I could not look at that majestic personality, and so without raising my head, I came home and went to sleep. Next morning it was broad daylight by the time I woke up. I realised that the reason for the rebuke, which was like a precept, was not merely the cashewnuts but my forgetfulness of the purpose for which I had come to the Ashram, namely the acquiring of jnana. There must be many instances of such forgetfulness and so I prayed to Bhagavan in my mind to forgive me.

I got up, finished my morning routine quickly and went to the Ashram. No sooner did I step into the hall than Bhagavan, with a face radiant with smiles, brought up my case for enquiry. It became clear that I never told Subbulakshmamma, and that Alamelu Athai herself sent those nuts through Subbulakshmamma for the squirrels as they were left over after the Shashtiabdhapurthi (completion of 60th year) celebrations of her husband. “Is that so! The story has now taken a different turn. Even so, why the secrecy? Anyway, it is all over now.” So saying Bhagavan changed the topic and tried to cover up the whole incident by consoling words. But I have not been able to forget it even now:

Men are bound down by desire, activity and much worry; they do not realize the shortening of life-span. Hence awake! awake! These words of the ancients are worth remembering.

So far as I am concerned, the words that Bhagavan spoke, the looks that he cast with a feeling that this child, without realising how fast time flies, was wasting her time on trivialities, were imprinted on my heart. Brother, how can I write the full implications of that incident! After all, Bhagavan is a Jnanadatha (Giver of Jnana)!

Letter 120

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23rd May, 1947
This morning at 8 o’clock, an ochre-robed person asked, “Swami, for controlling the mind, which of the two is better, performing japa of the ajapa mantra or of Omkar? Please tell me which is more useful?”

Bhagavan replied as follows: “What is your idea of ajapa? Will it be ajapa if you go on repeating aloud ‘soham, soham’? Ajapa means to know that japa which goes on involuntarily without being uttered through the mouth. Without knowing the real meaning of that japa, people think that it means repeating with the mouth the words ‘soham, soham’ lakhs of times, counting them on the fingers or on a string of beads. Before beginning a japa, ‘pranayame viniyogah’ is prescribed. That means, first do pranayama (regulating of breath) and then begin repeating the mantra.

Pranayama means first closing the mouth, doesn’t it? If, by stopping the breath, the five elements in the body are bound down and controlled what remains is the real Self. That Self will by itself be repeating always ‘aham, aham’. That is ajapa.

To know that aspect is ‘ajapa’. How could that which is repeated by mouth be ajapa? The vision of the real Self which performs japa of its own accord involuntarily and in a never ending stream like the flowing down continuously of ghee is ajapa, Gayatri and everything. At the time of the upanayanam itself, pranayama is taught by anganyasa, karanyasa and other methods of stopping the breathing, and people are asked to understand that ajapa by practice with suitable accompaniments. Without thinking of it, people talk of ajapa.

It is the same thing in regard to Omkar. Om is all pervading and complete by itself. How can one do japa of that word with the voice? The sutra is always there: ‘Omityekaksharam brahma adviteeyam sanatanam’ (Om is the indivisible and primordial Brahman). Without understanding that elementary thing, big books have been written stating the number of times each name should be repeated, such as so many thousands for Ganapati in mooladhara and for other chakras, so many thousands for Brahma, so many for Vishnu and Sadasiva. If you know who it is that is doing japa you will know what this japa is. If you search and try to find out who it is that is doing japa, that japa itself becomes the Self.”

Another person asked, “Is there no benefit at all in doing japa with the mouth?” “Who said no? That will be the means for chitta suddhi (purifying the mind). As the japa is done repeatedly the effort ripens and sooner or later leads to the right path. Good or bad, whatever is done, never goes to waste. Only the differences and the merits and demerits of each will have to be told, looking to the stage of development of the person concerned,” said Bhagavan. His “Upadesa Saram” itself is an authority on the subject.

Letter 119

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21st May, 1947
Yesterday morning at 8 o’clock, Dr. Syed who is a worker for Arya Vignana Sangha and one of the disciples of Bhagavan, came here for Bhagavan’s darshan and asked, “Bhagavan says the whole world is the swarupa of Atma. If so, why do we find so many troubles in this world?” With a face indicating pleasure, Bhagavan replied “That is called Maya. In Vedanta Chintamani, that Maya has been described in five ways. One by name Nijaguna Yogi wrote that book in Canarese. Vedanta has been so well dealt with in it, it can be said to be an authority on the Vedanta language.

There is a Tamil translation. The five names of Maya are, Tamas, Maya, Moham, Avidya and Anitya. Tamas is that which hides the knowledge of life. Maya is that which is responsible for making one who is the form of the world appear different from it.

Moha is that which makes a different one look real: sukti rajata bhranthi — creating an illusion that mother-of-pearl is made of silver. Avidya is that which spoils Vidya (learning). Anitya is transient, that which is different from what is permanent and real. On account of these five Mayas troubles appear in the Atma like the cinema pictures on the screen. Only to remove this Maya it is said that the whole world is mithya (unreal).

Atman is like the screen. Just as you come to know that the pictures that are shown are dependent on the screen and do not exist otherwise, so also, until one is able to know by Self- enquiry that the world that is visible is not different from Atma, it has to be said that this is all mithya. But once the reality is known, the whole universe will appear as Atma only. Hence the very people who said the world is unreal, have subsequently said that it is only Atma swarupa. After all, it is the outlook that is important. If the outlook changes, the troubles of the world will not worry us. Are the waves different from the ocean? Why do the waves occur at all? If asked, what reply can we give? The troubles in the world also are like that. Waves come and go. If it is found out that they are not different from Atma this worry will not exist.”

That devotee said in a plaintive tone, “However often Bhagavan teaches us, we are not able to understand.” “People say that they are not able to know the Atma that is all-pervading. What can I do? Even the smallest child says, ‘I exist. I do; and this is mine’. So, everyone understands that the thing ‘I’ is always existent. It is only when that ‘I’ is there, the feeling is there that you are the body, he is Venkanna, this is Ramanna and the like. To know that the one that is always visible is one’s own self, is it necessary to search with a candle? To say that we do not know the Atma swarupa which is not different but which is in one’s own self is like saying ‘I do not know myself’,” said Bhagavan.

“That means that those who by sravana (hearing) and manana (repeating within oneself) become enlightened and look upon the whole visible world as full of Maya, will ultimately find the real swarupa by nididhyasana,” said the devotee.

“Yes, that is it. Nidi means swarupa; nididhyasana is the act of intensely concentrating on the swarupa with the help of sravana and manana of the words of the Guru. That means to meditate on that with undeflected zeal. After meditating for a long time, he merges in it. Then it shines as itself. That is always there. There will be no troubles of this sort if one can see the thing as it is. Why so many questions to see one’s own self that is always there?” said Bhagavan.

Letter 118

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19th May, 1947
This afternoon, during a conversation regarding old Sankara Vijayam, Bhagavan asked one devotee whether it was not a fact that amongst all books on the life of Sankara, Sankara Vijayam of Vidyaranya was the best. “He was a great scholar and so his book is taken as an authority by all,” said that devotee.

Bhagavan said, with a smile, “Yes, his mental powers were very great. He was a great votary of Sri Vidya, you see. He therefore wanted to create a city in the shape of Sri Chakra (wheel) and started doing it in Hampi but could not complete it. So he said that an emperor in future would rule the country and would be able to build a city in the shape of a Sri Chakra. When I told Nayana (Ganapathi Muni) about this while I was on the hill, he made a peculiar comment, namely: ‘Sri chakrakriti sona saila vapusham, sri shodasarnatmakam occurs in ‘Arunachala Ashtaka Stotram’ written by Sri Sankara.

Besides this in Arunachala Purana, it is stated that this hill is reputed to be in the shape of Sri Chakra. Hence, without searching for it, we have been lucky in getting this place which is in the shape of Sri Chakra. Bhagavan is the Chakravarthi (Emperor).

If about ten houses are built around the hill, this itself is a great empire. Sankara must have intended this only,’ so said Nayana. He followed it up by arranging the whole administrative set up by saying, ‘Here is the commander- in-chief, that man is the treasurer, he is this, he is that.’ It used to be very amusing when he was here. All used to sit together and say, ‘What are the refreshments today for our Durbar?’ Then they used to draw up a programme, cook, and eat. They used to conduct the programme as if they were ruling an empire. This Sundaresan and that Kalyanam, were they like this then? Oh! Each person used to be highly active and hilarious. They used to think that they were great warriors,” said Bhagavan.

“When was all that?” asked Sivanandam. “That was while we were in Virupaksha Cave. Nayana actually drew up a plan on paper for the city to be built. A special place was allotted for me in that plan. Afterwards he used to draw up plans suitable for the administration of the empire. No king, no kingdom — plans, however, were got ready. Many plans were prepared like that. Where was the king? Where was the kingdom?” asked Bhagavan.

Subba Rao, a disciple of Nayana, said, “Why, was there no king? He is just opposite to us. Only this king wears a loin cloth. What is wanting? Haven’t houses been built around the hill? Isn’t the place where Bhagavan sits, like a king’s palace? The whole administration here is going on like a king’s household. Only there are some differences between an ordinary kingdom and this. That is all.” “That is all right. Nayana also used to say that the position of a Maharaja and a Mahajnani is the same. When astrologers predicted that Tathagatha (Buddha) would become either an Emperor or a sannyasi, full of wisdom and knowledge, his father prevented him from going out anywhere, kept him in the palace and tried his best to interest him in the pleasures and luxuries of the palace. At last when he (Buddha) somehow managed to go out on some pretext, he saw all the sufferings of people in the world. So, he ran away and took sannyasa. One of the two empires, material, or spiritual,” said Bhagavan.

Letter 117

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18th May, 1947
This afternoon, at 3 o’clock, another series of questions started. “Brahman is said to be Sat-Chit-Ananda Swarupa. What does that mean?” said one.

“Yes. That is so,” Bhagavan replied, “That which is, is only Sat. That is called Brahman. The lustre of Sat is Chit and its nature is Ananda. These are not different from Sat. All the three together are known as Sat-Chit-Ananda.

It is the same in regard to the attributes of the jiva-satvam, ghora and jadam. Ghoram means the quality of rajas, and jadam means the quality of tamas. Both these are parts of Satvam. If these two are removed, what remains is only Satvam. That is the truth which is eternal and pure. Call it Atman, Brahman, Shakti or anything you like. If you know that that is yourself, everything is lustrous. Everything is Ananda.”

That questioner said, “The ancients say that for a person who wants to know that real state sadhana, sravana, manana, and nididhyasana are absolutely necessary till the very end.” Bhagavan replied, “They are necessary only to get rid of the various things that come from outside and that too for purposes of sadhana only, but not for realising the Self. One’s own self is there at all times and in all places. Sravana, etc., are to be resorted to only to get rid of external influences, but if they are regarded as the most important things they will be the cause of the development of the feelings of ahankara, such as ‘I am a pandit’ (learned man), ‘I am a great man’ and the like. That is a big samsara (family). It is difficult to get rid of it later on. It is bigger than a wild elephant. It will not yield ordinarily.

“For that wild elephant, it is said that Guru Kataksham (the Grace of the Guru) is like seeing a lion in its dream,” said the questioner. “That is true. If an elephant sees a lion in its dream, it wakes up startled and will not sleep again that day for fear that the lion might appear again in a dream.

In the same way in a man’s life which is also akin to a dream, it is not Guru Kataksham alone, but also sravana, manana, nididhyasana, etc., that are akin to the sight of a lion in a dream. As they go on getting these dreams they wake up, and again go to bed and by efflux of time they may some day get a lion’s dream called Guru Kataksham in an intense manner. They get startled and obtain jnana. Then there will be no more dreams and they will not only be wakeful at all times but will not give room for any dreams of life but will remain alert until that true and real knowledge is obtained.

These lion’s dreams are unavoidable and must be experienced,” said Bhagavan.

With some surprise, that questioner said, “Are sravana etc. and Guru Kataksha akin to dreams?”

“Yes, that is so. For those who realise the truth, everything is akin to a dream.

That being so, what do you now say is the truth? During sleep you have no control over this body. You wander about in various places with different bodies. You do all sorts of things. At that time everything appears real. You do everything as if you are the doer. It is only after you wake up that you feel that you are a Venkiah or a Pulliah, that what you had experienced in the dream is unreal and that it was only a dream. Not only that. Sometimes you go to bed after eating your fill at night — sweets such as laddu and jilebi.

During sleep you dream that you are wandering in all sorts of places, cannot get food and are about to die of starvation.

When you get up startled, you will be belching. Then you will realise that the whole thing was a dream. But during that sleep, did you remember about this (your overeating)? Another person goes to bed suffering from starvation. In his dream, he enjoys a feast, eating laddu and jilebi. Will he remember at that time the fact that he had gone to bed hungry? No, he wakes up and finds himself terribly hungry.

‘Oh God! It is all illusion, a mere dream,’ he thinks. That is all. You were existent in the wakeful state as well as in the dream state and also in the sleeping state. When you are able to understand your state which had been existent all the time, you will then understand that all the rest is like a dream. When that is known, the feeling that the Guru is different from you will disappear. But then, since this realisation must come about because of Guru Kataksha, that Guru Kataksha is likened to a dream of a lion. That dream must be intense and must imprint itself in one’s mind. It is only then that a proper wakefulness will come about. For that, the time must be propitious. If sadhana is performed relentlessly, some time or other favourable results turn up.

That is all.” So saying, Bhagavan assumed a dignified silence.

The clock struck four. The people in the hall who were completely absorbed in this spiritual discourse of Bhagavan, came back to their own consciousness. The voice of Bhagavan was ringing in my ears. I returned, wondering whether at any time in this life I would get that lion’s dream of Guru Kataksha and get it imprinted on my mind.

Letter 116

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17th May, 1947
This morning at 9 o’clock one devotee addressed Bhagavan as follows: “Swami, you said yesterday that a Jnani will perform such actions as are ordained according to his prarabdha. But it is said that Jnanis have no prarabdha at all!”

Bhagavan said, in a leisurely way, “How did they get this body if they have no prarabdha? How do they perform the various actions? The actions of Jnanis are themselves called prarabdhas. It is stated that there is prarabdha from Brahma right up to Sadasiva and the Avatars of Rama and Krishna and others also.

For the protection of the good, for the destruction of evildoers, for the sake of firmly establishing dharma (righteousness), I am born from age to age.
-- Bhagavad Gita, IV: 8

“As stated in this sloka, Ishwara assumes a shape when the virtues of good people and the sins of bad people mingle and become prarabdha and he has to establish dharma. That is called parechcha prarabdha (the acts of other people). The body itself is prarabdha. The purpose for which that body has come into existence will get done of its own accord.”

The questioner of yesterday said, “In the Gita, Karma Yoga has been given greater prominence.” “Oho! Is that so? Karma Yoga is not the only one. What about the others? If you understand them all, you will know the real secret of Karma Yoga; only you don’t do that,” said Bhagavan.

I am the oblation, I am the sacrifice, I the offering, the fire-giving herb, the mantram; also the clarified butter, the fire, and the burnt-offering.
-- (IX: 16)

Before saying this, Lord Krishna in the Gita has said: (IX: 9)
Nor do these works bind me, O Dhananjaya, enthroned on high, unattached to actions.

Besides this: (XIV: 23) He who, seated as a neutral, is unshaken by the qualities (gunas), who stands apart immovable saying, ‘the gunas revolve’.

And: (XIV: 24) Balanced in pleasure and pain, self-reliant, to whom a lump of earth, rock, and gold are alike, the same to loved and unloved, firm, the same in censure and in praise.

And again: (XVI: 25) The same in honour and dishonour, the same to friend and foe, abandoning all undertakings — he is said to have crossed over the qualities (gunas).

“That is what has been stated. The Mahapurushas (great personages) mentioned above, are realised souls. Whatever outward shape they may have, sishya (disciple), bhakta (devotee), udaseena (the unconcerned) and papatma (sinner), all the people in these four categories are protected through the grace of the Jnanis. The sishyas worship them as gurus, ascertain the truth and attain mukti (freedom from bondage). Bhaktas pray to them as the swarupa (form) of God and get release from their sins. Udaseenas listen to what the Guru says, get enthused and become devotees. Sinners hear the stories from people that come and go and get release from their sins. People in these four categories are protected by the grace of Jnanis,” said Bhagavan.

Someone said, “You said that bad people will be released from their sins. Is that by listening to what others say or bytalking amongst themselves?” “It is by hearing what others say. They are sinners, aren’t they? How will they talk about good people?” said Bhagavan.

Yesterday’s questioner asked, “You said sinners will get released. Does that mean from their bodily or mental ailments?” “It is for the mind only,”

Bhagavan replied, “happiness is possible only if the mind is right. If the mind is not right, whatever else may be, there is no peace. The mind becomes ripe according to each person’s fitness. A nastik (an agnostic) becomes an astik (a believer), an astik becomes a bhakta, a bhakta becomes a jignasu (one desirous of Knowledge) and a jignasu becomes a Jnani. This refers to the mind only. What is the use of saying it refers to the body? If the mind is happy, not only the body but the whole world will be happy. So one must find out the way of becoming happy oneself. One cannot do this except by finding out about oneself by Self-enquiry. To think of reforming the world without doing that is like thinking of covering the whole world with leather to avoid the pain caused by walking on stones and thorns when the much simpler method of wearing leather shoes is available. When by holding an umbrella over your head you can avoid the sun, will it be possible to cover the face of the whole earth by tying a cloth over it to avoid the sun? If a person realises his position and stays in his own self, things that are to happen will happen. Things that are not to happen will not happen. The shakti that is in the world, is only one. All these troubles arise if we think that we are separate from that shakti.”

Letter 115

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16th May, 1947
Like the young man of yesterday, a North Indian gentleman handed over to Bhagavan a letter full of questions, chief amongst them being why Bhagavan does not try to improve the welfare of the world. After reading it Bhagavan said, looking at those near, “Yesterday also we had the same type of question. It is enough if all these people who preach about working for the welfare of the world, first work for their own welfare. Unable to enquire who they are and know that, they think of reforming the world. They must first find out who it is that is thinking thus. They don’t do that. And they say, they will reform the world. It is just like the story of the lame man.”

That questioner said, “Swami, how can Jnanis like you sit quiet without moving? When there is strife and turmoil in the world, should they not help in establishing peace?”

Bhagavan replied, “Yes, they should, but how do you know that Jnanis are not rendering any help? Their remaining where they are is itself a help to the world. To all outward appearances they seem to be doing nothing. Supposing there is a wealthy man. In his dream he goes about begging, works as a coolly and sweeps the streets. When he wakes up, he realises that he is not that sort of person and remains dignified in the thought that he is a wealthy man. In the same manner, a Jnani may do anything according to his prarabdha (fate) but he remains unattached and maintains a dignified aloofness. His shakti works in many ways but he does not feel happy or unhappy over the success or failure of his efforts. That is because he sees the world as full of Brahman and so nothing appears to him to be happy or unhappy. How can he have feelings of gratification or sorrow when he does not feel that he is in this body, that he is in this man or that this is the world?

Accordingly it is said: ‘dristim jnanamayeem kritva pasyeth Brahmamayam jagath’, when a person gains the outlook of a Jnani that very moment everything appears to be full of Brahman. Where then is room for the feeling ‘I am doing?’ They will then realise that everything is going on through the force of some shakti.

That is all,” said Bhagavan.

Another person said, “Jnanis are said to be capable of cursing and giving boons. You are saying that they have nothing to do. How is that?” Bhagavan replied, “Yes. Who said they are not capable? But they do not have the feeling that they are one thing and the shakti or Ishwara is another.

The force, that is, is only one. They realise that they are moving because of that shakti and keep themselves from the feeling that they are the doers. Their presence itself is of use to the world. They do whatever acts they have to in accordance with their prarabdha. That is all.”

Letter 114

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15th May, 1947
This afternoon, a young man from Tiruchirapalli wrote a letter and handed it over to Bhagavan. The gist of that letter is, that countless people in the country are suffering for want of food, that there is any amount of commotion, that we are unable to see their troubles, that Bhagavan must give out some plan to alleviate their suffering and that elders like him should not remain unconcerned like this.

Bhagavan read it and looking at him critically said, “Is that what you want? You say that you are suffering at the sight of their troubles. Does that mean that you yourself are all right unlike them and are happy?” “No, I am also suffering in one way or other,” said that young man. “Ah! that is the trouble. You do not know what is your own happiness, and yet you are worried about others. Is it possible to make all people similar? If all get into the palanquin, who is to carry it? If all are kings, what is the point in saying that any one is a king? Some people will be known as wealthy only if others are poor. A Jnani can be recognised only when there are ignorant people. Darkness will be known only when there is light.

Happiness will be known only if there is suffering. Food will be tasteful only if there is hunger. Hence, help can be rendered only to the extent possible, but if it is desired to make all people equally happy, that is never possible. A number of leaders of the country are working. Some of them say the work that has been contemplated has not been finished properly and so they will lecture. What for? People become leaders one after another and work goes on. There must be one shakti directing them all. If we throw the burden on that shakti with the confidence that it can do what is required and be free from worry, things will somehow go on.

Some preach against the killing of animals. If people do not listen to them, they say they will fast unto death, ‘We will commit suicide or we will give up life’. If one says he will commit suicide, if others do not give up killing animals, is not suicide itself a killing of a living being? They think suicide is merely leaving the body. Is not the body a part of the self? Atma is always there, at all times and all places. Instead of looking at the Self which is real and permanent, if one looks upon the body, etc. as one’s own Self, it is suicide. What other murder could there be than that? He who is able to see his own Self by knowledge and wisdom will not be moved by whatever conflicts may come about. He will look upon the sorrows and happiness of the world as mere acting on a stage. In his view the whole world is a stage. On that stage the same man once puts on the dress of a king, another time of a minister, next a servant, washerman, barber, and many other dresses, and acts appropriately on each occasion, but as he is conscious of his real Self and knows that he is not any one of those whose parts he is acting, he does not worry about the various vicissitudes of life he depicts on each occasion.

In the same manner, the world is a stage of Ishwara. In that stage you are an actor. You may help to the extent of your ability, but you cannot make all people equal.
It has not been possible in the past for anybody to do so and it will not be possible in future either.”

The young man said, “Because of all this, there is no peace in this world. I am unhappy about that.” “Look, you have come again to the point where you began,” Bhagavan replied. “Instead of feeling concerned about there being no peace in the world, it is better to enquire and find out how you will get peace in this world. If you give up that objective, what is the use of worrying yourself about the lack of peace in the world? If one’s mind has peace, the whole world will appear peaceful. Tell me, have you that peace?” asked Bhagavan.

That person said, “No.” “Ah! that is the thing. You do not have peace. You do not know how to secure that peace. If instead of trying to gain that peace, you attempt to secure peace for the world, it is like one who has no food, asking for food himself which, if given, he says he will use to feed any number of other people. Something like the lame man who said, ‘If only someone holds me up can’t I beat up the thieves!’”

Letter 113

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24th April, 1947
This afternoon at 3 o’clock, a devotee stood near Bhagavan’s sofa and said, “Swami, I have only one desire, namely to put my head on Bhagavan’s foot and do namaskar (obeisance). Bhagavan must grant me this favour.”

“Oh! is that the desire! But then which is the foot and which is the head?” asked Bhagavan. No reply.

After pausing for a while Bhagavan said, “Where the self merges, that is the foot.” “Where is that place?” asked that devotee. “Where? It is in one’s own self. The feeling ‘I’ ‘I’, the ego, is the head. Where that aham vritti (ego) dissolves, that is the foot of the Guru.”

“It is said that bhakti should be like mother, father, Guru and god, but if the individual self gets dissolved, how is it possible to serve them with bhakti?” he asked. Bhagavan said, “What is the meaning of the individual self getting dissolved? It means, making that bhakti expansive. Everything is from one’s own self. Hence, if one is in one’s own self, one gets the shakti (energy) to broad base them all.”

That devotee said, “Does dissolving one’s self in its own place mean that with buddhi (developed mind) one discards the annamaya and other kosas (sheaths of the body) and after that discards buddhi itself?” Bhagavan replied, “Where do you go if you discard buddhi? The buddhi remaining in its own state is the knowing of one’s own state. To eliminate or discard the various elements mentioned already, buddhi must be used like a punishing rod.

The buddhi is described as of two parts, unclean and clean.

When it is associated with the work of the antahkarana it is stated to be unclean. That is known as mind and ahankara.

When buddhi is used as a punishing rod to drive away those things and to give the inspiration of the Self (aham sphurana), i.e. ‘I’, it is known as clean buddhi. If that is caught and the rest is discarded, that which is, remains as it is.”

Further questioning was: “It is said that that buddhi must be made one with Atma. How is that?” Bhagavan replied, “How can it be made one with Atma when it is not a thing which comes from outside? It is within oneself. The feeling or the shadow of Atma is buddhi. If that buddhi, the static thing, is known, one remains as one’s own self. Some call that ‘buddhi’, some ‘shakti’ and some call it ‘aham’. Whatever the name, it must be caught hold of firmly to drive away all that comes from elsewhere.

Letter 112

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20th April, 1947
On the 12th instant someone brought a white peacock, saying it was sent by the Rani of Baroda and offered it as a gift to the Ashram. On seeing it, Bhagavan said, “Isn’t it enough that ten or twelve coloured peacocks are here? They may come to fight with this one because it is of a different variety. Besides that, it has to be protected against attacks of cats. Why this? It is better to send it back to its own place.” That person took no notice but went away leaving the peacock here. It was thereupon decided that Krishnaswami should look after its welfare and others should help him.

The other day when I went to the Ashram in the afternoon Bhagavan was telling the devotees near him about the peacock. “Look! A merchant manufacturing matchboxes brought a little deer called Valli and went away similarly leaving it here. It used to be roaming about in the Ashram. When Bengalgram dhal and mura muras were mixed together and placed in a plate, it used to eat all the dhal without spilling even a grain outside, leaving the mura muras. After some time when it began going to the forest with the goat-herds, people who knew that it belonged to the Ashram used to bring it back here. Subsequently, it used to come back of its own accord. So we let it go.

One day, when some panchamas broke its leg, hoping to kill and eat it, a person who knew that it belonged to the Ashram took pity on it and brought it back, carrying it all the way. It was bleeding. We nursed it but without success and after some days it breathed its last in my lap. Annamalaiswami and I built a samadhi near the steps on the side of the hill yonder.” Astonished at this, I said, “We see here ourselves what the ancients said that in Bharatakhanda (India) God comes down as an Avatar and gives moksha to animals and birds also.”

As the peacock had run away somewhere, Krishnaswami caught it and brought it back. Bhagavan, placing his hand on its neck and stroking it up to the heart with the other hand, said “You naughty chap, where did you go? How can we manage to look after you if you go away like this? Please don’t. There will be cruel animals elsewhere. Why not stay on here?” Thus he cajoled it.

For a long time after that it did not go out of the Ashram but learnt to go about the various cottages within the Ashram compound. Seeing that, Bhagavan used to say, “It is now like the Sarvadhikari.

This afternoon at 2-30 when I went there, the radio was playing and the electric fan was revolving. The peacock sat by the side of the radio, with closed eyes as if it was immersed in dhyana. Seeing that, one person said, “See how carefully it is listening.” Bhagavan said, “Yes. The peacocks are very fond of music, especially if it is from the flute.” “Though this peacock is white, it is the other peacocks that are really beautiful,” someone said. Pointing to the peacock, Bhagavan said, “If it is like this, it has a beauty of its own. Those peacocks have many beautiful colours. This is pure white without the mixture of any other colours. That means it is suddha satva (pure self) without the mixture of other gunas (attributes). See, in Vedantic language, the peacock also can be taken as an example. Even the other peacocks do not have so many colours at birth. They have only one colour.

As they grow up, they get many colours. When their tails grow, they have any number of eyes. See how many colours and how many eyes! Our mind also is like that. At birth, there are no perversities. Subsequently, there will be many activities and ideas, like the colours of the peacock.”

Letter 111

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18th April, 1947
This morning at 8 o’clock, Bhagavan looked at an old man who was coming into the hall and asked me, “Do you know who this is?” I said ‘No’. “He is the husband of my cousin sister who, it is stated in my biography, was suckled by my mother along with me,” said Bhagavan. (His name is Manamadurai Ramaswamy Iyer).

“What is her name?” I asked. “Meenakshi,” said Bhagavan. Saying that I had seen that gentleman from time to time but never known the relationship, I asked another devotee sitting nearby whether he knew him. He said, “Why? I know him well. Bhagavan gave darshan to that lady at the time of her death.” “Is that so?” I asked Bhagavan with some surprise.

Bhagavan replied thus: “Yes. It happened in her case the same way as in the case of Nayana at Tiruvottiyur. It seems I went near and touched her. She got up startled and said, ‘Who is it that has touched me?’ That is all. She woke up immediately after that.

It transpired subsequently that this happened in the last moment of her life.” “Did she tell anyone there about this experience?” I asked. “We enquired about that but she was not at that time in a condition to speak,” said Bhagavan. “That means, you had blessed her with your darshan in the same way as in the case of Nayana. Would the privilege of the drinking of milk from your mother go to waste?” I said. “Yes, that is so. Mother used to give her breast milk to both of us. I was drinking mother’s milk till I was five years of age. If my father saw, he used to scold her, saying, ‘What is this giving of milk to a grown up child like that?’ So I used to wait until he had gone and then drink milk. Mother had plenty of milk,” said Bhagavan.

A devotee asked, “Why does Bhagavan call Ganapati Sastri ‘Nayana’ (Nayana means father)?” “There is a reason for it,” he replied, “it is my custom to address all people with respect. Moreover, he was older than me. I therefore always used to call him Ganapati Sastri Garu. That was very distressing to him and so he begged me times out of number not to do so, saying, ‘Am I not your disciple? You should call me by a familiar name. This is very unfair.’ I did not pay any heed to his protests. At last one day he insisted on my giving up the formal way of addressing him and adopting a familiar one.

All his disciples call him ‘Nayana’, you see. So I made it an excuse and said I too would call him ‘Nayana’ like the others.

He agreed to it because ‘Nayana’ means a child and a disciple could be addressed as one’s own child. I agreed because ‘Nayana’ also means ‘father’ and hence it would not matter so far as I was concerned. I was still addressing him in respectful terms. Whenever I asked him to come here or go there he was still uncomfortable because after all that he had done, I continued to talk to him with the respect due to elders,” said Bhagavan.

I said, “You stated that Meenakshi was not in a condition to tell others about the darshan she had. That is all right, but Nayana did tell others about the darshan he had, didn’t he? In Vedantic language, what do they say about similar experiences that two people have at the same time?” Bhagavan said, with a smile, “ They are called ‘divya darshanas’ (divine visions).”

Letter 110

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17th April, 1947
The day before yesterday at about 8 or 9 in the morning, an elderly man of a middle class family, who knew Ayurveda, came to Bhagavan, prostrated before him and said, “Swami, this is good for phlegm, take it.” He wanted to give some medicine. When the attendants tried to prevent him from giving it, Bhagavan stopped them, took the medicine, and told the attendants, “Look, he used to give me some medicine or other now and then from the time I was living on the hill. Let him give it. Perhaps he has had some dream.” With evident pleasure, the old man said, “I have not had any dream now, Swami. You used to have excess of phlegm at this time of the year, didn’t you? So I have brought it.” So saying he bowed and went away.

As soon as he left, a devotee sitting near Bhagavan asked, “What about the dream you referred to?” Bhagavan replied: “Oh that! While living on the hill, one evening I casually asked Palaniswamy if he had a lime fruit. He said, ‘No’. ‘If so, don’t worry’, I said. It seems that very night this person dreamt that I had asked him for a lime fruit. Next morning, as I came out he was already there and said, ‘Swami, take this lime fruit!’ ‘Yesterday, I asked him (Palaniswamy) if he had one. How did you know about it?’ I asked. In reply, he said, ‘You appeared to me in my dream and told me that you wanted a lime fruit. That is why I have brought it now’; and he placed the fruit in my hand. That is how it happened.” The devotee asked, “Is it a fact that Bhagavan appeared to him in a dream?” Bhagavan replied with a smile, “I don’t know. Who knows? He said so. That is all.” Another devotee asked, “K. K. Nambiar’s notebook also happened to be brought here in the same way, isn’t it?” Bhagavan replied, “Yes, that is so. At that time Madhavan was here. I was telling him to take out from the bureau a long notebook with a black cover so that I could write a commentary on Sri Ramana Gita in Malayalam and copy it out in that notebook. He said he would get it but forgot about it for four or five days. Meanwhile Nambiar came here and gave me a notebook of the exact size and description I was asking for. When I asked him how it was that he had brought a notebook of the sort I was asking for, he said, ‘Bhagavan appeared to me in a dream and asked me for a notebook, describing the number of pages, the breadth and length. When I went to the shop, I found one of the exact description. I have brought it.’ In the meantime, Madhavan came. I said to him, ‘Look, here is the book. You have given it to me, haven’t you?’ He was surprised and, remembering my instructions, took out my notebook from the bureau which was found to be exactly of the same size. It was just sufficient for Sri Ramana Gita with the slokas and the commentary. As soon as that work was over, Nambiar came and took it away, saying he would get it printed but at the same time hesitated to hand over the book containing Bhagavan’s handwriting to the press. So, he got another copy made, which he sent to the press and kept the original himself. It must still be with him.

Even Rajagopalan did almost the same thing once. As the stock of our ink was finished I told the people here once or twice to replenish it. The next day or the day after he brought a big jar of ink while returning from some place. When I asked him how he came to know that the ink was needed here, he said that Bhagavan appeared to him in a dream and told him that ink was needed. ‘So I brought it,’ he said. That is how things happen from time to time,” said Bhagavan.

That devotee said, “They say that Bhagavan himself told them. Is that a fact?” Bhagavan replied, “What do I know? They said so. That is all.” The devotee again said, “Even so, isn’t it surprising that what was needed here should be seen by them in a dream?” Bhagavan nodded his head in approval and kept quiet.

Letter 109

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10th April, 1947
This morning, an Andhra youth handed over a letter to Bhagavan in which it was written: “Swamiji! They say that one can obtain everything if one takes refuge in God wholly and solely, and without thought of any other. Does it mean sitting still at one place, and contemplating God entirely at all times, discarding all thoughts, including even about food which is essential for the sustenance of the body? Does it mean that when one gets ill, one should not think of medicine and treatment, but entrust one’s health or sickness exclusively to Providence? From the definition of sthitha prajna given in Gita, (II:71):
The man who sheds all longing and moves without concern, free from the sense of ‘I’ and ‘mine’, he attains peace.

“It means the discarding of all desires. Therefore should we devote ourselves exclusively to the contemplation of God, and accept food, water, etc. only if they are available by God’s grace, without asking for them? Or does it mean that we should make a little effort? Bhagavan! Please explain the secret of this saranagathi.”

Bhagavan saw that letter leisurely and told the people near him: “Look! ‘Ananya saranagathi’ means to be without any attachment of thoughts, no doubt, but does it mean to discard thoughts even of food and water, etc., which are essential for the sustenance of the physical body? He asks, ‘should I eat only if I get anything by God’s direction, and without my asking for it? Or should I make a little effort?’ All right! Let us take it that what we have to eat comes of its own accord. But even then, who is to eat? Suppose somebody puts it in our mouth, should we not swallow it, at least? Is that not an effort? He asked, ‘If I become sick, should I take medicine or should I keep quiet leaving my health and sickness in the hands of God?’

Kshudvyadeh aaharam’, it is said. There are two meanings to this. One is, since kshuth, i.e. hunger, is also like sickness, so for the sickness called hunger, the medicine called food must be given; the other is: like medicine for vyadhi (sickness), food for kshuth (hunger) must be given.

In the book Sadhana Panchaka written by Sankara, it is stated, kshudvyadhischa chikitsyatam pratidinam bhikshoushadham bhudyatam’. It means, for treatment of the disease called hunger, eat food received as alms. But then, one must at least go out for bhiksha. If all people close their eyes and sit still saying if the food comes, we eat, how is the world to get on? Hence one must take things as they come in accordance with one’s traditions and must be free from the feeling that one is doing them oneself. The feeling that I am doing it is bondage. It is therefore necessary to consider and find out the method whereby such a feeling can be overcome, instead of doubting as to whether medicine should be administered if one is sick or whether food should be taken if one is hungry; such doubts will continue to come up and will never end. Even such doubts as, ‘May I groan if there is pain? May I inhale air after exhaling?’ also occur.

Call it Ishwara or call it karma — some Karta will carry on everything in this world according to the development of the mind of each individual. If the responsibility is thrown on him (the Karta), things will go on of their own accord.

“We walk on this ground. While doing so, do we consider at every step whether we should raise one leg after the other or stop at some stage? Isn’t the walking done automatically? The same is the case with inhaling and exhaling; no special effort is made to inhale or exhale. The same is the case with this life also. Can we give up anything if we want to or do anything as we please? Quite a number of things are done automatically without our being conscious of it. Complete surrender to God means giving up all thoughts and concentrating the mind on Him. If we can concentrate on Him, other thoughts disappear. If mano-vak-kaya karmas, i.e., the actions of the mind, speech and body are merged with God, all the burdens of our life will be on Him. Lord Krishna told Arjuna in the Gita: (IX:22)

To those men who worship Me alone, thinking of no other, to those ever harmonious, I bring full security and attend to their needs.

“Arjuna had to do the fighting. So Krishna said, ‘Place all the burden on Me, do your duty; you are merely an instrument. I will see to everything. Nothing will bother you.’ But then, before one surrenders to God, one should know who it is that surrenders. Unless all thoughts are given up there can’t be surrender. When there are no thoughts at all, what remains is only the Self. So surrender will only be to one’s Self. If surrender is in terms of bhakti, the burden should be thrown on God, and if it is in terms of karma, karma should be performed until one knows one’s own Self. The result is the same in either case.

Surrender means to enquire and know about one’s own Self and then remain in the Self. What is there apart from the Self?”

That young man said, “What is the path by which it can be known?”
Bhagavan replied: “In the Gita several paths are indicated. You are asked to do dhyana. If you are not able to do it, then bhakti or yoga or nishkama karma. Many more have been indicated. And one of the paths must be followed. One’s own self is always there. Things happen automatically in accordance with the samskaras (the fruits of the actions of previous births).

“The feeling that the doer is ‘I’ is itself bondage. If the feeling is got rid of by vichara, these questions do not arise.

Saranagathi is not the mere act of sitting with closed eyes. If all sit like that, how are they to get on in this world?” While Bhagavan was speaking the bell of the dining hall rang.

“There goes the bell; should we not go?” So saying with a smile, Bhagavan got up.

Letter 108

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9th April, 1947
Yesterday morning, a group of Andhras arrived, and started questioning Bhagavan within ten minutes of their arrival.

Question: “Bhagavan teaches us always to know ourselves. He should kindly teach us how to know ourselves, and bless us.”

Bhagavan’s reply: “The kindness is always there. You should ask for something that is not there, and not for something that is there already. You should believe with all your heart that the kindness is there. That is all.”

Another said: “In the Vedic recitations that are conducted here daily, they say, ‘thasya sikhaya madhye paramatma vyavasthithaha’. What is ‘sikhaya madhye’ (in the middle of the summit)?”
Bhagavan’s reply: “‘Sikhaya madhye’ means, ‘in the middle of the summit of the fire’ and not ‘in the tuft of the hair of the Vedas’. It means that the Paramatma resides in the centre of the fire of Knowledge that is generated by churning of the Vedas.”

Question: “In what asana is Bhagavan usually seated?”
Bhagavan: “In what asana? In the asana of the heart.

Wherever it is pleasant, there is my asana. That is called sukhasana, the asana of happiness. That asana of the heart is peaceful, and gives happiness. There is no need for any other asana, for those who are seated in that one.”

Another said: “The Gita says, ‘sarva dharman parithyajya mamekam saranam vraja’ (discard all dharmas and seek refuge in Me). What are the dharmas that are conveyed by the expression ‘sarva dharman’?”
Bhagavan: “‘Sarva dharman’ means ‘all the dharmas of life’. ‘Parithyajya’ means ‘having discarded those dharmas’.

‘Mamekam’ means ‘Me, the Ekaswarupa (the only one Self)’.

‘Saranam vraja’ means ‘take refuge’.”

Question: “The expression ‘hridaya granthi bhedanam’ occurs in Sri Ramana Gita. What is meant by it?”
Answer: “That is what I say, ‘going away’, ‘exit’, ‘extinction of all vasanas’, ‘destruction of the ego’, ‘I’, ‘destruction of jivathva’, ‘destruction of the mind’, and so many other names.

All mean the same thing — mano nasanam (destruction of the mind) is hridaya granthi bhedanam. The word jnanam also means the same thing — some technical word for the sake of recognising.”

When the conversation started, an attendant switched on the fan, finding it to be stuffy in the hall. Bhagavan got it stopped, remarking ‘why this?’ and turning to those nearby said, “Look here! Many people ask how anyone can continue to engage in performing karma after he has become a Jnani.

In reply to that question, in the olden days, they used to quote the potter’s wheel as a comparison. As the wheel turns round and round, the pot emerges. Even after the pot is finished and the turning of the wheel is stopped, the wheel does not stop revolving for some time longer. In these days we can cite the example of the electric fan. We switched it off, but it did not stop revolving for some time after. Similarly, even after one becomes a Jnani, he does not give up the physical body so long as actions which he is destined to perform with it remain unfinished.”

Suddenly a little baby of about eight months began to prattle “Thatha, Thatha” behind my back. When Bhagavan heard those sweet words, he lifted his head and asked who it was. I said, “It is our little child Mangalam.” Bhagavan is very fond of babies. He said, “Is it she? I thought it is some older girl. Has she already begun to call out ‘Thatha, Thatha’?” The child continued to say, “Thatha, Thatha.” Bhagavan said to those nearby, “See this wonder! Children first begin to say the word ‘Thatha’ which means ‘than than’. ‘Thanthan’ — ‘it is its own self’ — is the same with our minds also. The word ‘I’ comes out first, automatically. Only thereafter the words ‘you’, ‘he’, etc. are uttered, just as all other words follow the word ‘thatha’ in the case of little children. It is only after the feeling ‘aham’ (ego) comes that the other feelings follow.”

It was nearly 9 o’clock and so Krishnaswamy turned on the radio to verify the time. After the clock struck nine the radio ended with the words ‘namaste to all’. Bhagavan smiled and said, “The radio announcer says, ‘namaste to all’ as if he and they were different. Is he not one of them? It amounts to this, that he is saluting himself also. They do not realise that. That is the strange thing.”

Letter 107

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8th April, 1947
Recently, elder brother’s children, Sastri and Murthi, wrote a letter to Bhagavan as follows: “To Chiranjeevi Bhagavan Thathayya (grandfather), Namaskarams. Do you know of any mantram that gets us whatever we want? If so, please send it to us in writing immediately. Your grandchildren, Sastri and Murthi.” When I said, “What do they mean by writing ‘Chiranjeevi Thathayya?’ Silly” (Chiranjeevi means ‘long life’, and is used by elders in addressing younger people).

Sundaresa Iyer remarked: “They have written correctly.

Who else can be Chiranjeevi other than Bhagavan? They bow to the grandfather who lives eternally. They wanted him to bless them so as to get whatever they want. What is wrong?”

Bhagavan said with a smile, “In my younger days I wrote a similar letter to my uncle’s son Ramaswamy. I stayed with them for some time in Dindigul where I was studying. I came to Tiruchuli during a vacation. I wanted to write a letter to Ramaswamy. I did not know how to address him. In the letters written to him by my father I noticed him writing ‘aseervadams (blessings) to Ramaswamy’. So I also began to write to him ‘aseervadams to brother-in-law’. He was older than me and I did not know that I should have writen ‘namaskarams’. I thought it would be the same for all people. I realised this mistake when he laughed at me for this.”

One devotee said, “I believe Bhagavan was very familiar with that Ramaswamy.” Bhagavan replied, “Yes, in the place where my picture is now placed in the Sundara Mandiram in Tiruchuli, there used to be a tape cot. My father used to sleep on it. No one else but Ramaswamy and myself could take the liberty of getting on it. When father was not in town, we two used to sleep on it together. No one had any familiarity with father except Ramaswamy because he had no mother, and myself because I was by nature very free in such matters. Father was a towering personality.”

That devotee said, “Did that Ramaswamy ever come here?”
Bhagavan said, “He came here once long back. To move out of his place was a great problem for him. People who had been here used to tell him about me, it seems. He had been putting off his visit to this place from time to time when this Viswanath ran away from home saying he did not want to marry and came here. He is the son of Ramaswamy.

He thought he could take Viswanath back. After all, it being the case of his own son, he could not delay coming here.

Viswanath himself got a letter saying that he was coming.

Without telling me that news, he (Viswanath) gave me that letter saying, ‘the Dindigul mountain has started moving’.

“On looking into the letter I understood what he meant.

Ramaswamy came here the very next day. Recently, while writing letters to me, he himself has begun writing, ‘namaskarams to Swami’. He writes, ‘Swami should bless me’.

It means he received my blessings even when I was young.

Whoever expected at that time, that it would turn out like this? I wrote something. That was all.”