Letter 106

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7th April, 1947
Yesterday I wrote to you what Bhagavan told us about moderation in sleep, diet and movements. He teaches this in various ways by his own practical example. He does not take milk and is nowadays eating only one iddli for breakfast daily saying that a man who sits without doing any physical work does not require two. So also with his midday meal.

Mixed with curry etc., each meal amounts only to about a handful. Even that he does not eat each dish separately as we do for taste. He makes a ball of the vegetable, chutney, soup, etc. and then mixes it with rice and eats. In the course of the conversation one day, he said, “It would be more tasty to eat the rice with only one dish instead of so many. Why so many dishes? We used to eat only a single dish in the olden days. I have not given up that practice even now. While I was on the hill many people used to bring rice, fruit and sweets. Whatever they brought, I used to eat only as much as could be lifted with three fingers. I used to eat some of whatever they brought so that the whole day’s intake of the food eaten did not amount to a handful. That method of eating used to give me more than happiness. Nowadays they spread a leaf and serve several things on it. As I cannot waste anything, I eat them and feel heavy thereafter.”

So also as regards sleep. On special festival occasions such as the birthday celebrations (Jayanthi) and Maha Puja, the students do not commence the Vedic recitations at the Brahma Muhurtham time (a couple of hours before sun rise), being tired with work on the previous night, but Bhagavan gets up as usual and keeps himself ready. If he is ever in ill health and his personal attendants request him to sleep a little longer, he replies, “What is the point in sleeping at the time of the Brahma Muhurtham? If you want, you may sleep.”

In Dhanurmasam (December-January), puja starts in Arunachaleswara temple early in the morning. Bhagavan wakes up here by that time. People who do the Tamil parayana may take some time to get up and come here, but he is always ready to receive them. Of course his movements also are limited. It is said that all these restrictions are only for sadhaks and not for Jnanis. But Jnanis also observe all this discipline for the welfare of the world. They never slip down from the pinnacle of complete dispassion. Devotion to principle, determination, etc., which do not transgress Nature’s laws are normal for them. Their actions are all lessons for us.

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