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).”

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