Mr. Ramaswami Iyengar of Kumbakonam, who was staying at Palakottu, passed away this morning about 2 a.m.; and Kunjuswami informed Bhagavan of the same at once. R. passed away with Bhagavan’s name on his lips.
Bhagavan made kind enquiries about Colombo Ramachandra’s health, as he had been suffering from sciatica for about a week now, and was taken to the Doctor in the Government Hospital last evening. Among the letters received today was one from a lady, Kameswaramma, in which she asked for Bhagavan’s opinion on the question whether the body can be kept alive eternally. While perusing the letter, Bhagavan made a few remarks and this led to questions from visitors. Bhagavan repeated his well-known views on the subject, more or less to the following effect : “As this lady writes, some have maintained that the body can be made immortal and they give recipes, medical and other, for perfecting this body and making it defy death. The Siddha school (as it is known in the south) has believed in such a doctrine. Venkaswami Rao in Kumbakonam started a school which believed the same. There is a Society in Pondicherry too. There is also the school which believes in transforming men into supermen by descent of Divine Power, as is mentioned in this letter. But all people, after writing long treatises on the indestructibility of their body, after giving medical recipes and yogic practices to perfect the body and keep it alive for ever, pass away one day!” Somebody raised this question, “What then about those who are spoken of as chiranjivis in our books?” Bhagavan replied, “But do they appear in physical bodies? They only appear to you in your dhyana.” From this the talk drifted to whether they have individuality and Bhagavan said, “As long as you have individuality, you can see individuality in them, not afterwards!”
In the night Gajanan (Devarata) said to Bhagavan “When Naina went to Gokamam he went almost to every house and offered his superb vidya to everyone. But nobody cared for it then. But now, they come across a verse of his and they go into raptures over it, and exclaim ‘What poetic gift!’ and if they can get a picture of him they worship it as God. This seems to have been the way of the world always. There is a story about Maschendra Nath. It is said he went about saying, “For two pooran polies Gun’ll) I shall give you Brahmam i.e.,
jnana. But nobody cared. At last Goraknath came along and when he heard this offer of M., he said he would bring the polies. He went into the city, got up a tall tree, hung from one of the branches head downwards, had a small fire lit up underneath, and made a chela or disciple sit by his side. The whole town swarmed around and wondered saying, “What great tapasya! Some great Mahatma has come to our place!” People readily offered to do various services and present many things to the great tapasvi. The disciple explained that his master would only accept a bhiksha in which a thousand persons should all be fed with the best pooran polies. This was readily arranged and Goraknath took two polies and ran up to Maschendra, telling the people, “You feed the thousand persons. I shall go to the Ganges and offer the polies to Ganga.” G. told M., “Here Sir, I have brought the two polies. Now give me Brahmam! ” M. took the two polies, bit them here and there, threw the pieces to the birds, dogs and the river, and then both M. and G. disappeared. M. had given G. Brahmam.
“It seems to have been the way of the world always. Great men are rarely respected and rated at their true worth in their lives. Even Sankara was bitterly attacked during his lifetime as a maya asura. But now he is regarded not only here, but all over the world, as the greatest religious and philosophical thinker the world has produced!” Bhagavan said, “There is another similarity between Sankara and Maschendra Nath. It is said of Maschendra also that he was enjoying the company of a woman and forgot to return at the end of the period fixed by him, and that thereupon his disciple Goraknath went and sang and reminded him and brought him back, in the same way in which Sankara’s disciples are said to have sung Guru stuti and brought BackSankara.” Gajanan proceeded to relate that Goraknath was greatly revered in Nepal, from the King downward, and the State coin also bore the name of Goraknath. He said, “It seems, when Goraknath was alive, the then King of Nepal visited him. When G. was apprised of the King’s arrival, he merely spat on the King. The King, to avert the spittle falling on his crown, drew Backa little; the spittle fell on his feet. G. is said to have then told the King, ‘You would not let the spittle fall on your head. If it had so fallen, you might have become the head of a big empire. However, as it fell on your feet, you would be the master of a small kingdom'”
The talk then drifted to miracles done by various saints. G. mentioned one Vasudeva Saraswati and said, “He has gone all over India. Bhagavan knows him. He was here too. He did various miracles. One morning he would bathe in the Krishna and at noon he would be found bathing in the Ganges at Benares and at a third place in the evening!” Then G. proceeded to speak of Samartha Rama Das and his miracles, and told the following story : “It seems one of his disciples, greatly devoted to him, used to grind the betel leaves and nut in his own mouth first and then offer it to Ramdas. Some co-disciples thought this sacrilegious and went and told Ramdas, ‘Please ask him to bring the pestle and mortar with which he daily prepares betel leaves paste for you.’ Ramdas thereupon asked those disciples, ‘Yes, go and ask him to bring the mortar.’ They accordingly went and told that disciple, ‘Master wants us to bring from you the mortar in which you prepare betel leaf for him daily!’ The disciple said, ‘Wait. I shall give it to you presently.’ So saying he took a sword, cut off his head and gave it to the other disciples! When the disciples took the head to the Master, the latter told them, ‘Do you now see the bhakti of the man whom you misunderstood and maligned? Go and put his head Backagain on his trunk.’ The disciples did as directed and the man came Backto life.” G. continued and said, “The sword ‘Bhavani’ was presented to Shivaji by Ramdas. Four men are required to handle that sword, handled by Shivaji. It is now preserved by the British Government.”