(3) A Voice from the Hill of the Holy Beacon
A certain Mysorean, well-built and short in stature, presents himself before Sri Bhagavan and puts a question on a familiar yet enigmatic subject. He asks: “Bhagavan, what is this thing they call ‘Guru-kripa’ (Guru’s grace)?” All the devotees sitting there are expectantly watchful for the answer that will come from the statue-like figure seated on the divan, utterly unswayed by the happenings around Him, with His eyes gazing into somewhere — the depths of which we know not — with an expression whose simple placidity catches even those with a superior air of their own. Unassuming He is, yet His authority tells; naked in every sense of the word, yet He is clothed in all that is wholly divine; poor, yet possessing and claiming by right all the Cosmos as His own; simple, yet a problem and a marvel for all who come to study Him. He is the One Man to whom real India, nurtured on her glorious traditions of the great past, looks for light and life.
This Sage of Arunagiri was one who burned His boats even at the age of seventeen, while He was a student in Madurai. This was so that He might be drowned in the Ocean of Arunachala and dissolved in It, so that there might be no trace of His little ‘self ’ and He be only the One Self that is, was, and shall ever be. This is to Him ‘Arunachala’ — the one resplendent and immutable Truth, which is the substratum of all that is, was and shall be. For aruna means red, radiant, and achalam, the changeless rock-bottom of Truth. To Him life in the wakeful stage is as good as a moment of dream. According to Him, the one problem of life is how to wake from this perennial dream. For when we awaken from life’s dream, aware of the One Seer and of all that passes before His gaze, painful and pleasurable, we shall abide ever as the unaffected witness, immortal and infinite.
What is the Guru’s Grace? Well, this is exactly the word that awakens us from this dream life of ours, to which we cling so hard until the tiger of death pounces on us and proves that it is ephemeral, unreal.