Letters from Sri Ramanasramam – Son is Beholden to the Father

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Volume 1

21st November 1945
(1) The Son is Beholden to the Father

Brother, you have asked me to write to you from time to time whatever striking happens in Sri Bhagavan’s presence and what Sri Bhagavan says on such occasions. But am I capable of doing so? Anyway I will make an attempt and beginning this very day. The attempt will succeed only if Bhagavan’s Grace is on it.

The day before yesterday being full moon, the usual Deepotsava (festival of lights) was celebrated on a grand scale. This morning Sri Arunachaleswarar started for giripradakshina (going round the hill) with the usual retinue and devotees and accompaniment of music. By the time the procession reached the Asramam Gate, Sri Niranjanananda Swami (the Sarvadhikari) came out with Asramam devotees, offered coconuts and camphor to Sri Arunachaleswarar, and paid homage when the procession was stopped and the priests performed Arati (waving of the lights) to the God. Just then Sri Bhagavan happened to be going towards the Goshala (cowshed) and seeing the grandeur he sat down on thepial near the tap by the side of the book depot. The Arati plate offered to Arunachaleswarar was brought to Bhagavan by Asramam devotees and Sri Bhagavan took a little Vibhuti (holy ashes) and applied it to his forehead, saying in an undertone “Appakku Pillai Adakkam” (The son is beholden to the father). His voice seemed choked with emotion as he spoke. The expression on his face proved the ancient saying “bhaktipoornathaya Jnanam” (the culmination of Devotion is Knowledge). Sri Bhagavan is Lord Shiva’s son. Sri Ganapati Muni’s saying, that he is Skanda incarnate, was confirmed. It struck us that Bhagavan was teaching us that since all creatures are the children of Ishwara, even a Jnani should be beholden to Ishwara.

We can never tell how pregnant with meaning are the words of Mahatmas. You ask me to write somehow, but how can I convey the exquisite beauty of his utterances? How can I describe adequately? I wrote in a recent poem that every word that falls from his lips is scripture. Why talk of his words alone? If one has the ability to understand, his very gaze and gait, his action and inaction, inhaling and exhaling – everything about him is full of meaning. Have I the capacity to understand and interpret all this? With full faith in Sri Bhagavan’s grace, I shall write to you whatever occurs to me, serving Sri Bhagavan with the devotion of the squirrel to Sri Rama.

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