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[Journey with Sai]

Some Excerpts from the book written by Karunamba Ramamurthy Part 2 of 3

[A Treasure]  

Swami visited Ramachandra Shetty's house on December 17, 1958. Shetty's family performed pada Puja. After the Puja, Swami gave a brief discourse to the housewives assembled there:

Perform your duties sincerely and think of God during the rest of the time. This is your dharma. Eyes are important for the body as the sun and the moon are the eyes of the Loka. Dharma is the eye of the mind. Without this, life will be dark. Therefore, follow dharma. Look after your husband and children and do not make unreasonable demands. How can he get you a sari worth Rs. 150 when his earning is only Rs. 100?

Perform good deeds. Do not take on yourself duties of others' or transfer your duties to them. An unripe fruit will not fall by itself, whereas a ripe fruit will fall by itself. Merely by shaving one's head, does the feelings of the mind vanish? Hence one should put in efforts to remove the desires of the mind. What is the use of external appearances? Try to curtail your needs. When this fruit (body) is rotten, it will be thrown away. When the fruit is good, shouldn't you offer it to God? You cannot rest without performing your duties. Even breathing is an action. If that stops, no other action is possible. Therefore, do your duties sincerely contemplating on God.

There was a brief interval during which some devotees sought clarifications from Swami about their doubts.

KANNAMMA: Swami, what is the meaning of Manava?

SWAMI: Let Me put it like this:

Jiva + vyamoha = Manava

Jiva - vyamoha = daiva

In other words, human being is vyamoha sahita, whereas God is vyamoha rahita. (Swami sang the song, Rama nannu brovara (Rama, please take care of me). He emphasised the importance of detachment and discrimination citing a stanza from the song chimalo brahmalo.) In this song, Saint Tyagaraja declares that Brahma is present even in an ant. He leaves out the human being intentionally. The ant exercises the faculty of discrimination when sugar and sand are mixed. The ant selects only the sugar and discards the sand whereas the human being grabs everything and comes to grief.

KANNAMMA: Swami, why did You create this type of world?

SWAMI: To make human beings learn from their sufferings and enable them to experience and exercise their power of discrimination for their evolution.

KANNAMMA: Swami, did You create this world as a pastime?

SWAMI: No. Never. God does not have even a moment of free time. He created the world with all its beauty to educate and uplift the human being.

Leelamma then told Swami about the impediments in Bhakti marga to reach God (sufferings, wavering of faith and so on).

SWAMI: No. You think wrongly. Why do you think a mother punishes the child? It is not shiksha (punishment), but shikshana (training of the senses and emotion; teaching). It is the same with God. Just because the mother chides the child sometimes, it does not turn away from her. When your child is seriously ill, whom do you turn to? You do not pray your rich father, husband or others. You pray God, 'Please, save my child'. Is it not?

In this world everybody, both rich and poor, is a beggar. God gives more alms to some and less to others. One is a bigger beggar and other one is a smaller beggar that is all. How much each one gets is decided by their karma. Therefore, don't hate or envy others. Live amicably, work happily, share equally with others and try to please God.

SHANKARA: Swami, what is Atma?

SWAMI: You are too young to understand it. (Turning to Shetty) Atma has no akara (form). It is Ananta (endless).

We reached Parthi on June 14, 1959, we had Darshan of Swami. He blessed us holding His right hand high and enquired about children's welfare and their examination results. My husband told Swami that by His grace, they had passed. Swami told laughingly, "To pass in examination, My grace; for other results, your grace." Swami enquired, "You were to come yesterday itself. Is it not?" My husband told, "We could not make it." Swami said, "You had no plans to come to Puttaparthi." My husband remained silent. Swami continued. "Is Radhamma all right? Has she left for her place?" The next day, after I had Darshan of Swami, I did pada Namaskara. I went to see Swami in the afternoon. He said, "I will see you after My lunch." The door of the Interview Room opened. I said, "We are going back tomorrow. Permit us to do pada Puja." Swami said, "If you are leaving tomorrow morning, how will you perform pada Puja? You will miss the bus." I replied, "Swami, if You permit, we will go by the evening bus." He said, "Fine."

We were waiting for the pada Puja on Tuesday. After Bhajans and mangalarati, Swami went upstairs for His lunch. I went upstairs and waited. Swami opened the door. He asked, "What?" I replied, "We are waiting for pada Puja." He said, "Which pada Puja? You did not ask for it. Should you not have come to the Interview Room in the morning?" Saying that, He came down. Looking at my mother He said, "Should you not, at least, tell them that devotees on the spiritual path have no need to do any external Puja?"

KANNAMMA: Swami, if You are inconvenienced by our Puja, we will not do it.

SWAMI: I am not tired. But you are under an illusion. If you are still concerned only with this external Puja, when will you start doing it internally? Do you consider it to be Puja only after you have washed My feet with water? (Later He allowed us to perform the Puja.)

MOTHER: Swami, tell me about Niraakaara Dhyana.

SWAMI: That is not good. It is good to walk where there is a road. Give up the rocky path and take the royal path. Thereby, you will know the right direction. You may mistake a piece of glass found on your way for a diamond. When you come across a real diamond, you may neglect it as only a piece of glass. Who will guide you? Hence sakara Dhyana is good. Niraakaara Dhyana is a very difficult path. The universe was seen in Krishna's mouth; Krishna was not seen in the universe. Power dwells in a person and not vice versa. Why are you trying to go by that way? The important thing during meditation is that you must meditate with Godly feelings. Human feelings should not be brought there.

We asked as to where we could see Him before leaving for Mysore. He asked us to come near the Interview Room. After 3 p.m. we were standing outside the Interview Room. Swami saw us from upstairs and beckoned us. He took us to a room, which is right on top of the Puja place in the Mandir downstairs. After we sat down, my husband started pressing Swami's legs.

KANNAMMA: You have said in Sanathana Sarathi that we should do Japa and Dhyana along with Omkara. We are not able to do all the three together.

SWAMI: You have got it wrong. When you are doing Omkara, is it possible to chant the mantra or meditate? While doing Omkara, just concentrate on the sound of Omkara. Later, feeling the sound of Omkara, meditate on the letter OM and chant the mantra. If mantra Japa stops, continue the Dhyana. Even if Japa stops, do not worry, but continue the Dhyana.

KANNAMMA: Swami, why don't we feel happy while doing Dhyana?

SWAMI: Initially there will be no feelings. You should practice continuously. When you close your eyes during Dhyana, you see only darkness. In that you should see a light and see Me in that light. That is all. It is good if you do not have any other Darshan during the Dhyana. Realization of the soul is the highest state. After that everything will be perceived as filled with Brahma. In that state one will forget oneself. This state can be reached with the help of Japa and Dhyana. To bring the turbulent mind of Swami Vivekananda under control, Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa gave him the experience of Sakshathkaram for a short time. He did not make that permanent.

I will tell you an example to illustrate the complete surrender of soul. Once the king of Khatvanga was going through a forest. On the way, he saw a sage. Immediately he got down from his horse, prostrated before the sage and prayed, "Guruji, I want to have realization of the soul before I step on the stirrup to climb my horse again." The sage said, "In that case, you should do as I advice you to." The king agreed. Sage said, "Offer your body, speech and mind to me." The king said, "I offer them to you." The sage vanished. The king stood rooted to the same spot.

The king's family members came in search of him as he did not turn up even after a long time. After finding him, they tried to talk to him. The king did not utter a single word. They thought that the king's mental state could be due to the advice of a noble soul. Later they searched the forest for the sage and prayed him to come to the place where the king was transfixed. The king bowed to the sage and spoke to him. When the family members asked for the reason for his being silent earlier, the king after taking permission from the sage said, "I had offered my body, speech and mind to the sage and so without his permission I had no right to do anything." The sage pleased by this total surrender asked him to mount the horse. As soon as the king placed his foot on the stirrup, he realised the soul and attained salvation.

KANNAMMA: Swami, is it not possible to attain self-realization in one's lifetime itself?

SWAMI: It is possible. You can realise your soul by the grace of the Guru in just one second, one hour, one day, one month or an year.

KANNAMMA: In that case, shouldn't You grace those persons who are entirely dependent on You and seeking Your grace?

SWAMI: I will surely bless them. I am here only for that reason and for such aspirants. You still have responsibilities. As soon as you finish them, I will shower grace on you. If you desire it before finishing your duties, it will be an act of selfishness.

KANNAMMA: Swami, aren't there people who are doing their duties and sadhana at the same time?

SWAMI: Yes, but it is better to finish one's duties first.

KANNAMMA: Swami, it is an endless world. Duties never end.

SWAMI: No. A time will come when your duties will be over. It will not be like this forever. Do you know why I tell you people to work (serve)? It is for the reason that you should not have a body another time. Even though your mind is purified, your body might not have done enough manual work. The result is that you will have to be born again, at least, as an exalted person. Make sure you do not get a body again. Believe Me, I will definitely grace you.

KANNAMMA: Swami, the body is already weak. Can we do later what we are unable to do now? While sitting for Japa and Dhyana, our minds will stray towards the pain in the legs, etc. When we become old, many more difficulties will be there to distract us even more.

SWAMI: Mind is more important than the body. If you just count the rosary on your fingers without involving the mind, what is the use? Do you know the strength of the mind? If the mind so decides, it can make the body bend to its dictum, irrespective of the state or condition of the body. Without thinking about the leg pain, you focus the mind on Japa Dhyana. It will cure by itself. You are like potholes in a riverbed filled with mud and dirty water. Would the river go in search of those holes, which are away from the main stream? But when the river is in spate, all mud and dirty water are washed out and only pure water stays in the holes. Similarly, by cleansing the mind the soul will be realized. The flood is God's grace. The river is Naamasmarana. Do all the rivers end up in sea? No. Some of them end in a lake or tank. When the 'rain' called 'God's grace' pours down on the 'river' called Naamasmarana, it results in a spate, which is destined to reach the 'sea' called 'God'. In Kaliyug, you need not do anything other than Naamasmarana. Your karma gets destroyed by having My Darshan, Sparshan and Sambashan. I have kept programs such as Omkara, Japa, Bhajan, etc., to stop you people from wasting time by talking unnecessary things. That's all.

KANNAMMA: But in the house, we have to do them in an order.

SWAMI: Yes. You have to do that. Only because you do Puja, Bhajan and other good deeds, your children will imbibe these good habits.

KANNAMMA: Swami, Your grace should be always on us. Swami: It is there. A lot of it. My grace is always on you.

So saying, Swami blessed both of us by placing His hands on our heads. He materialized vibuthi, applied it on our foreheads and gave us some to take home for children. Swami also gave us a piece of paper to pack it up. I said, "Swami, my son has applied for diploma according to Your guidance. You should bless him to get a seat there." Swami said, "Why? Everywhere they give a seat for a student who is eligible." I said, "Another son also has to get a seat." Swami said, "Sure. He too will get a seat." (As promised by Swami, both of them got seats in the respective institutions.)

After doing pada Namaskara, I asked, "Swami, children will have holidays for ten days for Dasara. Can we all come to Puttaparthi?" Swami replied, "Don't come. Sit at home and keep chanting 'Ramamurthy, Ramamurthy' (my husband's name). (Laughs) This is your mother's house. Where else can you go? You have to come. Ammayi, do not get upset that I scolded you for requesting pada Puja. I am not angry. I did it for fun." My husband said that he was not feeling well for past fifteen days. Swami said, "Is it so? Kannamma, you get him married. Everything will be all right (laughs)." I asked, "Swami, should we leave now or tomorrow morning?" Swami said, "Better if you stay back today and leave tomorrow. You can leave tomorrow morning after doing pada Namaskara. Now, it is getting late for Bhajans. Shall We leave now?" So saying Swami stood up. We followed Him downstairs.

The next morning at 7 a.m. we were waiting outside the Mandir. Swami came on the balcony and smiled at us. He asked, "Why are you two standing so far? Did you quarrel yesterday?" We replied in the negative. He signaled us to come upstairs. We went up. Swami said, "Tell your children that I enquired about them." We said, "Swami, You should help them to get seats in the college." Swami touching His chest said, "I am there. I am there to get them the seats. Do not worry." Both of us did pada Namaskara.

We said, "Swami, You should always be ours." Swami placed His hands on our hands and said, "I am always yours. I am yours now. I will be yours in the future and I was yours in the past." We were happy. In that ecstatic state, we started to climb down the stairs, completely forgetting the Prasadam. Swami called, "Kannamma, take some Prasadam and then go." He gave me a handful of vibuthi packets. When I asked some vibuthi for Leelamma, He told me to give some from what He had given me.

I asked, "Swami, is it true that You are coming to Mysore in July?" Swami said, "I am definitely coming. Shetty has invited Me for Gurupoornima." I asked, "Will You not come to our house?" Swami said, "Surely, I will. Did I not come even when I stayed for just one day? Shettys are My devotees. But I do not want them to hear nasty things from their relatives because of Me. So, I will not stay there for long. The house is also small. People should not be inconvenienced due to My presence there."

On October 30, 1959, we went to Puttaparthi, offered flowers and did pada Namaskara to Swami. Looking at me, He enquired, "Kannamma, you have come!" I said, "Yes, Swami." He said, "I am very happy, very happy," and gave me a flower as Prasadam.

On November 7, 1959, Swami called us into the Interview Room at 11. a.m.

SWAMI: Kannamma, are you leaving now itself?

KANNAMMA: Swami, we were planning to leave the next morning by bus.

SWAMI: Today is Ashtami Navami. What will you do? I will talk to you in the evening.

KANNAMMA: What shall I do Swami? I wanted to go tomorrow morning at 6 a.m.

SWAMI: Yes, you can leave tomorrow morning. It is Ashtami till 3 p.m. I will therefore talk to you in the evening and not now. (We garlanded Him and did pada Namaskara.) How is the couple?

KANNAMMA: Swami, we are fine. Swami: Do you want a boy or a girl? Kannamma: Swami, I want neither.

SWAMI: Why do you take it in that way? Why do you take all My words in worldly sense and not in the spiritual sense? Don't you want the daughter called Vijnana and the son called sujnana? (Vijnana - knowledge of the phenomenal world; highest wisdom, constant efforts to discriminate between dharma and Adharma. Sujnana - higher levels of consciousness; knowledge which enables one to distinguish between right and wrong, good and bad.)

KANNAMMA: Yes, Swami, I need such children.

SWAMI: Then, why did you say that you did not want them? Henceforth, try to understand the inner meaning of whatever I say. You should not have only the worldly view. The attraction between God and devotee is inexplicable. Ammayi, without your knowledge, you will get access to God. If you are in the boat, you can circumvent all the whirlpools in the river.

KANNAMMA: We do not know how to escape.

SWAMI: When you are in a boat (referring to Himself), why do you fear? I will take you safely through any dangerous whirlpool. The boat called Paramatma is the best security. When you have Me, you need not do any other sadhana. Just meditate on this form and you will get divine consciousness. Do not be afraid thinking how big your sack of karma is. This is the right time to undergo all your karma and finish it off once for all.

In the evening, we had Darshan of Swami again in the Interview Room. The garland, which I had taken, was entangled and I was struggling to straighten it out. Swami asked for the garland telling that He would straighten it out. He untangled the garland and handed it back to me. I put it around His neck and did pada Namaskara.

SWAMI: You came to talk to Me in the morning. You least expected that I would call you again in the evening. It is because of the attraction between God and devotee. Without your knowledge, God graces you.

I told Him about all our family problems.

SWAMI: (After listening to everything, asked smilingly) Is that the entire list or have you left out something? Why do you worry like this when I am here? You still think that I have to know your problems from you and only then solve them! Since I am with you, I will protect you as and when a difficult situation arises. It is like keeping the luggage on your lap while traveling by train. The train carrying you also carries your luggage. At the top muktikanta is present. At the bottom, prakritikanta is present and you are in between them. If you keep going towards the objective world, when will you start coming up towards Mukti? With one leg kept fixed at a place, if you move your other leg forward and backwards, would you progress in any direction? At least now, if you start to move slowly, step by step forward, you can go towards muktikanta. Do you understand?

KANNAMMA: Swami, how to obtain Your grace?

SWAMI: There is nothing more left for Me to tell you except to advise you to do sadhana. You are My devotees. It is good if you keep name and form. As soon as you remember the name, it draws the form. There is nothing simpler than this. It is better to simply contemplate with a pure mind than trying to practice orthodox sadhana methods and fail. It is easier for devotees following the bhaktimarga to attain Mukti. How many yogis and Munis are liberated? Even the Sapta Rishis occasionally slipped in their sadhana, since they could not control their anger, ego and envy. I am giving you a simple method Naamasmarana to get yourself liberated from the cycles of birth and death.

MOTHER: Swami, if the mind contemplates for two days, it will not be interested for four days.

SWAMI: Your situation is like the trader of coconuts who cried along with traders of salt and pulses for no reason. The story goes thus: Three traders were crossing a river. One of them traded coconuts, another salt and another pulses. Accidentally all their goods fell into the river. Understandably, the salt and pulses traders cried over their loss. Seeing them crying, the coconut dealer too joined them even though he had lost nothing. Your children think that you are happy here, far away from worldly problems. You think that so far you have not gained anything by being here and people from afar have better opportunities as they can spend more time with Swami in the Interview Room. The water placed in the sun gets heated up even though the sun is far away. You are in a similar position. You do not know how the water gets heated? But, only I know.

KANNAMMA: Swami, those who are present here are like water before the sun. What about devotees like us?

SWAMI: I have given all of you the fire called Naamasmarana. It will burn away your karma. It will merge you in God. Butter is soft, but does not melt until heated. You may think that Swami keeps telling that He is as soft as butter, but nowadays He has hardened. Only when the heat of Smarana is applied to the butter, it melts. But, Ammayi, this butter (meaning Himself) is melting under the heat of your Naamasmarana. That is the reason why you are getting opportunities to have samipya, Sparshan and Sambashan.

KANNAMMA: Swami, however much You talk, accept our services or assure us, we are not satisfied.

SWAMI: Yes. It is true. Devotees will never have the satisfaction in matters pertaining to God. It is not possible also. Even though sage Narada continued to have Darshan of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesvara, he did not stop chanting the name 'Hare Narayana.' Why? Because, he was not contented with the Darshan. Therefore, there is nothing wrong in your not being satisfied even though you get lots of opportunities to be near Me.

KANNAMMA: Swami does not our craving for more and more of Your Darshan anger You?

SWAMI: No. I will never get angry in the matters of Bhakti. I will only tell that you should learn to be contented with what you have in worldly matters.

KANNAMMA: Swami, which Bhava should we have in Bhakti?

SWAMI: In the beginning, have the master-servant feeling. Later, other feelings will come by themselves. First Prabhu Bhakti, then sakhya Bhakti, then anuraga Bhakti and so on. Contemplate with a peaceful mind. There is no other easier method to cross the Bhava Sagara other than Naamasmarana. The fire of Smarana and My Darshan will burn all three kinds of your karma. (Swami has explained that karma is of three kinds prarabdha karma: being exhausted in the present life; agami karma: being accumulated in the present life and sanchita karma: is accumulated to be experienced in future lives.) Persons staying here can burn their bad qualities if they perform Bhajans with devotion twice a day. Just as Bhishma was waiting for the auspicious moment to die, lying on the bed of arrows, you should endure all worldly sufferings. Godhead be attained only then. There is no other easier method. When Pandavas and Krishna came near Bhishma, who was suffering, Krishna said, "Arjuna, your grandfather is suffering. Ask him the reason." When Arjuna enquired, Bhishma said, "Forget the reasons why I am suffering. Even after having Lord Krishna always at your side, how much have you suffered? Instead of asking the reasons for my sufferings, you ask Krishna the reasons for your suffering. In fact, I am reminiscing Krishna's Mahima and am finding it difficult to unravel the mystery of your sufferings."

KANNAMMA: Swami, why did Krishna make His devotees suffer so much?

SWAMI: He wanted their lives to be an ideal example for the people of Kaliyug. He does not want to trouble any of His devotees.

KANNAMMA: Swami, when there is lot of problems in the house, Bhakti weakens.

SWAMI: It is always like that. In such situations, take your mind off the troubles and turn towards God. The troubles will solve themselves. If you had the peace of mind in your house, would you have felt like coming here? Disgusted with the problems in your house, you have come here to stay peacefully, at least, for a few days. Kunthi bowed to Krishna and asked Him to give her trouble always. Krishna asked, "Mother, are not the present troubles enough?" Kunthi said, "Krishna, when I was in the palace of Pandu, I did not utter 'Krishna' even once. But, in difficulties I am always contemplating on You."

KANNAMMA: I cannot bear to see my children suffer.

SWAMI: Ha! That is attachment. It is not only today's problem, but has been so for ages. You can cross this hurdle also by Naamasmarana.

KANNAMMA: Swami, can we have an interview again in the evening?


We had an interview in the evening. mother: I pray You to grant me Darshan always.

SWAMI: So shall it be, even for Kannamma. (He placed His abhaya hasta on our heads.) Always comprehend the inner meanings. Move towards muktikanta. You will reach the goal. You are still not sure as to what type of Bhava you should develop. You like the Bhava of a mother. It is good for you. Due to Bhajans and contemplation, you have come in contact with several devotees such as Leelamma, Shetty and others. Even here, you have got friends who are good devotees. Look, if you have a direct contact of Smarana between you and Me, think of the things that you can get. Close friends share all their confidential secrets with each other. Even God, who dwells in heart, reveals all His secrets to His atmiyabhakta. God goes even to the sinner if he contemplates on Him. When such is the case, will not God stay constantly with devoted persons who contemplate on Him with love?

Next day, i.e., on November 8, 1959, Swami called us again to continue the conversation. We garlanded Him and did pada Namaskara. I briefed Him about a few family matters for His advice.

SWAMI: (after hearing me patiently He cited a poem in Telugu meaning it is like going to a shop for buying things in spite of having Kalpa Vriksha with you; like going to the market to buy a cow when Kamadhenu is with you.) Why are you harping on your difficulties even after having Me? In times of difficulties you somehow get help, don't you? Do you think it could have happened without My involvement? Your desire is that I should show you the way in asathya as I do for Sathya. If you are firm in your Sathya sadhana, all your asathya affairs will sort out by themselves.

KANNAMMA: Is it not good to do Japa early in the morning?

SWAMI: Aha! Definitely. You should surely do at that time. There is no better time in the entire day for Japa other than brahmi muhurta.

KANNAMMA: How should we do Japa? Swami: How do you sit for Japa? Kannamma: I sit in Padmasana.

SWAMI: Do not sit like that. Sit relaxed as you are sitting now. As you complain of leg pain, do not sit in Padmasana. But you should sit straight. Show Me how you sit?

I showed Him the way I sit for Japa. Swami demonstrated sitting straight and said that the back should not be bent.

KANNAMMA: Initially I sit straight. Later, without my knowledge, my back bends.

SWAMI: That is not your mistake. Sit straight in the beginning; the rest is left to Him. You should keep your thumb and middle finger in contact. Some people keep the thumb and the forefinger in contact. That is wrong. The job of the forefinger is to say, 'that is wrong, this is wrong; I want that, I want this; see that, see this.' So you should join the thumb and the middle finger.

KANNAMMA: What should we do next? Swami: Chant the name and think of His form.

KANNAMMA: The form comes for a moment and then it disappears. It does not stay for long.

SWAMI: Do not do it simultaneously. First do some Japa. Then slowly picturise the form in your mind. This way the mind concentrates for ten to fifteen minutes at the least. That is enough.

KANNAMMA: Swami, you told us to do Japa synchronised with our breathing. Should we not do kumbhaka to hold the breath for a while?

SWAMI: Do not do it. Just doing Japa synchronised with your breathing is enough. When you draw in your breath, naturally you keep your breath for a moment and then leave it out. That one moment of kumbhaka is sufficient.

KANNAMMA: My mind can concentrate better while doing Japa, but not during Dhyana.

SWAMI: That is why I told you to do Japa first. While picturising the form you can't do Japa. You need not do also. As soon as you get up early in the morning, do not go about performing your daily chores. You need not even take a bath. Mind then will start its usual routine. Wash your mouth and face. Immediately sit for Japa-Dhyana. Do this much. As you are still involved in worldly affairs, it will take some more time for your mind to calm down.

KANNAMMA: When You are there, why do I fear? Swami: Yes. That is right. Why fear when I am here?

KANNAMMA: Swami Vivekananda had told that we could concentrate on anything like concentrating on a black dot at the centre of a white cloth or concentrating on a flame.

SWAMI: Don't concentrate directly on the flame. Your eyes will be damaged. You should see it for a few minutes and close your eyes. Then you must imagine the flame in your mind. This is for the beginners. You do not need that. I have taught you the best sadhana. If you leave Japa, do Dhyana. If you leave Dhyana, do Japa. This is good for you. Try to do what I have told you.

KANNAMMA: Our devotion gets diluted when we undergo a lot of worldly troubles. Should You not give us a little peace of mind?

SWAMI: Ammayi, if I had given you peace of mind, you would have forgotten Puttaparthi. Since you are not at peace there, you come here and stay here for a few days to get peace. Only after you have experienced the heat of the sun, you will enjoy the coolness of the shade. Shishupala was always contemplating on Krishna, of course, with hatred. Due to this constant contemplation, at the end he merged in Krishna.

Swami got up; we prostrated to Him and left.

We were at Puttaparthi during late 1950's. Swami called us to the Interview Room. We garlanded Him and did pada Namaskara. Swami enquired about the state of affairs at the house.

KANNAMMA: We have no fear when You are there. Swami: Face all situations like that.

KANNAMMA: Swami, You told us once that we can know God's presence in our breath by watching the 'door' of Soham. Where is this door? What is the technique of reciting Soham, with every breath?

SWAMI: You do not need all that. It is impossible for persons sunk in worldly life to do all these things. Only persons who stay isolated in a forest can practice such techniques. Is it possible for you to count on twenty one thousand six hundred breaths and chant the mantra an equal number of times per day? Naamasmarana is enough for you.

KANNAMMA: We can do that during meditation.

SWAMI: How is that possible? How will you keep track of the number of breaths how many you have done and how many you have to do? That is impossible. Do Naamasmarana.

KANNAMMA: Swami, it is said that people who perform Japa and Dhyana should not eat food that is prepared for shraddha. Is it so?

SWAMI: Yes. A Sadhaka should not eat the food prepared for shraddha of people not related to him/her. That is harmful for spiritual practice. Your husband attends them to please people. Let him go.

KANNAMMA: Swami, a spiritual society is planning a function in Mysore. If they invite, will You come?

SWAMI: No. I will not come. I have nothing to do with that spiritual society. To become a member of the society, one has to pay four ana. It is not four and that is to be given, but four guna, which are Sathya, dharma, shanthi and prema. Some societies are formed to amass money. In Puttaparthi, money is not sought.

KANNAMMA: Swami, when are you leaving on tour?

SWAMI: I will leave towards the end of June. (Turning to my mother) You should not permit anyone to enter your room. If you lend your ears to idle gossip, because of human weakness, you will start thinking only about those matters. If they speak about Swami, talk with them. Tell them that you are not interested in any other matter, either good or bad.

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