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Samadarsatvam!, Equality

The Mandalabhishekam was performed in Mathru- bhuteswara temple on Vaisakha Suddha Chathurthi, i.e., Monday the 2nd May, 1949. Mahapuja (the Anniversary of the death of Bhagavan’s Mother) was performed yesterday, Vaishakha Bahula Navami. By that time, the erection of the front hall of the temple had almost been completed. Hence the Sarvadhikari consulted his assistants and requested Bhagavan to stay in the front hall on those two days. Accordingly on the afternoon of the 20th, Bhagavan came there. That day I happened to be there a little earlier than usual. When I went in by the main gate there was an uncommon activity in the front hall. I went to the verandah eagerly and found that Bhagavan was seated on the sofa. His face was not radiant as usual. I was wondering why it was so. I could not ask anybody.

The Sarvadhikari was standing opposite Bhagavan’s sofa with his friends and some important people amongst Ashram workers and was saying something. Bhagavan was merely saying ‘Yes, yes,’ in a noncommittal manner. I hesitated to go in under those circumstances and so stood in the verandah. Bhagavan had noticed through the window my coming and my hesitation to enter the hall. Ten minutes elapsed by the time all of them left. Subsequently Sivanandam alone was there near Bhagavan. Two or three people who had recently arrived were seated at a distance. Bhagavan was looking intently at the ceiling of the hall and at the huge stones that were being chiselled outside. I went in, prostrated and got up. Bhagavan looked at me and with a voice full of kindness, said, “Do you see this? They have imprisoned me within these four walls. They have made me a prisoner by preventing other people from coming in. Look! There is no scope for anyone to come in.” So saying, he looked up at the ceiling, which had no outlet or inlet any where and said, “How can they (the squirrels) come here?” He continued to stare at the ceiling. I stood absolutely dumbfounded on realising his way of looking at things. Sivanandam, who was close by, said, “The Sarvadhikari and others feel that if Bhagavan is here he will be protected from rain or hot sunshine outside.” Bhagavan whose look was concentrated on the ceiling, came to with a start when he heard those words and looking at Sivanandam, said, “That’s all right. If we look to our comfort, is it not at the expense of the sufferings of others? Squirrels, monkeys, peacocks, cows and others have no chance of coming here. Does it not mean that we have deprived them all of their privileges? People think that it is a great happiness for Swami if he is here. What is to be done?” Bhagavan’s voice became tremulous. The attendant took up the thread of the conversation and said, “Yes, that is true. Only human beings can come in; animals and birds cannot come in freely.” Bhagavan did not say anything.

After sometime, some rich devotees came and sat opposite Bhagavan. One or two poor people came after them but were afraid to come in. Noticing this through the windows, Bhagavan said to his attendants, “There you are. Look at those people. You said there was every convenience for men to come in. Is there scope for all people to come in? Rich people are accustomed to see huge buildings with lights, fans, collapsible doors and other imposing furnishings, and so they come inside unhesitatingly. But poor people like me will hesitate to come in, for they feel that it is a place where only rich people live. They are afraid of what people would say if they come in, and so, go away quietly like those people who, as you see, are peeping through the windows. Where is the place for them here? See those poor people! What a pity!” Unable to say anything further Bhagavan resumed silence.

As soon as it was evening, he sent away some of his attendants saying that the evening was the time when all of them (monkeys, peacocks, etc.) come here. “They may perhaps think that Swami has given them the slip and gone elsewhere. Please go. What a pity! Go, give them at least some food and come back.” As soon as the attendants returned after feeding them, Bhagavan remarked with a tremulous voice, “Have you fed them all? They will perhaps feel that Swami has deserted them and has gone away to a better place and is sitting there so that he alone can be happy. Perhaps they thought that I had forgotten them. There is no scope for them to come here. What to do?” Whenever any animals or birds come to him, he would always say, “We do not know who they are,” and would never look at them with indifference. If any of the attendants do not give them proper attention he would not tolerate it, but would say, “That is bad. You merely see the skin that covers the body but not the person that is within. You feel that you are great, and the others are small, and so try to drive them away. They have come here just as we have come. Why do they not have the same rights that we have?” He used to admonish them thus. It is not surprising that Bhagavan feels compassionate towards the animals and the poor who do not venture to come into this new hall with all these lights, fans, iron doors, guards and other paraphernalia. You see, samadarsatvam, i.e., looking at all living beings with equality, is but natural to Bhagavan.