An interview with the Lord
8th March, 1992
It was on the 8th day of March in the year 1992. That being a Sunday, there was already a sizable crowd outside Bhagavan’s residence in Sannidhi Street even at 10 a.m. We submitted the chappatthi packet and the gooseberry juice bottle at Bhagavan’s Feet and at His nod, seated ourselves where he pointed, though it was a bit of a squeeze. One ROW was already full and the other was nearing it. All of us were singing His Nama, as the people came in one by one for His darshan.
A writer known in literary circles as progressive brought another new Malayalam writer and entered with Bhagavan’s permission. Bhagavan seated the devotee-writer by His side and before. He even looked up, the Malayalam writer sat straight away without Bhagavan’s direction, right in front of Bhagavan Himself in that small space between the two rows.
He went ahead to inform Bhagavan that two more friends had come with them. Bhagavan gestured with both hands as if to say “no space”.
But the Malayalam Writer said:
– Malayalam writer. It is alright. We will adjust.
– Bhagavan . Oho! You will adjust. Alright. (To the gate boy) Now you close the door
It looked to me that the writer meant that they would “adjust and sit” in the small space. But Bhagavan, pointedly did the opposite. The words, “It is alright. We will adjust” could mean if there is no space, we will adjust to the situation. It could also mean they can stand outside. It seemed to be a deliberate twist of the meaning but one that carried a teaching lesson from the Guru to all the overbearing visitors, who try to take over the situation and organize things in His place! The countenance on the Malayalam Writer’s face was a study in blank dismay. He opened his mouth to say something but apparently on second thoughts shut his mouth tight. Now by this very first nose-cut, so to say, he seemed to have gained in wisdom and obeyed Bhagavan without a word, when Bhagavan pointed a seat in the opposite row. The two friends understood instantly, and stood relaxed outside holding on to the grill gate.
Malayalam writer: Can I ask you some questions, Sir?
– Bhagavan (pulling out a cigarette): Yes. Ask them.
– Malayalam writer: You are very famous in Tamil Nadu. You are all over in Tamil Nadu, now. (The writer smiled But Bhagavan didn’t). VIPs like Balakumaran and Illayaraja are your disciples. They write about you, talk about you! I want to know if you encourage them to do so.
What a question to ask a son of God! And how (c)rudely he put it! Some of us felt disconcerted by his challenging tone and manner.
But Bhagavan quietly lighted a cigarette and put it to his lips in a familiar ritual, and looked at the writer
Bhagavan : Surely, my friend. This beggar encouraged them to write. Will they write otherwise?
The Malayalam writer was instantly disarmed and taken aback by Bhagavan’s reply. His countenance changed into one of wonder and hesitation. He seemed to pull himself together and spoke rather slowly now.
– Malayalam writer : I heard these people singing your name. Are you encouraging that also ?
– Bhagavan: Yes. Surely. This beggar likes to hear these people singing his name. Will they sing otherwise?
– Malayalam writer (better prepared now but speaking in English with great difficulty and pointing to the devotee writer who was sitting next to Bhagavan) : This one is a good friend of mine. He has great respect for you. He is a progressive Writer. That is why I was curious to see you.
– Bhagavan : Eh…leh. He is a good man. This beggar is bad and mad. He does things in madness. But this friend gives this beggar his good company. He is very kind. (Malayalam writer laughed as if embarrassed)
– Malayalam writer . He respects you so much. He has told me about you. Sir, I like Tolstoy. You resemble Tolstoy. So I… (laughed awkwardly) I see you have no Ashram, no institution, no people staying with you. I like this.
– Bhagavan : I am a dirty beggar and a dirty sinner, my friend. Nothing more.
– Malayalam writer . I wanted to be a street beggar like you, a few years back. But I could not be. Instead I became a Government employee. (Laughter)
– Bhagavan : Is it! This beggar is nothing. He is lazy. He simply eats, sits, and sleeps. He is mad. But you are a good man.
– Malayalam writer. I didn’t believe in God. But I believe in goodness. I believe in helping people.
– Bhagavan: Oh! Very good. So you believe in goodness. You are a good man. This friend is also a good man. This beggar is very bad.
– Malayalam writer (alert and looking not so confident as he did when he entered) : Am I irritating you by asking these questions? I have no intention of irritating. I just want to know. Please, forgive me.
– Bhagavan : No. You are not irritating me, please talk. This beggar Wants you to talk. This beggar is happy that you are talking.
Often engaging the visitor in some inconsequential talk was a ploy of Bhagavan to do His Father’s work on the visitors which perhaps enabled Him to help them more easily and efficiently as there would be no conscious resistance on the part of the visitor. At least I thought so.
Malayalam writer . I am from Kanyakumari District. They are building a temple for you. Are you encouraging all these? Other VIPs also write about you, talk about you.
Bhagavan (looking at him in that sharp piercing way of His) : My friend, this beggar doesn’t exist. Father alone exists. Everything is Father only. There is nothing else, no one else, my friend.
Malayalam writer looked blank.
What Bhagavan declared didn’t seem to mean anything to him at least apparently. He was bent upon convincing…
– Malayalam writer : In arguments, this is one way of defeating. I don’t mean to argue with you. I have no intention of irritating you.
– Bhagavan : Oh, you are not irritating this beggar, my friend. Please keep talking.
Throughout Bhagavan kept on blessing him.
– Malayalam writer: My writer friend said that you were worried about India on the day they were going to hoist the flag in Kashmir. I don’t understand this. You are a holy man. All countries are equal to you. How can you be worried about India alone? How can India be special to you?
– Bhagavan (turning to the writer sitting next to Him) : Was this beggar worried? This beggar doesn’t remember to have worried!
– Malayalam writer Yes, that day, I thought you were worried. y
– Bhagavan . If this beggar Was Worried, then it is wrong on the part of this beggar. This beggar has committed a sin! But this beggar doesn’t remember to have worried.
The writer became quiet after that. What a conversation! How could we even begin to understand this cosmic man and His love for mankind, and India? Hasn’t he said several times on that day, “India is our Lila bhumi, the bhumi of great masters, the custodians of divine plan.” How wrong it is to question this Divine beggar – a person of such profound sensitivities?
– Malayalam writer: This writer friend also told me that you were roaming the streets freely. Now you are in this place. So much crowds coming to see you all the time. Is it not like a prison?
– Bhagavan : Yes, Yes. This beggar is in a prison. How did you find out! But one thing, this beggar likes it! This beggar enjoys staying in the prison
My God, what to make of this conversation!
– Malayalam writer: I generally do not compromise with my principles. What do you think about compromising or not compromising?
(The Malayalam writer sort of stammered while talking, giving the impression that perhaps he was nervous.)
– Bhagavan : Are you asking if this beggar compromises his principle?
– Malayalam writer : No!, (Again stammering) I mean what do you think about my not compromising my principle? Is it good or bad?
– Bhagavan : Do not compromise if you do not want, it is alright. Do you write in Malayalam?
– Malayalam writer : Both in Malayalam and in Tamil.
– Devotee writer: He wrote a novel by name “Rubber”. It is famous. He has been awarded for that.
– Malayalam writer (once again restless and too conscious of people outside) My friends are waiting outside. Also so many other people are standing in the sun, while I am seated here comfortably.
Pat came the reply from Bhagavan.
– Bhagavan : Let them stand. Let them do some tapas. You don’t bother about it. They enjoy their standing there.
– Malayalam writer (surprised and taking his righteous ‘stand”): No, how can I not bother? Moreover, my wife is alone in my house. I have to go.
– Bhagavan (smiling) . Alright, my friend, this beggar leaves you now.
Without doing Namaskar, the writer left the place. Out of the two friends who stood outside, one came and sat before Bhagavan, just for one minute and left with prasad. The other one prostrated and touched Bhagavan’s feet before leaving with prasad.
Someone shouted from the outside:
– Someone outside: Why can’t you allow us also inside? It is getting late for us!
Bhagavan suddenly got up in great force, went and opened the gate Himself. When everybody expected the impertinent man to come in Bhagavan did just the opposite. He began to touch everybody’s feet and put His hands to His eyes in a gesture of worship and prostration. All the people ran away, absolutely disarmed and frightened beyond their own comprehension.