The Master spoke and referred to everyone in terms of respect. Even if it was only a child whom he wished to call, he would say, "Aap ayiye." Similarly, when in Malaya, he always addressed the Tamilian coolie on the rubber estate as "neengal" and never as "nee". The second person pronouns, "aap" in Hindi, and "neengal" in Tamil, are used while addressing elders and superiors, and sometimes while intending respect to equals. The corresponding terms for equals are "tum" and "nee", and for inferiors "tu" and "nee".
In this regard the Master did not distinguish even between man and animal. A sickly stray dog had once laid a litter in the Ashram, and the pups, skeletons all, were lying here and there on the terrace. The Master passed that way and, noticing the pups, remarked most spontaneously, without the least premeditation on his part, "Ivalukkelam sappadu ille pole irukku—these people seem to be having no food."
The Master was not one who cared for vain formalities. No one ever needed a letter of introduction to see him. He was freely accessible to all. There were no Darshan days with him. He himself took the first opportunity of greeting people and talking to them, people known and unknown. Even in Malaya, his friends used to say, "Put him in a dense forest in an unknown land he will make friends with the tigers, lions and bears."
Sri N. Ananthanarayanan
To be continued ...