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Sivananda's Personality - 42.

Swami Tapovan, too, had been depending entirely on alms, which was meagre and never included milk. Neither did he keep any money. However, somehow he managed to collect four annas and gave it to the Master, praising his great kindness and love of service. Both the Master and Swami Tapovan held each other in mutual esteem throughout their lives.

True it was that this Sarvatma Bhava became second nature with the Master in his later years, but then, it was the result of assiduous cultivation. For instance, there was in him in the early years a lingering feeling of caste superiority, an instinctive bias that dies hard. The Master erased this subtle feeling by constantly prostrating to sweepers and scavengers, and treating them as equals.

He called the scavenger the "health officer", the barber the "beautifying officer". He entertained no contempt even for the prostitutes, whom he characterised as the "fallen sisters". For years he deliberately let himself be served by disciples not belonging to the Brahmin caste, till the last traces of the deep-seated complex dropped from him. He began to see God in people of every caste.

Sri N. Ananthanarayanan
To be continued ...

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