If a generous disposition was one of the hall-marks of the Master’s personality, self-reliance was another. He believed in a life of hardship and endurance. He would never entrust to others a work which he himself could do. When on tour people would garland him as soon as he stepped down from the train. Immediately, without waiting for a coolie, and without giving a chance to his devotees, the Master would carry his bedding or trunk on his own head and come out of the station.
"Rely on your own self," he would say. "Be humble. Do not be puffed up with the pride of Gurudom."
Gurudom? No, not with the Master. He was dead against it. On Guru Purnima day in 1944, the devotees gathered in the Ashram to offer the traditional worship of the Guru. The Master was reluctant. He somehow gave the slip and briskly walked to a rest-house a few yards away.
The devotees found him out. The Master then tripped over to the nearby Ram Ashram. The group went after him. Again he retraced his steps to the rest-house. There the people literally besieged him. Helpless, he stood with his back to a wall, with his eyes glistening with embarrassment, and a liquid look into the vast beyond, as the devotees worshipped him with offerings of flowers and fruit.
Sri N. Ananthanarayanan
To be continued ...