Cherished Memoirs: My Guru As I See Him
The Greatest Person in the World
This series chronicles sweet experiences recounted by the devotees of HH Maharanyam Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji as well as some divine experiences of Sri Swamiji himself. These articles are translations from the Madhurasmaranam series that is published every month in Madhuramurali Tamil monthly magazine.
The way Sri Swamiji teaches anything is very beautiful. He explains even the rarest and greatest of philosophies in such a simple fashion that a child can understand it easily too. Because, the truth is simple. When the one that understands it explains, it is simple for sure. Only when something is explained with bookish or hear-say-based or interpreted knowledge without direct experience, there are confusions, aren’t there? That is why, when Sri Swamiji explains something, even a child is able to comprehend it. I am reminded of the phrase, ‘hitting the nail on its head’.
Once in Madhurapuri Ashram, Sri Swamiji was distributing theertham after the pooja. There was a long line. He was conversing with every devotee for a few seconds and enquired about the purpose of the visit and giving the theertham.
A satsang family, living in the USA were visiting at that time. Both the children from that family were exceptionally devoted to Sri Guruji. Sri Swamiji was also very fond of those two lively children. That too, the girl child was so talkative. Sri Swamiji used to ask some questions, let her speak and enjoy her gestures. That child came in the line to get theertham then. Sri Swamiji became cheerful when he saw her. He asked, “After you finish school, what do you want to become?”
She said with a serious expression, “I have decided! I want to become the president of the United States of America.”
Sri Swamiji laughed hard upon hearing this. Much amazed, Sri Swamiji asked, “Why do you want to become the President of the United States of America?”
She said, “There is a reason. I came to this conclusion only after considering that reason. I asked around many in my school about who was the most powerful in the world. And all the responses were that it was the president of the United States of America. That’s why I came to this conclusion. Isn’t this a good ambition?”
Sri Swamiji said, “You have a great, lofty ambition. I wish you success in your goal. Let’s set it aside. I am thinking that I should tell you the truth very clearly. Because, when you become the president of America in future, I do not want you to ask me why I did not tell you back then. That is why I am telling you now itself.”
He started telling her in a child-like manner. “Even if you become the American President, I would still be greater than you!” he said, laughing hard.
“How is that possible?” the child wondered. She asked innocently, “If I become the president of the United States of America, wouldn’t I be greater?”
I still remember Sri Swamiji wagging his index finger saying, “Let’s assume that you become the president of America. It is true that you will be celebrated as the most powerful by one and all. Then comes the day when your presidential tenure ends, and you become a normal citizen. But my status is not like that. I remain the same. You know why? I did not hold on to anything. So there is nothing that I could lose. I hold on to Sri Premika Varadan’s holy feet and remain unchanged. So, I am great! Remember that!”
The great wisdom that Sri Swamiji imparted that day made a strong imprint on the child’s mind.
Every time when the child went to visit Sri Swamiji after this incident, Sri Swamiji would ask, “What do you want to become?”
It has become customary for the child to hold her breath and respond, “I want to become the president of the United States of America. But I know very well that you will still be greater than me!”
Article originally chronicled by Dr. A Bhagyanathan, personal secretary to Sri Swamiji, in Tamil Madhuramurali Magazine December 2020 issue, Madhurasmaranam section.
Translated into English by Smt. Mangala Gowri Sridhar, Jacksonville FL
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