Cherished Memoirs: My Guru As I See Him
Equipoised in Praise and Abuse
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.
Let us reminisce about an interesting incident that happened 20 years ago at our Madhurapuri Ashram. There was no one else other than our Sri Swamiji and a few residents of the ashram that day. During such times, in the evenings, Sri Swamiji used to sit on a chair, opposite to the current Madhuvanam. The situation was unique everyday. Sri Swamiji would look calm and majestic at times. Sometimes, he would look delving deep into himself without any disturbance. Sometimes, he would tell us beautiful and tasteful things about Bhagavan and rare things about saints. Time would fly by so fast that several hours would seem like a few minutes.
That day, Sri Swamiji was very quiet and was deep into himself. The calmness that prevailed in him engulfed the entire surrounding. Such was the stillness! Even those blessed ones that were sitting by Sri Swamiji were possessed by that calmness. Other than the birds returning to their nests in the evening, there was no one else to make any noise. Suddenly, it sounded like someone was causing a stir at the entrance of the ashram. Neither did anyone heed to it for a few minutes nor did it die down. There was no motion seen in Sri Swamiji either.
Those who were by Sri Swamiji, went to the entrance of the ashram inquisitively. There stood an old villager abusing the ashram and Sri Swamiji. He had no connection with the ashram whatsoever. No one knew why he was causing a ruckus and slandering that way. In a few minutes, Sri Swamiji’s attention was drawn in that direction as well. Sri Swamiji was looking at the villager with a smile. The ashram residents lost their patience at the villager who was being so illogically offensive, and tried to chase him away. Sri Swamiji said to the ashram residents instantly, “Don’t say anything to that old man. Leave him alone.” They returned upon this order and sat next to Sri Swamiji. The tirade continued on as well!
Sri Swamiji sat there with a smile as though it was all unrelated to him until the villager got tired. On one hand, the residents were irate towards that old man and on the other, were astounded at the state of Sri Swamiji. This event did not end that day. It became a daily affair in the evenings.
A few months later, it was Ekadasi at the ashram. Devotees were queuing up to get Sri Swamiji’s darshan and his blessings. There unfolded an unimaginable scene! Ashram residents were so surprised and could not believe their eyes at this sight. There stood the same old villager in line, with a plate full of fruits on hand and a towel around his hip, came forward humbly and prostrated unto Sri Swamiji. With tears in his eyes, he said to Sri Swamiji, “I maligned you numerous times without any reason. I do not know how I am going to suffer in hell for my sins. I have reformed. Please forgive me!” He implored with folded hands. Sri Swamiji asked him, “Would you promise me that you will do something to make me happy? You cannot go back on your word, once promised!”
The old man promised saying, “If there is anything that I could do to please you, I will certainly do it.” Sri Swamiji said, “Who told you to have a change of mind? The tirade of several days before was more harmonious than the fruits that you gave me today! In this world, so many people are complimenting me, in different ways. I was happy that at least you were there to slander me. So please do not change your mind and slander me as always. That is what makes me happy.” Saying so, Sri Guruji bid farewell to him.
Article originally chronicled by Dr. A Bhagyanathan, personal secretary to Sri Swamiji, in Tamil Madhuramurali Magazine September 2021 issue, Madhurasmaranam section.
Translated into English by Smt. Mangala Gowri Sridhar, Jacksonville FL
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