Foreword by the author - B Radha Krishna Murthy (BRK)
Hatakeswaram was a deep jungle back in those days. It would get completely dark and quiet after sunset. As it was sparsely populated, forest animals like bears, tigers and venomous snakes would freely roam around at night. Even the tribes who lived in the jungle never came out after sunset. Owing to our work timings, it was only possible for us to have Swamiji’s darshan in the evenings. After having Swamiji’s darshan, we had to walk through the jungle to reach Project Colony. Swamy Rangayya was one of the people who had Swamiji’s darshan in 1969. Sometimes, we would ride back home in his Jeep.
One evening after sunset, while I was in Hatakeswara ashram, I heard a noise from the bushes and saw a bear-like silhouette come out of the bushes. On coming closer, I realized it was a human. He was naked, had long nails and matted hair. He walked straight up to Swamiji and sat down gazing at Him. Swamiji also was looking at the man. Even as a few hours passed, there was no dialogue between them. I wanted all my friends to witness this incident too. I left to Sundipenta immediately and informed them about the avadhootha. However, there was a hailstorm at the same time and they could not travel to Hatakeswaram. After the rain subsided, I went back to the ashram. The next morning, the avadhootha returned into the forest. As described in epics, I have only heard about avadhoothas staying in forests but never witnessed any. That day, due to Swamiji’s blessings, I had the good fortune of seeing that avadhootha.
After a few days, another avadhootha, who had a constant smile on his face, visited Swamiji. He sat down close to Swamiji’s ashram, smiling to himself, as if he did not belong to this world. Along with me, a few other devotees also had this avadhootha’s darshan. Hundreds of red mountain ants were crawling across his body but he continued to smile, completely unbothered by the ants. He spent some time in Swamiji’s proximity and left. We only saw him after he came to the ashram but did not notice his arrival or departure. Similarly, a yogini also came to have Swamiji’s darshan once.
She proclaimed that Swamiji was the true form of the Supreme Mother and warned us to conduct ourselves with utmost devotion and care around Swamiji.
Swamiji always went to Paaladhaara to bathe Himself as the water was clean. In 1969, a sadhu named Gajaanan Maharaj used to meditate near Paaladhaara. He was a Datta devotee and came to Srisailam from Girnar for penance. He did not have a good opinion about Swamiji and would often derisively say,” Why is He always surrounded by devotees? Among them, specifically BRK always stays close to Him”. One day when Swamiji went to take a bath, He noticed that Gajaanan Maharaj was bit by a snake. Swamiji immediately lifted the sadhu onto His shoulders and carried him all through the stairs. On reaching atop, He handed the sadhu over to Swamy Rangayya and instructed to take him to the hospital. The moment Swamiji touched the snake bite, in place of blood, water started flowing from the sadhu's body. This was a wonder to the doctors who treated the sadhu too.
Even after the sadhu got better, Swamiji did a lot of service to him. Swamiji gave away His cot to the sadhu and slept on the floor Himself.
On seeing Swamiji’s kindness towards him, a teary-eyed Gajaanan Maharaj said, “I made a grave mistake Swamy! I did not have a good opinion on you”. He stayed in Paaladhaara for a while after that and retrieved into the forest. We did not see him again.
This is only an example to show the compassion and benevolence that Swamiji showers on every human alike, even the ones who belittle him.
to be continued...