Once a teacher, having about 10 students, was teaching them some good things. To such an ashram came one who had some position and power. This teacher did not go to the door to welcome and receive him. The man who came there, because he had some position and authority, felt somewhat hurt and he went right into the class and asked the teacher: "Why is it that you didn't care for me? You have not come and received me. What are you doing?" The teacher said, "I am busy teaching the children some good things." The person who came in asked: "Just because you are teaching them some good things, are the hearts of these children going to be changed and become more sacred?" The teacher took some courage and said, "Yes, of course, there is every possibility of their mind changing by my teaching." The intruder said, "No, I cannot believe it,” and the teacher replied: “When you cannot believe it, it simply means that you have no faith in it. Because of that, I cannot give up teaching these boys some good things.”

Then this person, who felt somewhat important, started arguing and said there is no possibility of changing a mind merely by words. The teacher, who was clever and who had known these things, asked one of the youngest boys to stand up. In the hearing of this visitor, the teacher told the young boy, "Look here! My dear boy! You just get hold of the neck of this visitor and throw him out of the door." Immediately on hearing these words, the visitor became completely excited and he came to beat the teacher. Then the teacher asked, "Sir, what is the reason for your becoming so angry? We did not beat you, we did not throw you out, the only thing that has excited you to this stage of anger are the words which I conveyed to this young boy. You said that you do not believe in changing the mind by mere words. What is the reason why the mere words which I uttered to this young boy have changed your mind so much that you are so excited? With mere words you can cause any excitement. With mere words you can cause any amount of affection. With mere words you can earn the grace of anyone else.”

So, if in this world you want to promote friendship, you can do so by using sweet words, by talking in a very sweet manner and by speaking about sacred things. (from Chinna Katha)




There are innumerable subtle ways in which Bhagawan Baba transforms the devotees who come to Him. There are, of course, equally countless cases in which by direct advice or reproof or even a sharp chiding, He makes devotees realise the error of their ways and to give up one or other spiritually and socially undesirable habit. Many who had been addicted to drink, smoking, meat eating or other practices have given them up after coming under the influence of Bhagawan. Invariably the devotees have reformed themselves out of the conviction that these habits are totally repugnant to the spiritual way of life for which they had come to Baba.

A notable instance of how a thirty-year old habit was given up in one agonising moment is described by Prof. Kasturi in his delightful and illuminating autobiography, "Loving God", which is replete with anecdotes of his experiences with Bhagawan. Describing a trip to the Himalayas with Bhagawan Baba in 1957, Prof. Kasturi writes:

On my first night at Hrishikesh, the sacred spot on the Ganga, I gained a victory which had eluded me for over nine agonising years. I must admit that I had fallen a victim to snuff during my years at the Royal City of Mysore. The preparation of a dark variety of capsules which when pressed between thumb and index finger became flavourful snuff to be inhaled slowly and enjoyed was an art known only to a few families there. It was an aristocratic and aromatic acquisition. My friend Swami Siddeswarananda, the poet Puttappa and many others of that generation were devoted to that exciting device for mental arousal. For over three decades, that vice had led me by the nose. When I yielded to the impact of Baba, I decided, like Sindbad, to overthrow the old man who was riding on me. But he sat astride firmly. Baba often spoke sharply, within my hearing, of the habit. But luckily only in general terms. He spoke disparagingly about a few persons, whom I knew, and condemned the weakness which prevented them from wriggling out of the dirty dusty snuff habit. I felt glad that he had not black listed me, by name. When I joined the Hrishikesh party I armed myself with a pound weight of the precious stuff bought at Madras, so that I could happily nose around that snuff less region.

That crucial night, Baba came over from the cottage of the Ashram complex, which was allotted for His stay, into the dormitory where I and five others were settling down for rest. I had prepared my bed and was enjoying the stretching of limbs, when Baba appeared, followed by Satchidananda and Sadananda. He came over my cot and turned the pillow over to expose the snuff box cosily resting there. I shivered in remorse. I remembered the centuries old ritual, which Hindus observe when they reach pilgrim spots. They give up a habit that is dearly loved. Baba looked at me sternly. He said only one single word, "Dirty". I took the box and threw it far into the thick night. I clenched my teeth to lock my sobs in. I took an explosive vow, touching Baba's feet "No more, Swami! I am giving it up from this moment.”

Baba gave me a soft pat on the shoulder. I bent under the cot, dragged out my leather luggage box and took hold of the one pound tin of the disgusting stuff and was about to cast it into the bushy under growth when two renunciants in ochre robes snatched it from my hands. They said (they were evidently not belonging to the Shivanandashram) they were getting their supplies of the 'Jnana Choornam' (the Powder that promotes the intellect), from New Delhi, which was too far away. Hearing the noise, Baba turned back and laughed. Satchidananda and Sadananda too laughed. I have not inhaled that Rajasic poison since. It was indeed a pity that what I, a house holder, threw to the winds was caught and treasured by those Sanyasins!