One of the Lord Buddha’s last recorded sayings was, “All compounds must dissolve; herein there is no cause for sorrow.” That precious and beloved body, so long treasured in our hearts as Sri Bhagavan, was, as a physical vehicle, a compound and had to separate in time into its component elements, disappearing from those eyes which so long delighted in it with reverent affection.

So too, Sri Krishna found it expedient that His Gopi devotees be made to enrich their love for Him by withdrawing His outward Form from their adoring eyes. Then He sent Uddhava to hint to them how they could now be always in His presence and find Him ever dancing in their hearts. When the eyes of love have no longer to seek with yearning for the Beloved outside, the eye of the inner heart is turned within, and there realizes His living ecstatic presence.

And so it has been with us. The inevitable happened on that April evening in 1950, and the dear body which had been so long the centre, the focus of our hearts’ gaze ceased to delight our eyes. Can we say that He is dead? Bhagavan dead? The word could have no meaning. How can He who lives in all the universe ever taste of death? “You think I am going away? But where am I to go? I shall remain here with you!” That was His promise while He was preparing us for the seeming separation. And those of us who loved Him here in Tiruvannamalai hold firmly to the faith which we feel confirmed by continual experience, that He has kept His promise, and is still to be contactedhere in the Ashram as of old.

Like Surdas darkening the physical sight so that he might see clearly the Light within, He has dimmed our outer sight to His radiance only, so that the inner vision might be filled with His eternal Light. He has veiled the outer Form we loved so well, that its beauty might no longer draw our gaze away from the everlasting Presence enthroned in our inmost Heart.

Painful was that veiling to our human hearts. Yet in these days of seeming deprivation, happy indeed are we, if we be driven thereby inward, to see and love Him there; shining as the Heart of all, the ineffable radiant Self, manifesting ever as the Self of our self, the very Being of our being, the ever-blessed Awareness of all Truth, the Stillness of omnipresent Bliss-Satchidananda.

Our hearts were kindled to deep affection while He taught us by word and example, while He silently showers the nectar dew of Grace upon us all. Today they turn to Him within, by day and night, no less than of old; and they rejoice to find that Grace wells up unceasingly from the Fountain of the One Self, who alone is all Wisdom, Love and Power.

At His tender feet, that trod the rough hill path for so long, our grateful love and undying memory we lay. May He accept these poor gifts of our hearts, and pour His grace on all who wander in the darkness of the unknown tracts of primal ignorance. His Light shines, with the everlasting clarity of God’s own Light.