IT was about 1927 when Sri Bhagavan’s Nool Thirattu1 in Tamil was under preparation to be published. There was talk among the Ashram pundits that the book must have a preface although the devotees of Maharshi considered that nobody was qualified to write a preface to His works. The pundits proposed the writing of a preface, but none of them came forward to write it, each excusing himself that he was not qualified for the task. It was a drama of several hours as one proposed another for the purpose, and each declined the honour. Bhagavan was watching all this quietly.
At about 10-30 in the night, as I was passing beside the Hall, Sri Bhagavan looked at me and said, “Why not
you write the preface yourself?”
I was taken aback at His proposal, but meekly said, “I would venture to write it only if I had Bhagavan’s blessing in the task.” Bhagavan said, “Do write it, and it will come all right.”
So I began writing at the dead of night, and to my great surprise within three quarters of an hour I made a draft as if impelled, driven by some Supreme Force. I altered not even a comma of it, and at 2 O’clock in the early morning I placed it at the feet of Bhagavan. He was happy to see how the contents were arranged and to note the simplicity of the expressions used. He passed it as all right and asked me to take it away.
But as I had taken the written sheets of paper only a few steps away, Sri Maharshi beckoned me to show them to Him once again. I had concluded the Preface in the following way: “It is hoped that this work in the form of Bhagavan’s Grace will give to all who aspire to eternal Truth, the Liberation in the form of gaining supreme Bliss shaped as the taking away of all sorrow.” Maharshi said, “Why have you said ‘It is hoped’? Why not say ‘It is certain’?” So saying, He corrected with His own hands my ‘nambukiren’ into ‘tinnam’.
Thus Sri Maharshi set His seal of approval to the book, giving to His devotees that great charter of Liberation, in the form of His Teaching (upadesa) which leaves no trace of doubt about it in the mind.