This part is written by T.P.R.
An old devotee vividly relates how Major Chadwick once resorted to a stratagem to induce Sri Bhagavan to improve his health by taking a medicine.
It was some time during the early forties. Sri Bhagavan showed symptoms of slight jaundice and was growing weaker and weaker every day avoiding medication. Devotees implored him to have some treatment but without success. Some of us prayed and a few others were silently doing circumambulation round the Hall in which Sri Bhagavan was seated. Major Chadwick was prominent among those beseeching Sri Bhagavan to take some medicine.
One day while I was just starting from home to my office in Madras, the postman handed me a letter. It was from Mr. Chadwick. The letter I recollect read like this: “Dear T. P. R. I am sorry to tell you of the declining health of Sri Bhagavan who is growing weaker day by day, and will do nothing to alleviate it. He will not take any medicines, or heed our requests and persuasions. It is misery to be seeing this. Today just a thought came to me. You know that Sri Bhagavan always avoids medicines, but all the same he does not reject ayurvedic preparations like ‘black halwa‘ (lehiyam) which if offered he may be pleased to accept. So why don’t you go to some ayurvedic expert or pharmacy and ask for something, mentioning the symptoms and conditions and send it to him (to the Ashram). If it is your good karma he may be pleased to take it. But don’t say I wrote to you or expressed concern. You can say that by chance you met so and so and found a lehiyam well prepared which is good for many things and that it is only a tonic and not a medicine, etc. I shall expect your immediate response.” On reading this letter, I went straight to the Venkataramana Dispensary in Mylapore before going to court, and meeting the senior physician in charge there narrated the symptoms without disclosing the identity of the person for whom it was meant. I requested him to prescribe and give something helpful. The doctor asked me if I could not bring the patient for examination. I expressed my inability to do that and merely gave the age and other details. He then wrote two items with instructions to follow. The first was an ‘oil’ and the second was a lehiyam, called jiragavilvadi lehiyam and he advised me how to use them. I knew Sri Bhagavan was not usually given to consuming any ‘oils’ internally and so left it out and purchased one pound of the lehiyam and went to my office. Retaining a small part with me, I packed the rest and sent it to Sri Niranjananandaswami, the then sarvadhikari, with a letter saying: “Dear Sri Chinnaswamigal, Today as I was passing through Mylapore I peeped into the Venkataramana Dispensary where a fresh lehiyam was being prepared and ready for sale, called Jiragavilvadi lehiyam. I felt impelled to buy it and did so. It is so sweet and good that retaining a portion for me, I have sent the rest to you which I request you may place before Sri Bhagavan as any other offering is done. This is not medicine but belongs to the class of tonics generally taken by all.” Sri Chinnaswami accordingly appears to have placed both the parcel and the letter before Sri Bhagavan.
That weekend, as was usual then with me, I left for Tiruvannamalai. On arrival at the Ashram and in Sri Bhagavan’s Hall as I rose up after obeisance Sri Bhagavan turned to me on his couch with a small container in hand and remarked, “See! This is the lehiyam you have sent. I am using it regularly four times. Jeeraga and Bilva are very good for biliousness,” and all that. I felt elated and happy at the success of Mr. Chadwick’s scheme and sat down before Sri Bhagavan. Within half a minute Sri Bhagavan asked, “What? Did anyone write to you to send this?” I immediately admitted it and said: “Yes Bhagavan, Chadwick wrote to me all that I have said in my letter, and my expectations and hope also being the same, I did what he asked me to do and faithfully wrote to Chinnaswamigal without even mentioning his letter as if all this was my own initiative.” Sri Bhagavan laughed graciously saying, “See that, see that!”
That evening Chadwick entered the hall at 4 p.m. as was his routine, inwardly also elated and happy. But hardly did he rise from his obeisance when Sri Bhagavan said: “Chadwick! Did you write anything?” This was a moment of shock and surprise for Chadwick and he having done all this out of his extreme love and devotion to Sri Bhagavan, happily declared: “Yes Bhagavan, I wrote all that to T. P. R. What can we do? Sri Bhagavan never will take anything and it was miserable for us devotees to be witnessing Sri Bhagavan growing weaker day by day. So I did all that and I am happy now.”
He resumed his seat and began to meditate as usual. Such was Chadwick’s devotion and love to Sri Bhagavan! He was one among the many old devotees whose devotion to him was boundless.