“The Guru is one who at all times abides in the profound depth of the Self. He never sees any difference between himself and others and he is completely free from false notions of distinction — that he himself is the Enlightened or the Liberated while others around him are in bondage or the darkness of ignorance. His firmness or self-possession can never be shaken under any circumstances and he is never perturbed.”
Sri Bhagavan accepts nothing for himself.There is an ineffable tenderness in his look. It is not only sympathy for the immediate troubles of his devotees but for the whole vast burden of samsara, of human life. And yet, despite the tenderness, the lines of his face can show the sternness of one who has conquered and never compromised. This aspect of hardness is usually covered by a soft growth of white hair, for, as a sanyasin, his head and face are shaved every full moon day. Many of the devotees regret it the growth of white hair on face and head so enhances the grace and gentleness of aspect but none presumes to mention it to him.
When the devotees followed Sri Bhagavan down to the Mother’s samadhi at the foot of the Hill in December 1922 there was only a single thatched shed for Ashram. Through the ensuing years the numbers grew, donations came in and regular Ashram premises were erected — the hall where Sri Bhagavan sat, the office and bookshop, the dining hall and kitchen, the cowshed, the post office, the dispensary, the guest-room for male visitors (really not a room but a large dormitory for such as wished to stay some days at the Ashram), a couple of small bungalows for guests who made a longer stay — all single-storey buildings whitewashed on the outside in Indian fashion.
The animals felt his Grace. If a wild animal is cared for by people its own kind boycott it on its return to them, but if it came from him they did not; rather they seemed to honour it. They felt the complete absence of fear and anger in him. He was sitting on the hillside when a snake crawled over his legs. He neither moved nor showed any alarm. A devotee asked him what it felt like to have a snake pass over one and, laughing he replied “Cool and soft.”
One was often impressed by the tolerance and kindliness of Sri Bhagavan. It was not merely that he recognised the truth of all religions, for that any man of spiritual understanding would do, but if any school or group or ashram was striving to spread spirituality he would show appreciation of the good it was doing, however far its methods might be from his own or its teachings from strict orthodoxy.