We go back to 1924. Those were the days of the newly founded Sri Ramanasramam at the foot of Arunachala. The Old Hall had not yet come into existence and Bhagavan sat in the thatched shed of the early days in front of the Matrubhuteswara Shrine. A small elevated seat of cement was made there for Him, and He used to sit on it day and night. It was here that on a certain Sivaratri He once kept the assembled devotees in perfect silence and stillness all night, to explain the real meaning of the Dakshinamurthy Hymn.

One day at about 10 a.m. a certain princely person appeared before Bhagavan. We need not mention names, but it is enough to say that he was very pious and devoted to the worship of Siva, learned in Tamil and in the Scriptures. He had great love for saints (sadhus). Having heard of Sri Bhagavan’s greatness, he had long been eager to pay his respects to Him, and now after several years of effort had come to Him.

In his royal robes, he stood in the presence of Bhagavan for over half an hour; nobody spoke to him or asked him to be seated. It seemed that he found pleasure in standing before Bhagavan, and stood motionless like a statue; Bhagavan was equally still, sitting like a statue.

His glorious eyes were all the time on that devout personality, blessing him with His Grace. Bhagavan and he remained without a movement; there was perfect stillness in the room. It was a wonderful sight to see the Ekarat (Emperor of Saints) Himself giving and the princely beggar receiving at His hands. After the half hour, the Prince prostrated before Bhagavan and left.

The funny side of this incident is that a sadhu who accompanied the Prince returned with a few hundred rupee notes and placed them at Sri Bhagavan’s feet saying that the Prince gave the money to help the sadhus there. The Master remarked: “Look at this! A Prince, finding no peace or pleasure in his own environment, comes to beg of this pauper (kaupina-dhari = wearing only a codpiece), thinking that what is in us is the real thing that life needs, and you run after him to beg of that beggar! How clever
of you!”