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Maha Samadhi

We think, it will be appropriate if we close this section on the Guru s biography with a touching account of the last days of the Guru given in The Word of the Guru.

As the image of Jesus carrying his cross has served as a symbol of his love and service to humanity; so also great masters make even their sickness and suffering serviceable to their fellow-beings. The life of the Guru was in every detail of it an example of the principle, which he enunciated as follows:

Act that one performs
For one's own sake,
Should also aim the good
Of other men.

In fact this maxim may be said to form the keystone of his whole life. By apparently trying to be selfish he on many an occasion impressed a useful principle or habit on the many who came in contact with him. He would insist that the barber who shaved him had the sharpest razor, and would see that the best methods were used in the art. He would complain of his chauffeur who did not gently put on his brakes when he came to an uneven part of the road. He would teach him to be proud of his car, and find fault with him if he had omitted to observe a new kind of car in which a visitor had come to see the Guru. He would say that he preferred a garland of gold to one of roses if, while on a tour, people greeted him with empty applause and theoretical loyalty and devotion. He would insist on good cooking more with a view to reforming the food habits than for his own sake. He would insist on small details in building, and order an alteration in spite of expense, in order to set a better example in architecture. He would like to hear music in order that he could patronize musicians. Himself an adept in the art of healing, he missed no opportunities, whenever he was ill, to call together a little group of medical men of different schools of medicine in order to discuss with them the various bearings of the case and make them discuss the details. In the system of medicine called the Ayurveda, which is the ancient Sanskrit system, there lay, buried and forgotten, gems of ancient experience which he found valuable to unearth and apply, suffering himself to be the subject of the experiment. His last illness was rich in such opportunities. He would find some point in which one system failed and in which someone else knew better. Suffering and bedridden as he was, he would argue the minutest details with his doctors and those who attended on him. He went to Palghat and traveled about four hundred miles north-east to Madras, carried in stretchers and transported from Place to place, from one doctor to another, from the care of one devotee, who loved to keep him under his care, to another. Then he came back to Travancore from where a strong deputation had arrived to take him to Varkala. One of the stations on the way was AIwaye where on the platform were gathered all the students, young and old, of the Sanskrit school and the Ashram for which he had given long labors. The coming event was still unknown to them but a deep emotion at the illness of the Guru sat on the features of each one.

The caste-Hindus and the low caste-Hindus are both the sons of Hinduism. The caste-Hindu is the elder brother who shoulders responsibility, and he therefore exercises certain privileges. The low caste-Hindu is his younger brother who is to be cared for. If the elder brother turns out to be somewhat rough and aggressive that should not make the younger brother a runaway from his mother Hinduism.

He arrived at Varkala. Others of a different school demonstrated some of the symptoms of the illness, which the experts of one school of medicine had declared incurable, to be curable. For some time the Guru seemed quite well. The radiant glow on his features had never disappeared. He still retained his good humor and although he was weak in body, he never yielded or compromised except where it was necessary. He guided the deliberations regarding his property and legal affairs with a perfect sense of justice and awareness of all shades of opinion. He regained a stage in which he took little walks on his own and, though highly emaciated, was still the same alert, radiant and kind Guru. It was in this condition that the present writer left him on his voyage to Europe. A select group of friends, representatives of different nations and religions celebrated the 73rd birthday on September, 1928, in the beautiful city of Geneva. For the first time the Guru's message was proclaimed in the West. Strangers, united in worship, feasted together and discussed informally the significance of the ideals of universal appeal which the Guru's life had symbolized.

Narayana Guru agreed to that and he wanted Mahatma Gandhi to understand it as a socio-economic problem, which could be met only by taking adequate measures that, could {give social and economic justice to the aggrieved members of the society. This point went home to Mahatma Gandhi and it was even responsible for making a big change in Gandhi's attitude .towards the entire problem of caste-conflict in India. It was significant that Mahatma Gandhi afterwards changed the name of his paper Navajovan to Harijanand even called himself a Harijan.

That dispenser of mercy could
he not be that reality.
That proclaiming words of supreme
import the chariot drives.
Or compassion's ocean ever impatient
for all creation,
Or who in terms clear non-dual wisdom
expounds, the Guru.

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