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Nanu protests

It seems the child Nanu had a natural ingenuity in discerning right from wrong and the essential from the non-essential. When Nanu's parents or uncles kept fruits and sweetmeats for divine offerings (pooja), he did not hesitate to partake of it before the puja was performed. When he was called to account for his action, his plea was that God would be happy if he made himself happy.

When Nanu's uncles were meticulous in enforcing the customary convention of untouchability, the child wanted to show the silliness of it by running around and embracing all who were tabooed as untouchables. There is a touching story of Nanu's childhood-reaction to injustice which also reveals his consistency in opposing injustice with passive spiritual force.

One day when Nanu was going to school with other village children, a sannyasin with matted hair and clad in rags was also on the road. The usual look of the mendicant intrigued the mischievous imps. They started jeering and throwing stones at him. The sannyasin walked on as if he was not aware of what was happening. When Nanu saw this, he burst into tears. The sannyasin turned back and spotted Nanu walking behind him in tears. The kind mendicant asked Nanu why he was crying. Nanu said that he was crying because of his inability to stop the village urchins from pelting such a good man with stones. Hearing this, the sannyasin lifted the boy to his shoulders and brought him back to his parents. He blessed Nanu and told that he would one day become a great man (mahatma). Strange are the ways of picking up the threads of one's future affiliation and loyalty. The incident narrated above symbolizes hundreds of other acts of injustice against which, Narayana Guru protested in his life. He always employed a passive dynamism whereby he brought the powers of the heavens to the earth to correct the ills of the world. There is another episode of Nanu's childhood, which indicates how he was turned on to what can be described as the vianegativa (nivrttimarga).

A death occurred in his family, when Nanu was of the age of six. He was shocked by the grief of the relatives. A couple of days after the cremation, the young Nanu was found missing. People searched for him everywhere. Finally they found him sitting in a wood, lost in thought. When he was questioned about this strange behavior, he said: "The other day when a dear one died everybody was crying. I thought, 'Now you will be sorrowful forever.' Hardly a day passed, and all of you started laughing as if nothing had happened. It looked strange to me." Of course, nobody kept any record of what he said, but he might have said something to this effect. What is important to note is his disgust for relativism and how he preferred to turn away from it as a remedy to correct the iniquities of social behavior.

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