GURU SHOPPING: 'WHEN ALL GOES, THE SELF REMAINS'
When Bhagavan was still on the hill, a postcard came in which the sender wrote:
"I am a poor elementary school teacher. My mother is old and my salary is so small that I cannot look after her properly. Kindly see that I get a raise."
Bhagavan laughed and said: "Well, why not?"
Another card came after some time in which he wrote: "By your grace, my salary was increased. Now there is a vacancy in a higher grade. If I am given that grade, I shall earn more and make my mother very happy."
Bhagavan had a good laugh and said: "Good."
Again after some days, another card: "My mother is bedridden and there is nobody to nurse her. If I could get married, my wife would look after her. But I am a poor man. Who will give me his daughter in marriage? And where shall I get the money for expenses? Bhagavan may kindly arrange."
Bhagavan laughed and said: "Well, let it be so."
After some months another postcard came: "By your kindness, I was married quite easily. My wife is already with me. My mother wants a grandchild before she dies. Please provide.
"Why not?" said Bhagavan.
After some months another card: "My wife gave birth to a child, but she has no milk for it. I cannot afford milk for the baby. Please get me a promotion."
Then another card: "I got a promotion and an increment. The child is doing well. I owe everything to your kindness."
Bhagavan remarked: "What have I done? It is his good karma that all goes well with him."
After some days another card: "Mother died. She worshiped you before her death.
"Well," said Bhagavan.
After a month, another card: "Swami, my child has died."
"Sorry," said Bhagavan. Another month had passed and a card came saying: "My wife is pregnant again." Then another card: "My wife gave birth to a child. Both died."
"Ram, Ram,'' said Bhagavan. "Everything seems to be over."
Then another card: "Due to family trouble my work was very irregular and I was dismissed. I am completely destitute now.''
Bhagavan said, heaving a deep sigh:
"All that came has gone; only his Self remained with him. It is always like this. When all goes, only the Self remains."
-- from "The Bhagavan I Knew" in the Ramana Smriti Souvenir.