Tonics for All Alike
Once Dr. Ramachandra Rao, an Ayurvedic physician, made out a long list of herbs and ingredients and showed it to Bhagavan. Bhagavan carefully perused it and commented on the value of each of the herbs, and obediently asked, “For whom is this medicine, my dear man?” The kindly doctor said, “For Sri Bhagavan himself.” On hearing that, Bhagavan said, “No doubt you have given me a long list of items but where am I to get the money to pay for them? It could cost Rs. 10/- and whom am I to approach for it?”

Someone quietly said, looking around at the Ashram property, “Whose is all this, Swamiji?”

“Yes, but what have I? If I want a quarter anna, I must go and ask the Sarvadhikari. How should I go and ask him? He gives me a little food, if I go there as soon as the bell rings.”

The physician humbly volunteered to pay for the medicines himself. Bhagavan said, “Oh yes? You will get them? But if that medicine is good for me, it must necessarily be good for all the others here. Can you give it to them as well?”

Others in the hall quickly picked up on Bhagavan’s line of argument and made soft protests: “Why do we want it, Swamiji?” Bhagavan replied, “If people who do physical work don’t need a body-building tonic, how is that I who merely sits here and eats should need one? That can’t be!”

The doctor said, “Bhagavan always declines everything that is offered, but if he agrees to take something, won’t it be forthcoming? Or if not medicines, why not take some nutritious food such as milk, fruit and almonds?”

Bhagavan replied, “I am a daridranarayana (God in the form of the poor and the destitute). How can I afford it? Besides, mine is a large family. How can all of them have milk, fruit and almonds?”

- Letters from Sri Ramanasramam, 29th November, 1945