part 4

Bhagavan would also occasionally get angry with other ashram workers if they deliberately disobeyed him. There was an office worker called Mauni Srinivasa Rao who once incurred Bhagavan's displeasure by trying to override his instructions. One of Mauni Srinivasa Rao's jobs was to draft replies to all the spiritual queries which came to the ashram by post. These first drafts would be shown to Bhagavan, who would then scrutinize them and make all necessary corrections. On one occasion,

Mauni Srinivasa Rao refused to accept that Bhagavan's corrections were definitive. He corrected Bhagavan's alterations and sent the letter back to the hall. Bhagavan went through the letter for the second time, deleting all the corrections which had been added by Mauni Srinivasa Rao. When the letter went back to the office, Mauni

Srinivasa Rao again altered some of Bhagavan's corrections. He brought the new draft to the hall and tried to get Bhagavan to read it, but Bhagavan refused even to look at it.

Instead, he threw the letter at Mauni Srinivasa Rao and said, very angrily, 'You do what you like!'

Sometimes Bhagavan showed his displeasure in more subtle ways. One night, after the evening meal, there was a big quarrel in the dining room which resulted in Subramaniam Swami hitting Krishnaswami in the face. Krishnaswami immediately went and complained to Bhagavan but Bhagavan appeared to take no interest in the matter.

Someone had paid for a big bhiksha for the following day, which meant a lot of work for everyone in the kitchen. Ordinarily, Bhagavan would have come to the kitchen at 3 a.m. to help Subramaniam to cut the vegetables but that morning he remained in the hall and made Subramaniam do all the work by himself. Subramaniam spent the first two hours wondering why Bhagavan was late but eventually he realized that he was being punished for attacking Krishnaswami. Bhagavan confirmed his theory by refusing to talk to him, or even look at him, for the rest of that day. Although Subramaniam worked full-time in the ashram, it was well-known that he had little interest in the spiritual life. Once, while Bhagavan was talking to me in the hall about the unreality of the world; Subramaniam Swami came in and listened for a while. After a few minutes, he interrupted by saying, 'How to make the world disappear from the mind?

Bhagavan, knowing that he had no real interest in spiritual matters, responded to his query by saying, 'Go and swallow a ball of ganja [cannabis]. That will make the world disappear.' And then he carried on talking to me.

Bhagavan always discouraged people from taking ganja but in this case, his flippant reply was rather appropriate. Both Subramaniam and his father were ganja users and neither of them had any serious interest in spiritual matters.

— Living by the Words of Bhagavan, p. 99