In August 1943, I shifted my residence from the town to a house in Raju Chettiar’s compound in Ramana Nagar.After coming to Tiruvannamalai, I got into the habit of taking coffee in the mornings. At the new house, milk was being supplied very late; sometimes as late as even 8 or 9 a.m.
As I had no work to do till then, I was going to the Ashram in the early morning hours. A lady devotee who is rather egoistic, was coming there earlier still. There used to be two or three ladies also with her.
While I was sitting somewhere near the back door of the dining hall, they were sitting right in front of the main door which was facing the bathroom of Bhagavan. According to the existing practice, the bell for the breakfast used to be rung as Bhagavan came out of the bathroom and he went direct into the dining hall.
Bhagavan expressed several times his embarrassment about his going in for breakfast while some devotees were waiting just opposite to him without having had their breakfast: “Look at that. While all those are standing there with empty stomachs, not having even their morning coffee I feel awkward in going in and eating sumptuously.”
No serious notice was taken of his remarks. One day, after having his breakfast he was going out to the hill when he happened to notice me standing at the back door. Grieved at it he remarked, “See. Nagamma also is standing there.
She does not eat anything in the nights. She looks tired. She is not able to have her morning coffee because the milkman comes late. How could I eat heartily leaving all these people hungry? What to do?” It seems he had remarked thus twice or thrice.
A few days later Ramakrishnaswami, Bhagavan’s attendant, told me about this. “Ayyo! If only I had known that this would cause some pain and embarrassment to Bhagavan,
I would never have come that side,” I said, and stopped going to that side from that day onwards. I went to the Ashram only after Bhagavan returned from his morning walk on the hill.
Ramakrishnaswami appears to have informed Bhagavan about this, and so Bhagavan is reported to have said, “Oho! I see.You have told Nagamma, all right. But tell the other ladies and see what happens.” “Why not? I shall tell them and see that they heed my words,” he said confidently.
Accordingly he spoke to them the next day. Are they the people to care for him? Instead, they remonstrated with him saying, “Mind your business. What do you lose if we stand here? We have not come here for your coffee. This is all your fabrication.
Bhagavan will not say anything like that.” When Bhagavan came to know about this, he had a hearty laugh. He said, “So you have had it. You said that they would heed your words.
Are these people like Nagamma to take it in the right spirit? If you say anything further, they will state that Bhagavan himself had permitted them to stand there.
Supposing you say Bhagavan never permitted this, they will say he gave the permission not verbally but in silence. If that too is disbelieved,they will say Bhagavan told them so in a dream. What can you do then? That is how they behave,” said Bhagavan.
Source: Letters from Sri Ramanasramam VOLUMES I, II & Letters from and Recollections of Sri Ramanasramam By SURI NAGAMMA Translated by D. S. SASTRI