Discipleship is a process of transformation of man from his state of ignorance to the state of Light. On the Path he meets himself. His emotional tendencies and intellectual tendencies arrest him from being a free flowing being -a natural being. A man that treads the Path of Light works on himself. It is self-chiselling to find the beauty of the Soul, which is enmassed in the materialistic tendencies.
The functioning of the Soul from the human vehicle is always a treat to watch. It is possible for everyone who works on himself, vis-à-vis the material, emotional and intellectual conditioning. When man masters these tendencies, he lives free. His freedom is always coupled with his responsibility towards the fellow-beings.
Freedom without responsibility is the anarchy of the present humans. Seeking rights in preference to responsibility is the path to chaos. The freedom sought without being responsible is the curse on the race. It is about time that the thinkers of society think of the path of responsibility. Instead of celebrating a day for the fundamental rights, it is better to celebrate or dedicate a day for the fundamental responsibility of the humans. The refined humans need to re-think Responsibility leads to freedom. Responsibility leads to Light.
There are good demonstrations of refined humans who render their duty to the surrounding life in the form of parents, family, friends and society. Their lives carry the message. Their lives and their living inspire others to follow. They are the disciples on the Path to Light.
A true disciple lives hiding the Light within and working silently for its further glow. The Light they shed is in silence and simplicity. They are one among the human society and do not appear special. "To be one among the common is the Key to the Path", says Lord Maitreya.
One such example of disciple is K.V. Sastry, whose story is inspiring to those who walk the Path to Light in simplicity. It demands simplicity to realize the Truth. The reader finds such simplicity in the life and the events of the life of Sri Sastry.
It is called forth by a group of seekers. It is therefore here now. Let it contribute its source of inspiration to those who seek.
"Sambhoo!" utters the grand old mother whenever she takes to a seat, gets up from the seat and also while she gets up from the bed. With a nasal 'u' responds the infant grand-child with the quality of instantaneousness. The grandmother smiles at the mischievous child. The grand-child responds with an equally mysterious smile. The child is gradually known as 'Sambhudu', for he responds to the benign sound of Sambhoo - which is the name of Lord Siva, the Cosmic Existence as "the Poise Giver".
The infant grew up as the darling child of the grandparents and the parents, for his quick response to every theistic acts of the elders at home. As he grew up to his 5th year, he showed a deeper inclination to help the old and the elders at work.
It was the first quarter of the 20th Century. It was a simple village amidst the green paddy fields of the Guntur District, and of Bapatla Taluk of Andhra Pradesh (the then Madras State). The village consisted of a small community of a thousand people from all walks of life. The village ambience was one of harmony with a hierarchical understanding of the functionaries in the village, namely the wisdom class, the administrative class, the business class and the rest. The elders in society were compassionate towards the others, and the latter were respectful of the elders. The village is surrounded by lush green rice fields being a part of the granary of India. The land is very fertile and is well supported by the ever-flowing waters of Krishna, the sacred river.
The village life was woven around a temple of Siva, where varied spiritual, social and cultural activities were carried out during the dawn and the dusk hours. Teaching, healing and literacy were taught in the temple premises. Vital administrative decisions relating to the community were arrived at after due deliberations. The members of the community lived a tension-free life, for contentment prevailed over. The temple was thus seen as the centre. The yearly agricultural crop was first taken to the temple, a portion was offered to the temple with dedication and in utter gratefulness, and the balance crop was taken home. The portion offered at the temple was put to the general good of the community.
It was an agrarian community with a fairly good social order. The scholarly language was Sanskrit and the functional language was Telugu. English and even Hindi were relatively unknown. The village is known as "Marri Pudi", meaning 'the Banyan Grove'. The banyan tree is the sacred tree that transmits spiritual energies and is the one sought for penance. Its twigs are used for fire rituals. The village was surrounded by these sacred trees, and for this reason it was named "Marri Pudi"
"Sambhudu", the child, was born in the village on 14th November 1916, in the "Kambhampati" family to Sri Jagannadha Sastry and Smt. Parvathi as their second son, and was named Venkatappaiah Sastry. The sound "Venkata" means 'the Destroyer of Sins' and "Appaiah" means 'the Father'. The name thus is one of the names of the Lord - as "the Father that Destroys the Sins". In India, every male and female is still named after the divinity. Sastry is the title that the family held, arising out of the family's knowledge in the Spiritual Science.
The chief transport in the area was the bullock-cart. Electricity was not yet, the telephone was unknown, and the telegraph was known but not around the region.
The family of Sambhudu was considered to be a source of help and of inspiration to the villagers. Sambhudu's father, Sri Jagannadha Sastry, was an upright, scholarly person. He worked as an 'Estate Manager' to support his family, consisting of himself, his mother, wife, four sons and a daughter. He was in fact working in a Governmental position as Revenue Inspector, under the British Rule. When national leaders gave a call for the independence movement, out of national spirit he resigned the job and started working for private estates. Well versed in the Scriptures, he was an ardent follower of the Aryan Dharma. His strength was meditation. He used to meditate regularly twice a day and was an active participant in the Vedic and other Scriptural discussions and group study. He was inspired into "DHYANA YOGA", the Yoga of Meditation, by his father Sri Sitarama Sastry, who was considered to be a "Poorna Yogi" - a fulfilled Yogi.
Sri Sitarama Sastry was a Vedic and Sanskrit scholar that dedicated his life for the propagation of the Vedic knowledge and the Yogic practices. He taught Sanskrit to the residents of the region. He organized spiritual congregations on astrologically important days. He conducted many Yagnas (Vedic Rituals) and Satrayagas. Satrayaga means 'community living' (today it is called as group living) organized in serene and silent places for 3 to 7 days and nights. The truth seekers (Sadhakas) gather to exchange views, to meditate and worship together and to listen to the voice of those who are way ahead of them. It enables realignment. It helps to gain guidance. It sets the Sadhakas firmly on the Path. Sri Sitarama Sastry organized many such group living and is remembered even today for his knowledge, for his magnanimity in catering food and other arrangements for the group life and for the direction he was giving to the sincere seekers. He organized the construction of a Siva Temple in the village and donated substantial agricultural land to the temple to support the temple activities. He dedicated his spacious house in the village for the village school and promoted literacy and basic education.
Sri Sitarama Sastry worked at all levels in the village. From the basic education to the Vedic education, he initiated welfare works and contributed his might. He imparted Vedic rituals and Yoga practices. He was a great giver of his time in the region. He was also a great organizer of spiritual, cultural and social activities. He also organized a regular school in the nearby town of Bapatla to impart the "Eightfold Path of Yoga" (Astanga Yoga). He initiated many into a truth seeker, clarifying the doubts to Sadhakas to enable them to tread the Path of Yoga. He lived like a lion and departed consciously from his earthly abode.
Inspired by the life and the works of Sri Sitarama Sastry, his son, Sri Jagannadha Sastry picked up the meditational practice as contained in Patanjali Yoga and was mastering it. He was traditional in his being and yet adapted to the changing environ of the time. The English education was influencing the society and the English way of life too. He remained traditional and yet allowed his sons to adopt to the changing trends. He stressed that his sons should be Indians at heart, while they can adopt 'Western' techniques for outer life purposes. "Be Indian at home and at heart, while you may pick up the alien ways in your outer functioning. Let not the Soul deviate from the East while you may adopt to the Western techniques. Let there be a harmonious equation between Eastern Philosophy and Western Philosophy".
Sri Jagannadha Sastry used to carry out intensive internal work in contrast to his father, who was an adept in the internal and external work of Goodwill. Sri Jagannadha Sastry's emphasis was more in accomplishing immortality through deeper and sustained meditational work. He limited consciously his outer (personality) expansion and organized for himself adequate time to conduct the Yogic practices. He was considered soft but effective, efficient and honest. A good householder, a friend to his sons and a lovable husband. In his life, his wife Smt. Parvathi played a great supporting role. She was a great devotee of the Lord and was managing the house with dignity, within the limited resources provided by her husband. She was very co-operative and carried loving understanding. She was wealthy at heart and was demonstrating richness of life in spite of moderate economic condition. She lived her life as an ideal mother, a co-operative wife and above all, as a noble lady that aired serene dignity. It is her support that enabled Sambhudu's father, Sri Jagannadha Sastry to pursue his internal journeys into the subtle world. She was chosen by Sri Sitarama Swamy Sastry to be his second daughter in law as he found in her the spark that would perpetuate the spiritual lineage of the family. Smt. Parvathi sparked in many walks of life. She served her father in law as a father and as a Spiritual Master. In return she received much enlightenment through sheer devotional service to her father in law, husband, children, relatives and friends. The visitors to the house were many due to the magnetic presence of Sri Sitarama Sastry, and Smt. Parvathi was the backbone of the house.
Sri Jagannadha Sastry was gradually coursing in life -internal and external. He fulfilled his family responsibilities by rightly guiding his 5 children into purposeful living. He worked for internal fulfilment through Yoga practice. When he was half way through his life (50 years), he accomplished what he aspired for, namely: self visualization in the Cave of the Heart. Thereafter his meditations grew deeper and deeper. During the last phase of his life he was levitating while at meditation, and during such time his countenance was emitting a visible Aura of Light! It is an achievement, a scientific achievement! It required complete understanding of psychic energy. Some day, man, on his path of evolution and in advanced stages of evolution on his path to immortality, gains the power of levitation. It is one more event that fulfils the prophecy of the Masters of Wisdom that "the thought about flying is destined to survive."
Sri Jagannadha Sastry and Smt. Parvathi fulfilled their household duties simply but ably, relying on the Divine in every facet of life. Smt. Parvathi was the first to depart, while Sri Jagannadha Sastry departed 5 years after. Their life was filled with the Divine and their departure too was divine and inspiring to those who were left behind. They were not old by the present standards as they departed, nor were they young. She departed in her late 40's while he departed in his late 50's. They commenced life early, fulfilled their tasks and departed early and departed consciously! Their departures are worthy of description.
Smt. Parvathi departed declaring her departure to her mother and husband, a day before. She sent word for her mother the day before to be with her. She informed her husband that she was being 'called'. The next day morning, after the morning prayers, she sat at the Tulasi plant (Ascimum Sanctum) in the rear yard of the house. She offered Pranams (Salutations) to her mother and husband and closed her eyes. In no time she breathed her last! The departure was thus conscious and quick too. There was no strain or pain of departure. Her face carried the glow and the smile until she was cremated. A soft soul that had no inner conflict, in spite of trying situations in life. Sri Jagannadha Sastry continued further until 1950. When his leg got septic due to an injury and needed amputation, he informed his sons that the purpose of his life was fulfilled and that the leg injury was a hint for his departure. But out of love for the father, the sons did not agree for their father's departure. But Sri Jagannadha Sastry decided to leave, for no man should hang around after the job is done. He fulfilled his duties to the family and the society. Above all, he realized the Self, which is the primary purpose of incarnating into the human body. In his second son Sambhudu (Venkatappaiah Sastry), he found continuity of the spiritual tread of the family. In fact, he even chose the second son and initiated him into the " Panchakshari Maha Mantra" - the great five-syllabled mantra of Lord Siva "OM NA MA SI VAYA", since the child satisfied him by doing all the jobs as ordained in all fields.
He took the septic condition of his leg as God's message for the return. He took to 'Padmasana' (sitting in Lotus Posture). He linked up his mind with his respiration. Mind and respiration attuned to culminate into pulsation. The pulsation in the Cave of the Heart lead to the subtle pulsation in the 'Sushumna'. He ascended upon the 'Sushumna Path' from the Heart Lotus to the throat as subtle pulsation. The subtle pulsation was moving higher and higher to experience the resonance in the lower palate and later in the upper palate. It ascended further into the Ajna Centre, where he entered into the realms of Light. He further ascended to the Sahasrara Centre and became one with the Light! He departed from the body in the early morning hours.
The sons came up to his room in the morning hours and to their utter surprise, they found the body but not their father. Sambhudu touched the cap of the head (Sahasrara) and realized that his father consciously departed like a King through the King's way - Sahasrara. As he touched the Sahasrara he found that the related part on the top of the head was soft like butter. He understood what had happened to his father. They conducted the last rites to him - a noble soul that quietly fulfilled all his work.
Blessed is he, for he consciously departed. Those who consciously depart can arrive consciously too! Such are the liberated beings, whom we call the immortal humans. Sri Jagannadha Sastry joined the group of immortals like his father, and lives as per the Divine Will.
Sambhudu grew under the parental care of such benign couple that served the Divine. He too was found deeply inclined to all theistic activities. He was the talk of the village. People used to say: "From the house of Swans only Swans merge, but not cranes. This boy too will be like his grandfather - a benefactor to the human society". He was the darling child of every house and was the helper in need. His social activity was much beyond his age. When Sambhudu was 12 years of age, he was entrusted with a heavy but pleasant job of carrying newly prepared mango pickles from the maternal grandmother's house to the parent's house, across the fields, from one village to the other, which are 5 kilometres apart. It was summer.
Andhra Pradesh is world famous for mango pickle. Andhra's are fond of pickles and are known as pickle eaters. Among the innumerable pickles they prepare, mango pickle stands out as a shining star in the firmament. Summer is the time when the mangoes appear. Summer is the mango season for Indians. The ladies get busy in summer to prepare mango pickle for its consumption throughout the year. They form family groups and collectively they prepare jars and jars of the pickle.
The mangoes are cut into pieces, soaked in salt and then exposed to the sunrays, for preservation. They are put to the solar-charge; later they are mixed in chilly powder and mustard seeds and stored in sesame oil. Chilly powder, mustard seeds and sesame oil are all heat-generating agents. The pickles generate heat to meet the heat of the summer - an Ayurvedic principle of meeting the heat with the heat and the cold with the cold. Ayurveda suggests cool water bath in winter and hot water bath in summer. "Similis similibus curantur" - the homoeopathic principle is also the Ayurvedic principle over thousands of years. Ayurveda treats poisonous fevers with the poison of cobras! "Apply heat to combat heat", says Ayurveda - ushnam ushnena seetalam. The food habits are evolved as per the climatic conditions of the place. By eating fruits of the season, vegetables of the season, cereals of the season, the body tunes up to the season of Nature. On this principle the tradition of mango pickle has set in since ancient times.
The ladies of the house are in festive mood in summer while they prepare the pickles as tasty as possible. They cook their love for the family along with the ingredients of the pickle. In fact, family love forms an important ingredient in the pickle preparation! The men of the house taste the pickle and appreciate. When the pickle preparations are ready, they are distributed in the families. It was a community work amidst families of similar vibration.
Two ceramic jars of 10 kilograms each, were entrusted to Sambhudu by his grandmother to be taken home. The distance to be covered was about 5 kilometres. He started in the morning hours, picking up the pickle jars on to either of his tender shoulders. He was known among the children as an effective worker, a server and a boy of good strong will. The grandmother knew and therefore entrusted the job to him. Sambhudu set himself on across a country path, crossing the paddy fields. As he picked up the load on his two shoulders, he picked up the holy name of the Lord on his tongue, via the Buddhi and the Manas. Singing the glory of the Lord he moved light, unmindful of the load of the pickles. He was God-drunk and was moving forward.
Lo! On the way, in the parched paddy field, he suddenly encountered a white cobra, radiant in body (due to the sunlight reflection?) and with a resplendent gem on its hood! The young Sambhudu looked at it. The name of the Lord was found uttered forth, no more from the tongue, but in the heart, by the minds tongue. His eyes got closed. He was listening to the unuttered Sacred Word of the Lord in the Cave of the Heart. He was mused into the Anahata Sound. Time ceased to him. He did not know as to how long he stood within. He opened the eyes gradually. Lo! The cobra was no more. He was perplexed. Was it real? Was the question. The answer came from within: Yes it is!" "If so, where is it now?" was the question. There was no answer from within. He looked around. It was all dead silence. The barren, summer parched field was giving the profound silent presence. He picked up again the name of the Lord upon the tongue and he moved on. During the turns the path, the pickle jars stood stable on his shoulders!
Sambhudu was contemplating upon the event. He seemed positioned as between the objective and subjective awareness. What was real and what was unreal was confusing to him. It was a new awakening, which he could not connect to his past spiritual training that existed in him as a tendency. The spiritual practice belongs to the soul and it continues over many reincarnations, like the thread of the garland running through many flowers. On the mental plane, the programme of the present life continues, while on the higher plane the spiritual programme prevails. Sometimes in the truth seeker, the awareness shifts from the mental to the Buddhic and Atmic planes. They get disconnected from the personality programme and connected to the higher (Soul) programme. The local conditions suspend and the spiritual condition prevails. The cobra seen was not of this earth but of Light. In a disciple the two programmes get linked up from time to time causing the necessary initiation.
As he reached home and entrusted the pickle jars to his mother, he once again got absorbed into the inner silence. The active child, which was engaging the house with humorous talks, was silent. The mother observed the child and reported to her husband. Sri Jagannadha Sastry came up to his son and slowly enquired. The 12 year-old son explained in wonder all that had happened to him on the way. Sri Jagannadha Sastry was elated. He realized that his son visioned the Kundalini and that consequently, the young one was perplexed. He patted his son on his back. With love, he nursed the son from head to foot. He told his wife: "This son of ours is a blessed child. He is a yogi, a natural yogi by birth. He is born with a mission. We are blessed". Saying so he rejoiced within for the accomplishment of his young son.
Ever since, Sambhudu visualized the Kundalini power in radiant white colour, from time to time, until he consciously breathed his last.
As said earlier, Sri Jagannadha Sastry was adopting to the changing trends, and he encouraged his sons to pursue the English education. Consequently, after schooling, Sambhudu was sent to the city of Madras to study Automobile Engineering. It was the time (1930-35) when the motor transport was growing, replacing the native transport system at regional level, while at metropolis level, they were already in use by the chosen few. To repair, to maintain and to upkeep the motor vehicles, automobile engineering was found to be a useful course. Sree Ramakrishna Mission in Madras held an institution to train post-school students into automobile engineering and was conferring diplomas on successful students that went through the course and the related practical training. The Mission also accommodated the outstationed students in a hostel, where there was the rigor of spiritual discipline - early wake up, asanas, prayer, self-service in terms of washing clothes, vessels and plates, arranging the dining hall for breakfast, lunch and dinner, appointed hours for study, for listening to the discourses and participating in evening bhajans etc.
To many the daily routine in the hostel was found rigorous. Sambhudu slowly acclimatized to the routine and started enjoying it. A Swamy of the Ashram of Sri Rama Krishna Mission was supervising the hostel activity. He was one of the direct disciples of Master Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, named Swamy Vijnananda; he noticed the spark in Sambhudu and drew him near. Sambhudu also felt comforted by the Swamy's presence in the ashramic atmosphere of the hostel. The Swamy felt encouraged from within to initiate the boy into the holy mantra of Lord Rama. "SREE RAM" is the mantra. RAM is the seed sound relating to fire. It purifies those who utter. The one who works with this sound, transforms. Advanced souls became social transformers. Mahatma Gandhi too worked with this sound.
'RAM' is the mantra prevailing on this planet from Treta Yuga and it is the most endearingly mantra for Indians. It is more endearingly than the mantra of Krishna in India. Ramayana, the first and the foremost Scripture on the planet came out in Treta Yuga. All known world scriptures are far later than this. The mantra Ram is more ancient than the Lord's incarnation as Rama. The mantra purifies, protects and directs. Sri Sastry (Sambhudu) was linked to this mantra by the Swamy. He gradually found the taste with the mantra. As he coursed in life, he got acquainted with Ram, he related himself with Ram, he developed friendliness with Ram and finally accomplished Lord Ram through the mantra Ram.
In the Path of Light, there is the acquaintance with the Divine, to start with. As the acquaintance grows deeper, one relates his life and himself to the Divine. He feels himself relative to the time and place. He also realizes that all is relative in time and space, while the Divine only is absolute. As one relates everything in him and around him to the Divine, the Divine grows friendly. There would be interactions, transmission of the Divine Will and experience of the Divine in daily events. The Divine becomes the Friend in All. Gradually the Divinity remains and others (names & forms) disappear, thus accomplishing the Divine. These are the 4 steps. The 1st is Aspiration, the 2nd is Sadhana (discipleship), the 3rd is Siddhi (Mastering) and the 4th is Ascent (becoming one with the One).
Sambhudu slowly developed the taste for Bhakti and Karma Yoga. He was considered by the Swamy as the foremost of the inmates in matters of service viz., washing dishes, cleansing the dining hall etc. His deep orientation towards the Divine and the intense inclination towards service pleased the Swamy to initiate him into the Path of Bhakti (the Yoga that enables union with the Divine while one lives and works in the world, as propounded in the Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatha).
He was studious enough to get through the studies without hurdles, but his focus was more on service and on Sri Ram. As between the semesters, during vacation, he used to return home from the city of Madras. While detraining at Bapatla, he straightaway used to walk into a traditional barber's shop and wear a traditional dress, so that the villagers as well as his parents felt him homely. The folk used to acclaim him as "the good one that hasn't changed, even while at English education!". Sambhudu used to enjoy the fun but in the core of his being he always felt more at comfort with the traditional attire (by virtue of the 'past' habit). The parents found in him a blossoming soul too, while he was developing his personality skills. They were happy and contented that their son was growing healthily both in the Eastern and the Western ways - a good blend for greater effectiveness in the contemporary life. As Sambhudu was about to complete his course in Automobile Engineering, his father wrote to him: "There is not much meaning in your returning home after the course. You would rather do well to find an employment relating to the course". Sambhudu accordingly looked for and found a job in a private firm on a monthly salary of Rupees 30- (which was sufficient for a single person to live). While he was working so, there was an announcement by the Madras State Government, for recruitment of Automobile Engineers into the position of motor vehicle inspectors, to supervise, control and certify the road worthiness of motor vehicles used for public purposes to ensure public safety. There were four positions available. During those days (1940) a job in the Government was considered as a symbol of status as it wielded authority, power and the consequent social respect. Indians, being 1st ray in soul quality, desire power, either economically, socially, politically or even spiritually. The urge for authority is instinctive. Sambhudu being Scorpio by sun sign and Aries by ascendant, felt that the advertised position excellently suited him to serve the society. He felt a deep longing for the position and applied for it. He also informed the Swamy of the attempt and his desire to get into the Government service. The Swamy blessed him by saying: "You will get it. Ram is with you".
A few days passed by. The selection of candidates was announced. Sambhudu's name was not in the announced list! Sambhudu was shocked. He was deeply disappointed. His conscience did not agree. He felt deep within himself that he had to get the job and the decision of the Government was incorrect! He went into solitude. He closed his room from within, and started praying SRI RAM. He was not eating and drinking. He was not sleeping too. The prayers were continuous. The friends tried to persuade him. He did not yield. They informed the Swamy who was his guide. The Swamy rushed to Sambhudu's habitat and pleaded. Sambhudu did not yield. He told the Swamy that the contest was between him and his deity SRI RAM, and that he would not give up his prayer and fasting until he gets an answer from his deity. The Scorpion will was willing for the test and the trial. Three days passed by and the nights too, without food, drink and sleep, but with prayers. On the 4th day came an announcement in the newspaper that by mistake Sambhudu's name was omitted from the list of selected candidates and that he should report to the appointing authorities to collect his appointment order! Lo! It was a great joy to his friends and to the Swamy. They rushed to Sambhudu and flashed the good news to him. Sambhudu with tears heard the news. He looked at the deity SRI RAM in utter gratefulness. The tears rolled by. He said: "This is RAM'S blessing. The appointment is God-given. In his name I shall serve the society. I shall never and never think that the appointment was given due to my merit but it is entirely due to His Grace". Sambhudu thus humbly commenced his public services, concluding the educational career.
Sri Sastry (Sambhudu), as a controller of public transportation, transformed himself as 'Hare Ram' Sastry Garu. By the stint of his hard work, honesty, uprightness and effectiveness in performance of his duties, he commanded admiration of one and all, wherever he worked. He was a State Government employee, controlling the vehicular transport as the head of a district (a sub-division in a state). His duties demanded safety of the vehicular movement on the roadways, roadworthiness of the automobile vehicles, competence of the automobile drivers and other State regulations relating to the road transportation.
He worked in many districts of the composite Madras State and later in Andhra Pradesh, implementing the road regulations in a developing economy like India from 1942 to 1967, a period of great change in India at all levels i.e., cultural, social, economic and general aspirational levels. Sri Sastry was convinced that the employment he was offered in the State Government was a responsibility cast on him by the Divine to serve the society, and that he should discharge his duty to the utmost satisfaction of the Divinity, whom he prayed, adored and worshipped in the name and form of Lord Sri Rama, one of the ten Avataras of Lord Krishna.
The mantra 'Sri Ram' was imparted to him by Sri Vijnananda Swamy of Ramakrishna Mission during the course of his education at Madras. Sri Swamy was one of the 16 direct disciples of the great Teacher Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. Swamy thought fit to link Sri Sastry to the mantra of Sri Rama, as we found in Sri Sastry a disciple of the 1st Ray soul quality and 6th Ray personality. Sri Sastry was born with the moon in the same constellation as that of Lord Sri Rama, namely Punarvasu. The moon in the sign Cancer bestows the instinctual ability to reflect the Divinity through action. The birth moon was in trine aspect with the birth sun in the sign Scorpio, and the ascendant in the sign Aries gave him the necessary drive to do things effectively. Incidentally, Aries is the birth sign of Lord Sri Rama.
To Sri Sastry, Rama is the Omniscient Lord. He was present to him in all forms. He served the fellow beings unhesitatingly, without any reservation, for he felt that service to the beings is the superior service to God. At the same time he was not indifferent to his daily worship, study of Scriptures and service to mankind, in spite of the arduous duties towards the society through his job and the duties to the family. When he worshipped, he was distinctly feeling the presence of the Lord with him, which was evident even to the onlookers. He was not living to the objectivity while at worship.
Sri Sastry comprehended that the work entrusted to him in the society through his employment was to discharge his indebtedness to the society. He therefore conducted the work with great alertness and elegance. He was a "role model" to many of his colleagues in the work and was a source of inspiration to many - of course, a source of jealousy to some, as it should be in society.
He was admired and even adored by the vehicle operators (like lorry drivers, truck drivers, bus drivers etc.,) for his brotherly attitude, guiding nature and corrective measures. He used to exercise the power relating to his governmental position only as a last measure, in cases where loving understanding did not yield results.
He transformed many bus/truck drivers in a very unique manner. Whenever a bus/truck driver or conductor transgressed the rules of transportation of goods or passengers, he had the power to seize their licence and thereby render them jobless - a punishment for transgression. But Sri Sastry had a different way. His love for beings did not permit him to exercise the power bestowed on him. Instead he used to slap the guilty on their face saying: "Why do you stoop down to gain a few more rupees? If you lose your job, you and your family would be on the roads, begging. Don't you ever do such mistakes". Normally, in India, the bus/truck operators are very strong and hefty persons. Many times they are ruffians too. But Sri Sastry did not hesitate to exercise his strange way of punishment. But lo! The punished did never react violently! They responded well to the treatment and turned lawful. More than that, many followed the path of devotion! The punished used to acclaim: "We do not know what magic he carries in his hand. When he slapped at our face left and right, it transformed our way of thinking. It was not punishment, it was a magical touch done in love. We and our family members are grateful to him, for he did not render us jobless". Till date Sri Sastry remains in the hearts of many, as their reformer.
Sri Sastry, being a staunch devotee of Lord Sri Rama, besides being a yogi by birth, displayed the mantra of Ram on his own vehicle. The mantra runs as under:
"Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare".
This mantra is called "Kali Santaraka Mantra" - meaning, it neutralizes the evil impact of the Kali Age. This is a very popular mantra of the Kali Age and is chanted by people all over India since thousands of years. Sri Sastry believed strongly in the efficacy of this mantra.
He used to organize from time to time, during weekends and during astrologically important days, 24 hours of continuous chanting of this mantra. It was a congregational chanting, a group chanting. The hall used to reverberate with the mantra and the impact used to be deeply experienced by the participants, who used to be in a range of 100 to 120 persons. It was called 'Ekaham'
- meaning one full day of singing bhajan. Sri Sastry also used to organize 'Saptaham'
- a 7-day bhajan. It used to leave a lasting impression of the mantra in the area where it was done and also in the participants. Sri Sastry used to publish and distribute innumerable pamphlets on the mantra.
His automobile vehicle too carried the mantra on its sun-shade. It was easy for the locals to locate the car of Sri Sastry, for the car carried the message of the Kali Age. The mantra in India is known for its protection, direction and illumination. The followers and admirers of Sri Sastry initiated the action to imprint the mantra on their trucks and buses. Gradually all over the State the mantra found its propagation through moving trucks and buses. Even today the mantra remains on the private truck/buses. The travellers in the buses, as also the public invariably notice the mantra and pick it up. Thus a great movement relating to the propagation of the mantra took place effortlessly and Sri Sastry is immortalized in the memory of the people as "Hare Ram Sastry Garu". Even till date he is fondly remembered as Hare Ram Sastry Garu.
Sri Sastry coursed along the line of service intelligently, utilizing his position in the society. The governmental position he held wielded much power amidst the transport companies. He was in a sensitive position, where favours could be gained in many ways from the transport companies. In fact, many of his colleagues were doing so, enriching themselves. He remained upright, honest and fearless. He was highly efficient and effective in discharging his duties. His loving attitude and helping nature attracted many transport operators and they were eager to help him in any way that he desired. Many a time they used to approach him humbly to offer large sums of money for favours received. Sri Sastry never did favours transgressing the law. He was a very positive officer, who always positively interpreted the rules. He never threw the Rule Book across to create hardship to the public. He was a true public servant and never behaved like a hot-headed bureaucrat. When the bus operators approached him to render personal favours, he used to gently refuse. But if they pursued him to receive one favour or the other, he used to say: "There are millions of poor people in our country. Why don't you help them. The Lord is better pleased with such acts than our daily worship". He thus used to divert them to acts of goodwill. He also used to personally collect data relating to those who were in need of help and pass on such information to those who wanted to help. "Helping the poor and the needy is helping me. Since you wish to favour me, favour them instead. I shall feel that the favour is done to me". This was his constant slogan. Those who wished to favour Sri Sastry felt deeply touched and were thus encouraged to serve the poor. Their admiration for Sri Sastry grew in leaps and bounds. As a mission, Sri Sastry used to collect names and addresses of the needy and was arranging help. The service happened in silence and in simplicity. Even to-date some of those who received substantial help acknowledge their gratefulness to him.
Sri Sastry always carried in his pocket a list of the needy that needed help badly. When the occasion arised, he utilized an opportunity to arrange help. His attitude to help was considered unparalleled in the friends' and relations' circle. He was considered as a friend in need by one and all. Most of the help he rendered remained in utter secrecy. Not even his lady knew the total dimension of his service. Being a Scorpio by sun sign, he was steadfast, unwavering, determined, secretive and silent of his virtues as well as his acts of goodwill. His ability to manifest good work was amazing. He left a permanent mark in the Road Transport Department of the State, by his unique way of administering the law. He attributed, as a humble server, the glory of his success in the employment to Lord Sri Rama.
Sri Sastry was married to the lady Ramalakshmi, who hailed from yet another family of good lineage. Her father too was in the path of Kundalini Yoga and was also a great Rama devotee. He recorded in a book 30 million times the name of the Lord, as a penance during 30 years! The marriage was an arranged marriage by the elders. Sri Sastry's father, Sri Jagannadha Sastry, admired the prevalence of yogic path in the family of Smt. Ramalakshmi and therefore decided that the marriage be conducted as between the two. Sri Sastry was 20 years of age and Smt. Ramalakshmi was 14 years when they were married in the Vedic style, at Vijayawada. They set up their family life at Madras, where Sri Sastry was working at that time. As per the job requirements they lived in Salem, Visakhapatnam, Eluru, Rajahmundri, Vijayawada, Anantapur, Cuddapah, Nizamabad etc., the various district headquarters. Smt. Ramalakshmi was a highly co-operative wife in fulfilling the noble aspirations of Sri Sastry; besides, she was also a keen follower of Sri Sastry in gaining comprehension of the Scriptures. Sri Sastry used to explain to her every night the profound concepts of Sri Bhagavatha, after their daily duties were done with. They daily recited the recommended lengthy citations of Sri Bhagavatha for a minimum of an hour. Besides, Sri Sastry used to sing with great inspiration variety of songs in praise of the Lord. Many a time the members present used to reach the height of ecstasy in his singing.
They were blessed with 7 children during the course of their family life, six sons and one daughter. All were well conceived. There was not a single miscarriage. They lived like friends, with unity in thought, in speech and in action. Sri Sastry played an admirable role as the head of the family. He played the 'model role' for his children and was an inspiring example to be emulated by them. He imparted 'Bhakti to the children even from childhood. He was disciplining the children, not by speech but by demonstration in his daily rhythm. He never commanded or exercised authority on his children. He was a good teacher of life to them in all aspects. He particularly devoted time to be with them, to move with them and even to play with them such games as cricket, caroms, chess etc. He used to take them on pilgrimage periodically. His education to the children, of the righteous way of living, was inspiring to them. He administrated in the family a system of collective decision making. He never imposed his decisions on them, although Scorpio by sun sign and Aries by ascendant. He was more a friend, an elder brother to the family group, than a commanding father. The latent power in him was exercised with the envelope of love around it. That was a good synthesis that enabled one and all to admire him as a very dear one.
Sri Sastry's personal instructions to his children were very few and very infrequent. He did not believe much in indoctrination. He strongly believed in his demonstration. It was teaching by example but not by vocal impositions. When the lady of the house enquired as to why he was not giving specific instructions to them, and why he never enquired what each one of them was doing specifically in his daily routine, he used to smile and answer: "They are our children. They carry in them what we carry. If I am honest they too will be. If I am a crook, they too will be. They have come from me. They therefore carry my energy. Their blossoming gives the message of my life. Vocal instructions are pale and ineffective. Demonstration is the direct teaching. Since I know what I am, I also know what they will be. They shall be useful citizens in life. Do not worry about their future. They are well guided and protected. Their illumination depends upon their will to do good."
Once a son of Sri Sastry smoked a cigarette offered to him during a university feast. The son's friendliness with the parents was so complete, due to the freedom given by the parents, that he could therefore inform the mother of his act of smoking, without fear. The mother got alarmed and informed her husband. Sri Sastry went into silence for a couple of breaths and replayed: "I have given as a father what I should. They are grown up now. They should learn to hold themselves responsible for what they do. I am confident that they shall live up to their strength and overcome weakness". The answer pierced deep into the son. He never turned out to be a smoker, while he was left free to himself to do what he liked!
The friends and relatives who admired Sri Sastry, affectionately told him from time to time: "Dear Sastry, you have a large family of 7 children and a wife. You have been generous to all around you. You must think of leaving some prosperity to your children to enable them to sustain for the future. Your colleagues are turning out to be millionaires. You do not seem to be giving enough attention to this aspect of your life. Wealth is also necessary in life. Please think it over". Sri Sastry used to answer: "My children are my wealth. I need no other wealth. Wealth gained through wrong means brings unhappiness. It brings sorrow. I however thank you for your concern". It was his standard answer to one and all. Sri Sastry emphatically told his children too: "Do not expect inheritance of money or property from me. The only heritage I can pass on is the Path of Light. I assist you as long as you study; not beyond that. That is what my father did to me. I too do the same for you. Learn to be self-supporting and be a support to others". The message was clear from the father to the sons, and they were studious to become self-supporting.
Along with the family, Sri Sastry was organizing family gatherings and group travelling on pilgrimage. He cherished being together in groups. He frequently organized steamer travel for groups on the river Godavari from Rajahmundry to Bhadrachalam - a popular pilgrim centre relating to Lord Rama. Travel, tennis, bridge and singing the glory of the Lord formed his hobbies throughout his life. He was an all-rounder.
Sri Sastry's God-mindedness was near perfection. To him the Lord is the friend, the guide, the director and the protector. His reliance on the Divine was complete. He preferred communion with the Divine to others. He served God and man alike. There was not a single day in his life that passed by without prayers. His 6th Ray of Devotion and his 1st Ray manifestation were substantial. He was sensing the functioning of the Divine through his acts.
Due to the prevalence of poverty, delinquency is very high in India. People lock their houses thoroughly during the nights. They double-lock them when they go on tour. Once Sri Sastry along with his family went on a 10 days vacation to Bangalore from Cuddapah. They had hardly moved 60 Kms., when Sri Sastry remembered that the house was not locked after they all came out into the car. He expressed the fact to the family group. The family felt like returning home and locking the house. Sri Sastry said: "The wealth lost in the street remains unstolen by the grace of the Divine. The wealth well guarded by the security can be stolen. The weak lives in the wild forest, unprotected; while the most protected in the palaces, dies. Man gains, loses or retains wealth or health on the basis of his own actions. He reaps that which he sows and if there is anything unworthy of holding, we lose. If not, things at home remain. Either way I am happy. Let us not go back. Let us move forward. Let the Divine decide". Sri Sastry conducted the tour unperturbed and returned home after ten days. The house was intact unlocked and unaffected by thieving or robbery!
It was post midnight hours. Sri Sastry and family were in sleep at their house in Eluru. Sri Sastry woke up at certain sounds emanating from the neighbouring house. The burglars were breaking open the neighbouring house. The burglars were raking open the neighbour's door with sharp weapons. They were even breaking the adjacent walls to the main door. The children and the elders were crying aloud, seeking help. Sri Sastry swiftly moved out of the bed, put on his shirt and went out. No one in the colony seemed concerned. Everyone in the colony locked their doors firmly, and were witnessing from behind their windows. There were four hefty ruffians breaking open the neighbouring house. The cry for help was desperate.
Sri Sastry plunged into the scene like a lion, roaring at the burglars. He swiftly used his hands to slap them on their face. The reverberating sound coming from Sri Sastry's voice frightened the burglars. They threw away their weapons on the spot and ran away. He calmed down the affected people of the house. The neighbours and the family came out of their respective houses and gathered around him. The whole colony was in praise of his heroic act. Some of them acclaimed him as very brave. Some others admired his courage by facing the burglars single-handedly. Some others expressed their fright as to what would have happened if the four strong burglars had put down Sri Sastry with the dangerous weapons they held in hand. The rescued family acclaimed him as the saviour of their lives and their property.
Charged with the 1st Ray energy, Sri Sastry drove away the burglars, calmed down the affected family and calmed himself down. When the neighbours enquired as to how he could accomplish such an act, he cooly said: "It is an act of God. I was only instrumental". Some asked him as to why did he risk his life alone. He answered:
"I am never alone. I am always with the Divine. His strength is my strength". Others asked him as to what was the magic of his hand that punishes and thereby rectifies the wrong; he answered that his palm was charged with the energy of Rama that protects the law. Sri Sastry was young and had a wife and three kids by that time. The lady stood stunned at the heroic feat of her husband; but her husband stood stable in God!
It was the year 1952. There were unprecedented floods of the river Godavari in the town of Rajahmundri. Sri Sastry was working there. The river level grew beyond all imagination. It cut across the bounds and started entering the town. All the town submerged into the waters, except the colony where Sri Sastry was living. There was loss of life and loss of property. The losses were substantial. It was cognized as a national calamity. Sri Sastry plunged into action. He mustered his followers, helpers and admirers and formed into a salvage team. He rescued people from various parts of the town. He laid shelters for all, around his house. He organized food-stuffs from various parts of the region and arranged for cooking. The affected were served with food and medicine. They were in thousands. He took homoeopathy to serve the sick. Until the floods receded, the people were under the protective umbrella of Sri Sastry. He also diverted the minds of the affected people, from the calamity, by organizing bhajans during the morning and evening hours. He made them participants in the enormous work of cooking, serving and cleaning. The people acclaimed him as their saviour. Sri Sastry said: "The Saviour is ONE. We can be his instruments to help. The Divine is the only Saviour".
During the floods, one of Sri Sastry's friends, a humble homoeopathic healer, lost all the construction material he had gathered to build a house. The river came, with rain, thunder and lightening and swept away all the material. By overnight the building-yard was empty. To build a house is a lifetime effort for the economically average ones -the middle class. Sri Sastry came to know. He enquired from his friend, the homoeopath. The latter was humble, upright and service oriented, a well respected man in society. He answered: "I wanted to have a shelter for me and my family, but the Divine willed otherwise. I therefore abandon the project". Sri Sastry was deeply touched by the friend's acceptance of the calamity. A few days passed by. One day in the early morning hours, the homoeopath found around his tenanted house, trucks carrying loads of cement, bricks, wood and other essential construction material! The truck drivers informed the homoeopath that the material was meant for him and that they awaited to unload at a place where he would instruct them. The homoeopath was wonder struck. He said that he had not ordered any material. He further said: "Maybe you have been directed to the wrong address". The truck drivers replayed: "The address is right. We are properly directed". The homoeopath denied the material and the truck drivers too denied the denial of the homoeopath. At last the homoeopath enquired as to who directed them to him. They said in chorus: "Sri Hare Ram Sastry Garu". The homoeopath was deeply touched at heart and said: "Wait! I will go and speak to him". The drivers agreed.
The homoeopath approached his friend Sri Sastry, who having completed his morning prayers, looked resplendent in the morning sun. Fair in complexion, golden in colour, a broad chest, strong but soft-looking long hands, a broad forehead, the brown transparent eyes that pierce through to sight the Divine. The homoeopath had a pleasant and profound impact. Sri Sastry invited the homoeopath friend with a smile and offered him a comfortable seat. A cup of hot milk was ordered for the visitor. Then Sri Sastry enquired into the purpose of the visit of his friend in the morning hours. The friend explained the episode he encountered early in the morning and questioned as to why Sri Sastry did so. Sri Sastry smilingly said: "The Lord is all compassionate. He wills and even desires that righteous men like you should be in comfort. The Divine willed that you should have a house. That is why you also willed to build a house. His Will transcends the calamity and prevails. Please accept the help coming from the Divine. I am only instrumental".
The homoeopath was filled at heart, tears rolled down his cheeks. Dumbfound, he hugged his friend thrice and left. Twenty five years after this episode, the homoeopath met a son of Sri Sastry and narrated the event in detail in great admiration of his friend, who was no more by then. That is how the event came to be known. Not even the lady of the house knew this act of goodwill till then. Such was the profoundity of Sri Sastry's goodwill mission.
Even more amazing was the event when seen in retrospection. Sri Sastry himself was building a house for his family at that time. He preferred that his friend build the house in priority to his, and diverted all the material to him, which was collected originally for his own purpose! It is divine to recognize others needs in preference to one's own needs.
When Sri Sastry was at Visakhapatnam, he heard that in a village called Mallavaram (130 kms. away from Visakhapatnam) there was a sacred cobra that daily took bath twice, in the twilight hours, in the temple lake, then it used to enter the temple of Siva and coil around the Siva Linga. The cobra was considered divine. The word spread all around and the people were visiting the temple in large numbers. Sri Sastry too, took his family along and travelled up to the place to visit the temple and the cobra. When the family was at the threshold of the Sanctum Sanctorum, Sri Sastry was inspired to enter into the Sanctum to pick up the cobra into his hands! He took the cobra into his hands with veneration and was singing in glory of the Divine. The serpent stood up by the hood and was staring stable at him all through, as he sang. The people around, including the family members were stunned to see him holding the cobra. He looked at his family members and suggested to hold the cobra, assuring that no harm would be done. None had the courage to hold the cobra, but they touched it while it was in the hands of Sri Sastry. He later explained: "A snake is a snake to those who seethe snake. To those who see through, all is Divine".
Sri Sastry's prayer to the Divine had always been: "Lord! Give me the privilege to serve the beings. Grant me the friendship with those who serve as your disciples. Bestow upon me, boundless compassion towards all beings".
It seemed that the Lord heard his prayers. He had the privilege of serving the beings right from his childhood. The attitude to serve was predominant in his mind through and through and he served all that were around him -friends, relatives, associates, destitute, poor and sick. He had also the good fortune of meeting many saintly persons in his life, as Avadhuta (a mendicant on the path) who was a frequent visitor to his house. He served every Swamiji of every district, wherever he worked. He served the cause of Ramakrishna Mission too, in spreading the message of Swamy Vivekananda. His compassion to the less fortunate was really boundless.
Sri Sastry always advocated the worship of the Lord in the form of beings. Besides he worshipped the Lord in the form of SRI RAMA. He preferred the Lord in a form with a name than the nameless and formless one. "It is tastier to worship the Lord in a form with a name. You can talk to him, you can listen to him, you can have dialogues with him. It is more splendorous this way. You have someone to interact always. The other way is a bit bland to me", was his answer to the gnostics.
To him the Lord was the most intimate companion. When he worshipped the Lord, it looked as though he was speaking to Him; it looked as though he experienced the Lord's manifestation before his closed eyes. He used to sometimes sing long hours in praise of the Lord, as if the Lord was standing before him. The prayer stanzas as contained in Srimad Bhagavatha formed part of his daily prayers, besides Gayatri and Rama Mantra.
His day always started with prayers and ended with study of the Scriptures and prayers. When he was at the driving wheel of his automobile, he used to sing in the Lord's glory. In congregations and in temples he used to sing long in glory of the Lord. The people who listened to him felt touched in their hearts. Many acclaimed: "He is God drunk", "he is born with a divine mission" etc.. Unmindful of other's comments or views, Sri Sastry lived and moved in God as he progressed through 50 years of life.
Sri Sastry's attachment to God Consciousness was nearing total completion. By 49 years he even relinquished the 'wish to live' - one of the 5 major hurdles to knowledge, - ignorance, separative consciousness, desire, aversion and the wish to live are the 5 knots that cripple the human being to experience the bliss of existence. From childhood, Sri Sastry had no strong personal desires to be pursued. To him life was a flow of events and in every event he looked forward to serve. He was ever active in service. Aversion is a negative desire; it is desiring not to have certain things in life, viz. not to have sorrow, not to have pain, not to have loss (of money, property or people), not to have sickness etc. He understood that in this world, pain and pleasure, happiness and sorrow, profit and loss, comfort and discomfort, life and death, light and darkness coexist.
When the desires are not strong, there can be no strong aversions. Aversion is the reverse of the coin, while desire is the obverse. One stimulates the other. When one is weakened, the other too weakens. Where there are no strong personal desires, there will not be any personal aversions too. Sri Sastry thus ascended the aversions in life, since he had no strong desires. He was not averse to atheists, to other theistic systems and to those who do not share his line of thinking. He therefore was a friend of all; in all surroundings he was composed and all were at comfort in his company.
From the childhood he was God-addicted, hence separativity in consciousness could be overcome. Man separates from the rest through his individuality and personality. He grows thus distant to the One Consciousness functioning through all. Theism in its true sense is the gradual realization of the One Consciousness and One Life as the substratum of all that is built up in variety. When man walks the path of truth, through right understanding, theism should lead to unity of existence. Theologies that separate humanity therefore fall under the shade of the Light, while searching for Light! God- mindedness results in realization of the One as many. When this is not so, there is a defect in the practice. Separativity leads to selfishness, to pride and towards prejudice of others. Prejudice breeds jealousy and hatred. Such is the chain action that leads one to ignorance. Sri Sastry was mostly feeling God in beings and in forms. To him the reality of unity was tangible. He therefore, through his right attunement to God, gradually overcame the personal accomplishments. He carried no prejudice towards others. The more he grew nearer to the God Consciousness in him and in the surroundings, his ignorance was giving way to the light of knowledge. He thus superseded the pairs of desire and aversion as also the pairs of separativity (egoism) and ignorance. Thus, he stationed himself in Light, where the wish to live was the only riddle to be unlocked.
By his 49th year, he decided that he shall leave the 'Will to live' in the hands of the One in whom he started living. He realized that he was not born by his will and hence his departure shall not be by his wish. It is the Will of God that prevails for both, birth and death. He laughed at the idea of one's own wish to live. He therefore started in deeper fervour to live in God more than to live in the body.
Many persons worry about living in body, while the knowers care to live in Light in preference to living in body. Sri Sastry's attitudinal change was noticed by a few close friends. They advised: "If you live long, you can serve long and thereby please the One whom you follow. It also helps your family and your dependants". Sri Sastry smiled at the friends and said: "The One Helper to all, is He; He alone. He has an army of saints to work for Him. He decides who to help whom. I cannot arrogate to myself that I am a helper even to my family. As long as the Lord retains me in the body, I serve Him; I continue to serve Him. My service to the beings is nothing but my service to Him. But I suffer not from a glamour that I should serve more or serve longer. His Will prevails.
If He wills, I will be here; if not I will be 'there'. Let His Will prevail, not mine".
By that time, Sri Sastry seemed to have fulfilled himself. He was ever contented and the contentment was fulfilling. He served as a child the village community, where he was born and brought up. He was a household name. He served friends and relations. He served the family and the society. He served while at Ramakrishna Mission. He stood in God and worked. Consequently many received the soothening touch of God through him. He sensed that he was to rise and go. It was May 1967. The ascending moon phase in Taurus had come. The 8th ascending moon phase passed by. Sri Sastry had a heart-attack in the city of Cuddapah! Sri Sastry realized the call. The doctors came, examined him and said that it was a severe chest pain. They gave medicines. The 11th moon phase passed by and the 12th was setting in. It was the 21st May. Sri Sastry had a second heart-attack. He called his wife and children and said: "I am called back to the Lord. I therefore go. The Lord will take care of you all. Remember 'Kunti', the mother of the five Sons of Light. When king Pandu passed on, the lady reared the children with the Divine help. Lord Krishna lent his presence and support. Likewise, you play your role. Lord Rama will be with you and the children".
The lady Smt. Ramalakshmi could not bear the utterance. Tears rolled by. She wept. Sri Sastry in his usual commanding, lion-like voice said: "Those who can chant Rama's name may be near me. Others, who wish to weep, may leave into another room".
The family got alerted and chanted the name of Rama the Lord. As the chanting was on, Sri Sastry quietly left the body during the post-midnight and very early morning hours (2.00 a. m.). His body was brought to the banks of the holy river Krishna overnight and was cremated at the river bank near Vijayawada. It was a hot summer day. The day's temperature touched 120 Fahrenheit. the sunburns. They carried their father's body to the river bank on a bamboo plank, bare-footed. When the pyre was lit and the body was burning, Sri Sastry's hand raised up to the elbow and the palm blessed the ones in whom he always reposed his confidence. He retained his place in the hearts of his children and also in the hearts of many. He continues to inspire. He lived like a lion, roared like a lion and lives even today like a lion in the Cave Temple (the Heart).
HE WAS ACCLAIMED AS:
'THE SINGLE-MAN ARMY
THAT SALVAGED SINKING LIVES'.
'THE UNPROCLAIMED SPIRITUAL TEACHER
OF THE SIMPLE'.
'THE GOODWILL SOLDIER OF A SILENT ORDER
THAT PROMOTES LIGHT'.
'THE MAN THAT LIVED AS A LION
OF HIS OWN KINGDOM'.
'A SOUL THAT SHINES
AT THE EVEN TIDE'.
THIS IS THE STORY OF A MAN
THAT LIVED FOR GOD.
The World Teacher Temple / Dhanishta
Visakhapatnam - 530 022
Andhra Pradesh - India