Shri Srinivasan was born on 14th Nov 1908 in a small hamlet called Sulanguruchi, a village I have only seen through his eyes. A Teacher he was par excellence for he never taught, he just let the listener learn his or her own lessons from his words.

‘god is a thought’ he told me, the realisatioin of this truth took years. ‘There is nothing as good or bad but thinking makes it so’ he quoted. I took forty five years to understand it. ‘ Vanaja, don’t’t hold a walking stick’ he said. ‘Till his death he didn’t take a walking stick even though he would sway from one side of the verandah to the other as he unst have been feeling giddy. Hope I have learnt the lesson. He practiced what he preached.

I was in Bhatinda when Sampath Mama and his family died. I was furiously angry as to how god could do this. Father Basil calmed me down and taught me never to be angry this way. Later I came to know that even at this time of great sorrow grandfather had retained his equanimity. For me he became greater than ‘Dasaratha’.

Pankajam Chithi once said he was like Bhishma(referring to his age in the family). He told me that he had a duty to do and that of seeing my sister Radha married and see her child. He did exactly that. He died on the day my sister was in Tirupathi after her little daughter’s tonsuring and at the moment when she was in the sanctum sanctorum with the child. He chose his time of death and hence like Bhishma Pithama.

He said that we should have detached attachment. The Bhagawat Gita in a nutshell.

He had love, affection and the heart to give. He lead a life free of expectations as Buddha preached. He never had any property on his name, never tried to acquire wealth and the one gold ring he had on his finger he would remove willingly at the drop of a hat, if he heard any member of the family say that money was needed.

He loved to give and hated to take. So when in those days we couldn’t meet monthly expenses it was my mother who borrowed and thatha’s turn used to come when it had to be returned. ( Is it because you were named after the Lord Tirupathi that you always liked to give thatha?)

His pension he would withdraw fully on the first day it was credited because he did not want to give anyone trouble over that 2000 odd rupees to be taken out just in case he died that month.

The first news he read in the Hindu was the obituary. His Ramayanam was the most important to him. His eyesight the most precious. He came to a stage when he lost it for reading his Ramayanam. I got him a magnifying class. I had a surgery done in Agarwal institute. I prayed as much as I could but could not get that eyesight. But with amazement, I saw the way he took that too in his stride. I understood ‘Education is that which remains with us when everything is lost’. He was a firm believer of Vishistadvaitam and said that There is paramatma and jeevatma and that on freedom from cycle of birth and death the Jeevatma returns to the feet of the Paramatma but does not become one with it.

When I go to Tirupathi the most important darshan is the Lord as a whole and his feet for I see you there thatha.

Urmila Devanathan
November 2006

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