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11. Industrial Expansion                                 
12. M.A. in English Literature                        
13. Rishyasringar                                           
14. Unsold Stock                                              
15. Bankruptcy



 He was an industrialist who had made his money in foreign countries and returned to India. He decided to start the same industry here in India as he had acquired an expertise in that field. Around the time he was supposed to found the factory, he was introduced to me when he needed help in digging his first borewell. The man was grateful for the initial help he received and expressed it appropriately whenever the occasion permitted. He personally came to me to extend an invitation to the foundation stone laying ceremony for his factory. At the function, when I found out that outside his family he had invited only six people, all placed very high in the society, I was touched by the man’s attitude.

He was over sixty but was in perfect health. The money he had earned, several crores, seemed to weigh him down. Occasionally we used to meet in a friend’s house, at a function or even on the road. He evinced interest in visiting my projects and knowing the details about them. During these meetings, he told me how he became Mother’s devotee and some related incidents that reinforced his faith in The Mother.

As he had made his money outside India, all his wealth was in foreign exchange. When he started the factory here, he bought all his costly machinery outside India and imported it. On the day the machinery arrived in India, he and his son were at the port filled with enthusiasm and excitement. When the machinery was being shifted from the ship to the wharf, something went wrong with the crane. Suddenly his machines started moving down over the water, instead of up. The machines were worth several lakhs of rupees. The father and son were shocked. The dazed engineers in charge of the operation stood there helplessly. The machines were slowly slipping down towards the water and in another few moments would disappear beneath the surface. What a loss!  He said, “I was in tears. My son stood there with his kerchief over his mouth unable to control his grief and fear. My head was dizzy. I could not even shout out. My world seemed to have come to an end. What a beginning for the company!  With greatest difficulty I steadied myself, thought of Mother and sent Her the calls of a heart that would burst at any moment. Then a miracle happened. The ropes of the crane that were moving down suddenly stopped. Hope showed in the engineer’s face. Their alert action was able to save the situation. After the safe retrieval of the machinery, the engineers disclosed that the cranes were not meant to lift such a weight and they had taken a risk. My son and I heaved a sigh of relief when the machinery was brought onto the wharf. I have since told this story of Mother’s Grace to several people.”  He had told me this already three times, so vivid was the impression on his mind.

One day he came to see me. He was friendly and nice. He did not seem to have anything particular in mind. He said he had read our Society’s monthly letter and found it interesting. Obviously he had something on his mind to consult. After a little while, he said, “I am over sixty, but doctors find all aspects of my health are all right. From any point of view of life—health, food, nourishment, rest—I have everything I need. But there is an overpowering tiredness coming on me in waves. I feel exhausted all the time. Doctors are of no help. I have been in this condition for some years now. Can you suggest anything to overcome this lack of energy?”

I asked him to meet me the next day with a good quantity of Chrysanthemum flowers. The next day he arrived with the flowers. Mother calls this flower Life Energy. Devotees have a certain receptivity and openness to Mother. Devotees are not sadhaks who relate to Mother intensely through concentration, as yoga is not their primary aim. Devotees think of Mother when they do their puja, after which they lose themselves in daily work. This man is an industrialist who is buried in his work. He would naturally think of Mother during his pujas or when something goes wrong. I could not advise him to constantly think of Mother, except during times of crisis. Flowers are a receptive medium and help the devotee to better relate to Mother. We can ask Mother for energy, peace or anything, and can receive it in the measure of our receptivity. I explained to him briefly the meaning of flowers and this flower in particular. I advised him to offer this flower to Mother’s photo at home in the morning, let it remain there for some time and be charged with Her energy. In the evening when he prays, he could hold the flowers and pray for energy from Mother. I told him he could pray like this for a week and then we would see. He came two days later and said, “Three fourths of my exhaustion has already left. I have already started my evening walk. I feel a lot better. Now I would like to consult you on another problem that has bothered me for 20 years. It is an unknown fear that powerfully churns my stomach.”

He was anxious to explain all about it, but I discouraged him from explaining the details. As Mother has given the name courage to vUf;fk; g{ (Calotropis flower), I said he could use it in the prayer as he had done with the Chrysanthemum flower.

The following week, he sent word that he did not want to bother me this time but wanted to meet the American sadhak who had written in our monthly letter about Mother's principles in running a business. They met and had a discussion. It seemed that this man’s factory had started only a few years before and had become a great success, but it had some serious trouble getting raw material a year before. As Mother was alive then, he sent word to Her about his raw material difficulty. The difficulty vanished, not only for him but for the entire industry. Later that raw material was produced in such abundance that a little of it was exported, too. Now his company had earned a good name all over India. His company’s name was a household word in many parts of India already. This very positive development encouraged him to expand the factory two-fold. The board approved of the expansion plan and money was there. He ordered the machinery from abroad. All the other connected plans were well drawn up. Everyone in the management was jubilant over the turn of events. But news came that serious labour trouble was brewing. He managed to secure every detail connected with the plans of the labourers. He was alarmed, but he was happy that he had got wind of this trouble before it expanded. The character of the trouble was such that he almost seriously considered dropping the expansion plan for Rs.2.5 crores. As a last resort, he said he thought of consulting the American sadhak whose article on Business Management was recently published. He invited the American to come to his place and address his officers.

My American friend went there the next day. All the officers of the company were assembled in the hall. My friend spoke to them in great detail about the principles of Mother in running a business. At the end of the meeting everyone felt somewhat encouraged. Before my friend left the factory, the industrialist asked whether he could come again on another day to speak to the officers. My friend explained to me that, although everyone listened with interest, they had no idea of how to go about warding off a labour situation which had not yet precipitated. My friend suggested that both of us could visit the factory the next time. I agreed.

This time I spoke to the same officers again, but I could see that they wanted a practical clue. Seeing this, I explained, “You are planning for the welfare of the company but find the labour attitude a hindrance and a threat. In such circumstances Mother suggests that if you work for the welfare of the labourers, this trouble you anticipate must disappear.”  Having said that, I asked them to fill in a questionnaire that would give all the details of the labourers families, viz. number of members, property holding, lands owned, other income, diseases suffered, recreation practiced, etc., so that on seeing the details, the company could draw up a serious welfare plan for the labourers in their own homesteads to make their lives richer and better. Before winding up I repeated, “You must truly wish for the welfare of the workers. If that wish is true, right results will issue. The key lies in the truth of your wish. The rest is a matter of procedure.”

The industrialist disappeared and I didn’t meet him for over a year. One day I happened to meet him in an Ashram function. He came to me eagerly and inquired about my work, family, project and friends. I asked him about the expansion. He said, “Oh, you don’t know. I have finished the expansion and the new wing will be commissioned in a few weeks.”  He neither explained to me about the labourers, nor did I ask him about it.


One evening when I was sitting upstairs reading, I saw a group of Ashramites coming to my house in a jeep. Soon my friend brought upstairs a letter from USA which was delivered to me from the Ashram post office. The Ashramites, who expected an important information from the USA, wanted to know whether my letter contained it. It was a personal letter written by an ex-colleague now in New York. The letter that disappointed the Ashramites contained a surprise for me. This friend and I had been colleagues at a high school for many years. Later, each of us had followed a different line in life. Now, after more than six years, he was writing from New York. Surely it was a surprise to me.

He and I were teachers in a high school. He was very popular among the students and more popular with the teachers. Everyone considered him a perfect gentleman. He was amiable, a conscientious teacher, a pleasant companion and never rubbed anyone on the wrong side. He came from an ardent Catholic family and was well versed in the Church doctrines. He was one of those who spent a good deal of time with me. He was particularly interested in knowing what attracted me to the Ashram. When he knew Mother’s original name, he was delighted, as it was a Catholic name. He would ask me about Mother, Ashram, their practices, beliefs, etc. and compare them with the practices in their church. Over the years I have communicated to him the basic tenets of Mother’s life. Each time an important issue came up in the school, he would ask me how Mother would act in such a situation. Once, when someone mooted the idea of starting a college in that town, the question of funds arose. This friend at once asked me Mother’s view on collecting money for public service. I explained that Mother had said if the service was genuine, money would gravitate to the service. For the Ashram She never collected funds but accepted only what was brought to Her unasked. This made a great impression on him and he commented, “It requires a great ideal to attract money. This view is really marvelous.”

Once he disclosed to me that he had chronic diarrhea and was able to digest nothing but milk. And he said he had had it for several years. As he was a native of Madras, he had consulted many doctors there in vain. He wanted to know whether I had any thoughts about his ailment. I gave my idea that he had a deep insecurity about his job and his future in life. The illness was only an outer symptom. He agreed that he had a deep insecurity, but did not agree that the illness was its result. After a year, an old classmate of his who had gone to London for medical studies returned and set up practice. My friend wanted to examine his illness afresh through the help of this doctor friend. As this friend was an ENT specialist, he could not do it himself, but introduced my friend to the leading doctors of the locality. The diagnosis of six of them was unanimous that the patient had T.B. and the diarrhea was the symptom. X-rays were taken and the diagnosis was confirmed.

He prepared to leave for Tambaram Sanatorium where he had relatives as doctors, so that he could get personal attention. The whole school was immersed in gloom. Personally I knew that no harm would come to him for the simple reason that he had listened to me about Mother so often. I knew Her protective power extends to all who come into contact with Her directly or indirectly. When he came to take leave of me, I said, “All the doctors have made a mistake, as they all go by the disease symptom and simply overlook the fact that your health is in fine fettle. It may be true that T.B. is indicated by diarrhea, but it is also true that diarrhea has many other causes.”  He asked me how he could take my words to be true against the unanimous opinion of six doctors. Then he left for Tambaram. In three days he returned full of smiles and announced that at Tambaram they found out he did not have T.B. Everyone was happy. When he saw that the result at Tambaram confirmed my opinion, he began evincing greater interest in my way of understanding.

Personally I knew he had no real disease. Not only that, but a great opportunity was possible for him. Though he was conscientious, popular and amiable, he had neither much talent nor ideals. He was an ordinary man, but a good man, who believed in his religion. The very fact that he constantly asked about Mother and discussed Her ways of life and admired certain aspects of it brought a new force into his life. Therefore, a new high opportunity was possible. As he was not a direct devotee of Mother, this force lay there unused. When I saw that he was threatened by a chronic disease at a time when he should be rising higher, I decided to speak to him a little more freely. I knew that he could move up in life and forget once and for all disease, disappointment, etc. What was needed to accomplish this was an effort on his part in the positive direction. After some deep consideration of the matter, I recalled he had an excellent endowment for understanding human nature. If only this capacity could be utilised, his life could rise higher. This capacity is a valuable asset to students of literature. So, I suggested to him that he join M.A. English literature and that way his fears about T.B., the reality of diarrhea would vanish. The effort of the individual is necessary in such cases for Mother’s dormant force to act. He dismissed my suggestion summarily, and we continued in the school as colleagues, he with his chronic diarrhea.

That summer he visited his home. Life took a different turn. For what reasons he could not imagine, his father asked him to join M.A. Literature. He could not agree to the idea, but he had never disobeyed his father’s wishes. A Vice-Chancellor was a good friend of his sister’s husband, who was a high-ranking army officer. His father disclosed that the Vice-Chancellor had already agreed to give him a seat in M.A. Half with fright and half with hesitation, he went to the university, submitted the application and was called by the professor of English for an interview. The professor took one look at the certificate and was in a fury, as he had secured only the minimum marks for pass in English in B.A. in a second attempt. His intermediate certificate showed that he had failed in English once. The professor was red in the face. He burst out, “You can never pass M.A. English in this lifetime!”  He was shivering with fear and begged the professor to return his certificates, so that he could return to school.

As the candidate was highly connected, the professor could not but admit him. He joined M.A., but was mortally afraid of his professor. But there was some deep satisfaction in joining a higher course. The day he joined M.A. his diarrhea totally disappeared, never to return.

A week later he visited our school and met his old friends. To me he confided his mortal fear of the professor’s anger. I replied that he would be liked by the professor when his buried talents came out. In six months he became very popular with all the M.A. students, as well as his teachers, and became the favourite of the professor, who started sending M.A. students to him for help in the subject and clarification of doubts. Life had turned a full round. Disease was gone. Fear was gone. He was respected for his knowledge, goodness and, above all, his latent endowment. He passed M.A. and became a teacher in a college. From there he joined the staff of his own university, where he was considered by students and teachers as an authority on the subject. Another university that was reorganising its English department sent a special invitation to him for a higher job in the teaching hierarchy.

After he left his own university, I lost contact with him, and at least six years had passed. It was at this point that I received a letter from New York. He said in the letter, “I came to New York a few years ago and am employed as an editor of an accounting journal. As a part-time student I have joined Ph.D. (English) in New York State University and have finished the course. I am awaiting the degree.”


It was a rainy morning in November. As I went to bed after twelve in the night, I was still asleep. There was a steady downpour of rain outside. Robert came up to my bed and urged me to come down saying, “There is water all around our house. Water has entered the neighbouring houses. They have come over to our house for safety. Come quickly. We have to decide what to do.”  I went downstairs and looked outside. Our house was at the far end of a new colony and, as usual, the roads were not yet laid. There was a sea of water everywhere. Inside the other two adjacent houses, already there was one or two feet of water. The colony was close to the main drainage canal of the town. The canal’s banks were overflowing, and the watermark was more than a foot above the bank. By then the entire colony had vacated their houses and shifted to a raised place two streets beyond. Rescue teams had come with men, ropes, vans, etc. helping people to evacuate. The water level was just about to reach my doorstep. I could see men wading through hip-deep water at a distance and deeper still just outside my house. The rescue team announced that a lake had breached and it would be dangerous for us not to vacate. We contacted the Collector’s office and police headquarters to find out the truth. We were informed that no lake’s bunds were broken, rather the rainfall had been 14 inches that night and, hence, the heavy flooding of all low-lying areas. I was relieved to know the facts and decided against vacating the house. We moved upstairs.

Robert had returned from America only two days earlier. I joked with him saying, “You have brought with you heavy rains. Mother calls rain Grace. You carry Her Grace and that is why this downpour. You are like Rishyasringar of our Puranas.”  On his request I told him the story of Rishyasringar. He was interested and intrigued. He said that wherever he went there used to be rain, even in off-seasons, and he used to consider it a bother. He said that I put a positive construction on this aspect of his life, which, he said, might be true in some measure. Suddenly he recalled his very first visit to the Ashram during a non-rainy month. He very vividly remembered that there had been heavy rain at the time. I assented because I had met him at the gate of the Ashram when he came with my friend, and I took both of them to the Samadhi and other places. I too remembered that it was a rainy day. But neither of us had noticed until then that wherever Robert went there was rain.

I know that when we come to Mother and accept Her, our life undergoes a transformation. Generally in one year man rises to a social level twice as high as before. If he is part of an institution and accepts Mother’s way of life in his own life, sooner or later he rises to the topmost post of that institution, however low he started. If there are any capacities in him such as writing, dancing, speaking, skills of organisation, luck, etc. these capacities will continue to increase. If there are defects such as short temper, ill luck, etc., they will soon disappear. It struck me that Robert had had this capacity to invite rains wherever he went before he came to Mother. Now it had increased beyond all proportions and brought down the deluge of 14 inches in one night on his arrival from the USA.

Though Robert continued to give me instances of rain in places that he visited, as a Westerner he found it difficult to accept the Rishyasringar in him. Anyway, I decided to keep a watch over the future. He too amusingly agreed to report to me in future about his visits from this point of view.

After a few months stay in India, he returned to California. Southern California is a desert where the rainfall in a year is less than 10 inches. Drinking water for the largest city there, Los Angeles, comes through pipelines from a river a few hundred miles away. Robert on his return wrote long letters. At the end of one he mentioned there had been 30 inches of rain in one month and there were floods in Los Angeles, which were unheard of. After some time, he said he was moving to his aunt’s house in New York. That year water scarcity had affected the eastern part of USA. Even newspapers in India began to report on those details. New York City announced that there was water in their reservoirs only for forty more days. Another city nearby had only seven days supply left. Tight restrictions were imposed on the use of water. Robert reached New York in February. In New York it rains every month and the rainfall is about two inches. February has a normal fall of 2.1 inches. A few days after Robert reached there, there was a heavy rainfall for one full week and the reservoirs filled up again. The rain gauge recorded six inches for the month.

After his stay in USA, Robert wrote to me saying he was returning to India in October. I wished him to return in summer, as we still lived in the same house and the municipality had not laid the roads. I was afraid of another flood around the house. I wrote back to Robert saying, “You are most welcome and the rains you bring are God’s Grace. That too is equally welcome. But please bring down the rain only in installments!”  Robert did arrive again in November and the rains arrived too in copious measure with him. But this time it was only six inches on the day of his arrival.

Once we had an occasion to work with the Tata organisation. They liked the ideas of our Society regarding rural development. Fifty years ago, the Tatas had chosen to install a chemical plant in a desert. They wanted the factory in a place with the least rainfall, as they made large quantities of common salt in open pans to be used in the factory. As the salt would be lost in the rain, they located their factory in Kutch, where the annual rainfall is less than 10 inches. Around the factory they chose 40 villages from which their workers came for rural development. On their request, we sent Robert to them to study the area and report. He did so. Two years later, it was reported in the papers that Kutch was visited by heavy rains that season. So, I was looking for Tata's speech on the occasion of their annual meeting. When it did come, it quoted Tata saying, “Unusually, this year there were heavy rains in Kutch. All salt was washed away. In one day the factory area recorded 20 inches of rain, a thing unheard of in the history of Kutch.”


Perumal was a young man running a 110 year old shop. He was the son of a local rich man of a traditional type. His uncle was the richest man in that place. The wealth was traditional and the boy had the manners of an affluent, traditional, respectable family. He was very able and efficient, but he was timid and lacked initiative. He was visiting the Ashram off and on, following a friend of his who became Mother’s devotee. Each time he visited the Ashram, he used to pay a visit to me. Being very timid, he spoke little. Our conversations were formal and limited, and his visits were brief.

One day when I was busy with visitors from afar, I was told Perumal had been waiting for me for a long time. I know he would wait for me ordinarily, but it appeared he had something on his mind. I excused myself from the visitors for a short while and met Perumal. He was, as usual, calm, quiet and pleasant, but sad. Casually he mentioned they were closing his shop. I explained to him that those who had come to Mother need never fail in their work. As that was not the right time for me to deal with any serious affair, I asked him to meet me at another time. He came on the appointed day.

He told me, as a foregone conclusion, that his father had decided to close the shop, since the sales were dipping. “Unless we sell for Rs.500 a day, we don’t break even. Sales are far below that level. We have waited for a few months. There is no point in postponing the decision.”  Being in his early twenties, it is natural that his father makes all the decisions. Though he is formally consulted, Perumal had no say in the matter. Also he seemed to fully understand and endorse his father’s decision.

Closing a shop of 110 years’ standing is a major decision. They seemed to have taken it already. He was not even asking me whether it should be closed. I saw he did not understand his relationship with the Ashram, his visits to the Samadhi, Darshan, etc. I was sure he would pay attention to my words. I was anxious to prevent the closure of the shop. Therefore, I said, “Perhaps you would not close the shop if the sales picked up.”  He answered, “Surely not.”  I continued, “If you can postpone the closure for about a month, the sales will rise to Rs.1,000 per day. You can reconsider after a month.”  He asked, “Is it possible? If that is the case, then there is no difficulty in postponing the decision. What am I to do?” I replied, “It is enough you don’t close the shop. Simply remember Mother. Try to spend more time in the shop. Let us see.”

A month later he met me. He said, “I went home thinking about what you told me. I had no courage to open the subject with my father. I did what you said – spent time in the shop, thought of Mother, and the next day sales were better. At the end of the day father disclosed that sales were near Rs.1,000. Since then sales have never fallen below Rs.1,000.”  Now that he had seen this result, I told him that we generally do not think of Mother in Life, we think of Her only when we go to the Ashram. Nor do we relate our life to our devotion to Mother. We function as if life is different and Mother is different. Devotees of Mother carry Mother’s force on them. If they think of Her during their work, the work will flourish. What happened in his case was that his constant remembrance of Mother helped to pull up the sagging sales. This movement was helped by his staying in the shop longer than usual. He left pleased and beaming.

After some time, during one of his visits, Perumal said he had unsold stock worth Rs.25,000 and asked whether something could be done in that regard. I asked him to explain in detail how this accumulation had occurred.

“This is no accumulation. My father bought this particular product in huge quantities. Ever since, this stock has been lying idle. Let me explain. Ours is a state capital and there are over 100 shops of our description in the town. This particular product is sold in backward places. No one would buy substandard products in a city like ours  The company tried to introduce this product in several parts of our state and failed each time. This time the company sent two of its dynamic salesmen here. They knocked at every shop for a week. No one would buy even one rupee worth of this product. This was the talk of the town during that week. The salesmen approached our shop, too. We refused. They came again with some very attractive gifts of glassware and started on their sales pitch. My father gave in. As clever as they were, the men pushed in Rs.25,000 worth of stock. I was standing by, helpless. I could not protest. For the last seven or eight months, we have not been able to sell one piece of it. It stays there.”

This time Perumal asked for my advice. I explained in some detail Mother’s ideas of running an establishment, touching upon cleanliness, orderliness, soft speech, etc. For him, the one important thing was to get rid of this unsold stock. I gave him the following advice: “Mother speaks a lot about giving attention to children, things, even material objects. She says even inanimate objects respond to attention. The case you present seems to be a hard one. Let us first try attention. If it does not work, let us try another method later. You may ask how to pay attention to a dead stock. In your storeroom, try to clean up the place and put the stock in some order, particularly these cases. Dust them well and arrange them in a nice order. That is one way of giving attention. Each time you enter the storeroom, think of Mother and think of them at the same time. Whenever this idea of unsold stock comes to mind, try to think of Mother without worrying yourself. By this you are passing on your burden to Mother. That way your faith in Mother grows. Do it for a few days. Let us see. When they are sold, bring a token offering to Mother from that money.”

As such things begin to show results instantaneously, I was expecting Perumal every day from the following day. He was never to be seen for a week. Finally he came and gave a token offering, saying, “Ever since I left you, I sincerely tried to follow your suggestions. In a day or two people started asking for this product. From that moment onwards only this product sells. Customers came in large numbers and asked for this product. All sales were in retail for Rs.10 or 15. I was pinned to the counter. For several days this went on till late in the night. Totally Rs.12,500 worth of goods was sold. The product had originally come to us in two lots. One lot is now sold fully but in dribbles.” 

A few weeks later Perumal again visited me to say someone came and bought the rest of the product worth Rs.12,500 in one lot.


There is a Western sadhak who has been here for many years. He once received a letter from his family that his brother was going to file for bankruptcy. This turn of events in his brother’s life made him sad. As his mother only informed him in one sentence about this and had not given any details whatsoever, he was unable to exercise his imagination, and just felt sad.

This sadhak had come to Mother several years before. At the time of joining the Ashram, he gave Mother all the money he had, a few lakhs of rupees. A few years ago his father and mother visited the Ashram and had Mother’s Darshan. His brother was a talented man. He had expert knowledge in more than one field. Before joining his father’s business, his brother had been in a highly paid job. His father himself was in business. Though it was a small company, by virtue of its quality and nature of service, it had attained nationwide popularity. In the 60s a multinational company was attracted by his father’s business and offered to buy the entire company and make it an independent part of their company on very profitable terms to the father. The negotiations for the sale were handled by the father and son. The father attended to the financial aspects of sale and his son concentrated on the legal aspects of transfer to the multinational. The multinational company was so much impressed by the son’s ability that they offered to employ him at a very high salary. The son had greater faith in his future prospects and preferred to remain with his father. Years later the father’s company was doing so well as one unit of the multinational that they opted to leave the parent company to function on their own. The father was the president of the company and the son, the brother of the sadhak, was vice-president. The company was innovative and introduced new concepts of work in their business. The company rose from height to greater height with every passing year. It is when the company was at its best, with the father and son at the helm, that the other son opted to go to India, join the Ashram and settle down in India permanently. Generally people who are unable to make a success of themselves in life seek out an excuse to hide their weakness and wind up in an Ashram. The brother in business was elder to the sadhak by four years. He surely felt that his younger brother was a fit case to seek asylum in an Ashram. Even when his parents visited the Ashram, the elder brother never showed any interest in the Ashram.

As years passed, the father who had founded the business took it to great heights, made good money and felt it was time for him to retire and leave the helm in the hands of the elder son. He retired and the son became the president of the company. He introduced several improvements, opened a computer division, and made himself a greater success than his father. He was married into a wealthy family. Soon after the father retired and the company became a greater success, differences of opinion began to arise between the son and the parents. The son stopped giving the parents any news of the company, which they were anxious to hear. The parents got little information of how the company was doing, and the sadhak got less information about his brother’s affairs. From other sources news came that the company’s computer division had a great potential as a money spinner. More information came that the company was shifting to the most prestigious locality in the city. All this reached the sadhak through second hand means months after the actual event.

If news took months to reach the parents, the sadhak brother at Pondicherry, if he ever heard anything, received only a trickle of news many months later. When it did come, it was only one sentence or a hint. After a successive string of positive news, a letter came saying, “He is not doing well, perhaps.”  The company began to cut down its staff in big slices. At one point, the sadhak learned there were now only two employees in the company left. Next in line the office was vacated, the brother was working from his home, and he had no employees at all. What happened to the big business the father had built up, the great potential of the computer division, the prestigious office, God knows!  It is at that juncture the final blow came through the letter mentioned in the beginning, that the brother had decided to file for bankruptcy. The sadhak brother was sad, but what was there in his hands except to feel sad. The sadhak was lost in thought, rather, he felt lost.

I ventured to speak to him. “I know you are not in the habit of writing to your brother. Also I know your brother would not take your words seriously. But this is a certain special moment in his life, when he may listen to you and may even consider your words seriously. I don’t know what has gone wrong where. All that is immaterial. One thing matters. You are here. That is enough to prevent your brother going bankrupt. If you are bold, conceive of a means of writing to him either directly or through your parents.”  He said his sister-in-law wrote to him and she would listen to his words, but he was not sure how far his words would carry any meaning for them, as they all considered him a failure in life.

This was enough. I encouraged him to write to his brother’s wife about Mother’s way of running a business. He agreed. Together we prepared the contents of the letter. First, the letter said, “Do not file bankruptcy, if you have not already done so.”  Then we cited a few examples of broken men finding their feet, rising again when they came to Mother. Lastly we added some principles of Mother’s way of running an organisation. I told the sadhak, “What is most important is a token offering from them, but in this precarious relationship, I desist from asking for it.”  We ended the letter asking for $10 as an offering. Two weeks later we received a telegram from his parents: “Bankruptcy not filed. Brother will try your ideas. He has sent $20 offering and we add another $100 to it.”

Again, for weeks and months there was no news. But we were happy we did not receive the news of his filing bankruptcy. The brother’s wife wrote a formal letter of thanks and said they were seriously practicing the ideas given by the sadhak brother. Months passed. The rift between brother and parents became complete. He moved to another town to avoid his family. A few more months passed. Then news came that the rift was vanishing and a rapprochement was building up. Business for the brother was ‘all right.’  After 15 or 18 months we got news suddenly that the brother was doing well, perhaps very well. Still the news was all second hand and in trickles. One month later came a phone call on the father’s birthday to exchange greetings. Now we heard that the computer potential had started its initial yield and big customers were after the computer programme. There were signs of the brother making big money. Gone were the days of gloom, rift and bankruptcy.

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