HIS LIFE AND TEACHINGS
Towards the end of the year 1922 Swamiji visited Coimbatore on the invitation of Mr Karunakara Menon who was the Sub-Registrar of Assurances at Badagara at the time of Swamiji's visit to that place in 1912. From there he came to Malabar, visited all the old centres and went back to Bangalore on the 2nd January 1923.
According to the request of the bhaktas at Quilandy, the Swami consented to preside over the Birthday celebrations there on the 30th of March. There was also a legal matter in connection with the Ashrama. Besides the compound and garden which contained the Ashrama building, there was another garden which had also been given over to the Mission. The landlord of the garden wanted to recover possession of it and had seni a registered notice demanding surrender. Swamiji asked Mr. Kunhiraman Menon to settle the matter out of Court and he also wrote to the Brahmachari: "If it is the Will of Sri Gurumaharaj, everything will come off all right. If not we quit the place and we shall try to start a centre at Ottapalam or Pattambi.' Swamiji came and presided over the functions. Quilandy was a centre from which Swamiji could and did, by his visits, year after year, extend his influence and contacts with the devotees throughout North Malabar and South Canara. He was invited by and was the guest of the Second Raja of Kadathanad at his Purameri Palace more than once. The Raja is a descendent of the old Kshatriya Kings who ruled over North Malabar. Both the Raja and his consort were much attached to the Swami.
He also visited Coonoor on Invitation by the Chempolly brothers of Ottapalam who were running the Coonoor Central Stores. There was also a proposal to acquire a site for an Ashrama there. While there, a body of panchamas came to the Swami to pay their respects. He was gracious enough to visit their village and temple where he was agreeably surprised to see the photos of Sri Gurumaharaj and Swami Vivekananda. The Swami also gave them some religious instructions.
Quite a new place visited by the Swamiji this year was Gobichettipalayam, in the Coimbatore District. Mr. T. V. Krishnan Nair (Retired Judge) was the District Munsiff of the place. He had been introduced to the Swami by Mr. Kunhiraman Menon sometime ago while he was District Munsiff in Malabar. Swamiji was invited to preside over the Annual Celebrations of the local Vivekananda Society. Mr. Menon who had delivered a lecture there the previous year was alao invited to deliver another lecture on the occasion. "The audience" writes Mr. Menon" was greatly impressed with the Presidential address and the precise answers to questions solving all their difficulties. Although the Swami left the place pleased with the enthusiasm of the workers of the society and the hospitality of his good host, he expressed to me on our return journey that he did not entertain much hopes about the future of the society as * * no work could be done without a fair amount of pecuniary support."
From Gobichettipalayam he went to Kerala. After visiting the centres in Malabar and accepting the invi- tation of several bhaktas, he proceeded to Trivandrum where the Ashrama work was nearing completion. From there again he returned to Bangalore on the 15th of June.
What strikes even a very superficial observer as wonderful is the Swami's travels. How frequent, how long, how wide they were! What power of endurance and adaptability it demanded of him! Heat or cold, wind or rain, day or night, he was almost always on the move. Rarely was any trip a comfortable journey in the Second Class. We have seen how he surprised the Haripad Bhaktas by his travelling alone and passing a night in a third class compartment and returning the balance passage money to them. Strange places, strange faces, strange language, strange and unaccustomed diet which was often unpalatable and unsuited to his constitution, none of these stood in the way of his carrying on the work of his Master. He lived as he actually expressed: "Let Sri Gurumaharaj's Will be done. I am to work and obey His Command to my last breath. No question, no flinching. Absolute submission. Wah Guru Ki Fateh!........." He had no rest anywhere. He went to give something, to spend his own energies in the task of uplifting others. Like his great chief, he also was overdrawing his draft. Nature protested.
Towards the end of the year 1923 he went to Kerala, put himself under the treatment of Dr. Tampi and recovered his health. At the same time he attended to the work of the Ashrama building. To his great sorrow the designer of the building, his personal friend and devotee who had worked heart and soul to make the building stately and strong, Mr. Hrishikesh Banerjee, passed away before its completion. Swamiji himself continued to supervise the work. The progress, though slow, was satisfactory. He saw that the Ashrama could be opened early next year. The door of the shrine room and the throne he wished to be made artistically. It took months to make them according to his design and he was pleased with the work.