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over the shoulders, the 'Biksha Patra' held in the right hand with the left folded and resting over the right shoulder exactly as in the portrait facing P112 of the Satcharita (Eng.edn. by Sri N.V. Gunaji). I was stunned with amazement. It was INCREDIBLE.

Only a moment before, in my frenzied despair at the passing away of my first-born son aged 10 years, I had denied Him His Divinty and His omnipresence testified again and again by His devotees' experiences both before and after His 'Mahasamaadhi' I had declared Him to be a false deity and beseeched my wife to throw His portrait on the dung hill. But, here He stood to prove the TRUTH OF HIS ETERNAL EXISTENCE.

You see, the medicine I poured into the mouth of my semiconcious son remained there. I shouted to him to swallow it, but the mouth remained open. I became frantic and tried to close it. No, the jaws had become rigid. I checked pulse. It too had stopped. It was then that called out my wife from the kitchen and spoke those blasphemons words. She just sat by the bed, head bent and tears trickling down, as much hurt by my profanity, no doubt, as by the bereavement.

I had come to the end of my tether spiritually, I was not myself for the nonce. Thus i had the brutal impudence to ask my grieving wife whether she had cooked, adding, 'He has anyway gone. I don't want to die, too. I shall go and eat."

Imagine the father, however forlorn, to be so devoid of all feelings as to put such an inhuman question to the mother just bereaved. There is no limit to which human nature can sink through, thank God, it can also soar to Elysian heights. Here I must say that my wife’s faith, unlike mine, has throughout been unflickering, standing 'four-square to all the winds that blow'. Whenever my mind harks back to that scene, I can not help wondering how I escaped her righteous indignation for my frenzied out-burst. Where else, except, except in this land hallowed by Sita and Savithri, Damayanthi and Mandodhari, Nalaayini and Renuka Devi, can one meet with such phenomenal forbearance and fortitude?

It is not far-fetched to say that it is for such paragons of virtue that the Sun shines, it rains, and Mother Earth continues to yield her bounty. It has been said that 'the greatness of a man does not consist in never falling but rising everytime

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