"As children, our attitude to Bhagavan was perhaps slightly different from that of the adults. We, of course, knew that He was God and a wonderful person to be near - truly a magical feeling, but
we accepted this quite naturally and without a feeling of awe. However, sometimes even children can be awed:
One of these memories I have is rather strange because to this day I recall my amazement and yet nothing actually happened at all. A lady came to Tiruvannamalai from North India; in those days all 'foreigners' whether they were North Indians or Norwegians were sent to our home.
I was about ten years old at the time and not an especially sensitive child but even I could not bear to stay in the room with her as she was so tense, nervous and unhappy that it made me most uneasy. Her story was that she had married a man she loved very much although her parents had not approved as he was of a different caste - however they had overcome all the opposition and they went to the seaside somewhere for their honeymoon. They had a week of great happiness until one day he was killed by a shark right in front of her eyes.
All this had happened about two years earlier and the distraught widow was traveling through India, going to various ashrams and seeing various holy men. She had a list of questions which she asked at each place - all more or less a demand why such a thing should happen if there was a God of Justice and so on. She was an unhappy and aggressively angry lady and my heart sank when my mother asked me to show her the way to the hall where Bhagavan sat.
I led in silence and she followed me, I showed her the hall and went off to play. A while later I realized it was lunchtime and I went to collect her and bring her home - most reluctantly.
I will never, never forget the change that had come over her in just an hour or so. She was calm and relaxed and peaceful and happy! I was so awed and intrigued that I hung around anxiously waiting for my mother to ask her what Bhagavan had said to her. Whatever it was it must have been words of the greatest wisdom and power to have such an effect.
Eventually, my mother did ask and the lady answered that she had gone into the hall and sat down and Bhagavan had just looked at her - just looked -with such infinite compassion that she felt that her questions were of no importance anymore. She sat there and felt the peace and no word was spoken ...." (Katya Osborne)
- photo: Katya Osborne standing beside Bhagavan