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It was the Chitra-Pournami day in April, 1983. The Paramacharya had arrived in Kodangal, a border village in the Mehboobnagar district of Andhra Pradesh. His campsite was a cattle shed converted into parnasala.

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A friend of mine and myself were fortunate to have His Viswarupa darshan and sit near Him for two hours during his early morning japa early the next day.

By the time He completed it, a small crowd had gathered around Him. He began conversing with them and inquired about the owner of the place. A relative of the owner came forward and answered the queries of the saint with regard to the family, their occupation, extent of land they owned, crops grown livestock possessed and other details.

One would have thought that these queries were made as a formality with new acquaintances. The real intention of the Acharya became clear when He enquired where the cows and buffaloes were being kept. On being told that they were kept in the open, He asked whether they would remain so throughout the hot sunny day. Perhaps He felt he was occupying what was their residence. He suggested the immediate removal of some of the articles of the Mutt that were kept there and asked them to bring the animals there to rest.

The Paramacharya’s moving gesture of concern for the dumb animals, and the unobtrusive manner in which he ensured their rights, was equally….