The following extract is taken from the book titled ‘Apprenticed to A Himalayan Master – A Yogi’s Autobiography’ by Sri M, the living yogi. As per his masters instructions, since 1998 Sri M started off with his satsangs and later formed the Satsang Foundation. Sri M was born as a Muslim, and his original name was Mumtaz Ali Khan. Sri M was called as Madhukarnath by his master. I have typed out the following passage from his autobiography - only to showcase how great avatars like our Sri Maha Periva and Mahans like Sri Yogi Ram Surat Kumar had great foresight and could recognize such blessed souls.
From Nagore, I set out for Tiruvannamalai, taking a rather circuitous route, as I was longing to see the old and highly venerated Shankaracharya of the Kanchi Mutt, Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati, at Kancheepuram.
The chance of meeting him were slim, because I was told, he was not interacting with the public for some time, and that I could at best have a glimpse of him from a distance, when he appeared briefly to bless the visitors. I was warned not to talk or ask questions, because the Acharya was in mouna (silence). By evening, word spread that he had broken his silence and may speak a few words. People were to form a line, and file past him as he squatted on the ground in front of a small thatched hut.
He as a frail old man, very thin, bare bodied except for an ochre cloth wrapped around his waist, and another covering his head. He held a dandi, which identified him a s belonging to the Dasanami order of renunciants founded by Adi Shankaracharya. He wore thick glasses and his forehead was painted with holy ash, the insignia of the followers of Siva. As the devotees went past, prostrating from a short distance, he raised his hand in blessing, and sometimes exchanged a few words. Sturdy and well-built Brahmins, wearing their sacred threads across their chests, controlled the crowds.
I joined the queue. When I was right in front of him, he looked keenly at me and asked in Tamil, “what is your name?”
“Madhu,” I said holding my hand in front of my mouth, as instructed by the burly Brahmin standing beside the Acharya. Your breath is not supposed to fall on the saint.
He smiled faintly and said, “The name given by your guru, right? Have you heard of Justice Ismail?”
“No” I confessed.
“He is not like you, but he is an expert on the Kamba Ramayana. Umph! A lot of work to do. Satsanga is important”.
With that he raised his right hand in blessing, and I was shooed away by his attendants. Many years later, when my friends wanted to form a trust to help me with my work, and were looking for a suitable name, the word “Satsang” sprang to my mind, and it was named the Satsang Foundatation. The word Sat means the Truth and Sanga means gathering, or a group. It can be transalted as a group of people, intent upon finding the “Truth” or a group of good and truthful people. It could also mean, coming together in the interests of ‘Truth’. I wondered if the Acharya’s parting words had anything to do with it.
Reaching Tiruvannamalai, I decided to first look for a holy man called Pankha Baba, also called Ram Surat Kumar. I had heard from a retired professor at Kanchi that Pankha Baba was childlike, and often behaved like a mad man. He was, at one time, a school teached somewhere in North India, and spoke good English and Hindi.
I found him in a small hut, besides the temple chariot. There were a few people, atanding around him. He was fair, chubby, had long grey hair and a flowing grey beard, and was dressed in a dhoti and an old western style cream coloured coat, that probably had not been washed for months.
He peered at me from inside and waved his hand, “Come, come, Sit here,” he said in a voice, clear and affectionate. I entered the hut and sat down. “Closer, closer,” he said and I moved forward till I was very close. “Umph, what name?” he asked.
“Madhu, Baba”, I said.
“Madhu, Madhu”, he said, as if he was enjoying the name.
“Madhu!, So, do you know Namaz?”
“Yes”, I said, “I know, but I don’t do. I meditate”.
“Meditation, Namaz, all the same,” he said.
“Meditation, Madhu, all M,M,M, yum, yum you are M, ha ha ha!” he laughed.
The laughter can from deep down his belly, and exploded into loud guffaws, “M,M, ha ha!”.
As he shook with laughter, he landed such a hard slap with his right hand on my shoulder that the cloth bag I was holding flew out of my hands and landed at his feet. Some peanuts rolled out of the bag.
“Peanuts”, he said, “this beggar loves peanuts,” and ate a few with great gusto. “Good, good,” he said. “And where are you going now?”
“ To the Ramana Ashram,” I said.
He burst out laughing, again, “Ramana is there?” he said between peels of laughter. “Only Samadhi is there. Ramana cannot be kept in one place. Here, there everywhere. Ok ok, go and enjoy.”. He gave me one more slap on my shoulder.