I had the honour of calling on him at Kanchi before I west to Washington as the Indian Ambassador in 1977. I went to his little hut at Kanchi where he resides, a hut that would not be occupied perhaps by any labourer who is a member of a trade union. He eats food which contains nothing comparable to the calories which are supposed to be essential for a man's life and health.
And as the man came out dressed as sparsely as possible, he was a picture of sincerity, humility and spiritual force which leaves an indelible impression on anyone with some sensitivity. I thought that here was a man who was in total harmony with the elements around him, with nature.
He was in total harmony with the silence that is in the starry skies, the sleep that is among the lonely hills.
A great thinker once said that the higher a man is in God's grace, the lower he will be in his own esteem. And if that truth were ever vindicated and demonstrated by a living person today, it is by the sage of Kanchi. His total humility and his utter simplicity are just incredible. You have to meet the man yourself to realise how he personifies these great ancient virtues of our wonderful motherland.
When Rudyard Kipling was once speaking to the students of a University, he said, "One day, my young friends, you will meet a man who cares nothing for wealth or comfort or fame or glory and then you will know how poor you are." Every one who has met the sage of Kanchi knows how poor he is.