Madhavrao went to Madras for doing
his Ph.D. in the science of fishery. All the while his father had desired
that Madhav should become a 'Doctor'. Now he was going to be one, perhaps
- though a doctor of a different sort.
It was a hard life in Madras. He had
to meet all his expenses out of a monthly allowance of Rs.50. He did all
the daily chores by himself in his room. The local language was totally
unfamiliar to him; and he had no acquaintances. He utilized this opportunity;
in a way this served to help him to brush up his English further, as he
had to rely on it most of the time. He made full use of the enforced solitude
for his contemplative pursuits. The patriotic instinct, which had sprouted
in his heart at Kashi, blossomed forth during his stay in Madras, and reinforced
his resolve to do anything for the sake of the country. He had clarity
in his thought, purposiveness in action, firm faith in mental and physical
powers, and a fearless disposition developed through his intellectual integrity.
Once he was having breakfast in a hotel
with his friends, amidst conversation. There ensued a discussion about
the sturdiness of the glass-pane on the table where they were sitting.
Some one remarked, "How can such a delicate glass-top withstand rough handling?"
"It is not so easy to break it," remarked
the hotel owner rather challengingly.
"Suppose I break it with a single blow?"
"If you do that, all of you can have
a free breakfast here from me, "answered the owner, provoked further. By
then curious onlookers had gathered around the table. His friends looked
askance at Madhavrao.
"So, shall I break it?" - asked Madhavrao.
Madhavrao stood up, raised his hand,
clenched his fist, and brought down a hammerlock blow. The glass-pane was
reduced to splinters! His friends,
the owner, and the onlookers were
On another occasion, the Nizam of Hyderabad
was scheduled to visit the Madras aquarium. They were faced with a problem:
should they allow the Nizam without a ticket? Madhavrao insisted, "None
should be permitted to break the rule." He did not rest at that, but ensured
the entry of the Nizam to the aquarium only on production of a ticket.
Only when it was over could the fear-stricken administration heave a sigh
It was natural for a youth in early
twenties to think of his future prospects, wife, family life, etc. But
such thoughts never crossed the mind of Madhavrao even once. On the contrary,
he cherished a desire to cross the bounds of the worldly life, take to
sannyas, and retire to the Himalayas for penance. But when he saw the plight
of the country at that time, his cherished desire was shaken. "I have decided
not to go in search of solitude; let solitude itself come to me" - he wrote
to a friend of his. That proved prophetic. About the same time, Bhauji
retired from service. The source of income for the family suddenly dried
up. Naturally, Madhavrao's pursuit of his studies at Madras became impossible.
With a heavy heart, he returned to Nagpur.
He then came into contact with Ramakrishna
Ashram at Dhantoli in Nagpur. This contact gradually became more and more
intimate. It was as if the timeless voice of Vivekananda had begun to beckon