DEAR DIWANJI SAHEB, (Shri Haridas Viharidas Desai)
I am very much gratified on receiving your letter, especially as that is the proof that you have the same kindness towards me.
About the kindness and gentlemanliness of your friend Mr. Bederkar of Indore and of the Dakshinis in general, the less said the better; but of course there are Dakshinis and Dakshinis, and I would only quote to you what Shankar Pandurang wrote me at Mahabaleshwar on my informing him that I had found shelter with the Limdi Thakore:
“I am so glad to learn that you have found Limdi Thakore there, else you would have been in serious troubles, our Maratha people not being so kind as the Gujaratis.” So kind? heaven and hell!
I am very glad that your joint has now been nearly perfectly cured. Kindly tell your noble brother to excuse my promise-breaking as I have got here some Sanskrit books and help, too, to read, which I do not hope to get elsewhere, and am anxious to finish them. Yesterday I saw your friend Mr. Manahsukharam who has lodged a Sannyâsin friend with him. He is very kind to me and so is his son.
After remaining here for 15 to 20 days I would proceed toward Rameshwaram, and on my return would surely come to you.
The world really is enriched by men, high-souled, noble-minded, and kind, like you; the rest are “only as axes which cut at the tree of youth of their mothers’, as the Sanskrit poet puts it.
It is impossible that I should ever forget your fatherly kindness and care of me, and what else can a poor fakir like me do in return to a mighty minister but pray that the Giver of all gifts may give you all that is desirable on earth and in the end — which may He postpone to a day long, long ahead — may take you in His shelter of bliss and happiness and purity infinite.
PS. One thing that I am very sorry to notice in these parts is the thorough want of Sanskrit and other learning. The people of this part of the country have for their religion a certain bundle of local superstitions about eating, drinking, and bathing, and that is about the whole of their religion.
Poor fellows! Whatever the rascally and wily priests teach them — all sorts of mummery and tomfoolery as the very gist of the Vedas and Hinduism (mind you, neither these rascals of priests nor their forefathers have so much as seen a volume of the Vedas for the last 400 generations) — they follow and degrade themselves. Lord help them from the Râkshasas in the shape of the Brahmins of the Kaliyuga.
I have sent a Bengali boy to you. Hope he would be treated kindly.