Pandit Sethuraman learnt yoga from Yogacharya Sundaram, mastering many yogas. Sri Sundaram aged 53 was very fond of Panditji, a knowledgeable and sincere student who at that time was only 29 years old.
One fine morning, Sri Sundaram came to our house and handed over an invitation saying that this was the first invitation to be distributed for a yoga Seminar. Expecting an audience of over 10,000 people, he said that the event was going to be the most prestigious moment in his life.
Panditji, on opening the invitation and seeing the chief guest’s name, couldn’t help but grimace. He immediately asked Sri Sundaram why he had invited C.Rajagopalachari / Rajaji as the Chief Guest adding that there were many other people better suited to the occasion. Perplexed, Sri Sundaram said, “He is our Chief Minister. Who else do you think is more important than him in our state? “
Panditji replied, saying that he did not want to make any negative comment but insisted that Sri Sundaram had not made a wise decision.
The function was held between 3.00 pm to 5.00 pm at YMCA Ground in Madras. Rajaji arrived on time and the welcome address was delivered. At this juncture, Rajaji’s Coffee addiction needs to be mentioned. Rajaji used to drink boiling coffee that was so hot that his attendants had to carry the mug with wet towels. He used to get annoyed if it was not extremely hot.
Soon after the function started, it was coffee time for Rajaji. The seminar being a yoga seminar, he was served a glass of coconut water but he soon started becoming restless without his coffee.
The students demonstrated many yoga feats on Stage. To prove the efficiency of one particular yogasana, a student broke a glass bottle, swallowed the pieces in front of the audience and performed an asana saying that the asana would ensure that the glass pieces don’t damage his body in any way. Seeing this impressive feat, the audience rose to give him a standing ovation for a few minutes.
Meanwhile, Rajaji was becoming more and more agitated. Sri Sundaram, in his speech post the performance, said that both men and women could start practicing Yoga insisting that people who want to practice it should give up coffee, tea, liquor and non vegetarian food.
Concluding the function, the chief guest Rajaji addressed the audience as follows:
“I am happy to be here and I felt surprised to see the students demonstrating various asanas so beautifully. Especially, a student ate glass pieces and did an asana to avoid its effects. However, it is my humble request to Sri Sundaram that as in Tamil Nadu, people take only coffee or tea in the morning and not glass pieces, it would be nice that if you could find an asana that can digest coffee or tea.” The audience started laughing at Sundaram and Rajaji left.
After the guests left, Panditji went to Sri Sundaram to console him. Holding Panditji’s hand, Sri Sundaram said “Sethu, you are wise beyond your years. If you had been of my age I would have touched your feet. Your foresight is amazing. I never thought that our Chief Minister would make this seminar a joke. I wish I had listened to your advice in the beginning.