In the monastery, in San Francisco, we had an oil burning furnace in the
basement. When I was up in Swami's kitchen, on the third floor, he asked me if
Jerry Seeler had put that powder in the furnace 'to prevent the formation of soot.'
I told him that the powder was not 'to prevent the formation of soot' but to cause
the soot to burn out of the fire box. "Are you sure?" "Yes, Swami."
sure?" "Yes, Swami."
When this had been
repeated several times, since one can't be that sure
I said, "No, Swami." Whereupon he stamped his foot on the floor and
made the whole building sound like a drum and, in very disrespectful language,
called me a liar and several worse things, and that's how the conversation ended
at a very high pitch.
A day or two later, when
I was up in his kitchen, I mentioned, in the course
of the conversation,
that there was a roof between his floor and ours. (Swami
had built the third floor as an afterthought, on top of the two story
in the hope that Swami Brahmananda would come to America.) Well,
didn't know that there was a roof in there, and challenged me on it. So I
said, "Come, Swami, I'll show you." So I got a flashlight, opened the door to the
crawl-space on the stair between his floor and ours, which he passes several
times a day, and showed him the old roof.
It's hard to describe what happened next. He lit up with one of the most
beautiful smiles I've ever seen, turned to me and said, "You are right, as usual."
He's found out from Jerry what the powder is for.