NANU QUICKLY GRASPED the lessons on yoga given by Ayyavu and so the Guru advised him to resort to secluded places in remote areas and practise yoga. For, as the
Bhagavad Gita puts it:
“A yogin should always try to concentrase his mind in solitude, having retired to a secret place, he should subdue his mind and body and get rid of his desires and possessions.”
“Serene and fearless, steadfast in the observance of celibacy and subdued in mind, he should sit in yoga, thinking on Me and intent on Me alone.”
--The Bhagavad Gita VI, 10 & 14
Nanu Ashan went out into the wide world, seeking solitary
locations suitable for tapas (penance), walking alone, with the “sun or the moon for his lamp and the spray of the wind in his hair,” a lonely pilgrim in earnest search of ultimate wisdom.
What were the hills, forests and riverbanks where Nanu Ashan
wandered, apparently aimless to all those who saw him, but inwardly
firm in his quest for the realization of Brahma residing within himself?
No one knows. All that was gleaned about the apparently eventless and momentously significant days was the bits and pieces his disciples gathered from his occasional reminiscences. Unfortunately, there was no Boswell among them to note them down and later piece them together into a life-sketch. The Guru used to spend almost all his time in solitude in the
wilderness eating fruits, leaves and roots. We have seen him in his boyhood days tasting and swallowing all types of exotic fruits and leaves of wild trees and shrubs, as if he were unconsciously preparing himself for the type of life he was now living. He would take shelter in various caves from time to time. In these rough and ready forest dwellings, he was living amidst animals of the jungle, both wild and otherwise. He felt no fear, not even uneasiness
about their nearness to him. “They will not harm you if you have no fear or anger towards them or any inclination to hurt them,” was his frequent advice to his sanyasi disciples.
The jungle folk were accustomed to seeing him off and on. He partook of the food they gave him and shared with them whatever he himself had gathered. But it was in the cave known as Pillathadam (boy’s bed) on the crest of Maruthwa Mala that he was discovered by people from the plains.