A devotee asked, “Why does Bhagavan call Ganapati Sastri ‘Nayana’ (Nayana means father)?”
“There is a reason for it,” he replied, “it is my custom to address all people with respect. Moreover, he was older than me. I therefore always used to call him Ganapati Sastri Garu. That was very distressing to him and so he begged me times out of number not to do so, saying, ‘Am I not your disciple? You should call me by a familiar name. This is very unfair.’ I did not pay any heed to his protests. At last one day he insisted on my giving up the formal way of addressing him and adopting a familiar one.
All his disciples call him ‘Nayana’, you see. So I made it an excuse and said I too would call him ‘Nayana’ like the others.
He agreed to it because ‘Nayana’ means a child and a disciple could be addressed as one’s own child. I agreed because ‘Nayana’ also means ‘father’ and hence it would not matter so far as I was concerned. I was still addressing him in respectful terms. Whenever I asked him to come here or go there he was still uncomfortable because after all that he had done, I continued to talk to him with the respect due to elders,” said Bhagavan.
-- From Letters from Sri Ramanasramam (Letter 111)