The Guide

by

R. K. Narayan

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Guide can help.
Velan, a local from the small village of Mangal in southern India, comes across Raju sitting on the banks of the river one day. Velan is trusting and respectful. Upon setting eyes on Raju, he seems to identify something spiritual, and immediately puts his faith in him as a holy man. It is Velan’s faith in Raju that precipitates the latter’s transformation into a holy man of renown, as other villagers also begin to put their trust in his powers. Velan’s trust is such that, even after Raju confesses to him his life of deceit and trickery, his faith remains unshaken: and it is this act of trust that motivates Raju to genuinely try to help the villagers by undertaking a fast to bring about rains to end the drought under which they suffer. Velan acts as Raju’s support to the very last, helping him down to the river to hold vigil on the final day of the fast.

Velan Quotes in The Guide

The The Guide quotes below are all either spoken by Velan or refer to Velan. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of The Guide published in 1958.
Chapter 1 Quotes

[…] the villager resumed the study of his face with intense respect. And Raju stroked his chin thoughtfully to make sure that an apostolic beard had not suddenly grown there. It was still smooth.

Related Characters: Raju, Velan
Related Symbols: Water
Page Number: 2
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 3 Quotes

One fine day, beyond the tamarind tree the station building was ready. The steel tracks gleamed in the sun; the signal posts stood with their red and green stripes and their colorful lamps; and our world was neatly divided into this side of the railway line and that side.

Related Characters: Raju (speaker), Raju’s Father, Raju’s Mother, Velan
Related Symbols: The Railway, Malgudi
Page Number: 27
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 5 Quotes

I pointed out to him something as the greatest, the highest, the only one in the world. I gave statistics out of my head. I mentioned a relic as belonging to the thirteenth century before Christ or the thirteenth century after Christ, according to the mood of the hour.

Related Characters: Raju (speaker), Velan
Related Symbols: Malgudi
Page Number: 43
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 11 Quotes

Raju asked, “Now you have heard me fully?” […]

“Yes, Swami.”

Raju was taken aback at still being addressed as “Swami.” “What do you think of it?”

Velan looked quite pained at having to answer such a question. “I don’t know why you tell me all this, Swami. It’s very kind of you to address at such length your humble servant.”

Related Characters: Raju (speaker), Velan (speaker)
Page Number: 184
Explanation and Analysis:

The morning sun was out by now; a great shaft of light illuminated the surroundings. It was difficult to hold Raju on his feet, as he had a tendency to flop down. They held him as if he were a baby. Raju opened his eyes, looked about, and said, “Velan, it’s raining in the hills. I can feel it coming up under my feet, up my legs—” He sagged down.

Related Characters: Raju (speaker), Velan
Related Symbols: Water
Page Number: 196
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Guide LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Guide PDF

Velan Character Timeline in The Guide

The timeline below shows where the character Velan appears in The Guide. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Sitting on a granite slab by a river, Raju is approached by a stranger, who looks up at him reverentially. Slightly disconcerted by the stranger’s gaze, Raju nonetheless invites... (full context)
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
On the river bank, Raju finds the stranger still seated on the steps below him, looking at him with devotion. Raju asks him... (full context)
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
Before the stranger, whose name is Velan, shares his problem, the narrative jumps forward to Raju telling Velan... (full context)
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
Back on the riverbank, Velan is seated on the steps that lead down to the river, telling Raju that he... (full context)
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
Velan, impressed by the weightiness of Raju’s statements, tells him that the youngest daughter of his... (full context)
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
After Velan leaves, Raju sits watching the river for a long time and counting the stars. He... (full context)
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
Greed and Materialism Theme Icon
The next morning, Raju awakens to find Velan standing with his sister, a fourteen year old girl. Raju, still groggy from sleep, finds... (full context)
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
Greed and Materialism Theme Icon
...remember the point or the ending of the story, and he lapses into silence, while Velan waits patiently. Raju turns and strides to the river step, and Velan and his sister... (full context)
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
On the riverbank, Raju is still sitting on the steps with Velan and his sister patiently waiting for him on a lower step. Raju is irritated by... (full context)
Chapter 2
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
Raju tells Velan of the construction of the railway in Malgudi, across the street from his father’s house.... (full context)
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
By the riverbank near the small village of Mangal, Velan appears, bursting to tell Raju that his sister has admitted her follies before the family... (full context)
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
Greed and Materialism Theme Icon
Grateful to Raju for helping him conclude the affair with his sister, Velan comes to invite Raju to the wedding, which has been arranged. He offers Raju a... (full context)
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
After the wedding incident, Raju’s circle begins to widen as news of his success with Velan’s sister spreads. Other villagers begin to come sit by the river steps, stopping there after... (full context)
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
Greed and Materialism Theme Icon
...food, and Raju emerges from his hiding place, grateful for the food, and hopeful that Velan will always offer some to him. (full context)
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
Greed and Materialism Theme Icon
...will find another place where he will have such easy access to the nourishment that Velan and the villagers provide him. He decides, therefore, to play the role that Velan has... (full context)
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
Greed and Materialism Theme Icon
...a place in the temple beside the river for himself with a better backdrop. However, Velan and the other villagers don’t appear. Raju begins to worry that they may never come.... (full context)
Chapter 4
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
...temple halls and reach all the way to the river. However, in this vast crowd, Velan is the only person that Raju knows personally. (full context)
Chapter 6
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
One day, Velan asks Raju to go with him to a forest path to examine a dead buffalo... (full context)
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Greed and Materialism Theme Icon
The day after the fight, Velan’s brother comes to Raju to inform him that Velan has been injured. Raju is not... (full context)
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
Greed and Materialism Theme Icon
Velan’s brother finds a gathering of village elders discussing the drought and the recent fight with... (full context)
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
Greed and Materialism Theme Icon
Velan tells Raju that everyone is hoping for Raju to come through the ordeal safely. The... (full context)
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
When Velan returns the next night, Raju asks him what makes him think that Raju can bring... (full context)
Chapter 7
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Greed and Materialism Theme Icon
Returning to his past in Malgudi, Raju speaks to Velan about how he continued to devote himself to Marco’s care. Marco decides to remain at... (full context)
Chapter 9
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
Greed and Materialism Theme Icon
Continuing to narrate to Velan, Raju recalls Rosie’s rise to stardom. While, in retrospect, Raju reflects that Rosie—by virtue of... (full context)
Chapter 10
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Greed and Materialism Theme Icon
Continuing to tell his tale to Velan, Raju speaks of the two days he was forced to spend in lock-up after his... (full context)
Chapter 11
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
...told his story throughout the night and a rooster crows as he finishes. Raju expects Velan to rise in disgust and leave him. Instead, Velan remains seated in silence. Perturbed, Raju... (full context)
Hypocrisy and Disguise Theme Icon
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
Greed and Materialism Theme Icon
...no privacy, even to consume the few morsels of food he has left. He blames Velan for his predicament. (full context)
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
...river where he has gone every day during the fast to hold vigil. Helped by Velan, and followed by a huge crowd of spectators, he makes it to the river. (full context)
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
Supported by Velan in the river, Raju suddenly stirs, opens his eyes. He tells Velan that it’s rain... (full context)