**Yet
another anecdote due to Prof. P.C. Mahalanobis: **

“I have mentioned that Ramanujan and I often used to go
out for long walks on Sunday mornings. During these walks our
discussions ranged over a wide variety of subjects. He had some
progressive ideas about life and society but no reformist views.
Left to himself, he would often speak of certain philosophical
questions. He was eager to work out a theory of reality which
would be based on the fundamental concepts of “zero”,
“infinity” and the set of finite numbers. I used to
follow in a general way but I never clearly understood what he
had in mind. He sometimes spoke of “zero” as the symbol
of the absolute (Nirguna-Brahmam) of the extreme monistic school
of Hindu philosophy, that is, the reality to which no qualities
can be attributed, which cannot be defined or described by words,
and which is completely beyond the reach of the human mind. According
to Ramanujan, the appropriate symbol was the number “zero”,
which is the absolute negation of all attributes. He looked on
the number “infinity” as the totality of all possibilities,
which was capable of becoming manifest in reality and which was
inexhaustible. According to Ramanujan, the product of infinity
and zero would supply the whole set of finite numbers. Each act
of creation, as far as I could understand, could be symbolized
as a particular product of infinity and zero, and from each such
product would emerge a particular individual of which the appropriate
symbol was a particular finite number. I have put down what I
remember of his views. I do not know the exact implication. He
seemed to have been perhaps emotionally more interested in his
philosophical ideas than in his mathematical work. He spoke with
such enthusiasm about the philosophical questions that sometimes
I felt he would have been better pleased to have succeeded in
establishing his philosophical theories than in supplying rigorous
proofs of his mathematical conjectures.”

“Ramanujan had a somewhat shy and quiet disposition, a dignified
bearing, and pleasant manners. He would listen carefully to that
other people were saying but would usually remain silent. If he
was asked any question, or on rare occasions, if he joined in
any general conversation, he would speak frankly, but briefly.
Whilst speaking to a friend or in very small groups, he would,
however, expound his own ideas with great enthusiasm, not only
on philosophical questions but occasionally also on other subjects
in which he was seriously interested. Although I could not follow
his mathematics, he left a lasting impression on my mind. His
bright eyes and gentle face with a friendly smile are still vivid
in my mind.”