• Welcome to Tamil Brahmins forums.

    You are currently viewing our boards as a guest which gives you limited access to view most discussions and access our other features. By joining our Free Brahmin Community you will have access to post topics, communicate privately with other members (PM), respond to polls, upload content and access many other special features. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free so please, join our community today!

    If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please contact contact us.

Guru upAkhyAnam (Tales about Gurus)-02

Not open for further replies.
Pages 47-52 (concluding part)

For tirumanjanam (ablution), SriKAryam brings tIrtham from the Semmangudi river, in a silver pot, sitting on the paTTatthu yAnai (sovereign elephant). As it came to the entrance of the house, the elephant started going crazy. SriKAryam immediately jumped with the silver pot from the elephant and ran inside the house. The mahout of the elephant too ran away for life towards the adjacent village. All the people in the street close the doors to their house and look from their windows. I was also having a look. Running amuck from the east end to the west end in the street, the elephant smashed the pandal legs, pillars at the gates, and the thattis (thatched boards for cover) on the thiNNais (raised porticos).

SriKAryam who ran inside told Periya PeriyavaaL, "The elephant is running amuck." PeriyavaaL at once came out alone, went near the elephant and said, "Gajendra! What naughtiness are you indulging in? Go back in silence and lie down!" What wonder! Forthwith, the elephant, like a cow on a rope, lay down filling the street, its head on the north and tail on the south side, and remained silent. PeriyavaaL called SriKAryam and asked the man to bring camphor, incense, bananas, and flower. SriKAryam brought and kept them on the thiNNai and went back inside, apprehensive of any danger to his life! PeriyavaaL stayed alone and performed the Gajendra Puja to the elephant that lay down in the middle of the street, made the animal wear flowers, waved the incense then the camphor to it and finally gave the animal the banana bunch. The elephant ate the fruits. Then he told the elephant, "Get up and go. Don't do any viShamam (mischief) henceforth." The elephant got up and stood to a side. That the elephant's frenzy subsided within an hour is a miracle, which happened only due to PeriyavaaL's divine act; and I witnessed that puja, my eyes filled with the sight.

The greatness of the Agnihotra House

Fifty years ago, PeriyavaaL's bhikSha was arranged in the house of a mirAsdAr (landowner) in Semmangudi of the Nannilam taluk. But even before the appointed time, PeriyavaaL came on foot from the adjacent village and sat down on the vAsal thiNNai (raised portico at the entrance) of Agnihotri Tiru. Nageswara Dikshitar's house. He told the people there, "Isn't this the house of Agnihotri Nageswara Dikshitar? Where is he? Call him? Today only in this gRuham is the bhikSha."

Dikshitar was supervising the work in the fields. People went to him and said, "Sitting down on the thiNNai of your house, PeriyavaaL has said that the bhikSha is in your house; he sent us for calling you." Dikshitar rushed back to his house, prostrated to PeriyavaaL and said, "apachAram, I have made you wait." PeriyavaaL replied, "Your house where the Agnihotram is performed has dragged me down to it." The bhikSha went on well in the landowner's house. What greatness has the Agnihotram!

PeriyavaaL's novel explanation

Periya PeriyavaaL used to do upanyAsam at the entrance of Tiru. S.S.Natesa Ayyar's house, fifty years ago. We all would go there and listen to it. This is a news PeriyavaaL said one day.

He stayed in Ranchi, Bihar state for two months. He said that in the whole of those two months he was not able to see the Ranchi RamakoTi PiThAdhipati, since the pontiff had gone on yAtrA to other places. Even later on, when the pontiff stayed in Ranchi, he was not able to meet the Kanchi Kamakoti PiThAdhipati even once. At last when they met one day, the Ranchi PiThAdhipati asked Kanchi PiThAdhipati, "Though all these days passed by, why is it that I was not able to meet you?" PeriyavaaL said that he replied to the question as

वो राम का काम नहि
और काम का राम नहि

"vo rAm kA kAm nahi
aur kAm kA rAm nahi

quoting a Hindu shloka. Ranchi RamaKoTi was taken aback, and was happy, for PeriyavaaL tactfully quoting a Hindi verse to one whose mother tongue was Hindi, and giving it the right meaning that applied to the circumstances. (It was not Rama's work. In addition, this is not a RamakAryam (work for Rama.) Maha PeriyavaaL said that he thus put a fullstop to the talk indicating in sUchakam (hint) that the MaThAdhipatis not meeting each other might have some alpa kAraNam (trivial reason) which need not be tied to any divine act.

PeriyavaaL's friendliness

Maha SwamigaL's bhikSha was arranged at the TozhudUr landlord's house, located on the north bank of the KamalAlayam tank, Tiruvarur. But when PeriyavaaL came on foot from the adjacent village and was passing through the Durgalaya Road, he suddenly entered the house of T.V.Krishnamurthi Ayyar, a retired district doctor. Krishnamurthi said, "apachAram, when I am here to welcome you, you have come seeking my house on your own?"

"Those things are only for the others. You and I are schoolmates. Between us, no such saTTatiTTams (rules and plans)", PeriyavaaL said, "You come without fail to TozhudUrAr's house." He added, "You start giving free treatment daily to the poor. That itself would be a great puja for you." From that day on, that doctor until his last days, took up the practice of free treatment to the poor, giving them free medicine, money to buy any medicine from the shop, and money for food and bus charge to the poor who came from adjacent places. These acts were witnessed by me and my father. If PeriyavaaL's friend is of such kindness, who can measure the compassion of PeriyavaaL?

*** *** ***

Several years ago when PeriyavaaL was staying in Pudukottai, Kunniyur landowner K.S. Sambasiva Ayyar stayed there for a few days, having darshan of the sage. One day PeriyavaaL called Sri Sambasiva Ayyar and said, "You get back home; the field harvest is to take place. Go back and look after your family affairs." To that Sri Sambasiva Ayyar replied, "I shall stay here for one day today, watch the puja and then leave."

But PeriyavaaL said a little sternly, "You get back today itself to Mannargudi. You should not stay here today. Start immediately." So he left for Mannargudi. And in that night Sambasiva Ayyar attained Shivaloka PrApti (Shiva's heavenly abode).

My father PerumALagaram P.K.Rajagopala Ayyargar told me this new. What dIrgha darshanam (foresight), PeriyavaaL's!
The Experiences of Two Devotees
author:...... K.Nataraja OduvAr & R.G.Venkatachalam
compiler:... T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
book:......... Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol. 2, pages 53-56
publisher:.. Vanathi Padhippaham (May 2005 Edition)

Tiru K.Nataraja OduvAr, residing in the TirumetraLi Street, PiLLaiyArpALayam, Kanchipuram is now seventy-eight years old (2003). Limitless bhakti towards Maha SwamigaL. He says:

When PeriyavargaL was going on his palanquin, I have sung the Tevara hymns many times. Once he rose in blessing at TirugnAnaSambandhar Kacchi MetraLi, PiLLaiyArpALayam. I sang the 'TirumetraLi Tevaram'. Forthwith PeriyavargaL directed me, "You sing the Tirumudukkundrap Pathikam." I sang the GnAnaSambandhar Tevaram that begins with the words, 'dEvA, siRiyOm pizhaiyaip poRuppAy, periyOnE!' ('my Lord, please bear with my mistakes, I am a small man'). Then the AGYA (orders) was to sing the 'TiruEkambam Pathikam'. I sang the Appar Tevaram beginning with 'paNDu seyda pazhavinaiyin payan' (the result of karma done in olden days). PeriyavargaL was happy and he blessed me.

When he was camping in Satara, we three OduvArs went to that place as part of a holy pilgrimage. SwamigaL was very happy when he saw us. He directed us to stay for two days and sing Tevaram during the puja. Accordingly, the three of us stayed in SriMaTham and sang Tevaram. At the time of our taking leave of him, he blessed us with the gift of a vEshTi (dhoti). The grace that touched us even more than that was his helping us with a van to reach the railway station.

In the Periyavaa MaTham located in Kanchipuram Bangaru Gardens, pratimAdam (every month) during the viShesha pUja on the day of anusha nakShatra, around ten o' clock in the daytime, if I continue to do the Tevara ParayaNam; and when the portrait procession goes on the pushpa pallAkku (flower-decorated palanquin) at night too, if I continue to do the Tevara ParayaNam as a service--the reason for it all is Maha PeriyavaaL's apAra karuNai (immesurable compassion) only.

*** *** ***

R.G.Venkatachalam, pramukha (notable) of the Manjapra BrahmaNa SamUham, Palakkad District (Govinda Nilayam, 25, Ganga Nagar, Kodambakkam, Chennai-25) is among the SriMaTham parama bhaktAs. Now living in Chennai after holding high positions, he has immense affection for the 'soil' of his birth. Collecting money for over fifty lakh rupees, he has renewed Sri Guruvayurappan Alayam in Manjapra.

Although the paramAnanda anubhavams he had with Sri Maha SwamigaL are a lot many, he goes into rapture, repeatedly talking about a specific incident.

It was his custom to come regularly for SwamigaL darshan every year during the bhikShA vandanam.

In December 1988, the transport people were on strike. Just when it was thought that he might not come, this man somehow managed to reach Kanchipuram. During the darshan, Sri SwamigaL asked him, "What is your salary?" He replied to it.

The anugram was, "Henceforth, when you come for bhikShA vandanam, come with two-three tirumAngalyams made to order."

This man was in confusion. To what sampradAya (tradition) to make the tirumAngalyams? As smArta sampradAyam, telegu sampradAyam and so on, each of it is different?

"What are you thinking? Whatever the sampradAyam, it is alright..."

Venkatachalam was amazed, wondering how his talk with his own mind fell on PeriyavaaL's ears.

Three years passed by after this incident.

It was the time of bhikShA vandanam. Venkatachalam came to SriMaTham. A crowd was waiting to seek darshan of PeriyavaaL. Standing at a distance, Venkatachalam was waiting for his turn. Some elderly sumangali woman, seemingly in a poor state, was earnestly appealing to Sri SwamigaL about something.

On the face of Sri SwamigaL, parama shAntam (supreme peace).

When his turn came, Venkatachalam went near SwamigaL.

"As per Periyavaa's AGYA (order), I have brought the tirumAngalyam."

With a snap of his fingers, PeriyvaaL called the elderly woman who talked to him earlier.

"She says her daughter's marriage is fixed, so she needs a tirumAngalyam? Here, give this to her with your own hand."

Venkatachalam was moved. He says:

"Ayya, I faced a lot of difficulties. Even then, I did not stop bringing the tirumAngalyams! Is it not Periyavaa uttaravu (orders)? How can I forgo it? Will not PeriyavaaL know it all?... My patni (wife) passed away as a sumangali, without any suffering. What else do I need?"

The Drop from the Sky and the Green Grass
author:...... 'Guru kaingarya siromaNi' T.V.R.Chary, Kanchipuram
compiler:... T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
book:......... Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol. 2, pages 57-63
publisher:.. Vanathi Padhippaham (May 2005 Edition)

As with the world-famous Adi Sankara, the world would also know well about the greatness of Sri Chandrasekharendra Sarasvati, the sixty-eightth PiThAdhipati of Sri Kanchi KamakoTi PiTham.

Miracles happen rarely. At those times, the world is in a position to know about the divinity of sages. Through those incidents we can realize that they are deivAmsa sambMbhUta (made of divinity), that they are avatAra puruShAs. In that way, it is the fortune aDiyEn (myself) received through Sri MahaSwamigaL's anugraham--the miracle of making the inarticulate child of mine speak.

The time I was working in All India Radio Station, Puduvai (Puducherry). Pondicherry Gopala Aiyar was the one who helped, by taking me to Sri MahaSwamigaL and making me have the darshana bhAgyam of the sage. I used to come every week, to look up my family, which was residing at Kanchipuram. Every month, the Avahanti homam was also conducted in Pondy. To submit the prasAdam to MahaSwamigaL, Gopala Aiyar would bring the other devotees also, arranging a separate bus. Accompanying him, and bringing the artistes of the Pondicherry Radio Station also and making them sing in Guru Sannidhi, I received the fortune of this service through the grace of Guru. It also made me suitable to receive AcharyaaL's abhimAnam (affection).

During the years 1969 and 1970, Sri MahaSwamigaL was in his blessing stance in the SivAsthAnam at Tenambakkam. My second daughter Santhalakshmi was inarticulate though she completed three years of age. Even the words 'Amma, Appa' did not come out of her mouth. Since it happened in birth, the doctors told that it was an impossible task to make her talk. They said no treatment could be effective since it is 'genetically predetermined'. They (also) said that only by a miracle happending through the divine power of Vaidhyanatha Swami or Lord Sri dakSiNAmUrti, would it be possible to make my child talk.

If Sri Adi Sankara is an avatara of Lord Sri dakSiNAmUrti, my family and I were adoring in mind Sri MahaSwamigaL as talking Kamakshi.

Having heard about the karuNA vilAsam of Sri Kamakshi whose divine power made Sri Muka Sankara (of Kanchi)--who was deaf and dumb since birth--talk and gave him the skill of singing hymns, and made him compose and sing the stotra ratna mAlA called 'Sri Muka Panchasati', adoring Her as 'gurumUrte tvAM namAmi kAmAkShi; and about the adbhuta mahima of AcharyaaL Sri Adi Sankara who made the dumb Hastamalaka talk; my wife prompted me to take the child to Sri MahaSwamigaL and pray for his anugraham!

I took the child to the sannidhi of Sri MahaSwamigaL. On that way, there was not much crowd near Sri SwamigaL. Disciples like Sri Balu, Sri Ramamurthy, Sri SrikaNTan, Sri Kumaresan were with him.

"Chary has come!"--Sri Balu supplicates to MahaSwamigaL.

"Who is this child?"--Sri MahaSwamigaL's question.

"Adiyen's child. She can't talk. With Periyavaa's anugraham she must talk. My ahamuDayAAL (wife) asked me to pray to you..."

"Why, you don't have that desire?"

Knowing nothing to reply, I looked stupid.

"She will talk well, and she will talk much, go!" Sri MahaSwamigaL blossomed his holy mouth and spoke the words of grace.

"All Periyavaa anugraham", I said, prostrated, and returned home.

During that three-four hours time when we went to SriMaTham and returned, the child could have been hungry, thirsty. Still, because of the greatness of Sri AchayaaL's look of grace, the child was calm until we reached home. Once we reached home, the child ran inside, brought her dining plate and spoke, "ammA, mammu poDu (Mommy, give me food!)!" What a wonder! The inarticulate child talks! Our bodies were shivering in ecstasy. The miracle that happened by the divine power of Sri Acharya's favour. No words to express it. Thinking about the supreme compassion of that walking God, and holding on to his holy lotus feet in mind, we adored him and felt happy. What can the graha balam (power of the planets) do, only the Acharya's anugraha balam is the power, we realized and started adoring the Guru's grace.

Since it was already night time, we met Sri MahaSwamigaL on the next day, prostrated and told him the miracle of the child talking.

I supplicated to him, "By Periyavaa anugra mahima, speech has come to the child."

"nannA pEsuvA; nannA iruppA! she will talk well; she will be prosperous!", said Sri MahaSwamigaL.

A minute's silence.

"You should do one kAryam."

"uttavaru (your orders)."

"JanakiRamaiah and Dr. Rajappa are arranging for music concerts in the Kamakshi temple during the Navaratri time. Rajappa does not have a normal vision. You are working in the Radio. For the sangIta vidvAns only the upachAram (attention) is more important than the sambhAvanA (honorarium). Wherever you are during the Navaratri time, take leave and supervise the Navaratri concerts in AmbaaL Sannidhi."

"Periyavaa uttiravu", my happiness knew no bounds as I said this.

From that day until now, I make arrangements for and supervise Sri Kamakshi AmbaaL Tirukkoyil Navaratri Utsava Art Festival Programmes. Sri MahaSwamigaL arranged for the music artistes to do their musical service first in SriMaTham and then in Sri Kamakshi AmbaaL Tirukkoyil. It is a fortune favoured to me by our AcharyaaL to continue with that kaingariyam (service)! It does not rain only for the crops, also for the grass. There are many who are capable of receiving God's grace. Of them many are the parama bhaktas who have the eligibility. Some with nothing to qualify them, sometimes get the honours like the grass, because of divine grace. It is God's nature to shower compassion. saulabhyaM (nearness) is his svAbhAvika guNam (intrinsic nature). God's lakShaNa (characteristic) is to dispense grace without looking at the vAsi (learning and status). Graceful compassion is the deity's nature. Like the green grass also getting the benefit of the raindrops from the sky, Sri MahaSwamigaL's apAra karuNA (boundless compassion) that takes charge of even an akiMchana (indigent) like Adiyen and gives grace, expresses the state of his anavarata (uninterrupted) divinity and exemplifies the sky-drop-to-grass gift this indigent received.

*** *** ***

Recently, when the ShataChaNDi MahaYajnam was held in SriMaTham, during the time of pUrNAhutI (completion) PujyaSri Sankara Vijayendra Sarasvati SwamigaL, the seventieth PiThAdhipatigaL of Sri KamakoTi PiTham gave his kaTAkSha (look of grace) to Adiyen and spoke gracefully, "Meditate well and pray to ParAmbika. You will get what you ask for. Also janma rAhityam (release from births)."

"Enough if there is Periyavaa's anugraham. I am not in need of janma rAhityam. I want births in the hereafter; and all the births should have sambandha (connection) with the holy feet of Sri KamakoTi PiTham's AcharyaaL. I should get continued Sri Kamakshi AmmbaaL, Sri AcharyaaL kaigarya prAptam by Mother Kamakshi's innaruL (sweet grace) and Sri Acharya SwamigaL's anugraha", I stood praying.

"baMTu rIti koluvIya vayya svAmi"

"Give me even the job of a servant, O Swamy!"

Only this is Adiyen's prArthanA I submit to the holy golden feet of Sri AcharyaaL.

akiMchana - a. without anything, poor, indigent
saMbhUta - a. born or produced from; made or composed of; become, being, existing; furnished with.
BrahmaSrI Vazhutthur Rajagopala Sarma
Author: 'Paranthaman' (V.Narayanan) (in Tamil)
Source: Paramacharyar pages 129-142, 1992 edition
Publisher: Narmadaa Padhippaham

BrahmaSrI Vazhutthur Sri Rajagopala Sarma recalls the blessings he received from Paramacharya in these pages.

A longtime devotee of Paramacharya, Sarmaji is one of the best Sanskrit pundits who also learnt Veda Shastras through the Patashala curriculum. At an young age, he studied in Kumbakonam Govinda Dikshitar Raja Veda Patashala where he learnt Sanskrit also. A man of Acara anuSTAnam and good qualities, he later completed his graduation in the Madras Sanskrit College.

He had exceptional interest in teaching Sanskrit to others, which brought him a wide range of students from the very big to the very ordinary. It would be more appropriate to call them the fortunate who were destined to learn Sanskrit from him, rather than students. Some of them were officers of high rank, who made themselves his students despite their age. Some of them were were well-read in other languages.

The Mylapore-Chennai branch of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan bears testimony to his abilities. Since its inception, he is successfully holding the charge of its Sanskrit education development wing. During his 27 years of service there, he remained as the cause of Sanskrit education to thousands of students. Many of his students have accepted him as their kula guru.

On completion of his Sanskrit college education, he went back to Kumbakonam and studied in the Pazhamaaneri AiyUr Aiyer Veda Patashala. Then he took up the Sanskrit teaching job at Ramakrishna Mission School, Chennai and held the post for 26 years.

When he taught in Ramakrishna School, about forty years ago, he started a Purana Pravachana Sabha and conducted discourses in puranas for three days in a week in the Ramakrishna Mission Central Elementary School auditorium.

Even in those days thirty-five years back, people suffered from water scarcity due to paucity of rains. The great, learned man Rajaji was ruling the then Chennai State as its chief minister at that time. He asked people to perform pujas and prayers throughout the state.

Sarmaji says:

It was then that some Astika well-wishers came to me and requested recital of the Virata Parva in Mahabharata. I recited it for over two months continuously. God blessed us with rains during that time on two or three occasions.

Following it, many well-wishers asked me to give a pravacana of the entire Vyasa Mahabharata. Counting on Acharya's anugraha, I ventured to start the Mahabharata pravacana. It took four-and-half years to complete it, at three days a week. We never approached anyone individually for financial or any other sort of help. There was no shaking of the hundi for voluntary donation during the speech. We just kept a contribution box for those who were willing. It was only due to Paramacharya's TiruvaruL that the pravacana ran for four-and-half years without any hurdles. Before starting the puranic story every day, I would recite the Vishnu Sahasranama in full. It was my strong belief that this japam was another main reason for the success of the pravacana.

(After this,) I decided to arrange for recital of Vishnu Sahasranama for 18,000 times every Sunday, for 18 Sundays, to match the 18 Parvas in Mahabharata. The recital was held at different parts of the city on invitation from well-wishers, who also contributed to the targetted count. After seventeen weeks passed by, we were discussing the venue for the last and eighteenth week.

Kanchi Kamakoti PeriyavargaL who visited Chennai at that time, was staying in Sri Sankara Gurukulam, Abiramapuram. We had darshan of him and submitted for completion of the recital for 18th and last week. He gave us the anugraha to complete the last instalment where he was staying and ordered for announcement of the event over microphone to the people.

It was dvAdasi on the next day and we were left with limited time to complete the count of 18,000 before the pAraNam. It was our custom to start the japa only after kalasa puja and puja to the framed portrait of Sri Lakshmi Narayana Swami.

This custom was followed on the last day too. Paramacharya asked about the tentative time to complete the recital. Since many people participated in the japa I said we would finish it early. Aisles of bamboos had to be built to regulate the crowd of Paramacharya devotees for his serving tIrtham to them, which he did at the far end of the MaTham.

The recital was over and dIpArAdhanam was started. When the bell rang, the loud utterance of puNDarIka from the devotees rented the air. On hearing it, Paramacharya rushed for the dIpArAdhana darshan, crossing over the bamboo aisles. Only later we came to know that he had asked his assitants to remind him when dIpArAdhanam started. I carried the kumbha japa tIrtham, along with its garlands and flowers to submit before Paramacharya. He asked for a wooden stool to keep the kumbham on, since it was the maha japa tIrtham.

AcharyaL sprinkled the tIrtham on everyone using a bunch of mango leaves and then distributed it as tIrtham to the people.

I submitted to his lotus feet a large plate that had on it betel leaves, betel nuts, bananas, coconut, a garland of flowers and eighteen one rupee coins.

Paramacharya asked me, "Did you perform the seventeen sahasranAma japams already done in this same manner?" I said that it was so. When he repeated the words, I was moved to tears and replied, "Yes, to the extent of our shakti."

He ordered the people who participated in the japam to have their meal there. He was very happy. Paramacharya's dialogue with me was held in Sanskrit. Finally he graced us with the words, "mahat itam kAryam saubhAgyodaya pravartate".

In the evening I went to Gurukulam to get Sri Lakshmi Narayana's framed portrait. It was time for Paramacharya to visit the Sanskrit College camp. He used to start from Abhiramapuram and walk through the Nageswararao Park Street and then via KarpagambaL Street. With the portrait in my hand, I joined the crowd of devotees and walked slowly in the front. When we had just turned to enter KarpagambaL street, a man hurried towards me and said, "AcharyaL is going via your home only", and moved away. I was shocked and surprised. Thinking how it was not known to me walking in this crowd, I rushed to my house.

I arranged for immediate sprinkling of water and drawing of a kOlam in front of my house. A festoon of mango leaves was displayed at the entrance. I also arranged for the portrait to be placed on a chair in the front entrance and garlanded, with a standing brass lamp lighted before it. pUrNa kumbham and camphor Arati were also readied. Every arrangement was made in a hurry, but without any omissions. Learning about Paramacharya's passing through the street, people started gathering on the footpath.

Our neighbours and we came to the entrances and waited with folded hands. I did not request SwamigaL to visit my house, thinking humbly that I did not have that kind of qualification. I learnt that Paramacharya had decided to deviate from his usual path to the Sanskrit College via Nageswara Park Street, KarpagambaL Nagar, Vivekananda College East Street and Sullivan Garden Street.

When so many people were yearning for his lotus feet to grace their homes, I was moved to tears of joy at the sudden bhAgyam that came my way.

His people would have definitely requested Paramacharya to avoid the present route he took, since that part of the area was littered with black flags and graffiti of atheist slogans. He perhaps thought to sanctify those places with his holy feet. Once when he was advised against going through a slum area to reach the United India Colony in T. Nagar, he said, "Such worse places? Then it is only proper that we go by that way."

A crowd gathered in front of our house. Paramacharya entered and gracefully sat on the wooden Asana decorated with kOlam. We did pUrNa kumbha pAda pUja and Arati. My wife, children and I came round him thrice and prostrated to him. Paramachara pointed his hand to the divine portrait kept in the inner room and told the gathering, "It is with this Sri Lakshmi Narayana portrait kept for worship, that these people conducted the four-and-half years Mahabharata (pravacana) and the recital of Vishnu Sahasranamam for a total of three lakhs and twenty four thousand counts." AcharyaL then clapped his hands to gesture to the people who had gathered inside the house blocking his view to move away. He looked keenly at the portrait and said "Rajagopala!" calling me near him. He let his glance fall on my old house which had a low, tiled roof and asked me, "So this is your house and you are living here?" When I said yes, he told me, "Have another prostration." All our family members prostrated to him again.

Within days after his arrival, we were blessed with an opportunity to leave that old home and acquire the larger home where we are living now. Good things and marraiges started happening in this new house, following our moving in.

The fortune of Badrinath and Kedarnath holy yAtrA also came our way. When I took the blessings of Paramacharya for these trips at his camp in Madurai, he blessed and told me, "Go with all the family! Not only Badrinath, but also visit Kedarnath!"

It was the time when the fear of the eight planets assembling in a line was dominant throughout the world. He asked me to visit Kedarnath as a remedy, and also blessed me with a garland of rudrAksAs.

With his abundant grace we had a successful pilgrimage to the places, overcoming with ease the hurdles that came our way.

The journey was delayed at Rishikesh due to landslide on the Himalayan roads en route Badrinath. When the bus trips commenced two or three days later, there was a heavy rush and we feared that we might need to stay longer at Rishikesh than was normal.

I acceded to the request of the people in the Nepali ashram where we stayed and held a discourse in Puranas. I spoke in Sanskrit and a guruji translated it in Hindi. The North Indian devotees became fond of my discourses. At the end of the discourse I told them about our predicament. I came to know that day the respect and love showered by the North Indians towards Sanskrit pundits.

A man from the crowd of devotees rose and spoke to me, "I shall take up the responsibility of taking you to Badrinath. Be ready in the morning. How many people are there with you?" And he kept up with his words. Even in the Badrinath darshan we had problems of rush, which were solved by good people who appeared suddenly from nowhere at such times. I believe all this happened due to Paramacharya's anugraha. Our Kedarnath pilgrimage was also completed without problems due to his grace.

About twenty of us who undertook the pilgrimage, at last reached Chennai safely. We had a continuous stream of calls from relatives and students seeking to ensure our safe arrival.

I knew the reason for this wide attention only later. After our return, news had come in the press that the routes in the Himalayas were closed due to landslides and that many travellers met with accidents.

Within two or three days, I reached ILayAtthankudi village with family to have darshan of Paramacharya. I submitted the tIrtham I had brought from Ganga. The Dhanuskoti tIrtham had also come. When Paramacharya took his bath in the pond the next morning, he poured over him the two tIrthas. Looking at this we felt the happiness of deliverance from the cycle of births. We also took our bath there along with other devotees.

SwamigaL later inquired about our pilgrimage and said, "I heard there were landslides in the Himalayan roads?" I replied, "Those things did not affect us since we had the kavacam." He said, "kavacam?", repeating the word. I touched the rudrAksA garland on my neck and said, "When this form of your blessing was with us, what hurdle could we have had?" He smiled. We prostrated again and took leave of him.

Even though many years have gone by since these things happened, the memory of them is fresh in mind.

pAraNam - eating, taking food, breaking a fast, satisfaction
pravacana - exposition, talk, recitation, teaching
The Deivam that saved my life
devotee:...... P.K. Ramanathan, Chennai-24
author:....... P.K. Ramanathan, Chennai-24
compiler:..... T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
source:....... Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol. 2, pages 064-069
publisher:.... Vanathi Padhippaham (May 2005 Edition)
type:......... book, Tamil

Perhaps Sri S.Gopalan's friend's father in that story and the narrator of this story are one and the same person. Perhaps they are not. Perhaps some stories of Periyavaa darshan are taking the shape of urban legends varying in tone and narrative details as they pass through people. I do not know what made me jump suddenly to Book 2 of Vanathi publication from book 6 I was posting from a short time back, and happen to pick up this story instead of another for this post, without consciously selecting it. One thing is sure, however: it's all Sri PeriyavaaL's lIlA.--sd[/i])

*** *** ***

Since I was residing in Kanchipuram, I got PeriyavaaL's darshan daily.

Once an ArAdhana was performed on behalf of the MaTham. For some reason, the required number of vaidIkas could not be employed then for the purpose. Therefore, Sri PeriyavaaL nominated and made be partake the ArAdhana along with the other vaidIkas. After the bhojanam was done, he called and ordered me to do Gayatri Japam for a thousand counts on the next morning, as prAyachitta (for my ineligible participation). I complied with his orders.

udyoga nimittam (Because of my job) I was transferred as the head clerk of the Chingleput District Court. Thereafter, I could not have frequent darshan of Sri PeriyavaaL. Therefore, on the day of his holy nakShatram Anusham, I used to visit Kanchipuram, do triShati archanA to Sri Kamakshi Amman and submit the prasAdam to Sri PeriyavaaL and have my darshan.

Once when I went for his darshan, it was heavily crowded in SriMaTham. I was waiting outside. Sri PeriyavaaL suddenly ordered, "Call the SherAstAr" to the people standing near him. Some people called out, "SherAstAr, SherAstAr!" towards the crowd. Somebody took and made me stand before Sri PeriyavaaL and said, "There is no SherAstAr, only a Court head clerk is here."

I told Sri PeriyavaaL, "I am not a SherAstAr, only a head clerk."

Sri PeriyavaaL said without giving up his point, "Why, can't you become a SherAstAr?"

I told him decidedly, "I have none of the required qualification. I have studied only up to the S.S.L.C. Many who have undergone the study of law through B.A.B.L., M.A.B.L. (courses) are there working under me. Based on my educational qualifications I have no eligibility, even to a small extent. Moreover, the man who is the District Judge now certainly won't recommend me. So I can never reach that position." Later, Sri PeriyavaaL gave me leave to return.

After a few days, some people came on inspection from the Chennai High Court. Impressed by my work, those people gave a report in confidence to the Hight Court Judge that I was the fittest person for the post of SherAstAr. A few days later, I received the orders for the SherAstAr post. It was a surprise to everyone, even a 'great thunder' (pEriDi) to the people who drank the 'virtual milk' (manappAl) that only they would be selected based on their educational qualifications.

Meantime, I went to Kanchipuram for the next Anusha NakShatram. When I placed Sri Kamakshi Amman prasAdam before Sri PeriyavaaL, raising and showing me his hand over his head, Sri PeriyavaaL asked, "Can be called SherAstAr now?" All my eight-span body thrilled in ecstasy, my eyes going snowy, except for worshiping that Deivam who ordered my promotion, I could not manage to say anything. "Only a Deivam would know the daiva saMkalpam", I realized on that day.

*** *** ***

I had asked for a loan from a Mudaliar in Kanchipuram, for my daughter's marriage. Agreeing to give me the loan, he had asked me to come at three o' clock in the afternoon on a specific day. Starting from Chingleput on that day, I proceeded to Kanchipuram to get the money. I thought to have darshan of Sri PeriyavaaL before that, so I went to SriMaTham (first). I got Sri PeriyavaaL's darshan only around two o' clock on that afternoon. Moreover, as never before, Sri PeriyavaaL started talking many subjects with me in vistAram (elaborately). Whereas for me, only the news of Mudaliar asking me to come at three o' clock was gnawing in mind. At length around five-thirty Sri PeriyavaaL gave me leave to quit the place. I reached Mudaliar's home walking and jogging along the way. I was anxious, fearing that perhaps Mudaliar would not give me the money since I had not kept the time. Still, I gently knocked at his door. Mudaliar himself opened the door saying, "vAnga, vAnga (come, come)!", welcoming me.

He said, "I had asked you to come at 3 o' clock. Since I too went out, (I was not at home and) I could return only now; moreover, until six o' clock today, the yogam is not proper. So I thought of asking you to come at 6 o' clock. You have on your own accord come at the right time! Since the good time has arrived, you receive the money right now." Only then I got the flash as to why Sri PeriyavaaL gave me leave to quit after so much time.

*** *** ***

Once a High Court Judge from Chennai came on inspection to the Chingleput District Court. He would always have a lot of work awaiting his attention. So he would schedule his work meticulously and come over. Accordingly, he was to return early to Chennai. The Judge had planned to have only Sri PeriyavaaL's darshan on completion of the inspection, before he returned to Chennai. Making the necessary arrangments, I went with the Judge in his car to SriMaTham, Kanchipuram, and we had darshan of Sri PeriyavaaL. After conversing with the Judge, Sri PeriyavaaL ordered me to take the Judge around some big temples in Kanchipuram.

I was apprehensive to talk to the Judge. He wanted to get back immediately, but for me, I could not refuse to comply with Sri PeriyavaaL's orders. With great saMkocham (cowering) I told him about Sri PeriyavaaL's orders. As he agreed to it half-heartedly, I took him to some of the temples. After a delay of around two hours, the Judge started back for Chennai.

A strong wind with rain was blowing at that time. When we reached the highway, we saw workers removing a large tree that had fallen on the road. When inquired, they said that the tree fell down about one and a half hour back but they could manage to assemble workers and start getting it off the road only by then. Only then we understood the sUkShmam (subtle work) of Sri PeriyavaaL's orders.

Perhaps if we had ignored Sri PeriyavaaL's words, that tree could have falled right on our car. Even if it was not to be so, we could have got struck in the place for a long time without being able to continue our journey. The compassionate orders of Sri PeriyavaaL saved our lives on that day and I can never forget it.

Blossoms of Experiences!
author:..... Poet Subbu Arumugam, Chennai-600078
compiler:... T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
book:......... Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol. 2, pages 70-76
publisher:.. Vanathi Padhippaham (May 2005 Edition)

Pages 70-73

Mankind would ask the yearning: "God hasn't come in person?" But if God does come in person, the mankind would be doubtful if that is really God! Going beyond these two stages, it is the general lakShya (target) of everyone belonging to Sri Sankara Mandalam to feel the 'Sarveshvara' who came in person as that Parameshvara, adore him and offer flowers to his lotus feet. I get the AnmIka sukham (spiritual comfort) in speaking about it with humility.

In the last thirty-five years, the pERu (fortune) I received from the Walking God Sri Kanchi Maha SwamigaL, I share with this world--with this thought, my head bows on the holy feet of Lokamata Sri Kanchi Kamakshi AmbaaL!

The first incident when Sri Paramacharya Deivam blessed me with his grace:

Turning the story of Mahatma Gandhi into a villisai that was broadcase by the AIR, Chennai, and then into a book, I offered the book to his holy presence when I next went for darshan of Sri Mahaswamy. Place: Tenambakkam. SwamigaL to my eyes appearing as Sarveshvara, gave me the orders, "In the forthcoming Agama shilpa satas, you sing the life story of Tirunavukkarasar as villuppATTu!"*

There were hardly two days for the event. I started writing the story keeping in mind Mahaswamy in dhyAnam. In a single night, I was able to write 63 paNs (tunes) and complete the villuppATTu! On the day of the event I kept the manuscript before Mahaswamy's holy presence, and as I conducted the concert in the satas, PeriyavargaL himself attended and blessed, while I, who sat on the stage at a little distance, raised my hands and joined my palms as one worships a temple gopuram (tower). The villisai that started on that day is being heard loudly till today in our and foreign countries.

In the concert on that day I sang a song praying to Goddess Kamakshi thus: "O Mother! Kamakshi Mother! I have brought an article for you, one that you don't have, only I have! And that is 'kavalai' (worry). Whereas you are the svarUpam of nimmadi (embodiment of peace). I write 'kavalai' on paper and keep it before your holy presence. With the big toe of your left foot, you rub the middle letter 'va' from among the three letters of that word! After that I shall read it again--and it would be 'kalai (art)! Give me your blessings to foster that art!"

Sri Maha SwamigaL who keenly observed this song, called me, asked his people to honour me with a silk cloth, raised both his hands and gave his words of blessings: "Kamakshi has rubbed that 'va'! Only 'kalai' from now on! You foster it well!" I was thrilled that Mother Kamakshi herself opened her holy mouth and talked to me!

A new turning in my life from that day onwards! And that a holy turn! Many chances of performing the villuppATTu concert in Kanchi under the sponsorship of SriMaTham! I wouldn't say that this art was fostered because I sang; as the villisai is being heard by the holy ears of Sri Maha SwamigaL, the art sprouted leaves, branches and prop roots (vizhudu) and is growing now in mahonnatam (in a grand manner)!

*** *** ***

The flute and the music of the bow

On these occasions of my villisai concerts going on in Sri Sankara Mandapam of Sri Mahaswamy and doing its work (of spreading dharma), at the end of a concert, in the scene of my receiving prasAdam from SwamigaL, he would give me a sethi (advice); in that advice, panmukha medhA vilAsam (his many-faceted display of knowledge) would shine brilliantly!

Once he asked me: "Is playing a flute there in your villuppATTu concerts?"

The reply I submitted for this question with great humility: "Isn't this an art from Tirunelveli? Since the people of our area have an opinion that the flute is an North Indian instrument, we don't have it played in our troupe, so I don't add the flute."

For this, Maha SwamigaL gave a pithy response: "Yes, yes! That is only the vAdyam of Sri Krishna Paramatma!"

The spark struck me as I heard these words! We labour under the illusion of directions North and South; whereas Maha SwamigaL is immersed in it as the vAdyam of Sri Krishna!

This is the difference between us and him. Pure thoughts of the Dvapara Yuga he has; only Kali Kala thoughts for us!

That same day, I gave a debut to this thought in in the Kanchi Stage in my concert!

*** *** ***

*villuppATTu is a popular Tamil folk art of story telling where narration is interpersed with song, music and striking the villu (a bow to whose string little bells (salangai) are strung).
Pages 73-76
deivIka villisai! desIya villisai!

After finishing my villisai concert on one occasion, I stood humbly before Mahaswamy who appeared as compassion embodied.

"உன்னை ஏன் பாத்துண்டே இருக்கேன்? சொல்லு பார்க்கலாம்? நீதாண்டா நிஜமாச் சிரிக்கிறே! நிஜமாப் பேசறே!"

"unnai En pAtthuNDE irukkEn? chollu pArkkalAm? ~nIthANDA ~nijamAch chirikkiRE! ~nijamAp pEsaRE!--Let me see, tell me why I do keep looking at you? Only you laugh genuinely! Only you talk genuinely!" SwamigaL continued after saying these words:

"When I look at your vil (bow), Rameswaram is visible to me! When I look at your uDukkai (small drum), Kashi comes up in mind! With a look at your bow, Sri Ramachandra Murthi gives me darshan! With a look at your drum, Kashi Viswanathar comes before my eyes! Shivaparam, Vishnuparam are both in this! In addition, Kashi--North and Rameswarm--South! Therefore you connect (the very concept of) National Integration even as you keep playing on your bow!" Saying this he showered me with the rain of his divine laugh!

On that day's concert, I made 'literature' out of his sayings, and in his temple, I submitted it to the forum of the people as Sri Maha SwamigaL's aruL vAchagam (Words of Grace).

*** *** ***

It was only that God, Kanchi Munivar, who showered me with his grace by which this humble man could conduct the Ramayana, Mahabharata villisai as a serial for ten days each! Once when he listened to the 'Sita Kalyanam' concert of mine, he blessed me saying "You can give a concert on sampUrNa rAmAyaNam!"; those words of grace were the capital for my concert on the complete Ramayana. In a similar manner, once in Kanchi at a Bhajanai Kovil Sannidhi where they do puja to the portrait of Sri Krishna, when I took his blessings to sing the story of 'Sri Krishnavataram', he blessed me with the words, "You also sing the story of Bharatam in the same way!" Only the aruL prasAdam given me by Maha SwamigaL, by his taking bilva daLams from his shiras and showering them on me with affection, is what has made these villisai concerts go on today!

This is a song that I received by his grace, becoming an Asukavi (poet who sings impromptu); I submitted to him as my offering:

அம்மையிடம் வரம்கேட்கும் குழந்தை முகம் ஒன்று!
அன்பருக்கு அருள்கூட்டும் குருவின் முகம் ஒன்று!
செம்மையுறு இந்துமதத் தலைவர் முகம் ஒன்று!
சித்தாந்த ஒளிநல்கும் ஞானமுகம் ஒன்று!
தம்மையே தாம் இழந்த தியாக முகம் ஒன்று!
தாய் போல கருணை தரும் அன்பு முகம் ஒன்று!
நம்மிடையே காட்சி தரும் "ஆறுமுகம்" என்ற
நமஸ்காரம் புரிகின்றோம் பெரியவரை இன்று!

ammaiyiDam varamkETkum kuzha~ntai mukham onRu!
anbarukku aruLkUTTum guruvin mukham onRu!
semmaiyuRu i~ndumatat talaivar mukham onRu!
siddhA~nta oLi~nalkum ~jAnamukham onRu!
tammaiyE tAm izha~nda tiyAga mukham onRu!
tAy pOla karuNai tarum anbu mukham onRu!
~nammiDaiyE kATchi tarum "ARumukham" enRu
~namaSkAram purikinROm periyavarai inRu!

"A face of the child that seeks a boon from the Mother!
A face of the guru that secures grace for the devotees!
A face of the dharmic leader of the Hindu Religion!
A face of knowledge that enlightens with the Siddhanta!
A face of sacrifice that effaced its own self!
A face that shows compassion like a mother!
As thus this 'Arumukham' (six-faced) gives darshan to us,
We bow in prostration to the great sage today!"

Maha SwamigaL himself listened to this song on many occasions, enjoyed it, and his face blossoming, raised his hands and blessed; it is due my receiving that bhAgyam that my Family of Arts is growing today!

From Kaladi to Kanchi

Starting with the life story of Adi Sankara BhagavadpadAL who took avatar in Kaladi, and including the holy details of biography of saints in that divine succession--Jagadguru Sri Chandrasekharendra Sarasvati SwamigaL as the 68th pontiff, and Sri Acharya SwamigaL Jagadguru Sri Jayendra Sarasvati SwamigaL and Sri Sankara Vijayendra Sarasvati SwamigaL--I wove them into a story sung with villisai giving it title 'From Kaladi to Kanchi', and before I could stage it in Kanchipuram, I received the pERu (fortune) of staging it in SriMaTham before Sri Maha SwamigaL!

In that concert, I got the bhAgyam of singing ParamacharyaL as Pallavi, Sri Jayendra Sarasvati SwamigaL as Anupallavi and Sri Vijendra Sarasvati SwamigaL as Charanam!

Enabling me to get my piRavippayan (the fruits of this birth of mine), the boon of grace and compassion of that tuRavarasar (king of ascetics) made me the AsthAna vidvAn of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti PiTham!

For a dharmically disciplined kavi~jan (poet) what other honour is required?

The Gurunathar Who Adores Pandits
author:..... M.R. Balasubramanian, Tricny
compiler:... T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
book:......... Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol. 2, pages 77-81
publisher:.. Vanathi Padhippaham (May 2005 Edition)

My maternal grandfather Sreemaan Krishna SastrigaL was a great Sanskrit Pandit. He was working as a teacher in the Municipal High School, Mayuram during the years 1940-1950. With great pAndityam (expertise) in Sanskrit, he was teaching Bhasyam, Yoga Vashistam, and Jnana Vashistam.

Hearing about this man's pAndityam and rare jnAnam, I heard that Maha PeriyavaaL invited him to Kanchi MaTham. But then SastrigaL hesitated, since he found MaThAdhipati[/i]s to be raja sanyAsis with kirITam, siMhAsanam and titles meant for the kings, instead of being pUrNa sanyAsis. Even then Kanchi PeriyavaaL was keen to honour Sri Krishna SastrigaL.

During the Tamil Kara year, PeriyavaaL was camping in Mayuram. One early morning during that time, Krishna SastrigaL was teaching his students in his gRuham (house) in the ParimaLa Ranganathar Koil Tirumanjana Street. With no one expecting it to happen, Maha PeriyavaaL personally visited SastrigaL's gRuham and sat on the thiNNai (raised portico), listening patiently until the teaching was over.

When he came to know about the arrival of Maha PeriyavaaL, SastrigaL hurried to the entrance of his house and honoured PeriyavargaL.

PeriyavaaL then honoured SastrigaL with a silver plate, woolen shawl, sari, dhoti, money and prasAdam and asked him to accept them as sanmAna for his saMskRuta pAndityam.

My mother, MaathuSri Parvathi Ammal, who is the daughter of Krishna SastrigaL informs that this was a rare, wonderful and unforgettable incident (in their life).

Some days before Maha PeriyavaaL attained Siddhi, when I had darshan of him in Kanchipuram and told him that I was 'Mayuram Sri Krishna SastrigaL's grandson', he understood my words well and blessed me. It gave me spiritual quivers.

We all should ponder today what a broad mind Periyavaa had, to seek out Sanskrit Pandits and appreciate them with honours.

*** *** ***

Around the year 1945, once when Maha PeriyavaaL was camping in Mayuram, he was performing the puja in the place Anaithandavapuram nearby. After the puja was over, he asked for the elephant to be brought to the puja spot, in order to give prasAdam to the elephant.

Since the puja spot was a small room with an arikaal padi (entrance made of corn husks), not knowing how to bring the large-sized elephant through the entrance, the people stood perplexed.

When he heard the reason for not bringing the elephant, PeriyavaaL called the mahout and asked him again to send the elephant for the puja. The mahout went to the elephant and spoke to it in its own language saying that PeriyavaaL was calling it for the puja, and released it from its shackles. The elephant at once walked to the entrance, narrowed its large frame, twisting and bending it to pass through the entrance, entered the puja room, stood calmly till the puja was over and then came out in the same way.

Everyone was stunned with ecstasy, watching the elephant obey PeriyavaaL's words and conduct itself accordingly.

*** *** ***

Once when Maha PeriyavaaL was camping in Mayuram, the elephant that was in the SriMaTham family went berserk and started wandering in the nearby Aruvaapadi and Kaduvankudi villages, trumpeting loudly. The news of the elephant running amuck, getting out of its mahout's control was informed to Maha PeriyavaaL.

He immediately ordered that the palanquin he traveled be carried empty some distance along the path the elephant went, uttering the words "Rama Ramaiyah" loudly, and sounding the musical instruments ekkaaLam, tirucchinnam and such others, and then return to the camp.

The elephant sighted the palanquin leaving with its accompaniments, forgot its amok and anger, realized that it had done a mistake to its boss, and came back quietly with the entourage. The palanquin guided the elephant through another path and returned to the camp. PeriyavaaL then patted the elephant, fed it and returned it to the charge of its mahout.

*** *** ***

A Boat Club was conducting ferries in the Kaveri river in Mayuram in those days. Maha PeriyavaaL when he ascended the throne (as pointiff) was staying in Mayuram for a long time. I remember my father telling me that PeriyavaaL used to ride on those boats, accompanied by boys of his age, in those days.

sanmAnaH - respect, honour
Info-bits from RAju, official, DOE, KAnchi
devotee:...... KAnchi Panneerselvam
author:....... RAju, official, Department of Education, KAnchi
compiler:..... T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
source:....... Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol. 2, pages 82-86
publisher:.... VAnathi Padhippaham (May 2005 Edition)
type:......... book, Tamil

KAnchi Panneerselvam (former MP) used to have frequent darshan of shrI PeriyavargaL. Fortunately, he was alive after a car accident. After that accident, he met shrI PeriyavargaL and received his blessings.

Once KAnchi Panneerselvam (KP hereafter) had arranged for a special abhiSheka ArAdhanA to KAnchi shrI KumarakkoTTam Murugap PerumAn. Even as the abhiShekam was being performed in the temple, his friends inside the temple told him that shrI PeriyavargaL was coming that side, walking in the RAjavIdhi. KP came to the street to receive shrI PeriyavargaL and invite him inside the temple. Looking at KP, shrI Periyavar said, "It is exactly a year today since you met with that car accident, so are you performing abhiShekam to shrI Murugap PerumAn? I come only to witness it." Although KP did not remember that a year had gone by since that accident, realizing that shrI PeriyavargaL had remembered it precisely and to do him anugraham the sage had himself chosen to come to shrI Murugan's Alayam, he went into spiritual shivers.

Once KP brought some Kazhaga (ADMK) notables when he came to have darshan of shrI PeriyavargaL. At that time the sage blessed him, "You will have the opportunity to move with the VIPs of the world." After a few days, KP stood as a candidate in the KAnchi constituency for the parliamentary election. He had prayed to shrI PeriyavargaL for his winning in the election. On the day of couting of votes too he came and prayed to shrI PeriyavargaL. When the counting was over and the results declared late after midnight, KP had won in the election.

When KP came to have darshan of shrI PeriyavargaL on the next morning, shrI PeriyavargaL told him, "Expecting you last night itself after the counting was over, I kept myself awake." Realizing his mistake, KP sought pardon from the sage. After that he had the opportunity of being selected for the group of MPs that visited many countries, and thus had the opportunity to move with many VIPs of the world.

*** *** ***

The time when former Tamilnadu Chief Minister MGR was taking treatment in America to get his health restored. KP came to shrI PeriyavargaL and sought the sage's grace for MGR to get back his health.

shrI PeriyavargaL told him, "There are some images of deities buried inside the ground in a village in Karnataka. Those images should be extracted and set in pratiShta--divine installation, in a temple. This you inform them." Accordingly, KP sent this information to Smt.VN Janaki, MGR's wife, who was then in America with her husband. Later, with the help of the CM, the images were extracted, a temple was built, and they were installed in the temple.

Getting his health restored completely, MGR came back from America, had darshan of shrI PeriyavargaL and received his blessings.

*** *** ***

A smArtha named SAminAtha ayyar, was working as a maNiyakkAra--government revenue official, in KAnchipuram shrI VaradarAja PerumAL temple. Once when he had darshan of shrI PeriyavargaL, the sage told him, "Henceforth you wear gobI chandanam--paste of sandal powder mixed with lime on your forehead. Isn't that your kuTumba sampradAyam--family tradition?" The next day on, SAminAtha ayyar wore gobI chandanam and attended to his work in shrI Varadar temple.

Although his colleagues did not have any avertion to look at a vibhUti-smeared forehead, now when they saw him as a long gobI-chandana-dhAri, their amity towards him increased more. Perhaps they considered him as a man of shrI VaiShNava sampradAya! From that time, respect and influence among the VaiShaNavas in that temple started swelling for Ayyar!

The MaNiyakkAra once had darshan of shrI PeriyavargaL in TenambAkkam ShivAsthAnam. Periyavar gold him to make a 'thombai piLLaiyAr'* in black stone in a single day and install it the same day at ShivASsthAnam. SAminAtha ayyar accepted that orders. In a day or two, he met a suitable sthapati--sculptor, selected an auspicious day for the pratiShta, and supplicated to PeriyAL. That the Thombai PiLLaiyAr was made in a single day and the kumbAbhiShekam held on the same day by PeriyavA's grace is matter of great surprise.

*thombai piLLaiyAr--the Tamil dictionary meaning of the word 'thombai' is "a high wicker-basket used for storing grain". But the Thombai PillAiyAr in this episode is made of black stone. What form of PiLLaiyAr is this?--sd

An Exclusive Grace!
author:...... M.K.P. ShanmugaSundaram, sthapati (sculptor), KeezhveLoor
compiler:... T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
book:......... Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol. 2, pages 87-88
publisher:.. Vanathi Padhippaham (May 2005 Edition)

About 27 years ago, TiruvaaLar D. Jagannatha Naidu, who was the DharmaKarta of Kanchi PeriyavaaL's favourite kSetra SuruttupPaLLi Sri PaLLiKondeeswarar temple, asked me, when I was employed in the temple construction works of Takkolam Jalanatha temple, to prepare an estimate for his temple.

I went and looked over the SuruttupPaLLi temple, prepared an estimate and gave it to him. Some months later, he told me that he had obtained quotations from two more sthapatis, and that he would show them to Maha Munivar Kanchi PeriyavaaL and consult him about which estimate to accept. Though I was having experience in TiruppaNi (temple construction) works for 45 years, I was trained according to the Tamil Agamas. I also had many years of experience of working under several gurus. Many people who followed the Sanskrit Agamas were working in the MaTham. Many sthapatis had the support of the MaTham. So I was not hopeful of getting this job ahead of these people. Tiru. D. Jagannatha Naidu asked me to come to the MaTham. I went with him to the place on the banks of the river in Tenambakkam where Periya SwamigaL was staying.

We were told that Maha SwamigaL observed a vow of silence on that day. When SwamigaL came out after sometime, Tiru. Naidu gave him the three estimates that included mine. Keeping aside the estimates given by sthapatis who were more popular than me, Maha SwamigaL chose my estimate and blessed me.

With financial assistance from Kanchi MaTham, the entire TiruppaNi was done by me.

On a full moon day, when the TiruppaNi was going on, my workers and I went again to Kanchi for another blessings from Maha SwamigaL; I whispered to Tiru. Naidu that I was eager to see Maha SwamigaL give me darshan with a smile. Tiru. Naidu asked me to keep quiet. As if knowing what was in my mind, SwamigaL gave darshan for a long time, with a smile blossoming in his face. Naidu said forthwith, "This is the grace of Maha SwamigaL!" Many such incidents have happened in my life.

Read the VinAyagar Agaval
devotee:...... Kadarshop AV VengkaTarAman, SrIranggam
author:....... Kadarshop AV VengkaTarAman, SrIranggam
compiler:..... T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
source:....... Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol. 2, pages 117-119
publisher:.... VAnathi Padhippaham (May 2005 Edition)
type:......... book, Tamil

About forty-eight years ago, PUjyashrI MahASvAmigaL was camping in a small village called VETTamangalam near MayilADuturai. At that time PeriyAr EVR started the movement of breaking the PiLLaiyAr images. When the date of breaking the images was announced, the sacred group of SivanaDiyArs--Shiva devotees, in KumbakoNam were upset; they met ShrIShrI PeriyavAL at VETTamangalam and asked him, "What retaliative measure are we to take for this?" PeriyavAL gave them these words of blessings: "Let all the bhaktas from tomorrow go to PiLLaiyAr temples and break coconuts and do abhiSheka-Aradhanas."

To aDiyEn--myself, ShrI PeriyavAL gave a sign in silence and with orders to publish his message in the magazine asking everyone to do pArAyaNam of the "VinAyagar Agaval". An additional order was given to print and distribute freely, the "VinAyagar Agaval" book blessed by AvvaiyAr. A surprising thing about this was that I did not know about the existence of a book called "VinAyagar Agaval". I could not also understand his silent sign indicating AvvaiyAr. Nor could I understand his gestures about the "VinAyagar Agaval" book. Then he wrote the name on the sand and showed it to me. It was night time and there was not enough light from the electric lamp where PeriyavAL was sitting. Then he asked for a slate and chalk to be brought and showed me the name by writing it on the slate. I understood it. Accordingly, the "VinAyagar Agaval" book was printed and distributed freely. All the magazines and newspapers carried PeriyavAL's message to the people to do pArAyaNam--recitation, of the "VinAyagar Agaval". I had the bhAgyam of seeing PeriyavAL's handwriting which was like printed letters.

*** *** ***

Some people who saw the words "He who believes in God is a fool" written at the bottom of Tiru. PeriyAr's statue in the city of Thanjai, went to ShrI MahAPeriyavAL and expressed their anxiety as to what to do for that kind of propaganda. ShrI PeriyavAL gave them the advice, "You people install a Gandhi statue, write the RAmaNAma at its bottom and also mention, 'Chanting RAmaNAma is the best spiritual activity.'"

*** *** ***

In 1952, ShrI MahAPeriyavAL was camping in NagangkuDi. He convened a small conference of the VaLLuvar community among the Harijans at that time. The VaLLuvars were good astrologers and were responsible for the religious rites of the Harijana SamUham.

Orders were given to serve meal to the people who attended the mahAnADu--conference. It was at that time a sikkal--hitch, cropped up.

There were sub communities among the VaLLuvars and they refused to sit in samapangkti--same meal session, and partake their meals.

This was a matter of surprise to PeriyavAL himself! He said with surprise, "Till today it was not known to me that such a sampradAyam was in anuShTAnam in that samUham!"

*** *** ***
Kanakal Treatment
author:...... SriMaTham Balu
compiler:... T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
book:......... Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol. 2, pages 123-132
publisher:.. Vanathi Padhippaham (May 2005 Edition)

An incident that happened twenty years back.

A man named Echankudi Ganesa Aiyer was a staunch devotee of PeriyavaaL. His wife had cancer in the stomach and was suffering much. Doctors advised that she must be operated upon or else it would be rare for her to survive the disease.

Ganesa Aiyer came to PeriyavaaL and supplicated his case.

Periyavaa said, "No operation. There is a railway station named TirunellikKaaval near TiruturaiPoondi. Getting down at the station and going west by a kilometer, one could see an irrigation channel. On the bank of the channel, there is a tree by name Kanakal.* Ask her to take the stalks of its leaves, her cancer will be cured."

That AmmaaL masticated the tree's leaf-stalks as advised. Within a few days the disease of cancer disappeared! (Unfortunately, that Kanakal tree dried up in the recent times).

As she had prayed to the sage, Ganesa Aiyer's wife lived for over eighty years, and happily witnessed the kanakAbhiSekam of Maha PeriyavaaL before reaching Shiva Padam.

*** *** ***

SriMaTham camp in a village called Sethinipuram in the Thanjai district.

Periyavaa started the puja at three o' clock itself, early morning, completed it at nine and then took bhikSA. He also asked the shiSyAs (disciples and assistants) to have their meals.

The disciples and assistants were not accustomed to such an early lunch at nine in the morning. They were also not hungry. So they sat for their meal for the sake of it and got up.

Sometime later, SwamigaL started for a village, eight miles from that place.

Because of an insufficient early lunch, the disciples and the assistants were hungry (by the time they reached the village). But then, what could they do? Whatever they did, Periyavaa would come to know it! No one was sure about when they could have their night bhikSA.

When they were sitting outside, Periyavaa opened his kattuppetti (journey box). He took pieces of the delicacy Mysore Pak from it, held each piece in his hand and wrung it between his figures to break it into finer pieces and scattered them into a silver pela (a large cup). There were ripe mango fruits nearby. He took some of them, cut and squeezed their juice out and poured it over the Mysore Pak powder in the bowl. Thus he prepared a mix of Mysore Pak and mango juice with his own hands!

A snap with his fingers. A shiSyA came. "Now, everyone take this!"

They tasted like devAmrutam (nectar of the gods)--PeriyavaaL's words as well as the new sweet dish!

So much love and affection, towards his shiSyAs!

*** *** ***

A judge from the Chennai High Court came for darshan. He was wearing a dhoti around his waist formally, but did not wear an angavastram to cover the upper part of his body.

When asked why, he said, "We have a custom to welcome poor people who come to our home and feed them. One such atithi (guest) took away my sun glasses and angavastram. From that time I have stopped wearing an upper cloth or sun glasses."

Listening to his words with patience, Periyavaa asked that the judge be provided with an angavastram from the MaTham.

"Henceforth, daily wear an angavastram. ekavastram (one piece cloth) is not proper. Wearing black glasses or not may be according to your liking. You should not do satkarma (auspicious rites) with ekavastram."

The judge promised him to do as advised.

*** *** ***

Periyavaa was traveling to SriSailam through a path that went through a jungle. He asked the people in his entourage to do pArAyaNa (recite) of the Vishnu Sahasranamam and walk their way.

However slowly recited, the Vishnu Sahasranamam would be over in a half hour. But then, for whatever reason, on that day, the shiSyas were not able to recite the song in unison and had to repeat the stanzas whenever a mistake was committed. The next camping site was also not in sight.

Periyavaa said, "Neither the Sahasranamam seems to end, nor the village of our destination seems to arrive."

At length they reached the village of their camping. Periyavaa said humorously, "You people did not recite Vishnu Sahasranamam. You have done a lakSArcana for Vishnu!"

The night stay was in the PerumaaL temple in that village.

A crowd of rustics from that region were waiting for the sage. They supplicated that Periyavaa should make a vijayam (visit) the temple of their village deity Katthavarayan.

Though Periyavaa was very tired, he went to the temple so the people would be happy. As he entered the temple, it started drizzling and rained heavily for an hour.

The people were flooded with happiness. Their usual experience was that if the rain clouds gathered, a powerful wind from somewhere would blow and disperse the clouds. Since Periyavaa came, the wind did not blow with the usual force, they said.

Periyavaa did not accept it. He said that as he came to the Katthavarayan temple, the deity Katthavarayan (named after the wind) stopped the wind, so it rained! -- thus giving the credit to the village deity.

An old man said, "Yes, our Katthavarayan poured out his happiness of seeing you as the rains."

*** *** ***

Periyavaa was staying in a spot in the woods. At about three in the afternoon, three Andhra vaidikAs came for darshan. They hadn't yet finished their bath, sandhya and devatArcana. They were also svayampAkis (people who cook their food on their own).

But then there were no such facilities for them in that camp. Periyavaa told them, "Alright, finish your nityakarmas and come back."

The shiSyas were in a fix as to what to do. They inwardly feared and worried if Periyavaa would give them a hardly possible task.

Half an hour later, the vaidikas came back and prostrated to the sage. Periyavaa said, "There are no facilities here to let you have your bhojanam in the proper way. I have asked my assistants to give you my bhikSa pakva (food items) which are not salted."

The shiSyas were shocked. If the items prepared for Periyavaa's bhikSa are to be given to these people, what could be given to Periyavaa for his bhikSa?

"Today is sambhaSaSTi. I should not take food, milk will suffice." Periyavaa pacified his disciples. His sacrifice brought tears to their eyes.

*** *** ***

Periyavaa was doing saMcAram (walking about) in the Akanda Kaveri region. One day he went to the coconut groves near the camping site. A number of crows were seen on the tops of the coconut trees.

Periayvaa asked a boy who accompanied him, "Shall I ask these crows to caw?"

The boy did not know what to reply.

"Look here", Periyavaa said and started cawing like the crows. All the crows echoed his cry in a chorus.

Periyavaa said, "Now the crows are cawing. It indicates that there will be a large number of guests today. Ask them to prepare lots of food."

The shiSyas were embarrassed that things might go waste if they cooked a lot.

But when, what wonder! It came to be known shortly that a meeting of the Congress Party was held in the nearby place. People who attended it came to know of Periyavaa's camp nearby and came over for darshan.

Periyavaa directed everyone to have food and go. Finally, not a handful of cooked rice remained!

*** *** ***

Periyavaa had acute stomach ache. An Ayurveda doctor from the Venkataramana Ayurveda Vaidyashala, Chennai sent him a month's stock of Ayurveda medicines to cure his stomach ache.

The next day, the kArAmpasu in the SriMaTham was unwell. It did not take any fodder or water. The cowherd came and reported it.

Periyavaa forthwith gave him the entire lot of medicines given to him the previous day and asked him to feed it to the cow, mixing it with jaggery.

By evening, the cow became alright. PeriyavaaL's stomach ache had also gone!

*** *** ***

There was a devotee by name Akatti-keerai Parameswara Aiyer. Since he used to feed cows with Akatti-keerai daily, he got this name.

Old age came to him. The selfishness of seeking his own puNya gave way to the thoughts of serving Periyavaa suitably.

Flowers of the tumpai plant are among Paramesvara's favourites. Periyavaa liked to do arcana using the tumpai flowers.

Parameswara Aiyer would collect the tumpai flowers daily. Plucking them is a difficult task. They are tiny flowers on short plants, so one has to kneel before the plants and carefully separate the flowers off the leaves. Aiyer did not bring the flowers apiece, he would tie them neatly into a garland!

PeriayvaaL's face would blossom when he adorns ChandraMauleesvara with that garland.

*** *** ***

A state government official was residing in Kanchipuram. He was employed in the toll houses that collected tax from the road users.

He did not require to earn money in unethical ways; but then his higher-ups fixed him a target they should be given by him.

He did not use the bribe money for his household expenses. Instead, he would spend them on feeding the cows with Akatti-keerai or fixing lamps in temples.

Coming as he did daily for Periyavaa darshan, one day he brought a svarNa bilva mAlA (garland of golden bilva leaves) and submitted it.

Periyavaa told his disciple in a low voice, "Let this not be used for ChandraMauleesvara."

The disciple was rather unhappy that Periyavaa refused to accept a special, voluntary offering from a good devotee.

"This was not bought from his own earnings. It was made from he money he received from other ways! Should we accept stained offerings for ChandraMauleesvara?"

The devotee agreed that what Periyavaa said was entirely true. But then what to do with the garland made specially for Swami?

"Ask him to give it to some temple."

Whichever Shivalingam had the bhAgya to wear that svarNa bilva hAram? Only Ishvara has that light of information!

* The Sanskrit term kanakalodbhava refers to the resin of the plant Shorea Robusta which is the Indian Sarai or Sal trees. Is this the tree that PeriyavaaL referrred to here?

Akatti/ Agati-keerai - a leafy vegetable of the tree Sesbania grandiflora, also used for nitrogen fixing in the soil.
kArAmpasu - (Tamil) a cow with black tongue and nipples
kattuppetti - (Tamil) 1. a journey box containing cooking utensils and materials; 2. a person of old-fashioned ways
Tumpai - A small herb of the plains of India, extending from Sikkim and Bihar, westwards to the Punjab, and Southward to Cape comorin, belonging to the family 'Lamiaceae'. It is mentioned in Kurinchippattu as "Tumpai", "Tulai", "Sudarpoo Tonri". Medically it is reputed to be an antidote for snake-bite; the juice of the leaves are applied in cases of 'Psoriasis' and other chronic skin diseases. The leaves and tender shoots are used as pot-herb. (Ref: Government Museum Chennai)

*** *** ***
The Spiritual Sun
author:...... E.R.Paramasivam, Mettukkadai (via UttukkuLi)
compiler:... T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
book:......... Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol. 2, pages 152-154
publisher:.. Vanathi Padhippaham (May 2005 Edition)

For about thirty-five years on the day of the fullmoon in the month of Aani, I was came over to SriMaTham and got Maha Periyavar's blessings. I was born in an agricultural family and studied up to P.U.C. I was interested to know about AnmIkam (spirituality) and read books related to it. I would also attend spiritual discources.

I was involved in a litigation in the year 1985. My opponents had filed a complicated and fabricated lawsuit on me. Under the fear that my side might lose the case, I fell down at the feet of Maha SwamigaL in SriMaTham shASTAnga (with eight limbs) at morning five o' clock one day. When the look of grace and simplicity of that Deivam fell on me, I just prayed for his anugraha to come up in life (without remembering the court case). Taking a garland of jasmine flowers from a basket, and wheeling it around his head, he placed the garland on the cane plate, lifted his right hand and blessed me. The man who was beside Maha Periyavar asked me, "What do you have to ask him?" I said, "The court case should be settled in my favour." Meantime as the people next to me started prostrating, I moved away.

After a few minutes, when Periyavar came walking to the place we were sitting, I fell at his feet again. As he raised his hand with the daNDam (staff), his assistant said, "UttukkuLik-kArarE! (man from UttukkuLi) It would be victory for you in the lawsuit held in the court."

I got the victory in the court case due to Maha Periyavar's anugraham. At an estimate of five lakhs fupees, two acres of bhUmi (land) came under my svAdinam (enjoyment). It gave me peace and progress in life.

Another important incident. Maha Periyavar passed away in the month of Margazhi. Those thirty days I would get up early at four in the morning and do puja to the Gods. A vision one morning at that hour of dawn. In the Chennai-KaLLikkottai main road N.H.47, near PerunthuRai, in a place called Vijayamangalam, a large truck having 24 wheels was coming eastward with Maha Periyavar sitting on it facing north; the truck was decorated in an unprecedented manner anywhere with jasmine, Indian birthwort (mullai) and rose flowers and jurio silk clothing (silk embellished with gold and silver threads) and appeared as if it was a vimAna (aircraft) from Devaloka.

When the people assembled there said, "Periyavar is coming", I tied my shoulder towel around my waist and worshipped him raising both my hands above my head, and at that precise time Maha Periyavar who was a spiritual splendour blessed me in the same way that he blessed me at SriMaTham. Someone saying, "Maha Periyavar is passing (pOikkoNdu irukkirAr) in santoSam (happiness)", I was awakened!

I was overwhelmed with the desire to meet Periyavar in person and get his blessings.

That incident happened on a Wednesday, and it was Thursday as it dawned. That spiritual sun reached God's feet at 2:15 hours in the afternoon on Saturday. He was placed in samAdhi at SriMaTham on Sunday.

That spiritual sun, that deiva bimbam (divine image) who was born in anusha nakSatra became the key of spirituality for me.

It should be considered my bhAgyam that he intimated his condition to me on the Wednesday night of 05-01-1994 around four o' clock by the morning of Thursday.

Maha Periyavaa passed away on Saturday, 08-01-1994. From the next day, that is Sunday, 09-01-1994, the Brindavana Deivam had obtained a never ceasing place in my heart.

svAdin - tasting, enjoying
PeriyavAL and the sivanadiyArgaL--Shiva devotees
author:...... SivaGnanaBodha Satsangam, Thoothukkudi
compiler:... T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
book:......... MahA PeriyavAL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol. 2, pages 133-135
publisher:.. Vanathi Padhippaham (May 2005 Edition)

Our teacher Pulavar Sankarar AvargaL was bestowed with the love and grace of Kanchi Maamuni ParamAChAryAL. He would often come to Kanchipuram for AcharyaaL darshan.

Once when he had gone for darshan, ParamAChAryAL ordered him, "You should bring out (the glory of) Tirukkadavur Abhirami. For that you must spread the Abhirami Andadi among the bhaktAs."

Pulavar Sankarar too took the orders on his apex and arranged for the pArAyaNa of the Abhirami Andadi and taught the meaning of the verses and thus 'brought out' Abhirami in the Southern districts. He also gave detailed commentary about the Andadi at many places. Through his efforts and by the anugraha of Kanchi Maamunivar he received the title 'Abhirami Dasan'.

For the second time, in the year 1983, our Teacher went on pilgrimage to Kashi and took fifty Anbars with him by bus. Throughout the way they met with lots of hurdles and health problems. When he reported his problems to ParamAChAryAL who was then camping in the Andra state, ParamAChAryAL ordered him to daily sing the 'IdarkaLaiyum Tiruppatikam' gifted with grace by Tirugnana Sambandha Perumaan in the sthalam TirunedunkaLam, that started with the line 'maRai-udaiyAy, tol-udaiyAy, vAr chadaimel-vaLarum'. As they did so without fail, the yAtrA was completed in a grand manner.

In the years 1982-83, at the Thoothukkudi Saiva Siddhanta Sabha, an Adiyaar was giving a commentary on the Saiva Siddhanta book of knowledge Siva-gnAna-bodham, which was gifted with grace by Sri MeykandaTheva Nayanar. Our Teacher felt the inconsistency between the Sutras of the book and the explanations given.

When he had gone for darshan of ParamAChAryAL who was then in the Maharashtra state, our Teacher supplicated it to AcharyaaL. Kanchi Maamunivar AvargaL gave his anugraham to him for writing a commentary for that Siva-gnAna-bodham (book) in advaita-param (the manner of Advaita). As a base to it, the sage also graced him with an upadesham, "When the nature of Pasu and the nature of Paasam wears away, the real nature of the Pathi will shine automatically." Then our Teacher returned to Thoothukkudi, and from the date 6.11.1983 started writing a commentary in full scale (mApAdiyam) for the Siva-gnAna-bodham sutras along with a handy short commentary, completed it (in due course), and took up lecturing them to the Adiyaars in the Thermal Nagar Satsangam. By this, he obtained the honourable name, 'Svayam-jnAna Siddhar'.

Later when he had darshan of ParamAChAryAL along with the Satsangam members in January 1987 and took leave, orders came from AcharyaaL: "As AdiSankara Bhagavad PadaaL has gifted with grace in the 43rd shloka of Soundarya Lahari, ask the Pulavar to talk on the lines that AmbaaL's hair has its own natural fragrance."

Our Gurunathar (also) wrote a simple commentary that could be understood by everyone on the forty-one verses of Ananda Lahari gifted with grace by AdiSankara Bhagavad PadaaL, and published it with PeriyavAL's blessings in the year 1979, under the seal of SriMaTham.

ParamAChAryAL was staying in the Maharashtra state. It was raining profusely. With our Teacher standing in knee-deep water, PeriyavAL demonstrated some rare mudrAs and graced him with the teaching. This is indeed a bhAgyam hard to come by!
Some SriMaTham Assistants Speak...
author:..... SriMatham Assistants
compiler: T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
book:....... Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol. 2, pages 252-260
publisher:.. Vanathi Padhippaham (May 2005 Edition)

Bhogi Sri KaNNaiyan

When he was ten years old, one Sri KaNNaiyan came, along with his father, to SriMaTham Vyasa Puja held at Thuvarankurichi in the year 1940. His father, Kunju was then the bedda bhogi (head of the bhogis who carried Paramacharya's palanquin). From that day, until this date when the use of mena (palanquin) has stopped, the memories of KaNNaiyan, who had linked himself to SriMaTham, are sweet. The interest he had towards Maha SwamigaL and the compassion Maha SwamigaL had for the bhogis were very deep.

Now on, let us listen to what KaNNaiyan says (about his experiences).

Our grandfather was bhogi to Maha Periyavanga's Guru and Paramaguru. From that time, we have been serving as the head of the mena carriers. Maha Periyavanga had abundant love for us. He used to call me kunju mavan or bedda bhogi.

There were six menas in the MaTham. The Karnataka Pallakku was used only for pattaNa prevasam (going round the city). It would look like a cradle. There were two separate palanquins, one for the day and one for the night.

The mena would look like a box. Bhogis used to come from Chidambaram, Mayavaram, Mannarkudi and Kattu Mannarkudi. We came from the Udayar Palayam zamin.

Once we lift the mena, we would walk for six kilometers. In order not to feel the burden and the strain of walking, we would speak aloud the names Kanchi Kamatchi, Madurai Meenakshi, slowly. Our pace was that of a bicycle. Another group would be ready at the sixth kilometer, where we would change shoulders. Then we would go ahead in a cart and wait for the next trip. There were eight people to carry the mena, four on the front side and four on the back. Generally, our trips would be from seven to ten o' clock in the night.

When we go for our meals, Maha Perivanga would wait for us, sitting. When we returned, he would inquire if we had our meals properly.

In those days, the daily bata (allowance) of a bhogi was six annas. Apart from that they would give us a hundred kalams (measure) each of paddy from the Kuravai and Samba harvests. This arrangement was in place until 1963.

Once (when Bhaktavatsalam was the chief minister) we started on our trip at three in the morning from Pulaccheri on the eastern side of Thanjai. The camp was arranged at Kalaiyar Koil, at a distance of seventy-five kilometers. When we reached there, Maha Periyavanga ordered that hot water be readied for our bath. He said, "Paavam, the shoulders of the bhogis would ache." From the place we stopped, SwamigaL's camp was a distance of one kilometer. He said he would go on foot and started on. From there we started at three in the afternoon and went to Sivaganga. Once we reached there, we were given rest for two days. He ordered, "IvaaLukku romba shramam. (It should be very difficult for these people). Server them meals with vadaa and paayasam. As he speaks these words, KaNNaiyan's eyes turn red with emotion.

It was around nine o' clock in the morning one day. Vedapuri Sastry was serving SwamigaL. At that time, SwamigaL was doing Achamanam, saMkalpam and then japam. Some people from the town came to see him. Vedapuri told them, "Periyavaa is doing japam, you can't see him now." So they left. When Periyavanga opened his eyes, he asked, "Where are those people from the town?"

"They are gone," said Vedapuri.

"Did they come to see you or me?"

I was beside them at that time. Periyavanga said, "They would be standing in the bus stand, bring them." I ran and told them the news. They were very happy. They came rushing, had darshan and left. When they desired to give some money as offer to the MaTham, Periyavanga asked them to do something for the bhogis. He was so affectionate towards us!

It could be some forty years ago. Periyavanga was doing tapas inside the mena on the banks of Kollidam. Darkness had already set in. The manager came and slowly slided the door of the palanquin. SwamigaL was not to be found inside! It happened so suddenly! After two minutes, somewhere from the darkness came Periyavanga asking what the matter was!

"You people did not see Maha SwamigaL getting out of the mena?"

"God! That is what we do not know... The door remains closed!"

My remembrance is that it was in 1985, 86. There was a bhAi (a Muslim brother) who was doing the business of selling kailis (lungi, a dhoti-like wear commonly worn by Muslims). He was the all India proprietor for the Sanku Mark kaili/lungi firm. He came in the queue to have darshan of Periyavanga. When his turn came, Periyavanga asked me to wrap a shawl around him. The Kaili Proprietor was in ecstasy! His heart melted with the words "Allah...Allah!"

*** *** ***

BrahmaSrI R. Ramamoorthy SastrigaL

BrahmaSrI R. Ramamoorthy SastrigaL did his adhyayana (study, especially of Vedas) in the Mahadanapuram pAThashAlA (school). He was rather dull-headed; and he had the habit of stammering in addition! He would stammer only when he talked. There would be no such hurdle when he was uttering mantras.

Something was to be done for a living! He could't survive doing vaidikam, because nobody would support him with calls.

When he was twenty-four years old, he joined SriMaTham in the year 1957. His father supplicated to Maha SwamigaL, "This boy is not fit for anything. He is dull-headed. Let him do some assitance in the MaTham."

SwamigaL ordered him, "You wash and dry the clothes here. Also read mUka pancati."

Sri SastrigaL's service continues even today. His face blossoms as he talks about Maha PeriyavaaL. (He speaks about his reminiscences below).

Those were days of much AnandA (happiness)! Lots of bhAgyam I had! As he ordered, I would read mUka pancati on and off. I did not know where the stammer was gone! All his anugraham.

He used to take bath five or six times in a day. In those days, it was considered vizhuppu (ceremonial impurity before bathing) even if we touched a piece of paper! If we touched paper, we needed to take bath!

People who came for darshan would speak about their private problems. 'The cow should give birth to a calf', 'The son is unemployed and is simply going round the town like a vagabond', 'He is not giving me the lease'--Maha Periyavaa would patiently listen to such complaints from them. He would say, "Thinking that I am like the Eswara, they tell me their problems, why not let them speak?"

On some occasions, when there were too many devotees waiting, it would be late for the pujas. If someone told him that it was late for the pujas, he would reply, "Let it be. All these people have come from wherever they reside. Should they not have the satisfaction?"

I was suffering from stomach ache since the year 1980. Maha Periyavaa said, "Drive your days as such." In the year 1989, I couldn't withstand the severe stomach ache. The doctor diagnosed it as a case fit for surgery. I told Periyavaa. He asked me not to undergo any operation. A disciple said, "Eat Periyavaa's ucchishtam (remnants of food eaten by others)." Accordingly, when Periyavaa's bhikSA was over one day, I consumed the remnants from his leaf. Looking at that, Periyavaa laughed! After that incident, there was no pain at all!

If a devotee who comes for darshan supplicates for Periyavaa's anugraham for a successful operation in the throat, nose, ear, eye or some such organ, Periyavaa would say no to any such operation. And the patient would become cured of the ailment automatically! He has given anugraham for a large number of people in this way.

It was only Periyavaa who arranged for the marriage of my daughters. Till date I do not know what it costed him. He arranged the marriages as kannikA dAnam. He would simply ask for the gotra, not even the nakSatra, and there was no horoscope! Only Periyavaa's words were the words of grace. He would not only say, "give your daughter (in marriage)" or "give your son (in marriage)", but also give the marriage date, asking only for the subsect among the smArta, vadamA, brahatcaraNam sects.

Very happy days, those were!

*** *** ***

Sankar Shivram Pawar

The Sandur Samastanam was a region (ruled by a king) in the Hampi-Hospet area. It has now become part of the Bellary district.

The descendants of the Sandur Samastana kings are very much devoted to Sri Kanchi Kamakoti PiTham.

Once Maha SwamigaL camped in Hospet and was performing special pujas in the Shiva temple there during the holy time of Navaratri.

Sandur was at a distance of thirty kiolmeters from Hospet. To have darshan of Maha PeriyavaaL, the Maharaja of Sandur came walking all those thirty kilometers, without even wearing sandals on his feet. He was accompanied by the yuvarajA (prince) Shri Y.R.Ghorpade.

It was not possible to control the crowd of devotees. The people did not disperse even after lathi charge by the police. They left only after having darshan of Sri SwamigaL and getting his blessings.

At that festival time, the Sandur Maharaja had sent ten people as security staff for SriMaTham. Seven people during the day and three at night. Sankar Shivram Pawar was one such person who came for the security work. (Age 64).

The SriMaTham camp left Hospet to tour other places. Nine of the ten security guards returned to Sandur. Pawar did not go; he got himself united with SriMaTham. Sri Jayendra SwamigaL directed him to remain with the MaTham.

He says: "I am doing service at Maha SwamigaL's Brindavanam here. My salary is remitted from Sandur. The Sandur King used to visit Maha SwamigaL with family now and then. His grandson is now aged eight years. His name is Ekambar. He was adamant one day that he should see the Kanchi thAtthA (grandpa). The King immediately sent him here with an escort!

"Even now, Yashwant Rao, the Queen and the Yuvaraja are coming here for darshan."

*** *** ***
The God That Saves Whenever Prayed To
author:...... A.S. VedaNarayanan, Model Colony, Pune
compiler:... T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
book:......... Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol. 2, pages 241-243
publisher:.. Vanathi Padhippaham (May 2005 Edition)

The year was 1986. Sri RamaNavami Utsavam was being held in Khar Road, a suburban area of Dadar, Mumbai.

I had gone to listen to the pravacana (exposition) alone. Within minutes after the pravacana started, I could not sit down properly. I had no idea of what went wrong with my health.

Encouraged by the thought that I will have co-passengers to help me (if anything went wrong), I boarded a bus back home. I had also kept in my shirt pocket a note containing my address and telephone number. I was reciting the Vishnu Sahasranamam. As I alighted from the bus and walked home, I came across a doctor in our colony who asked me, "Are you not well?"

He took me inside immediately and checked my pulse. Then, with a frown of worry, he checked my blood pressure. "The pressure is high. Do you have any problem of blood pressure, or of the heart?" he asked me. "I haven't experienced any such problem it seems to me," I replied. He said, "I shall come to your house after half an hour. Just lie down on the bed until then. If the pressure does not subside, we may need to admit you for an emergency."

My wife Kamala opened the front door of our home. As the doctor who accompanied me conveyed the news to her, my wife prostrated to Sri ParamacharyaaL's picture with worry and started praying manifold, "Only you are my God. I do not know anything. Save my husband. It is your responsibility to save him. Only you I am depending on. Give me the bhikSA [of my mAngalyam (wife's holy pendant of marriage)]."

Half an hour later, the doctor came and checked me. He did not have the traces of worry in his face as before. "No worry. The pressure has come down. But have bed rest. I shall see you in the morning." His words were comforting. Again my wife prostrated to the picture of Periyavaa. I slept well during the night.

When the doctor checked me in the morning, he said with a smile, "The pressure is normal." He advise me not to go to office for a week. Later, a friend of mine who was a cardiologist visited my home and checked me thoroughly. "Everything is normal. No cause for worrying", he declared.

A telephone call on the next day.

Pudukkottai Rajamma Maami's daughter Smt. Rajeswari Mahesh came on the line. She said, "I had gone to Kaasi Hanuman Ghat to partake the Vasanta Navaratri BhikSa Vandanam. Came home only today. When he gave me the prasAdam to me, Sri Pudu Periyavaa gave a separate prasAdam and said, 'When you reach Bombay, give this prasAdam at VedaNarayanan's home. VedaNarayanan's wife prayed to me. Ask her not to worry.' With those words he closed his eyes, did prArthanA and gave me the prasAdam along with his anugraha."

The day Sri Pudu Periyavar did anugraham of the prasAdam and the day my wife prayed deeply before PeriyavargaL's picture were identical! We understood the truth that Sri Maha PeriyavaaL and Sri Pudu PeriyavaaL were not different, but were one and the same.

prArthanA - prayer; desire, wish; requesting, begging; petition
Varuvaai AruLvaai, Guruve! (Bless me with Income, Guru!)
author:...... Mailattur S. Ramachandran
compiler:... T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
book:......... Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol. 2, pages 267-270
publisher:.. Vanathi Padhippaham (May 2005 Edition)

When I was a small boy, Sri Maha Periyavar was camping in Thanjai--ThanjAvUr.

There would be a musical concert every night at the time of Sri ChandraMauleesvara puja. One day, my father Mailattur Sami Aiyer, who was a mrutanga vidvan, sat me down for playing an instrument for a vocal music programme.

At eleven in the night, after the puja was over, prasAda and some compliments were distributed to the sangIta vidvans through a MaTham assistant. Maha Periyavaa called only me near him and blessed me with a red silk cloth.

Years rolled by.

I was working in the Pondicherry All India Radio station. Once I went for darshan of Periyavaa with the Station Director Sri T.V.R. Chary, who was an atyanta bhakta of SriMaTham. I was careful to take the red silk cloth also.

After prostrating, I told him, "This silk cloth is an anugraha from Periyavaa."

"Yes, you were then nine years old!", he said.

We were amazed that he talked about an incident that happened forty-five years ago, as if it happened yesterday! We saw personally that it was certainly not a human power, only divine.

*** *** ***

There were many pictures of PeriyavaaL taken in different poses, in the puja room of my house. It was my custom to adorn them with flowers daily and then do the meditation.

My family circumstance was such that I was forced to stay in Thanjai, leaving Pondicherry. There was no Periyavaa picture in the Thanjai house. Even with efforts it was not easy to get it. This caused some uneasiness and vacillation in my mind, but I could not at all get Periyavaa's picture.

They asked me to procure some rice for home. I went to an unfamiliar rice shop and bought some rice for sample. The shopkeeper gave the rice in a thick paper bag.

The bag was lying in our house for two days. I took it to discard it in the trash can. My eyes were on the bag. AhA! Periyavaa!

When I carefully separated the pasted edges and looked, it was Periyavaa with a stately smile! The Periyavaa I could not get when I went in search, had taken abode in my house in the form that covered my basic foodstuff. KaruNAmUrti!

*** *** ***

I am a person who does pArAyaNa of the Kandar AnubhUti daily. For some reason, I could not a get better deal in my personal financial position.

I heard that a man who had a similar custom of Kandar AnubhUti pArAyaNa came to PeriyavaaL and prayed for some other stotra or way that could make his poverty go away.

It was alleged that Periyavaa told him, "You are doing the pArAyaNa of Kandar AnubhUti? What more do you require? For poverty alleviation just that is enough."

The devotee had told him, "I read the AnubhUti because of bhakti towards Murugan. What I need now is money! Should kindly tell me a way for that!"

The last song of the AnubhUti would start with the words, 'varuvaai aruLvaai' (come and bless me). Periyavaa is said to have pointed out to him that song saying, "In the same song it is said, 'guruvaai varuvaai aruLvaai'?"

He made him realize that Murugan would come as Guru and grant him varuvaai (income or money).

Is this not the upadesha for all Muruga Bhaktas?

The tApa in my mind also was removed.

tApa - heat, fever, pain, sorrow, affliction
Naveena Sankara Bhasyam
author:...... BrahmaSri Ramakrishna Dikshitar, SriMaTham Vidwan, Kanchipuram
compiler:... T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
book:......... MahA PeriyavAL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol. 3, pages 17-27
Publisher: Vanathi Padhippaham (Dec 2005 Edition)

Pages 17-20

A shloka in the Bhaja Govindam runs in these words:

यावत् पवनो निवस्ति देहे
तावत् पृच्छति कुशलं गेहे।
गतवति वायौ देहापाये
भार्या त्रस्यति (बिभ्यति) तस्मिन् काये ॥

yAvat pavano nivasti dehe
tAvat pRucChati kushalaM dehe|
gatavati vAyau dehApAye
bhAryA trasyati (bibhyati) tasmin kAye ||
(verse 6)

When I finished reciting this shlokam in susvaram, Sri PeriyavAL ordered me, "Come on, chant it once more?" I recited it again.

"What is it... You say trasyati? Only bibhyati is customarily recited there?"

"My father taught me only in this way."

"trasyati, bibhyati--what is the difference?"

Forthwith he sent word for some Maha Pandits in SriMaTham. Several printed books from the SriMaTham library were also called for. In all the publications only the term bibhyati was mentioned.

The Vidvans started analysing the dhAtu, root word and meaning of both those words. AcharyaaaL said at length:

"bibhyati means the fear that normally arises. But then, looking at the situation explained in the shloka, it seems that saying mere 'bhayam' might not have been AcharyaaL's abhiprAyam.

"ennannA (what it is is that)..., patni is one who is with (her pati) for a long time. One who is in close proximity, intimacy. She was not afraid of that sharIraM even when her bharta suffered from severe diseases.

"But then, now, after the life was gone, what happened?

"A feeling of loathing, asUya (displeasure) had taken possession of that (same) patni! trAsam is the fear mixed with hatred. It seems only this is right (here).

"What? Henceforth, when the Bhaja Govindam is printed, let the (word) bibhyati be marked with a star at its top, and at the footnote let the (word) trasyati be also mentioned--you take care of it."

The Vidvans returned with a fullness of heart.

*** *** ***

In Sivasthanam, the floor of the room PeriyavAL resided would be very cool. Unable to bear the heat outside, even nattuvAkkAlis (scorpions large as crabs) would be crawling in the room. But they never harmed PeriyavAL.

Perhaps even the poisonous creatures were aware of PeriyavAL's divinity. Only several men did not realize it, one is inclined to think.

*** *** ***

PeriyavAL was sitting in his palanquin. One Anbar from Bangalore had sent two baskets of fruits. We unpacked and kept them before PeriyavA.

Some monkeys came and started eating the fruits. At the same time some squirrels also came and started nibbling on the seemai ilantai (estate jujube) fruits. Also, some crows assembled, and were pecking at the sugar in a plate.

Looking at me, PeriyavAL asked, "You have heard of kurangu, aNil, muttam?"

There is a place named KurangaNiMuttam, six kilometers from Kanchipuram. There a kurangu, anil, muttam (monkey, squirrel, crow) worshipped Paramesvara. A siSya told this news.

"Look! Here kurangu, anil, muttam all the three are eating now; reminding us of the KurangaNiMuttam Ishvara!..."

Behind every occasion and animal, to witness the Bhagavan is PeriyavAL's speciality.

But then I had a different thought.

MahA PeriyavAL is sAkSAt Paramesvara's avatara. Therefore, in order to re-enact the incidence of Puranic times, it seemed that the kurangu, anil, muttam animals were acting out their part before our eyes.

To comply with the explanation 'purANam pura abhinava' and to inform that the Purana incident was not just eulogy, this new incident happened before our very eyes!

Endowed with fortune, were we; no, no, only those kurangu, anil, muttams!

*** *** ***

Note: The Bhaja Govindam shlokam no.6:

yAvat pavano nivasti dehe
tAvat pRucChati kushalaM dehe|
gatavati vAyau dehApAye
bhAryA trasyati (bibhyati) tasmin kAye ||

(yaavat.h = so long as; pavanaH = air / breath; nivasati = lives / dwells; dehe = in the body; taavat.h = till then; pR^ichchhati = asks / inquires; kushalaM = welfare; gehe = in the house; gatavati = while gone; vaayau = air (life-breath); dehaapaaye = when life departs the body; bhaaryaa = wife; bibhyati = is afraid; fears; tasminkaaye = tasmin.h + kaye, that body.)

"When one is alive, his family members enquire kindly about his welfare . When the soul departs and the body falls, even one’s wife is afraid of the corpse."
--analysis and meaning from http://www.geocities.com/bhikka/Verse5ro10.html --sd

susvara - the right tone or accent, having a beautiful voice, well-sounding, harmonious, melodious, sounding well or loud
Just a Look is Enough!
author:...... KumaraRaja, West Tambaram
compiler:... T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
book:......... Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol. 3, pages 061-063
publisher:.. Vanathi Padhippaham (Dec 2005 Edition)

I am working in a reponsible post in the Meteorological Department under the Central Governmment administration.

I was once (that is, earlier to the year 1993) a staunch communist. In other words, I had unconfined hatred toward the karma doctrine and the faith on God. Although born in a brahmin family, because of my interest in the principles of the Communist Party, I neither performed my nitya anuShThAnam (daily religious observances) nor engaged myself in any sort of religious worship at home, having lost my faith in Sanatana Dharma. More specifically, since he not only observed the Sanatana Dharma without deviating an iota from it but also preached it intensely, I fiercely hated Maha SwamigaL.

Under such circumstances, one day in the month of July 1953 I had come to Kanchipuram along with two of my friends. Unwillingly, I had to accompany them to some temples (since there is nothing by way of sightseeing in Kanchipuram except the temples) and had also to go with them to SriMaTham.

Since the centenary celebrations of Maha SwamigaL's life were going on that year, I went to SriMaTham to know about the works they were doing in that connection. Devotees were having darshan of Sri Maha SwamigaL around 11:00 hours, standing in a long queue. I also joined the queue to see him. Though I couldn't go very near to have a look at him, I stood directly opposite the place where he was seated. It seemed to me that he gazed at me very keenly, though it was perhaps for only a moment. Thereafter we returned to Chennai. All the way back his gaze followed me. I had a feeling that he kept looking at me saying, 'Go to Tiruvannamalai Ramanasramam.' I felt his gaze on me continuously for the next two or three days, whatever work I was engaged in, ordering me to go to Tiruvannamalai.

I was peaceful only after coming to Tiruvannamalai and having darshan of Sri Ramana Maharshi's adhiShTAnam (tomb of a Hindu ascetic), obeying the order. What wonder! Only thereafter a major change took place in my life. I became interested in the same Sanatana Dharma and temples I mocked at earlier; now I am doing the giri valam (going round the mountain) at Tiruvannamalai every month without fail and also take part in all the festivities held in Ramanasramam.

For this change in me, the only reason is Sri Maha SwamigaL's gaze on me. Even if he had talked to me in person, this change would not have come. Because it is human nature to do just the opposite of whatever precepts given by our sagacious elders. It is a great wonder that Sri Maha SwamigaL changed me and put me into the path of goodness, with just a gaze of grace without speaking a word.


14. 'Go to Gaya!'
Author: -- (in Tamil)
Compiler: T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
Source: Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol. 3, pages 240-244
Publisher: Vanathi Padhippaham (Dec 2005 Edition)

A devotee from Madras was traveling in the Bombay Mail train during his pilgrimage to have darshan of Sri Raghavendra Brindavan at Mantralaya. He was sleepy. When the train stopped in a station, he thought it was his destination and got down hurriedly.

Only after the Mail left the station did he look at the name board of the station. It was Gundakkal!

"Ada Devuda! I have got down here (wrongly)?"

SriMaTham devotee Joshi and his friends, who arrived on the same train, came across the devotee, who was standing confused.

Sri Periyavaa at that time was staying in Hagari. It was to have his darshan that Joshi and his friends were proceeding.

"I got down here sleepily," said the 'Mantralaya man'.

"It was not drowsiness. You have alighted here only in a clear state! Come, let us go to Hagari and have darshan of PeriyavaaL," said Joshi.

Joshi and his company prostrated to the sage and stood at a side, giving way to others.

As was his wont, Periyavaa inquired details of everyone who came before him. When it was the turn of the Mantralaya devotee, he asked Joshi, "This man has not proposed to come here! Did you people bring him?"

The Mantralaya devotee was nervous. He blurted out, "Since I thought of going to Mantralaya directly without having darshan of PeriyavaaL here, I couldn't go there..."

Periyavaa called him nearer. He talked at length to the devotee in a low voice. The devotee was simply nodding his head affirmatively at intervals. It transpired that the devotee's mother had committed suicide by falling into a well.

"Is that so?" Periyavaa asked him.

"Yes," said the devotee feeling guilty.

"As soon as possible you go to Gaya and perform shrArda for your mother. She will get her relief."

Later, the Mantralaya friend came to us and explained the discussion and the orders of Periyavaa.

Joshi said, "The soul of the woman who gave up her life falling into the well would have prayed to Periyavaa seeking relief from its present state. This is the reason Periyavaa made her son alight at Gundakkal and come to him."

Could be true. As otherwise, how did PeriyavaaL know about the untimely death of the Mantralaya devotee's mother?

Perhaps this saffron king even knew the language of the souls? What do we pApis (sinners) know?

The Garland--For Whom?

A devotee went to Nepal, had darshan of PasupatiNathar and bought a rudrAkSa garland. His desire was to wear it with Periyavaa's anugraha.

He came for darshan and placed the rudrAkSa garland in front of the sage. (Perhaps let Periyavaa touch it and give back to him?)

"What are you going to do with this?" asked Periyavaa.

"My uddesha is to wear it on my neck if Periyavaa gives it back with anugraham."

PeriyavaaL kept quiet for a few seconds. Then he asked, "Will you remain without speaking lies henceforth?"

The devotee was aghast. He could not understand why such a question was directed to him. But then, he is to speak only the truth!

"I cannot remain without speaking a lie."


"I am an officer in a bank. I cannot prepare our records without speaking lies. The higher-up will order me to write in a particular way which I will not be able to refuse."

Periyavaa took the garland and was turning it around in his hand. After a small pause he said, "Give this garland to someone who would not utter a lie."

The bank officer was very happy. He said to the assistants nearby, "It has turned out as my wife predicted."

He said that his wife had told him, "You put the garland on Periyavaa's picture in our puja room."

"I shall do as directed by Periyavaa." Saying this, he received the garland and prasAda and went away.

When he was back home, he adorned PeriyavaaL's picture in his puja room with the garland. He understood then there was a person who never spoke a lie in his own house!

Thus Periyavaa had fulfilled the expressed wish of the bank officer's dharma patni (wife). How did Periyavaa know about her wish? Is this the thing known as telepathy? But then, this is not telepathy but Guru bhakti.

Later when a relative of the bank officer came for darshan, Periyavaa appreciated the bank officer and said, "He has got the Harichandra aMsa in him!"

uddeshaH - motive, purpose, high position, upper region
netra sthAnam (The Eye Spot)
author:... T.V. Swaminathan (in Tamil)
compiler:. T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
book:....... Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol. 4, pages 6-7
publisher: Vanathi Padhippaham

Pudu PeriyavaaL visited Kerala during the period 1971-72. When he visited Ernakulam, they arranged for a nagarvalam (going around the city). Pudu PeriyavaaL was going in a procession on the front row, sitting on the back of an elephant calf. Suddenly all the lights went off due to a power failure. The elephant calf was upset. Fortunately, within two or three mintues the lights came on. Meantime, Pudu PeriyavaaL had also got down from the elephant safely.

When the power failture happened, I rushed to my home and contacted the Electricity Board to find out the reason. As I came to know about the immediate restoration of power and was starting back to join the procession, there came a lightening call from Kanchi. Madras High Court Advocate A. Nagaraja Aiyer inquired. "Was there any confusion in the procession?"

I described what happened and inquired with surprise: "It is not even five mintures since it happened. How come you are ringing up about this incident?"

He narrated what transpired at Sivasthanam, where Sri PeriyavaaL was speaking these words to his people around: "Today the arrangements for the procession of Pudu SwamigaL are more elaborate than what they were when I did the yAtrA in the Malayala Desam forty-five years ago..." Suddenly Periyavar spoke with apparent irrelevance, "It has become very dark over there. The elephant is upset!" and started worrying. Periyavar suddenly ordered him to call me at Ernakulam and find out about what happened.

Was the Sivasthanam the netra sthAnam for PeriyavaaL?

(from the book by T.V. Swaminathan)

netram - eye, leading, managing, string, silk garment, cloth, carriage
sthAnam - standing, being, staying, residence, place, spot, state
Are the Glass Pieces AlakAlam?
author:...... Jayalakshmi Ammal, Pollachi
compiler:... T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
book:......... Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol. 4, pages 8-12
publisher:.. Vanathi Padhippaham (Dec 2006 Edition)

After Sri PeriyavaaL came out finishing his bhikSA, I kept raisins, cashews, cardamoms, and saffron flowers in a thin vial on a plate before him as arpaNa (offering) and prostrated. As I bowed, the thin vial of saffron flowers dropped to the floor and broke into a hundred pieces.

Before I could move away to get a cloth and clean the place, Sri PeriyavaaL began to drop the saffron flowers mixed with glass pieces into his mouth and started eating them. He did not take into his ears my cries, "aiyo, aiyo! Glass pieces have got mixed with the saffron flowers. Please do not eat them. I shall bring a fresh supply", and ate the entire lot.

I was affected by intense fear and sorrow. The glass pieces would enter Periyavaa's stomach and cut his intestine! My buddhi agitated by the thought, 'It is going to be a great danger for him. I have become the cause for it!', I took no food and sat like a stone statue in a corner.

When Kannan, Periyavaa's personal assistant came that side in the evening, he asked me, "Why are you crying, sitting here?" I narrated the incident to him.

Kannan said immediately, "Sri PeriyavaaL is an avatar of Parameswara who took the AlakAla poison and survived! No peril will come to PeriyavaaL. You go and take your food. And attend to your other work." He moved away.

As told by him, nothing happened to PeriyavaaL! He was attending to his kArya krama (schedule) in the normal way.

Only then I got back my breath! Perhaps the glass pieces that got mixed with the saffron flowers also became the flowers?

*** *** ***

Though Sri PeriyavaaL used to describe himself as a sAmAnya sanyAsi (common ascetic), there are incidents wherein he displayed his svaya rUpam (real self), of his own accord.

It was the time when Sri PeriyavaaL was camping in Tiruvanaikkaval. Me and my husband needed to have darshan of him and return to Thanjavur. The next day was a somavAra amAvAsya (Monday as new moon day). We had to do pradakSiNa of a peepul tree in Thanjavur.

Periyavaa conversed with everyone who came there and bid them farewell with prasAdam. But, when we did prArthanA he would remain as if he did not hear our words; when we went in the queue he would stop giving prasAdam with the person before us, and when our turn came, would get up and go inside--he was doing such things repeatedly.

We gave up the plans of our Thanjavur trip and stayed there for the night. I was very angry within.

After the viSva rUpam on the next early morning, before he sat for his one-hour japam inside the menA, he directed the kArvAr (manager), "After three quarters of an hour, even while I am in the japam, make arrangements to carry the menA to the banks of the KoLLidam", and shut the door of the palanquin.

Thinking, 'Can't do pradakSiNa of the Asvatta (peepul tree). At least let me go round PeriyavaaL', I started doing pradakSiNa of the menA. After it was over, the menA started. We accompanied it and took our snAna (bath) in the KoLLidam.

As Sri PeriyavaaL sat for his anuSTAnam, he called me and asked, "How many pradakSiNas did you do?" I said, "Ninety." There was no way Periyavaa could have known about my pradakSiNa! Then he asked me to complete the remaining count of pradakSiNas.

After the pradakSiNa was over, he asked me, "Reciting what shloka did you do the pradakSiNa?"

Me: I did pradakSiNa, reciting 'Gurur brahma gurur vishnu gurur devo maheshwarah'.

Sri PeriyavaaL: What would you recite during the Asvatta pradakSiNa?

Me: 'mUlato brahma rUpAya, madhyato vishNu rUpiNe, agrataH Siva rUpAya vRukSa rAjAya te namaH'.*

Sri PeriyavaaL: Then what? It is TrimUrti there; it is the same here too!

With these words, he blessed me with the prasAdam.

From then on, I took up the niyamA (routine) to do pradakSiNa to PeriyavaaL only on the somavAra amAvAsya.

*** *** ***

When we were in Thanjavur, one day in the early morning he appeared in my dream and asked, "Will you get me bAdAma (almond) kernels?"

On the very next opportunity we bought almonds and went to Orikkai village near Kanchipuram. It was then that Sri PeriyavaaL had given up anna bhikSA and was taking only nel pori (parched paddy grains). We stood confused as to who to entrust the almonds with so that they might reach PeriyavaaL's bhikSA.

An AmmaaL took us to ugrANam (groceries) Gopalaiyer. Since he was anxiously searching for something at that time, he said, "Please don't disturb be now. It is time for PeriyavaaL's bhikSA." When we asked him, "What are you searching? Anything we could buy?" He started lamenting, "Where would you get bAdAma here? Ants have eaten all the stock of almonds in a single night. If the manager comes to know of it, he would get angry with me. Only if you go to Kanchipuram you will get almonds. By that time PeriyavaaL's bAdAma will be over."

Our joy knew no bounds! We gave him the almonds we had brought. Gopalaiyer heaved a sigh of relief!

We understood that things connected with PeriyavaaL would go well automatically, and that those who consider them as the doers were only instruments in the scheme of things.

*'mUlato brahma rUpAya, madhyato vishNu rUpiNe, agrataH Siva rUpAya vRukSa rAjAya te namaH'

You are Brahma in your roots, Vishnu in your trunk and Siva in your branches. O the King of Trees, I bow to you!

sAmAnya - equal, alike, similar; whole, entire, universal, general, generic, not specific (opp. to vaizeSika); common, common-place, vulgar, ordinary, insignificant, low
Anusha Homam
Author: Paanaampattu Subbu (in Tamil)
Compiler: T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
Source: Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol. 4, pages 123-125
Publisher: Vanathi Padhippaham

It was the time I worked in the Parry & Co., Ranipet. I had gone to Sivasthanam near Kanchipuram on the Maattu Pongal day in January 1978 to have darshan of Sri ParamacharyaaL. Instead of giving his usual blessing with a graceful smile, he said as he looked at me:

"No one in your family performs the homams done by your father after his demise. Your going to and fro office is what you are doing as your big anuSTAnam."

I had not seen PariyavaaL speak in that manner. Regretting that I did not have yogyatA for Vedic rites and with the intention of giving an excuse I told him, "Countless people have been doing homam for PeriyavargaL." To this he said, "Whoever is doing whatever. I asked you about what you do." Immediately, an assistant standing nearby told me, "These are his directions to you. Go ahead to implement them without replying anything more."

After I was back in Ranipet, I gathered details of the homams that were performed by my father, and with the blessing of a Sri Vidya UpAsaka, started for the first time, on the day of Guru Pushyam, the performance of homams for the welfare of Paramacharya and the world. I continued the homams on the Anusha nakSatra day, the janma nakSatra of Sri PeriyavargaL, every month and submitted the prasAdas whenever I had an occasion to go to his place.

During the year 1989-90, on a similar occasion, PeriyavaaL looked happy at SriMaTham. A large crowd of devotees was around him. He pointed me to them and said, "His father, Paanaampattu Duraiswamy, performed homams for my welfare for twenty years and gave me the prasAdam in person wherever I happened to be. Many people are now doing homams for me. But then even today I am experiencing the fruits of the homams done by him in those days. He has left the world. And my longevity goes on increasing." He also referred to me and said, "This man is also doing homams himself for me for the last ten years."

My father Paanaampattu Duraiswamy Aiyer was a man of atyanta bhakti towards Sri Paramacharyaar. He was a man of great niyama niSTa. For the welfare of Sri Paramacharyaar he performed homams on the special days such as his birth-star and full moon day and submitted the prasAdas to him in person. This sort of service was done during the period 1950-1970.

I got back home, thinking of the exceptional memory of Sri Paramacharyaar and melting at his compassion to our family. It is our bhAgyam that due to his anugraha the homams are being performed now for the last twenty-three years, without interruption.

atyanta - excessive, very great, very strong, unbroken, absolute, perpetual
niyama - controlling, limitation, restriction, determination, practising religious
niSTai - meditation, observance of religious duties and vows
yogyatA - suitableness, fitness, propriety, ability
Guru Darshans in Dreams
From Chapter 30. anusha tAraka
Author: Indra Balasubramanian, Mumbai (in Tamil)
Compiler: T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
Source: Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol. 4, pages 308-318
Publisher: Vanathi Padhippaham (Dec. 2006 Edition)

Periyavaa is an expert in showering his grace by giving darshans in dreams also. An elder brother of mine died when he was just eighteen years old. My mother was then only thirty-four. When she was contemplating suicide with no thoughts about her other children, Periyavaa came in her dream, consoled her and made her change her mind.

Many years ago, my mother was extremely unwell. I cry it out to Periyavaa in my dream. There is a half coconut in his hand. It is filled with tender coconut water. He says, "Look, I have only given you a good coconut." I am not able to understand the exact meaning of those words until now. But I considered his very darshan in my dream as his paramAnugraha and rested at peace thinking why should I worry when Periyavaa himself had undertaken the responsibility for the welfare of my mother.

Today my mother is eighty years old.

*** *** ***

Once, in my dream, SwamigaL descended from his picture I usually perform Anusha Puja to. A string of jasmine flowers in his hand. Through the entrance to our home comes Sri Jayendra SwamigaL. To him Periyavaa gives the jasmine string and says, "Give it to her." It is remarkable that at that time we did not have a picture of Sri Jayendra SwamigaL at home.

*** *** ***

This happened very recently. My younger sister had saved some money for Kamakshi Amman. But she could not get around to do anything for Amman due to many hurdles. Around that time she had gone for an upanyAsa. The upanyAsaka narrated an incident in which he showed two packages to PeriyavaaL and said, "One of these two is you and the other for Kamakshi." PeriyavaaL said, "Then you say that both are for me?" When she heard this incident, my sister took the money she had saved for Amman and used it for buying puja and abhiSeka articles for the Panchaloka Vigraha of Periyavaa in his adhiSTAnam.

I was thinking if it was proper to perform Varalakshmi Puja within a year after the death of my father. I wrote to MaTham and asked for their opinion. Bala Periyavaa came in my dream and said, "Do the Varalakshmi Puja" and blessed me.

adhiSTAnam - tomb of a Hindu ascetic, abode, position
The 'meyyar' (Realized) Who Came in the Dream
author:...... Jaanaa Kannan, Mylapore
compiler:... T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
book:......... Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol. 5, pages 043-050
publisher:.. Vanathi Padhippaham (Jun 2007 Edition)

Maha PeriyavaaL leaning on a wooden plank, stretching his holy feet is a scene that everyone can witness. Specifically, when he gives darshan sitting inside his mEnA (palanquin), his feet would remain stretched.

'Why not make a cushion on which Periyavaa might keep his feet?'

Buying some airy, light, soft sponge made of rubber, I cut it into a wide circle; covered it with a velvet cloth and stiched it in place; an eight-petalled lotus flower in a different colour at the centre; I decorated the edges with laces.

When I went for darshan of PeriyavaaL, he was sitting inside his mEnA.

My mother and I submitted the sponge preparation to PeriyavaaL. (That is, we kept it on the floor adjacent to the mEnA.) PeriyavaaL said, "aSTa-daLam (eight-petalled)?" as he took away his feet from inside the mEnA and kept them on the velvet pAda-pITham (feet rest). We experienced a shiver of ecstasy inside our heart. Without saying, "Alright, keep it here and go", as a way of immediately accepting the article we offered with bhakti, he kept his holy feet on it! What other greater bhAgyam could be there than this one?

An aNukkat-toNdar (personal assistant) was standing by the side of PeriyavaaL.

"You know the Lalita Sahasranama Dhyana Shlokam?"

After a minute's thinking, the assistant started with 'aruNAM karuNAtaraMgitAkSIM...'".



"That's it! Look, there is a vidvAn (pandit) standing there. Go and ask him about the meaning of the 'ratnaghaTastha-raktacaraNAM' that occurs in this shlokam (verse)..."

The assistant went to the pandit and came back. "He said the meaning was 'AmbaaL keeping her ruddy feet on the water-pot made of precious stones...'".

Another vidvAn was standing adjacent to the mEnA. Looking at him, PeriyavaaL said: "SaastrigaaL! There was a doubt lingering with me for a long time. Which is that why should AmbaaL be keeping her feet on a ghaTam (water-pot)? Seems that doesn't go quite well here, right?"

The Pandit nodded his head with humility in affirmation. (He did not want to take the chance of 'What meaning would you attribute?' from Periyavaa!)

"That doesn't seem apt here, right?"


"Now, after looking at this pAda-pITham, my doubt simply ran away!"

Periyavaa explained: "It would be right to say that AmbaaL is keeping her ruddy feet on a pAda-pITham such as this one. It seems to me that removing the 'ghaTastha' and substituting it with 'paTastha' would look alright. paTam means cloth, so a soft pAda-pITham. The padam (term) that was initially 'paTastha' could have become in the custom of speech 'ghaTastha', it seems to me. We should consider the 'paTastha' which means 'on a cloth' as a sama-vAcakam (equivalent) of 'on a woolen cloth' (because that should be smooth without hurting the feet!)."

None of us (including the pandit) recovered from the astonishment we had (on hearing it)!

"I was thinking it over for a long time. I understood once I looked at this."

This, this velvet pAda-pITham!

PeriyavaaL says his doubt was solved by a simple offer from an innocent like me, who stood on the last row without any sort of qualifications.

The gush of the tears of joy in me has not stopped yet; nor did PeriyavaaL's arULAnanda pozhivu (blissful shower of grace) stop with that!

*** *** ***

The days when I was studying in a college.

The time when I had only known about PeriyavaaL generally, with no special bhakti.

Suddenly he gave me darshan--in a dream! I couldn't push it away as some sort of imagination. He came and gave darshan often.

Should I not give a honour to these holy dreams?

I took up fasting on guruvAram (Thursdays). From that time I got darshan on every Thursday. It was a very happy experience, but it did not last long.

Suddenly Periyavaa stopped coming. What mistake did I commit for that?

It was a Thursday. Sitting on my bed, I pray closing my eyes: 'At least today should give

hmhUm (no). PeriyavaaL did not come.

Two days later, he gave darshan in a dream. "PeriyavaaL darshan was given me often in the earlier times. Nowadays Periyavaa never comes", I told him sorrowfully.

PeriyavaaL smiled slowly. "Am I not aged now? I have become a kizhavan (old man). (Showing his daNDam) I can't come that far carrying this staff. Only you should come to see me."

"If Periyavaa's anugraham (favour) is there, I shall come."

"You will come for the utsavam (festival)?"

"Shall come if there is anugraham."

The dream dissolved. Nothing was intelligible. Should come for which festival? What is the connection between it and PeriyavaaL darshan?

The surprising event happened the very next day.

My periyammA (mother's elder sister) had to attend a marriage in Chennai. "You come with me," she said. "If you come, on the way we can have darshan of PeriyavaaL in Kanchipuram."

I was ready the next minute!

When we reached the entrance of Kanchipuram MaTham the next day, Goddess Kamakshi who had come on a procession was standing there. A very large crowd. All the three Periyavaas were going around the Goddess.

"What is the speciality today?" I asked a local woman.

"Don't you know? Kamakshi Kovil utsavam is going on."

I don't have to narrate how I would have felt then. "Come for the utsavam?" was not a mere dream; deiva saMkalpam (divine will)!

*** *** ***

Having monthly darshan became my custom (from then on). Every time I went, I would submit some such thing as a garland or kirITam (crown) of cardamoms.

Once he asked his assistant Panaampattu Kannan who was nearby, "Whenever she comes to see me, she brings ten garlands? Count how many garlands are there on my neck."

Since the garlands worn were not removed, there were a number of them on his neck. Counting each by touching them, when the last one arrived for counting, Kannan said, "patthu (ten)".

"pOi kaiyai alambu (go and wash your hand)", said PeriyavaaL with a sportive smile.

(Those who observe the AcAra-anuSTAna [scriptural precepts of daily routine] would understand what patthu, thIttu, ecchal means. It is a custom of Acara that if a cooked article is touched that would result in deficiency of purity known as patthu. Since Kannan said 'patthu' PeriyavaaL asked him to wash his hand to remove that shortcoming. PeriyavaaL's words of frolic and humour--it is not possible to limit them to letters!)

Kannan told him: "sakala jIvarAsis (all the beings) are in Periyavaa's sharIraM (body). Therefore there is neither patthu nor padinonRu (the number eleven--as 'patthu' also denotes the number ten)!"

Yes, we have only one thing: PeriyavaaL!

*** *** ***

A motivation to submit some article that can be used by PeriyavaaL.

In those days, when Periyavaa sat down, they would place a wooden plank on the wall for him to lean on.

It seemed to me that leaning on the wooden plank would not be comfortable, so something that gave hitam (welfare) to the sharIraM could be made and offered to him.

'Shall keep sponge on the plank and cover it with velvet? Or will a cloth of wool be necessary?'--thoughts streamed by when sitting in PeriyavaaL's sannidhi (presence).

At that time, PeriyavaaL who was conversing with his assistant Chandramauli said in continuance of the conversation, "To lean on, I need only wool." I had the answer!

During my darshan the next month, I submitted a plank covered with sponge and knitted with the threads of wool to cover it.

That kSaNam (moment) when PeriyavaaL leaned his back on it gives me a permanent darshan.

Later the personal assistants told me: "The woolen plank you gave is very useful. To use it in his mEnA for his one hour japam, PeriyavaaL specifically asks for it!"

Had Periyavaa wished, the Maharajas would have offered him a golden plank. What I submitted was a mere wooden plank!

One hand is not enough to write down PeriyavaaL's limitless compassion; many hands would be required.

But then am I an aSTAdasa bhuja durga (Goddess Durga with eighteen arms)?

paTa - woven cloth, cloth, a blanket, garment, veil, screen, a painted piece of cloth
Not open for further replies.

Latest ads