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Guru upAkhyAnam (Tales about Gurus)

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After we had darshan of PeriyavaaL, the anugraham and anubhavam we got can't be expressed in words. He has made us happy telling things like a grandfather, a close relative, a mother would tell us. To say that suger is sweet is not enough; only when we put it in our mouth could we know about its taste. In the same way, it might be difficult for others to understand the extent of our experiences with PeriyavaaL if we talk or write about them. The greatness and rarity of it could be known only when a person actually experiences it in an AtmArta manner.

He is all of the above and much more,thank you so much for sharing,started remembering the Hampi trip,the shiva lingam in jalam....beautiful karnataka..

nachi naga.
Guru Upakhyana

Iam surprised to find in your translation of the narrative, reference to HH wearing a torn rubber footwear.To my knowledge or personal experience,I had either seen him wearing wooden sandals or walk bare footed,but never with a rubber footwear.

When we see the news that PeriyavaaL is staying in a place called Hagari near Bellary, we couldn't contain our joy. This is an episode of 14 or 15 months back before he arrived at Hubli. At that time my mother-in-law, father-in-law and sisters-in-law have all come over to our home at Hubli.

We all start and go to the river banks of Hagari where we are presently sitting. PeriyavaaL is in his japa inside the cottage. Suddenly a flame of light at the entrance to the cottage. As if there is no difference between the tender morning sunlight and his saffron clothes, everything looking the same color, as a flame of light, he gives us a sudden darshan. Then was our first darshan of PeriyavaaL. We look at him, filling our eyes with the sight, as if it was a vindication of this birth of ours. But then they say that PeriyavaaL observes kASTa maunam on that day. We also remain there till evening and then get back. Like cats that have tasted milk, we go back to him for darshan, again and again.

It was evening when we went to Hagari the next time. PeriyavaaL is sitting in a new Shiva temple whose construction is in progress. It is more or less dark. A standing brass lamp and a hurricane lamp are burning steadily. We prostrate to him with our children. When my husband told him his name (Gurusankar) he asked, "Who gave you this name? And what for did they give you this name?" My husband said that it was his grandfather who gave the name and that he did not know the reason for this particular name. PeriyavaaL called an assistant and asked him to write down the name on the floor and show him. He then inquired about our native place and family and asked if the names Vedic School Krishnaiyer and Divan Seshaiyer had ever fell on our ears. We said no. (Later, when we made inquiries, it was known that they were our ancestors). He asked if we had come by the Railway First Class or Saloon. And he told my husband, "Till this date, electrical engineers have not been posted in this railway post? How did you get it? Mostly, only those from the operating department are posted as D.S."

PeriyavaaL inquired my husband about the extent of his jurisdiction. He asked, "Do you know that a road goes parallel to the railway line from Raichur to Poona?" This man (ivar) said that he did not know. He asked about Poly Vaidhyanath. We were then worrying that our son Sankar was not able to secure a seat of admission in any of the colleges. I thought within my mind that he should get an admission and come up well in life. I did not even tell this to PeriyavaaL. But my son got a seat in a college due to PeriyavaaL's grace and also studied well. He had PeriyavaaL's anugraham in many respects.

I have narrated this episode to tell how PeriyavaaL asked us about our ancestors. Nearly a year after this happened, did he come to Hubli. He stayed at Hampi and Hospet for a long time.

Let us now continue PeriyavaaL's jayanti at Hubli. About ten o' clock in the night after the jayanti vaibhavam was over. We were all with PeriyavaaL. On that day, devotees continued to arrive from different parts of India. They came in special buses and cars. Since we had no accommodation even in that large house of ours, we made arrangements for them to sleep in the portico, car shed and other such places.

PeriyavaaL is sitting in the light of the standing brass lamp. The hut is otherwise dark. Even people who were standing were not properly visible. He called us inside suddenly and asked, "Here, the one who is standing, isn't she your relative?" We couldn't understand instantly who or what. The woman's voice from behind replied, "Yes, yes." When we came to know it, it was Parvathi, who was standing then, the daughter of Mysore Chottappa's elder brother. Only then was it known that she was a relative. Periyavaa asked again, "On that day I asked you about Krishnaiyer, Seshaiyer. You said you did not know them. So later on you asked someone to know about them. Whom did you ask? May be you asked some elder person in the home," and replied to his question himself. He also asked us about the children's education. Then he inquired about the arrangements made on that day for the jayanti including details such as how many persons dined. Then he started narrating himself that on that day someone brought Ganga jalam for his bath, that a mango fruit he had in his hand slipped and fell in the water pot and that later when he tasted the water it was very sweet.

Chuckling to himself like a child he said that he himself couldn't understand, 'Did Ganga become sweet because of the mango fruit? Or, because of Ganaga the mango fruit became sweet?' and laughed. He ate a little of that mango fruit and sent the remaining fruit to us. We also received the Ganga jalam. Both were very sweet. The reason why Ganga tasted as if suger was added to it was not clear.

At eleven o' clock in the night, some people came in a car from Kanchipuram, carrying the prasAdams of the puja done for PeriyavaaL. We made way for them and came out.

Those who arrived slipped a large garland around PeriyavaaL's neck as Kamakshi's prasAdam. And they tied Kamakhsi's rose-coloured silk vastram as a holy scarf around PeriyavaaL's head (parivattam). Periyavaa asked, pointing to his head, "Is there a golden lace in this?" They replied in the affirmative. He asked, "The lace is a dotted one?" They said yes. He touched the cloth and asked, "Is this silk or fibrous silk? It feels like silk to touch." "Yes, silk only." "O they have brought and tied silk to my head!"

In two coconut halves were Kamakshi's prasAdams: the arcanA kuN^kumam and homa bhasmam. He took both of them and applied them profusely to his forehead. It was a sight that our eyes couldn't accommodate. Then as he started talking to those who had come, about the MaTham and such things, we left the room and were standing outside. Soon he asked, "Where is she? Gurusankar's bhAryA? Call her." We were somewhat apprehensive as he called us all of a sudden. We both go inside and prostrate. He took both the coconut halves along with the prasAdams and dropped them in my hands. Nothing was immediately intelligible to me. The greatness of the act was understood only when we were told, "what amount of puNya should you have accumulated to receive Kamakshi prasAdam from Periyavaa's hands!"

In this manner, PeriyavaaL darshan for four days and nights. Days of happiness. Inexpressible joy. The most puNya-filled days of our life.

House full of people. What name? What place? What ancestry? What status? Nothing we knew. Everyone looks very close to us. Seems we can talk to everyone in an AtmArta way. All seem to be part of a large family. Everyone of the PeriyavaaL family, which was filled only with devotion and love. We met different kinds of people; and were delighted sharing the experiences of each other.

Fourth day. Suddenly he comes out of his cottage and checks the air in the rickshaw tyres by pressing them. Does he hint at his departure from here? The disciples confirm it. "Periayavaa knows that after many days we are comfortable in your house, so he would leave now" they say. We prostrate to him that night and tell him that it was our wish that Periyavaa should come to our garden and sit for sometime. He does not reply. A long silence. The people around us jeer at us. 'Must be fortunate to have Periyavaa come such a long distance. Still is he needed to come inside the garden?" they laugh.

We go to PeriyavaaL early the next morning. We are taken aback at the news he tells us. Periyavaa says that he went round our garden at two in the night and we did not see him as we were fast asleep! An inexpressible sadness and disappointment in our hearts. We stand in silence, with tears in our eyes. We do not know if our asking him to come inside was right or wrong.

PeriyavaaL is doing japam. Suddenly he got up and looked around, his japam disturbed. As he suddenly ascended the stairs to our garden and slowly went round our house, one of his wooden sandals broke. Just the knob was found between the digits of his toe. He did not stop because of that. Wearing a sandal on one foot and just a knob on the other he started walking. His assistants ran and brought another pair of sandals. What a compassion! Knowing that the moment we learned about his night trip to our garden we would feel immensely distressed, for our peace and joy, to make another trip to our house in our presence--what to tell of that mercy? What to compare it with? Only an ocean of mercy.

His sudden departure for another place gave us pains. Everyone started following PeriyavaaL from our house. Suddenly the house became empty. It was like a theatre after the play was over. It seemed that all relatives have left us in a single day. But then Periyavaa, who is everyone's relative, coming and staying with us, blessing us and giving measureless anugraham -- it is something to reminisce repeatedly with joy throughout this birth.

After we had darshan of PeriyavaaL, the anugraham and anubhavam we got can't be expressed in words. He has made us happy telling things like a grandfather, a close relative, a mother would tell us. To say that suger is sweet is not enough; only when we put it in our mouth could we know about its taste. In the same way, it might be difficult for others to understand the extent of our experiences with PeriyavaaL if we talk or write about them. The greatness and rarity of it could be known only when a person actually experiences it in an AtmArta manner.

Elder's have mentioned to me,that Mahaswamigal used to ride on elephants long time back,travel in pallakkau...etc but in my life,i have witnessed Mahaswamigal walking only with wooden sandals like the litreatures mentioned for Rishis,Brahma Rishis,Raja Rishis of ancient civilisation of Vedic times.In fact most of our religious leaders of all religion in the world today,have all travelled by foot or some vahanas as props as the situation demanded then...truly saidevo sir,you inspire bhakthi with your posts,thanks again.

nachi naga.
namaste shrI Suvarchas.

Iam surprised to find in your translation of the narrative, reference to HH wearing a torn rubber footwear.To my knowledge or personal experience,I had either seen him wearing wooden sandals or walk bare footed,but never with a rubber footwear.

I exercise utmost care in my translation of such bhakti pravAham and try to be honest to the original as far as I can. I certainly don't add anything new to the Tamil publication of the devotee's experience. Where I need to express something which is not in the original, I usually put in brackets, sometimes add my initials as '--sd' or place it in a note.

Smt. Kamala Gurusankar has indeed mentioned what you have quoted, in her narration. Since her narrative is poetic and emotional, she might not have specifically noticed the error or might have exaggerated her perception. In the latter part of her narrative, she does mention that "one of his wooden sandals broke".

jaya jaya shankara, hara hara shankara!
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'ellAm periyavuha aruL' (Everything is the Grace of PeriyavargaL)
author:...... Lakshmi, Mangaleswarar Kovil, Granddaughter of Devakottai Achi
compiler:... T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
book:......... Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol. 1, pages 157-168
publisher:.. Vanathi Padhippaham (Aug 2006 Edition)

Our Paatti (Grandmother) was very devoted to SwamigaL. Everyone in the MaTham used to call her (only by the name) Devakottai Achi. There was no one who did not know avuha (her). She remained as a good guide for us all. It was only because of her that we had the connection with the MaTham from a very young age. I consider this as my bhAgyam (good fortune). I would never forget my Paatti. Maha PeriyavargaL would say: 'If someone does good to us or helps us, we should never forget our gratitude (towards the person and the act).' I had personally listened to the words as he spoke them. I used to come to Sankara MaTham since when I was eight years old. Our Paatti would take me there.

When Maha PeriyavargaL and PuduperiyavuhaL were staying in Ilayattankudi, our Paatti on every Friday would ask a brahmin boy to pluck the lotus flowers in the pond at Kandadevi, keep them in two baskets, ask that boy to carry them, take me and my Chitti's (aunt's) son Alagappan (now adopted son for Achi) with her, offer the flowers for the puja at Ilayattankudi, have darshan of the two PeriyavuhaL after the puja, and give us the neyvedya sarkarai pongal (sweet pongal offered to God); ghee would drip from the preparation just like that. After eating the preparation at the bank of the pond, we would get back to Devakottai by the last bus.

Those days can never be forgotten. All the days they camped there gave a fullness of heart to the people there and to us. It was total happiness, the santoSam (joy) filling up the mind. For this world to have such a walking God is the bhagyam obtained by all the people of the world. Endless happiness remains when I think about how we were also there during the time this walking God was in the Bhumi.

On another occasion, the two PeriyavuhaLs were camping in Karveti nagaram. I was married by then. My husband and I, my father and Paatti--we all went there and stayed for a week. There is a pond there. They would have erected a thatched shed there on the banks. After the puja was over, PeriyavargaL would come there and give darshan. A peaceful place. They would be talking to the bhaktAs who come there. We would be listening to their talk. (When I reached the place, I was not peaceful in mind). The passing of time was never felt there. They would talk so much of good things in a way that stuck in the mind and also presented it all with humour. It would always seem if only they would talk a little more. I remained listening thus for the entire week; and by that got back my mental peace.

Everyone of our relatives had a separate hundi (collection box) in their puja room for SwamigaL. From our home expenses to everything else we would first think of SwamigaL, drop money in the hundi and then only would start the task (of spending). All those hundi rupees we would collect in the month of Avani and reach the collection to the Sankara MaTham when we go there for the bhikSA vandanam. In addition, all our relatives contributed their mite and with the collection we did the bhikSA vandanam. Later, Paatti (Grandmother) also became old. She would collect the hundi rupees from everyone, add the extra contributions and did the bhikSA vandanam with the collection.

Paatti would go there a week earlier and make the arrangements. When she became too old (for the task), she asked Maha PeriyavargaL, "I have become old. So I shall create a fund and remit it in the MaTham. Shall I include our Devakottai Nagaratthar also in this fund?" SwamigaL gave her permission for it. Then Paatti collected money and remitted it. From that time on, the Devakottai Nagaratthar Bhkisha Vandanam is being held regularly, every year on the 30th of August. This (fortune) was given to us only because of our Paatti. Our Paatti is not there now. But every good thing she arranged for is going on well. Our Paatti who arranged for the connection to a good place for her pEran pEtti (grandchildren) can never be forgotten.

Our Paatti had (once) gone to Kanchipuram to have darshan of Maha PeriyavargaL. She told us that when she was talking with PeriyavargaL, he had told, "A number of Lingams around Kanchipuram remain open to shower and sunshine. A small temple should be erected over them so the rain and hot shine do not touch them, and do naivedyam for one time a day; those who can afford may undertake this task." Then he called our Paatti and said, "nee kovil kattu (you build one temple)." To that our Paatti said, "I shall ask my pEtti to construct it. It might cost Rs.3,000." She came from Kanchipuram to our home in Chennai. Then she told us what SwamigaL told her.

I said yes (to the proposal) but forgot all about it. Two years passed by. Paatti used to go to Kanchipuram often. At one such time she had darshan of SwamigaL, and when the puja was over had gone to a hotel to have some tiffin. SwamigaL had told an assitant nearby, "Where is Achi, call her?" The assistant had replied that Achi had gone to the hotel to have some food, and then went to the hotel and told Achi, "Achi Amma, Periyavuha calls you"; Paatti had hurried back with the thought 'nambaLa etaRku kUppidaRAnga' (why call me).

As she came and met PeriyavargaL, SwamigaL asked her, "You said you would construct a temple, what happened to it?" Paatti could not understand anything as two years had passed by. When she thought hard about it, she remembered the proposal and replied, "My pEtti said she would build it. I shall go to Chennai and ask her to see PeriyavargaL." Then she went to Devakottai instead of coming to Chennai and rang me up from there. I said I would go and meet PeriyavargaL.

She said "Alagappan would also come there; both of you go and meet SwamigaL." Alagappan came to our home the next day. We both went to Kanchipuram and told the people there that we came to see PeriyavugaL. They told PeriyavargaL, "Devakottai Achi's pEran and pEtti have come."

PeriyavargaL asked, "What?" as to the reason for our visit.

"We had offered to build a temple over one Lingam. Paatti asked us to see PeriyavargaL on that account. So we have come", we said to him.

He asked an Aiyar to take us to the temple under construction in Mangala Tirtham and show the structure to us. Only the plastering work remained to be done there. The people there told us, "The engineer who builds this temple had gone to Chennai, he is not here. You ask for the details after he gets back."

They also told us that the work had cost 80 thousand so far and it might come to one lakh rupees. I asked Alagappan, "Umayal Achi said it would cost only Rs.3,000. (We would call our Paatti only Achi). Your Aitthaan (brother-in-law) knows nothing. I can do it only after consulting my Chinna Maamanaar (father-in-law's brother). I don't know what avuha (he) would say. What to do now?"

Alagappan told me, "This place is directly opposite the MaTham. Periyavaa would go there often. This is a good opportunity. Somehow you build it. Won't get another chance."

Then we told SwamigaL, "The engineer had gone to Chennai", and asked him, "My Paatti said it would come to only three thousand, now they say it would cost a lakh?" I don't know what PeriyavargaL thought but he told us, "We will write to you after the engineer comes back from Chennai. Now you get back to your place."

I could not understand anything of it. I told my younger brother Alagappan, "My mind is not at peace. We should not have told him in that way. Alright, I have a 10 sovereign gold chain. Selling it for cash, I shall somehow manage to collect the balance amount and shall build the temple myself." Again we said to PeriyavargaL, "Whatever the cost, I shall myself build this temple." He replied, "We will write to you. They say the Government might build it. If that doesn't happen you may build it."

I came back to Chennai; Alagappan also left for his place. The letter did not come. Paatti came (to my house) after Alagappan had told her the details. She told me, "Don't worry. We shall ask (our people) for money." Taking Rs.10,000, Paatti and I went to Kanchipuram and told PeriyavargaL about our proposal. "Let it (the opportunity) come, (we) shall see", PeriyavargaL had told us.

Then Paatti said to SwamigaL, "I have brought Rs.10,000 for Sivan. I shall not take it back home; shall remit it in the MaTham." Periyavar said, "Alright" and I remitted the money there.

My mind was not at peace. I wept profusely. In order to lessen my feelings Paatti told me, "He would know our heart and consider it. Definitely he would ask only you to build the temple; don't be in distress. I shall go to Kanchipuram and then go to Devakottai."

She took leave of me saying, "He asked an AmmaaL to whom he had earlier said no, to build (the temples) for two Lingams now. Think only good; things will turn out well."

My mind was not peaceful. I was reclining in the sofa and lapsed into sleep for sometime. Would have been 12 o' clock in the noon. A dream that our Paatti came and knocked at the door. I heard the knock and the words, "Lakshmi, open the door. PeriyavargaL asks only you to build the temple." I woke up at once. What wonder! Paatti was really knocking at the door.

Thinking about this gives me the prickles of ecstasy even now. I can never forget this incident. I opened the door immediately. Paatti was standing outside. "Not going to your place?" I asked her. Patti told me, "No. Periyavuha asked only you to build that temple. Come at once, let us go to Kanchipuram." We went to see SwamigaL forthwith. When we met him and he told me, "You build this temple", I was immensely happy. I said to SwamigaL, "I shall get back to my place, tell the matter to my Maamaa (father-in-law) and arrange for the funds." He said yes to it.

I got back to my place immediately and spoke to my father and Chinna Maamanaar. They said 'let us see.' Appa by himself can't do anything, let the opportunity come, they said. I was a little angry. With a vairAgyam (determination) I came to Chennai and spoke to people known to me. They had a good heart; they told me, "We shall speak to people known to us and arrange for the funds." I said alright and they immediately gave a cheque for Rs.30,000. Encashing it I went to PeriyavuhaL the very next day. He asked me, "What, you went to your place and asked (the elders)?" I told him in detail about what happened. He said, "Give this money to Manager Neelakanta Aiyar and get a receipt for it. Your husband's name has to be engraved on stone; so you give the address and name and go." I did as he told me.

When all this happened that day it was 10 o' clock in the night. I came back saying that I shall remit the balance later. For my question when the temple work would be finished, they said it might take four months from then. Later (when about two months had passed), our Paatti rang up from her place. SwamigaL had told her, "The kumbhAbhiSekam (temple consecration) has been arranged. Tell your pEtti and bring your bandhus (relatives)." I was confused as my husband was in Malaysia. How to do it without his presence? I met SwamigaL at once and told him the news.

He said, "Everything would go smoothly. Make a phone call and tell him the viSayam (matter). Also tell your bhandus." I came to Chennai forthwith. My Chinna Maamanaar's daughter by then had arrived to make a trip to Malaysia. Asking them to send my husband home immediately, I went to my place. Since I did not have time to inform everyone there, I informed only my Chinna Maamanaar (about the consecration).

When I came here, I was told that my husband had gone direct to Kanchipuram from Malaysia and that he asked me to come immediately.

On that day, R.M. Veerappan had come there. SwamigaL took his snAnam (bath) in the Mangala Tirtham (pond). R.M. Veerappan had arranged from the Government for desilting the Mangala Tirtham pond. After taking his snAnam in the Mangala Tirtham, SwamigaL had darshan of Mangaleswarar. Then he came directly to the MaTham. I had darshan of PeriyavargaL along with my daughter Muthu Karuppi. R.M. Veerappan AvargaL and SwamigaL were there. SwamigaL introduced us to him. Then he gave a ball of stringed flowers in my daughter's hand and blessed us. With that he also gave us the Wedding Pattu (silk cloth) of Ekambareswarar-Kamakshi Amman. I am keeping it safe even now.

People there touched the silk reverentially and told us, "No one would get such a (holy) thing as this. You have got it. This girl has been endowed with good fortune. She would get a good mAppiLLai (husband)." In accordance with what they told, she later got a good doctor mAppiLLai and now has a male and a female child. It was the day of Wedding Festivity for Kamakshi Amman. Later I asked SwamigaL, "Our relatives will come. We need to serve them meals. We have no one who could do the cooking. We also need to buy all the groceries. And we need a Mandapam, what to do?"

PeriyavargaL told me, "nee etaRkum kavalaipadAte. ellAm nallapadiyaga nadakkum. (You don't worry about anything; everything will go on smoothly)." He allotted the Balaji Kalyana Mandapam for us and gave all the groceries from the MaTham. The kumbhAbhiSekam was to be held at dawn the next day. A samaiyal aiyar (brahmin cook) from Kumbakonam had come to have darshan of SwamigaL. PeriyavargaL told him, "You go and cook for Achi Amma", and he obliged.

PeriyavargaL told him, "nallA nagaratthArgaLukku vadai, pAyasatthudan sei (do the cooking well with Vadai and Payasam for the Nagaratthar people)." Accordingly, he cooked the meal in an exceedingly grand manner. The local people also came and partook the meals. We were full of satisfaction. SwamigaL himself arranged for everything, including the kumbhAbhiSekam paper (invitation).

We invited SwamigaL with pUrNa kumbham on the day before the kumbhAbhiSekam. He was present in the yAgashAlA (pavilion for the fire-ceremony constructs) supervising the ceremony and also performed the kumbhAbhiSekam.

So many incidents can be narrated in this manner. Several have happened in my lifetime--I can remain writing all time about them. To think that we were also living in the time when such a walking God existed here--the mind is filled with happiness.

srI periyavAL tuNai (May Shri PeriyavaaL be our Companion)!
Ayana Kulaguru; Ayana Devudu
Author: M.V.Pasupathi, Chennai-49 (in Tamil)
Compiler: T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
Source: Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol. 1, pages 82-98
Publisher: Vanathi Padhippaham

09-12-1965. That day was a golden day in my life when the matchless Mahajnani's lila of grace touched my life.

This poor man (that is, I) underwent the training for Tamil teachers since June 1964 at the Government Teachers' Training College. On completion of the training, I was appointed at Chennai Chozhavaram Government High School in November 1964.

One Tiru Meenakshisundaram was the headmaster of the school at that time. He had already known my father, who, as the principal of TiruppnanthaL Senthamizh College was a well known figure. Since I took up work in a school whose head was familiar with my father, I had chances of friendly proximity with him.

I would say that it was not the Education Department of the Government but the Department of Grace of Sri Maha PeriyavargaL that gave me orders to serve at Chozhavaram. This is because, within a month of my taking up the job, Sri Maha PeriyavargaL visited the place. It was during that visit that I had his graceful care.

The headmaster asked me to compose in verses a welcome address on behalf of the people of Chozhavaram to the sages Sri Periya PeriyavaL and Sri Pudu PeriyavaL who were to visit our village. The headmaster asked me to leave aside my lessons for the time being for the purpose of this composition.

It did not occur to me at that time that this was a bhAgyaM I had received. It seemed to me only as a very big opportunity. The reason that I did not consider it a bhAgyaM was the inherent fear in my mind. What that fear is, follows later in this essay. When abhayam was to be received in ubhayam, will not that bhayam be gone?

I did not decline the chance given by Tiru Meenakshisundaram. I only postponed it a little. So I told him, "Sir! To teach loudly until my throat is sour and the neck aches is my work at day time. Writing will be my work at night time. I shall see to it that what I write iravil (at night) will not be iraval (borrowed), but my own", and went to the class.

I told my paternal uncle that evening about Tiru Meenakshisundaram's offer. My elder brother Tiru K.M.Krishnamoorthy had also come there. Both of them said in one voice, "Your time has come!"

Only after their simulteneous words it struck me--why not write a prabandham instead of a welcome address.

I summoned up the courage and said to myself with closed eyes, "What is the use in giving a welcome address with five or six verses? All those who attend the occasion will be given the sheet and they will just fold it for discarding later! It can be given as a pathikam with ten songs in the form of a booklet. Or as a small book as an irattai manimaalai. If given as a book, people would take it home and would think to at least preserve it even if they won't read it. There is time for composing a small prabandham."

"Sabash!" said my paternal uncle. "All that is good, but will they accept it to extend on behalf of the people of this village, since a prabandham is difficult to read?"

I told him finally, "What if they don't agree? I am going to publish it only in this form."

That very night Pujyasri Sankaracharya SwamigaL Irattai Manimalai was started. The thaaL (paper) got filled up 'by His grace, bowing at His thaaL (feet)', as Manivachagam says. With the eyes snowing and the body shivering in ecstasy, the words were born and the task was completed.

The day of publication came, but I did not have enough money. The money I had would have been sufficient if there would be a page less. The problem was solved by the grace of KaruNamurti, using the third page of the thick cover sheet for the excess page, printing the remaining pages on ordinary white paper.

It was a working day on 09.12.1965. Dressed up in a pant and shirt, I started for work, leaving a hundred copies of the printed booklet at home and handed over the bundle of remaining copies to Tiru Meenakshisundarm and said, "You submit these."

Sri S.V. Subbiah (character actor of the cinema) who was devoted to Sri Kanchi MaTham and Sri Jagatgurunathas had at that time arranged for a large receiption for the sages with an enormous pandal in Kaaranodai, a little distance away from Chozhavaram. He had erected in the cine-style in his garden, a large pandal that could accommodate thousands of people.

If my memory serves me right as to what I heard about it, it was only to avoid or postpone visiting that grandeur that Pujyasri Kulagurunathas had camped at Chozhavaram on that day. Looking in that angle, I consider that another reason might be to give anugraham to this poor man. How can human intellect, mind or words probe into the thought processes of the paramporuL shakti?

Pujya Sri Jagatgurunathas visited Chozhavaram and stayed in a small house, which had a tiled roof. That small house got the status of a holy place due to the two mahAns' divine stay. It was a small room, with a hall behind it. One person could sit or three stand in the room. Pujyasri Maha SwamigaL was seated this room to give darshan to the devotees.

Carrying fruits and flowers in cane plates, many people went inside. This poor man's publication was also offered to the holy feet, along with the contents of the plates. There was a window to the roadside in the room.

Kamban, the king of poets, would say in his Mithila Scene paTalam of his epic, 'lotus flowers bloomed at every window' (to have a look at Sri Rama). The description here is slightly different from that.

The golden lotus, drizzling the nectar of knowledge, had bloomed inside the room. Bees had thronged at the window, yearning for a look from the corner of the eye of the ruler of grace. My face was among those bees, looking with uncontrollable yearning and expectation.

What wonder! My book got the priority, and Sri Maha SwamigaL rested his holy eyes on the pages of my book, using a lens. As I looked at how his scan was over each and every word, tears started in my eyes. As that Mahajnani's eyes fell on the last page, my mind met with fear. The fear was due to what would come up as his holy words of judgment of the book. The palms I had joined then, rested on the back of the person who was in front of me at the window.

The holy face that shined with knowledge, matching the splendour of a crore suns, turned to the right. I was shocked. He spoke, "Pasupathi, nuvvu SriRudram caduvukunnavaa? (Have you read SriRundram?)"

"Swami, lethu Swamee! (no)", I said.

"SriRundram lo unnadi vishayaalu ee prabandhamulo unnadhi (The things found in SriRudram are here in this small literary work)", he said.

My fear was gone now. Instead, a greater degree of anxiety caught hold of me.

With no one having introduced me to him, how did he know my face among the many that covered this window? That mahAn's holy eyes have not fell on me even once all these days! My picture was also not published in that book! Then how is it possible that he recognizes my face and pours his grace on me? Nobody has told him that this man is a Telugu by birth, and yet he opens his holy mouth to me in Telegu! Am I dreaming? With such thoughts, I was reaching the pinnacle of confusion. My inner eyes were ticklish with questions that flashed like lightning; and the walking God was talking to me.

He said, "ma.vey. antey mantravadi Venkataramaiah, nau" ('antey'=means).

I nodded my head awkwardly in agreement. The reason that prevented me from going near on an earlier occasion, twisted my legs now. Earlier, I had had a sneaky darshan of Pujyasri Maha SwamigaL!

*** *** ***

My age had crossed eighteen. Pujyasri Maha SwamigaL visited TiruppnanthaL. Our residence was in the sannidhi of the Thaadakai Eeccharam Temple in that village. My father, mother, grandma and younger brothers and sisters were all waiting in the street for a darshan of Kulagurunathar. Arrangements were busily made to receive him in a few minutes.

My mother's eyes fell on me. She caught hold of my hand, dragged me and shut me up in the room facing the road. She climbed up the thinnai on the roadside, came to the window of the room where I was shut up and told me, "Pasupathi, occhedi, mana kulaguru; aayana devudu; aayanaku anni telusunu; veediki enthuku ingaa upanayanam seyalethu antey memu emi sesthumu." ('He who is coming is our family guru; he is God; he knows everything; what can we do if he asks why this boy has not had an upanayanam yet.'). She spread out both her hands and spoke in a husky voice, climbed down the raised sitout and went away to the street.

I murmured to myself, "If he is God, he would also know that you have shut me up in a room." It was a murmur that stank with a bit of atheism in it. Besides, there was the base of a longing to that murmur that a festivity where the whole village participated was denied to me.

There was enough gap among the bars to look at the road from the window of the room. The doli came. My mother and father went near and worshipped. My brothers and sisters prostrated to the sage. I pushed my hands out of the bars of the window and joined my palms.

Since my maternal grandmother (a woman who had committed to mind the entire Bhagavat Gita and taught it to many) was in the state of a widow, she prostrated from a distance. Pujyasri Maha SwamigaL asked something pointing at her and my mother replied him. Having been imprisoned at a distance of twenty-five feet, I could not hear her words, only saw the incident.

Pujayasri Maha SwamigaL visited the kattaLai maTham which was located four or five houses opposite ours. My father also went to the maTham.

As she entered the house, my mother released me and said, "Nenu aayana devudu anni chepthini kaadha?" ('Did I not say that he was a God?'), raising both her hands up.

I was rather afraid that he had asked about my not having been provided with a poonool. Unable to stand or sit, my grandmother stretched out. I went near her calling, "avvaa! avvaa!". She explained to me what happened.

She said that he inquired about her with the words, 'Is she not the wife of Soolameni Doraisamy Iyer?'

Twenty years after she lost her wifehood, my grandmother came to her son's house at TiruppnanthaL and stayed there. She had had darshan of Pujyasri Maha SwamigaL once when my grandfather was alive, many years before that time. Several years after the change in kaalam, the change in desam and the change in kolam, if Pujayasri Maha SwamigaL inquires about my grandmother, pointing out to her with formal address... what my mother told me were not words, only teachings!

*** *** ***

It was wholly the TiruppnanthaL incident that was the reason for my hesitation to go inside the divine house where Pujyasri Maha SwamigaL was seated and prostrate to him. I tried to release my legs from the tension that had gripped them. I had not had a upanayanam even by that time. Finally, I managed to go inside, removing my shirt. He did not ask a word about my poonool. It is not the habit of Paraman to vex the nervous.

Entering the divine house, I had an ecstatic darshan of the Maha Jnana Splendour. A divine bliss of floating in the sky. I thought he would say something about my book, titled Sri Kanchi Kamakoti pIThAdhipati Jagatguru Srimad Sankaracharya SwamigaL Irattai Manimaalai (with notes). A rare order of blessing came up from him.

The speech that was earlier in sundara Telugu, was now in the sweeter-than-honey, chaste Tamil.

"Tiruvalluvar enna samayam?" (Of what religion is Tiruvalluvar?), the sarva maha jnanai asked me with these words. In those days, some pens committed sin under the influence of maya, by writing without properly understanding the divine words of this God. This incident is an evidence that even the greatest researcher until this day has not known what this maha jnani knew about TirukkuraL.

His question gave me the courage, as it was one I could answer. How can a son fear his mother? I replied, "TiruvaLLuvar is a saiva-siddhanti." Even though the information was right the wording was not. The mistake was gracefully corrected after a quarter century by Pujyasri Jayendra Saraswathi Sri Sankaracharya SwamigaL.

In the year 2001, he made me speak about Maanikkavachagar at SrimaTham, gracing the occasion with his presence as eLi vantha piran (God who came in a simple form). When my speech was completed, Jagatguru Pujyasri Jayendra Saraswathi Sri Sankaracharya SwamigaL gave me the knowledge and grace saying, "You said 'saiva-siddhanti'. Don't put it that way. Say 'Sivaadvaidi'."

If the 69th pIThAdhipati corrected in April 2001, a mistake out of ignorance that occurred in my words in front of the 68th pIThAdhipati on 09-12-1965, it is only an explicit proof of how the same jyoti descends in the many forms of our Kulagurunathas and protects us.

Pujyasri Maha SwamigaL heard my answer and asked, "how do you say that?". He stopped for a moment and then ordered me, "You come in the evening with an easy on this subject."

I had darshan of the nathan thaaL (master's feet); I had darshan of the naa thanthaaL (he who gave me the tongue); and I got thaaL (paper) in plenty. Collecting the information bits that came to my memory, I wrote an essay in seven pages titled 'TiruvaLLuvar's Religion'. I had the blessing of another darshan at seven in the evening.

I had written in my eassy: the terms thaamarai kaNNaan* ('lotus-eyed') and adiyaLandhaan ('he who measured with his foot') that occur in TirukkuraL are references to Tirumaal (Mahavishnu) -- the glory of the Feet in the first chapter, 'Praising God' -- the line Indirane salum kari (even Indra, the head of Devas, suffered the curse of sages) -- the phrase ulagu iyatriyaan (he who made the world) -- eN guNatthaan (of eight attributes) and such other lines. I was explaining these lines in front of Pujasri MahaswamigaL. As I read out the TirukkuraL

piravip perunkadal neendhuvar neendhar
iRaivanadi seraadar.

The boundless ocean of births can be crossed, indeed,
but not without intimate union with Infinity's Holy Feet.

(translation by Himalayan Academy
(Contents of Weaver's Wisdom - Ancient Precepts for a Perfect Life)

he waved his holy hands for me to stop.

He gave the graceful message, "During TiruvaLLuvar's time, iRaivan meant Sivan."

Parithiyaar, who wrote the first commentary on TirukkuraL explained the meaning this verse as "Those who did not meditate on Shiva's feet won't be able to cross the ocean of births." I remember this fact now due to the graceful sweep of the sage, and this I submitted to him in words.

He said finally, "Have you seen the nigaNdugaL (dictionaries)? All those would explain the meaning of iRaivan as Sivan. There are other meanings, but among the names of Gods, only Sivan!" He had shown a new way to research the religion of TiruvaLLuvar that has not been seen by any researcher till date. My wonder knew no limits.

I went to the French Library in Chennai and checked the nigaNdu. There are many dictionaries named ChuuLamani, Divakaram, Pingalandhai, and Asiriya Uriccheer Nigandu. There is a sUtra that reads 'iRai Sivan kadan vengai'. I understood that until the sixth century the word iRai denoted only Sivan as a meaning that referred to the God; that word did not refer to other Gods until then. It was clear how deeply and subtly Sri Maha SwamigaL had mastered TirukkuraL. I adored that limitless and great knowledge.

After giving darshan on two occasions with great Tamil jnanam in the jnanakkutil at Chozhavaram, Sri Maha SwamigaL gave me prasAdam. He took my book the Irattai Manimalai with his holy hands, applied the prasAdam to it and graced me with a unique blessing, "After your jeeviyam we will recognize this as a paarayana pustakam".

He pointed to the next room and said, "Pudu PeriyavaaL", giving me his assent to have darshan of that sage.

*** *** ***

I had my first bhAgyaM of having darshan of Sri Pudu PeriyavaaL through the order of Sri Maha SwamigaL. It was a pillaiyar chuzhi that indicated that the bhAgyaM of having darshan of the Kanchi sages would continue through my life.

To reach the next room where Pudu PeriyavaaL was giving darshan, it was necessary to come to the street and then enter the room. I prostrated to Jagatguru Pujyasri Jayendra Saraswathi Sri Sankaracharya SwamigaL. Even during my prostration he said, "Irattai Manimalai". He blessed me showing his abhaya karam and his unique, sweet face that poured grace.

The first words that issued out of his mouth, with no one having introduced me to him, was a pleasant surprise.

The actual meaning of Irattai Manimalai as a garland made of beads in two rows started fading from my mind. With the darshan bhAgyaM of Pujyasri Pudu PeriyavaaL, It dawned within me that it was actually a garland of stotra on the two nava manis.

There is another reason for it. The prabandham of Irattai Manimalai has to be composed in the metres of veNba and kattaLaikkaliturai as an antAdi, tying up the first word used as the ending word. This is the form that many poets would consider. But the work Navaneethap paattiyal has given a rule that Irattai Manimalai can also be made in the metres veNba and Asiriya viruttam. This sage is Sri Pudu PeriyavaaL. The Grace has made this newness possible in the poetical work. I couldn't find out how I chose the metre Asiriya viruttam instead of kattaLaikkaliturai.

The newness in prosody came up to praise Sri Pudu PeriyavaaL. All the twenty verses have only the name Sri Sankaracharyar, which is the common name of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti pIThAdhipatigaL. This is a natural thing that settled in, due to the indication of the Grace.

Sri Pudu PeriyavaaL asked about my job details, blessed and gave me prasAdam.

* -- Readers may please indicate me the verse numbers of the kuraLs mentioned in this paragraph, as well as any other verses or other references that has a bearing on TiruvaLLuvar's religion.

abhayam - fearlessness, protection
antAdi - end and beginning, a poetic work where the ending word or phrase appears as the
first of successive verses.
desam - place
doli - palanquin
irattai mani maalai (Tamil) (lit). a garland of beads in two rows; here a set of twenty
jeeviyam - (Tamil) life
kaalam - (Tamil) time
kolam - state, position
paramporuL - (Tamil) that which is eternal, Brahman
paTala - a chapter or section, among other meanings.
pathikam - (Tamil) a set of ten hymns
paarayana pustakam - a book to be recited repeatedly
pillaiyar chuzhi - the letter 'aum' denoting Ganesha written as the first thing in a task of
writing on paper.
prabandhaH - literary work, bond, tying up, order, system
stotra - praise, eulogium, a hymn of praise, ode
ubhayataH - from both sides, doubly
Sita Rescued...The Boy's Voice Got Restored!
Author: Sri S. Ramani Anna (in Tamil)
Source: Sakthi Vikatan issue dated Mar 18, 2007

An evening time many years ago. A large crowd in Kanchi Sri Sankara MaTham to have darshan of Maha SwamigaL. Coming out of his room, SwamigaL stood for a while looking keenly at the devotees crowd and then sat down leaning against a wall. The devotees came in a line one at a time, prostrated to the sage, spoke about their problems, received remedial advice and moved away. A middle-aged man was standing in the queue holding tightly to a boy's hand. Tears flooded his eyes and poured out in a stream. The boy stood motionless, looking bewildered.

When he moved to stand before PeriyavaaL, he did a shASTaaN^ga namaskaram (prostrated with eight limbs touching the ground). The boy also prostrated.

Maha SwamigaL looked at him with narrowed eyes and inquired comfortingly, "Endaappaa! Aren't you the Mylapore Auditor SankaraNarayanan? Why do you stand with such soggy eyes? What is your problem?"

His grief swell with Periyavaa's words of comfort. He began to sob and said, "Yes Periyavaa! An unbearable misery has fallen on me now. Don't know what to do. You are my God, somehow only you should remedy it for me. There is no other go!" He prostrated to the sage once again.

Understanding the situation, Periyavaa said with vAtsalyam (affection), "Sankara, don't get worked up! You sit there for sometime. I shall call you after these people have spoken to me and gone!" The sage pointed to a place opposite him.

"As per your orders Periyaa... I shall do it." The Auditor sat opposite the sage, at a distance. Within a half hour, the devotees had their darshan of AcharyaaL and left. There were none there except SwamigaL's two assistants. SwamigaL gestured to Auditor SankaraNarayanan to come to him. The Auditor came and prostrated. Looking at him affectionately, AcharyaaL said, "Sankara, is the practice going on (well)? You are the 'leading' auditor, so what to speak about the practice? Alright, your father Panchapakesa Aiyer is in Thajavaur (right)? He is well (I hope)?"

Wiping away his tears, the Auditor said, "The practice is going on well, Periyavaa. My father and mother had gone to stay with my younger brother in Bombay. It's two months now. Only for me a duHkham (distress) has happened Periyavaa! I can't bear it... only you should get it rectified Periyavaa!" Saying this, he hugged the boy nearby and started sobbing.

That walking God understood instantly that something related to the boy had affected the Auditor Sankaranarayan's mind very much.

SwamigaL told him, "Shouldn't cry Sankara... Whatever it is, puruSa (men) shouldn't let their eyes get soggy! Alright, who is this puLLaiyAndAn (boy), your putra (child)?"

"Yes, Periyavaa! This is my son. Name Chandramouli. It was only for him Periyavaa, suddenly..." SankaraNarayanan was unable to speak further, grief choking his throat.

With a worried face, AcharyaaL asked him, "Sankara! What happened to him suddenly? Chandramouli is studying in school?" and said comfortingly, "Why don't you tell me in detail, without getting upset?"

Wiping his eyes SankaraNarayanan said, "Periyavaa, the boy Chandramouli is studying in his seventh standard in the P.S. High School, Mylapore. He is eleven now. Very shrewd in his studies. Stands first in the class. Twenty days ago, suddenly his speech was gone, Periyavaa! When asked, he gestures that he cannot talk. He has not gone to the school from that day. Takes his meals and tiffin as usual, sleeps well, those things are alright Periyavaa, but then he is not able to talk, what can I do? Only you should show mercy and make him talk!" Tears rolled down his eyes as he prayed to the sage.

SwamigaL kept silent for sometime. Then he asked the Auditor, "You have the custom of going to temples with the boy? Chandramouli has bhakti (devotion) towards God?"

"He has it in plenty, Periyavaa. He would start for the school daily only after he takes bath and recites the Kanda Shasti Kavacham and the shlokas on Anjaneya and Rama. There is a large portrait of KothandaRamar in our house Periyavaa; a Thanjavur portrait from my grandfather's days. This boy would daily prostrate to it morninig and evening and would touch the feet of Sita and Rama several times and then dab his eyes (with the fingers that touched the feet). He would often say, 'I like Sita and Rama very much.' Two or three days in a week he would go with his mother to Kapaliswara, Mundaka Kanni Amman and Luz Anjaneya temples and have darshan. For such a good child, this has come about Periyavaa..." Unable to control his grief, SankaraNarayanan started sobbing again.

AcharyaaL pacified him and asked, after contemplating for sometime: "You have the custom of taking him to the upanyAsas that take place in Mylapore?"

"I do Periyavaa! Sometimes I would take him personally. Even the previous day before his speech had stopped, I had taken him for a Ramayana upanyAsa at Rasika Ranjana Sabha. He listened to it with shraddhA (eagerness and trust). And this happened on the next day!"

AcharyaaL laughed and said, "You mean to tell me that this happened due to his listening to Ramayana?"

The Auditor patted his cheeks loudly. "Rama, Rama! Not that way Periyavaa! I just wanted to tell you that it was from the next day (that he couldn't talk)."

"Aright. Whoever did the upanyAsa?"

"Srivatsa Jayarama Sarma, Periyavaa."

"Besh, besh. Somadeva Sarma's son; a good lineage; well read. Let it go, Sankara. Did you show him to a doctor?"

"I did, Periyavaa."

"Who was the doctor?"

"Doctor Sanjivi."

"What does he say?"

"He did all the tests and said, 'Two nerves in his larynx are affected. He may be alright with an operation.'"

"Did he not say that the boy would surely be alright (after the operation)?"

"He did not give that assurance, Periyavaa. Somehow, only you should make him to regain his speech. Only you should save us!"

AcharyaaL talked after keeping silent for sometime. "You do one thing, Sankara. You take the boy and visit all the temples in this city, have darshan and pray. Take food in the MaTham and stay here for the night. You meet me at ten in the morning, finishing your bath and any anuSTAnam (religious routine) that you might have."

AcharyaaL's words were very comforting. Prostrating to Periyavaa, both of them went away for temple darshans.

It was ten o' clock on the next morning. The walking God had come earlier and was sitting. There was not much crowd, only five or six people were waiting. Everyone of them had darshan and left. Prostrating to AcharyaaL, SankaraNarayanan stood before him with hands folded on his chest. SwamigaL looked at him penetratingly for a while and said: "Sankara, do one thing. Take the boy to Mylapore Sri Kapaliswara temple, do a pUrNAbhiSekam (an elaborate ablution) to Swami and AmbaaL and make the boy have darshan of them. Thereafter what you do, keep looking for the news of the same Srivatsa Jayarama Sarma holding a complete discourse on Srimad Ramayana. If he holds the discourse in a temple or in a sabha (auditorium), do one thing, from the Sundara Kaandam until Sri SitaRama PattaabhiSeka vaibhava (glory), take Chandramouli and make him do shravaNa (listening)! What you do on the day of completion with Sri SitaRama PattaabhiSeka, buy some good hill-grown banana fruits, hand them over to paurANika (discourser), and both of you do shASTaaN^ga namaskaram to him. You pray within your mind to that PattaabhiSeka Sri SitaRama and the paurANika. That Pattabiraman will save you... do not at all worry... good bye!" The Parabrahmam bade them farewell with this advice.

The Auditor started checking daily for any news about Srivatsa Jayarama Sarma's Ramayana pravacana (discourse) in Chennai. One day, he saw the happy news that Sri Srivatsa Jayarama Sarma's Srimad Ramayana upanyAsa will take place as navAham (for nine days) at Mylai Sri Shirdi Sai Baba temple.

That was the day of starting the Sundara Kandam. SankaraNarayanan went to Sri Sai Baba temple with Chandramouli. It was a moving upanyAsa and Chandramouli listened to it forgetting all about himself. Sometimes tears started issuing from his eyes. At those times, SankaraNarayanan caressed his back and comforted him.

It was the day of completion of Srimad Ramayana upanyAsa. A 'good' crowd in Mylai Sai Baba temple. At 10:30 hours in the night, Srivatsa Jayarama Sarma finished the Sri SitaRama PattaabhiSeka narration and ended his discourse telling the audience about the fruits of listening to a Ramayana discourse. One by one, the people from the audience prostrated to him and moved away. After both of them prostrated to him, SankaraNarayanan gave the bunch of a dozen hill-grown banana fruits to Chandramouli, asking him to submit them to the discourser and prostrate to him again. He did as his father told him. The discourser took the banana bunch happily and gestured them as arpaNa (offering) to the holy portraits of Sri Rama PattaabhiSekam and Sri Shirdi Sai Baba behind him. Then he plucked two fruits from the bunch, gave them to Chandramouli and said, "Kozhandhe! (my child!) You will remain in prosperity. You eat both these fruits," and blessed him. As they came out of the temple, Chandramouli ate the two bananas.

A miracle took place on the next morning. After he brushed his teeth in the bath room and came to the hall, Chandramouli called loudly to his mother, "Amma, is the coffee ready?" Astonished, his father who was reading the newspaper and his mother who was in the kitchen came running to the hall. Chandramouli was standing there smiling.

"Was it you who called inquiring about the coffee, Chandramouli!" His mother hugged and kissed him, happiness overwhelming her. SankaraNarayanan took the boy on his shoulders and danced! Chandramouli started talking fluently as before. All the familiar people came over and were happy witnessing this change.

It was 5:30 hours in the evening on the same day. Maha SwamigaL was sitting in ekAnta (alone). There was not much crowd. Auditor SankaraNarayanan came in a van with ten to fifteen people.

The Auditor prostrated to the sage with Chandramouli and got up. AcharyaaL's first question was, "Chandramouli, you are able to talk now fluently? Besh, besh! It is all the grace of that SitaRama!"

Chandramouli immediately chanted loudly, "Hara hara Sankara... Jaya jaya Sankara." Everyone stood in ecstasy.

That Parabrahmam talked after sometime. "Sankara, I shall tell you now, listen! There was no other reason for this sudden happening to Chandramouli. By nature he had abundant priya and bhakti (love and devotion) towards Sita Devi and Sri Rama. He could not withstand if they came to any distress. When he first listened to the upanyAsa, Jayarama Sarma should have been narrating about the part where Ravana abducted Sita Praatti. Am I right, Sankara?"

The Auditor who stood amazed opened his mouth to affirm. "The same thing Periyavaa, the same thing! On that day, he talked very movingly only about that part."

SwamigaL continued: "The moment he heard that a rAkSasa (demon) was abducting Sita Mata, towards whom he had abundant love and devotion, he suffered from a condition of mental pressure inwardly that resulted in helplessness and stoppage of the faculty of speech. It was nothing else. What was the only remedy, way out for this? It occurred to me that if heard with his own ears from the same paurANika's words that Mother Sita had been rescued without any distress to her, that would ease the pressure in his mind and speech. It was for that reason that I asked you to do what I advised you. Now everything has concluded well with the grace of SitaRama. Chandramouli, you will remain parama kSema (in complete prosperity)!"

Everyone who heard the words of that walking God, stood transfixed!

ekAnta - a lonely or retired or secret place
paurANika - versed in ancient legends and stories, a mythologist
puruSa - a man, human being, male, person
shravaNaH - ear, listening to, hypotenuse of a triangle

The Astrologer Who Astonished the Arcot Nawab!
Author: Sri P.N. Sankara Raman, Kambarasampettai
Source: Sakthi Vikatan issue dated Jul 24, 2006

As told by the author:

It is several years since the incident I have narrated here happened. At that time, my father P.M. Nataraja Sarma was working as a Sanskrit teacher in the Bishop Heber College, Trichy. He had immense bhakti and respect in Kanchi Mahaswami Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati.

Nattham village is located on the north bank of Kaveri in Trichy district. Once Mahaswamiji was camping there. My father wanted to have darshan of the Sri Tripura Sundari-Sri ChandraMauleesvara puja Swamiji was performing there. With three days coming up as holidays, he reached Nattham village on Friday night. The puja was over. Since nobody knew my father there, he was not specifically welcomed. Wearing the vibuti prasAdam given by Mahaswamiji on his front, he lay down to sleep in a corner of the pandal. The next two days passed by in the same manner. My father had an eyeful darshan of pujas and the arAdhanas.

The third day was the Vinayaka Chaturti festival day. After the special puja was over, my father went to get the prasAdam from Swamiji and told him about going back home. Swamiji raised his head and said, "First take the kozhukkattai (modakam) (a favourite sweet dish of Sri Ganesha) kept in front of Pillaiyar, sit somewhere, eat it leisurely and then come back; we shall discuss about your returning home."

My father was amazed. He wanted to take leave but Swamiji asked him to first eat the kozhukkattai and come back! After he ate the prasAdam, Swamiji called him. Periyavaa was very happy to learn that my father was the paternal grandson of Pudukkudi Srinivasa Josyar (astrologer). Swamiji reminisced about his grandfather and the incidents that happened at that time. My father was quite surprised!

Swamiji continued: "Your grandfather went to Malayala Desam and learnt Jyotisha systematically. He also took up the upasana of devatas (chanting mantras on demigods). It was an interesting incident how he became an astrologer of Arcot Nawab. At that time, Tiruchirapalli was under the rule of Arcot Nawab. The Nawab had many astrologers. One day the Nawab ordered all the astrologers residing in his region, including those with him to come to his kaccheri (sabha). Many new astrologers assembled. Your grandfather was one among those present.

"After the Nawab came to the kaccheri, the Diwan got up and told to the astrologers: 'Nawab is organizing a competition for you people. You should all write down in a piece of palm leaf the name of the gate on the fort wall through which Nawab will go out for hunting today, put it inside a (palm) cover and give it to us. All the palm covers will be sealed and preserved. When Nawab returns, the seals will be broken and the leaves will be read out. Nawab will honour the man who has given the correct answer.' So every astrologer noted down as east or south or west or north as the gate according to his computation and submitted his cover.

"Ultimately, on that day, the Nawab did not go out of any primary gate. He demolished the north wall of the west gate (the northern petrol bunk side of today's Main Guard Gate) and got out, travelled some distance towards Woraiyur on the west, then turned north and went up to the Kaveri bank. Then he turned south and moved through the demolished entrance in the North Andar Street (today's name is Puduppadi Lane) to the northern street of Rockfort. Then he turned east and came to the East Andar Street via the slanted rocky path. He came round the Rock from the right and reached his kaccheri which was at today's Town Hall through the Chinnakkadai Street. He did not go for hunting at all. After the Nawab returned, the seals were broken the palm leaves were read out. Only your grandfather's leaf had mentioned about the Nawab's activities accurately. The Nawab was amazed. The others in the kaccheri also were wonder-struck.

"Thereafter, the Nawab legally gifted your father 80 acres of land in Pudukkudi. In the street south of the Rockfort, there is a black temple on the western side. Near that temple is a tall house with an iron gate. Opposite that house is a small house with thinnai (sit out). The Nawab also gave these two houses. Your grandfather spent gradually all the 80 acres of land and the two houses near the Rockfort for dharmic activities."

With this reminiscence, Mahaswamiji blessed my father and bid him farewell. My father used to recite this incident to me often and feel proud about it.

"Sleep Near the Serial Furnace!"
Author: Sri Ramani Anna (in Tamil)
Source: Sakthi Vikatan issue dated Sep 9, 2006

Many years back, a Cittirai month. The new year's day. Morning hours. A large crowd and a long queue at Sri Kanchi maTham. A sixteen year old boy was among those waiting in the queue, which moved slowly. He reached near the stage where Mahaswamiji was seated, around ten o' clock. AcharyaL keenly looked at him for some time. He prostrated at once before the sage, his eight limbs touching the ground. He did not get up. Swamiji waited for sometime and then said, "Get up, get up my child!"

He got up, raised his hands over his head and joined the palms. The stirrings of bhakti hadn't left him yet. Tears were flowing down his eyes.

Swamiji called the youth near him. He obeyed, his palms still joined. Swamiji inquired: "Who are you my son? What is your name? From which place are you coming?"

With great vinayah the youth brought his right palm before his mouth and replied, "Swami, my name is Balakrishna Joshi. I am a Gujarati Brahmin from Madras. My native place is Gujarat."

"Which place in Madras?"

"Hanumantrayan Koil Street Swami", replied Joshi.

"What have you read up to?"

"Up to the eighth Periyavaa", said Joshi, in a low, hesitant voice.

"Alright. Since today is the new year's day," Swamiji inquired, "you thought you would have Swami darshan at the temples in this kSetram?"

"It is not that Periyavaa. I came for a darshan of Periyavaa."

Mahaswamiji said at once: "apacAram, apacAram, shouldn't tell that way. When you go to a place, you should first have darshan of the Shiva, Vishnu temples there. Wherever I go, I first have darshan at the temples there--only then any job. You understand?" Swamiji laughed.

"I have now understood" replied Joshi humbly.

"Alright, after you have prasAdam from AcharyaL, you must go to the temples here before you board a bus to Madras, understand?" said Swamiji, a little emphatically.

Balakrishna Joshi, a little emboldened now, replied: "I understand that well Periyavaa. As you have ordered, I shall have darshan at all the temples here and come back to the maTham. For your anugrahah."

Swamiji said laughingly, "That's what. I am going to give the prasAdam now. Why come back to the maTham? Oho... after Swami darshan you have decided to have your lunch in the maTham and then board a bus! Good, good," Swamiji gave his consent.

Joshi hesitated. There were tears in his eyes.

"What is the matter?" inquired Swamiji with kindness.

Wiping his tears, Joshi replied: "I wish to stay here for sometime, that's why..."

Before he could finish, Swamiji interrupted him: "Here means? I don't understand."

"In the maTham Periyavaa", said Joshi with humility.

"What, in the maTham? This is a place for sannyasins. What work is there for young people like you?" Swamiji said with some sternness in his voice. "Have Swami darshan and get back to your place!"

Joshi did not move. He again prostrated to the sage. And spilled the beans: "Periyavaa shouldn't say that. My wish is to stay in the maTham and serve you for sometime."

Swamiji understood the situation. The innocent, plain talk from Joshi attracted him and created in him a special preference for the youth. Without showing it, he said: "Serving me! There are many young people here! Why you as another? You start getting back to Madras."

Joshi moved from that place, but not from the maTham. He took his lunch in the maTham and got himself seated in a corner outside the room where Swamiji used to take rest.

The evening set in. Swamiji came out, finishing his bath. He saw Joshi but hurried past the youth without saying anything. Joshi tried standing within Swamiji's gaze, wherever Swamiji happened to be. For four days he tried with the vairagya of bhakti, but to no avail.

The early morning of the fifth day. Mahaswamiji went for his ushas kala bath in the pushkarani of Sri Kamakshi Amman temple. He saw Joshi as he finished his bath and ascended the bank. "You haven't gone to Madras?" he asked obligingly.

"No, Periyavaa! I am not returning until my sankalpa is fulfilled," said Joshi with vairagya.

"Whatever that sankalpa?" Swamiji asked, as if he did not know.

"It is to serve at your lotus feet for sometime, Periyavaa", replied Joshi expectantly.

"Shouldn't have a sankalpa which is not a sAdhya." Swamiji walked away.

Joshi did not lose heart. After having darshan of Sri Kamakshi Amman he went straight to the maTham. He stood before the room of the sage.

Swamiji came out for the darshan of his bhaktas. He saw Joshi. His heart softened at the vairagya of Joshi. He called the youth near.

"Your father has an employment or a business?" asked Swamiji.

"Business only Periyavaa. Buying and selling diamonds," replied Joshi.

"For the kind of temperament you have, you will also become a big diamond businessman. At that time, you should strive to get the name of a honest diamond merchant. Alright, as you wish, you stay with the other boys and serve me for sometime." Swamiji had at last showed him the green flag.

Joshi joined the four or five youth who were serving the sage. Two days went by in the darshan of Swamiji and doing the tasks he ordered. On those two days Joshi had his bed at night, along with the other boys, in a corner of the room where Swamiji slept. Joshi considered this a great boon.

Swamiji called Joshi before he went for bed on the third night. As Joshi prostrated, Swamiji said, "Balakrishna Joshi, you need to do a thing from now. Be with me like the other boys and serve me the whole day. But you shouldn't sleep here in the nights--"

Joshi was alarmed. He interrupted the sage and said hastily, "I pray Periyavaa should not give me such an order. Kindly grant me the privilege of sleeping here like the other boys do."

"I am telling you with a reason," Swamiji showed some sternness in his voice. "You should listen to me."

Joshi stammered: "Alright, Periyavaa. I shall do what you say."

Swamiji laughed and said: "Say that! You go to the kitchen at night. There will be a wooden bench near the serial furnaces (kOttai aduppu). You sleep on that bench conveniently. Get up early morning, finish your chores, have your bath and come here for the service... What, you understand?"

Joshi couldn't say anything further. Wiping his eyes, he said, "I shall do as you order, Periyavaa," and moved away. The other boys looked at this happening jocularly. He couldn't find the answer to the question as to why Swamiji wanted him to sleep alone in the kitchen near the serial furnace.

As he came out, Joshi saw a mate and asked him inquisitvely if Swamiji had ordered any of them to sleep near the serial furnace. With an expression of disapproval that boy replied, "Never had Periyavaa asked any of us to do such a thing."

Joshi felt insulted. It was ten in the night. Sobbing, he entered the deserted kitchen and settled himself on the bench near the serial furnace. He did not eat anything that night. Grief choking his throat, he was awake for a long time before he fell asleep. As the dawn set on the next morning, the maTham woke up. Soon after, the vedic chantings and bhajan songs peculiar for a maTham came floating in the wind.

Joshi awakened. He finished his chores, went and sat down in the sanctum of Sri Kamakshi Amman. It did not occur to him to go for service to Swamiji.

He came to the maTham in the afternoon, had his lunch, and then went back to the temple sanctum. The usual bed around ten in the night, near the serial furnace. He did not go the sage at all.

Two days passed in this manner. It was the morning on the third day. Swamiji called a sevak and aksed him with a worried look: "Two days back a boy named Balakrishna Joshi came here for seva... He is not seen now! Where did he go? Perhaps he has gone back to Madras without informing me?"

Hesitatingly the sevak replied, "No, Periyavaa. He is only here in the maTham."

"Then why did he not come here for the last two days?"

"No idea, Periyavaa."

Meantime another sevak boy came that side, and Swamiji asked him about the missing Gujarati boy. He too had no idea.

"Alright, check up with Joshi and tell him that I want him here now", ordered Swamji and went inside his room.

Joshi stood looking small before Mahaswamiji.

"Come, my child. Why, you were not seen here for the last two days! Are you not well?" Swamiji inquired with utmost kindness. Joshi had no reply.

"Any sadness... or anger... with me?" Swamiji asked like a child, happiness writ on his face.

Joshi slowly opened his mouth. "No anger and all, Periyavaa! A bit of sadness in my heart though," he stammered.

Swamiji looked at him with surprise. "Sadness... with me?"

Joshi kept quiet.

Swamiji did not stop. "Come on, tell me! Is it not that I should also know about your sadness?" As Swamiji encouraged Joshi to talk, the other boys were standing nearby with folded hands.

Prostrating and bringing his palm before his mouth, Joshi began to talk. "Nothing else, Periyavaa. You ordered me to sleep in your room like the other boys for the first two nights, and I was happy. Suddenly you called me and ordered me to go and sleep near the serial furnace! I was saddened with the thought that perhaps since I am only a Gujarati brahman and not a brahmin of this side, you might have ordered me to sleep separately. Please pardon me Periyavaa..." Joshi sobbed and fell at the feet of Swamiji.

Swamiji understood the situation. He did not say anything for sometime. Silence prevailed there. Then he asked the other boys to leave him alone, and called Joshi near. With utmost vAtsalyam he spoke: "adAdA... Balakrishna... For my asking you to sleep near the serial furnace you made up this meaning! I did not say that with such thoughts in my mind! You are a small boy, so you have misunderstood me!". With those words, Swamiji asked Joshi to sit before him. Joshi hesitated and sat down on the floor.

Swamiji spoke with compassion welling up in his voice: "There was never such a reason as that you expressed now for my asking you to sleep alone on the wooden bench near the serial furnace. There was only one reason for that, Joshi. Look here!" Swamiji raised his vastram up to his thigh. There were bunches of reddish mosquito bites on Swamiji's rosy thighs!

"My child Joshi! You see these bites of the mosquitos I have at night time? I am a sannyasin, so I can withstand them. Being a child you would have immense suffering. I saw you struggling with the mosquito bites on the first two nights. You have a rosy complexion like me! So I wanted that at least you could sleep well in a safe place, which was why asked you to sleep alone. Since the wooden bench is lying near the serial furnace, there would be absolutely no mosquitoes because of the heat from the furnace. And you would sleep well! That was the only reason for my order, but it so happened that you misunderstood me!" As Swamiji said this laughing, Joshi started sobbing loudly.

He spoke sobbing, "Periyavaa, please tell me that you have pardoned me! Without understanding your compassion, I blabbered some nonsense!" That compassionate Lord was just laughing, raising his hands and blessing Joshi.

"Joshi, you will also become a diamond merchant in future. Sell your wares for a reasonable prize and do a good business." said Swamiji as he blessed Joshi once again.

In the later years, Balakrishna Joshi became a dharmic diamond merchant and was a beloved bhakta of Swamiji until the samadhi days of the sage. Some years later, Joshi also gave up his body to reach God's feet.

"Sleep Near the Serial Furnace!"

With due respects, pleaze....

stories like this does nothing but promote hero-worship and superstition.

I have stayed in brahmincal maThams and slept in worse conditions than that described in this story. Let me tell you folks, hero worship of the kind described in this story is nothing more than just story. It may give a nice fuzzy feeling, but just think about how many people really indulge in this kind of delusions, and benefit from such delusions. No non-orthodox person has ever spent a single night in the MaTham of their choise, and neither do the orthodox if they can get away.

Sri. Nara. Probably I am a bit dense here but you need to elaborate on what you are saying at least for my sake. Are you saying this is all just made up and there is no truth in it? Or it could be true but just promotes hero-worship and superstition? I don't believe either is true but I think this thread is for bhakthas who follow the Mutt and the Swamiji. If you don't like the thread you need not visit it personally. I do get that nice fuzzy feeling while reading them but for reasons different than you have said.

What did Kanchi SwamigaL Say to VinAyaka?
Author: mahAraNyam SriSri MuraLidhara Swamiji
Source: Sakthi Vikatan issue dated Aug 01, 2008
Type: magazine, fortnightly, Tamil
Publisher: Viketan Publications

Generally in many temples, there would be five prAkAras. These denote our five koshas (sheaths or bodies). The annamaya kosha made of food, the prANamaya kosha made of prANa (life force), the vijnAnamaya kosha made of knowledge, the manomaya kosha made of the mind, and the Anandamaya kosha are those five koshas.

PerumAL (Vishnu) would be either leaning or sitting on a snake which is of three-and-a-half coils. In this, the three-and-a-half coils of the snake indicates the kuNdalini shakti sleeping under the human spinal column.

There are five snakes on the body of Sri NatarAja. These indicate the five kinds of prANans that course through our body: prANa, apAna, vyAna, udAna, samAna. At the time of death, the Jiva leaves the body, only by holding on to the prANA.

That prANa (which carries the Jiva) would leave (at the time of death) through one of the nine holes in our body. Depending on which hole it leaves through, the next birth would be decided! For yogis, a tenth hole would be formed in the head (at the apex), the Jiva will leave through it and reach lofty worlds. This path is known as the archirAdi mArga (the path of light). For the jIvan muktas who are jnAnis, the prANa would shrink in the Atma, without leaving through any of the ten holes.

The divine set up where Parvati-Parameshvara are sitting with Skanda on their lap is known as the form of SomAskanda. In the SivAsthAna Alayam (Tenambakkam) near Kanchipuram, however, we can see SomagaNapati. That is, on the lap of Parvati-Parameshvara, instead of Skanda, Ganapati would be sitting.

Kanchi PeriyavaaL was staying here for sometime. One night, PeriyavaaL was lying on a bed of darbha grass, spreading it out like a mat. Some devotees were also with him. At that time the sound of firecrackers being exploded was heard.

"What for is that noise of firecracker explosion?" asked PeriyavaaL, as if he knew nothing about it.

"Kamakshi Amman is coming in a procession in her car", they said. "That's why the noise of crackers."

Saying, "AmbaaL is coming in bhavani in her car. Should we not have darshan of her?" PeriyavaaL got up and prepared to leave the place.

Those with him said, "It is over ten o' clock now. PeriyavaaL's health is also giving problem. Further, it would take time to reach Periya Kanchipuram from here. By this time, AmbaaL would have come near the Kacchabesvara temple. It is the custom that only there the vANa vEDikkai (festivities of firecracker explosions) is held on a large scale. Within the next half hour, AmbaaL would have gone inside the temple."

PeriyavaaL did not receive any of that into his ears. Before moving away from there, he went to the small PiLLaiyAr at the Tenambakkam temple known as the SivAsthanam. Keeping one hand folded over his eyes, he bowed to PiLLaiyAr and said something in rahasya (private). Then he moved away.

PeriyavaaL was walking silently. But those accompanied him were talking. One man said, "It is a good walking exercise for us." Another said, laughing, "We are going to return only having darshan of a closed temple!"

As they reached the bigger Kanchipuram, it was a surprise for those who came with PeriyavaaL. They learnt that Kamakshi Amman's car was standing near the Kacchabesvara temple for hours together!

As they sighted PeriyavaaL, some of the people assembled there came running and prostrated to him. They informed him, "For whatever reason not known to us, the elephant which came smoothly until this far, is adamant now against further movement. If the car is pulled, it blares as if it has gone mad. If the car is kept still, it is also calm and silent."

After having darshan of AmbaaL, PeriyavaaL came near the elephant. Then, keeping a hand on its body, he said, "We can go." That was all! The elephant started moving, with its own majesty, faning its ears. Everyone who saw this was surprised.

Only now the people who came with him understood why PeriyavaaL talked in rahasyam to that SivAsthAnam Small PiLLaiyAr.

Knowing the mahima (greatness) of mahAns (sages), let us get their blessings and make a festive day of every day in our life!

prAkAra - a wall, enclosure, fence, rampart

Professor who took the bhAShya pATham!
devotee:...... brahmashrI KRShNa shAstri Joshi
author:....... brahmashrI KRShNa shAstri Joshi, shrI Shankara MaTham, SatAra
compiler:..... T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
source:....... Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol.2, pages 93-97
publisher:.... VAnathi Padhippaham (May 2005 Edition)
type:......... book, Tamil

[Summary of an essay in Sanskrit]

Nearly twenty-five years ago, SriCharaNargaL was camping in the shrI MaTham, SatAra, for eleven months.

At that time, my father shrI KAshinAtha shAstrigaL, prayed to him of his wish to listen to the prasthAnatraya bhAShyam from MahA PeriyavAL's tirumukham--sacred face/mouth. (The ten UpaniShads, BrahmasUtra and Bhagavad GItA are together known as the prasthAnatrayam.)

PeriyavA told him, "agre pashyAmaH (will see in future)".

When two months had gone by, he called us himself, asked us to bring the bhAShya--commentary, books, and started his elucidatation of them. One shrI RAjagopa-aiyar would chant only the first line from each UpaniShad. MahA SvAmigaL would then talk about it in vistAra--elaborately, like the sluices of a dam opened, about all the topics mentioned in that UpaniShad, citing from various texts of the bhAShyakAras. This lecture would take place every day for seven hours; this being so, it is not necessary to mention how much kAruNyam--compassion, MahA SvAmigaL had towards us.

The long event of lecturers went on in succession for twelve days and came to completion.

PeriyavA alone gave the lecture every day for seven hours! It is matter of surprise that not only did he show any shrama--fatigue/exertion, but he talked every day with great enthusiasm.

For this pErupakAram--great favour, of PeriyavA, it wouldn't be enough even if we were to take howevermuch janmas--births and serve him.

*** *** ***

A college professor used to come every day for darshan. But he never sought to talk with or introduce himself to PeriyavAL. Perhaps the darshan itself gave him limitless santoSham--happiness/joy!

After four-five months, one day, looking at him, PeriyavA asked, "How come you came here now?"

A great surprise for the professor. "I am coming here daily?"

PeriyavA asked him the same question again. The professor returned home in a state of understanding nothing of the question. As he entered his house, a letter that was lying on the floor came in his sight. He took it and read. 'Very urgent. Forthwith you go to such and such college in such and such place and start your work there.'

How was the message of the letter known to PeriyavAL beforehand?

Whatever... The professor got ready for the relocation with his trunk and bed.

*** *** ***

Four girl children for us in succession. But then we need a putra--son to save us from the put-naraka? The deities in temples did not open their mouth in reply to us. So I sought, along with my dharmapatni--wife, the Deivam that listens with its tiruchchevi--sacred ears, and replies with its tirumukham--sacred face.

He listened to our prayers for putrabhAgyam. When the darshan was over and he gave us leave, he gave a bilva-fruit as prasAdam.

Isn't the bilva-fruit one that belongs to Shiva?

In due course of time, a Shiva-pazham--Shiva's gift of fruit, arose in our home. Getting PeriyavaAL's permission, we named him as the very "Chandrashekara".

*** *** ***

In the place where SriCharaNargaL was staying, bedbugs had multiplied in large numbers. Where one placed his foot on the floor, the bedbugs were seen. On PeriyavA's sharIram--body, they would stick themselves in patches like the bees from a beehive, at times.

An anbar--devotee brought an insecticide to kill the bugs. PeriyavAL had come to know of this. He called the anbar.

"We eat food for our own sharIra-poShaNam--nourishment of body. Food for the bedbugs is the blood of the manuShya sharIram. The bedbugs themselves take their food! Without their food, how could they live? Right?

"There should be no jIva-hiMsa--injury to living beings. If we are in priyam--attached to one who does some upakAram--favour to us, it would not be a surprise; our elders would say that one who is in priyam even towards a person who does apakAram--wrong, to him is the virtuous man..."

After listening to this talk, would that Anbar have the heart to sprinkle the insecticide in PeriyavA's room?

But this is not a surprise. Within a day or two of this conversation taking place, the bedbugs themselves vanished--that is a wonder!

Perhaps the bedbugs had understood PeriyavA's bAShA--speech/language, or bhAvam--mental frame?

Did Pillaiyar Open His Eyes, Or Not?
Author: Sri Ramani Anna (in Tamil)
Source: Sakthi Vikatan issue dated Jan 03, 2007

Many years before, when Kanchi Maha Periyavar had undertaken a tour of the southern parts of Tamizhaham. After visiting Thanjavur, Trichy, Tiruvanaikkaval, Srirangam, Dindigul and Cholavandan, he was traveling towards Madurai with his entourage. The village folk residing on his path had his darshan and blessings, calling on him in large numbers, with their children. He blessed them all with a smiling face and walked, giving them fruits and suger lumps.

It was time to approach the great city of Madurai. The people of a village on the way welcomed him with the honour of pUrna kumbham. SwamigaL was singularly happy about the devotion and zeal of those villagers. He went and sat on the roots of a peepul tree on the roadside. All of them prostrated to him on the ground.

The panchayat head of that village prostrated to the sage with intense devotion. Then he said, "We pray for one thing to Periyavanga. We the poor people have come together and completed the construction of a new Pullaiyar temple nearby. We pray that Sami's feet should touch the temple precincts; should take mercy on us!"

AcharyaL got up enthusiastically and asked, "Where is this temple?"

The panchayat head replied, "Here, only at a calling distance. Should come and give your blessings!"

SwamigaL walked towards the Pillaiyar temple very briskly. He entered the temple with the honour of divine music and pUrna kumbham. Vinayaka was sitting inside the sanctum in the form of a six feet statue. The idol looked bright and mighty. Periyavaa looked at Vinayaka for sometime without taking his eyes off, and asked the panchayat head if the kumbhAbhiSekam of the temple was over.

"Not yet, Sami," said the headman.

SwamigaL asked, "Since everything has been completed, why was not the kumbhAbhiSekam done yet?"

The panchayat head replied politely: "Everything has been completed, Sami. Mahatama Gandhi is said to come this way within a month. Some notables of Madurai has promised us to conduct the kumbhAbhiSekam on the day he comes this side, in his presence. This is the reason: we are waiting for Gandhiji."

AcharyaL smiled to himself. He looked intensely at Vinayaka for two minutes and then said: "It seems to me that there is no necessity for that! Ganapathi is already staring with his eyes well open. Should not delay the kumbhAbhiSekam any longer. Fix an auspicious day and conduct it."

The panchayat head said, "No, Sami! The eye-opening ritual has not yet taken place to Vinayaka, Sami! We can't understand anything, if you are advising us this way..." He was confused.

SwamigaL smiled again and said, "I am not telling this myself! Ganapathi is staring, well and clearly, with his eyes open. Make arrangements for an early kumbhAbhiSekam! If Gandhi comes, let him have a good darshan!" The people around couldn't understand anything. They were waiting patiently.

The panchayat head could not get over his confusion. He sent word for the sthapati who sculptured the Vinayaka statue. The words of AcharyaL were apprised to him. The sculptor was also firm in his conviction: "No, Swami... The eyes are not yet opened for Vinayaka. Is it not that only I who carved the statue should also open its eyes? It is not yet done."

The sculptor fell at AcharyaL's feet three times and stood with his hands folded to his chest.

Looking again at the statue firmly, AcharyaL said, "The eyes of Maha Ganapathi have well been opened! He is staring happily. It is not good to delay further. Fix an auspicious day early and conduct the kumbhAbhiSekam. Prosperity will follow." With these words, AcharyaL started moving hurriedly from that place. The entourage followed. All the people went up to the village border and bade farewell to AcharyaL.

The village panchayat assembled within minutes after the incident. The words of AcharyaL were discussed in depth. The sculptor who was of a slightly advanced age told firmly:

"Because of his prevision everything would be intelligible Acharya SwamigaL. Still, I have not opened the eyes with my hand. Don't know how Sami says that. I went to the statue and checked thoroughly. It does not seem to have happened that way. What to do now?"

Silence prevailed there. No one opened his mouth. Suddenly a boy of apparently twelve years of age came running to the meeting. He folded his eyes on his chest and stood.

The headman asked him politely, "Thambi! why do you come running so hurriedly? What is the matter?"

The boy replied, "Thalaivare! I know something about the temple's Vinayaka statue. Shall I tell it here?"

The headman was interested: "What do you know, come on say it brother!" The crowd was looking keenly at the boy.

The boy started talking: "Ayya headman! I am telling the fact known to me with a promise that it is true. That Samiyar Sami's words that the eyes of Pullaiyar have been opened is only true! If you ask me how--it was the time of peak sunshine some ten days before. The grandfather who is sitting here, the man who carved the Pullaiyar statue--his grandson and I are friends. You know what he did? He suddenly took up the chisel and hammer that his grandfather had kept specially for opening statues' eyes, and brought us to the temple.

"Saying 'Hey, look! My grandfather would open statues' eyes only this way!', he worked on the eyes of Pulliayar, chanting, 'O Pullaiyar, open your eyes!' and making us chant those words. When he finished, all of us boys jumped and danced saying 'Yea, Pulliayar's eyes have been opened!" No one in this village knew of this matter. We too did not breath a word out anywhere! This is what happened, please pardon us!"

The crowd was sitting amazed. Tears issued from the eyes of the panchayat head. The village wondered about the greatness of AcharyaL. The sculptor's grandson was hardly eight years old. The panchayat brought him to the assembly and made inquiries. He admitted to having opened the eyes of Vinayaka. All of them ran to the temple and prostrated to Vinayaka. The sculptor examined Ganapathi's eyes well with the help of a lens.

Everyone wondered at the very beautiful manner in which netronmeelan (opening of eyes) had been done.

The whole village ran in the direction AcharyaL had left. SwamigaL was relaxing in the shadow of a big banyan tree on the roadside of the next village, with his entourage.

All of them ran to him and fell at his feet. The panchayat head and sculptor started sobbing.

That parabrahmam looked at these people and asked smilingly: "Now that you have verified and known that the eyes of Pullaiyar are open, go and complete the kumbhAbhiSekam early. The whole region will have prosperity."

That walking God blessed them smilingly, with a raised hand.

ayya - (Tamil) Sir
sthapatiH - sculptor, architect, charioteer, driver, carpenter
Tamizhaham - (Tamil) Tamilnadu
Thambi - (Tamil) younger brother
Thalaivar - (Tamil) headman

The Golden uttaraNi that was Missing!
Author: Sri Ramani Anna (in Tamil)
Source: Sakthi Vikatan issue dated Nov 9, 2007

Series: Wonders Witnessed by this Adiyavan

Several years ago, Kanchi Maha SwamigaL was camping in an old choultry called the RMM Choultry in the Mahadana Street of Tiruvidaimarudur. Bhaktas (devotees) from the surrounding villages arrived daily to have darshan of Maha SwamigaL. ADiyEn (I) was then studying in school. Since my father was an official of the local Kanchi MaTham, he used to go to Tiruvidaimarudur often and come back after having darshan of AcharyaaL. He would also take me during my school vacation. On such occasions, it was a sukhAnubhavam (pleasant experience) to have darshan of SwamigaL with bhaya-bhakti (intense devotion) and receive his prasAdam!

One Sunday. It could have been eight o' clock in the morning. Along with my father I prostrated to AcharyaaL and got up. There was not much crowd. Calling my father near him, SwamigaL said, "Santhanam, aren't the people of your village coming here? Ask everyone to come. No one should go back empty. As ChandraMauleesvara prasAdam, they all should have their vaisvadevam* (bhojanam, food after offering it to God) and then only go... What, you've understood?" SwamigaL gave his orders with a smile, with the compassion of a mother.

My father said with humility, "Periyavaa uttaravu (orders)" and prostrated. ADiyEn too prostrated. Periyavaa did not leave it at that. Looking at my father he ordered, "Today you have darshan of ChandraMauleesvara Puja, have your vaisvadevam here and then go!"

Father and myself finished our afternoon bhojanam and had some shrama parikAram (rest) in the choultry thiNNai (raised portico). It could have been three o' clock in the afternoon. Suddenly, there was a bustle in the choultry. The MaTham people ran here and there and searched for something in wild hustle. We did not understand anything, so we inquired.

A man of the MaTham said, "It is nothing else. When Periyavaa does ChandraMauleesvara Puja, for him to offer arghya, pAdyaM (waters in honour and for washing feet), a notable from Kummaanam (Kumbakonam) had given an uttaraNi in gold. Would be about three sovereigns! Till yesterday it was in Periyavaa's puja. Today it is not found there. We are searching all nooks and corners. Not yet informed Periyavaa, he does not know about it yet!" and continued on his search.

SriMaTham kAryastA (in-charge) said with worry, "Before this reaches Periyavaa's ears, it should somehow be found and placed (where it belongs to)." He called the sippantis (clerks) one by one and conducted his inquiry. Everyone said that they did not know anything about it.

"Everyone has been interrogated...only one man remains," said the kAryastA. "Call Ramanathan who does the ugrANa kaingkariyam (kitchen service)!"

A man went to the kitchen and came back. He said, "The cook assistant Ramanathan is not there. They say he had gone to TepperumaNallur to call on his mother who was not well. He can be expected only in the evening," and moved away.

It was five in the evening. Maha SwamigaL came out of his ekAnta (private) room. Letting his gaze wander in all the four directions, he stood for a moment. Then he sat on the Asanam (seat) made for him at the entrance of his room, adjancent to the wall. Sometime later, a youth who does pUja kaingkariyam came by the side of the hall. Calling him near, AcharyaL asked with a smile as if he knew nothing, "EndAppA (my boy)... I am witnessing it all since this noon. The chatram (choultry) is all allOlakallOlam (hullabaloo, great noise), what samAcaram (news)? Any romba periya manushA (VVIP) is coming here today?"

Prostrating shASTaangam (with eight limbs), the youth said, "Nothing of that kind, Periyavaa", and swallowed.

SwamigaL did not leave him. He asked smilingly: "oNNumillEnnu solliptA epdidAppA (how come you can say it is nothing)! The whole choultry is in amarkaLam (great bustle as in a war), what else is the viSayam (news)?"

Swallowing again, the youth said feeling sorry, "When you do ChandraMauleesvara Puja, to offer arghya, pAdyaM, won't you be having a pavun uttaraNi (golden spoon)? It is not found Periyavaa. That is why they are all searching every nook and corner of the choultry."

Periyavaa next threw him a bait. "EndAppA, is there a suspicion on any of our manushyA (people)... any talk on those lines?"

"I have no idea Periyavaa! Only the kAryastA mAmA (man in-charge) was saying several things. Only he should be asked to know it all!" said the youth.

"Alright, you go and ask the kAryastA mAmA to come here and then go (your way)!"

Standing in a corner there, our hands folded across the chest, Father and I watched the proceedings.

The kAryasta who came to the hall prostrated shASTaangam to PeriyavaaL. Periyavaa asked him laughingly: "EndAppA, seems the pavun uttaraNi in the puja is missing?"

"Yes, Periyavaa."

"When from it's missing, any knowledge about it?"

Hesitatingly, the kAryasta said, swallowing his words, "For two days, we did not take the uttaraNi for use at ChandraMauleesvara Puja, Periyavaa! When we looked today, it was missing."

"Alright, what you think?"

"What seems to me is that somebody must have taken it Periyavaa."

"Alright, can you do the anumAnam (inference) as to who could it be?"

"Can't say that way with dIrgham (certainty), Periyavaa. Still there is suspicion on one pErvazhi (person)."

"Who is that pErvazhi?"

The kAryasta wavered and hesitated. "There could be nothing unknown to PeriyavaaL. Still I shall tell you what strikes my mind!" He dragged on his words.

"Tell me, I shall also know about it."

"My tIrmAnam (conclusion) is that it is the cooking assistant Ramanathan!" Before the in-charge could finish his sentence, SwamigaL countered him: "How do you say that?"

"For the last ten days that Ramanathan was pestering me: 'My mother is not well. I need to admit her in KummaNam Municipal Hospital for treatment. I want an advance of three hundred rupees.' Not only that Periyavaa. He was also annoying me daily to give an increment in his salary. Therefore..."

Interrupting him, AcharyaaL said, "So you have come to the conclusion that he should have done this kAryam (act) since he has paNamudai (financial shortage)!" and laughed.

SwamigaL contined: "Alright, alright. Where is that Ramanathan now? Bring him here saying that I called him."

The kAryasta said in submission, "He has gone up to TepperumaNallur to have a look at his mother saying that she is very unwell, Periyavaa."

"Let it go... You say he asked for an advance and increment. You have given them?"

"No, Periyavaa."

"Then what did you do?"

"I told him, 'For those two viSayams (things) you asked, now it will not be saukaryam (practicable) in the MaTham', Periyavaa!"

When he heard this, SwamigaL lapsed into thinking for sometime, closing his eyes.

A while later he said to the kAryasta, "Right, you do one thing. When that Ramanathan returns from TepperumaNallur, come to me and bring him with you; you understand?" Giving him this order, he went back to his ekAnta room. We all were standing with folded hands forgetful of ourselves. Time was ticking on.

It was eight in the night. Ramanathan arrived from TepperumaNallur. The in-charge came to the hall with him. As if he was foretold, PeriyavaaL also opened his door and came out and sat down (on his Asanam). Ramanathan fell down shASTaangam and prostrated to SwamigaL.

PeriyavaaL at once inquired him with vAtsalyam (affection), "Ramanathaa! I heard that your mother was unwell. How is she now?"

With reddening eyes Ramanathan replied, "They say a tumour has cropped up in her stomach. Could only be treated with an operation, admitting her at the KummaNam periyAspatri (government hospital)."

Before he finished, SwamigaL inquired, "You asked kAryasta for an advance for that purpose?"

"Yes, Periyavaa!"

"You also wanted increment it seems?"

Ramanathan did not reply to this (question).

"Why do you not reply (to my question)? What salary you get every month now?"

"Sixty rupees, Periyavaa."

"What increment do you now expect?"

No reply. Periyavaa too did not leave him at that.

Ramanathan hesistated and said in a feeble voice with persuasion, "Ten rupees every month Periyavaa!"

"Every month you want a salary of seventy rupees. Is that so?"

No reply to this too. SwamigaL looked at the kAryasta. "He asks for a ten rupee increment. What you do, you give him an increment of fifteen rupees and give him a salary of seventy-five fupees. Also give him the advance he asked for... what, you understand?" SwamigaL gave his orders.

"Shall do as you say, Periyavaa!" said the kAryasta.

"What Ramanathaa, aren't you happy now?" asked SwamigaL.

Ramanathan brought a palm before his mouth and nodded his head in affirmation.

Looking at his audience in the hall, Periyavaa said suddenly, "EndAppA! You people said that you have searched every nook and corner for the missing pavun uttaraNi. Tell me if you searched in the place I am going to tell you about now." Periyavaa stopped with a suspense.

The audience looked at one another, and then looked at SwamigaL with uncertainty.

SwmigaL continued laughingly: "You have missed searching at an important place. I shall tell you now, listen. You people discard the nirmAlya puSpams (used flowers) of the ChandraMauleesvara Puja every day in a place in the backyard where they won't be walked on by human legs? Should you not search for the pavun uttaraNi in that heap? But then don't go in search now in this night! There might be some pUcchi pottu (insect or worm) there. Go and look in kArthAla (the morning). It will be found there due to ChandraMauleesvara's kRpA (compassion)."

SwamigaL got up briskly saying this as if in sUcaka (indication) to someone. We all prostrated to him and took leave.

The next morning. I entered the Mahadana Street choultry with my father, in anticipation. My father inquired the MaTham kAryasta about the golden uttaraNi. The in-charge replied with a happy laugh: "As Periyavaa said, we went in the morning and rummaged the nirmAlya puSpams. In that was found the shining golden uttaraNi! But then how it came there is a satyam (truth) known only to ChandraMauleesvara and PeriyavaaL."

This adiyavan stood transfixed in wonder when I heard it!

I came across this verse about vaisvadevam being one of the six nitya karmas of a brahmin. It will be helpful if anyone could say where this verse is from.

snAnam sandhyA japo homo devatAnAmca pUjanam
Atithyam vaisvadevam ca shhaTkarmANi dine dine

(Questions about two verses)

Darshana mahimaigaL
author:....... R.Chidambaresan, Chennai-600040
compiler:..... T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
source:....... Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol.2, pages 98-116
publisher:.... VAnathi Padhippaham (May 2005 Edition)
type:......... book, Tamil

pages 98-102
A Tirupati in GauhAti

By shrI PeriyavAL's anugraha visheSham, a BAlAji Mandir and a superior eye hospital have been established in GauhAti.

Efforts to secure the land for this work were taken up in 1991. When the late shrI Hiteswar Saikia who was the Chief Minister of Assam (1991-96), had darshan of shrI PeriyavAL at KAnchipuram in the year 1992, he received with humility from the sage's sacred hands, a rudrAkSha mAlA (that became his rakSha to save him from the ULFA terrorism that prevailed in Assam then), and a crown of flowers. In addition, giving him in pratyekam--specifically for each, a plateful of kalkaNDu--suger lumps, the sage asked him to distribute it with his own hand among his Black Cat security guards who travelled with him. After shri Saikia got back to Assam, he arranged for a good piece of land that was of 50 bighA (18 acre) vistIrNa--area, and was flat and even (in GauhAti, hilly and uneven lands are more), to be donated to shrI PeriyavAL through the Government. In additional, he extended a financial assistance of Rs.10 lakhs from the state exchequer for constructing the temple. This dharma served as the basis for the establishment of the PUrva Tirupati BAlAji Mandir, built according to the South Indian shilpa shAstra--temple architecture. This Mandir now helps the people of this pradeshaM--region, to have darshan of BAlAji in GauhAti itself, thus changing the earlier position of their having to travel a long way to Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh to have the darshan.

shrImant ShankaradevA NetrAlaya Hospital

An Charitable Trust called 'Shri Kanchi Shankara Health and Educational Foundation', was established in Calcutta on the 3rd of January 1994 (that is, 5 days before shrI PeriyavA attained siddhi), with the sahAyam--assistance, of Dr S.S.Badrinath, founder and Chairman (Emeritus) of Shankar Netralaya, Chennai, and by financial donations received from the Tea Estate Companies functioning in the North-Eastern and North India, and from some individual dhanikas--wealthy people.

The very day this Trust was started, a total donation of Rs.30 lakhs got collected. Later in the same shatAbdi anniversary (11.11.1994), when a three-storeyed building at GauhAti, in a place called Beltola (the term 'bilvasthala' became Beltola in their language) was sought to be taken on lease, and when the lease document was about to be written, the building owner gave his building as a free gift to the hospital. I consider this as one among the adbhuta--wonders, shrI PeriyavAL performed, and performing even now. It wouldn't be an overstatement that the hospital very soon grew in a big way, was due to shrI PeriyavAL's anugraha visheSham.

That the kAraNabhUta--cause/reason, for an eye hospital established by a ShankarAchArya SvAmigaL in the lineage of Adi Shankara, instead of functioning under the name 'Shankara Medical Centre', carrying the name of shrImant ShankaradevA, a shrI KRShNa bhakta who lived in Assam in the 15th century, was shrI PeriyavAL himself, and this fact in fairness may not be known to many people.

Admitting even this ELiyEn--simple man, to his grace

On the western bank of the SarvatIrtham located adjacent to the KAshi VishvanAthar Kovil in KAnchi, once shrI PeriyavargaL was performing a puja. A puja in great vistIrNam--elaboration, keeping the Shiva PanchAyatana in the form of sandalpaste balls on a lotus leaf. Some firty, sixty of us around, witnessing it. This puja was held in a thaTTi panDal--thatched shed.

My wife and I, sitting among the bhakta crowd, were chanting the 'LalitA SahasranAmam', in a tone that was madhyama--medium. After the puja was over, waiting with limitless compassion that no hindrance should come to our pArAyaNam until it was finished, shrI PeriyavargaL, did the dhUpa-dIpa-naivedyam, and then waved the Arati.

This incident took place in a way that gave us great santoSham--happiness. Sometime later this event happened, we received the ShrIVidyA Upadesha in order.

RAmanAma mahimA

When shrI PeriyavargaL was in Tenambakkam, my wife and I had gone there. At that time, I was engaged in the kaingariyam--service, of collecting the 'RAmanAma list' written by devotees and sent through an organization called 'ICF KAmakOTi SevA Samiti', and sending them to an Anbar--devotee, who was to build a maNDapam--pavilion, in JamshedpUr, that was to be named "RAmakoTi".

shrI PeriyavargaL asked me, "How many names did you send?" I told him. Forthwith, shrI PeriyavargaL went inside a room and came out carrying a large carton (containing the notebooks of hand-written RAmanAmas, would weigh around 10-12 kilogram). Calling us, he said, "Have this for you". When shrIKaNTan tried to get that burden from him and pass it to us, PeriyavArgaL himself gave it to us directly. We both received it together.

I consider this as shrI PeriyavargaL giving upadesham of RAmanAma to us. Keeping that carton in our puja room, I am preserving it. After some months of his happening, when I did prastAvana--broach, of this sambhavam--event, to shrI PudupPeriyavargaL, forthwith giving a portrait of 'SItA-LakShmaNa-Hanumat sameta shrI RAmachandra MUrti' (this portrait was drawn with RAmanAmas), he gave us his anugraham with the words, "Keep this too."

(to continue...)
pages 103-107
'As desired by me...'

In January 1976, when my eldest daughter AkhilANDeshvari's marriage was betrothed, and I sought anugraham of shrI PeriyavAL at Kalavai, he said, "You have your kumArI's marriage conducted in KAmAkShi temple itself. In KAmAkShi sannidhi, mAngalya dhAraNam, japam and such pUrvAngas; saMtarpaNa--meals to brahmins, in the nearby KollA Chatram; for the saMbandhus'--kinsmen's stay, the RAjavIdhi Chatram, and shrIMaTham; thus there are four places. 'beShAga naDaththu--very well conduct it! (his own words)' Get permission from PuDupperiyavAL telling him that I desired it."

(Although shrI MahASvAmigaL was PuDupperiyavAL's guru, since in those periods of time shrI PuDupperiyavAL himself was the PIThAdhipati, in consideration of yuktam--propriety, in his asking me to get permission from shrI PuDupperiyavAL, and in his saying he "desired it", I could see his simplicity and magnanimity.)

Knowing that when some of my relatives who attended the marriage went to Kalavai and had darshan of PeriyavAL, he inquired them about the marriage in vistAram--detail, I wondered at the compassion and love he had for me.

In ShAhAbAd

Approaching shrI PuDupperiyavargaL who was camping in TiruvallikkENi--Triplicane, in 1983, when I sought his permission to conduct the marraige of my second daughter too in KAmAkShi temple, he asked me, "enna thEthi--what date?". I told him that among the two dates May 9 and May 29, I had uddesham--intention, to conduct it on May 9. For that shrI PuDupperiyavargaL said, "If it is May 9, you can have it conducted" and permitted me. (Only many days later I came to know that May 29 was the day fixed for shrI BAlaperiyavargaL to have his Ashrama svIkAram--adoption to sannyAsa Ashram.)

To get anugraham from shrI PeriyavargaL, I went to ShAhAbAd (In the Chennai-Bombay rail route it comes after crossing the VADi station). After I got down at the railway station, I came to know that shrI PeriyavargaL was staying in a place around 7 km. from there. Boarding a bus I went to the place where shrI PeriyavargaL was staying.

I spotted after walking a small distance, a small shed in the open ground, plus a hut and a well. Some five or six people were standing there. They told me it was there that shrI PeriyavargaL was staying. Intense sunshine of the 2 o' clock afternoon sun. When I went there, shrI PeriyavargaL was in shayanam--sleeping. His rickshaw cart nearby. A chippanti--staff member named Subbaiah near it. shrI PeriyavargaL was lying down on his stomach. It was known that he had come there only a few minutes before. It was also known to me that he was sleeping in that posture to get relief from the tiredness of his body. Standing nearby, I was looking at the rekha--lines, of PeriyavAL's soles.

After sometime passed, shrI PeriyavargaL woke up and looked at his two kaiththala--(Tamil)palms. He informed them in this way of his intention to read. A kaingaryapara--assistant, named SAmaveda ChandramauLi, gave him a small book. It was 'HanumAn chAlIsA'. Turning over its pages, he was reading it until daylight declined. In the meantime, a crowd assembled from the areas of grain fields nearby. Some people came in tractors too.

With help from the nearby people, BAlu had the varappu--(Tamil)ridges of the field adjacent to the well deepened, drew water from the well and filled it and thus faciliated for shrI PeriyavargaL to have his snAnam--bath.

As shrI PeriyavargaL had his snAnam and finished his anuShTAnam, it began to get increasingly dark. shrI PeriyavargaL asked the village people to get back to their homes, saying that no one needed to stay there. Sitting in the cart in the shed during night, he took an apple and some milk. I made vijnApanA--respectful communication, to him of the proposed marriage of my putrI and sought his anugraham.

shrI PeriyavargaL spent that night in the cart itself. Since the climate was very chill, we all slept in the hut.

It would have been four o'clock in the early morning, when I woke up. I saw shrI PeriyavargaL rise and go to the koTTakai--toilet. Forthwith, cleaning my teeth, and wearing vibhUti, I went near where shrI PeriyavargaL had gone, carrying a lantern. I introduced myself to him.

After shrI PeriyavargaL came out from the koTTakai, in the light of the lantern kept in the shed, an assistant named ChandramauLi read out that day's panchAngam. As he wrongly mentioned the day, shrI PeriyavargaL told him "Read again". When he read it again wrongly, the sage asked him to read it once more. Thus after many times of repetition, the man came to understand his error. As the man corrected himself and started reading it correctly, shrI PeriyavargaL told him, "I saw you read it with an error; only now you read it correctly."

I understood the nuTpam--(Tamil)subtlety of the sage, in giving him an avakAsham--opportunity, to correct his error himself. As it had dawned in the meantime, I stood seeking shrI PeriyavargaL's permission for me to return to my place. He asked me, "Only you built the GangAmAtA temple in HaridvAr?" I replied, "Only OmkArnAth GosvAmi built the temple; I only took a photograph of it and brought."

(OmkArnAth GosvAmi belonged to a family that arrived from RAvalpiNDi at the time of the Nation's paritition and took residence in India. He had told me about Pandit Madammohan MALaviyA, when the latter had gone to RAvalpiNDi, dining in their house, and at that time as a boy this man doing the service of waving a hand fan to the Pandit when the latter was eating. During the year 1975 when shrI PuDupperiyavargaL sent me on a tour, his parichayam--acquaintance, came up for me in HaridvAr.)

shrI PeriyavargaL ordered me, "You toured many places, PuDupperiyavA sending you on that tour. Tell these people about it in vistAram--detail." Limitless joy for me, and my body had the thrill of it (as if caressed with a blade of grass). I told them briefly of my yAtra.

Then shrI PeriyavargaL ordered the Director of the nearby Cement Company, who was a white man, to drop me in the railway station in his car.

(to continue...)
pages 108-116 (concluding part)
'Arrange for the bhikShAvandanam'

When shrI PeriyavargaL was in Orikkai, my family and I had darshan of him. Then shrI PeriyavA told a nearby assistant Kumaresan something. Forthwith, calling me, Kumaresan said, "shrI PeriyavA says that all the Chozhiyas want to do bhikShAvandanam." I said I would try to arrange it. shrI PeriyavargaL also wanted the bhikShAvandanam of the Chozhia class people to be held continuously on the occasion of every ChAturmAsya.

A week later, for this purpose, we convened a meeting in the presence of shrI PeriyavA. In this assembly were present Chittur Gopalakrishna Iyer, myself, Sundaram Iyer, his brother, Kumaresan, and a few others. shrI PeriyavA suggested the name, 'Chozhadesiya UrdhvashikhA brAhmaNAL bhikSha'. "Among you people is there in prasiddha--well known, KriShNaPremi. Making him a patron, establish a Trust and every year the people of your class do the bhikSha", he said. Accordingly, establishing a Trust, we are performing the bhikShAvandanam every year. Since this bhkiShavandanam is done in anusaraNam of--following, PeriyavA's Ajna--orders, all of us are doing it with bhakti-shraddha--sincerity of fatih.

In the 'GururatnamAlA', a grantham--book about AchAryALs, full details of the AchAryALs of shrI KAmakoTi PITham are given. In this book, when narrating about several PIThAdhipatis, the phrase that they belonged to the 'drAviDa brAhmaNa' class is seen. That is, several AchAryas who adorned this PITham belonged to the class of Dravidian brahmins. A doubt that only UrdhvashikhA brAhmaNas are the Dravidian brahmins, arises here. And a deep thought that may be because of that shrI PeriyavA asked for arranging the bhikSha of the Chozhiyas.*

About Appar in (a)Hagari

In the place called Hagari (actually Aka-hari--pApanAshini; aka means pApam--sin and hari is to destroy it), on the banks of the river, in the campus of a temple that was newly being constructed, shrI PeriyavA was staying for sometime.

At that time, shrI PeriyavA asked his adhyanta shiShya--close disciple, Dunlop KRShNan to read out DevAram and was listening to it. The 'mUvar DevAram'--DevAram of the three saints, is voluminous, would take a few days to be read out. Staying there, Dunlop KRShNan was reading it out to shrI PeriyavA.

Appar (SvAmigaL) attained mukti on the day of the Sadaya nakShatra in the month of Chittirai (Chaitra). The place he attained mukti is TiruppugalUr.

shrI PeriyavA spoke about this: "You know it? For Appar, mukti was in TiruppugalUr. Appar entered the garbhagraha--sanctum sanctorum. Then he did not return. This everyone knows. But then there is one thing that is not known. SvAmi (Shiva) came as singam--lion, and avarai appaDiyE kaDiththu sApTuTTAr--ate him up by gnawing (underlined is the word PeriyavA used). NAvukkarasar said, 'appanE--Father, it is painful to me'. SvAmi said, 'appanE, you taste sweet to me.' (It is known that behind the Shivalingam in the garbhagraham there was a bas relief that showed this, and that this was removed in the recent times). In the TiruppugalUr patikam too Appar addresses SvAmi as 'singamE--O Lion'. These two are the AdhAra--support for this happening."

(After I returned home, I checked Appar's TiruppugalUr DevAram--Third TirumuRai, 99th Patikam--TiruppugalUr ThiruththANDagam--the second pAsuram in the patikam that starts with "eNNukOn').**

அங்கமே பூண்டாய், அனலாடினாய், ஆதிரையாய், ஆனிழலாய், ஆனேறூர்ந்தாய்,
பங்கமொன்றில்லாத படர் சடையினாய் பாம்பொடு திங்கள் பகைதீர்த்தாண்டாய்,
சங்கையொன்றின்றியே தேவர் வேண்டச் சமுத்தினஞ்சுண்டு சாவா மூவாச்,
சிங்கமே உன்னடிக்கே போதுகின்றேன் பூம்புகலூர் மேவிய புண்ணியனே.

a~ggamE pUNDAy, analADinAy, AdiraiyAy, AnizhalAy, AnERUr~ndAy,
pa~ggamonRillAda paDar chaDaiyinAy pAmpoDu ti~ggaL pakaitIrttANDAy,
cha~ggaiyonRinRiyE dEvar vENDach chamutthina~jchuNDu chAvA mUvAch,
chi~ggamE unnaDikkE pOdukinREn pUmpugalUr mEviya puNNiyanE.

I have not heard about this matter or read it anywhere. Apart from the two above references, only shrI PeriyayA's vAk--word, is the third AdhAram--support.

When the Sambandhar DevAram was read, it came to be known that he belonged to the KauNDinya gotra. Looking at me shrI PeriyavA asked, "What gotra yours?" I said, "KAshyapa gotra."

I contempted it well as to why he should have asked me this question at that time. I belong to a family of the UrdhvashikhA--frontal tuft class. The brahmin subcaste known as ChozhiyAL today.

I got the anumAnam--inference, if shrI JnAnaSambandha MUrti svAmigaL too was of the Chozhiya brAhmaNa class.

About Max Muller at MahAgaon

A village named MahAgaon is in KarnATaka. One should go in a bus from Gulbarga (to reach it).

When shrI PeriyavargaL was there, I went to the place and had darshan of him. 1982 or 1983 is my memory.

When I went there, shrI PeriyavargaL was talking about shrI VidyAraNya:

"shrI VidyAraNya has done bhAShyam--commentary, for all the four Vedas. A German called Max Muller has also done bhAshyam. Further, several Western scholars have written about the Vedas in their books. Vedas is one of shabda-pradhAna--chiefly voice-activated; not artha-pradhAna--meaning-activated. There is no nyAyam--reason, for this to be known to the Western philosophers. Still, those people, showing shraddha--sincerity in the subject of reading the Vedas, being inclined to read them and know their contents, and as required for such task, doing vRtti--expansion of their knowledge in our SaMskRta-bhAShA-jnAnam and the culture of our desham--country, have written their books. There are many of these books. Depending on the cultural background of each, there would be differences in their way of understanding the Vedas and the ways and means they wrote in their books about their understanding.

"Since there are lots of (vital) differences between shrI VidyAraNya BhAShyam and the contents of the topics these occidental philosophers wrote, if the task of bringing out the Gloss in the Vedas from shrI VidyAraNya BhASha is done, doing the related research with our scholars, and giving them the necessary dravya--financial assistance, it would be very useful for our people. Two or three vidvAns--pandits must be assigned specifically for this task."

Accordingly, he was discussing it with shrI AnnAdurai AyyangAr, who was the Executive Trustee of the Veda RakShaNa Nidhi Trust, shrI C.R.SvAminAthan was the then Educational Secretary in the Central Government, and some others. (To know the exact meaning of the word 'Gloss' that PeriyavA used fluently, we people who had received the English education had to consult a dictionary). shrI PeriyavargaL asked C.R.SvAminAthan specifically, "Is there any scope for financial assistance from the Central Government's Education Department for such type of research?"

To that shrI SvAminAthan said, "There is. We are doing such financial assistance to the Benaras Hindu University, VArANasi."

It is known that as a result of this vivAdam--discussion, the VidyAraNya Trust must have been established.

VedaPATha Nidhi Trust

The material given here was not told me by shrI AnnAdurai AyyangAr:

When Periyavar was staying in MahAgaon, a few of his bhaktas--devotees approached him and sought his permission saying, "It is 75 years since shrI PeriyavA came to the PITham. With a view to celebrate it, we people would like to arrange for a Platinum Jubilee."

To that shrI PeriyavA said, "Oho! 75 years have passed since I came to the PITham? I was a small boy when I came to the PITham. At that time the Veda VidvAns in KumbakONam did poShaka of--nourish me. Even at that time they would have been of 70,75 years of age. All of them would have now gone to the paralokam--other world. Still, whoever has sought Ashraya--refuge of the VedaMAtA, should not stand before any other person folding their hands. In that respect, we are all duty bound to do upakAram--assistance, to the Veda vidvAns who have crossed 75 years of age. Of such Veda vidvAns, some might be in extreme shrama-dashA--difficult condition of life, in their old age. Maybe their sons and daughters are not in a position to look after them. Maybe their hand, leg or eye is not in svAdhInam--its natural power. In a condition of no upAdhyAya-vRtti--living by teaching, there would be shrama--difficulty even for the daily meal. For such people (who have crossed 75 years of age), if they are given at least 75 rupees per month, that itself would be the Platinum Jubilee for me."

Then he asked me, "On this subject, will your start a Trust, in contact with many people?"

"Whatever shrI PeriyavA's abhiprAyam--opinion, it can be done accordingly."

"Do it accordingly. Do you know Palkiwala of Bombay?

"Yes, I know."

"Make him the Managing Trustee. Two more people, Harish Mahindra and Mehta are there. Also make them Trustees. Make T.S.Santhanam in TVS, Madras also, a Trustee. You be the Secretary. Make immediate arrangements to establish this Trust. If money is taken from the Veda RakShaNa Nidhi (Trust) for this purpose, it would be dharma-virodha--in opposition to dharma. There should be no sambandham--connection, between this Trust and that. This is a kaingaryam--service, we do for the VidvAns who are of advanced age and in a state of not being able to do anything, after dedicating their entire lifetime to the study of Vedas and teaching it to others. This is not dole. They must be approached with bhaya-bhakti and the money given to them in vinayam--humility."

He immediately gave me leave to return to my routine.

After I had left the place and gone some distance, he sent word for me again. "If they are given 75 rupees it would only help them eat annam--rice. If 25 rupees is added and they are given 100 rupees, it would help them to pour some buttermilk over the annam and eat it", he said. What a compassion!

This is the story of the birth of the VedaPATha Nidhi Trust.

* MahAsvAmigaL explains in his exposition 'shrI Shankara Charitam' that except the subcaste VaDama among the brahmins, all other classes originally resided in the Dravida Desham.

** Can someone post the meaning of this Appar-Devara verse?
Angame poondai- you took a form to pacify your devotees (otherwise he is formless)
analadinaai- you took bathe in fire (It means your body itself is made up of fire)
Adhiraiyaai- You being the incharge of star "Adhirai" (Thiruvadhirai)
Anizhalai- The massive shadow which gives rest to all living beings
anoorerndhai- took bull as your vehicle and travelled on it
bangamondrillada padar sadaiyinai- Having the hairlocks of perfection
paambodu thingal pagai theerthandai- who solved the issues between snake and moon and pacified both (Its myth that snake and moon are enemies, since both the snake (Rahu-Ketu) and moon were trying to get nectar and moon found the rahu amidst of devas and informed Mohini vishnu and she with the spoon pricked the head of Rahu and because of that only even now eclipses are happening around sun and moon. Here, both moon and snake are found together in the head of shiva)
Sangaiyondrindiye devar venda samuthiranajunda- Without second opinion, all the devas begged shiva for their lives and with great compassion he swallowed the poison.

Saava moova- He neither dies nor aged (he always remains young) (why he said this just after that is eating the poison will kill even the devas. But even after eating this, shiva remain alive with great beauty)

singame unnadike podhugindren tirupugalur meviya punniayane

O lord, like a lion, the leader of myself, am coming to your feet.

A small translation which comes to my mind is for your reference sir...

namaste shrI Durgadasan.

Thank you for your prompt response with the beautiful translation. Although I could readily gather the meaning of most words, the phrases 'anggamE poonNDai' wasn't quite intelligible to me, and for the term 'analADinAi' I took the meaning as Shiva's darshan as the column of fire at AruNAchala.

Do we find the legend of SvAmi gobbling up Appar svAmigaL coming in the form of a lion in any Tamil literature or other books? Anything mentioned in the sthalapurANa of TiruppugalUr?
No sir

It was not mentioned anywhere like that in the sthala purna. Even in temple I couldnt find any such related things. Will go once again with this intention if possible.
oTTiya pazhamum oTTAdha pazhamum: The solid and hollow fruits
author:....... Smt.LalithA RAman, Sainikpuri
compiler:..... T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
source:....... Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol.2, pages 120-122
publisher:.... VAnathi Padhippaham (May 2005 Edition)
type:......... book, Tamil

Many days have gone by since this happened. Still it reamins unfading green in my heart and guides me until today.

My marriage was held in the year 1958. My hunsband was serving as a Captain in the Army. Since even after some years there was no putra bhAgyam--fortune of a child, for me, my mother took me to have darshan of shrI KAnchi KAmakoTi PIThAdhipati shrI Chandrashekara Sarasvati MahA SvAmigaL.

It was an evening time. shrI KAnchi MahA SvAmigaL was doing japam--litany sitting in his mena--palanquin. Some time passed by, and then Periyavar looked at as with limitless compassion. My mother did vijnApanam--addressed, my grievance to shrI Periya Periyavar. Taking an orange fruit from a plate nearby, MahA PeriyavA kept meditating, closing his two netras--eyes that were in blossom like lotus flowers, and rolling that fruit over those two eyes.

After sometime, he blossomed his eyes, gave that fruit to me and said, "This you take."

With great happiness I went home and took that fruit.

Years rolled by. My husband was serving as a Major in charge of guarding the borders. When he came on leave, we both went to shrI KAnchi MaTham to have darshan of shrI MahA SvAmigaL.

Evening time. Coming out of his room, that deity of compassion welcomed us with vAtsalyam--paternal love, looked at me with limitless abhimAnam--affection, and saying, "vAmmA kuzhandhE--Come, child! Come inside!", he took us inside.

Looking at my husband, "You are serving in the Army, right?", he asked, and my husband replied, "Yes, I am in Siliguri." Periyavar asked him, "Can you get oranges there? Will you send me a basket of them?" and this man said, "sari--okay."

shrI KAnchi MahA Periyavar looked at me and said, "There are two kinds in the orange fruit. You know it?" "I don't know", I said.

Periyavar said: "Two kinds are there in the orange fruit. One will be solid, stuck to its skin. And the other (as if keeping such a fruit in his hand, taking it to his ears and shaking his hand) will do kuDukuDu--rattle like this, without sticking to the skin. More than the fruit that sticks solid to its skin, only this fruit will be tastier and sweeter. Always keep this in mind."

Asking me to take a fruit in the beginning, and then many years later, saying "Only the hollow fruit is tastier" he made me realize a great principle of life. He taught me to remain unattached like the hollow fruit.

Saying, "vA ammA kuzhandhE", he made me his child. After myself becoming his child, where is the need of a child for me?

Experiences of ViShNupuram BrahmashrI G.VisvanAtha ShAstrigaL
author:....... His daughter Smt.MohanA PanchApakeshan
compiler:..... T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
source:....... Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol.2, pages 143-151
publisher:.... VAnathi Padhippaham (May 2005 Edition)
type:......... book, Tamil

Compassion towards ThAtthA--Grandpa

When PeriyavAL was camping in Kollankode, he had convened a vidvat sadas--assembly of scholars, there. Since the shrImukham--invitation, came to our ThAtthA--Grandpa also, he had gone there.

Whatever else is not available for my ThAtthA in the morning, a cup of coffee was a must! But in ShrIMaTham there was no coffee supply. Strict niyama--regulations!

When ThAtthA was yearning for a cup of coffee, a man came and took him outside the MaTham and bought him a cup of coffee. Only then ThAtthA felt his life-force returning to his body!

ThAtthA went and sat in the Sadas. In a short while PeriyavAL came there. After doing namaskAram--prostration, to the sage, ThAtthA went near him. Looking at ThAtthA, PeriyavAL asked, "Had your coffee?"

What reply to give? ThAtthA was confused. With the remorse that no one present there took a cup of coffee except him, he dodged, "vandhu--that is, EthO--somehow, he gave me..."

"Only I asked him to give you", as PeriyavAL said, ThAtthA went melting in the heart!

PeriyavAL was very strict that the people in ShrIMaTham should not take coffee. Still, some sippantis--staff members, had been drinking coffee. Since it would be difficult for them not to have a cup of coffee, for the Pandits who came to have darshan in small villages, with compassion, PeriyavA would arrange for supply of coffee to them.

*** *** ***

In those days, if it was PeriyavAL yAtrA--tour, a large rAja-parivAram--royal entourage, would go with him. Three elephants, five horses, twenty-two closed carts, fifteen cows, two riding horses (of which one was black and the other panchakalyANi--horse whose feet and face are white), two tonga horses, and in front of the savAri--ride, the tiruchchinnam--trumpet, will move making a loud noise. uLpArA--inner circle guards, five men and veLipArA--outer circle guards, five men. Apart from them, several people as Veda Pandits, aNukkat-thoNdarkaL--personal attendants, a manager, the kazAnA--treasurer, notables, and mELa-thALam--drum and long pipe.

If it is PeriyavAL vijayam--tour, the entire town will be allolakallola--in clamour. Now, that wonderful sights are to be seen only through the mind's eye.

*** *** ***

In 1940, PeriyavAL did vijayam to ViShNupuram, finishing his KAshi yAtrA. When PeriyavAL was going on savAri, as a notable approached him and uttered as SAmi ShAstrigaL, the name of the guru who taught PeriyavAl, PeriyavAL in great anguish kept asking him again and again: "enna sonnE--what did you say? enna sonnE--what did you say?"

That bhakta--devotee, was restless thinking: 'What apachAram--improper conduct, did I display? PeriyavAL is writhing in such pain?'

PeriyavAL told him, "What do you know about him? Even I have not uttered his name; only as ViShNupuram ShAstrigaL I would refer to him." Such respect for his guru!

Isn't this a kindly advice not just to the devotee, but to us also?

*** *** ***

In order to take classes for shrI PeriyavAL, ThAtthA was given jAkai--residence, in the house adjacent to ShrIMaTham in KumbakONam. My father too would go frequently and stay there.

On the open terrace of the MaTham, there were pipes to drain the rainwater. When it rained, PeriyavAL (in his boyhood) would go to the open terrace along with my father. And they both would plug the pipelines and play in the water that stagnated there! If it rained when the sun was shining, PeriyavAl would get wet in the rain, shout, "GangA snAnam... GangA snAnam!", dance and feel happy!

*** *** ***

"I want to perform panchAyatana pUja", my father prayed to him in his ViShNupuram camp. Since the pUjA mUrtas--images, such as SAlagramam, BANam, Sphatikam were not available then, the anugraham--favour to send them after reaching KumbakONam was given.

When KumbakONam was reached, the pUja mUrtas were given to a sippanti with orders to deliver them to ViShNupuram.

"In whose house to deliver?"

"Deliver it to the gRuham--house, where I am present!"

The sippanti had climbed up and down the steps of each house in the ViShNupura AgrahAram, but could not apprehend (the location of the house). As he came to our house and peeped in, he sat on the thiNNai--raised portico, with fullness of heart.

My father who came out asked him, "enna samAchAram--what news?"

"PeriyavAL asked this pUja (box) to be delivered to you."

"To me?"

"Yes, without specifying the house, he asked me to deliver it at the house where he was present. I saw PeriyavAL's portrait, plainly visible before the eyes, in the sloped front courtyard. Since he is present here, I understood that he wanted me to deliver it to this house. Here, the pUjA box."

We never had any doubt that PeriyavAL has always been residing in our house.

*** *** ***

A dhanavat--wealthy man, had great bhakti--devotion, in PeriyavAL. He came to IlayAttankuDi for darshan. He brought two wooden boxes full of apples and placed them before PeriyavAL. PeriyavAL too had a glance at the boxes and then went inside.

As the Dhanvata was saying to the shiShyas--disciples, there, "I have bought these apples for PeriyavA. You peruchchALis--bandicoots of the MaTham don't devour and empty them", PeriyavAL had arrived, receiving the words in his ears. But he did not give a hint that he heard those words.

Some Nari kurava--gipsy, families had pitched a tent in the place and were staying at that time.

On the evening the apple boxes came, PeriyavAL sent word for the boys of the Nari kurava families and gave each one of them an apple, and that in front of the Dhanvata!

Dhanvata's face showed his distress.

"I too am a peruchchALi--bandicoot, in the MaTham", said PeriyavAL.

The Dhanvata was stunned as he realized his mistake. Then he sought pardon.

The same Dhanvata, on another occasion, bought a plenty of muNDus (dhotis) from KeraLA and submitted them.

"Why so many?"

"For the sippantis of ShrIMaTham."

From them, PeriyavAL asked six dhotis to be drenched in kAShAyam--saffron dye.

The Dhanvata could not understand the reason.

"Two for Anjaneya (an ascetic who stayed in the MaTham then)! Two for Pudu PeriyavAL, and two for me! We too are the sippantis of the MaTham!"

As PeriyavaL uttered these words, the Dhanvata went mellowing and happy in the heart, realizing the sage's simplicity, bounds of which could not be discovered.

*** *** ***

PeriyavAL had great interest in ShrImad BhAgavatam. Once, RAmamUrti Aiyar reading BhAgavatam, PeriyavAL was doing shravaNam--listening, of it.

At that time, NeeDAmangalam shrI KRShNamUrti ShAstrigaL who was prabala--famous, for his BhAgavata pravachanam--exposition, came there and informed the sage that he has returned after doing BhAgavata upanyAsam in Delhi.

"The VidvAns came and listened to it?"

"They came."

"What did they say?"

"One VidvAn said, 'If the rAsa-panchAtyAyI was not there in it, ShrImad BhAgavatam would be a great grantham--book'".

Smiling slightly, PeriyavAL said, "Only after doing paTana-shravaNa-mananam--reading, listening and reflection, of the rAsa-panchAtyAyI, I decided that saMniyAsam was siddha--accomplised, for me!"

Doesn't this look like a slight reproof to those who do pravachanam just by prattling without understanding the principles?

*** *** ***

PeriyavAL had done vijayam--toured, to ViShNupuram, some seven or eight times. He had stayed there during important occasions such as Shankara Jayanti and NavarAtri.

On the entrance point to our village, in the streets and in road junctions, we would set up ornamental arches and welcome him. Select GItA shlokas would be written in large letters on those arches.

As PeriyavAL came in his mEnA--palanquin, he could not have a glance at what was written in the thaTTis--plaited banners. After the puja was over at night, he took a petromax gas light with him and walked down reading the verses one by one. A pricking sensation in our hearts, who selected the GItA shlokas. If he would appreciate them, or chide us?...

Finally he said, "All very good! You people have mentioned as to how I should be."

It was a fact that as we heard this, we were restless at heart. But then we understood that it was not an accusation that was done AropaNam--imposed, on us. We understood the truth that it was only a svaya-vimarshanam--self-criticism, done for vEDikkai--fun. The magnanimity to do self-investigation!

LakumikarA--what is the meaning?
author:....... Dr.R.KrishNamUrti ShAstrigaL, Chennai-4
compiler:..... T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
source:....... Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol.2, pages 155-171
publisher:.... VAnathi Padhippaham (May 2005 Edition)
type:......... book, Tamil

pages 155-160
Greatness of AmbAL

AmbAL, Shiva--although these are of the same tattvam--principle, more than Shiva, to AmbAL--to Shakti--is the greatness; this BhagavadpAdAL explains in his 'saundaryalaharI' stotram. In its first shlokam--verse, his saying that without Shakti, Shiva cannot budge an inch--is it adhishayokti--techinique of exaggeration? or is it real? PeriyavAL asked this question about twenty years back. (see note 01)

Everyone had settled down, getting ready to begin the aniversary celebrations of the SaMskRta SAhitya PariShad. When PeriyavAL came to the stage, his AjnA--orders came forthwith to bring shrI RanganAtha ShAstrigaL from ChinnakkAnjchi. The AjnA was for him to commence the celebrations. And then as PeriyavAL did nirbandham--insisted, that he speak a few words at the commencement of the SabhA, ShAstrigaL said, "It is very ashaktam--unable, for me; can't say anything."

shrI PeriyavAL told him, "Say that very sentence", and then prompted him with a blessing, "say only the shlokam 'shivaH shaktyA yukto'".

This is an explanation that PeriyavAL gave in upadesham--teaching (on that occasion for the verse). "In shrI Rudram, 10th anuvAkam, comes the mantra

या ते रुद्र शिवा तनूः शिवा विश्वाह भेषजी ।
शिवा रुद्रस्य भेषजी तया नो मृड जीवसे ॥ १०.२ ॥

yA te rudra shivA tanUH shivA vishvAha bheshhajI |
shivA rudrasya bheshhajI tayA no mR^iDa jIvase || 10.2 ||

[Rudra! That which is your auspicious form, auspicious as the universal panacea for all ills, auspicious as the bestower of (knowledge and realisation of) Your Rudra form—with that make us live in happiness.--Tr.SvAmi KRShNAnanda]

"This shloka that says 'shivaH shaktyA yukto', remains as the vyAkhyAnam--exposition, as the veda-mUla-pramANa--Vedic evidence, for the above mantra; therefore, this is not just stuti--eulogy, but only the truth.

"Hey Parameshvara! As a mangaLakara--auspicious, part (half) of your body, as the eternal panacea that cures everyone, even you of your viSham--poison, remains the Shakti known as UmA; only because of her you live." The SabhA was immersed in surprise at PeriyavAL's explanation.

"For the above mantra in the VidyAraNya BhAShyam, for the root word 'jIvase', the meaning, 'By that Shakti you should help us live; and you do help us live' is given in a casual manner."

That shrI PeriyavAL, using just the meaning of the root word ('jIvasa'), explained this mantra as the mUla-mantra--root mantra for the 'saundarya laharI' (verse), goes to prove that he is himself a Shiva avatar!

Three nATakas--plays, three bhAShyas--commentaries

In KAnjchi MaTham, PeriyavAL one day asked me, "Do you know that in the same way that Adi Shankara's prasthAnatrayam (sUtra bhAShyam, gItA bhAShyam, upaniShad bhAShyam) is excellent, the nATakatrayam (vikrama UrvashIyam, mAlavikAgnimitram, abhijnAna-shAkuntalam) is excellent?"

"No, I don't know", I said.

"Do you know the mangaLa shlokas of the three nATakas--plays?"

Saying, "Two I know, one is not in memory", I recited the shlokas of 'shAkuntalam' and 'mAlavikAgnimitram'. The meaning of the shloka (in the play 'shAkuntalam', verse and translation added--sd) is as follows:

yA sRShTiH sraShTur AdyA vahati vidhihutaM yA havir yA cha hotrI
ye dve kAlaM vidhattah shruti-viShaya-guNA yA sthitA vyApya vishvam |
yAm AhuH sarva-bIja/bhUta-prakRtir iti yayA prANinaH prANavantaH
pratyakShAbhiH prapannas tanubhir avatu vas tAbhir aShTAbhir IshaH ||
--abhijnAna-shAkuntalam, Act 1, verse 1

(That visible form, viz. water) which (was) the first creation of the Creator; (that, viz. fire) which hears the oblation offered-according-to-rule; and (that visible form, viz. the priest) which (is) the offerer-of-theoblation; (those) two (visible forms, viz. the Sun and Moon) which regulate time; (that, viz. ether) which perpetually pervades all space, having the quality (sound) perceptible by the ear; (that, viz. the earth) which they call the originator of all created-things; (that, viz. the air) by which living beings are furnished with breath may Isha [the supreme Lord Shiva], endowed with [manifested in] these eight visible forms, preserve you!--Tr.Monier Williams

The meaning of the other shloka (in the play 'mAlavikAgnimitram', verse added--sd):

ekaiShvarya-sthitatopi praNata-bahuphalo yaH svayaM kRttivAsAH
kAntA-saMmishra-dehopya-viShaya-manasAM yaH purastAdyatInAm |
aShTAbhiryasya kRtsnaM jagadapi tanubhir-bibhrato nAbhimAnaH
sanmArgAlokanAya vyapanayatu sa nastAMmasIM vRttim-IshaH ||
--mAlavikAgnimitram, opening verse

"Although filled with excellent wealth, still wearing only an elephant's skin; although having a body merged with his wife's, still invisible even to the complete renunciates; although pervading the entire universe and wearing it through his eight bodies, still without any pride;--may that Parameshvara remove the tAmasa--gross thoughts from our mind, so that we can see the sanmArga--right path.--Tr.by the author"

PeriyavAL, saying, "I shall tell you the mangaLa shlokam of 'vikramorvashIyam', recited the shloka and gave an adbhuta--marvelous, explanation (verse added--sd):

vedAnteShu yamAhurekapuruShaM vyApya sthitaM rodasI
yasmin-Ishvara ityananyAviShayaH shabdo yathArthAkSharaH |
antaryashcha mumukShumirniyAmita-prANAdibhir-mRgyate
sa sthANuH sthira-bhaktiryogasumamo niHshreyasAyAstu vaH ||
--vikrama UrvashIyam, opening verse

1. "In the first pAda--quarter, which says, 'One who is mentioned in the VedAntas as the jagat-kAraNam--cause of the universe, and is vyApaka--pervading the bhUloka-devaloka--earth and heaven', the first chapter of the (Brahma)SUtra-bhAShyam will be included. In the SUtra-bhAShyam, the prathamAdhyAyam--first chapter, only talks about the samanvaya--conjunction, of the VedAntas in the jagat-kAraNa-vastu--entity that is the cause of the universe?

2. "In the second pAda, which says, 'to whom the word Ishvara is the most appropriate and filled with meaning', the second adhyAyam of the SUtra-bhAShyam will be included. What AchAryAL (Shankara) in the second adhyAya--chapter, rejecting all the AkShepaNas--objections, to the principle that for the sarva-vedAntam--all VedAnta, the samanvaya--conjunction, is only with the One Ishvara, did sthApana--maintained, that the VedAntas only explain the One ParamporUL--Brahman, KalidAsa has abstracted in this second pAda--quarter.

3. "The third pAda that 'one who is sought by those who desire mokSha--liberation, in dhyAnam--meditation, controlling and shrinking the prANA-pAnAdi--breath and drinking/food', is the sAram--essence, of the SUtra-bhAShyam's third adhyAya. Aren't there in vistAram--elaboration, the upAsanAdi--intense practices, that are mokSha-sAdhana--means of liberation explained in detail?

4. "The fourth pAda that 'which parampoRuL--Brahman, that is nirvikAra--changeless, and is easy to attain by bhakti--devotion, may that Ishvara grant us mokSha', is the sAram--essence, of the SUtra-bhAShyam's fourth adhyAya. Thus, the four adhyAyas--chapters, of the SUtra-bhAShya and this shlokam are in samam--on par!

"When doing pUrti--completion, of these nATakas--plays, KalidAsa prays for his mokSha (in the concluding shloka of abhijnAna-shAkuntalam, thus):

"pravartatAM prkRti-hitAya pArthivaH
sarasvatI shrutamahatAM mahIyatAm |
mamApi cha kShapayatu nIlalohitaH
punarbhavaM parigata-shakti rAtmabhUH ||

"May the king strive for the welfare of his people. May the language (of Goddess SarasvatI) that stays great by the Vedas flourish. May Shiva, called NIlalohita, who is a svayambhu--appeared on his own, remove my rebirth too."

"In such manner, has he has summarized mokSha--liberation, as the final lakShya--goal, of his nATakas--plays! Therefore, KAlidAsa's nATakatrayI looks like the prasthAnatrayam.

01. saundarya laharI, verse 1

shivaH shaktyA yukto yadi bhavati shaktaH prabhavituM
na cedevaM devo na khalu kushalaH spanditumapi |
atas tvAm ArAdhyaaM hari-hara-viri~nchAdibhir api
praNantuM stotuM vA katham akR^ita puNyaH prabhavati || 1 ||

Lord Shiva, only becomes able,
to do creation in this world,
along with Shakti.
Without her, even an inch he cannot move;

And so how can, one who does not do good deeds,
or one who does not sing your praise,
become adequate to worship you
Oh, goddess mine,
who is worshipped by the Trinity.
--tr. P.R.Ramachander
pages 160-165
Removing the distress of hunger

'Compassion' will benefit many people in many ways. PeriyavAL's kAruNya--compassion, is like a mother's affection. No one should wither due to hunger. Some incidents about his feeding people who came to him, specially the Veda pandits.

(a) On the day of 01.01.1977, it was VaikuNTha EkAdashi. Myself and shrI KRShNasvAmi aiyar had gone to SivAsthAnam to consult PeriyavAL about printing certain Veda books. The time was morning six-thirty. The sight of shrI PeriyavAL starting and leaving, with a daNDam--staff, and a small kalasha--waterpot. As we told him about the subject of our coming there, he asked us to accompany him with a gesture of hand.

We started with him. We learnt that since it was the day of VaikuNTha EkAdashi, the uddesham--intention, of the departure was to go to all the PerumAL temples in ViShNu, Shiva kAnchi and have darshan. We walked.

Even before crossing the Veda PAThashAla in the YAnaikaTTi street in ChinnakAnchi, since we were having darshan in all PerumAL temples in every nook and corner, (and since my walking habit was much less), myself and KRShNasvAmi aiyar who accompanied me, sat for resting on the thiNNai--raised portico, of a house.

In a short while, an aNukkat-thoNdar--personal attendant, of PeriyavAL came running towards us and said, "Are you KRShNasvAmi ShAstri? PeriyavAL asked me to tell you:

'For him kAlshramam--can't stand exertion of legs. You go look for him, ask him to take AhAram--food, in svakAlam--proper time, at the PAThashAla, and stay at ShivAsthAnam. After I return, the subject of printing the Veda books can be discussed.'"

Can the measure of my going melting at heart then be spoken? Accordingly, we took our AhAram at the PAThashAla and took rest at ShivAsthAnam.

Finishing his PerumAL darshans, shrI PeriyavAL returned to ShivAsthAnam at three in the afternoon with a mandahAsam--smile, looking as fresh as he was when he started in the morning. Forthwith he called us, and gave suggestions about printing the Veda books in the grantha lipi.

(b) VyAsa-pUjA day, somewhere near (the village) Orirukkai. Flooded with a large crowd of people. Some of us were with PeriyavargaL.

This is what to a staff member of ShrIMaTham did PeriyavAL say: "A large number of people have come. They have the intention to take AhAram--food, after my VyAsa-pUjA is over. But then, their hunger can't withstand until then. Watching the puja after taking food also won't appeal to their minds. So to everyone, cook saltless rice, keep it in a tAmbALam--large salver with sloping rim, and distribute to them. This won't be a pAthakam--hindrance with adverse effect. Otherwise, they will suffer much."

In a short while, (saltless) curd rice was ready in aNDAs--large bronze containers. Everyone asked for it and ate. Then was the VyAsa-pUjA held until four in the evening, with a divya darshan for everyone!

What kAruNyam!

(c) Wherever the place (even a poTTal grAmam--(Tamil)barren village), whatever the time, even late in the night, whoever came to shrI PeriyavAL's mukhAm--camp, he would order his sippantis--staff members, to prepare food and feed them. Without letting it go there, he would call those sippantis one by one in private and asking him, "What AhAram did you cook and feed for those who came?"--such fairness is unique for PeriyavAL.

(d) To the children who were learning the Vedas, PeriyavAL's motherly affection is matchless.

On serveral occasions he would ask the rich devotees who came to him, "Will you do a favour for me?"

"My bhAgyam--fortune."

"Prepare sweet and savoury bhakShaNas--refreshments for the children in the Veda PAThashAla at the YAnaikaTTi street, go and distribute them to the children yourself."

Later, after some days, when those children came, he would ask with concern, "Was the bhakShaNam given that day? Did you have it?"

(This is a great revolution by PeriyavAL at the time when it was said as a proverb that the rotten banana fruits which a cow won't take was for the boys of the Veda PAThashAla.)

Wherever ShrIMaTham camped, as per PeriyavAL's orders, specially in the summer months, like the thaNNIr pandhal--charity of water at public places, he would be giving diluted buttermilk. In visheSham--distinction, the scene of PeriyavAL sitting in a hut on the bank of the PAlAr river in the Orirukkai village during a hot summer and distributing diluted buttermilk to those who came, can't be described in words.

Loka kAruNyam

It is a sarva-sAdhAraNa--quite common, scene that the bhaktas--devotees, who came for darshan, telling him their shortfalls and sufferings repeatedly and praying 'PeriyavAL should do the anugraham--favour'. Those who have darshan of PeriyavAL and return without asking him anything are very very rare. In such a state, starting from the VishvarUpa Darshan at dawn every day, even if the devotees throng continuously for many hours thereafter and come to him in turn with their kaShTa-naShTa--pain and loss, with matchless patience, his listening to them and then giving them abhayam--safeby, raising his divya-karam--sacred hand,--who can explain that aruL--blessing?

(a) A PATTi--grandma, once in KAnchi MaTham told him repeatedly of her family squabble. The sippanti--attendant, who repeated the news so PeriyavAL could hear it clearly, slightly chiding her, told her in a loud tone: "PATTi, don't you have any other work? How many times should you repeat it?"

shrI PeriyavAL: "ENDA--hey, who is that? Why do you shout?"

"Some PATTi whoever. Simply repeats what she told many times over."

"What does she say, it's not falling in my ears, you ask her again and tell me", as PeriyavAL said this, what Anandam--happiness, for the PATTi!

(b) Sometimes he would prescribe the kaShTa-parihAra--atonement/remedy for the afflictions. Asking for the devotees' financial position, his orders will be for them to visit temples and bath in sacred water sources or do dAna-dharma--charity with money and food. One such incident.

A business pramukha--notable, came to KAnchIpuram, had darshan of MahA SvAmigaL and said: "My business is dull for so many days now. Several worries I have. Can't sleep at night. Can't withstand the mental agony. I require PeriyavAL's aruL--blessing."

shrI PeriyavAL, "Will you do one thing?"

"I am waiting to listen."

"On the night of paurNamI--day of full moon, as much as possible for you, keep looking at the pUrNa chandran--full moon, in the AkAsham--sky, and do dhyAnam--meditation, imaging that shrI KAmAkShi AmbAL is in that ChandramaNDalam--lunar region. All the worries will leave you."--(what compassion!!)
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