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Guru upAkhyAnam (Tales about Gurus)

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A good heart
author:....... IrAsu, Chennai-61
compiler:..... T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
source:....... Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol.2, page 199-210
publisher:.... VAnathi Padhippaham (May 2005 Edition)
type:......... book, Tamil

Pages 199-204

An evening time. Maybe around six. PeriyavargaL sitting quitely in a corner at the KAnchi MaTham, with four-five people around him. Among them was a PATTi--grandmother, crossed sixty, who had done muNDanam--shaving, of her head, wearing a white cloth, curling it up over her head. I was too a witness there.

At that time in Tamilnadu, a scheme of granting financial assistance to senior citizens had been introduced by the then ruling party.

ParamAchAryar was talking to those who had come to have darshan of him. It could be seen that PATTi was anxious to tell him something. She was one who was staying in the MaTham for a long time.

"A viNNappam--supplication, to SvAmigaL", started PATTi.

"prachchinai--problem for you too?", as SvAmigaL asked her, encouraged by it, that PATTi said, "oNNumillE--it's nothing! It is said in the sarkAr--government, they give 20 rupees as penjan--pension, even for those who have no support in life."

"AmA, adhukku ennna ippO--Yes, so what?"

"That is, if I am recommended by the MaTham...I would get that money, won't I?"

"Would get it, sari--right, what grievances you have here?... You get your meals on time. They give you saris too; and there is place to stay. Beyond these, why money, for you?"

"That is, since it is obtained summA--ex gratia, so...", that mUdhATTi--old woman, dragged in hInasvaram--low voice.

"Look here! I am one who has no Adharavu--support, too! Somehow I remain in this MaTham in a corner. Shall we both apply for that pension?" Asking her in a prankish tone, PeriyavargaL laughed.

Hearing these words, PATTi blowed her head in shame.

To misuse government's ex gratia is a great sin is PeriyavargaL's opinion. It is that he explained to PATTi and to the others.

ParamAchArya continued further:

"At leasts for us we get food to sustain our life, a place to seek refuge against rain and shine, and clothes to cover ourself for honour. They have brought out the pension scheme only to help the really poor who struggle for these things. If I get it for you, won't the chance be lost to another--real, eligible, unsupported, aged man or woman?"

That PATTi, myself and the others understood SvAmigaL's lofty heart.

*** *** ***

A dharma-sankaTam!

A day several years ago (1989); could have been six in the evening. Sitting in ekAntam--privately, KAnchi Thava Munivar was giving darshan to devotees.

My elder brother Tiru.Sundaram who was earlier a Tahsildar in KAnchipuram and now a Sub-collector, and I are sitting for darshan. During the time this incident happened, my thamayanAr--elder brother, was serving as an official in charge of the welfare of the district backward people in TirunelvEli. His constraint was to have darshan of ParamAchAryAr and return to Chennai that same night.

Our turn of darshan in the queue came. As we got up after prostrating to SvAmigaL who blessed us with a blossoming face, and said looking at us, "In hurry? Can stay for sometime and go." Obeying his command, we sat in front of him.

SvAmigaL asked all the people who were about thirty in number and standing for his darshan to sit down, gesturing it with his hands.

KAnchi Munivar's glance came round and round in that small crowd. As he called a man sitting with bhaya-bhakti in a corner, the man got up. He had removed his shirt and tied it around his waist over his dhoti.

"Your name?" as Periyavar asked, the man said, "Murugesanunga--Murugesan, sir".

SvAmigaL: What is your occupation?

"payirth-thozhil--agriculture, SAmi".

"Lokaththukku sAppADu pODarE--so you feed the world", saying it with a laughter, SvAmigaL asked him to sit down. PeriyavargaL's eyes going round again, his hand pointed to another man. He got up and said that his name was MunuSamy and that he was working as a Revenue Inspector in Vellore.

"How would you serve the people?"

"I give people nilappaTTA--title deed to land, manaippaTTA--title deed to house-plots and other necessary certificates."

Suddenly looking at me, as PeriyavargaL asked, "What occupation you are in now?", I was shaken. Because I was then serving as the Assistant Manager of the Tamilnadu Consumer Federation. The chief duty of that post was to sell the liquor varieties from the godown to the retail liquor merchants. How could this be a podhujana sevA--public service? So with hesitation I told him, "I am serving as the Deputy Tahsildar in TASMAC". However (at that time my face was full of sweat) PeriyavargaL did not ask me to explain my work.

Then as PeriyavargaL's dRShTi--sight, fell on my elder brother sitting near me, he got up and said that through his office they arrange for free education, food and clothes to the backward people and that he was supervising the work. Informing him in addition that they also distribute sewing machines and coal iron boxes, he said that he was a Sub-collector.

Listening to this, PeriyavargaL said, "In this assembly, a Revenue Inspector who gives facilities to people, a Deputy Tahsildar and a Sub-collector have come. Then, what grievances can we have?", with a prankish laugh in his unique manner.

As for me I was very anxious. Any time SvAmigaL's sight might fall on me. How could I explain my work that only gives pAthakam--grievous sin, to people?

Under that circumstance, I prayed mAnasIkam--in my mind, 'SvAmigaLE! I no longer require to be in this job that I am doing it for the last three years. Kindly give me your grace to somehow get out of it.' SvAmigaL who has compassion, did not ask about my work.

Within a few weeks after this meeting took place, I was relieved from that post and was posted as a Deputy Tahsildar in the Collector's Office.

Although it was the Government that served me the transfer orders, there is no doubt that it was only SvAmigaL's good heart that gave the orders to the Government.

*** *** ***
God's Ways are strange, inscrutable! Blessed, indeed, are those among us, who have had samples of His Grace, Compassion and Kindness in various forms! -- rj
Paramacharya and Children: The Maha Periyavaa and the Very Little Ones
author:....... Raa. Ganapathi
source:....... maitrIm bhajata, pages 1-36
publisher:.... Divya Vidya Padhippaham (Aug. 2006 Edition)
type:......... book, Tamil

Pages 1-4

The chaturthi utsavam for the Kuzhandai Swami Vinayaka Peruman. The one who is called 'Maha PeriyavaaL' happily looks at the clay form of Maha Ganapati kept in front of him, becoming a small child. PeriyavaaL's childlike kutUhala (interest) and kolAhala (upbeat mood) increase as he looks at Maha Ganapati who is a real mega Ganapati. A desire arises within him to offer a mega kozhukkattai to the fatty, mega Ganesha.

Just like a child would spread its hands to indicate a large thing, our nityabAlar (ever chidlike) spreads his two arms and inquires with the siSyas (disciples) nearby, "For such a big Swami, could you prepare such a big kozhukkattai to offer to him?"

"AhA!" was their reply. There could be no other reply on that occasion and in his presence!

Then what? A mega, giantsize modakam, such as the one offered to the MukkuRuNi arisi Pillayiar*, was prepared in our SriCharaNar's Kanchi-Tenambakkam camp.

Prepared under the supervision of Tiruvarur Sri VenkataRamaAiyer, four people carried a mega modakam inside a large aNda (vessel) that could sink a person, kept it before Pillaiyarappa and did the nivedanam (offering)!

As he looked at the modakam, modam (delight) surged in PeriyavaaL's face.

He took delight in asking each devotee, "Nobody could have seen a big modakam like this one, have you seen one?"

By the time the idea of a mega modakam occurred to PeriyavaaL, then the groceries gathered, the idea became a padhArTam (dish) in yatArttam (reality), then the puja performed and the nivedanam done, it was about five o' clock in the evening.

Later, the mega modakam was not broken and distributed to them as prasAdam. Instead, only the small modakams and the other nivedanam prepared in the usual manner were served to the devotees. This was because PeriyavaaL has said "Let it remain" for the large modakam. It was not known what he had intended to do with it!

It might have been around eight o' clock. The Perumaan who never keeps anything for him and gives everything to others opened his mouth to the assistants.

"Nearby, where the poor children always play, there is a Pillaiyar Kovil, right? There would be no one there at this time. Since it is the time of Pillaiyar poRappadu (starting out) the entire place over, everyone would have gone behind one Pillaiyar or the other. Therefore, you people go there quickly, keep this modakam at the temple entrance and come back quitely. Later, let them witness with surprise and eat the Pillaiyar prasAdam with Anandam," he said.

That rare heart too, which thought about the poor pillais (children) of the place when he thought of the Pillaiyar, and distributed to them that wonderful modakam, is a modakam filled with pUrNam!

The asceticism that severed the svayam (I-ness) in asking them to keep it secretly and come back quietly on the one side; and in doing such thievery (the thievery of giving not taking away), a whiteness in the childlike waywardness on the other.

Thus the mega modakam was distributed to the poor children of Tenambakkam in absentia.

Within a shortime after 'that' was sighted, not only the children but the adults also ate the mahA modakam that had been prepared with a taste hitherto unknown to them, and were happy. Was that all? Tales were spinned about the sudden appearence of that wonderful prasAdam there, and they reached our hero's ears. That pollAtha nallavar (wildly good) too listened to those stories and relished them!

He got his name because a gigantic modhakam is given as an offering to him on the Vinaayakar Chathurthi Festival.

This moOdhakam is made with 3 kuRuNis of rice.

A kuRuNi is a type of measure. It is equivalent to 4 padis. MukkuRuNi is 3 X 4 = 12 padis of rice.

12 measures of rice is taken and cleaned well with water. Then it is soaked. It is then pounded in a 'ural' - mortar. The flour is mixed with gram, coconut, cane sugar, salt, cardamom, etc. It is then moulded and wrapped in a cloth and made into a bundle. It is then steamed in a giant 'kopparai' - steamer which was made especially for this purpose. When appropriately cooked, it becomes a gigantic 'MOdhakam'.

The MukkuRuNi Vinaayakar is said have been found in a place called VaNdiyuur.

(Source: Mukkuruni Pillaiyar)

kolAhala - a loud and confused sound, uproar
kozhukkattai - (Tamil) modakam, a sweet, globular rice dish, a favourite of Lord Ganesh
moda - joy, gladness, delight, pleasure, fragrance, perfume.

A good heart: Pages 204-210 (concluding part)
How I escaped!

Although thirty years now, I cannot forget that incident.

It was election time! As the KAnchipuram District Collector himself had taken up additional responsibility as the District Cheif Election Officer, the entire office was engaged in serious, election-related work. The election was to be held on the day after tomorrow. Two or three IAS Officers had come from Delhi in order to accelerate the election work and supervise all work related to the parliament and assembly elections. Among those who came to KAnchipuram was this very honest, strict and straightforward man, who at the same time, was prone to short temper. He was from another State. As the Tahsildar in the reception committee, the responsibility of taking care of him was entrusted to me.

Within a short time after introduction, I understood about the qualities of that IAS Officer. Since he was accompanied by his wife and children, arrangements were made to accommodate them in the government Traveller's Bungalow.

That I should look to it so at any time the Officer who came for election work didn't get his 'mood out' was the advice given to me. I was also told that he could understand only a few words in Tamil.

The Election Supervisory Officer wanted to have darshan of MahA PeriyavargaL, with his family. I had taken them to the KAnchi MaTham. At the time we were there, MahA PeriyavargaL was doing japam. A man belonging to the MaTham spread a jamakkALam--blanket, on the floor in the hall, and the Officer sat on it with his family; I was standing near him.

After Periyavar started giving darshan, I took the Officer and his family near SvAmigaL. With KAnchi Periyavar sitting on a wooden easy-chair, in a small room, we were to have darshan of him from outside the door. MahA SvAmigaL was in mAuna-vrata--vow of silence, on that day. Asking some questions with gestures as was usual (at such times), he acquainted himself with the Officer who had come. Blessing them, PeriyavargaL gave prasAdam.

At the same time, an employee of the MaTham who was young and always short tempered, started shouting: "Whoever may he be! Is he a big komban--big shot! Rascal, how can he sit on my jamakkALam? The sanctity of the MaTham is lost. I am going to give a telegram to the President right today."

As his continued shouting was a hindrance to us, I felt much sankaTam--embarrassment, in my mind. In PeriyavargaL's presence, an employee of his shouting, is only disrespecting him? If that election Officer came to know that his sitting on the jamakkALam was the reason for that shouting, its consequencies would not only affect us but could go viparIta--awry/amiss, to the extent of his finding fault in our office work! What to do?

After shouting for a quarter of an hour, that angry young man left the scene. I prayed to PeriyavargaL within my mind: "SvAmigaLE! The reason for the youth's shouting shouldn't be known to the election officer, who knew only a little Tamil."

When we came out of the MaTham after finishing our darshan, the question that officer asked me was: "Who is he? Why did he shout? That, before the adorable SvAmigaL?"

I uttered a lie tactfully. "Today is the day of the new moon. That youth has some chitta-bhrama--mental disorder. As the warmth of the sun increases, it is his habit to shout at someone."

"O, is that so? Had you told me this earlier, we could have prayed to SvAmigaL for him too." These words he spoke to me in English showed his generosity.

SvAmigaL, known for discipline and order had heard this shouting. After everyone left having darshan that day, he not only called that youth and admonished him sternly but ordered that he should not enter the MaTham for three days!

I came to know of this news through another chippanti--staff member, when I went to the MaTham on the next day.

Although an intelligent and close disciple, if he behaves in an uncivilized manner unable to control his anger, he need must be punished. PeriyavAL, is a great NItiyarasar--king of justice!

*** *** ***


About thirty years have passed.

I was then serving as a Revenue Inspector in the KAnchipuram Taluk Office. One day as my assistant told that the Tahsildar called me, I went in.

"SubrahmaNyan! Today the Endowment Board Commissioner is coming to KAnchi. He is a friend of our Collector too. So you should make arrangements for his darshan of KAnchi Periyavar."

After my contacting KAnchi MaTham office (and making the arrangement), the Endowment Board Commission (an IAS Officer) bowed to ParamAchAryar and sat before him at the appointed time. Along with the Commission, 15 officials of the Endowment Board too bowed and sat down.

With a blossoming face ParamAchAryar started conversing with the Commissioner. Their conversation was directed towards doing the sacred work of renovation in some small temples, and about some big temples where the kumbAbhiShekam needed to be done.

ShrI ShankarAchArya SvAmigaL generally had a custom. He would raise some religious questions towards the audience and seek their answers. When they were in a quandary, he would give the answers himself and immerse everyone in happiness. Perhaps PeriyavAL's object was that by thus asking questions and then answering them, the facts would stay unforgettable for ever in the listeners' minds.

On that day too KAnchi SvAmigaL raised a question. That to the Commissioner himself! "Can you say this? For three people who were born as human beings and attained supreme loftiness of state, the thErth-thiruvizhA--car festival, is held even today. Who are those three people?"

Although asked to the Commissioner, all of us including me squeezed our brains for an answer. Generally car festivals are held for gods; but then PeriyavA is asking about those born in the humand kind?

Smiling as he saw our quandary, PeriyavAL said, "I shall give five more minutes. Anyone can answer the question."

Five minutes passed and no one came out with the answer.

"paravAyillai--alright! No one need to trouble himself, I shall give the answers!

"A car in SrivilliputtUr to ANDAL who earned the name 'chUDikkoDuththa NAchchiyAr', a car to shrI RAmAnuja the VaiShNava founder, in SriPerumpudUr, and a car to shrI MANikkavAchakar in TirupperundhuRai are there. Every year, the car festival is being held grandly for these three people. If such small things are also known to you people it would be good, which is why I asked." He laughed like a child.

That laughter has stuck in my memory till now, like a nail driven onto a green tree.

*** *** ***
Pages 4-9

Sri PeriyavAL would give the children who come to his sannidhi (presence) either bananas or suger lumps without fail. He would either give them directly or through a close assistant.

During the holidays, school teachers would bring their children in chartered buses. On those days, the assistants would keep ready large numbers of bananas and quantities of suger lumps.

On a certain holiday PeriyavAL said, "Today we need not give the children either bananas or suger lumps." No one understood why he gave such an unusual direction.

A bus load of school children came in a bustle, along with their teachers. The assistant wondered if the mA madhura thatha (the great, sweet grandpa) would send back empty handed, the children who had come to see him.

Exactly at that time, a devotee called TirumaaLam Panchapakesa Aiyer came with a large bag. He submitted it to PeriyavAL and said, "Periyavaa should make use of this."

The bag contained nelpori that looked like plump jasmin flowers. PeriyavAL did his tiruvamudhu (holy intake) only with those parched paddy grains. The devotee had this in mind when he asked Periyavaa to make use of the bag. But then PeriyavAL made use of it then and there, without postponing it till his bhikSA (offered food) time.

Looking at the assistant, he said: "You know that pori is a favourite of the Devas? In marriages too don't they perform a homam with pori as lAja hOmam? All these children are only Devas. Distribute this pori to them plentifully, mixing them with powdered jaggery. It would be hitam (good) for the body and satvam (spiritually conducive) for the mind. The Shastras say that when pori is taken pApAs go away."

As directed by the sage, the children were distributed plenty of pori mixed with jaggery, and they received it with great eagerness.

Happiness arising out of surprise, the headmaster said, "Many of the children are suffering from jaundice and diarrhoea. The doctor has strictly advised against taking bananas. We were worried that it was customary for PeriyavargaL to give bananas, so what to do with that prasAda. Is there a thing that Periyavar does not know? That is why he has given his anugraha by distributing nelpori."

Let that dIrgha dRSTi (foresight) be on one side; it is common among all Mahaans. But then he called the school children Devas! That simplicity only belongs to him, isn't it?

*** *** ***

When SriCharaNargaL was staying in a village in Thanjai, a number of sugercane bundles were submitted to SriMaTham after the recent harvest.

When a child saw a sugercane bundle, it started crying that it wanted a sugercane.

The parents of the child said to SriCharaNAL that the child was suffering from a disease called kaNai kulaikkatti (a wasting disease of childhood characterized by lymphatic glands), so sugercane couldn't be given.

SriCharaNar raised his hand to pacify them. He asked the assistant to give the child a sugercane.

He said to the child, "You have seen our MaTham elephant? Are you not fond of the animal?"

"I have seen it! Anai (elephant) is my favourite animal!"

"That animal will now come for the puja. Will you give the sugercane to the animal? It would break the sugercane with a noise and eat it! And it would be fun to watch the elephant doing it!"

"Won't the animal harm me?"

"No no, it won't. I shall see to it, staying by your side."

"Then it is okay."

The elephant came. Encouraged by SriCharaNar's presence nearby, the child pulled the sugercane, lifted it with great effort and fed it to the elephant. The animal broke and ate the sugercane with a noise and the child was very happy looking at it, forgetting that it had lost the sugercane for itself. The happiness of both the giving and the given jIvas reflected in the face of the one with a heart of sugercane!

The large-hearted has made a small child experience the happiness of the sacrifice of giving a thing away, instead of enjoying it personally, an act which is lauded in the Isavasya upanishad.

*** *** ***

A poor PATTiammai (grandam) came and prostrated SriCharaNar. She said that she had shifted her residence to Chennai and made a living by selling her home-made, sun-dried edibles such as appaLAm, vadakam.

The KaruNamUrti blessed her immediately with two saris, a woolen blanket and the travel fare for her return trip to Chennai.

PATTi received them with great happiness and asked, "It would be good if I can get a madisanji?" (a bag made of reed or wool to keep the clothes in ceremonial purity).

The DhayALu ordered the assistant to search and bring a madisanji. When he brought the bag, the Gurunathar gave it to PATTi.

The PATTi dragged on her words: "Perhaps a rudrAkSa garland from the hands of Periyavaa..."

With a smile, the KrupALu ordered the pAriSada (assistant) to bring a rudrAkSa garland. When it came, Sri PeriyavAL made the verse 'japa mAlai thantha saRgurunatha' (the Sadguru who gave me a rosary) of Tiruppugazh a meyyanubhavam (a real experience) for the PATTi.

The PATTi took leave of the sage. Though she received in such abundance, it seemed that she went with some yearning that was not fulfilled.

After going some distance, she came back. She supplicated hesitantly, "Somehow I have a desire... I have brought with careful maDi (ceremonial purity) appaLAm, karu(va)dAm for PeriyavAL... should accept them."

Is it not that the satisfaction that is not obtained in receiving, is got only by giving? It was known that this was the reason for the PATTi's lack of satisfaction. Though she very well knew that PeriyavAL was one who observed strict niyamam (control) and had complete control over his stomach, she could not control her desire that the edibles she was selling all over her place of residence should reach even that tiru udaram (holy stomach).

A picture of compassion, SriCharaNar told her: "If the lokam has to remain in welfare, the Vedam should remain here for ever. I am doing what all I can only for that purpose. With great difficulty I gather people and take efforts to sustain and save the Veda pAThashAlAs (Vedic schools) from becoming extinct. Even in these days, when doing any other study and going to any other job would fetch a handful of salary, listening to my words some thAyAr-thoppanAr (mother-father) are sending their pasangaL (male children) to the pAThashAlAs. They have entrusted the children with a strong belief in me. Only those children who would at least to some extent save and sustain the Vedas in the days to come are like my soul to me.

"AnathunAle (therefore), what you do, there is this pAThashAlA of our MaTham in Chinna Kanchipuram. A man named Sundaram who looks after the kitchen is there. Give your appaLAm, karu(va)dAm to him and ask him to fry them and serve the children there. Tell him that I told him to do it. It would have been many days since the children had a glance at appaLAm, karu(va)dAm. So they would eat them happily. And that will be my happiness. The happiness that we did something for them who had been sent to us under a belief."

Happy that the edibles she brought for the body of PeriyavAL are going to the children who were his soul, the PATTiammai started to carry out his orders.

*** *** ***

pAriSada - the retinue or attendants of a god, member of an assembly
Pages 9-15

Boys from Kanchi SriMaTham veda pAThashAlA that teaches the three Vedas Rig, Yajur and Sama came one day and chanted passages from each Veda before SriCharaNar. It was the time when a large vidvat satas (assembly of pundits) was held and the Vidwans were given sambhAvanA (honours). Perhaps our Aiyan had thought of giving sambhAvanA to the young descendants too who would protect and sustain for the future the Vedas that were the root of Sanatana Dharma.

In the pancati recited by the Yajur Veda vidyArthin (student), the term kRSNAjina (skin of a deer) came up. SriCharaNar immediately asked for an AsanA (seat) of deer skin to be gifted to him!

The Sama Veda vidyArthin sang the Vedic verses about Soma. "For this kozhandai (child) bring a good soman (veshti, dhoti)", ordered the DharmaDada to the assistant and gifted a dhoti to the boy.

Nothing turned up by way of a word of mantra that could be used for a gift, in the Rig Veda Suktam recited by the Rig Veda vidyArthin. When he finished, however, a phrase he chanted sounded like nei dosai (ghee dosa).

And that was enough for our Donor! He gave a compassionate order, "Serve all these children with nei dosai right now!"

*** *** ***

The time when SriCharaNar did Kasi Yatra, his SriCharaNams treading all over the ground. End of January 1934. SriCharaNar's camp at SriSailam. A night of the lunar eclipse. He sets out to conduct the paurNami (full moon) puja in the 'emergency' parNashAlA (thatched shed) constructed for the purpose, after taking his bath in the Patala Ganga. His uddeshaH (idea) is to spend the night there, take bath in the morning and then return.

SriCharaNar had permitted some of the children from the veda pAThashAlA to accompany him on this yAtrA. The extra affection he had for the children came to be expressed in many ways on that occasion. While he had permitted his entourage to come with him traversing on foot the rugged paths through the jungles, and some of them to travel by different kinds of vehicles, he made special arrangements for the children to be brought by trains, though it involved circuitous routes, to places reachable by train and then by vehicles to his camp, giving them the comforts that he could provide. He would finish his morning puja briefly and after it was over, he would let the children be fed.

Except for a path through the jungle, there was no other normal route to SriSailam in those days. The children, however, wanted to accompany PeriyavAL. PeriyavAL too had the desire that the children should have darshan of that great Shiva kSetram (place), recite Vedas there and obtain puNya (good karma); so he consented to their accompanying him.

It was then that the arrangements were made for the paurNami puja and stay for the night near the Patala Ganga. The young Veda vidyArthis were very eager to go with him and he gave consent without blocking their wishes.

At the same time he also considered how cold it would be in that hilly area during night in the emergency thatched shed. He ordered that the shawls gifted only to ripe Vedic gaNapAThis be given to the young vidyArthis. There were very happy to receive the gift!

They all went to Patala Ganga. A ripe gaNapAThi came there, in haste to return after having darshan of the sage. PeriyavAL asked the SriMaTham manager to bring a shawl to honour the pundit.

The manager had not arranged for shawls to be carried for such a short camp. But then he suddenly remembered about the distribution of shawls to the PaThashala boys. Without consulting PeriyavAL he got back a shawl from a boy and gave it to the gaNapAThi in a furtive way.

The boy who lost the shawl stretched himself in disappointment when the night came, and since he was a small boy, lapsed into sleep quickly, folding up his kneecaps to his chest.

When the boy got up the next morning, he wondered at the warmth and comfort that had hugged him over. It was a shawl, superior in quality to the one he lost, that covered him!

"Got the shawl?" The manager's inquiry made him somewhat understand the truth; he came to know the full truth later.

With his kUrta dRSTi (sharp sight) SriCharaNar had discovered that the shawl that was given to the gaNapAThi was the one that was earlier given to a vidyArthin. Since the time was up for his evening anuSTAnam and puja, he did not inquire about it. Only after the anuSTAnam, extensive puja, and the Lalitha Sarasranama pArAyaNa looking at the moon--at about midnight only--PeriyavAL came back from his world to this world and called the manager to inquire about the shawl.

He was not dissatisfied at the tactful way the manager had managed the situation. Nevertheless he felt and made the manager realize that even though the children wouldn't mind too much about the cold, how much a young mind would feel at the loss of something that he received as a gift, and at the fact that while all his friends could retain the gift only he couldn't.

The manager feared that as the next thing the sage would gift his own shawl to the boy. So he hurried to propose, "I have a good woolen blanket to cover myself with. So I shall give my shawl to that boy."

"Don't wake him up if he is asleep! Cover him softly with it and then you too go and have vishrAnti (rest)", said the all-compassionate.

The bAla (boy) had got a much softer shawl due to a soft heart!

*** *** ***

Many years later, Sri PeriyavAL is traveling in his palanquin through the same Andhra region.

It is raining heavily. The harijan boys are tending their cattles even in that heavy rain. PeriyavAL's heart pours out as he looks at the scene.

A number of shawls meant to honour Maha Vidwans, erstwhile kings, today's ministers and such others who come for his darshan during his saMcAram (travel) are stacked inside the palanquin.

As the palanquin goes fast-paced, our Good Shepherd picks up the shawls, one by one, and throws it pointedly so it falls on each cowherd!

The harijan boys, look at the SwamigAru in wonder, as a gift they cannot even dream of falls on them, and join their palms with modesty.

Remember the song

kAna ma~N~Naikku kalingam nalkiya
perungal nAdan pEkan

King pEkan of the Perungal Nadu, who covered with a shawl a wild peacock that was dancing in the rain, thinking that it was shivering.

*** *** ***

It is raining.

PeriyavAL, who is sitting in the room adjancent to the entrance from the street, inquires about ships--how many, if they go without nudging one another, if any did sink, with such questions.

People around can not make out to whom he is asking these questions. One among them is an employee of the Visakapatnam port. He thought that the questions were directed at him. Though he understood that they were questions about ships, he could not get the specifics they referred to. So he supplicated to PeriyavAL to clarify the matter.

PeriyavAL smiled gracefully. "I came to Vizag in thLayiratthu muppatthARu (1936) and went around the port. My questions now are not about your ships. They were about the ships I made myself.

"Some children were crying here. Isn't it raining? So an idea came to me. I made five or six ships out of paper, gave them those ships and sent them to play letting the ships drift down the water currents on the roadside. They stopped crying and went hopping to play with the ships I gave them. I am only inquiring about the kSema lAbha (welfare and gains) of those ships. How can you reply to it?"

Smiling at the frolic he was making, PeriyavAL continued with his status inquiry of the ships.

From the entrance to the house came replies in lisping voices, bubbling with enthusiasm.

The sailor who drives the ships to save from the sea of samsAra, has also become a ship builder in this way!

*** *** ***

gaNapATha - a collection of the gaNas or series of words following the same grammatical rule
vishrAntiH vishrAmaH - rest
Pages 15-20

Four or five baskets of lush rose flowers were offered to SriMaTham one day. The assistants thought that Sri ChandraMauleesvara puja vimAnam (puja construct dome) would get a wonderful puSpAlaNkAram (flowery decoration).

A group of school children came. Giving them darshan, the Grandpa of grace ordered the baskets of roses to be brought to him.

'Why this unusual custom of distribution of flowers to the children today?'--The pAriSadas (attendants) could not understand.

Our Gurunathan made them understand from the mouth of the children themselves.

"What is special about today?" he asked them.

"Nehruji's birthday", they said in one voice.

"What is his most favourite?"

"The rose flower!"

"In his memory, one rose flower for each of you!"

Thus SriCharaNar who is a ripe fruit of grace, according to the saying 'the child and the God are one', distributed the flowers that his assistants thought were meant for the puja, to the children in the bud of their youth.

*** *** ***

Considered a strict guardian of Acharas, how mellowed was he when it came to the children!

He inquires the name of every girl child, when a group of them from a convent school came, with their typical decorations of dress and hairstyle. Novel names in Sanskrit, pure Tamil and Hindi--all Hindu names. In addition, the names of other religions of the Christian and Muslim children. One by one he inquires the names, repeats some of them, and sends them away with the prasAda of fruits! He looks blissful just at the sight of them, without any thoughts of if they would return to the ways of the Bharatiya culture.

*** *** ***

The palanquin called mEnA was for Sri PeriyavAL,

'sendrAl UrdiyAm; irundhAl singAsanamAm; (padutthAl) puNaiyAm'

'a vehicle when he travels; a seat when he sits; a bed when he sleeps.'

He would conduct his rAjya bhAram (the burden of sovereignty) from within the mEnA in 'irundha tirukkolam' (the holy posture of sitting). One such day.

A girl child came near him and stood.

"What name?" inquired the Peruman.

"Deepa" said the child, in a shrill voice.

It did not get into PeriyavAL's ear properly. He told the child, "I did not hear what you said! Say it louder ma!"

The child said emphatically, "D for donkey, E for egg, another E for elephant, P for people, A for ant."

PeriyavAL was really surprised at the expression; he multiplied it a thousand times and said with an abhinaya (physical expression), "besh, besh, you look very intelligent! poLandhu thaLRiye! (Tamil for 'you did it with expertise!')", and admired the kutti (cutie).

The child was very happy.

The pennam periyavar (greatest of the great) continued to the chinnanj chiRisu (smallest of the small): "You said it well, but then instead of adding the donkey and the egg in your name, shall I teach it another way? I shall add (your name) to the very great people and teach you. The name D-e-e-p-a you said with five letters, can be spelt in four letters, a bit more easily, as D-i-p-a. Let us keep it that way.

"D for Devi. You know what is Devi? The same Swami comes in many forms. When He comes with lots of love as AmmaSwami, has the name Devi. You have seen Amman Kovil in a temple?"

"I have seen."

"The Amman that is there is Devi. Come on, tell me, D for Devi."

"D for Devi."

"besh! Then, instead of the two 'E's you said, only one 'I'. I for ILango. I-La-ng-o, tell me?"

"ILango. That means?"

"ILango is a man who wrote a very great poetry-story in Tamil. He has told a story in poetry about an Amma called KaNNagi. That story will be very good. I have no time to tell it now. You ask your Appa to get you the book. I for ILango!"

"I for ILango."

"Then P for Prahlada -- Prahladan."

"theriyum, theriyum. bhaktiya irundha boy. AvanukkAha God-e singam madiri vandhu avanukku enemy-ya irundha father-i kill paNNinAr."

("I know, I know. The boy who was with bhakti. For him, God came as a lion and killed his father who was an enemy to him.")

"besh, besh, you have it known to you very well! Finally, A for Anjaneya. You know Anjaneyar?"

"hmhUm (no)."


"I know, Monkey-God."

"The same. Anjaneyar is a name for him. Tell me?"

"Anjaneyar. A for Anjaneya."

"You have said it correctly! Take this, ma!" The AruLaaLar (man of grace) threw a sugar lump at the bAlaki (girl child).

The cute girl caught it and ran away saying, "D for Devi, I for ILango..."

A tasty lesson from the Jagadguru to foster the hold on religion and literature right from the time of knowing the letters.

*** *** ***

SriCharaNar is camping in the Sanskrit College, Chennai.

A small girl submited a notebook in which she had written the name SriRamaJayam (many thousand times) and asked for a silver coin.

Those were the days when SriCharaNar was giving a gold coin for those who wrote one lakh names and a silver coin to those wrote 12,500 names, which is one-eighth of a lakh.

When the small girl asked for a silver coin, he ordered one to be brought to him and gave it to her.

The girl ran laughing happily but came back soon after, rubbing her eyes in tears.

"Why do you cry ma?" asked Sri PeriyavAL with compassion.

"The coin has somehow gone missing", sobbed the child.

"Don't cry", said PeriyavAL kindly and asked, "Right, how many names had you written?"

"8,500" said the child.

"Only if 12,500 names are written, a silver coin will be given, you knew that?"

"I knew. Knowing that I cheated. A mistake. Please pardon me."

Sri PeriyavAL's heart melted as the small girl admitted her mistake and sought pardon for it.

"It's alright ma! Alright, if you don't do it again. Sit here." He seated the girl near him with affection.

Looking at the people near him, he said, "Right now all of you write Rama Nama and complete the balance of four thousand names. Let this child also write, along with everyone."

Everyone was given paper and pencil. PeriyavAL graced the bhAgya of writing that Divya Namam to many people on that day due to the mistake of a bAlaki. Since many wrote, the balance of four thousand was completed quickly.

The MaaMuni called the bAlaki. "No silver coin for you. I shall give you a gold coin itself." As a great bonus the GuNakunjarar dropped a poR kazhanju (gold coin) in the tender hands of that young thing.

*** *** ***

abhinaya - m. (indication of a passion or purpose by look, gesture, &c.) acting, dramatic action (expressive of sentiment) m. pantomime, dramatic representation; {-yAcArya} m. teacher of this art.
Pages 21-27

Sri PeriyavAL was sitting inside his mEnA (palanquin). A little boy protruded a small notebook before him.

"Should give me an autograph", he implored.

But then PeriyavAL is one who was keeping a janma vrata (lifetime vow) since his renunciation at the age of 13 that he would never sign on anything!

Therefore the words came quickly out of his mouth: "My child, since my becoming a SwamigaL I am not in the habit of signing on anything!"

Having got the signatures of VIPs from many walks of life, the boy had come with a great yearning to cap it all with the signature of Sri MahaperivaaL, so his heart became like cotton, in disappointment. The boy stood crying.

As he did samayocita (thought it over)--who can match him in solutions that suit occasions?--the Ayyan thought out a way.

"Don't cry pa! Now, you are going to be given an autograph with a seal in a way that no one has done it so till now!", he said.

The bAlan's (boy's) eyes widened in eager expectation.

To a kiMkara (attendant) the sage said, "Bring the Agent here."

The Agent who was the pratama adhikAri (chief official) of SriMaTham was brought before the sage.

PeriyavAL told him, "Write my name in this notebook. Also put your signature there. And then stamp it with the seal of our MaTham and bring it here."

The Agent did as he was told and brought the notebook.

SriCharaNar gave it to the bAlan with a mandahAsa (chuckle), and with full blessings.

The boy's joy was beynnd words as he received his notebook with PeriyavAL's autograph on it, that had several sAMkhyAs (enumerations) done to it. The boy's happiness was only short of his dancing around!

The arutperum vaLLaL (Great Donor of Grace) did not leave the boy even with that shortcoming and did something that would have literally made the boy jump and dance.

He told the bAlan, "Did I not put a special signature for your sake? In return, you should give me your autograph. This mAmA (uncle) (pointing to the Agent) will be having a book called Visitor's Book. Go with him, put your signature in it and then go home!" and sent the boy away.

That Advaita Heart of Love gave room to a vAndu (little) boy among the VIP visitors to Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Maha MaTham!

*** *** ***

For one who severed all relationships at the age of thirteen, Sri Maha PeriyavAL did many things that made one wonder how that yatirAja (king of ascetics) could have that sort of knowledge in child psycholoy. One such example.

During the Navaratri Kanya Puja, our Deiva Mahaguru would do puja, considering as the Navadurgas, nine girl children aged from one to nine years, treating them as Kaumari, Tripura, Kalyani, Rohini, Kamini, Chandika, Saankari, Durga, and Subhadra.

One such Kaumari Puja. The one year old child, selected as Kaumari started crying nonstop. The cry did not subside whatever the pacifications. The child did not relent for its mother's coos and cuddles, the fruit she dabbed to its mouth or any such gifts.

SriCharaNar came. And saw the relentless cry of the child.

Since it was Navaratri time, it was mauna vrata (vow of silence) for him. With the abhinaya caturam (dexterity of gestures) unique for him, he gestured that a silver coin of half a rupee of those days be given to the child.

They did as directed.

What wonder! The moment the coin fell on its palm, Kaumari's weeping stopped! Its eyes and nose still oozing, it opened its mouth widely in a laugh, displaying only the few teeth (though we can't call it a mouthful of teeth) it had in its mouth!

*** *** ***

Sri PeriyavAL was immersed in his Self in japayoga (yoga of meditation) as a tapo mUrti under the tree. The holy crowd of devotees at a distance.

Suddenly the noise of thunder in the sky; a streak of lightning cut through. A dog barked.

An infant of a female devotee suddenly wailed and started crying incessantly. People around her tried a parihAra (remedy) dabbing its forehead with sand, thinking that the child was frightened by the thunder. It was of no use.

Thinking that it might be due to hunger, the mother tried to give the milk bottle to its mouth. The child only opened its mouth to cry, but refused to take the bottle of milk.

As the people around were confused if the wail was due to defective sleep, a bad dream, or stomach ache and if they should arrange for some gripe water, our Tirumurti of pure renunciation stood up with his daNDam (staff) and kamaNDalam (water jar), appearing jyotirmaya (full of light).

Since he had heard the wailing of the child, he called its mother near him.

"Remove the child's shirt and check if there is an ant or somthing on its back!", he said.

As she did so, yes, a kattai eRumbu (meat-ant) was found biting the silky body. As advised by SriCharaNar who is compassion even to the flies and aunts, she removed the ant and dropped it aside, without causing it any harm.

The child's wail stopped. It sat up and began to smile.

SriCharaNar too with a smiling face asked some suger lump to be given to the child.

*** *** ***

An incident that deeply touches the heart. Happened long back.

Black spots appeared on the skin of a small boy and spread throughout his entire body, giving an ugliness to the very look of him. His classmates spurned him and ran away.

The boy's mother brought her child, gone droopy with bodily and mental disease to our Dayamurti and sought his grace.

An unbelievable vAcakam (saying) of grace came out from the Ayyan's mouth. "kozhandE(child)! Will you stay with me here for three days?"

Even before the boy could answer, his mother said, "bhAgyam! Why three, whatever number of days let the boy remain with PeriyavAL."

The boy also agreed wholeheartedly.

"What I eat you must also eat, will do it?" asked SriCharaNar.

"Shall do whatever Periyavaa asks me to. Enough if my body becomes alright," said the boy.

"You should take only one thing beyond what I take. Saltless buttermilk. You should take it often. No coffee or tea."

"As Periyavaa says."

The atIta (exceptional) care that 'whosoever boy' received at SriMaTham for the next three days! With great attention, they gave him more and more of that (saltless) more (buttermilk). PeriyavAL too kept inquiring about the boy being given buttermilk.

The leftover of the AhAra (meal) that sAkSAt Sri PeriyavAL took as tivamudhu (sanctified food) was given to the boy.

What is important is what that AhAra was (right)?

It consisted of just finely cut pieces of raw banana stems cooked without any sort of add-ons, except a little curd. That was the bhikSA (alms) for PeriyavAL, and the prasAdam for the boy. Since it was PeriyavAL's prasAdam, it tasted like a hexa-tasted dinner to the boy.

The disease was well cured within the three days, and the boy blossomed in his look.

"Even after you go home, take satvik (bland) food for a month, adding no salt, tamarind or chili to it. This disease will not return to you." PeriyavAL blessed and sent the boy home.

The bAlakan ran away with happiness.

PeriyavAL's loving compassion would certainly touch the reader's heart. Still there is another better reason for my adding the word 'deeply' to that touch of heart.

The reader might think that PeriyavAL in those days took only raw banana stem, so he gave it to the boy. It was not the truth. PeriyavAL's bhikSA was not made as the boy's food. Only the boy's food PeriyavAL made his bhikSA.

Yes, it was a time when PeriyavAL often used to take anna bhikSA (alms of cooked rice) with vegetables. During such a time the Mahaatman thought that as he prescribed a patyam (reduced food) for the boy and the child was asked to control his palate, he should also take up such control, and showed it in action.

We can say that for the disease of the child that graceful mother also took the medicine.

*** *** ***

samayochita - suited to the occasion or time or to an emergency, seasonable, opportune.
Pages 27-36 (concluding part)

A very corpulent female child. She was unhappy and her parents grieved much more. Our wonderful doctor slimmed the girl making her play the taTTAmAlai (a swirling-ballooning-go-around game played by children) both in the morning and evening!

Countless children are in the hospitals suffering from diseases! Our graceful Guru went to those children too giving them his grace and medicine and healed them. Did not this Sankara set up an army of kiMkaras (assistants) to distribute his prasAdam to the patients in hospitals? Several devotees involved themselves with love and devotion in that service, going to hospital after hospital, and creating a new feeling of hope and healing among the patients! Even today many people continue that service!

SriCharaNar, who knew the heart of children, even arranged for distribution of easily digestible and tasty snacks to the childrens' wards in the hospitals, depending on their state of health, along with his vibUti-kumkuma prasAdam. He also distributed slates, notebooks, pencils and slate-crayons, etc., that would be useful for their study. Ultimately, it was the spiritual upliftment that was his target? So he also made arrangements that the children listen to that tales of devotees and gods and moral instructions read to them. He also gave them such books to read, giving them the incentives that their young minds sought! He thus made those children who were bedridden and restless in the age when they should be all hop and play to eagerly expect the arrival of the MaTham assistant.

He has also made the vaidika dharma (Vedic dharma) and the praja Arogya (citizen's health) flourish by counselling the parents of some children about how the childrens' diseases were due to the parents giving up the shrArda karmas.

He is the one who made arrangements for the education of countless poor children, to some extent from the SriMaTham and to a large extent through his devotees. There were also cases where he showed more interest than the parents themselves and arranged for the higher education of a poor boy after he sportively tested and recognized the boy's intelligence.

SriCharaNar would never fail to advise the necessity of including the teaching of dharma in the syllabus when a minister of education or other official visited him.

He is the one who gave such stipends and scholarships as could not be obtained even in large English schools, to the children who chose to study Vedas, after his fervent appeals to the parents for the upkeep of the Vedic education. In order that these children would not feel inferior of their educational status in the prevailing bad trends of the country, the honours that he gave them in SriMaTham...!

*** *** ***

The attachment some children had to Sri Maha PeriyavAL is surprising.

There were puNyashali (spiritually meritorious) children who had known him to be a closer bandhu (kinsman) than their own parents.

Thattha's (grandpa's) favour is more unique than that of ma and pa. If the parents scold them the children would usually complain to their grandparents, get that third generation to scold their earlier generation and enjoy it!

But then our Thattha had never given such favours to any of his children. Why, for one who had not known the touch of any nara sharIraM (human body), he had not even touched the children.

Still there were some bhAgyashali (fortunate) children who opened their hearts to him. Though his heart of love would easily be known by anyone, these children had understood it in a special way!

There were parents who came to the MaTham solely upon the insistence of their children that they must see the 'ummAchi Thattha' (deity grandpa).

And he would talk with the children telling them all sorts of stories, from the puranic stories to the local tales (figuring things such as kittyppuL (stick-and-bail), even the latest cinema) with all sincerity, as if he had no other work! He would patiently reply to the questions of the children--'Why do you, an Ummachi, dress this way?', 'Why you hold a staff?', 'nOkku shoe kedaiyatu?'('You have no shoes?'), etc.! Not only that, he would subject the children to his own darts of questions until they lost their patience!

The way some children behaved, made us wonder if such depth could be found in those young minds! Three examples.

The time when SriCharaNar stayed in Kalavai.

A girl child of seven or eight years among the devotees who came in a line to supplciate to him. She was not seen to have been accompanied by anyone and it seemed that she came alone.

On that day, a pAriSada (assistant) with a sumukha (handsome face) inquires the supplication of each devotee and relays it to PeriyavAL. When the turn of the child comes, he asks her, "ennammA veNum, keLu! (what do you want ma, ask it)".

The child says, folding her palms, "Periyavaa dIrgha Ayusa nannA irukkaNum! (Periyavaa should remain well in long life!)"

Perhaps when she prostrated her elders would have blessed her with those words, which stuck to her heart so much that she relays them to this great man as her own supplication to him!

A rare Jivan who did not trouble PeriyavAL with her own problems but only sought his own welfare!

Will that love be not known to PeriyavAL? He who shows even his devotion in a controlled manner, surprisingly speaks out of his mouth: "Kamakshi!"

People around have a shiver and bow to him.

*** *** ***

Another girl child, just three or four years old.

After finishing his PourNami Puja, Sri CaraNar recites Sahasranamam slowly, looking at the moon, at around ten or ten-thirty in the night.

Most people around are overcome by fatigue. Yawns become impossible to supress.

Even at that hour, that bAlaki (lass) of green years remains looking intently at the moon-like, moon-looking face of ChandraseKhara.

It was not unusual that SriCharaNAL worshipped Lalitha for a quarter, half even three quarters of an hour! But then at that hour that child--motionless, did she merge herself in him?

*** *** ***


A lisping child showed its lisping talents to PeriyavAL. He listened to it sweetly.

ThAyArkkAri (the mother) asked it, "Where is UmmAchchi?"

"There!", the little finger pointed at PeriyavAL.

He asked for a beautiful silk turban, gave it in the hands of the child, and told it with a gesture, "Give it to your mother and ask her to tie it round your head."

The child and the mother did as told.

Adorned by the silk cloth, the child was very happy.

Near PeriyavAL, vibUti-kumkumam was there on a Panneer leaf (Tiruchendur?)

"Take it!", he said.

The child took it gracefully without spilling it and gave it to its mother of its own accord.

As she smeared it on the child's forehead, its beauty swelled.

Thinking to give something for its stomach too, SriCharaNar extended a banana to the child.

The bAlan (boy) received it with humility.

"namaskAram paNNu (prostrate)", said the mother.

The child prostrated.

Was it a Namaskaram made at the instance of his mother? It did not seem so. Rising, the bAlan stood for sometime, joining his palms and narrowing his eyes. His small lips moved with happiness: "Ummachi!"

"Ask the child what he wants", said SriCharaNar to people around. They asked him.

"UmmachitAn veNum (Only the Ummachi I want)" said that mouth, smelling of milk!

Opening a book near him, PeriyavAL gave it to the child.

There was a picture of PeriyavAL in it!

The child babbled loudly, looking at the picture: "Ummachi, Ummachi!"

"You have got that Ummachi all for yourself", saying this SriCharaNar went on to attend to his daily routine.

*** *** ***

We started with the Anaimukhan (elephant-faced). There is one thing connected with Arumukhan (six-faced). Then we will complete this narration with the one who is a nitya kanni (ever virgin), even after bearing them both and all the beings of this universe.

Closing the doors of his mEnA (palanquin), Sri PeriyavAL would sometimes finish all his tasks inside it: a prolonged Japam, Parayanam, study and sleep. One such day, after he finished his Japam and opened the mEna doors to look out, he saw at a distance a poor labour boy picking up fruits under the naval (jambu) tree. His anugraha cinta (favourable mind) was turned towards the boy. He asked to bring the boy to him.

To the boy who came feeling embarrassed if they would scold him for picking up the fruits, he said, "Take it, take it! But then this is of a small size. You have seen a Jambu fruit larger in size than these?"

Feeling the warmth, the boy said, "AmAnga (yes sir), this is only small. I have seen bigger ones in shops, even bought and eaten them."

"Alright, how big would it be?"

"The size of a large ilandai (badri) fruit."

"Alright, you stay here for a while" said SriCharaNar and asked the kiMkara (attendant), "Hasn't the fruit basked arrived from Bangalore?"

"Yes it has", said the pAriSada (attendant).

Gote Shah, an industrialist in Bangalore would send two baskets of fruits to reach Sri PeriyavAL's sannidhi (presence) on every Sunday morning. The baskets would contain several different kinds of rich fruits. This incident also happened on a Sunday.

SriCharaNar asked the basket to be opened.

When opened, what wonder, large Jambu fruits on top of the lot! Fleshy fruits larger than badri fruits, even as large as small lemon fruits! Such large fruits haven't been received until that day.

"paiya (boy), look how big these are? Have you ever seen such large sizes?"

"Nowhere are these fruits of this size-nga!", wondered the boy.

"Half of these is yours", said the ArulMunivar, with swelling love.

Handfuls of half the quantity of fruits were dropped for the boy's possession. He ran with that burden, unable to contain his happiness.

Casting his intent look after him, PeriyavAL said with inner happiness: "Subrahmanya Swami gave nAgap pazham (Jambu fruits) to Avvai PATTi. Today this piLLai (son) gets them from this Thatta!"

It seemed from the subtlety of that voice that the BhaktaJnani saw the very Bala Murugan in that boy! Is he not the one who saw the borders of simplicity where his thoughts of anugraha became thoughts of bhakti?

*** *** ***

Earlier we saw a Navaratri Kanya Puja incident. Now we shall see a special Kanya Puja that preponed the Navaratri.

Navatri was due in the next few days. A dampati (husband-wife) submitted before his holiness a set of mangaLa dravya (auspicious articles) comprising a skirt, blouse, bangles, comb, chain of black beads, a Kumkumam vial and a small mirror, for Sri PeriyavAL's use as nivedanam (offer) to a Kannika (virgin) during Navaratri.

"Today is Friday. It would be visheSham (special) to perform the Kaynaka Puja today itself", said PeriyavAL and turned his sight around.

A poor girl standing near him came within his holy eyes.

He called her to him.

To the dampati he said, "Do the Kanyaka Puja to this child right now. Give her the vastram and other articles you have brought. Smear sandal paste on her, give her Kumkumam. (With a false threat) Enough if you tie the skirt and do the adornments to the child? Should you not feed her and fill her stomach? (Soothingly) Do the AhAram (feeding) of the child in the MaTham itself."

The dampati were very happy that they had the occasion to do the Kumari Puja themselves and that at the instance of PeriyiavaaL.

Larger happiness for the bAlaki (lass) who received such prizes unexpectedly and those as devotional offers.

The largest happiness surpassing everyone's was for PeriyavAL! Forgetting the bhAgyam he gave to the lass and the sati-pati (husband-wife), he said with a sense of fulfilment, as if he got the bhAgyam from the lass and the sati-pati, "Ordinarily, except that the Kanyaka Puja is done in this MaTham only during Navaratri, no custom of doing it on prati sukra vAram (every Friday) is kept here. One such thing happened today because you all came together."

My First Darshan: by His Holiness Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamiji
Compiler: Sri T.S. Kothandarama Sarma (in Tamil)
Source: Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL, Vol. 1, pages 23-34
Publisher: Vanathi Padhippaham

When I was studying in school at Villupuram, Acharya SwamigaL was proceeding for the kumbhAbhiSekam of Kanchipuram Sri Kamakshi Amman temple. It was then that I had my first darshan of him. He said, "At least one boy from each family should study the Vedas." Accordingly, my parents prayed to him, "It is time for my son to wear the sacred thread; (Periyavaa) should arrange for the ceremony and prepare him for the Vedic studies."

Acharya SwamigaL said, "The kumbhAbhiSekam of Sri Kamakshi Amman at Kanchipuram is about to take place. You bring him there after getting him to wear the sacred thread. We shall start the Vedic lessons for this boy there." Thus he gave us his merciful blessings. This was the first meeting.

Vedic Lessons

Sri Kamakshi Amman temple kumbhAbhiSekam took place. At the next auspicious time, Sri MahaswamigaL started the shikSA of Vedic lessons in the Amman sannidhi itself--where pujas are performed--through his pUrvAshrama youngest brother Sri Krishnamurthy SastrigaL.


Then he sent me to Tiruvidaimarudur. I reached Tiruvidaimarudur accompanied by my teacher Sri Krishnamurthy SastrigaL, after having darshan of Sri Nataraja Peruman at Chidambaram on the way. My parents stayed back at Villupuram.

Thirteenth Year

I studied Vedas at Tiruvidaimarudur until my thirteenth year. Acharya SwamigaL came back to Tiruvidaimarudur after completing his Kanchipuram yatrA. He stayed there for nearly a year. I was about to complete my Vedic studies. At those times, he used to inquire me about my name and place, and what I had studied until then.

One day, SwamigaL had gone to Govindapuram, a place near Tiruvidaimarudur. The samAdhi of Sri Bodhendra Saraswati, a renowned saint, is established there. It was the samAdhi of a great man who adorned the Kanchi pITham. Acharya SwamigaL used to go there often. I would also accompany SwamigaL.

On one such occasion, Acharya SwamigaL suddenly asked me one day, "Would you come to SriMaTham?" I said, "I am already coming with you!"

He said, "Not that way... Would you become--like me?"

Only then I understood the thought SwamigaL had in his mind. I told him, "I need to ask my parents." He had my parents brought from their place right away and asked their consent.

My parents informed him, "SwamigaL wanted my son to be left for pursuit of Vedic studies. We complied. Now you have the wish to admit him to SriMaTham as a SwamigaL. Your cittam is our bhAgyaM."

So I understood that the moment Acharya SwamigaL saw me at Villupuram was the time the thought of making me a successor of this pITham first rose in his mind.

Fourteenth Year

SwamigaL decided that I should enter SriMaTham on my fourteenth year of age. So he arranged at SriMaTham for the lessons and studies I was to take up there.

All India yAtrA

I took the lessons (at SriMaTham) until my seventeenth year. Thereafter, SwamigaL called me one day and directed, "Go on an all India yAtrA and come back." I travelled to all the places and kSetras in India with my parents through railroad.

When I completed my eighteenth year, he said, "Be with me here for sometime" and kept me at Kanchipuram. A year passed by in this manner.

Nineteenth Year

When my nineteenth year started, Periyvaa ordained me to become a SwamigaL at Kanchipuram itself--that is, on the 22nd of March, 1954--after finishing the initial vaidika ceremonies at the Mukti Mandapam on the bank of Sarva Theertham, by giving me sannyAsa dIkSA around ten in the morning, keeping me in a standing position in the waters of the pond, and then with the mahAvAkya upadesham at Sri Viswesvarar Sannidhi.

This is how the connection I had with the elder Acharya SwamigaL brought me to SriMaTham and made me also a SwamigaL.

Denominating Me

On the previous day of my taking sannyAsa AshramaM, Acharya SwamigaL called the poets and pundits and consulted them, keeping me beside him, for a suitable name for me.

For the last five or six generations, the names Chandrasekharendra and Mahadeva were denominated in this PITham alternately. The consultation was to determine if the naming should be connected to these names or be a totally different name.

I came to SriMaTham in the month of panguni. PeriyavargaL's birth day came in the following chitirai, vaikasi months. It was also the year when he completed his sixtieth year of age. The name of the year was jaya.

The jaya year comes in the panguni month itself (from the beginning of Sri Ramanavami festival) with the birth of the Telegu new year, according to the lunar calendar. In the solar calendar, it might arrive with the birth of the Tamil new year, or even fifteen, twenty days later. Under this circumstance, the name 'jaya' stuck in the memory.

69th pIThAdhipatiH

The jaya year has another distinction. It was the birth year of Sri Maha PeriyavargaL. Therefore with the name jaya as the prefix, denominating me as Jayendra Saraswathi, he made me the 69th pIThAdhipati of SriMaTham.

It was the Telegu New Year's day in that year. They would celebrate Sri Ramanavami gloriously. With yajanaMs and pujas for ten days, Sri Rama PattabhiSekam would be celebrated eventfully. A special puja was performed in SriMaTham also. In the present larger Kanchi MaTham I was made to sit on the same place where the abhiSekam for Sri Rama on his coronation day was being performed. I was sitting at the place where the waters of ablution flew over. Periya SwamigaL ensured that when he performed the abhiSekam to Sri Rama with his own hand, the ablution waters fell on my head.

Coronation with the Divine Hands of Sri Periyavar

The day when Acharya SwamigaL with infinite mercy made the waters of ablution fall on my head was also the day when he made me the pIThAdhipati of SriMaTham. Within ten to fifteen days of my arriving at SriMaTham, PeriyavargaL coronated me immediately after Sri Rama PattabhiSekam, and on the same evening made me walk in a procession through the four raja vIthis of Kanchi. (This is known as pattina prevesam).

In other words, he gave me the full responsibility of SriMaTham within fifteen days of my arrival here.

Since Kanchipuram was in an urban area and since it attracted a large crowd, Maha SwamigaL arranged for my stay in a village called Orirukkai on the banks of Palar nearby, building a large thatched shed there and renting two houses, where I was to perform my pujas and continue my studies.

SaSTiapta pUrti

It was at that time that PeriyavargaL completed his sixtieth year of age. This event was known as SaSTiapta pUrti. I was fortunate to celebrate this event.

Even though he was a sanyAsin, we celebrated the completion of his sixty years of age as a holy event with the performance of special yajanaMs in the presence of Vedic pundits. I am mentioning this because he let the holy waters fall on my hand on the day of Sri Rama PattabhiSekam. And I had the fortune on his SaStiapta pUrti occasion, to conduct pujas and yajanaMs with all the water-filled holy pots and then perform abhiSekam to him with that holy water.

We thus celebrated the completion of his sixtieth year as a festival. From that day he kept me with him and trained me in all the affairs, such as our joint studies, our pujas and the MaTham administration. Up to the year 1970, I was beside him doing everything, till late night hours.

From the year 1970, he wanted to remain in solitude and lived in Ashramams erected either inside temples or on the banks of temple ponds.

After 1976, until 1980, for four years he undertook a solitary yAtrA throughout Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. When I met him at Satara in the year 1980, I prayed to him, "You are getting old. I request you not to undertake solitary yAtrAs any more. Please come back." Accordingly, he reached Kanchipuram in the year 1983.

70th pIThAdhipatiH

In the meantime, it was difficult for me to take care of the pujas and the administration of the MaTham single-handedly. Therefore, with the permission of PeriyavargaL, I coronated Bala PeriyavargaL as the 70th pIThAdhipatiH of Sri Kamakoti PITham, on Sunday, the 29th of May 1983 at 5:30 hours in the morning, giving him sannyAsa dIkSA in the holy pond waters of Sri Kamakshi Amman temple. With Bala Periyavar as a shiSh^yaH on our side, I went to Kurnool, where all the three of us stayed and conducted the Vyasa Puja for our chAturmAsya vrata anuSTAnam. Thereafter, we came back to Kanchipuram, bringing PeriyavargaL with us.

From then on, he stayed at SriMaTham and was giving out his grace and blessings to everyone. A large difference is there between the pIThAdhipatis of other maThams and the position of PeriyavargaL. In addition to sitting on the pITham as pIThAdhipatiH and giving out blessings, he had the honour of participating in the numerous joys and sorrows of individual men's life, blessing them and elevating them in their life.

This is the reason that many are sobbing and worried, feeling his absence, even today. They are grieving for having lost a person in their family.

Had he been a general pIThAdhipatiH it would have been an ordinary thing. But then, since he was merged with the life of thousands of individuals, all of them had their mental agony, and his loss is felt all over the country. This is a special honour that is not had by any other pIThAdhipatiH.


Since I was with him, those habits have also formed in me. I was motivated to mingle with people, feel the sufferings of the oppressed and the downtrodden, and do the good that is required for them. PeriyavargaL is the guide for this work, which I am doing now, remaining and growing in the path shown by him.

Whatever he did, he used to say was his saMkalpaH. saMkalpaH, that is, what is thought in mind is known as icChA shakti. He was thus the icChA shakti, the saMkalpah mUrti. I showed myself as the kriyA shakti, the power of action. This was the state between the two of us.

Thus, without just being created for a pIThAdhipatiH, this pITham was formed for the people - for the general public - for dharma - for Astikam - for Anmeeham, and to foster them. In that respect, the seed he sowed - the plant he grew - I stand as the suport for it, seeing it grow into a tree today, doing all these services.

Just at the time when this tree brought forth fruits that started ripening, suddenly his body disappeared. While the effect it had on lakhs of people is on the one side, personally I am doing many services with the thinking that he is still around, and only through his might. I am able to do what he envisioned.

Therefore, whatever joys and sufferings arrive at an individual's life, to take efforts to recognize and mitigate them is a speciality that has been obtained in this pAramparyam.

Countless mahAns have taken birth. They were not pIThAdhipatis. There have been many pIThAdhipatis. They have not also been mahAns. There have been many who were mahAns as well as pIThAdhipatis. But it has been much less the case of wiping out the sorrows by partaking individual lives and elevating them. It is only our PeriyavargaL who was a maThadhipati, a mahAtma and also created a high state in the individual lives. We are also taking the same kinds of efforts to preserve and grow the tradition.

Guru Anugraham

Therefore, the general public should be conscious of our tradition and culture and have the feeling that just as there is an eternal God, there is also a traditional pITham where pIThAdhipatis succeed in a pAramparyam. And we all should order our lives through the blessings of the guru.

My First Darshan: by His Holiness Sri Vijayendra Saraswathi Swamiji
Compiler: Sri T.S. Kothandarama Sarma (in Tamil)
Source: Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL, Vol. 1, pages 35-40
Publisher: Vanathi Padhippaham

I had darshan of Maha PeriyavargaL and Pudu PeriyavargaL when they were camping in Satara. One evening, the dIpa namaskAram was conducted. The elephant waved the chAmaram to the pAdukA. Since the place where the elephant was standing was a bit inclined, when its hind legs slightly slipped, it blared loudly. AppappA! Everyone was in dread. I was shaken.

Another day, Maha PeriyavargaL was sitting in a corner. Pudu PeriyavargaL was sitting centrally, doing an upanyAsaH. Suddenly he stopped his speech and went inside. I could not understand why. After a few minutes, when somebody informed that he went inside upon a direction from Maha PeriyavargaL, the reason was known. And that was a surprise.

When PeriyavargaL was doing ChandraMauleesvara puja I used to sit near him and watch it. One boy used to do the services such as breaking a coconut for Swami nivedanam and applying ghee to the lamp. I used to keenly observe such things as he was doing.

Later I had an opportunity. I had darshan of Maha PeriyavargaL at a place called Gulbarga. It was surprising to me to watch how fast he walked even at such advanced age. I went to the place Brahmapuri Panappoori from Gulbarga traveling on a horse drawn cart. There in the temple is the Shivalingam having the name Paataleshvarar. I was asked to recite Rg Veda there for two days during the puja time. I did it, and also recited Tothakashtakam as asked for.

One day, some bhaktas came to PeriyavargaL and were talking about the divine work and kumbhAbhiSekam of Sri Jalakandeshvarar temple, Vellore.

At those times I had the habit of watching PeriyavargaL keenly when he did daNDa tarpaNa and anuSTAnam. At those times he would be reciting some mantra. It seemed strange to me to watch him do japam with closed eyes for an hour. Somebody would gift money to those who did Veda recitation. Watching it all seemed new to me.

One day, an old man came to me and said that PerivargaL called me. He was staying at a distance of a furlong. I went to him. PerivargaL gave me a book --it was Taitriya Mantrakosam-- and asked me to sit by his side. Then asked me to turn some pages of the book. Then he asked me to read the last five lines on the left page. Then he ordered me to recite the mantra starting with sriye jAtam and ending with ya evam veda five times. I did as told. Then he asked me to indicate the place where the mantra was found in the book. I turned the pages and showed it to him. Then he asked me where the mantra samita mite mitatram was found. I told him. He asked another person to bring the book Rgveda Aitareya Brahmanam. That book was not available. I told him, "Vidyaranya Bashyam I studied stands in memory. A person in Tandalam village is having a book printed in Telugu. Whenever I had time, I learned it from him."

Silence pervaded for some minutes. Then he asked me, "in that mantra which usage is the correct one, vashat krityam santatai or vashat kruttai santattaiya?"* I informed him that it was the second usage that was the correct one.

Then he told me like an upadesham, "Read Tatvasaaram. In addition, learn to read and write Telegu well."

One day PeriyavargaL was sitting in a narrow spot in Sri Paataleshvarar temple. Thirteen Vedic students were sitting before him to take an examination on Rg Veda. Since he ordered me to come too, I joined them. He gave me a book and ordered me to write a mantra on its last inner cover page. I was confused as to what mantra I was to write.

PeriyavargaL had often asked me to recite the deepArAdhana mantra. He would ask me to repeat it several times. When I recited he would pay keen attention to me. Then he would say, "Recite this mantra this way -- write it down and learn." I did not know if Pudu PeriyavargaL had told something about me to PeriyavargaL. Only after it was decided to grant me sannyAsa AshramaM, I understood the meaning of all that PeriyavargaL had been telling me.

One day, in the month of May 1983, I was led to the presence of PeriyavargaL. He was staying in a cotton mill at Mahbub Nagar. The day I was to take sannyAsa AshramaM was close at hand. Some people who had known the purpose for which I had come there, took me reverentially to PerivargaL. PeriyavargaL at that time was talking to people around him about Polagam Sundara SastrigaL--as to how he was a matchless vidvan in Dharma Shastras and how one can count with fingers such great vidvans today. He was happy that I had come there for a darshan.

It was known that I had to go to Hyderabad from there and then to Tirupathi without fail. I was standing in his presence having his darshan with the thought that I got his grace through the very look from the corner of his eye. Acharyar also looked at my side. Then I moved away.

I understood then that PeriyarvagaL had earlier told a bakta that the latter would have darshan of three acharyas at the same time.

Our Maha SwamigaL lived as satya murti--as a personifaction of Truth. Everyone would be surprised at his tremendous ability of remembrance. With his sankalpa of doing good to mankind, he took much delight in doing good even to the one who criticised him. He was like a great dam that contained within itself a deluge. He was the one who worked ceaselessly for social justice and unity. Whatever he thinks another person should be doing, he would do it himself, setting an example. May his grace protect us all.

*** *** ***

*I request readers to supply the correct form of the phrases used here.--sd
Matured devotion towards Muruga
author:....... K.IrAjA, advocate, Chennai-78
compiler:..... T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
source:....... Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol.2, page 211-214
publisher:.... VAnathi Padhippaham (May 2005 Edition)
type:......... book, Tamil

Of one who is shining as paramahaMsa parivrAjaka mahAsannidhAna pUjya shrI Chandrashekara SarasvatI MahAsvAmigaL, and who taking avatAra in our sacred, BhArata desham, is adored by the world today, until today, and for ever, as a mahApuruSha--that the good fortune of aDiyEn--myself, receiving such KAnchi Periya Periyavar's blessings, is a puNya I have earned. As I think about my darshans of him over many years and receiving his blessings, it seems that I am having those darshans once again today.

There is one personal big aruL--grace, aDiyEn received from that Maha Periyavar. That was the pERu--good fortune, of having got the opportunity to converse with him in ekAntam--solitude for about 40 minutes. Not only could I never forget it, but even today its remembrance gets me into spiritual shivers. My memory is that it was in 1983 that the above incident took place when KAnchi Munivar was camping in Kurnool.

aDiyen had gone for the nyAyasthala--law court's cases. Finishing them, I came and along with my wife, had darshan of KAnchi Munivar and conversed with him. The moment he saw me, he asked about my native place, and for a kShaNam--second, "You are the ahamuDaiyAn--husband, of Tiruppazhanam brahmashrI PanchApakesha shAshtrigaL's pEththi--granddaughter?"--my wife's grandfather who was the harikathA kAlakShepa chakravartin--and followed it with the inquiry, my mAmanAr--father-in-law shrI T.P.KalyANarAma shAstrigaL--"what is he doing? He too is doing bhagavat kAlakShepam?" I could not contain my surprise.

Such power of memory filled me with surprise. After this, as I told him about me, I mentioned that I was involved in Muruga-bhakti since the year 1937; that my father shrI KandasAmi aiyar, right from his young age until his last days, was doing pUja anudinam--daily, at home for shrI SubrahmaNya svAmi; and that he asked us his family members to continue do the stotra.

In addition, I told him that in 1937 in Chennai KandakOTTam I listened to the speech given by shrI RAmalingam piLLai (a school teacher) on "paripUjita panchAmRta vaNNam" (composed by PAmban svAmigaL also known as shrIlashrI shuddhAdvaita Kumara GurudAsa svAmigaL); that I had prepared myself for a long time to sing that composition doing chandam--rhythm, of it in five paNNs--rAgas; that I had classified many years ago, these vaNNams and the tiruppugazh songs of aruNagiriyAr, in some anya tAlas--different musical beats; and that I was regularly singing them on public religious occasions.

PeriyavargaL listened to all that I said with great surprise, asked me to sing some portions of those vaNNams and listened to them, and wondered, "appA! The PAmban svAmigaL you talk about, why did not my SvAminAthan (mahAmahopAdhyAya shrI SvAminAtha aiyar) tell me about him? Let it go. Even JagannAthan (KI.VA.JagannAthan) did not tell me?" When I told them thereafter that PAmban svAmigaL also did seva--service, in KAnchipuram KandakOTTam", he said, "appA! That I don't know about. I was at that time in the KumbakONa maTham. I get immense happiness to listen to for the first time, all that you tell me about." How can that mahAn's simplicity and greatness be brought in words?

With his blessings, PeriyavargaL gave me a shawl and said, "appA! My name is also SvAminAthan only! My father's name too was SubrahmaNyam! Your father's name is KandasAmi. I have myself spoken about 'svAmi' being the special epithet of SubrahmaNya svAmi. You will shine as a good Muruga-bhakta!"

By that anugraha-phala--fruits of divine favours, until today, I am doing it on many occasions as sangIta upanyAsam, of the Tiruppugazh songs and chiefly the panchAmRta vaNNams, at PAmban svAmigaL's samAdhi at TiruvAnmiyUr and in other holy places of Murugan, without expecting, asking about or receiving any sort of pratiphala--returns, doing them all only for my Atma anubhavam. MurugA sharaNam!

(About shrI PAmban svAmigaL here: Pamban Swamigal: His Life and Teachings)

Mahaperiyavaa in 'Sudhama'
author:..... V. Srinivasan, Chennai
compiler:... T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
book:......... Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol. 2, pages 136-142
publisher:.. Vanathi Padhippaham (May 2005 Edition)

Sir P.S. Sivaswamy Aiyer and Smt. Kalyani (Lady Sivaswamy)

Sir P.S. Sivaswamy Aiyer lived as a rich and famous advocate and legal luminary in Chennai. His wife's name was Kalyani. The name of his house was 'Sudhama'. It was a large bungalow even in those days.

When Maha SwamigaL was camping in the city, he suddenly visited 'Sudhama' without any prior announcement and made the Sivaswamy couple drown in ecstasy.

The couple did not have the bhAgya (fortune) of a child.

Maha SwamigaL told him, "What if you people don't have your own children? Be the father-mother for several poor children. You act righteously in your profession as an advocate and do jnAna dAnam (the charity of knowledge) by establishing an educational institution with the income earned. Your name will stand firm (be remembered). In a similar way, construct a hospital that caters to childbirth and make your wife's name also stand firm (be remembered)."

Sri Sivaswamy Aiyer carried out that orders in toto. He sold the palatial bungalow 'Sudhama' and started living in a smaller house that he purchased for them in the Sullivan Garden Road.

He established a hospital named Kalyani Hospital that offered free childbirth consultations and treatment in the Edward Elliots Road (near the President Hotel). If that divine service continues even today, the main reason has been the grace of Maha PeriyavaaL. He also bought out of his own funds, the girls' school that was under the administration of Jaipur Maharaja (the school opposite Rasika Ranjana Sabha in the Sundareswarar Street that branches from the Kapaliswarar Temple East Mada Street), named it 'Lady Sivaswamy Aiyer Girls' High School' and developed it.

PeriyavaaL's word is the Veda's word!

*** *** ***

Ex-Chief Minister M. Bhaktavatsalam

The camp was at SriMaTham, Karaikudi in the year 1964. The then Chief Minister Tiru. M. Bhaktavatsalam came for Periyavaa darshan.

"You have heard of a kSetra (holy place) called Danushkoti near Rameswaram? You issue the orders immediately and arrange for the eviction of the entire population of the village with their belongings. You also arrange for the distant safe-keeping of your rAjAnga sAmans (state possessions)..."

Should not Bhaktavatsalam ask (Periyavaa) as to why this sudden direction? He did not ask!

It was because he knew that the order issued from the holy mouth of a great saint who knew the three states of time. He would gain nothing by asking the sage about the reason, which, however should be a strong one.

There indeed was a strong reason!

A demonic hurricane with horrendous speeds, followed by a torrent of rain and high tides of the ocean--all these happened within seven or eight days of Periyavaa asking for the eviction in Danushkoti!

Who is the Bhaktavatsala here--the one in the safron handloom clothes or the one in the white handloom clothes?

*** *** ***

Dr. Alladi Ramakrishnan

Sir Alladi Krishnaswamy Aiyer's son Dr. Alladi Ramakrishnan and his wife Smt. Lalitha Ramakrishnan had made arrangements to leave for America. They came for the darshan and blessings of PeriyavaaL, before they started on their trip.

"When should you start?"

"On the date of the twenfth..."

There was only silence for some seconds with a glance at somewhere above the ceiling, on the part of the sage.

The assistant kept extending the prasAda plate, keeping vibhUti and kumkumam on it.

"Why don't you start after fifteen days?"

A sudden order indeed! (Why can't he start on the twelfth itself without informing SwamigaL? If he postpones the confirmed tickets, there is going to be the series of tasks of ticket cancellation and subsequent reservation. Is SwamigaL going to inquire, remembering about his trip?)

But then, he could not go?!

Are the words of PeriyavaaL iron fetters?

The aircraft that started for America from Meenambakkam (Chennai) on the date of the twelfth, ended up its journey in Mumbai itself. It transpired that all the hundred passengers on it would be having the same tithi (a lunar day, here the day of their demise).

The Ramakrishan couple had both types of tears: tears of sorrow for those who were dead and tears of gratitude for their having been saved.

*** *** ***

In the year 1965, Maha SwamigaL was camping in Chennai. I wanted very much to bring him to our house and make it mangaLakaram (auspicious) with his holy feet.

Staying at Sri KarpakambaL Kalyana Mandapam, Mylapore, Periyavaa was dispensing his grace and blessings to the devotees.

Chief Minister M. Bhaktavatsalam and his daughter Smt. Sarojini Varadappan came for darshan and left after conversing with the sage from seven-thirty to eleven-thirty in the night. Thereafter, my parents and I went for darshan and prostrated.

"My son is doing japam and fasting for the last two days with the thoughts of Periyavaa. He also follows wherever Periyavaa goes. He is straining his body too much. He is adamant that he would remain in this manner until 'Periyavaa agrees to visit our gRuham (house)'. Only Periyavaa should advise him on this issue."

Periyavaa looked at me.

"You go home with them (my parents), have food and sleep. I shall come later, after informing (you people)."

The telephone rang around five-thirty on the next morning. Sri V. VaidhyaSubramanya Aiyer from the SriMaTham camp spoke.

"Mister Venkataraman, Sir... Periyavaa is starting for your house. You come right away."

Periyavaa started trip on his palanquin, visited Sri Bhaktavatsalam's home en route and gave his blessings and then visited our home around seven-thirty.

Stopping all the devotees and assistants on the outside of our home, he asked only the three of us to sit near the palanquin.

"The three of you do the japam. I shall do my dhyAnam (meditation) inside." Periyavaa immersed himself in meditation, sliding and closing the palanquin door.

Precisely an hour passed.

Periyavaa gave darshan as sAkSAt Parameswara, opening the door of the palanquin.

"Periyavaa should pardon us. Our boy Cheenu troubled much and brought Periyavaa to our home. Should excuse us..."

Then Periyavaa visited the Pillaiyar temple at our home that was built on his orders. He went round Pillaiyar fifteen times.

I asked to photograph Periyavaa then and prayed for this consent. Periyavaa did not grant permission. I tried many times to have a photograph taken with him when he began to move away from our house. Later too, I had prayed to him several times.

But then I did not succeed till the end!

sAman - acquisition, possession, property, wealth, abundance
The Mystic Who Dazzled the Western Professors
author:..... Dr. Padma Subramanyam, 'Nrutyodaya', Chennai
compiler:... T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
book:......... Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol. 2, pages 231-235
publisher:.. Vanathi Padhippaham (May 2005 Edition)

A few years back some Russian and American professors, who came to Chennai, had darshan of Maha SwamigaL.

In the year 1987, Soviet Union celebrated the Indian Cultural Festival. It was my custom to write research papers related to our culture and tradition and show it to PeriyavargaL. We took one such blessed paper to hand over to Professor Ribekov, the President of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Oriental Studies in Moscow. The only picture that adorned his room was of the Kanchi Periyavar! What wonder, he had not even seen SwamigaL in person until then. He said, 'When I come to Chennai--one, I should meet the Kanchi sage and converse with him and two, I want a valampuri shaN^khu (a conch with threads going clockwise)'.

After some years, Ribekov came to Chennai. We went to Kanchi with him. As we entered the MaTham, they said, "No darshan today, PeriyavargaL has fever."

The man who came with me had noted down the questions he had in his mind and were seeking answers for them. When it seemed that we would be disappointed, somebody came and told us, "Periyavaa asked me to bring you people to him." A crowdless, private darshan for us.

PeriyavargaL, who was lying down, got up and silently looked at the newcomer. Within minutes, tears of joy started issuing out of the man who came to meet the sage. No one talked, it was very silent. At length Periyavar himself talked to me: "Tell him to ask whatever questions he has to." Ribekov said, "I got the answers even without asking them." He could not get around to speak anything more.

PeriyavargaL: Though Sanskrit is seen mixed in the Russian language, is it there in the dialect spoken in the extreme north of that country?" Ribekov was taken aback. "It is true, it is not so," he said.

PeriyavargaL: Your country has the name Rishivarsham. The reason was, it was only there that Rishis like Yajnavalkya established a Vedic research centre.

The sage gave us many more such details and made us go ecstatic. When we took leave of him, Ribekov told the sage, "What should I do to become a Hindu?"

"Even without doing anything you are a Hindu."

Not satisfied, he said, "I would rather have a Hindu name." Looking at us and laughing, PeriyavargaL said, "With a white beard this man has the look of a Rishi. Let him have the name 'Rishi'." Ribekov was immensely happy. Rishi (Ribekov) has now started a branch of the Ramakrishna MaTham in Moscow.

*** *** ***

Professor Robinson was the President of the South Carolina University, U.S.A. He was trained in Greek philosophy.

A team of professors from many departments of some of the universities of the U.S.A. came to Chennai.

I told Robinson, "You must go to Kanchi and have darshan of Periyavar." That was all! His eyes blossomed. He narrated the wonderful story of their visit to Kanchi on the very same day. They roamed Kanchi in small groups, knowing nothing about Sankara MaTham or PeriyavargaL. Robinson and two others came accidentally opposite the entrance to Sankara MaTham. They entered, thinking it was a temple. He narrates what happened there, himself:

"The cot was a charpoy fitted with ropes. A man of matured old age was sitting on it. A large crowd around him. We did not understand anything. Suddenly a boy came running to us. 'Are you from America?' he asked us. Surprised, we said 'Yes.' There was absolutely no chance that anyone there would know us. The next question stunned us. 'Who is Professor Robinson among you? I have orders only to bring him to the sage.'

"I had darshan of Periyavar. He asked me to sit near him. That was all! I was not conscious of the passing of them thereafter!" Robinson was unable to continue talking, overwhelmed by tears of joy. I understood that the one who said it did not see and the only that saw it did not say.

(This same Robinson, when he came to the American Embassy in Chennai in April-May 1994, rang up Dr. Padma Subramanyam and inquired, "Is Maha SwamigaL fine?" When he was told that Sri SwamigaL had attained siddhi, he had asked, "Is it on January 8th or 9th?"

"How do you know it so correctly?" Dr. Padma had asked him.

Robinson replied in a voice choked with emotion, "On that day Maha Periyavaa gave me darshan (in a vision), said 'Goodbye' thrice and disappeared... If I told this news to anyone in our place, they wouldn't be able to understand it, which was why I couldn't verify it with anyone here.")

*** *** ***

The daughter of the RajaMata (queen) of Greece is now the Queen of Spain. Her name is Sophia. She had aparimita bhakti (limitless devotion) towards Kanchi Periyavar like her mother. The entire Royal family had surrendered to our Periyavar, considering him their divine guru. When the sage was in Uttara Chidambaram Satara for many months, Queen Sophia had come and stayed there for four days and had darshan. When we visited Spain some years after for a dance programme, Queen Sophia called us to her palace. We were immersed in a reception mixed with love and respect.

"How could a Chakravartini (Empress) like you stay in a hotel that did not even have a room with an attached bath?"

"We would even stay in a hut to have darshan of Kanchi Periyavar. I would walk on the street! Only when I have darshan of him, I really live my days. At other times, somehow I just breathe. All this environment is not permanent; only the joy of having his darshan is real and permanent."

It seemed to me more appropriate to call him JaganMata, rather than JagatGuru.
A.K. Velan
Author: 'Paranthaman' (V.Narayanan) (in Tamil)
Source: From the book Paramacharyar pages 188-194, 1992 edition
Publisher: Narmadaa Padhippaham

As narrated by the author:

When the reception with honours was being given in a house, a man in the opposite house who was not yet ready with bath and formal clothes, came to the grill gate entrance of his house, with just a dhoti around his waist, on hearing the beat of the meLam, to see what was going on outside; he came inside the glance of Paramacharya who accidentally turned his face towards the other side. When he was standing with no idea of what was going on, the sage beckoned to the man to come near him.

The man who knew practically nothing of the sage, came near the menA (palanquin) and stood with joined palms. SwamigaL lifted his hand to bless him and asked his assistant to give the man akSata prasAdam. Everyone was surprised.

I did not know about this incident. One day the man requested me as a friend, "I need to have personal darshan of Kanchi Periyavar and get his blessings. What is the way to do it? I don't know about the formalities there. People say that there are many kinds of strict formalities there! You should make arrangements for it." I knew about the formalities there only in a general way; I had no personal experience in the matter. Without approaching any of the office bearers there, I wrote a letter to the present address where the sage was camping. I gave information in my letter about my friend's personal details and requested for a time to have darshan.

Two days later, a man came to see me with my letter in hand. He gave me an address and said if we went there tomorrow or the day after, at six in the evening, the devotee of the house would take us for the darshan; he went away saying nothing more. I gave this good news to 'A.K. Velan'. He came on the right time the next evening. As if going to a temple, we went to the address given. The devotee there was also ready. He was a parama bhakta of Paramacharya. He was in a good position in life, holding the chief manager's post in an engineering company. He was happy narrating Paramacharya's greatness in every word he spoke.

"One of the rare traits with PeriyavaaL is that he would never ask a person to observe something that he himself does not observe. He would not also compel a person to observe something that is not done by the others. This special trait cannot be seen in many other ascetics.

"The fruits in this basket are of a rare variety; came only this morning by plane from the Kashmir side. Such tasty apples can be seen nowhere. The grapes here do not have seeds; they would melt in the mouth. They are here for PeriyavaaL's exclusive consumption. It would be a bhAgya if PeriyavaaL takes it. I shall be happy even if he eats just one or two of them. I should get that bhAgyam, let us see!" The devotee was hot with anxiety.

Our car reached Noombal around eight in the early part of the night. It was pitch dark. The air was filled with condensing moisure. We did not wear a shirt or a shawl to cover the upper trunk, just a towel wrapped around the dhoti in the waist. There was no street lamps on the side of the main road. We needed to go through an interior passage on the side to reach that place. Just one lamp was visible at some distance from the area where the sage was staying. With darkness all around, our car was going along raising dust, through the passage that had potholes made by the constant traffic of factory lorries and other vehicles.

A medium-sized thatched shed. A 'petromax' light (gaslight) outside it. The lantern was going off and on with swells of darkness and light. Hurricane lanterns were hanging here and there, giving out the light they could. An old tiled building with verandah, on one side of the thatched shed, maybe it was the office of that brick manufacturing factory.

On the portico and inside the shed some people with glaring marks of vibhUti were moving about, wearing kaccha dhoties on their waist. I thought that they were the MaTham officials.

The man who brought us, made us wait outside the shed, went in to meet some notable, and within a minute or two came back saying, "You can have darshan, come" and led the way. A complete, peaceful and holy silence was prevailing there.

We followed our man, carrying the fruit plates and garlands we had brought with us. We expected that Periyavar would be staying somewhere inside the building or on the far side of it. What wonder! A menA (palanquin) was kept in a corner of the shed, immersed in dim light. We would have gone hardly ten feet, when our man asked us to put down what we carried and said, "Prostrate, prostrate now!" Only by looking keenly inside the menA we had the sight of Periyavar. He was sitting inside on his feet, covering himself with a saffron cloth. Our having darshan of his mukhAravindam (face that is a lotus flower) and his two eyes that were shining like chandra-sUrya (moon and sun) in that dim light, made us go dizzy with ecstasy.

Prostrating, we stood up with joined palms. He beckoned to us to sit down. We sat on the ground beside the menA. The disciple nearby took the fruit plates and flowers and showed it to SwamigaL. He gave his anugraha by touching them and asked them to be kept away. SwamigaL waved his hand. The disciple took akSata, kumkumam and vibhUti in two wooden bowls and stretched them out to SwamigaL. SwamigaL touched them giving his anugraha and let the disciple give them to us. We placed a gold sovereign each in the same bowl. SwamigaL did not seem to heed them at all. In those days, a sovereign of gold did not cost thousands, only hundreds. (When we started to get back, we were given receipts for them from the office).

I told about A.K. Velan in a few words. I spoke about his Tamil pulamai (expertise), his having worked as a teacher in the Karanthai Tamil College, his participation in the movements connected with the Kazhagam (the DMK political party), his success with the production of his own movie, and his constructing a building at at cost of Rs.50,000 out of the income from the movie for the college where he taught.

SwamigaL listened to each information keenly and asked, "Tamil colleges are there in Madurai and Karanthai. In what other places are such colleges?" My friend gave him the names Mayilam (Mayiladuturai), Nellai (Tirunelveli), Tiruvaiyaru and some other places. PeriyavargaL was always keen to know about connected topics, getting his doubts cleared and clearing other doubts. Because of this trait he had connection with countless experts in many areas of knowledge.

He was very fond of interacting with experts. He had many of them coming to him, cutting across the borders of caste, religion and age. He liked seeking information from them and thereby giving them out to the world through them. He remembered many things and inquired Velan about UmaMaheswaran of Karunthattankudi, a lawyer and a man of great knowledge, who was instrumental in setting up the educational association of the Karanthai college. He also sought details about Karanthai Kaviyarasu Venkatachalam Pillai.

In that peaceful environment, that divya darshanam extended for over three quarters of an hour. There was no one nearby. That time was a holy moment in our life. Those golden memories still persist fresh in mind, even after the passage of 25 years.

When we took leave, Velan sought blessings from the sage, for the holy works of the Kodambakkam Vadapalani Murugan Koil frontal structure that he had taken up. After keeping silent for sometime, SwamigaL said, "Continue to do your Tamil services" and blessed, raising a hand. It so happened that Velan did not take note the real meaning of that day's upadesham amidst the happiness having got the darshan and blessings of the sage.

The frontal maNDapa holy works were not only unsuccessful, but had also created some discord. Only later I came to know from Velan since he believed that only on the strength of the voluntary blessings he received at (Raja) Annamalaipuram, he came to establish his Arunachalam Studio and got some affluences in life that followed, he wanted to have a personal darshan.

All that is fine, but it might be asked as to why the sage should beckon to come near him a person who was just watching his procession at a distance and voluntarily give the person his anugraha and blessings. This is what I pointed out earlier that for the jnAnis some connection rises inside them with someone from somewhere. We may not be able to understand it from the cause and effect logic.

I could know only later when I went to Thanjai (Thanjavur) with A.K.V. that Velan's paternal grandfather was an ascetic. He has attained samAdhi in a village adjoining Thanjai. These things came to mind when I visited there once with him.

meLam - (Tamil) tavil - a drum that accompanies the wind instrument nadhasvaram.
A.K. Velan - 2
Author: 'Paranthaman' (V.Narayanan) (in Tamil)
Source: From the book Paramacharyar pages 052-064, 1992 edition
Publisher: Narmadaa Padhippaham

As narrated by the author:

Another incident. Happened around 25 years ago. Sri Jayendrar was the younger Periyavar then. He was camping for months at Ilayattankudi in Chettinad with the entire group of SriMaTham assistants and was giving his blessings and grace to the devotees. The temple in Ilayattankudi, Kundrakkudi and PillaiyarPatti are established and run by the clan of wealthy traders of Chettinad (the Nagaratthaars). They are their family temples.

A Pongal festival was being celebrated at KilaSeevalPatti about three miles from Ilayattankudi. The celebrations included speeches by the masters in different subjects.

Around 5 o' clock in the evening A.K. Velan was giving a special speech. When I was there on the stage with him, I was called by someone from the rear end of the stage. Wearing bands of vibUti all over, a middle aged brahmin in panca kaccha dhoti and uttarIyam (shounder cloth) and sporting a tuft of hair on his head, asked on seeing me, "You are the one who has accompanied Pulavar A.K. Velan from Chennai?" When I said yes, he continued, "Chinna PeriyavaaL has directed him to come to Kanchi PeriyavaaL MaTham after his speech is over. You please inform this to him and bring him there. Since I have some urgent work I can't stay here. I may be excused; shall take leave now," and went away.

We had planned to urgently go to Thanjai directly from there after the speech and then return to Chennai. To suit our program, my friend who was to give his speech at the end, took the stage in the beginning itself. I informed him of the call from SriMaTham after he finished his speech. It gave him some surprise, though he was a respected person in SriMaTham and had the bhAgyam of Paramacharyar voluntarily talking to him and blessing him. (This incident is given in the earlier part of this tale).

Being in such a situation, why did he hesitate! Only a few days before this Pongal celebrations he had been released from the Tiruchi Central Jail on completion of a six months term for the dharna he participated in. The dharna was against the raise in prices of essential commodities and was conducted by the D.M.K. The first batch of the sit-in agitation held in Thanjavur, the native place of Kalignar Karunanidhi. After he was arrested, A.K. Velan presided over the second batch of dharna held before the Thanjavur Collector's Office, where he was also arrested. Before this incident, he used to have dharshan of Paramacharyar in Chennai and other camps whenever he had an opportunity. Thus his hesitation was due to the sudden change in the path of his life.

He went to the Ilayattankudi camp, taking courage, with the dutiful feeling that he should not disobey the orders from SriMaTham. The Pulavar was liked by the SriMaTham assistants and officials. One reason for this cordiality was that he was himself a man of goodness and modesty. The other reason was that he was among the people who received direct blessings from Paramacharyar.

The SriMaTham people received him with kindness and inquired about his kSema lAbha (health and prosperity). They took him to the office and seated him. Meantime, the news reached the pIThAdhipati (pontiff). PeriyavargaL was then in his blessing posture in the adhiSTAna Shiva temple adjacent to the camp. It was the adhiSTAnam of the 65th pIThAdhipati of Kamakoti PiTham, Sri (Sudarsana) Mahadevendra Saraswati SwamigaL, who was Paramacharyar's Parameshti-guru. When Paramacharyar was in the Ilayattankudi camp, a variety of Atmika sadas (spiritual conferences) and shAstra sammelana (scriptural meetings) took place at frequent intervals. The Shaastric lessons for the then younger Periyavar Jayendra SwamigaL was also going on, which were taught by very great Vedic pundits, even from the adjacent states of Andhra and Karnataka. The place which was devoid of the modern facilities was nevertheless in the mood of festivity, with visits from the devotees near and far.

A bramachary (bachelor) came and took us to the adhiSTAnam as directed. It was a small temple with a small building with some surrounding space. Grass had grown all over the floor. With compound walls on four sides, a peaceful atmosphere was prevalent there. Paramacharyar had taken his seat at one side of the sannidhi of the frontal hall. Some great people were participating in a conversation with him. Velan went and prostrated with the fear of what Paramacharyar might say to him. The sage gave a look at Velan, his face tilting up. As Velan stood joining his palms in reverence, he realized that it was not a harsh but a benevolent look; the light of the sage's glance flashed and ran like lightning; he raised his hand and blessed. The assistant nearby gave akSata and vibUti. Earlier, during every darshan Paramacharyar used to make him sit, speak a few words, give prAsadam with a touch of his hand and bless by a raised hand.* It was not so on that day. When we had pradakSiNa of the prAkAra we saw Sri Jayendra Periyavar on the other side conversing amiably with the students of the Veda Paatashaalaa, sitting on the grass. When we bowed to him, he inquired "Eppo vandheL (when did you come)?" and asked us to be seated there.

"As per Periyavaa's directions only I had sent a person there asking you to come here! You have no physical problems after having 'gone there' and come back (I hope)?"

Velan could not open his mouth to speak. He could only gesture that he had no physical problems and was peaceful.

Sri Jayendrar continued: "You did it only for the welfare of the people. Nothing wrong with that. So many ways to work for the welfare of the world. Good things can be done in other ways also. Are there any ways that are not in our TirukkuraL or the Tamil Literature?

"You can do sevA in those other ways. Aren't you having a large family, profession, responsibilities and duties? Periyavaa had such an abhiprAyam (opinion about you). Which was why the call here on your return trip."

Velan said nothing in return. We bowed and took leave.

Velan could not talk for sometime. His misty eyes revealed the melting of his heart. When we took leave of people in the SriMaTham camp and came near our car, the people from the catering area who were known to us approached us and compelled, "You can start after the night puja and bhojana thereafter." We explained to them the urgency we had to visit Thanjai the same night and then return to Chennai as we had to be present in the city on the next day. Asking us to wait for a minute, one of them went and came back with three packs of pongal and puLiyodara (tamarind rice), and gave them to us with compulsion.

For the apex position that Paramacharyar was in, in what way was this A.K. Velan a person to keep in his mind and worry about? A.K. Velan individually was not a great person to be considered or expected of in a kAryArtha way; he was also not a rich man, or a man of position. He also did not have anything that is not found elsewhere. He had nothing except that he was a devotee, a man of love and humility and a truthful man. He was the owner of an ordinary studio. He was not a man who amassed lakhs in the film industry. And he was a man with a big family. Next to God, it can be seen only in Paramacharyar: his care to regulate the actions of a person, his love to take into his fold, his thoughts to correct and guide. Thousands of people in our country have had such experiences from Paramacharyar; are still getting them. Many would cherish them as great treasure in their heart and discuss them as rare honours and gifts. Whenever I used to meet such people, I felt that the world did not know about such treasures and was eager to bring them out. The reason behind the publication of this book Paramacharya was only that yearning to give expression to those experiences.

When I reminded him of this Ilayattankudi incident and was conversing with him, Tiru. Pulavar A.K. Velan told me a subtle point. "When one gets the opportunity of a first darshan of Paramacharyar, one should keenly observe, remember and follow verbatim, what the sage expresses very subtly in a half or three quarters of a word, with the backing of a complete prevision. People who had shown sincerity in following that subtle advice have come to gains, and they adore it as his divine power. Those who neglect the subtle advice, when they get totally different experiences, would regret that they were pre-warned, only they themselves did not heed. One cannot but wonder at such great divine power, highlighted by the experiences of a great number of his devotees.

"You reminded me of what Sri Jayendra SwamigaL told me the other day: that there were no ways that did not find a place in our Tamil literature and books; and that service can be done in one or more of those ways. I am now reminded of another rare incident that happened to me sometime back. When I had my first darshan of him in Noombal, the directions Paramacharyar gave me was nothing but 'Continue to do your Tamil services'! You talked about me, my family and my undertakings in great detail. He listened to them, inquired still more about other details and yet gave the direction to continue to do only my Tamil services. Since I did not have the clarity and conviction of following Paramacharyar's dictum then and continued with my temple construction works, I suffered expenses beyond my capcity. We started the sculptural works using the stone slabs brought from a hill near Kanchipuram known to be suitable for such works. We also got the full clearance and cooperation of the temple administration officials. We started our holy works on an auspicious day. Yet things did not go as planned and desired by us. I am now reminded that I did not get the blessings I asked him on that day for these works." Velan went emotional as he spoke about this incident.

Velan also remembered and told about his yet another darshan at this same Ilayattankudi on a previous, rare occasion. The two darshans are very different, yet the abhimAnam (affection) is the same in both.

"When I was returning in my car with family after having bath and darshan in Rameswaram, we came across the signboard that the road to Madurai was closed, so we had to take a diversion via Tiruvadhavur. The early night had already passed. We went in a wrong way and later inquired and found the right direction, but it was ten o' clock in the night by then. The children were hungry. The small hotels in the villages we passed through were already closed. Taking the correct road, we went to search for a restaurant near a theatre, but there were no food facilities in that area. We were asked to go to Pudukottai straight for food. We would have come some distance in the road we were directed to travel. We saw a large arch across the road with the words, 'Welcome, Sri Kanchi Kamakoti pIThAdhipati Jagatguru Sri Sankaracharyar!'

Only then I remembered about Paramacharyar's Chettinad camp. I asked the driver to go to the camp. My people in the car said, "It is going to be one o' clock now. It won't be polite to wake up and trouble the people in SriMaTham. Let us go straight to Pudukottai." It was not that I did not have that idea. But my mind was anxious that having come thus far, it was not proper to pass by without having a darshan, when SwamigaL is camping nearby and en route.

I said, "Let us go there and see. If we have the chance let us have a darshan. Or else let us have a pradakSiNa of the place and go. When we reached Ilayattankudi, I had already directed that the car driver should not sound the horn and wake up people there. Except of a light here and there, there was nothing shining in the area. A temple pond of moderate size, with some houses and coconut trees around it were seen. We were keen to meet somebody who would know where Periyavar would be staying. The car was driven very slowly. A brahmin held up his hand and stopped the car. Even before I got down opening the car door, he asked me, "You are A.K. Velan, right?" With eagerness, I asked him about where Periya SwamigaL was staying. He said, "First get down the steps of the pond and wash your hands and legs. Ask the people in the car to do the same." After complying with his directions, we asked him if he could take us to where Periya SwamigaL was staying.

"First, you people come this way. Can have darshan after the AhAra (food). All this only as per PeriyavaaL's directions: that you are coming and that we must do these things to you."

How did he know about us, who were wandering somewhere? I could not understand how could he know about us and take us into his fold at this time of past midnight. All of us including the children were seated in a line on the floor at one side of the camp and served hot cooked rice, pitlaa (a special sambar) and steaming hot rasam. After 25 years, I could not forget that tasty meal. Two people carrying hurrycane lamps, we were taken to the adhiSTAnam. SwamigaL was awake at that time of the night, as if to give us his darshan. We prostrated to him with a sense of immense gratitude. He inquired about our trips and travelling. We asked for his permission to go to Thanjai that same night. He said that it was enough if we took the trip only in the morning. I humbly told him again about the urgency. He again emphatically said that we could go in the next morning.

Our intention was not to trouble the MaTham for our night stay. We were accommodated at one another side of the camp on convenient, large jamakkALams (thick, cotton beds) with a mAppiLLai pillow at the foot of a wall (a raised construct about the height of two bricks at the foot of a wall in choultries to serve as pillow for the wayfarers). Within 15 mintues of our settling down to sleep, a man came and said, "Periyavaa told us to give milk to the young children. Took us some time, should excuse." I later came to know that Periyavar had noticed our children below eight years when we prostrated to him and had said, "The children would not have eaten properly. Give them some milk." What a great and compassionate heart Periyavar had!

*This is what the author has narrated here, though it is generally known that Paramacharya never used to touch anyone physically.

prAkAra - a wall, enclosure, fence, rampart
'Stay with me!'
author:....... R.NatarAjan, TiruvaNNAmalai
compiler:..... T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
source:....... Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol.2, page 215-220
publisher:.... VAnathi Padhippaham (May 2005 Edition)
type:......... book, Tamil

I came to KAnchi in the year 1954 to serve in the KAnchipuram Municipality High School. A place that was strange to me. My father's maternal uncle was the mudrAdhikAri of ShrIMaTham in Chingleput; obtaining a letter from him I came to KAnchipuram. Going straight to ShrIMaTham, I met shrIkAryam shrI C.S.VisvanAtha aiyar. My age at that time was twenty-one years. I was very lean, wearing a four-cubit dhoti.

I stood before shrI ParamAchAryaL and bowed to him. As he had received information from the Manager, he asked me with compassion, "When are you going to report for duty? Where are you going to stay?"

"I am going to report today itself", I said and stopped there. Five minutes of silence. Then the uttaravu--orders, came: "You stay in ShrIMaTham. Except during the school time, be with me." There was no limit to my happiness: such a fortune?, I wondered.

Keeping my trunk and bed at one side in a room, and wearing the school dress, I did namaskAram to shrI MahA SvAmigaL. Raising his hand, shrI SvAmigaL blessed me, "You will be well."

Going (to school) at 7:30 every morning, I would be back at 5:00 in the evening. After that only shrI PeriyavAL seva--service. I was required to read the newspapers such as 'The Hindu' at night. At intervals, I needed to reply to the questions that PeriyavAL might ask me. He would ask me about the lessons I took in the class. It was a daily 'test' for me.

On the third day of my joining duty, an interview from the TamilnADu government came for me. The job was that of the 'kAdi inspector'. I was somewhat tempted (to take it). Had I gone to that job, I would have (now) retired in the minimum as a Deputy Director. How to inform this matter to shrI PeriyavAL? I told the Senior Manager, but he did not like my accepting the offer. That night with great apprehension I informed shrI ParamAchAryaL about this news. Looking keenly at me, he said, suddenly lifting his right hand, "You be here. You will be well." That was all, I did not inform anyone about the interviews that came thereafter. That single AshIrvAda--blessing, became the mUlakAraNam--root cause, of the distinction, fame and awards I obtained in my work as a school teacher.

For four years from 1954-1958, I had the fortune of serving shrI MahA SvAmigaL by staying near him. What affection! What compassion! What love! They can't be explained in words. He would call me only 'NatarAju' with affection. If it was 9 o'clock in the night, "pOy sApTTu vA--go have your meal", he would say. My meal was arranged in ShrIMaTham itself. The third kAla--session, pUjA on some days would start at 9:30 in the night and end at 11:00. Only a very few people would be present for the occasion, me among them.

1954 March 22. The dawn of the golden time of Shankara MaTham. Yes! The day my GurunAthar was elected MaThAdhipati and took charge. The day of distinction when the mere shrI SubrahmaNyan was crowned as the 69th PIThAdhipati of ShrIMaTham with a new nAmam 'shrI Jayendra Sarasvati'. When the festivity that took place in the SarvatIrtham was over, and both the PeriyavargaL were waking towards shrI KAmAkShi Amman temple, I had the rare fortune of conversing with shrI Jayendrar. What followed it? Only that I became one of the principal disciples of shrI Jayendra Sarasvati SvAmigaL, known as shrI Pudu PeriyavAL, which continues to date. Fifty years since I became a disciple: to say that I am the senior-most disciple can't be an overstatement.

shrI ParamAchAryAL shaped shrI Jayendrar for the new responsibilities with love, and strictness at the same time. When I was not with shrI ParamAchAryAL, I would be with shrI Pudu PeriyavAL. Until 12 or even 1 o'clock at night, we would converse about many things. Such an experience I got for 21 years. I consider this as a great fortune I got in my life.

*** *** ***

How many rare incidents when I was with shrI MahAsvAmigaL!

It was in 1963 I think. The camp was at Mylapore. Nearly, 10,000 people had come for the darshan. Finishing his puja, shrI Periyavar himself blessed the devotees with tIrtham. When a middle-aged woman stretched her hand to get the tIrtham, he said, "The child is crying. Go give back the chain and come", and said to me, "You go with her, get the chain from her, return it (to the owner) and then come back." I was greatly surprised. At a distance was a woman crying, her child at her hip. The woman I lead to her, took a chain from her lap and gave it to that mother. Limitless happiness on the face of the mother. When it was told that only shrI SvAmigaL sent that guilty woman, every one was surprised and happy.

*** *** ***

Another incident: I think in 1965. A dampati--husband-wife, who had married recently. The man was aged 23 years, and was working in the Postal Department. The woman was aged 19 years. That young man would suddenly be affected with mental illness and would run hither and thither in ShrIMaTham. Learning that if he is given the tIrtha-prasAdam blessed by shrI PeriyavAL for one maNDalam--41 days, he would get well, the woman brought him daily for the puja.

Fifteen days would have passed by. shrI PeriyavargaL, who gave tIrtham daily to him in his hand, on that particular day, without giving it so, did prokShaNam--sprinkle, on his head and went inside without giving tIrtham to anyone else further. The boy suddenly escaped the clutches of his wife and came running in the RAjavIdhi, his wife followed him swiftly. He went and jumped into the well in the house where the dampati was residing. His wife could not stop him. A distressful event, and the wife kept wailing continuously. Before the people from the fire-fighting squad could climb down the well, he was dead.

That night, shrI ParamAchAryAL suddenly looked at the people around him and asked, "Is that boy's kAryam--rites, over?" Only then it was understood that shrI SvAmigaL sprinkled the water on his head as he found that the boy's destiny was over.

*** *** ***

I went for darshan on the day in 1964 when I had written my M.A. examinations and the results were to be published. Unexpectedly, he gave me a suger-lump. I had not told him anything. The results had come in the newspaper 'The Mail', an eveninger, and I had passed the exams. When I went for darshan in the night, "You have passed?" he asked. I was dumbfounded for a minute: keeping all these shaktis within him, how simple and sahaja--natural, is he, I wondered. Just the look of grace from shrI PeriyavargaL would be enough. All our distresses would fly away.

*** *** ***

I also had the opportunity of attending the festivities of shrI BAla PeriyavargaL taking charge (as the 70th PIThAdhipati).

It is thus my pUrva-janma-puNya--merits of previous births--the fortune of my being a priya shiShya--affectionate disciple, of all the three PeriyavargaL.

Today, under the Ajna--orders, of shrI Jayendrar, I am serving as the mudrAdhikAri since 1995 in KAnchi MaTham, TiruvaNNAmalai, and doing service to establish a branch of shrI Shankara MaTham there.

Those four years when I could do service to shrI ParamAchAryAL with great bhakti--devotion, remaining closely with him, are the unforgettable puNya dinas--days of meritorious acts, in my life.

*** *** ***
Veda rakShaka (Guardian of Vedas)
author:...... P. Ramakrishnacharya, Rig veda adhyApaka, Mantralayam
compiler:... T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
book:......... Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol. 1, pages 169-176
publisher:.. Vanathi Padhippaham (Aug 2006 Edition)

My father is VajpeyayAji J. Padmanabhacharya. I have four brothers born with me. My father is one who has immense bhakti shraddhA (devotion and faith) with Sri Sri ParamacharyaaL; one who made a complete adhyayanam (study) of the Rig Veda.

We were living in Kumbakonam. At that time, Maha PeriyavaaL called my father and said, "Currently there are no agnihotris among Madhvas. So you take up daily performance of agnihotram." Accordingly, my father took adhyayana and became a nityAgnihotri.

Some years passed by. One day my father was doing Veda pArAyaNam (reading). Two people came from Kanchi saying that they were sent by Sri SwamigaL. They informed that it was PeriyavaaL's orders that my father should take up position as the Rig Veda adhyApaka (teacher) of the Veda Bhavanam in Calcutta and do purohitam (priestly ministration) to the Madhva population there. In accordance with PeriyavaaL's orders, my father went to Calcutta, taking my elder brother with him. He remained as the Rig Veda adhyApaka in the Veda Bhavanam there and was doing vaidIkam to the Madhava population there. After four or five years, in 1968, my elder brother died in a bus accident in Calcutta.

Maha PeriyavaaL had asked us to come to the Vijayawada satas (Vedic conference). When we met him there he directed us to give up the stay at Calcutta and remain in the Kaveri tIra (banks). So we came to SirugamaNi Agraharam. There Srimaan Venkatesa Aiyer helped us with a free house and monthly supplies of paddy in order that my father could continue his living there teaching in the Veda Pathashala and doing agnihotam.

nityAgnihotram, ishti, somayajnam--all these rituals were performed in an orderly way. By PeriyavaaL's anugraha, several Madhva vidyArthis (students) entrolled through the Veda Rakshana Nidhi Trust, studied and passed the examinations. Even today, SirugamaNi Veda Pathashala is going on. My younger brother ParasuRaman is the adhyApaka there.

After my father completed performence of the Vajapeya Yajna at Erode, we had gone to Mahakhan with our family for darshan of PeriyavaaL. We told the SriMaTham assistants there that we had come for PeriyavaaL's darshan after finishing the Vajapeya Yajna. But then Maha PeriyavaaL sent us back with the words, "Ask them to get back to their residence." We all went back and stayed in the choultry nearby with tears in our eyes that we could not get darshan of PeriyavaaL for some reason. After an hour passed, a retinue with an elephant, horse, chAmaram (large fan), Veda ghoSaNam (loud chanting) and musical instruments, came. They said, "Someone who has done a Yajna has come to stay here. PeriyavaaL has sent the Sandur Samastana Maharaja to bring them to him with family." Unable to think further, we felt shocked with too much happiness.

With the Sama Veda ghoSaNam, Calcutta Sankara Narayana ShrautigaL escorted us. The Maharaja of Sandur took my father in a procession, holding a large umbrella to him. When we reached PeriyavaaL's camp, he told us all, "Why do you all have the pain at heart? Why these tears? The Dharma Shastra ordains us to witness those who have done the Vajapeya Yajna with royal honours under a white umbrella. It was only to see you all in such honours that I sent you back." He gave us the umbrella held by the Sandur Maharaja, spoke to us for two hours and sent us with his anugraha, removing all our unhappiness. This is an ever unforgettable incident in our life.

*** *** ***

I am working as the adhyApaka of the Pathashala in Erode managed by the Veda Rakshana Nidhi Trust. In the meantime I got a job in the Tirupathi Tirumala Devasthanam. Before going there I had darshan of Sri PeriyavaaL in Belgaum. Though I stayed there for two days, I could not get Periyavaa's guidance, for he was in kASTa maunam (complete silence of body and mind).

Two days later, I told PeriyavaaL about the Tirupathi offer. He advised me, "Madhvas would study tarkam, vyakaraNam (logic and grammar). They won't do Veda adhyayanam. Therefore, you need not go to Tirupathi; remain teaching Vedas to the Madhva students. Vedas will protect you."

Accordingly, today I have taught complete Vedas to Madhva students in Mantralaya and sent 45 students prepared for the examination at Kanchi. If Madhvas are doing Veda adhyayanam, the reason for it is only PeriyavaaL.

My brother ParasuRaman is teaching Vedas to Madhva students at SirugamaNi through the Veda Rakshana Nidhi Trust. PeriyavaaL sent our another brother Damodaran who had completed Veda and Vedanta to study Dvaita Vedanta at Bombay Vidya Peetam. After finishing his study of Vedanta there, he now does adhyayanam to Madhva students in Erode, in a Pathashala he founded there.

Only Veda Mata and Kanchi PeriyavaaL keep doing the rakSaNam (protection) of the three of us brothers and our families.

Further if today my brother ParasuRaman is alive, only Sri Sri Maha PeriyavaaL's anugraha is its reason. Already when we were in Calcutta he had problems with his heart in 1968. We showed him to the cardiologists in large cities like Calcutta, Chennai and Bombay. Everyone of them advised immediate surgery for him, or else he wouldn't be alive beyond a year; they also recorded their advice in video cassettes and gave us. I informed all this news in detail to Maha PerivaaL in Kanchi. He directed, "Nothing (of surgery) is needed. Let him do daily and full pArAyaNa of the 41 shlokas of Dhanvantari and Vayustuti and do the homam." He did the japa-homam for many years accordingly. After that whenever we met Maha PeriyavaaL he would ask him, "You continue to recite Vayustuti?" After a long period of 20 years he gave him permission for surgery, which was done at the Apollo Hospital in Chennai in the year 1989. By Maha PeriyavaaL's grace he remains today without any problems, as the Rig Veda adhyApaka in SirugamaNi. Owing to Paramacharya's anugraha, Tiru. V.P. Raghavendra Rao met the surgery expenses for us.

During the time I was adhyApaka in Erode Veda Rakshana Nidhi Trust, Maha PeriyavaaL ordered kannikAdAnam of my daughter in the Kanchi Sannidhanam. My daughter was only nine years old; I had arranged for the kannikAdAnam and for the Kalyana Mandapam.

There were many objections to it. When it was hardly twenty days for the marriage, the officials of the Kalyana Madapam told us, "The girl is only nine years old. If any press reporter from the adjacent street here reports it, there would be problems from the police the Mandapam. So we can't give you the Mandapam."

I went to Kanchipuram and supplicated this to PeriyavaaL. Paramacharya sent a person from SriMaTham with me to the house of Ramadurai Aiyer of Ayalur near Tiruchi. We detailed Ramadurai Aiyer about Paramacharya's directions for our daughter's marriage. Ramadurai Aiyer informed us, "Ten years back Maha PeriyavaaL told me 'I would send a kanya to you. You perform the kannikAdAnam rites for her.' I am very happy that he remembered me after ten years and sent this girl." He conducted the marriage following the Madhva Sampradayam in a grand manner.

ParamacharyaL continues to give his anugraha to our family and do his rakSaNam of it. The three of us get Rs.600/- every month from the Niyama Adhyayana Trust of Kanchi MaTham, doing the Niyamaadhyayanam through the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam Veda Rakshana Nidhi Trust, holding the pUrva bhAga parIkSA (entry level examinations).

We did our pUrNa adhyayanam from our father, in accordance with Kanchi SwamigaL's orders, through the Gurukula system doing bhikSAcaryam. In the same way, we have currently started the adhyayanam of our kumAras (sons) too and teach them following the orders of Kanchi SwamigaL. We all pray that Veda Mada's blessings and the anugraha of Kanchi pIThAdhipatis will always be there for our family.

satas - assembly, equality.
Generation Gap
author:...... N. Ramaswamy, Secunderabad
compiler:... T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
book:......... Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol. 3, pages 010-016
publisher:.. Vanathi Padhippaham (Dec 2005 Edition)

When Maha SwamigaL was staying near Belgaum in Karnataka, I went with my family for darshan.

When my father prostrated to PeriyavaaL, the sage's personal attendant introduced my father with the words, "He is the father of Hubli Ramaswamy." (I was then working as an official in the Hubli Railway Division. The SriMaTham assistants had given me the title 'Hubli Ramaswamy').

"Your name, isn't it Narayanan?", when Periyavaa asked "yes", said my father.

Then I prostrated. The same attendant introduced me as "Swaminathan's father."

The usual inquiries, questions, answers, tidings about the native place. Ten minutes passed by.

Looking at me, Periyavaa asked with a smile, "You are a big labour officer, right? They say 'generation gap' in English, what is it?"

I told him something but I was aware myself that it was not the correct explanation. Finally, when I finished talking, that Mahaan told:

"When they introduced someone in the olden days, they would say, 'he is the son of so and so. Those who wore pUnUl (sacred thread) would start with 'abhivadaye', inform their 'gotram', 'sUtram', 'nAmam' and introduce themselves. Look, how all that has changed now! The inverse way of saying as 'so and so is so and so's father' has come up now. This is the 'generation gap'!."

PeriyavaaL'e explanation surprised those around him who were well versed in English!

*** *** ***

I waited for two hours for the darshan, but couldn't have it. Since waiting any longer would affect my office work (I had come to the nearby junction to do the inspection), with a kumbidu (joining palms in reverence) from staying afar, I went to attend my work.

Two hours later, an assistant from SriMaTham came to the railway station and told me that Periyavaa had asked him to bring me.

"Tell me exactly what Periyavaa told you."

"Go and look in the Satara station. That Ramaswamy would be doing the inspection there. Ask him to come", he said.

Finishing my work in a hurry, I went for the darshan. In a bid to seek his pardon, "Periyavaa was very busy. I could not get back to my headquarters without finishing the work, (or else) my higher officials would shout at me...", I started.

Periyavaa did not seem to mind my reply at all. "What do you want?" he asked me.

At that time, there was only one problem in my mind--my daughter's marriage.

"My daughter should get married in a good place. Appa is much pestering me. He too sends the jAtakam (horoscope) to many people, asking for the varan jAtakam (horoscope of the boy). Most people don't reply. The horoscopes that arrived did not match..."

"Only that? Alright, go. I shall conduct your daughter's marriage."

This clear reply astonished me. 'I shall conduct...'

It seemed that a rain of ice was showered on me. Only those who encountered such unexpected attack of pleasure can understand my position then. Thinking no further, in a naive way I asked him at once, "satyamAgach cholReLA (you say it in truth)?"

Such a question to the satya svarUpam! (Thinking about it even now gives me shivers.)

The karuNai vaLLal (patron of compassion) smiled slowly. That was all. This incident at that time wasn't recorded deep in my mind.

Going back home, I got immersed in my work. Two months later, a letter came from Mumbai. The reply with the horoscope of the boy, to the letter my father wrote sometime back that was not in memory.

The horoscopes were in agreement. With the other formalities finished, the marriage also took place.

A gap of over two years.

SriMaTham camp in Kurnool.

Myself, my daughter and her child went for darshan of Periyavaa.

Keeping the child at PeriyavaaL's feet under his graceful look, we were replying to his inquiries. (The child meantime went to sleep.)

After Periyavaa gave prasAdam, I took leave with my daughter and walked four or five steps back.

It seemed that Periyavaa called us back with a snap of his finger. We turned back.

"How am I to do rakSaNa (protect) of this child, keeping it in the MaTham? Take it away!"

We were overwhelmed with embarrassment. In the pErAnanda (great joy) of PeriyavaaL's darshan, we totally forgot about the child!

My daughter ran and took the child in her arms. Periyavaa then told SriKaNtan, his assistant nearby, "Ask him if it is satisfactory for Ramaswamy."

We did not understand. Why such a question now? We are only taking leave in happiness?

We could not reply.

"Ask what his daughter's name is."

"Uma!", I said.

"mAppiLLai pEru (the bridegroom's name)?"


"Alright... you should not blame me. I have conducted the marriage only after taking care of the peyar poruttham ('matching of the names)!"

Tears poured down my eyes. Such a power of remembrance? Such an anugraham? The puNya (merits) of a kOti janmam (one crore births) would perhaps fructify collectively in this way.

*** *** ***

1985. Kanchipuram SriMaTham.

Prostrating, I got up.

"yAru (who is that)?... Hubli Ramaswamy? Where do you come from? Only from Madras?"

"From Vijayawada I come. My work is only there now..."

"It is not so... only from Madras?"

Thinking that what I said earlier did not reach PeriyavaaL's holy ears, I said in a slightly louder voice, "From Vijayawada...should come only through Madras..."

"No... You have come from only Madras", said Periyavaa.

With no inclination to argue it further with PeriyavaaL I received the prasAdam and came to Chennai. I had some work there. Ringing up my higher official by phone I asked him for a week's leave.

He said: "Ramaswami! Here is a bombshell... you are transferred to Madras!..."

"Sir, I had not asked transfer for Madras, only for Secunderabad..."

"Sorry. You are to be relieved tomorrow. Go to Vijayawada immediately and get relieved tomorrow."

I did as told.

A copy of my transfer orders to Chennai--would it have gone to PeriyavaaL's hands before it reached me?

"No... You have come from only Madras"--in that minute when Periyavaa said it, I had been an official in Chennai only.

All we can do is just only one thing. And that is to transfer all our burderns to PeriyavaaL, without worrying for anything!

*** *** ***
namaste everyone.

Today (14 vai. 5111 Kali aka 28 May 2010 CE) is the day of vaishAkha anurAdha nakShatra (vaikAsi anusham), the 117th jayanti of KAnchi ParamAchArya. Here is a simple bhajan to sing his glory:
YouTube - M S Subulakshmi Jaya Jaya Sankara Hara Hara Sankara

Here are some links to books compiled out of his teachings:
Hindu dharma: the universal way of life
Hindu Dharma Kanchi | Scribd
Hindu Dharma : The Universal Way of Life | Scribd

Advaita Sadhana: kAnchi mahA svAmigaL

and his biography:
chandrasekharendra: charitam: sAmbamUrti
'What Does Sir Stafford Crips Say?'
author:...... Naduvakkarai A. NarayanaSwamy Aiyer
compiler:... T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
book:......... Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol. 2, pages 244-251
publisher:.. Vanathi Padhippaham (May 2005 Edition)

My father Alangudi Apathsakayam Aiyer was a 'slave' of PeriyavaaL. In the 1920s, while remaining in his post of the Village Officer of UmaMaheswaraPuram taluk, he presided over the Civil Disobedience and Refusal to Pay Taxes Movement initiated by Mahatma Gandhi, and was dismissed from service for having conducted the movement in the Kumbakonam and Papanasam taluks.

Then he became a journalist and ran a magazine called Gramaanukulan. Since he was also a Congress worker, he was made to suffer in many ways resulting in financial losses. Sri Maha PeriyavaaL was the kaNkaNda Deivam (God seen with one's own eyes) to him in those days, supporting him with blessings and some financial help from the MaTham, supporting his writings with money and advice, introducing him to some wealthy people and enabling him to run his family affairs. It was said that generally PeriyavaaL was fond of journalists and that he used to make them stay in the MaTham and given a meal, sometimes personally attending to them by visiting the dining place.

It was PeriyavaaL who wore the katar as kaavi! (handspun cotton cloth as a saffron cloth by dyeing it with saffron colour).

Eighteen years later, in 1938 when Rajaji became the Chief Minister of Madras Presidency, he passed orders for restoring the old VO post to my father. Our family, which was in Agnatha Vasam having lost everything, once again returned to our village.

Around the year 1950, PeriyavaaL camped in our village for some days. The entire village was happy, countless devotees visiting it, and wore a festive look.

It is in our village that the river Kaveri separates into the Kaveri and VeeraCholan rivers. To reach the Kaveri waters, one needs to cross the waters of VeeraCholan. The area in between the rivers would look as green as in Kerala, studded with coconut, banana and many other large trees. It would be a park of peace. A large banyan tree could be seen spreading its branches across, half over the land and half over the Kaveri waters. The beauty of the Kaveri waters filtering along the sand under its shades was an attraction for PeriyavaaL. He would go there daily in the mornings, sit on the expanse of the river-washed sands and do silent tapas; he would also have his snAna, japam (bath and prayers) there for hours together. It was a difficult task to cross the waist high waters of VeeraCholan to reach that spot. Women couldn't venture it. Nevertheless, a crowd of devotees would assemble there. Then, returning to the MaTham camp, there would be puja and darshan festivities till late night.

What about the darshan people had? Women and men taking their turns in separate queues would look strange! Some people talked that it was to avoid the crowd that PeriyavaaL sought ekAnta (solitude) on the spot between the rivers.

*** *** ***

One day, after the pujas were over, there was some bustle in the afternoon at the entrance to the MaTham camp. I was standing in front of our home, and rushed to see what the matter was. Two people from Kudanthai (Kumbakonam) were trying to enter the MaTham wearing their shirts and sandals, the gatekeeper was shouting at them and trying to stop them, but they wouldn't yield. With help from the people of the area, I caught them, temporarily secured them to the coconut trees and handed them over to the policemen who happened to pass that side, and sent them to the TiruvidaiMaruthur police station.

After the pujas were over on that night, PeriyavaaL sent word for me, got the details from me and asked, "Very well, but how did the policemen come there at that time?"

"Some people had appealed to the government that since I was a member of the Communist Party, I should not be allowed to hold a government job. (I was assisting my father who was a Village Officer of the nearby village at that time.) An officer from the Investigation Department had come to inquire about it. He was accompanied by two constables to identify me to him. I made use of them." As I said this, he wondered, "Is that so?"

Then he called the librarian and told him, "Tomorrow you give this man the book Six Authors About Communism that I had earlier asked you to buy." Looking at me, he gave the directions, "Read the book and tell me what it contains, within a week; if anybody asks you tell him about your reading that book."

It was a voluminous book, like a dictionary. I remember that it cost Rs.40/- when the exchange rate for a pound sterling was Rs.15/- at that time. The book was authored by Sir Stafford Crips, Anuvin Bevan, Louis Fisher and three other western experts. The very look of the book gave me the jitters. But then it was an order from PeriyavaaL! I tried hard to read the book. A week passed by. Remembering it duly, he asked me one day, "What, did you read the book? Enna solliyirukkan? (What is it that he has talked about?)"

"It is a voluminous book. I could not follow some pages of it. Could only read what Stafford Crips has written."

"Alright. What does he say?"

I said, "He says, 'All isms try to give something to mankind but Communism takes away everything from the mankind.'"

PeriyavaaL's face that asked me "You understand?" with a divine, charming smile is still fresh before my eyes.

After this incident, a change occurred in my thoughts and I gave myself in total surrender to PeriyavaaL.

*** *** ***

After the evening puja, he would be discussing about Vedic topics with many pandits and gaNapAThis (those who recite Vedas according to a specific rule). At the centre, there would be burning two large brass standing lamps that were five feet tall. (There was no electricity then). He had given me a book to read loudly, standing under the light of the lamp, and was busy with his conversation. The discussions were intense, generating a lot of noise. While I was reading, I read 'mediation' instead of 'meditation'. PeriyavaaL laughed and said, "He is an accountant! So he reads meditation as mediation?". Then he gave an exposition on meditation for a half hour and took us all mentally through the whole Bharata kaNTam.

There was absolutely no chance that anyone could have even heard what I was reading, much less understand it, in the noisy situation that prevailed there. But then who can do what with this shatAvadhAni? (one who is simultaneously attentive to a hundred things). My mistake did reach his ears!

*** *** ***

Within a few days the 'camp' left for Tiruvisanallur, the village of Sridhara AyyarvaaL. The SriMaTham elephant was affected with madness there. No one could control it as it severed and threw away many thatched sheds. Many houses were also damaged. Even buses and cars did not escape the elephant's wrath. The traffic came to a standstill. A person from the MaTham came to my home with the news that PeriyavaaL called me to consult about his thought whether the elephant could be intercepted and sent across the two rivers to our village. I was not at home at that time, so came to know it only later. It was very difficult to make the elephant cross the two rivers at that time in the evening. My health was also not in tune. So by the time I was ready to start to SriMaTham in the morning, I got the terrible news that the police had shot the elephant dead. I was aghast with sorrow and shame. With the pangs of the thought that I could have gone in the night itself, I went to meet PeriyavaaL.

Giving up his food and puja, and with no intention to see anyone, PeriyavaaL was sitting in solitude at the back of the MaTham. Grief was palpable everywhere. No one spoke anything; people were hesitant to approach the sage. Slowly, one by one, we went near the place where PeriyavaaL was seated. Wailing that I had done apacAram (offense), I fell at his feet. People were standing not knowing what to do. Half an hour passed in this way. Then PeriyavaaL slowly started speaking about his loss, with immense grief, and with the voice of a mother who lost her only son, a loud voice that could be heard all around, narrated about the elephant's birth, rearing, body marks, its character and other related things, ending it all with the conclusion that its lifetime was destined to be only that much, and became silent again, leaning on the wall, his entire face painted with worry and sorrow.

All of us went melting with the compassion shown, that was not just a thought of consideration for a jIvan that could not speak, but a flood of compassion for the entire world of living beings.

It is 50 years since this happened. I am now 84 years old. Even today, my heart skips a beat if I think about it.

*** *** ***

One can see PeriyavaaL's eyes blossom at the mention of the name Alangudi (Guru Stalam). For he is the avatara of that Guru! Whatever the crowd, when he asks me 'what, from Alangudi', it will be an experience of overall melting, as ManivachakapPerumaan said, 'uLLanthAL nindru ucchi aLavum nenjAi urukatthan' (Melting away from the feet right up to the head).

shrI MahA SvAmigaL's power of memory
author:....... M.V.LakShmI NarasiMhAchAriyAr
compiler:..... T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
source:....... Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol.2, page 271-274
publisher:.... VAnathi Padhippaham (May 2005 Edition)
type:......... book, Tamil

shrI MahASvAmigaL's power of memory is one that would bring suprise. This, as yAn--myself, has known it, explain in this essay.

In the year 1952 during the month of May, on receiving the news that shrI MahAsvAmigaL was to make his sacred visit at KAnchipuram for the chAturmAsya vyAsa pUja, going pAdachAra--on foot, via ThaiyAr village, VandavAsi taluk, surrounded by his entourage of elephants, horses, bullock carts, parijana--attendants, and parivAra--followers, the public and the vEdhiyargaL--Vedic priests, of ThaiyAr thronged (to the main road), had darshan and bowed to him and did-prArthana--pray, 'after svAmi pUja today you might visit KAnchipuram in the evening.'

Giving the dravya--substances, needed for the puja, paddy-straw for the cattle of the carts, and plant sprout varieties for the elephants, the people of the village did-ArAdha--paid homage very well, to shrI MahASvAmigaL and his parivAram. shrI MahASvAmigaL too happily accepted it and blessed the people of the village.

shrI MahASvAmigaL's flood of compassion spread among the village people. Looking at the bhaktas--devotees, who honoured him with bhakti-shraddha--sincerity of devotion, shrI MahASvAmigaL ordered them, "If there are any veda shAstra vidvAns in this village, bring them to us."

It was at that time that aDiyEn--I/this man, (MElmar LakShmI NarasiMhan), had come (to the place) after studying NyAya-shAstram in the Ahobila maTham samSkRta kalAshAlA--university, at MadurAntakam, and appearing for the shiromaNi parIkSha--examination, in the Chennai University. The agrahAra-vasis--residents of agrahAram, introduced aDiyEn in the sannidhi of shrI MahASvAmigaL; aDiyEn worshipped him by prostrating. With aDiyEn, shrI MahASvAmigaL did kushala-prasnam--inquiry of health and welfare, in saMsRtam itself.

Since MahASvAmigaL was observing mauna-vratam--vow of silence, questions were asked by writing on a slate. Doing-parIsha--testing, of aDiyEn in the kusumAnjali of NyAya-shAstra, with great santoSham--happiness, he offered vEShTi--dhoti, fruits, and phala-mantrAkShata to aDiyEn and blessed. He also gave aDiyEn an AhvAnam--invitation, "You participate in the vyAsa pUja vidvat sadas that will be held in KAnchipuram."

*** *** ***

During 1963-64, shrI MahASvAmigaL came to TiruvaNNAmalai, doing saMchAram--an ascetic's wandering, through out the way. That time, along with shrI MahASvAmigaL, my friend in Shankara maTham, shrImAn MaNi shAstrigaL too had come. In a chance happening, he met me at the TiruvaNNAmalai temple, conversed with me, made me have darshan of shrI MahA PeriyavAL and introduced me to shrI MahASvAmigaL.

A question that shrI MahASvAmigaL asked me then, amazed me. It stunned me speechless for a second. The question that shrI MahASvAmigaL asked me was, "I had asked you in 1952 at ThaiyAr village, to come for the vidvat sadas to be held in the vyAsa pUja at KAnchipuram, why did you not turn up?" Only then my submitting-daNDam--prostrating, to him in person at ThaiyAr came to my mind. Whereas for shrI MahASvamigaL, the thought about me had stayed in his smRti--memory, for a long time. Since I was aparAdhin--one who has done something wrong, I stood without replying anything. 'What a wonder, shrI MahASvAmigaL's ninaivATRal--memory power!' with this Ashcharyam--surprise, speechless, my mind fluttering, as prAyashchitta--atonement, I fell neDunjchANkiDai--stretching myself out fully, and prostrated to him. I also sought his pardon for my mistake.

I became a pAtram--drinking vessel, for shrI MahASvAmigaL's kRpa-kaTAkSham--glance of compassion. To MaNi shAstrigaL shrI MahASvAmigaL ordered, "Today it is arranged for my saMchAram to KalasapAkkam. Ask him to come there at 10 o' clock tomorrow morning. Give him bus charge to come there." I hesitated a little. Looking at me, shrI MahASvAmigaL asked, "Why the hesitation?" "I don't know if they would give or refuse me leave in the school to have darshan of you. If I accept this bus charge money and couldn't come, I would again become one who has committed a mistake", I replied with disquietude.

"You meet the headmaster and explain the situation. You will get anumati--permission. Take leave now, and get the bus charge."

With the headmaster's anumati, I went to KalasapAkkam the next day to have darshan of shrI MahASvAmigaL. Since shrI MahASvAmigaL was engaged in the puja, I met ShrIMaTham shrIkAryam shrI RAmakRShNa shAstrigaL. Informing me of shrI MahASvAmigaL's niyamanam--allotment of task (for me), he made me recite the vAkyArtham--verse meanings, of shrI BhAShyam to the PeriyavAL who is sitting now in AsthAnam--assembly, in the MaTham, who gave aDiyEn as vidvat sambhAvana--honorarium, silver coins worth Rs.20, wrapped a KAshmIr shawl around me and honoured aDiyEn.

This reminiscence would remain with me without leaving my heart for vehukAlam--a long time.

author:....... Ananthan, Chennai-29
compiler:..... T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
source:....... Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol.2, page 275-280
publisher:.... VAnathi Padhippaham (May 2005 Edition)
type:......... book, Tamil

During January 1966 MahASvAmigaL was camping in ElAvUr. As an invitation came from there, I went to ElAvUr and had darshan of MahASvAmigaL.

As he informed me that as an unprecedented event a mahAnADu--conference, where all the MaThAdhipatis of TamilnADu would participate was to be held in Chennai, he ordered me, "You should come with us to that mahAnADu and jot down everything that is spoken there." I carried out his orders.

*** *** ***

That mahAnADu took place in the office building of the Commissioner of the Hindu Charitable and Endowments Board, on the dates February 6 and 7, 1966 at Chennai. All the events scheduled for the two days, both morning and evening, took place without any scope for any sort of problems arising.

On the first day of the mahAnADu, in the morning, before the conference started, MahASvAmigaL did something that removed any scope of mental tension, agony, bitterness, and ego of superiority, among the conference delegates; it eased everyone's mind and made it happy. Why, it formed the entire base for the success of the mahAnADu. Put in other words, it could also have been felt as the explanatory note of ShrIMaTham's siddhAntam--principle.

*** *** ***

This mahAnADu was convened by the Commissioner of HR&CE. A government function. In this festivity, there was no scope for allowing anyone to sit anywhere as they pleased.

Among the MaThAdhipatis who were the delegates, as to who should be seated in the centre, what kind of seat should be provided for him, who is to be seated to his left and right--for such things, there is a Government Order. Only according to the Ranking List mentioned in that Protocol, seats were arranged in the conference hall and the names of the MaThams were also written for them.

For the starting event of the mahAnADu, MaThAdhipatis of MaThams located at TiruvAvaDuturai, Dharmapuram, ToNDaimaNDala AdhInakartas, TiruppanandAL, KAnchIpuram, Madurai, KundrakkuDi, Mayilam and so on, came one by one to partake the event. The Commissioner welcomed each of them individually according to protocol and brought them to the conference hall. KAnchi MahASvAmigaL too came. He made a survey of the arrangements in the hall with an all-round glance. He is a kalA-vittaka--expert in the art, of making sweet with his pleasant look, any tight atmosphere. With a smile crawling on his face he walked towards the seat allotted for him. All the other MaThAdhipatis too walked towards their seats.

Like one who gets into a pond to take bath would part away with his two hands, the moss that covered the water surface, and like one who would genttly dust the floor with his upper cloth before he sits there, MahASvAmigaL with his hands pushed back the seat allotted for him by the government officials, and sat on the floor at that spot.

The next moment all the other MaThAdhipatis, without sitting on the seats provided for them, sat on the floor of the conference hall. The bhUmi--ground, became the samasthAnam--seat of equivality, for everyone.

What to speak of the adhishayam--wonder, that KAnchi MahASvAmigaL, 'the jnAnamUrti who stood beyond the book of Vedas', through his foresight and subtle knowledge, demonstrated the great truth, "parampoRuL--Brahman, is only one. So what superiority is there for us who live on this earth because of our wealth, or kulam--lineage? What inferiority is there? All of us are of one kulam, one inam--species."

KAnchi shrI MahASvAmigaL was one who stood as the svarUpam--embodiment, of kalAs--arts. Artistes went to him and worshipped. He too honoured them, supporting them with great love. Many of the kalAs ran towards that kalAsAgara--ocean of arts, and did-saMgamam--merged, themselves.

*** *** ***

During the year 1957-58, KAnchi shrI MahASvAmigaL did-vijayam-to--visited, Chennai. The vyAsapUja was performed in the Sanskrit College, Mylapore, Chennai.

After the puja of the night session, he would do upanyAsam--lecture. I would jot down in shorthand, his words of nectar without leaving out anything and then write them back in long hand. Later, they were published in (the magazine) 'KalaimagaL' under the title 'AchArya SvAmigaL upadeshangaL'.

*** *** ***

One day, the event of shrI MahASvAmigaL visiting RAjA ANNAmalaipuram was scheduled. En route, at the junction of the Nallappan street and Adam street, we were waiting for PeriyavAL's arrival. The mEnA--palanquin, came. Giving pUrNakumbham, we bowed to PeriyavAL. Calling me suddenly, PeriyavAL asked, "nI engE ingE--How come you are here?" I pointed out to Nallppan street and said, "I am living in this street." He asked for the mEnA to proceed through our street. The kAraNam--reason, was not known. Before we could run to our house, open the doors and light the lamp, the mEnA had come there.

Calling me near him, he said, "You said you have written a book of shorthand in Tamil? Bring it, let us see."

Going inside my house, I brought the manuscript of the book and submitted it to him. Leafing through every page, showing no hurry at all, with a speck of smile lingering in his face, he glanced through that book until the last page. His face shining like a lotus flower, when he said, "As suitable for Tamil, you have written the book, relating the P in Pitman to (the Tamil alphabet) 'pa' and M to 'ma'", his subtle power of knowledge that took everything at a glance made thrilled us in ecstasy.

"Has this book been published?" he asked me. "No", I said. Taking the bhilva garland from his shiras--head, and placing it on the book, he gave it back to me.

The TamilnADu government itself published this book in 1964. Its 4th editing coming out in 1998, adding honour to Tamil and the Tamil world. Such is the power of grace of that deivam--god!

*** *** ***
Three Incidents
author:...... Dr. C.K. Raman, Kanchipuram
compiler:... T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
book:......... Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol. 1, pages 99-102
publisher:.. Vanathi Padhippaham (Aug 2006 Edition)

A new and differently constituted Government took over at the Centre in the year 1977. That Government decided to send a new ambassador for the Indian Embassy in America. That new ambassador was the famous lawyer and economist, late Tiru. Palkivala.

He came to Kanchipuram to have darshan of Maha Periyavar before going to America on his new assignment. No one in the MaTham was previously informed of his arrival. Tiru. Murali Devra and Tiru. Nana Chudasama, who were then popular in the Jaycees organization, contacted me since I was also in that organization and asked me to make the necessary arrangements.

We had arranged a reception and a dinner in the ITDC bungalow for Tiru. Palkivala on his arrival. I introduced my Kanchi friends to him. He wanted to have darshan of Maha SwamigaL before dinner. I sent a man to the MaTham for this arrangement. But then he came back disappointed with the tidings from the MaTham that people who were not Hindus could not have a private darshan of PeriyavaaL. Though it was a big disappointment to me, I went in person, had darshan and asked Paramacharyar about this news. He said, "Palkivala? It was he who argued and won our ArchakaaL case in the Supreme Court. Ask him to come." I told this verbatim to Tiru. Palkivala. He was ecstatic to hear it. Tiru. Palkivala and I went in person and had darshan of Periyavar. Maha Periyavar was talking to him in Hindi for about half an hour. He also bid the lawyer farewell with his blessings.

Tiru. Palkivala said with happiness again and again, "I can never forget this darshan."

*** *** ***

The President's rule was in force in Tamilnadu in the year 1977. Under the auspices of Jaycees, the weddings of a group of people couples were conducted free of cost to them. We invited Tiru. P.K. Dave, I.A.S. who was then the Advisor to the Governor to preside over the marriage celebrations. He came down, presided over the occasion and left after blessing the couples.

After the wedding ceremonies were over, some of the couples wanted to seek the blessings of Maha PeriyavaaL. Though I agreed to their wish, I hesitated as some of the marriages held were inter-caste marriages. Even then I sent a man and sought for their permission, but the people in the MaTham refused it. Persisting, I went and asked Maha PeriyavaaL himself in person. Without refusing, he said, "Ask them to come." He also asked for the number of couples. I said that they were 20 pairs of couples. We brought all of them from the Anna Arangam where the marriages were held to the MaTham and introduced them to Maha PeriyavaaL. He advised and blessed them for about twenty minutes. Then he gave clothes worth Rs.125 (today's value would be over Rs.500) to each pair. Sri Jayendrar also joining in and blessing the couples added more to the honour of the occasion. We were rapturous that though Paramacharyar was in favour of tradition, he showed that all those things were only after humane considerations.

*** *** ***

Once when I went to have darshan of Maha PeriyavaaL, an old man was sitting beside PeriyavaaL and talking to him.

"Your name?"

"Ramaswamy Aiyer."



"The one which is near Tiruvannamalai, that Kalpattu, right?"


"Alright. You know why your place got the name Kalpattu?" (Some silence).

"Your pUrvikam (native place) is that place?"


"Then why is it not known to you?"

"I went and settled in Delhi in my young age."

"So, (you mean to say that) it should not be known to you?"


"In those days, the Pallava kings used to bring from that place the stone needed to make the props used to tie their elephants. That was why the place got the name Kalpattu. This is very famous."

I was elated to witness Maha PeriyavaaL's knowledge of history in person.

*** *** ***
SankarA, do the service...
author:....... A devotee
compiler:..... T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
source:....... Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol.2, page 261-263
publisher:.... VAnathi Padhippaham (May 2005 Edition)
type:......... book, Tamil

Narrated by the 'vantoNDar' Sankara aiyar, belonging to the Sivagangai ChImai.

When he was in his sixth grade in (a school at) PudukkOTTai, and participated in the 'VeLLaiyaNE VeLiyERu'--'Quit India', Independence movement, both his eyes were damaged when the police fired on the mob. He stayed absconding for two years in Mudumalai. Both his eyes had turned completely blind. With indescribable duHkha--suffering, he had darshan of shrI PeriyavAL for the first time in 1950, along with the patron NATTukkOTTai CheTTiAr who was acclaimed as the DEvakOTTai zamindar. That was the turning point in his life.

When shrI PeriyavAL blessed him with the words, "SankarA, only for doing service that God has tested you in this way. You keep doing service, and no grievances will be there for you", the duHkham that he had experienced for many years disappeared and his mind became light and easy.

Later, he learned Tamizh very well, got trained to the extent of memorizing the Shaiva, VaiShNava Tamil texts and started teaching the children. His favourite text was AruNagirinAthar's 'KandarubhUti'. A woman who was a relative of his came forward and married him voluntarily. It was the custom of Sankara aiyar to go to towns and villages and do bhajan with the boys and girls. He would also enact stage plays. He would conduct examinations for the children and give them gifts. Even Christian and Muslim pupils used to take those tests.

In appreciation of his Tamizh SEvA, shrI KripAnanda VAriAr conferred on him the title 'VantoNDar'--an ardent devotee.

Whenever he had darshan of shrI PeriyavAL, the talk would be about DEvAram, TiruvAchakam and TirukkuRaL. Just by listening to anyone who narrated about PeriyavAL, he would gush tears. He would wonder, "Who else is there who knows Tamizh (texts) so well as him?"

He is presently seventy-six years old. During his seventieth year when his friends explained to him that he was likely to get his vision back due to advanced medical procedures, he declined it with the words, "By shrI PeriyavAL's anugraham I am happy now although without vision in my eyes. What is there to gain by obtaining vision henceforth?"

In the year 1958, when shrI PeriyavAL was camping in the Sanskrit College, (Mylapore,) Chennai, he had gone for the vishvarUpa darshan with the DevakOTTai zamindar. In those days it was PeriyavAL's custom to observe kAShTa manuam--severe silence during the morning times. But then when these two people came, everyone was surprised at PeriyavAL's greeting, "Come, SankarA, come and sit down here."

After the dIpa namaskAram was over in the evening, shrI PeriyavAL said, "Everyone was surprised when I gave up my maunam--silence, and talked this morning, but no one knows why. You people are happy looking at me in the morning at dawn time. But then how could that happiness arise for Sankaran who has no vision in his eyes? Which is why I talked so that he would at least be happy listening to my voice."

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