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Paramacharya and Humour

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I was fortunate and privileged to attend the discourse on " Life History of Maha Periava" by Shri Ganesa Sarma recently at Bangalore. It was a Saptaham covering Periava's life,qualities, Blessings, Experiences of devotees in seven parts.The Speaker has a unique sweet, simple and lovable voice and the subject and his treatment touches every one's heart.

I thought I will reproduce few instances narrated by him on the Humour aspect.

These examples are testimony to the fact that Maha Periava had an amazing sense of humour, keen sense of observation with a profound knowledge on all subjects.


One afternoon Periava was talking to a set of married men and was enquiring about their cooking skills.They were asked to spell out the recipe for Sambar.Every one tried to emulate each other and narrated the process in display of their swayambhagam skills. Every one was mentioning about the ingredients like salt, milagai podi, paruppu etc etc. Finally Periava said that they are all very great and without EGO!!! where as he is still practicing.Everyone forgot the ingredient Thaan(vegetable) and he was meaning this nicely in this incident.


There was a huge crowd one day at the Mutt and many were having dharsan of Periava. Among the crowd was one aged, old time widow (with tonsured head) sitting in one corner and doing Japam.Periava called one of the boys and pointing to that lady asked the boy to go and find out if she is sumangali.The boy hesitated and so were others nearby.Periava insisted and said " go and tell her that I want to know that".The boy mustered courage, went near the lady and asked her. She was beaming and replied in affirmative .The boy was stunned and later Periava clarified that the lady belonged to a village called "sumangali and belong to a family who are disciples of the mutt for generations.


This incident happened around the time the then tallest building of Chennai was inaugurated. Periava was camping at Madras and was walking on Mount Road with his entourage to The Hindu office. As usual he was followed by leading citizens and devotees. Among them were Bharaneedharan and Gopulu(cartoonist).He stopped at the LIC Building and asked them the number of storeys the bulding had.People were telling 13,14 and so on with and with/without terrace etc. Then he
asked them to stay back, count and follow him.They did the counting and followed him. They said 14 and Periava looked at Gopulu and said but you have put 17 lines in your cartoon depicting LIC in Ananda Vikatan. He was stunned.


Periava was on a visit to the Press at Mount Road at the invitation of the Management. The Veda Patasala boys reached their earlier and surrounded the latest printing machinery and anxiously waiting for the explanation and demonstration. The staff were finding it difficult to control and asked the boys to go back and leave space for His Holiness. Periava came a little later and said " There is no need for me to understand the technology and nuances of printing. It would be useful for these boys, Explain to them.Periava was not there when the staff were telling the boys to move back..


During Navarathri pooja time there was unmanageable and unusual crowd and it was noisy at times. Unable to control this, a display board was put prominently "Keep Silence".It had no effect and Periava had a unique way to solve this. In the evening during his address he was telling that he is indeed Grateful to Goddess Kamakshi for blessing him with a quality by which he could concentrate on the Puja unmindful of the surrounding noise.The effect was evident from the very next moment! There was no need for the board too..


A disciple from Calcutta had sent a basket of pomegranates(25 in number) and sent it through his contacts in Madras. While carrying the person took 5 of them and left them at home.He went to the Mutt and kept the basket before Periava and said so and so has sent them. Periava smilingly acknowledged that and called his assistants to count the number of fruits inside. He asked the manager to reply to the sender and thank for the basket of 20 fruits. you can imagine the embarrassment and internal plight of that person.
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Really we are fortunate enough to be in this part of the world during HIS time and could have darshan of HH Mahaperiayava. I had HIS darshan once at Kalavai, then Sholapur, Karnool and finally at Kanchi Mutt.
I enjoyed the article and was amazed by Maha Periyava's knowledge, intellect, memory, tact, diplomacy, knack and also His understanding of the happenings around Him, without being present there, at the time of occurrence of the event in question.

Please post more on Maha Periyava.
I remember to have read most of them, if not all, already, when they were published in a book form.

Yet, I enjoyed reading them again and again.

When I read some anecdotes the force of 'sathyam' in them moved me to tears.
(That doesn't mean I don't believe others as unreal).

I have read Mahapeiyava's arulvakkugal (Deivathin Kural) by Ra. Ganapthi, when they were serialised in 'Kalki'.

I value them as my priceless possessions.
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