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23 January 2007, 07:31 AM
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These English translations done by me of darshan of Paramacharya and other Gurus and experiences of devotees, their discourses and other kinds of publications on and by Paramacharya and other Gurus, from their original presentations in print and other media are posted here with the sole intention of carrying the divine message of Paramachaya and other Gurus to the members of this Forum, for a discussion among the members so as to understand and practice the directions contained in the message.

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'saidevo', as translator of the materials presented.
Guru upadesha manjari: Kanchi Paramacharya
Sacrificial Killing in Vedic Yajnas
book:....... Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol. 4, pages 265-272
author:..... Thillainathan, Chennai
Publisher:.. Vanathi Padhippaham

Sri Kanchi MaaMunivar was camping in Mylapore Sanskrit College, Chennai, in the year 1957, along with his disciple Sri Jayendra Sarawathi SwamigaL. A Vegetarian Conference held at that time in the Adyar Theosophical Society was attended by representatives from all over the world. Resolutions were passed in the conference to the effect that it was a great sin to harm the animals for whatever reason; so flesh eating should be avoided and only vegetarian food should be taken. They had also devised ways to popularise the message of ahimsa and vegetarianism among the general public.

When the conference was over, its president and the chairman of the Theosophical Society Sri Sankara Menan brought a group of people from the western countries for darshan and blessings of Sri Kanchi Acharya MahaSwamigaL, after taking his prior permission. The delegates were keen on meeting the sage.

Their president (Sri Menan) introduced everyone to SwamigaL, telling him the name and country. After this introduction, when he started telling them about the sage, SwamigaL interrupted him and said, "You need not tell much about me. The extent they know about me is enough."

Some of the delegates wanted to ask questions to Swamiji. When he said yes, the very first question that came was "Is sacrificial killing in Vedic Yajnas justified? Is it not a sin?"

SwamigaL said, "Yes, it can be done, it is not a sin!"

At this reply, they all suddenly laughed. Menan was angry that they had insulted the sage. He told them, "I brought you to this sage to seek his blessings. Had I known you would behave with such indecency, I would not have ventured at this task."

SwamigaL pacified Menan. "Don't be angy with them! They have come with a premeditated resolution. They have concluded that jIva himsa is a sin and it should not be done for any reason. Since my reply was contrary to their conclusion, they had this laugh. They never had any thought of insulting me. We should reply to them in the proper manner."

As Menan's anger subsided, SwamigaL continued: "A rowdy kills a man. A law court inquires the incident and a judge gives him a sentence of death. The rowdy committed the sin of killing, say in a fit of passion, with no idea of sin and spiritual rewards. Then isn't it a jIva himsa to give him a death sentence? Do we blame the judge for this action?"

These words from SwamigaL sent them into thinking. After all, they were learned people. Sensing some interesting exposition of truths, they waited eagerly for the next words from Swamiji.

SwamigaL continued: "In a junction of four roads, an ambulance comes first. Since the vehicle is for saving a life, we stop all other vehicles and permit it to pass first. On another occasion, an ambulance and a fire engine come on the road. We let the fire engine pass at the cost of saving one life, because the fire engine is rushing to save many lives. On a third occasion, a fire engine and a military van in an emergency come up. What do we do now? We let the military van go first since the life of a country assumes more importance than the lives of a few people. At such a time, we don't think of voluntarily sacrificing the lives of a few people in the city for the sake of the country.

"A king is conducting a battle to save his country. He kills thousands of people in the battle. If a man who kills another gets a death sentence, how large a sentence should the king be given? But then we garland him for his victory. In all such cases, we justify and accept jIva himsa. We develop our own rules and regulations to guide us in such matters. In the same way, we don't consider the sacrificial killing as sin. The Vedas say that if they are done for the welfare of the world, they are admissible and won't be construed as sin.

"Veda is beginningless. It is like the air that Bhagavan breathes. So both Vedas and the Bhagavan are both eternal. shastraya ca sukhaya ca. Vedas and shastra teach only good things. Bhagavan Sri Krishna also says the same thing in his Bhagavat Gita:

"'devAn bhAvayatAnena te devA bhAvayantu vaH |
parasparaM bhAvayantaH shreyaH param avapsyatha ||'

"If we do the yajnas and satisfy the devas they give us rains and good life. So the killing done in sacrifices won't be construed as sin.

"Not only that. Hindu religion also teaches that to do yajna is himsa, so it should not be done. But then we should look at who are those people who should not do yajnas.

"An incident in Bhagavatam written by Vyasa Bhagavan. There was a king named PrAcIna Barhis. He had great faith in spiritual rites and disciplines. So he conducted yajnas frequently for the welfare of the world. Later, he was enlightened with tatva jnAnA. In that state of sannyAsA he was barred from conducting any yajna. Still he conducted them, due to his customary acquaintance with them. To imbibe him bhuddhi, Narada Maharshi appeared in person and created a mayavic scene. He told the king, 'You are doing the sacrifices even in your state of renouncement! Look at the sky.' The king saw a herd of sheep wearing golden caps on their horns charging towards him. At this sight, the king realized his mistake and decided to stop anymore yajnas as jIva himsa since he had renounced the world.

"The tapas-begotten son of Tamilnadu is Thayumanavar. He used to go the garden, pluck the flowers and do his pujas with them every morning. One day he saw that a number of flowers had fallen to the ground. He could not take them for puja as they all appeared in brahma svarUpam to him! So he thought whether it was proper to take an object of deity and drop it on another. And he started singing:

"'paNNen unakkAna pUsai Or uruvile (I shall not worship you in a form.)
pArkkinRa malar ellAm nIye irutti (You are in all the flowers that I see.)
pnimalar eDukka manam naNNale...' (So my mind does not wish to take them...)

"From that time, he gave up even prostrating to God. He says, 'If I prostrate to you from one direction, how can it amount to worshipping you who is also in the opposite direction? All that I would do would be half prostrations!'

"Therefore, 'what is himsa, what is ahimsa, who can do what and who should not do what'--only the Vedas that decidedly speak about such things are the Guide for us.

"Today everyone knows that even plants have life. A plant appears from a seed and spawns many seeds. This means that to eat the fruits that give seeds is also himsa. Even to eat vegetables and spinach are himsa. That is the reason ascetics don't take even vegetables. Shastras say vatambu-parnasana*, that is, the jnAnis would subsist on dry leaves, water and air.

"Therefore, what do you understand from all this? No one except the ascetics and rishis can observe total ahimsa. People can observe ahimsa only according to the rights sanctioned to them. Vedas say that the doing yajnas for the welfare of the world by householders will not amount to himsa. Only Vedas are the pramANam (standard) for us. Precepts that cannot be violated."

A delegate from London proudly told Swamiji about a book titled No End to the Truth that he had authored.

SwamigaL asked him, "What was the end you gave your book?" When the man hesitated he said, "The no end you have given is the end to it." Everyone laughed heartily.

*** *** ***

Note: *A verse from Sri Govinda Damodara Stotra by Sri Bilvamangala Thakura

pravala-sobha iva dirgha-kesa
vatambu-parnasana- p-u-t-a -dehah
mule tarunam munayah pathanti
govinda damodara madhaveti (25)

With long, matted hair the color of coral, and bodies purified by eating only leaves, water, and air, the sages sit beneath the trees and chant, “Govinda,” “Damodara,” and “Madhava.”

The entire Stotra is published at:

27 January 2007, 09:51 PM
Did Pillaiyar Open His Eyes, Or Not?
Author: Sri Ramani Anna (in Tamil)
Source: Sakthi Vikatan issue dated Jan 03, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Not yet, Sami," said the headman.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

08 February 2007, 04:33 AM
Who Left the Bilva Leaves Here?
(An incident that made Maha SwamigaL melt)
Author: Sri Ramani Anna (in Tamil)
Source: Sakthi Vikatan issue dated Feb 17, 2007
Publisher: Viketan Publications

Once Kanchi Maha SwamigaL undertook his divya darshana yAtra with his entourage to Sri Saila kSetra which is known as the 'Dakshina Kailash'.

When they reached Kurnool, AcharyaaL was given a grand reception at the borders of the city. SwamigaL was accommodated in a bhajan maNDapa where he gave a discourse on Sanatana Dharma in Telugu to the large gathering of devotees. At the end of the lecture, he gave the devotees his blessings and prasAda and continued on his yAtra.

As they were at a small distance away from Kurnool, it started drizzling and increased to heavy rains in no time. The devotees of SriMaTham and the palanquin bearers (called bhogis) prayed to SwamigaL to sit inside his mena and not get wet. AcharyaaL did not accede. He said, "When all of you are walking drenched, only I should come in the palanquin? No, I too shall walk the same way like you!" and started walking fast. A Shiva temple became visible at a calling distance. SwamigaL visited the temple with his entourage, where he was given a warm welcome with the honour of pUrna kumbham. After everyone towelled and changed into new clothes, they had dharshan of the Lord of the temple. When the darshan was over, the rain had also stopped, and they resumed their journey.

After they passed a distance of seven or eight miles, a fertile Zamin village was sighted. All the people in the village with their family and children came to the boundary of the village and welcomed Maha SwamigaL with pUrna kumbham. Thereafter, the Zamindar of the village prayed to SwamigaL with humility: "Our village should become holy, sanctified by the holy feet of SwamigaL. You should stay here for a few days. There is a large choultry here with facilities for your stay and puja punaskArya. A clean puSkaraNi is also nearby."

The entire village prostrated to SwamigaL and prayed. AcharyaaL was moved by their AtmArta bhakti. He gave them his anugraha and announced to their immense happiness that he would stay with them for twenty-one days.

The village wore a festive look on the next morning. Arrangements for the Chandramouleesvara puja were done, AcharyaaL having left for his bath in the nearby pond. The aged SriMaTham kAryastA asked the youth who were doing the arrangements with anxiety: "ENdAppa! You people have arranged for a large samRuti of flowers, but then there are no bilva patra (bhilva leaves) among them! How can Periyavaa do the sahasra nAmArcanA without them?"

The youths stood, wringing their hands. The kAryastA did not leave them at that. "ENdAppa, if you stand mute like this, will the bilva leaves arrive of their own accord? Go and tell the village people about the requirement of three-leaved bilva clusters for Periyavaa's Chandramouleesvara puja and ask them to bring large numbers of them in bamboo baskets. Get someone who understands Telegu and talk to them. If that does not convey it properly... show them the nirmAlya leaves we have--the remains of the earlier pujas done by Periyavaa, and ask them to bring the leaf clusters!"

The youth came out with a person who spoke Telegu, bringing with them the nirmAlya bilva leaves. They showed them to the people in the village and requested them to bring the leaves within the next half hour. The people told them that they had never seen a tree that has clusters of three leaves on a single stalk. The village vedic pundits also confirmed that there were no bilva trees in their village.

SwamigaL arrived, finishing his bath. The puja articles were ready in the centre of the hall. The first question Maha Periyavaa asked on having a glance at them was, "ENdAppa! Have you arranged for the bilvam for arcana?"

The MaTham kAryastA hesitated. AcharyaaL asked, "Why, what's the matter? Aren't bilva patrAs available in this place?" The kAryastA said in a soft voice, "Yes, Periyavaa! The village people and the vedic pundits here say that there are no bilva trees in this place."

SwamigaL smiled to himself. It was 10:30 hours in the morning. SwamigaL walked hurriedly towards the backyard of the choultry. He entered the cattle shed of the cows. He climbed and sat on a rock of black stone found there, and lapsed into meditation. The SriMaTham notables were worried that the bhikSA vandanam for Chandramouleesvara and Periyavaa might stop for want of bilva leaves. Tears started welling up in the eyes of the kAryastA. The news reached the Zamindar who sent people to search for the bilva trees in their place, but was disappointed. The time was 11:30 hours. People had gathered around the cattle shed, waiting silently with anxiety. The sight of Maha SwamigaL in meditation on the rock reminded them of sAkSAt Sri Parameshwara sitting in the Kailash mountain. Suddenly they saw a SriMatham devotee coming from the entrance, carrying on his head a large basket. His face was full of happiness. He heaved the basket down in the hall--and what wonder, the basket was full of bilva leaves! Everyone was happy at the sight and SwamigaL whose meditation was disturbed descended from the rock.

His first question to the kAryastA was: "The bilvam for the Chandramouleesvara puja has arrived now (right)? besh, let us get inside."

SwamigaL took a few laves in his hand from the basket. They sparkled with the lushness of green. AcharyaaL asked his kAryastA, "Who plucked these leaves with such care that not a single cluster of them is defective? People said that there were no bilva trees in this region. Did you ask where these leaves were plucked?"

The kAryastA looked at the man who brought the bilva basket. That youth said, "Periyavaa, I casually went to the entrance and noticed that this basket was kept on the eastern side under the pandakkAl. When I rushed and checked, it was full of bilva leaves, Periyavaa."

"That is alright, but did you ask who brought it and placed there?"

"I asked Periyavaa, but nobody among those assembled there had any idea."

"Then who could have placed it there?" asked AcharyaaL laughingly. No one had anything to reply. As he moved towards the puja spot, AcharyaaL smilingly turned and said, "Perhaps our Chandramouleesvara Himself has brought the leaves?"

SwamigaL started the puja. His arcana to Sri Chandramouleesvara with the lush green bilva leaves made everyone rapturous. The prasAda was distributed after the puja. In the evening, AcharyaaL held an upanyAsa on Srimad RamayaNam in Telugu. The entire village litened to it with happiness. On the morning of the next day, a bhajan troupe of that village sang and danced with ecstasy at the entrance of the choultry. The entire village wore the look of an occasion of wedding. AcharyaaL went to the pond with some of the people of the MaTham.

The kAryastA who was busy with some work at the backyard asked the youth who brought the bilva leaves the previous day, "ENdAppa, lots of bilva are required for today also. You seem to be a lucky man. Check if anyone has left a basket under the pandal staff today also."

The youth ran to the entrance. What a wonder! Like the previous day, there was a basketful of bilva leaves kept in the usual spot! The youth carried the basket happily and reported to the SriKAryam (manager), "I found this basket at the same spot today also; don't know who kept it there and when was it placed."

SriKAryam was surprised and confused as to who was bringing the bilva leaves with such secrecy. AcharyaaL returned. When he noticed the bilva leaves kept ready for puja in the hall, he turned his face meaningfully at SriKAryam. He prostrated to AcharyaaL and said, "Yes, Periyavaa. Another bilva basket at the same place today also. Nobody knows who kept it there."

SwamigaL completed the Chandramouleesvara puja. When he finished his bhikSA and was sitting in solitude, he called SriKAryam and told him, "You should get up early and do one thing. Take someone with you, and check without no one seeing you. Find out who is leaving the bilva basket. And bring that person to me. You need not ask that person anything. You understand?" AcharyaaL smiled. SriKAryam gave an affirmative nod, prostrated to the sage and moved away.

On that evening also, SwamigaL's Srimad RamayaNa upanyAsa was held. As before, the entire village listened to it happily. It was early morning the next day. The bhajan troupes of the village had gathered and were singing merrily at the entrance to the choltry. SriKaryam and his two assistants stood hiding behind the large banyan tree at the entrance and were keenly looking at the pandal. At 8:30 hours, a boy emerged from the mango groves on the eastern side. He had a large, dry basket on his head. He sported a tuft of hair and wore a dirty dhoti tucked under this thighs as mUla kaccha. He looked here and there, went near the pandal staff, heaved his basked down and started turning back. SriKAryam ran and stood before him. The boy's hands and legs started shivering as he looked at the man before him. He immediately prostrated to the man who asked him, "Is it you who kept this bilva basket here for the last two days?"

The boy nodded yes to this question.

SriKAryam told the boy, "Alright. Go and have a bath, tie your tuft properly, wear what you usually wear on your forehead and come here in the afternoon. I shall take to the Periya Sami. You can get his blessing. You come looking bright, without this dirty dhoty, understand?" The boy nodded yes and ran away.

SriKAryam narrated the even to SwamigaL, who said, "Besh, besh! For the last two three days, he has been doing a large service. Shall bless him and give prasAdam", and left for his bath.

It was 3:00 hours in the afternoon. As ordered, the boy came. SriKAryam pointed him who was standing hesitatingly in the corner of the courtyard wall, to SwamigaL and said something. SwamigaL called the boy near him. The boy came near him, prostrated and stood with folded hands. AchayaaL had a laugh, looking at the boy's appearance, who looked bright with vibUti streaks on his forehead and all over the body, wearing a white dhoti as mUla kaacha, and a tuft of neatly tied hair. SwamigaL asked him to sit down in the courtyard, but he did not sit.

"What name?" SwamigaL asked him in Telugu.

"Purandara Kesavalu", he replied clearly in Tamil. AcharyarvaaL was surprised as he said, "Besh, you talk Tamil well! What was the name you said?"

"Purandara Kesavalu(nga)." The boy spoke his name slowly and clearly.

AcharyaaL raised his brows as he asked him, "You talk in Tamil!"

"My story, you should listen to it, Saami..." His eyes were stringed with tears.

"Besha. Tell me, tell me..." SwamigaL urged him. Purandara Kesavalu started talking.

"My native place is Usilampatti(nga), near Madura(i). Within two years of my birth, my mother passed away in an illness. From that time, only my father raised me. When I was six years old, he came to this region with me to earn a living. He got the job of tending the cattle in the Zamin of this village. I did not read or go to school. But I have learned a lot from my father. My father was very fond of music. He would sing the songs of Purandaradasaru and Tiruvaiyaru Thiyagarasa Saami very well. He has also taught me to sing and I too can sing those songs. Because of his liking for music he named me Purandara Kesavalu. He is no more now. Two years since he reached his mOccham (liberation). I am tending the Zamin cattle now. They feed me in the Zamin and pay me. I am now twelve years old, Saami."

SwamigaL was moved at his words and asked him with surprise. "Alright. Since there is no bilva tree in the surroundings here, where did you get this much of bilva?"

Purandara Kesavalu replied humbly. "There is a large growth of grass and shrubs on the foothills at three miles from here, Saami. From the days of my father, we used to go there and let the cattle browse. There are three large bilva trees there! My father would bring me the leaves of those trees and tell me, 'Elay Purandara, this leaf is called bilvam. It is ambuttu (such a) visheSham-daa, to perform puja to Sivaperuman with this leaf! Have a look.' That was in my mind Saami. When I saw the people of this MaTham show a sample of this leaf on the day before yesterday and ask for a lots of them, I understood immediately, ran to the place and brought them in a basket. Since I feared that if you came to know that the leaves were brought by a cowherd boy, you might not accept them for puja, I kept the basket here without anyone knowing it. This is the satyam Saami!"

Moved further at the words, AcharyaaL kept silent for sometime. Then he said with affection, "Purandara Kesavalu, what do you want? Tell me what is your wish. I shall ask it to be fulfilled from the MaTham."

At the sage's words, Purandara Kesavalu exclaimed, "Siva, Siva!", patted is cheeks and said, "Saami, my father used to tell me, 'Purandara, we should not desire for anything in this world. But we should wish for only one thing.' I have two wishes now. If you permit me, I shall speak one of my wishes now. The other one I shall ask you on the day you leave this place, Saami." The boy's eyes were filled as he prostrated and rose.

SwamigaL went melting. He urged the boy, "Come on, tell me, what is your wish." The boy said hesitatingly, "It is nothing else, Saami. My father has taught me a number of songs of Purandaradasa Saami and Thiyagarasa Saami. I should sing them before you Saami, till you stay here! You should listen to them and grace me!" AcharyaaL was immensely happy at the boy's wish.

"Purandara Kesavalu, definitely, you sing here. I shall listen to your songs. I shall ask everyone to listen to them. You come everyday in the afternoon at three o' clock. Sit down and sing before me. Let Chandramouleesvara Swami's grace be with you." SwamigaL blessed him. "You will rest in properity."

Purandara Kesavalu went happy. AcharyaaL persisted. "This is alright Purandara Kesavalu. Say what is your other wish, let's hear it."

"When you leave this place, I shall pray you with that wish, Saami", he replied with respect. SwamigaL asked SriKAryam to give him prasAdam and a lovely tulasi garland. Purandara Kesavalu was very happy to wear it. He prostrated to the sage and took leave. From the afternoon of the next day he started to come and sit down on the courtyard floor and sing the kIrtanas of Sri Purandaradasa and Sri Thiyagaraja known to him. SwamigaL listened to his singing, sitting in the hall. His voice was sweet. SwamigaL corrected the pronunciation mistakes the boy made in singing.

It was the twenty-first day of their stay. After completing Sri Chandramouleesvara puja and taking his bhikSA, SwamigaL started from that village. Coming out of the choultry, he gave a lecture of blessing to the people who had gathered to bid him farewell. Everyone was in tears listening to his parting words. Then he moved away with his entourage, but AcharyaaL suddenly remembered something and looked back at the choultry. Purandara Kesavalu was standing sobbing under the pandal there, his hands around a staff.

SwamigaL asked the boy to be brought to him. He came running, prostrated on the ground and got up. The parabrahmam looked at him with affection, smiled and said, "Purandara Kesavalu! For the bhakti, shraddhA, jnAna you have, you should rest in prosperity. You spoke about your other wish on that day! What is that, my boy?"

Purandara Kesavalu said: "When I was tending the cows with my father, he used to tell me, Saami: 'What we should pray to God, you know? We should pray, 'God, I don't want maRu poravi (another birth); I should go to moccham (liberation); you shoud give me your grace (for that).' For that we should live with satyA and dharma. If you meet any mahaan in any of the times, you pray to them to get you moccham.' You should get me that moccham, Saami."

That parabrahmam was surprised to listen to such words from the mouth of a twelve year old boy. Then he said with a laugh as he blessed him, "Don't worry. At the apt time, Bhagavan will you give you the blessing of the attainment of that mokSa." AcharyaaL called the Zamindar of the village and told him, "Inform SriMaTham immediately about anything that concerns this Purandara Kesavalu", and left the village. Everyone came up to the boundary of the village to bid farewell to SwamigaL.

It was a day several years later, and the time was around two in the afternoon. AcharyaaL, who was conversing with devotees in Sri Kanchi MaTham, suddenly rose and came out of the MaTham and started walking briskly. People followed him. He halted at the Kamakshi Amman PurshkaraNi and took bath. Then he started chanting something with closed eyes, standing in the waters of the pond. An hour later, he did another bath and japam. In this way, he repeated the sequence for seven or eight times, until it was six in the evening. Before he climbed the steps of the bathing ghat and sat on a step, a person from the MaTham came running and stood before him. AcharyaaL looked at him inquisitively. He said, "A telegram from Kurnool. Says that Purandara Kesavalu is seriously ill. Don't know who is this person, Periyavaa."

SwamigaL told the people around him, "That Purandara Kesavalu is no more now! He had his kAlagati just a little while before. When I stayed in their village he asked me on the last day to get him mokSa. I told him that he would get it by the grace of Chandramouleesvara Swami. Suddenly he took ill with some terminal fever and was suffering (now), anxious about his mokSa. In the order of things, he should take another six births to attain mokSa. I did the japam and prayed for him that somehow he (will skip the remaining births and) attain mokSa. Purandara Kesavalu is a good Atma!" With these words, AcharyaaL started walking briskly back towards SriMaTham.

The people of the MaTham stood transfixed with amazement on the steps of the pond!

ENdAppa - (Tamil) an address meaning 'why, my boy!'
kaccha - the hem or end of a lower garment (tucked into the girdle or waistband)
kAryastA - in charge
maNDapa - open hall, pavilion, temple
nirmAlya - cast out or left from a garland, used
pandakkAl - (Tamil) a bamboo staff planted to mark the commencement of a ceremony
puSkaraNi - (Tamil) a sacred pond of a temple, a pond with lotus flowers
samRti - coming together, meeting, contact, conflict, war
shraddhA - hope, trust, eagerness in religious rites, strong wish

28 February 2007, 08:58 AM
Why Did He Faint?
Author: A. Thiyagarajan, Chennai-80 (in Tamil)
Source: Sakthi Vikatan issue dated Mar 03, 2007
Publisher: Viketan Publications

When I had gone to Kanchi MaTham once, I heard about this incident from an arcakA (priest).

Maha Periyavar was camping in a village near Trichy, about 45 years ago. When he started for the usual Chandramouleesvara puja one day, he told the manager of the MaTham, "Within a short while, the Akhiladeswari Koil (temple) arcakAs will come here. Provide them bhojana (food) and bring them to me around two o' clock." Then he told a siSya (disciple), "Arrange it with the sthapati (sculptor) to carve a two-foot Vinayaka statue."

As directed by Periyavaa, the manager received the arcakAs with honours when they came in the afternoon, fed them and then took them to the sage. Periyavaa inquired them about their welfare.

The head priest told him, "The arcakA who goes daily in the morning to open the sanctum sanctorum of Sri Akhilandeswari for public darshan, faints and falls down as he opens the door. He recovers only after ten minutes. Since this happens daily, the other arcakAs are hesitant to attend the puja."

Periyavaa said at once, "Tomorrow I shall come to the temple myself. You can open the temple after my arrival." He gave them prasAda and bade them farewell.

Periyavaa went to Sri Akhilandeswari temple at 5:30 hours the next morning. The arcakA fainted as he opened the door. He recovered after ten minutes and then got up and went about his work. Periyavaa sat in niSTa (meditation) for sometime. Then he called the head priest and said, "From tomorrow, ask him to enter the sannidhi (building where the deity is installed) by opening the side door!" He also explained the priest the way to do it and asked for the arcakA to enter the sanctum two minutes after opening the door.

When the sthapati came with the Vinayaka statue at four in the evening, Periyavaa asked him to build a stUpi (tope) and install the Vinakaya statue on the tope in such a way that the lines of sight of both Akhilandeswari and Vinayaka met each other on the same plane. Sri Vinakaya was installed in the temple opposite (his mother) Sri Akhiladeswari according to Agama rules and pujas were performed to Him. The incident of the arcakA fainting did not continue thereafter. The Vinayaka statue is still located directly opposite AmbaaL's sannidhi (so the mother's first look every morning falls on her first son).

stUpaH - stUpi in Tamil; a tope, a monument

14 April 2007, 09:39 AM
Would Go on the Logs!
devotee:...... An old widow (Paatti)
author:....... Raa. Ganapathi
source:....... KaruNaikkadalil sila alaigaL, pages 73-77
publisher:.... Divya Vidya Padhippaham (Jun. 2005 Edition)
type:......... book, Tamil

The Place: Among the few villages in the name Rishivantiyam in Tamilnadu, the Rishivantiyam of the Thanjavur district. A lonely, old house on the border of the village. The Time: A short while before the daybreak in the 1930s.

"Where is he? Where is he?", saying these words aloud in a fit of anger, an old brahmin widow looks to her left as far as her eyes would go on the street. (On her right, the village suddenly ends.)

After getting inside her house, she comes out again and sprinkles cow-dung-disolved water, dipping her hand in and out of a bucket, on the bare ground in front of her house. The gomaya jalam falls onto the ground in noisy splashes, and the expletives muttered under the Paattiammai's breath scatter with a greater force and noise.

"He would go on the logs! (katteyla poRavan!) Should I get such a milkman? Me, an old woman (kezhavi), who had kept her front door open, somehow dozed a little while, but should he not wake me up calling out and clapping his hands four times? What arrogance! He had entered the house right royally and poured the milk in the vessel I had kept at the entrance to the kitchen! Let him go on the logs! Wherever has he gone within this short while!"

"Gone nowhere, PaattI? He is only here!" The man who went and stood before her, speaking these words, was sAkSAt Jagadguru Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi Sankaracharya SwamigaL!

Paattiammai was shaken. Her hands could not be raised, her legs were motionless and she could not find her voice. She stood dumb and motionless. 'Is that PeriyavaaL? PeriyavaaL, really? At the gate of my broken hut, when it is just beginning to dawn? And what a racket have I made! He admits himself as going in the manner I said! What a brainless sinner I am, have I done something that could be a mahA apacAram?'

As he assuaged the anxiety of the old woman, there was a mischievous little look in SriCaraNar's divya netras! He said gently: "Don't be afraid PaattI! The milkman repeatedly called out! You had slept well! Since you did not turn up, for your sake, I disguised myself as you and received the milk and kept it inside. He was not in error. And you are also not in error. Only I have done a thievish act!"

This is what had happened. PeriyavaaL, who was touring village after village, had come to Rishivantiyam the previous night in his mena (palanquin). The palanquin bearers had a tough time and it was probably the second yAma into the night. So he had asked them to halt under the shades of a tree on the outskirts of the village and ordered them to retire for the night. Himself he squeezed into his mena in the usual way. The tree they sheltered under was on the rear side of PaattiammaL's house.

Just a muhUrta before the dawn, the creaky noise of Paattiammai releasing the antique bolt of her front door was heard. PeriyavaaL, who usually gets up around three or three thirty, heard it clearly, sitting inside his mena. He noticed the old woman peep from the entrance, and since there was no sight of the milkman, give him her usual under-the-breath expletives and get inside. Since there was no second screech from the door, he understood that the woman had not bolted her front door. In his usual wont of not missing anything, he also heard as the suprabatha gItam the madhura svarAs of the rotton back door that touched the floor as it was wrenched open. He understood that the woman was in the backyard. Since this noise was not repeated after sometime, he remembered that the woman had gone inside her house, without closing the back door.

Then the milkman came. He called out several times.

'Poor woman, Paatti has gone into a nap.' SriCaraNar understood, as grace welled up in his heart. He thought of mixing a little fun and mischief with that grace. There was a white shawl at the corner of the mena that came handy to his conspiracy. He came out of the mena covering himself fully with the white shawl. It turned convenient for him that the palanquin bearers were fast asleep at a short distance. With darkness still on, he drew himself step by step to the rear of the old woman's house, climbed over the short wall--yes, without shirking anything in this saMskAra of thievery!--got down at the garden side, and went inside house through the open back door, registering his footsteps. He came to the courtyard via the backside verandah and saw the empty milk vessel kept near the kitchen door. He took it, crossed the old woman who was having a second nap at a corner of the hall, and came to the front door, drawing the shawl tightly over him. He kept the milk vessel on the raised portico (thiNNai).

Where was the time for the rustic, busy milkman to raise his head and look at the person who received the milk? Would he have thought even in his dream that at that still dark hour of the morning, Jagadguru Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi Sankaracharya SwamigaL would take the appearance of a poor, old woman? He poured the milk into the vessel in a single stroke and marched away.

The duplicate Paattiammai kept the milk vessel near the kitchen door and got back to his mena, looking expectantly at how the old woman would continue the comic play he had started. We have already witnessed that scene!

Kannan (Krishna) stole the milk and got admonished. But this man receives the milk in stealth doing a service to the old woman, gets a rebuke (of going on the logs) that Kannan never got and proudly tells the scold that he was fit to receive her expletives!

As she heard the details, Paattiammai was shocked and helpless. A man fit to be given the welcoming honours of a king or a deva, coming as a humble man for the sake of this heap of sorrow (avala piNDam), registering his feet all through her house, receiving the milk and then getting back! What words had she used at that God?

As the old woman stood helpless not knowing how to seek his pardon and babbling incoherently with tears pouring over her eyes, SriCaraNar with a bright face told her, "What you said was not a rebuke at all! You only said the truth! Am I not going on the logs? Don't I not wander on a wooden palanquin? Even when I walk, don't I wear my wooden sandals and go?"

The Great Giver who lets even the rebukers live, did a bhASyam even for her rebuke.

gomaya - consisting of cattle, defiled with cow-dung
muhUrta - 30th part of a day, a period of 48 minutes
saMskAra - putting together, forming well, making perfect
yAma - 8th part of a day or night

27 May 2007, 08:11 AM
Paramacharya and Children: Why Do You Use Sand During Bath?
author:..... Ashvati
Source: Sakthi Vikatan issue dated May 05, 2004
Publisher: Viketan Publications

One night, Mother Sarada Devi was doing japam for a long time forgoing her sleep. An assistant who came to know about it came to her and asked, "Amma! Seems you did not sleep well last night?"

The Mother replied: "Yes, I did japam until two o' clock for the welfare of my disciples. Many of my disciples don't do dhyAnam, japam; so I did on their behalf for a long time so that they should get only good things in life."

A similar incident happened in Kanchi.

One day Kanchi Kamakoti pIThAdhipati Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi SwamigaL was taking bath. A small boy, who was nearby, was watching him.

Sri SwamigaL in his usual habit took bath using mRttikA (sand) for soap. When the boy saw this he asked, "Won't you use a soap for your bath?"

"I do not like the smell of soap," said Maha Periyavaa. "That is the reason I use sand in the place of soap."

"Well, when you use sand to scrub your body, some of it might fall in your eyes and irritate them... So I asked!"

Understanding the tender heart of the boy, Sri Maha SwamigaL continued: "Our Shastras say that if we use sand to scrub our body while bathing, all our sins will leave us. So I do it this way."

The boy was not satisfied with his answer. He persisted: "summa sollAtheengo (don't just tell me something)... neengathAn ummAchi Acche (is it not that you are God)? How can there be sins for you? Why should you take bath scrubbing with sand?"

Sri Maha SwamigaL stopped his bathing for a second. He looked keenly at the boy and continued: "I don't know if I am ummAchi or if I have done anything sinful. But then the sins of my bhakta would only be added to me who has the name as their gurunAthar. You have it that I am scrubbing myself with the sand while taking bath, to remove those sins."

Having no further maturity or age to continue the conversation, the boy gave a childish grin.

mRttikA - earth, clay, loam; a kind of fragrant earth; aluminous slate

27 May 2007, 08:16 AM
Paramacharya and Children: Baby--Lily--Billy
author:..... SriMaTham Balu
compiler:... T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
book:......... Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol. 2, pages 177-187
publisher:.. Vanathi Padhippaham (May 2005 Edition)


A veLLALa (farmer) devotee asked, "Can I chant the Gayatri Mantra?"

A question that creates dharma saN^katam (embarrassment to do what is right)! Either of the two replies yes or no is bound to bring up criticism.

SriMaTham's work is to foster and preserve the Sanatana dharmas. The confrontations that Bharat had in the last thousand years are numerous. The Bharata samudAya (public) has always had the skills to preserve its roots, withstanding the attacks, bending like reeds when a hurricane blows and then raising its head once again after storm passes.

But then should SriMaTham intervene in every change? What is its share? Today's thinking becomes obsolete tomorrow and cast away. Though no one can control the gush of floods after it broke the dam, a day has to come when the floods will recede and the flow is streamlined in the river?

Nobody has any knowledge if PeriyavaaL had such thoughts. But he had the unique ability to ease a delicate situation and leave it to its natural course.

PeiyavaaL did not give a direct reply to the devotee. "How many children you have?" he asked.

A surprising reply came from him. "By your grace I have been bestowed with three girls: one five years old, another three and the last six months..."

Periyavaa said: "Name one girl as Gayatri, another as Sandhya and the third as Savitri. Call the three girls by those names. Not as Baby--Lily--Billy!

"If you thus repeatedly say the names Gayatri--Sandhya--Savitri, you would get the puNyA (fruits) of Gayatri Mantra chanting."

The devotees face displayed his happiness. Periyavaa had given him his anugraha of clarity of thought, when he was hesitating to take up an act that was against the sampradAya (tradition).

He went happily, receiving prasAdam from PeriyavaaL.

*** *** ***

Emergency treatment

In the Kumbakonam MaTham, after completing his ChandraMauleesvara puja, Periyavaa was giving darshan to devotees.

A farmer with connection to SriMaTham came rushing to him with anxiety, fell at his legs and wailed, "Save my son, kadavuLe (God)!"

Periyavaa asked his assistant to find out what happened.

The farmer had only one son. When he was taking food, a snake had climbed up his body and moved away. The boy had fainted with fear. It was not known if the snake bit the boy. There was a custom to cure snake bites by a mantra but there was no one nearby who knew the mantra.

"Only Saamy should save him..."

Periyavaa gave him vibUti prasAdam. "Smear it on the boy's forehead."

"saringa" (a reverential yes).

"You have arappu podi (herbal hair powder) at home?"

"It is there", he nodded his head.

"Part the lips of the boy, drop a little arappu podi and rub it over gently. If the boy spits it saying it is bitter, it means the snake did not bite him. If he takes it saying it is sweet, then the snake bit him, and you should treat him accordingly. Go and give him arappu."

The farmer ran to his house and did as Periyavaa told him. When the arappu podi was dropped in his mouth, the boy spit it saying "It's bitter, bitter!" The farmer was relieved that the snake did not bite him.

When the situation turned normal, the farmer couple came with the boy for darshan. Periyavaa said to the woman, "Light a sesame oil lamp daily in your home."

*** *** ***

Should talk only in Tamil

Middle-aged dampati (husband-wife). Four children, all looking modern in their dresses and makeup. Hair cut at neck level for the girl children, like neatly trimmed plants in a fence. English played on the tip of their tongue. Convent education.

Periyavaa asked those children to come near him. Then his intimate inquiries started: "What name? Where do you study?" and so on.

The children became very normal and friendly; they replied readily without any hesitation.

He pointed out a nearby fruit plate and said, "Whoever wants whatever fruit can take it."

The children were very happy. They took the fruits saying, "Thanks."

Periyavaa told them: "If I have a request with you, will you children listen to me?"

The children chimed in chorus in English: "Oh yes! Certainly we will do."

"Talk in English when you are in the outside world, your school or talking to other people. In your home, to your Appa-Amma, me who remains as a Swamy, and then Bhagavan--to these people you would please talk only in Tamil. Tamil is your mother tongue. Your mother is your first god. You should not forget talking in Tamil."

The children said in Tamil, "Hereafter, we will talk to Appa, Amma, Guru and Deivam only in Tamil." They ended their reply with their usual assurance in English: "Promise!"

A kOti sUrya prakAsha on Periyavaa's face. A hundred times brighter than what he displays when he is doing Advaita vicaram with great pandits!

*** *** ***

Dharma is subtle

A devotee said, "Curd rice remained in excess. Gave it to the cow. It ate with satisfaction."

Periyavaa said: "Should not give curd rice or rice mixed with milk to the cow. The curd is obtained from the milk, and the milk from the cow."

The devotee was restless: "I have committed an apacAram (offense), should pardon me!"

"Let it go; don't repeat it. You can feed prANis (animals) like dogs with annam mixed with milk, ghee or curd; but not the cows."

It is possible only for Periyavaa to teach the dharma sUkSma (subtleties of dharma) in a way that sticks to the mind and heart!

*** *** ***

Advance notice

An old man stood worrying after prostrating.

"ennannu kELudA! (ask him what he wants)"

The disciple went and asked him.

"I have darshan of the Yama and the buffalo frequently in my dreams. I am afraid..."

Periyavaa said: "This is an advance notice to you! The notice that your life is going to end shortly, at least from now do some puNya kArya and seek a good course."

"What can I do now?"

"Do some pUrta dharma (charitable acts). Donate a milch buffalo with its calf in a kSetra. Do Shiva darshan, nitya karma, monthly vrata, pArayaNa..."

The old man's worries disappeared; he was clear now. He went telling the disciples, "It is as if Parameswara gave me that advice!"

*** *** ***

For us to ponder

When he was in Chinna Kanchipuram, PeriyavaaL had an unfailing duty to do pradakSiNa of the VaradhaRajaPerumaL temple.

One early morning, with the devotees around him chanting Vishnu Sahasranamam, Periyavaa was walking on the street, after doing his temple pradakSiNa.

A girl child was drawing the kOlam in front of a house.

Periyavaa stopped. "You draw the kOlam very well, besh! But then you should draw the kOlam only with rice flour. Then only the flies, ants and birds would eat the rice flour; and look happily at you who drew the kOlam. If you draw with the mokku mAvu (powdered lime) it won't be useful to any jantu (creature), you see?"

The girl child nodded her head with grace and prostrated to him.

Is this advice of PeriyavaaL for only that child or all the children? Let the mothers think it over.

*** *** ***

Give grass, the sins will leave

A rich devotee sent a friend in his car to an outstation on an errand of his.

Unfortunately, the man permanently left for the 'outstation'! An accident en route, heavy damage to the car, and the friend left for Shivalokam.

There was no end to the grief it caused to the devotee. His remorse that a family lost its head because of him did not diminish. He donated plenty in cash to the family, but then what would the cash amount to their loss?

The devotee got the doubt if the brahmahatyA dosha (the sin of killing a brahman) had ensued on him.

There was no way to share such mana cancala (mental wavering) with anyone and seek shAstra pramANa (scripturual authority) consultations.

So he came to the Supreme Authority.

Periyavaa patiently listened to everything the devotee told him. Then he said, "The car accident was deivA dIna (divine affliction). There is no kalmiSam (dirt) in your thought. Somehow a friction has crept into your mind; and there is lokApavAdam (public censure) too.

"To start with, you do Setu snAnam (bathing in the sea waters at Rameswaram). Get up before the sunrise and give grass to a cow that goes in the street. Daily Shiva darshan, only one meal a day. Do pradakSiNa in a Sivan temple as far as possible. Do all these things, and the blame and sin would leave you."

Satisfied, the devotee received the prasAdam, but stood hesitant.

Periyavaa's look asked him "What other doubt you have?"

"All other things can be done, but it does not look possible to give grass to a cow. I am in a town where the cows don't go about the street in the mornings."

Pat came the reply. "So what? There would be a goshAla (cow pens) somewhere around? You have a car. Get up at five in the morning, go in your car and feed all the cows in the pen with grass."

The devotee had the full satisfaction of having filled his stomach with milk.

*** *** ***

The bad becomes good

A devotee who had long connections with SriMaTham. When he was talking to PeriyavaaL, he had the occasion to talk in dUSaNam (blaming) of another man. He had said, "That man is an utter kArkoTaka (the king of snakes)!"

After a minute, Periyavaa said, "You say he is good?"

The devotee could not understand. "I said he is a kArkoTaka who has destructive venom..."

Periyavaa asked him: "You know pratasmaraNa shloka?

Kaarkotakasya naagasya damayanthyaa nalasya cha
Rithuparnasya raajarsheha keerthanam kalinaashanam

"KArkotaka, Damanti, Nala, RithuparNa--just to think of them would remove the sins. They all remain such puNyavaan (sacred)."

The bhakta who did dUSaNam got into saN^katam. It means that he did not after all talk ill of the other person (though he wanted to)!

"You have yourself told me he is a good man. Isn't that so?"

In Periyavaa's outlook everyone is good.

Kaarkotakasya keerthanam kalinaashanam is the vAk (word) of periyor (great men). Yes Periya(vaa) vAk!

cancala - moveable, unsteady, fickle, unconstant
dUSaNam - spoiling, corrupting, destroying purity, disregarding, detraction, refutation, objection, sin, fault, censuring, blaming
kalmiSam - (Tamil) for kalmaSaH, kalmaSam - dirt, stain, sin
prakAshaH - lustre, light, shining, explaining, commentary, part of a book.

17 May 2008, 10:26 AM
Kanchi Chandrasekhara and Sringeri Chandrasekhara
author:....... Raa. Ganapathi
source:....... 'KaruNaikkadalil Sila AlaigaL, pages 82-106
publisher:.... Divya Vidya Padhippaham (Jun. 2005 Edition)
type:......... book, Tamil

(An essay published in the Kalki Deepavali Malar, 1992).

Pages 82-85

All though for Sri Kanchi Maha PeriyavargaL a hundred years of age will be completed a year and a half from now, that is, in the Vaisaka (Vaikasi) Anusham day coming in 1994, we matched sRuti for his shatAbdi festivities right from the time when he became ninety-nine.

On this occasion, let us become double puNyashAlis by remembering in anjali, another mahA periyavargaL who in vAstavam completed a hundred years on the holy day when the ekAdashI tithi and the magha nakShatra came together in the Ashvina (aippasi) month, four days before the current Deepavali.

It is a surprising similarity that the tuRavaRa tirunAmam (holy name of asceticism) of that Maha PeriyavargaL was also 'Chandrasekhara'. Sri Chandrasekhara Bharathi SwamigaL was that Maha Periyavar who performed the same divya paNi (divine work) for forty-two years in the Sringeri Sri Sankara MaTham, during the same time when in Kanchi Sri Sankara MaTham, PeriyavargaL Sri Chandrasekarendra Sarasvati SwamigaL's rule of jnAnam was exercised.

Changing the proverb 'as Surya Chandra' and becoming 'eka kAla dvi chandras', both of them remained as adhipatis of two great Guru PiThams for the forty-two years from 1912 to 1954, and spread jnAnam, bhakti, and shAstra dharmas by giving wonderful upadesha of them. Since that upadesha with both of them was a lively example of their own life and living besides being their vAimozhi (word of mouth), that vAimozhi remained as one that had mantra shakti. And both of them received the adoration as Maha Purushas, Deiva Purushas.

Committing pApam and getting shApam that resulted in his waning and waxing, Chandra bowed to Paramesha, seeking pardon. The Aiyan in his limitless compassion took him in his hands and wore him on his mudi (hair) and became Chandrasekhara. That tiruppeyar (holy name) also became the name for the two Acharya Murtis who took on their head the responsibility of showing guidance towards goodness for the world that was getting more and more immersed in pApam and seeking no pardon for that!

Among the names of the Guru Parampara in the two PiThams, the Chandrasekhara nAmam was the only common name for both. Maha PeriyavaaL is the seventh among the Chandrasekharas of the Kanchi PiTham. That another Maha Periyavar was the third--or fourth--among the Chandrasekharas of the Sringeri PiTham. Since in Kanchi for the pIThAdhipatis from the 61st to the 67th, the names 'Mahadeva' and 'Chandrasekhara' alternated, there was no visheSham in Maha PeriyavaaL as the 68th pIThAdhipati becoming Chandrasekhara. The visheSham was that, after his ascension to the PiTham, the sage who ascended to the Sringeri PiTham five years later obtained for himself the Chandrasekhara tirunAmam that was earlier taken by the pIThAdhipati seventeen generations before and four hundred and fifty years ago!

Another similarity too! Of the ten titles for ascetics called dasha nAma in the Sankara tradition, the sages of Kanchi PiTham hold the title (Indra) Sarasvati. In Sringeri they hold many titles that include Bharati, Tirtha and Aranya. Among these, the title Bharati held by that another Maha Periyavar remained as a name for Sarasvati! Chandrasekhara Bharati in what is known as Sharada PiTham in Sringeri, and Chandrasekara Sarasvati in what is known as Sharada MaTham in Kanchi had both risen in their blessing stances.

Like the Chandra that showers as cool and pleasing moonlight changing the heat and eye-scorching light of Surya, these two Chandras showered for the world making the jnAna advaita jvAla pleasing to the people! It was their tapo kAnti (radiance of penance) that changed it all to the Chandrika that gives tApa shAnti (peace from afflictions), and comforted, consoled and saved the Adiyars (devotees) from danger.

Both can be termed as 'matchless'. By that very saying doesn't it became that they are parasparam oppAnavar (mutually comparable for similarities)? Both of them realized in anubhavam the advaita jnAnam; possessed sharpness of knowledge that made the pundits wonder; at the same time capable of simplifying the parama tattvas and giving upadesha to the pAmara (grass roots) in a way that attracted them; were niRai kudams (full vessels) that never made noise but remained calm; exercised inner love for the entire uyirkkulam (family of beings); dhIras who relentlessly followed the rigours of dharma shastras and swimmed against the tide of kAlam (the time) that took an alankolam (a show of indiscipline); satya sannyAsa shIlas who endured the jAjvalyam (splendour, radiance) of jagadgurutvam (the status of being Jagadgurus) as necessary traps, never letting it dim their own light--thus in many aMsas both of them matched eath other--as anyonya sadRukSha as they say. Subtle humour, in the saulabhyaM (ease) of conversing with anyone with open heart, subtly making fun of the other and at the same time making fun of the self too--even in these things both of them have remained similar!

A kind of similarity even in how if Kannadam was the mother tongue of the Kanchi MaTha Thalaivar in Tamilnadu, Telegu was the mother tongue of the Sringeri MaTha Thalaivar in Kannada Nadu!

Pages 85-88

In sthUlam, the similiarity is in their both taking up renunciation and pIThAdhipatyam on just the guru saMkalpam without getting guru mukha upadesham! Although it was not so for them personally, they realized that a sthUla guru is a must for the people in the world and they remained similar in stressing it in their teachings.

But then in the drama of Parashakti if two mukhya pAtras (chief actors) remained identical in mould, will it be alright for that Rasika sporting many different kinds of rasas? Therefore she played, causing differences between the two in some aMsas. In one sense that difference itself remained as the contrasting background that elevated the similarity and showcased the principle of unity in diversity.

(If we take the 'differences among them' as to mean 'differences of mind between them', there could be no greater apachAram, aparadham than that. We shall come to this subject later on.)

Although they both remained identical in their inner depths, what is visible to the people of the outer world are only their external activities? In this, between the two Chandrasekharas, a large, emphatic difference was visible. What is that? Kanchi Chandrasekhara, though an Atma jnAni, was one who dedicated his life and forumulated different plans, exercising keen attention to the affairs of the external world, in an effort to redirect them in shAstrIya ways. Whereas Sringeri Chandrasekhara, though he was also keen in turning the world into shAstrIya ways, mostly remained in ekAntam, getting immersed in his AtmAnubhavas and the eka anubhUti that was the end of it all.

Another difference that can be termed as an upAngam of this one. Although Bharati SwamigaL was capable of excellence in any field if he applied his mind to it, he not only did not like to direct his knowledge to areas beyond the Atma-samaya-dharma shAstras, but also did not specially encourage his disciples in the research in such other areas of knowledge. Even as related to the religion, he refused to give his support to historical and literary debates that sought to determine things with a finality. If questions such as in what period did Sankara live, if such and such books were really composed by him, if Vidyaranya had two gurus arose, he would at once cut the knot saying, "Is there any sambandham between our getting Atma-abhivRuddhi and finding out what is the truth in these matters?"

Whereas Kanchi PeriyavargaL was one who would dive deep in all the areas of knowledge including modern science and bring up a variety of pearls, corals, conches and oyster-shells and distribute them. Since it is his opinion that if one researches deep in any field with keen involvement to find the Truth, that will sharpen the knowledge, purify it and take the person to AnmIkam that makes one seek the One Truth, he encourages research and discussion in many fields.

The world criticised about these things in different ways. Some said that only Kanchiyaar does the duty of a Jagadguru in all fairness. Some said that if it is a question of anubhUtimAn, jIvanmukta it was only Sringeriyaar. Thinking that it is only Kanchiyaar who gets all the prAbalya as Jagadguru, there were even some who tried to turn Sringeriyaar in that way and lost! There were people who called him Pitthar, during the days when he roamed about, excited with the picchu (bile, madness) of jnAnam and soaked in the picchu of bhakti in states that the world could not understand. Whereas those two people were never bothered by these talks and beautifully acted the role that Parashakti had given them! One of them was like the lotus flower that always sets its sight on the sky and lives--and remained an example for the ArAtha shakti (tireless energy) of the Anma vEtkai (spiritual search) that raises above all the worldly responsibilities. The other one was a proof for the water that stays on the lotus leaf--and gave an example for the anavarata nishkAmya karmayoga shakti (ceaseless power of Nishkamya Karma Yoga, in whose practice there is no loss of effort, no harm and no transgression) that a uttama jnAni performs, taking care of the worldly welfare too.

abhivRuddhi - f. growth, increase, prosperity, plenty, success.
prAbalya - superiority of power , predominance , ascendency; might, force.

Pages 88-92

Both the Chandrasekharas came up from families that had close connection with their related SriMaThams.

Some of the earlier title holders of Kanchi MaTham are the kula pUrvikas of Maha PeriyavaaL. His pAttanAr (grandfather) worked as Manager of Kanchi SriMaTham for many years and rendered valuable service.

Bharati SwamigaL's pAttanAr, tagappanAr (grandfather, father) were both pundits in the Sringeri MaTham. Since the names of the two Acharyas before him were Narasimha Bharathi and Sacchidananda Sivabhinava Narasimha Bharathi, his own name was chosen as Narasimha. It may be said that he was given in svIkAram to the MaTham the moment he was born. He was the fourteenth child of his parents. His parents, suffering from the death of all the earlier thirteen children in the infants' bAlya paruvam (childhood) itself, decided that at least this child should be left untouched by their misfortune, so they gave the child to Agent Srikanta SastrigaL, who was a chief official of that MaTham, for bringing up the child. Therefore, from the ati bAlyam (earliest times of childhood) itself, that sage came under the tirukkaN pAlippu (eye of care) of the earlier pIThAdhipati Sri Sivabhinava Narasimha SwamigaL.

After Narasimhan studied in the general school of education for a few years where scored as the first ranking pupil, on the orders of the pUrvAchArya a full stop was put to his further worldly education, and he was admitted to the MaTham's PaThashAla. After he got trained well in our mata shAstras (religious scriptures), he learned more elaborately and deeply from the pandita simhas of the VidyashAla of the Bangalore MaTham and became a vidvAn. It was then in 1912 that he was appointed as the successor of the PiTham. Even when he was twenty years old, he was well versed in the shAstra tattvas and samayAnuShTAnas and also had maturity in the bhakti, jnAna vairAgya.

The father of bAlan Swaminathan who later became Kanchi Chandrasekhara, was not a vaidika, but one who undertook the responsibility of a laukika udyogam. Therefore, this sage was not brought up in visheSha shAstrIya (especially religious) circumstances. Where he studied in were also laukika schools like everyone of us. Of course, there was a time when he was around twelve, he ran away without the knowledge of his householders to the earlier Kanchi pIThAdhipati, having received the sage's asAdhAraNa aruL nokku (unusal glance of grace) and attracted towards him. It is believed that it was then that the pUrvAchArya willed him as his successor. Still, that Acharya attaining Maha Nirvana the very next year, only a youth named Lakshmi Narasimhan (he was the son of Swaminathan's mother's elder sister), who was involved in kaingaryam (service) in SriMaTham and doing his pUrNa rgveda adhyayanam there, received the next pontiff title. In Parashakti's lIlA of surprises, even this new successor following his Gurunathar's path (to Nirvana) within a single week, so young and tender Swaminathan happened to have the ArohaNam in the AchAryattavisu (ascesion to the seat of Acharya). That young and tender who was not acquainted with any Veda or Shastras, quickly passing into the pariNAmam as veda pazham, shAstrak kani (the fruit of Vedas and Shastras) is a pratyakSha uNmai (visible truth) more vinoda (entertaining) than a katha (story).

Both the Chandrasekharas obtained their Ashrama svIkAram without any sthUla guru dIkShA, without being present near the earlier pIThAdhipati during that sage's antima kAlam, only coming in the scene later. What to say of how they both attained Atma pUrNatvam which is the parama pauruShArtha, and secured all the traditions as maThAdhipati, showing wonderful administrative capabilities, and that without the guru's kAppu (protection) in sthUlam! Since there was no guru's kAppu in SthUlam, they keenly observed themselves and everything else with additional attention and regulated their selves. It is doubtful that the pUrNa sharanAgati they did for the sUkShma tiru aruL (subtle holy grace) to course their selves and give pAlippu (protection), a shiShya could do to his sthUla guru!

If Kanchi Chandrasekhara, after he ascended to the PiTham passed into a pariNAmam apt to the circumstances that were totally different, there is also an adhisayam (excellence) in the case of Sringeri Chandrasekara. Sringeri SriMaTham at that time was powerful with its flags in rAjangam. The two earlier Acharyas as gaMbhIra puruShAs had made the kIrti (fame) of the MaTham throughout Bharata Desham. Was it not an adhisayam that one who came to own the title in the circumstances of a MaTham that ruled with excellence,--a rule that was given the very name 'durbar',--reduced that jvalitam adhama pakSham (blazing to the barest minimum) and mostly shrank himself into an ekAnta uL vAzhvu (inner life of solitude)! We should notice it that though he had apAra upadesha AtRal (excellent teaching power) and administrative capabilities, he shrank in size and away from the publicity.

The lIlA of the mElidam (Parashakti) that shaped Kanchi Chandrasekhara as the shakti tEkkam (reservoir of power) to do the dharma prachAram for the other sage also, is the lIlA!

Both are asAdharaNa vyaktis. But then the shishya jana belonging to both are only sAdharaNa vyaktis? That is why as referred to earlier, they criticised in different ways in mutual differences of opinions. Still, due to the divya prema shakti of both sages, those who differed were much less in the population count. Only those who worshipped both the mahAns with identical bhakti were more. There were many learned and distinguished people who adored them both as the two eyes of Sanatana Dharma and spoke of it to the others. For example, Tediyur ShastrigaL, Ananta Krishna ShastrigaL, and A.V.Gopalacharyar who were learned in the scriptures, and K.S.Ramaswamy ShastrigaL, K.Balasubramanya Aiyar, and Justice Chandrasekharaiyar who were pramukhas (honourables), have advised the world of Astikas to do puja and bhUShA to both these mahAns without any sort of partiality.

buUShA - f. ornament, decoration.
pramukha - first, foremost, chief, principal, most excellent; honourable, respectable; turning the face towards.
udyogaH - effort, action, occupation, work, duty, office, position.

Pages 92-95

The love and respect that prevailed parasparam (mutually) between these two Maha Purushas--it should be labelled as a parama punita amRuta kAvyam. Although in both the PiThams there were Acharyas with mahima who held the titles earlier, sadly, there was no amity prevailing between the two groups of devotees. In such a circumstance, it was a rare and great bhAgyam for the Astika world that these two Chandrasekharas, each realizing the other's greatness right from the beginning, remained united in a connection of love.

Paramahamsa Ramakrishnan would tell a story: Once Shiva and Vishnu had a personal meating and were conversing in antarangam. At that time the din of a great bustle with loud proclammations was heard from the outside. Shiva asked, "What could be this uproar about?" Mayavi Paranthaman said, "It's nothing else! People of my parivAram outside proclaim that I am the most supreme among us; people of your parivAram have their own proclammation, resulting in a fight between them!" It cannot be said that today such vIra bhaktas are not there! Yet, both the Chandrasekharas remained united in love like the Sankara Narayana Vigraha. Although they did not meet each other in person, they were united in their hearts.

The two PeriyavargaL who ascended to the throne in the difficult circumstance when the Hindu society stood divided in many ways, with nAstikam, the modern trends and some well-meaning reformations weakening it further, saw that their chief responsibility was to weave this society in the shAstrIya ways, into a single, loving family, so they first stood united among themselves as the main axle and showed the way.

Although Sringeri PeriyavargaL also considered the shAstrIya mempAdu (progress in scriptural and dharmic ways) of the society important, the kAntam of Atma shAntam pulled him to ekAntam. So it was mostly Kanchi PeriyavargaL who undertook the responsibility of drawing social welfare schemes.

It was the custom of Kanchi PeriyavargaL to send his pratinidhis (representatives) to know the opinion of Sringeri PeriyavargaL, whenever he devised a scheme in a large measure.

This essayist has got the pERu (fortune) of getting cooled in the aham by listening to the details given mostly in unison by people who went thus as representatives: K.Balasubramaya Aiyar, L.S.Parthasarathy Aiyar, and Agnihotram Ramanuja Thathacharya SwamigaL who is presently with us.

Even in those times when Sringeri PeriyavargaL was in antarmukham without any connections with the external world, it is said that Kanchi PeriyavartgaL used to send his pratinidhis. Even as he was giving them orders for the trip, those pratinidhi would drag on, "People say that he can't be seen at all since he is totally in antarmukham now!" Maha PeriyavargaL would however send them with the words, "Go and have a try." And it would usually turn out that the other sage had just come out on bahirmukham and would heartily receive these representatives.

And he would first ask with a reference of hitam to Kanchi SwamigaL such as, "Periyavaa chAturmAsyam in Madhyarjunam?" and then only commence the conversation.

As they told him the purpose of their visit and elaborated on the scheme undertaken by Maha PeriyavaaL, he would listen to it very attentively, his tejomukha mandalam getting more prasannam, and express his words of Amodana (rejoicing) in between.

He would say with finality:

"அவாளாலேதான் ஆத்ம நிஷ்டாளாகவும் இருந்துகொண்டு, வெளி லோகத்துக்கும் ஏதேது எப்படி பண்ணணுமோ அப்படி பக்குவமாக யோஜனை செய்து, கிரியாம்சையில் நடத்திக் காட்ட முடிகிறது. சாஸ்திரத்தை விட்டே கொடுக்காமல், அதே ஸமயம் நவீனர்களையும் ஆகர்ஶிக்கிற விதத்தில், ஜன ஸமுதாயத்தின் மனஸை சூக்ஷமமாகப் புரின்துகொண்டு திட்டங்கள் போடுகிறார். இங்கே (தம்மைக் குறிப்பிட்டுக் கொள்கிறார்) ’ஆசார்ய ஸ்தானம் இருக்கே, அதற்கானபடி லோகத்துக்குச் செய்யணுமே’ என்று தெரிந்தாலும், வேறே விதமாகவே போகிறது. தாஙளாகத் தேடிக் கொண்டு வருகிறவர்களுக்கு ஓரளவுக்குச் சொல்வதற்குத்தான் இங்கே முடிகிறது. அவாதான் தேடிக் கொண்டு போய் நல்லது பண்ணுகிறா. எங்களுக்காகவும் சேர்த்து அவாளே பண்ணுகிறா. எங்கள் அபிப்ராயம் என்னவென்று அவா கேட்கணுமென்றே இல்லை. செய்ய வேண்டியது அவாளுக்கே தெரியும். அதற்கு பரிபூர்ண ஸம்மதம் தவிர இங்கே சொல்ல வேண்டியது ஒன்றுதான்--க்ருதஜ்ஞ்தை (நன்றி)!""

"avALAlEtAn Atma ~niShTALAkavum iru~ndukoNDu, veLi lOkattukkum EtEtu eppaDi paNNaNumO appaDi pakkuvamAka yOjanai seydu, kiriyAmsaiyil ~naDattik kATTa muDikiRadu. chAStirattai viTTE koDukkAmal, adE Samayam ~navInarkaLaiyum AkarshikkiRa vidattil, jana SamudAyattin manaSai chUkShamamAkap purindukoNDu tiTTa~ggaL pODukiRAr. i~ggE (tammaik kuRippiTTuk koLkiRAr) 'AchArya SthAnam irukkE, adaRkAnapaDi lOkattukkuch cheyyaNumE' enRu teri~ndAlum, vERE vidamAgavE pOgiRadu. tA~gaLAkat tEDik koNDu varukiRavarkaLukku OraLavukkuch cholvadaRkuttAn i~ggE muDikiRatu. avAtAn tEDik koNDu pOy ~nallatu paNNukiRA. e~ggaLukkAkavum sErttu avALE paNNukiRA. e~ggaL abhiprAyam ennavenRu avA kETkaNumenRE illai. cheyya vENDiyatu avALukkE teriyum. adaRku paripUrNa Sammatam tavira i~ggE cholla vENDiyadu onRutAn--krutaj~jtai (~nanRi)!"

"Only by 'them' it is shown as possible to remain centered in Self and to think appropriately as to what is to be done to the outer world and express it in action. Not at all going against the Shastras, at the same time in a way that attracts the moderns, and understanding the mind of the society in a subtle way, 'they' devise plans. Here (he refers to himself), even though it is known that 'there is the seat of an Acharya, so in fitness thereof, service must be done to the world', it goes only in another way. Here it is possible only to give a little guidance to those who come here on their own. Only 'they' go after and do all the good. For us also only 'they' do it. It is not at all required that 'they' should ask for our opinion. 'They' know what is to be done. Apart from complete agreement, there is only one thing that needs to be expressed from here--gratitude!"

Like the nirmala vAnam (spotless sky) how he has talked, opening his heart!

Amodana - rejoicing, delighting.

Pages 95-98

(The narrators told me that) Sringeri PeriyavargaL would give all honours to the Kanchi MaTha pratinidhis, send them along with a pratinidhi of his own MaTham to the other MaThams under their support, and secure the consent and cooperation of those MaThadhipatis for the schemes devised by the Kanchi pIThAdhipati.

When these people come back to Maha PeriyavaaL, even as he was himself shining with tejas as a divya mUrti, he would say, "Such a tejasvi have you seen anywhere? So much tapas, niShTa, and a lofty pAramparyam--pUrvAshrama pAramparyam, ashrama pAramparyam both!" (He had referred to the greatness of Sringeri PeriyavargaL's pUrvAshrama pitA, pAttanAr and the greatness of the preceding Acharyas of the MaTham.)

If the pratinidhis convey Sringeri PeriyavargaL's krutajnatai (gratitude) to Maha PeriyavaaL, he would immediately say, "Leaving us to the kAryams is he spending his time as a vRuddhaH (old man)? He is going on only in niShTa? A jnAni's radiation would on its own be doing good to the whole world. Therefore only we should express our krutajnatai to him."

There are many examples that right from the beginning both the PeriyavargaL had established a unifying approach to their own aNukka bhaktas (close devotees).

In 1914, Maha PeriyavargaL started a publication named Arya Dharmam as the magazine of Kanchi SriMaTham. In the same way, the Vani Vilas Press run in Srirangam run by T.K.Balasubramaya Aiyar, who was an atyanta adiyAr (staunch devotee) of Sringeri SriMaTham and had obtained the title gurubhakta shikhAmaNi from that Acharyar, and the Hindu Message periodical published in that press, were both dedicated to the works of that MaTham. That same T.K.B. was also in the editorial board of Arya Dharmam. He would immediately carry out through his press whatever printing work ordered by Maha PeriyavaaL. He had written page after page in the Hindu Message, in adoration of the tATangakah pratiSTA done by Kanchi Periyavar in 1922 to Goddess Akhilandeswari--it is remarkable that he did this in spite of the incidents that arose in the previous century due to this very subject of tATangakah pratiSTA, which resulted in bitterness of mind between the devotees of the two MaThams.

The elders of those days would narrate the éclat with which in 1919, the mahAjana (people) of Veppatthur conducted the Navaratri Puja of Kanchi PeriyavaaL. But then in the following issue of Arya Dharmam, Maha PeriyavaaL did not allow any essay to be published about these festivities. Instead, he ordered a seven-page essay to be published on the Navaratri festival conducted in Sringeri by Bharathi SwamigaL.

"In the essay written by M.N.Subramanya Sastry for the fourth issue of Arya Dharmam in the dundubhi year (1922), he had adored how Kanchi PeriyavaaL for the last four years had gone to villages, giving a new lease of life to Vedic dharma. Without stopping there, indirectly--still in a way that the reader's can easily guess--and without mentioning the name, he had also written that Sringeri PeriyavargaL did not "seem to work for the world" in this way and certain other things in the same rIti (manner). The editor asked PeriyavaaL if he could keep the portions about PeriyavaaL's work, remove the different opinion about the other sage and publish the essay.

PeriyavaaL's reply made him stagger. PeriyavaaL said that it would be shlAghyam to remove the portions relating to his work and publish the different opinion about the other sage!

To the editor who stood dumbfounded wondering if it was PeriyavaaL who was talking, our Gurunathar continued with a smile: "If this man is the only one who has expressed his abhiprAyam in writing, there are many who have the same abhiprAyam in their mind. Therefore, we should publish that abhiprAya and also give our reply to it."

Not knowing what the reply could be or how he would include it, the editor submitted the essay for the perusal of AcharyaaL himself.

As he ran his eyes over the essay, PeriyavaaL chose the passage, "In this manner (the manner PeriyavaaL was doing it) if every MaThAdhipati set out and started doing work in the field, our reformist elders would fly like pieces of cotton, their presence being felt no longer." After this indirect criticism, PeriyavaaL himself added the lines, "Since there was no such Ishvara sammadam, they continue to stay in niShTa."

Two points of excellence are there in this addition. One is pointing out that no one should be blamed for what happened due to Ishvara saMkalpam which is beyond human plans and human knowledge. The second is emphasizing that the inaction of the one who was criticised was not due to laziness or unskillfulness, only due to the niShTa, which is past all actions.

There were devotees who earnestly appealed to Bharathi SwamigaL that he should also like Maha PeriyavaaL do many saMchAra, clear saMdehas and devise schemes. Listen to the reply he gave to those people: "Myself and Kanchi pIThAdhipatigaL are the two pratinidhis of Sri Sankara Bhagavadpada in the current time. Rest assured that all the good things he does are also done by me together with him. In the same way, know that the kIrti he receives also reaches me."

[Reference: The essay, 'maThangaLin otRumai' ('The Unity of the MaThams') authored by K.Balasubramanya Aiyar in the Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Pradeepam issue dated 16.11.1965.]

shlAghya - praiseworthy, excellent

Pages 99-103

Apart from what is done for the country, even for the anugraha to individuals, there are heartwarming incidents about which Bharathi SwamigaL has told that either of them doing it is for both of them. For example:

In 1927, when Maha PeriyavaaL was camping in Pallavur near Palakkadu, T.M.Krishnaswamy Aiyar led a Tiruppugazh bhajan concert and pleased everyone. To match his initials T.M., PeriyavaaL gave him the title 'Tiruppugazh Mani'! Aiyar from there went directly to Kovai (Coimbatore) and sang Tiruppugazh in the holy presence of Bharathi SwamigaL's. His companions told the sage about the title given by Maha PeriyavaaL, seemingly expecting that the Sringeri sage would also give a title. But then Bharathi SwamigaL said, "Keep that title as given by both of us together!"

To Tediyur ShastrigaL he had asked on one occasion in a very natural way, "If 'they' do something it is like our doing it, isn't it?"

Before going to Palakkadu, Maha PeriyavaaL also had visited Kovai. The place he camped there was only in the Sringeri MaTham there.

In 1925, in the areas of Ramanathapuram district, both the PeriyavargaL were camping very near each other. While Maha PeriyavaaL observed his chAturmAsya vratam for two months in Ilayattankudi, in Kunrathur, within ten kilometers, Bharathi SwamigaL observed that fast. Without an iota of difference, Vidvans would visit both the MaThams and do shAstrArtha vichAram. Both the SwamigaL from them would inquire parasparam about the other's vyAkhyAnams and greatly appreciate them.

After finishing his camp in Pallatthur when Bharathi SwamigaL started to leave, it came to be known that Maha PeriyavaaL was to come there immediately after his departure. The 'vIra bhaktAs' who keep boundaries talked with the implication as to how can Kanchi pIThAdhipatigaL come on pattaNa bhavani in kolAhalam there. Whereas Bharathi SwamigaL sported a mandahAsam (smile) and said, "aVALukku nannA mariyAdai paNNi bhavani nadatthungo (conduct their procession well with all honours to 'them'). To carry 'them' on the palanquin in the procession, we propose to send our own bhoyi (bhogi, palanquin carrier)s", and obliged by sending his carriers! With the Sringeri kiMkaras (servants) carrying it, Kamakoti pIThAdhipatigaL coming on the sivigai (palanquin) is an incident pouring sweetness like honey, right?

Saying, "I have on no other occasion seen PeriyavaaL in such distress groaning hAng, hAng", Kanchi MaTha Manager Visvanathaiyar would recollect an incident. He said it was one of the occasions when Bharathi SwamigaL as an avadhUta remained in atIta avasthas (extreme states) of dancing, singing, crying and laughing out. An adiyAr referred about it to Maha SwamigaL saying, "It is said that he was suffering from paitthiyam (madness)!" That was all! As if a nArAsam (an iron probe) entered his ear, PeriyavaaL cried, "Shiva ShivA! Shiva ShivA!", almost screaming the words, and as never before expressed his distress in strong words! "ENDA, paitthiyam enna, sariyAyirukkiRatu ennannu nItAn sakalamum kaNDuTTiyo? ennamADA solluve, andha vArtthai! (Hey, you know everything as to what is being mad and what is being normal? How can you utter that word!)". After verbally expressing his distress for a long time, he finally told the devotee, "Go to the Sannidhi and seek the pardon of Lord ChandraMauleesvara!"

Maha PeriyavaaL in 1935, gave his blessing stance to Calcutta and conducted the Navaratri worship. In the administrative committee of that festival was a parama bhakta of Sringeri PiTham, named Madireshvara Sarma. He did his seva in the pujas for the first four days--until the day of Chaturti--but beyond that it did not suit him. As the thought, 'Whatever it is, will this be like the puja our Sringeri AcharyaaL does in our Sringeri pattati?' occurred to him, he felt restless and returned to Sringeri, travelling a distance of a thousand kAvatam.

But then Bharathi SwamigaL looked at him with an unusual sternness. "It is a mahA thappu (great mistake)--your leaving the puja in the middle and coming over here, entertaining an opinion of discord that we both are different. kShaNamkUda inge niRkAteyum! pOm angeye! (Don't stand here even for a moment! Go there forthwith!)", he said with nirtatkShaNyam (sternness).

Since Sarma was a pakvi he learned his lesson; and obtained bhAvanA shuddhi.

In those days when today's travel facilities were not available, somehow Sarma managed to reach Calcutta on the day of Vijaya Dashami and fell at Maha PeriyavaaL's feet. He told the sage about what Bharathi SwamigaL told him, and informed that his bheda eNNam (thoughts of difference) was broken. Laughing in Ananda, Maha PeriyavaaL gave him the Navaratri prasAdams.

1966 February. Maha PeriyavaaL was in camp in Mylai (Mylapore). K.Chandrasekharan was talking to PeriyavaaL expressing his sadness about some book or essay or letter written by R.Krishnaswamy Aiyar in AkShepam about SriMaTham.

Whereas PeriyavaaL appreciated the clarity of that report of criticism on SriMaTham, saying, "enna clarity pArtthiyo? (what a clarity, you saw it?)"! I wondered at the display of the samadharshanam of a jnAni.

Looking at me PeriyavaaL asked, "Do you follow these--displaying an abhinayam of one engaged in kusti (wrestling)--samAcharams?"

"I don't do it taking interest to follow up such things. By reading what Polagam SastrigaL is writing in the Pradeepam, I come to know something of the details. It is really sad", I said.

"Is it only sad? You get kO(pa)m (anger) on Krishnaswamy Aiyar--is it not so?", PeriyavaaL 'probed' me.

It became nidarshanam to me by his uttering the word kOpam as kOm in the lisping of a child, how chidlike all these fights and debates are!

In vAstavam (reality) I had anger on that man--why make the bhedams (differences) among the Astikas (faithfuls) grow by directing their attention on matters that do not offer even an iota of help towards Atmikam. The same abhiprAyam, adiyEn had about the 'vIra's on the side of Kanchi MaTham.

Feeling shy to tell that Satva Murti, 'Yes, I get only anger', I kept silent.

PeriyavaaL himself talked, the child and the deity becoming one: "To my Ayus paryantam these fights are not going to be over; it does not seem to me that I can mediate and pacify them. Therefore there is no prayojana for you to agitate your mind on this subject. What I need now is that the anger you have towards Krishnaswamy Aiyar should be exhausted. Will you do a kAryam? He has written a book, The Saint of Sringeri. As the first thing, you buy and read it. What, will you read it?"

After such a direction that cannot be defied, can I remain without obeying it?

Thus under the puNyam of K.Chandrasekharan, Kanchi Chandrasekhara involved me in that another Chandrasekhara who is the Saint of Sringeri.

After reading that wonderfully written book, my kOm towards that author was gone completely! I got the clarity that if a Periyavar with such guru bhakti, shAstrabhimAnam, vidvat and anuShTAnam is indulging himself in controversial subjects, it is only the kaivarisai (sleight of hand) of that Maha Amma Maha Maya.

AkShepa - m. throwing up, tossing, drawing to one's self, attraction; applying, laying on; casting off, removing, giving up; hint, allusion; objection; abuse, injury.
kAvatam - (Tamil) distance of about ten miles
pattati - (Tamil) 01 1. series, row, line, range; 2. manual of ritualistic rules; 3. road, way
paryanta - m. circumference, limit, edge, end; to the end of, as far as, until.

Pages 103-106 (concluding part)

With that on one side, bhakti grew in me towards the author of the book. Also an amazement in many places that I was reading only about Kanchi PeriyavaaL.

Later when I had darshan of PeriyavaaL, I told him that my 'kOm' was gone. I ventured to say in addition, "It seemed to me that I was reading only about PeriyavaaL."

To think of what that 'child-God' spoke then, the heart melts even now. He asked me:

அப்படியா தோணித்து? ஒங்கிட்ட அந்தப் புஸ்தகம் படிக்கச் சொல்லிவிட்டு நான் பயந்-துண்டு இருந்தேன். படிச்சுட்டு, ’ப்ரத்யாகாத்மாவிலேயே ஸதாவும் த்ருஶ்டியாயிருக்கிற இவரும் ஸ்வாமிகள். , under the sun . ஒரு விஶயம் பாக்கியில்லாம எல்லாத்தையும் ஒழக்கால் அளந்துண்டிருக்கிற அந்தப் பராக்குச் சாமியாரும் ஸ்வாமிகளா’-ன்னு நெனச்சுடப் போறயேன்னு பயந்-துண்டு இருந்தேன். என்னப் பத்திப் படிக்கிறாப்பலயா ஒனக்குத் தோணித்து?"

appaDiyA tONittu? o~gkiTTa a~ndap puStakam paDikkach cholliviTTu ~nAn bhaya~n-duNDu iru~ntEn. paDichchuTTu, 'pratyAgAtmAvilEyE SadAvum dhrushTiyAyirukkiRa ivarum SwAmigaL. ... oru vishayam bAkkiyillAma ellAttaiyum ozhakkAl aLa~nduNDirukkiRa a~ndap parAkkuch chAmiyArum SwAmigaLA'-nnu ~nenachchuDap pORayEnnu bhaya~n-duNDu iru~ntEn. ennap pattip paDikkiRAppalayA onakkut tONittu?"

"Did that seem so? I remained apprehensive after asking you to read that book. I was apprehensive that reading it you might be thinking, 'this man who always has his sight on the Universal Self is indeed the Saint; whereas the other who keeps measuring with a measure everything under the sun without exception,--that heedless sage is also a Saint'*. Did it seem to you that it was like reading about me?"

'aDi kAmAkShI! enna vEsham kATTi viLaiyADukiRAyaDi? (Hey Kamakshi! What appearances you display in your play of sport?)'--only this thought, accompanied by filling up of tears in the eyes rose in me.

Thoughts spread out on the subject of pratyangmukha swAmigaL and parAkkuch chAmiyAr. He is Bharathi. This man is Sarasvati. Bharathi is that Goddess who takes delight in light. That light of knowledge won't waver, won't move. It is the delight of staying merged in AtmA. That was how Bharathi SwamigaL remained focussed inward in concentration. Saras-vati is that Goddess who takes water bodies for her permanent residence. A water body is after all there to spread out and course in all the four directions and nourish the payir crops and uyir (life)? In the same way, Sarasvati SwamigaL does his pravesha (enter) in many fields of knowledge, brings out his pravAham (flow) in them and feeds knowledge to people in different areas of life.

Since I felt shy to say this to PeriyavaaL, I sent it to him in the form of a letter.

The bext time on a morning when I sent to have PeriyavaaL's darshan, I was filled with the thought of what he would say to my letter.

PeriyavaaL was not in the camp. I came to know that he had gone to the surrounding areas on his vijayam (visit). I waited eagerly for his return.

Time was running. Midday came up. I had the constraint to return to my office, with no possibility of staying any longer.

PeriyavaaL came back at the right time. Perhaps he had to suffer vizhuppu (ceremonial impurity) where he went, so he went straight to the basement of the well.

The kiMkara (assistant) knotted the water pot with a rope and lowered it in the well.

"See if the midday sun is visible in the well!", PeriyavaaL told him.


PeriyavaaL looked at me. "You get anything?"

In Advaita Shastra there are two principles. One of them is that like a single sun reflecting in many drops of water, the same eka chaitanyam (single Consciousness) reflects in the antaHkaraNa of countless Jivas--known as prati-bimba vAdham. People who consider the other principle say that to refer to what is immanent in all the Jivas as reflection is not correct. They would give an analogy for that too. As only the infinite AkAsha (space) remains inside all the empty water pots; when the water pot is lowered into the well, only that same water fills it up. This principle is known as avachcheda vAdham.

Here the sun's prati-bimbam (reflected image) in the well; the kiMkara lowers the pot into the well.

Getting a spark I said, "I see the dRSTAnta (example) here for both the prati-bimba vAdham and avachcheda vAdham."

PeriyavaaL nodded his head in the negative. He looked at the well. He looked at the sun. Looking at me keenly, "saraslE pAr (Look in the water)!" he said. And went straight to have his snAnam (bath).

I was thrilled. I felt that inside the karuNa-saras called Maha PeriyavaaL, displaying his prati-bimbam and shining as the jnAna-bhAnu (sun of knowledge) is Bharathi SwamigaL.

The other half--that within that jnAna jyoti is there this saras (flow) of compassion--automatically came up in mind.

Yes, both the Chandrasekharas are as Poigaiyar sang on SankaraNarayana mUrtam:

இருவரங் கத்தால் திரிவரே லும்*ஒருவன்
ஒருவன்*அங் கத்தென்றும் உளன்!

iruvara~g kattAl tirivarE lum^oruvan
oruvan^a~g kattenRum uLan!

Although he wanders in two forms, within each is the other!

* To remain focussed inward is said to be in 'pratyangmukham', and to remain focussed outward is said to be in 'parAngmukham'. From the term 'parAngmukham' came the phrase 'parAkkup pArppadu' (in Tamil--looking here and there in diversion).

avachcheda - m. cutting off, part cut off, piece; separation, distinction.
parAkku - 1. inattention, heedlessness; 2. forgetfulness; absent mindedness; 3. a term of exclamation meaning 'attention'; 4. diversion.

29 May 2008, 05:30 PM

Thank you for sharing with us on Mahaperivaa.
One request,Is it possible to group all articles on Paramacarya under a single thread.Pl.consider this.


05 September 2008, 11:42 AM
'anubhavam Ayiram' (Experiences, a Thousand): Did Anjaneya Come?
Author: Ramani Anna
Source: Sakthi Vikatan issue dated Sep 15, 2008
Type: magazine, fortnightly, Tamil
Publisher: Viketan Publications

One Friday, midday time. In Sringeri, Jagadguru SriSriSri Abhinava Vidyatheertha Maha Sannidhanam, finishing his nitya pUjas, and after the bhikShA was over, sat in ekAntam (privacy) and was conversing with the MaTham disciples.

The students studying in Veda PAThashAlAs in Tirunelveli, Madurai and Ramanathapuram that had Sringeri as their Guru PiTham had then come there to have darshan of Sri SharadambaL and the Jagadguru. SwamigaL had directed them to stay for some days and then return home. Those students also were listening to SwamigaL's conversation.

The talk then turned about the upanyAsakas (speakers) who give pravachana (spiritual expositions). A student called Sankara Subrahmaniyan, of the Veda PAThashAlA, Thallakulam, Madurai got up and prostrated to Jagadguru. Then he said, "About this pravachanam, I desire to do vij~jApana with Gurunathar, something in my mind." Looking a little up and down at him AchAryAL directed, "ennatu, sollEn (what's it, why not tell me)!"

Forthwith in a low tone he said, "Nothing else GurunathA! These days some upanyasakas who do kathA pravachanam leave the sarAmsam (essential truth) and talk much only about other subjects! By this, the sarAmsam gets forgotten, (whereas) the other subjects stay well in memory. We don't get the tRupti (satisfaction) of listening to a good pravachanam! Is this a shortcoming of those who do the pravachana or those who listen to it? Only Maha SwamigaL should favour us with a clarification!"

Others who heard this, said that they too had this doubt. The Jagadguru smiled. Sitting upright in gaMbhIram (majesty), he inquired with compassion, "First, have all of you done your bhojanam (meal)?"

They all rose up, joined palms and said, "Done Swami."

"santoSham (happy)", the Jagadguru smiled and continued: "Wherever, whatever we listen to, we should only absorb the good sarAmsam in it and leave the rest. For this, we should do paripakvam of our mind. Only that is the lofty guNam (personality). Those who do upanyAsa, doing anusAra of the time and audience, at the same time without leaving the 'subject', complete it. Only we should absorb from it like the anna pakShin (the swan bird). What, you understand?" he asked and laughed loudly.

His reply created amazement among the disciples. Looking at Jagadguru, they discussed something secretly among them!

A shiShya by name Suryanarayanan got up and prostrated to Maha Sannidhanam. Then he asked with bhaya bhakti (reverential devotion): "A prArthanA (prayer) to Jagadguru! We all desire to listen to Srimad Ramayanam. Only Jagadguru should show kRupa..." Before he finished, "adukkenna... bEshA (why not, very well) we can arrange it. I shall get well-read paurANikas (puranic exponents) from Mysore and ask them to narrate it," said SwamigaL.

Hearing this, the shiShyas looked at one another with yearning. A shiShya named Yagyanarayanan got up hesitantly and prostrated to Jagadguru. Then he beseeched with humility, "To do shravaNam of Srimad Ramayanam through Jagadguru's amRuta vAk (nectarine speech) is our longtime desire. Gurunathar should do anugraha."

SwamigaL went supple. Still, laughing with a rattle and not showing out his feeling, he said, "Oho! So much pIDikai (bush-beating) only for this?! Let's see, let's see," and went inside. Disappointment for the disciples!

Days passed by. That day was Friday too. The time of sandhyA kAlam (sunset). At Sri SharadambaL's temple, the crowed filled up and swelled. Suddenly... SwamigaL came to have darshan of AmbaaL. It would have been eight o' clock when he came out finishing his darshan! The disciples waiting readily at the temple entrance, on seeing SwamigaL, fell flat and prostrated. AchAryAL stood transfixed.

Looking at them and smiling, he said, "EtEtu, viDamATTEL pOl irukkE (whatever way, seems you people will not leave me)? Alright, alright. It can be held it as desired by you! Selecting an auspicious day, we shall have the prArambhaM", and moved away quickly.

That auspicious day too came. It was decided that AchAryAL would do exposition of the Sundara KANDam for seven days. The news, 'Maha Sannidhanam himself is going to do pravachana anugraha' spreading, the crowed was heavy. It had just finished drizzling!

Those who had darshan of the Jagadguru who came and sat in gaMbhIram on the Asanam (wooden plank), felt as if sAkShAt Veda Vyasa Bhagavan himself had come and seated himself. The pravachanam started in a majestic voice. Half an hour would have passed. SwamigaL halted his pravachanam suddenly and called an assistant of the MaTham. To him he ordered, "Was to tell you in the beginning itself... forgot! What you do, on my side at a small distance you lay a wooden plank. Spread a silk cloth over it. Then, in a silver plate, keep two guava fruits before the seat. shIghram (Quickly)!" His orders were carried out and he continued with his upanyAsam.

The fifth day upanyAsam was also completed. SwamigaL, who elaborated well in a way the students could understand, also explained them the nuances of dharma shAstras.

A student named Venkatesan belonging to the Tirunelveli Veda PAThashAlA came up slowly, prostrated to Jagadguru and said in hesitation, "I have a doubt, Gurudeva."

"What doubt, ask it", said SwamigaL.

He stumbled as he asked: "GurunathA! From the day the upanyAsam was commenced, you ask them to place a plank near you and also keep the guava fruits in a plate before it! Can't understand what is it for..."

Hearing this and laughing rattlingly, AchAryAL said, "Shall tell you, listen... 'yatra yatra raghunAtha kIrtanam, tatra tatra krta-masta kAnjalim'--'wherever Sri Rama's greatness is talked about there will readily come Sri Anjaneya Swami' is a belief. Here we recite Srimad Ramayanam itself. So Swami would come certainly? Can we make him stand? He is the 'nava vyAkaraNa pandita'! The Asana palakai is for him to sit on. Then... this is like doing upachAram with fruits, bakShaNam (savouries), coffee to a guest who comes to our home. Swami likes koyyAppazham (guava fruit) very much. Have understood now?"

Venkatesan nodded yes. Didn't that Deivam (God) know that this tender fruit wasn't clear yet!

Heavy crowd on the sixth day too. Jagadguru completed that day's upanyAsam in a way that moved everyone.

After everyone prostrated to SwamigaL and went away, the PAThashAlA students also, one by one prostrated and moved away. At the last of them was the Tirunelveli PAThashAlA student who prostrated shASTaangam and stood with joined palms. SwamigaL glanced at him with a smile and asked, "What's your full name?"

"Prasanna Venkatesan, GurunathA!"

"Which place is your pUrvIkam (native)?", SwamigaL asked.

"A hamlet near Tirunelveli Kadayanallur, GurunathA!"

"What is (your) takappanAr (father) doing?"

"upAdhyAyam (Vedic occupation), GurunathA!"

Saying "bEsh, bEsh", AchAryAL took with his golden hands the two guava fruits dedicated to Anjaneya Swami and gave it to him. Then he gave him leave with the words, "VenkatesA! These are the [i]uchChiShta prasAdam (remnants) eaten by Anjaneya. Cut it, drop a piece in your mouth and share it with others!"

But then Prasanna Venkatesan did not move away from that place. He stood rolling the guava fruits in his hand and looking at them!

Having understood his flow of thoughts, AchAryAL said smiling within himself, "What Prasanna Venkatesa? Keeping the fruits in hand, what is that deep contemplation? Why not tell me a little, let me also know it!" He hesitated.

"Come on", the Jagadguru emboldened him.

"Nothing else, GurunathA! On that seat, Anjaneya Swami comes and sits and listens to Srimad Ramayanam, eats the guava fruits dedicated to him and leaves..." SwamigaL interruped him before he could finish.

"This is not told by me! This is a custom observed tradition after tradition with pUrNa nambikkai (full faith) by the elders who do Ramanayanam pravachanam. This is satyam too! What is your doubt in this?" asked the JnAnaguru.

Even in that chill weather Prasanna Venkatesan was perspiring. He hesitated to talk. Asking him to come nearer, AchAryAL encouraged him, "Whatever the matter... tell me boldly what strikes your mind."

He said in reply, "While listening to the pravachanam I was also looking at that plank often... For my eyes, nothing of Anjaneya Swami coming and sitting was seen! I also checked up with the sakas (friends) near me. They also said having seen nothing. That's why..." Venkatesan gulped and faltered.

AchAryAL asked, "Alright, alright. This is your first doubt! The two guava fruits are intact, they should have been parted had Anjaneya Swami eaten them is your second doubt (right)?"

Then he explained, "With AtmArta bhakti (soulful devotion) and shraddhA (trust), we too can have darshan of Anjaneya Swami sitting bhavyam (pious) with bhakti and doing Srimad Ramayana shravaNam! If Anjaneyar comes as viShva rUpi and sits, will everyone have the shakti to look at him and bear with the sight? So he would come in sUkShmam (subtle form) and return after listening!" Further he asked Venkatesan, "You know to read grantha letters?"

"I know, GurunathA!" said the boy.

Forthwith, he asked for a Upanishad related grantha book to be brought to him from inside. Opening it at a page and showing a small passage, "You should memorize this in five minutes and recite to me, try if you can", he said with a laugh.

Venkatesan moved to a distance with the book. Precisely five minutes passed by. Coming back to AchAryAL he recited the specific pasage with no mistake of even a syllable.

parama santoSham on AchAryAL's face. He took the book in his hand. Keeping the passage he asked the boy to memorize, he said, "Venkatesa! As asked by me you read and recited (the passage) in just five minutes! Just because you have absorbed those specific akSharas (letters), they haven't disppeared from their places! Aren't the grantha letters intact in their places? This is similar to that! Whatever we dedicate to God, He does svIkAram (claim) of only the ruchi (taste) accompanied by bhakti shraddhA and leaves the padArthas (eatables) to us with supreme compassion. Do you now understand the secret of those two guava fruits remaining intact, in full, without withering or shrinking?", AchAryAL asked him and laughed rattlingly.

Prasanna Venkatesan was sitting in amazement. Peace prevailed there for sometime. They all prostrated in shASTaangam.

The day of pravachana pUrti (completion of discourse)! At three in the afternoon itself AchAryAL came to the stage. The upanyAsam was going on very movingly. The time of completion, and everyone was listening, forgetful of their own selves. It was at that time that miracle took place!

A large vAnaram (monkey) came by leaps and bounds to the upanyAsam hall. Without taking heed of anyone, it jumped up the stage, went and sat quietly on the Asanam meant for Anjaneya Swami, facing AchAryAL! The Jagadguru was looking at it for sometime without moving his eyes away. It did not even regard the guava fruits kept before the seat! The crowd wondered at this sight!

Five o' clock in the evening. That vAnaram did not sway this way or that until then. Did not also touch the fruits. Completing his upanyAsam, AchAryAL recited the phala sruti. Then turning his head to his right and looking at the vAnaram, he said, "Anjaneya Swami, very happy that you came and sat here to listen to Srimad Ramayanam!" and requested, "Those two guava fruits are only for you, should do svIkAram of them." Looking around at the crowd once, the vAnaram took the fruits and keenly looked at AchAryAL for sometime with affection.

Meantime a voice proclaimed from the crowd, "Anjaneya... Rama, Rama!" Everyone looked towards the direction the voice came from. Prasanna Venkatesan was standing there with joined palms, his eyes filled with tears. By this time the vAnaram descended slowly from the stage, walked majestically and disappeared.

Coming to Jagadguru with filled eyes Prasanna Venkatesan said, "Gurudeva! That which came and sat on the plank near you did not appear as a vAnaram to my eyes. I saw sAkShAt Anjaneya Swami with his sharIram (body) that is AjAnubAhu (arms reaching knees) sitting in gAmbhIryam (majesty)! I also saw Swami saying something to AchAryAL! The tAtparyam of what you told me is now understood by me, GurunathA!" He fell at the Jagadguru's pAdAravinda. With so many people consoling him, no one could control his flowing tears.

That para brahmam blessed him with raised hands!

anusAra - m. going after, following; custom, usage; nature, natural state or condition of anything; prevalence, currency; received or established authority, especially of codes of law; accordance, conformity to usage; consequence, result;
prArambha - commencement, beginning, undertaking, enterprise
pravachana - m. one who exposes, propounds BhP.; n. speaking, talking Pan5cat.; recitation, oral instruction, teaching, expounding, exposition, interpretation; announcement, proclammation, excellent speech or language.
paripakva - completely cooked or dressed, completely burnt; quite ripe, mature; accomplished, perfect; highly cultivated, very sharp or shrewd
tAtparya - reference to any object, aim, object, purpose, meaning, purport
vij~jApana - humble request, respectful communication

13 September 2008, 08:14 PM
'anubhavam Ayiram' (Experiences, a Thousand): Sri Shantananda Mahima
Author: Ramani Anna
Source: Sakthi Vikatan issue dated Sep 28, 2008
Type: magazine, fortnightly, Tamil
Publisher: Viketan Publications

The time AdiyEn (I) was fully engaged in the Nanganallur 'Adhi VyAdhihara' Sri Anjaneya Swami Alaya nirmANa kaingaryam (temple construction works). (The year 1994).

The noontime of a Saturday in the month of Kartikai. Sitting in rest after the meal at home, I fell into a short sleep involuntarily. At that time Sadguru Sri Santhananda SwamigaL who appeared in my dream with a smiling face asked with the privilege of intimacy, "enna dAsanE (what, my devoted servant)! It is a long time... since you are seen near Skandasramam! Have forgotten it?" and then disappeared.

I woke up with a jolt. My mind was filled with bliss. I started on that very evening. Stayed at Salem for the night. Was at the Skandasramam on the morning of the next day (Sunday). A divine laughter on the face of Sadgurunatha who had spotted me at a distance!

Raising my hands high above my head, I fell prostrating shAstAngam before SwamigaL. Looking at me with a smile for sometime without taking his eyes away, he blossomed his holy mouth: "enna dAsanE, not at all seen before my eyes for many days together! What is it for today... looks like a wonder! Some soppanam (dream) came up yesterday?" Even before he could finish it, I felt perspiring and once again fell at his golden feet with a thud and got up!

That Parabrahmam laughed. "Satyam GurunathA! Only after having a dream yesterday I have now come running! How come you..." before I finished he talked: "EnDAppa (why my boy), why would it not be known? Only I came in your dream!" Saying this that dIrgha darshi (one with a foresight) laughed loudly!

I did not know what to talk. I stood like a column. Then somewhat coming to senses, I said: "Only vAstavam (real) GurunathA! At the time I went into a short sleep after taking my meal at noon yesterday, you came in my dream and asked, 'Not seen near Skandasramam... Have forgotten it?' That is why..."

"You started to come here!", he said laughing before I finished. "Only when dreams come up in this way, it seems that it would occur to you to come."

AdiyEn did not understand what to reply to that Deivam who knew everything. I stood in silence.

Gurunathar himself dissolved the silence. "You have not taken any tiffin in the morning?"

"No, GurunathA!"

"Today in the ukkirANam (kitchen), veN pongal (salt pongal) and brinjal kotsu (salad) have been prepared. First go there, and come back after finishing your tiffin!..." With supreme compassion, that God sent me away!

When I returned finishing my morning tiffin, a large crowd for darshan of Gurunathar. Calling the people one by one and talking to them, he was sending them back. Leaning myself against a pillar, AdiyEn was watching it.

Twelve o' clock in the noon. The crowd had become less. Sadgurunathar gestured and called me. Getting up and running, I prostrated to him.

"Nanganallur Temple works are going on in jarUr (briskness, swiftness)?" SwamigaL asked.

"Going on, GurunathA!" I said.

"What is the decision in uddesha (approximately) about when to conduct the mahA kumbAbhiShekam?"

"We are making efforts to finish it within the coming year. Only Gurunathar should give anugraham."

SwamigaL said with a sudden utsAha (enthusiasm), "bEsha naDakkum... bEsha naDakkum (will be held very well)!" Then he asked eagerly, "It is alright, but when did the yantra pratiShTA vaibhavam (yantra installation festivity) took place there?"

"On the date of 16th February, 1992, the yantra pratiShTA was held, GurunathA!" I said.

"That was a day of Punarvasu (PunarpUsam) NakShatram?"

"Yes Swami", I said, surprised!

SwamigaL continued his question: "It is alright. Is the Anjaneya Swami going to be installed there is only Eka mukham (single-faced)?"

"Yes, GurunathA."

"But then the pratiShTA yantram itself seems like that of pancha mukham (five-faced)!", said SwamigaL.

"Yes, GurunathA! What was installed in the AdhAra pITham (root base) was only the pancha mukha hanumat yantra", I agreed with him.

Sadgurunathar did not leave it at that. "Let that be. Three years ago... my remembrance is that it was in ninety... taking that yantram, with ten or twelve devotees, it seems you people went on yAtrA (tour) to many kShetras (holy places) and even came to Skandasramam!", that Parabrahmam asked smiling and raising his eyebrows.

AdiyEn was in confusion! About the pratiShTA that took place and was over, why SwamigaL inquires with such probing questions, I was nervous, unable to understand it.

SwamigaL continued: "See if one thing comes to your mind! As I received that large pancha mukha hanumat yantram and kept it on my lap, you know the experience I had? I shall now tell you, listen. I felt like sAkShAt pancha mukha Hanuman himself coming down as a shishu (infant) and sitting on my lap. It was a Yantra with such a jIva kaLai (pulsating life)! I read without missing anything, the grantha akSharas (Sanskrit letters) found on the Yantra surfaces. 'With what shraddhA (care and faith) have they created this', I felt very proud. 'Who is the one that made such a wonderful Yantra' I asked you at that time.

"What you said at that time... 'AnathANdavapuram Ramadas Aiyar and here, the man standing by my side, Marutthuvakkudi Sundaresa Josyar... these two people together prepared it' is still in my memory! What, all that I say is correct?" SwamigaL asked.

Standing amazed, I nodded my head with humility in agreement! I couldn't think of anything to talk to him!

Sadgurunathar himself continued: "It entered my mind that a prati (copy) of that Yantra which was parama sAnnidhyam (of supreme divine presence) should be there in our Skandasramam. Forthwith I told you, 'Take a prati of this pancha mukha hanumat yantram and ensure it reaches me'. Nodding your head with vigour and only after saying, "uttiravu (your orders), GurunathA" in happiness, you moved away!

"The yantra pratiShTA was also over! But to date you have not at all given the yantra prati to me! I also know that it was not your mistake. A man who accompanied told you, 'Ramani... We should not give to other people the Yantra we prepared exclusively for Anjaneya Swami. (Or else) its sAnnidhyam (divine presence) will lessen", one person among you said it. I also know who is he!", he said.

Tears leaked from my eyes. My body shuddered! Falling at the holy feet of Sadgurunathar, I wept, sobbing. Before I could gather myself to speak something, SwamigaL himself said: "The elders say that dharmam to the poor and dAnam to the renunciate should be done. What am I going to do keeping that yantra prati! If necessary, I shall use it for loka kShemam (welfare of the world), what else?" Saying this, SwamigaL called an Asramam official to come near him.

To him he said, "Bring me the 'mantra mahottati' book kept inside in the almirah (shelf)." The book was submitted to SwamigaL. Turning its leaves over, he took two sheets of paper from it and displayed them. Then he asked, "Are these two papers familiar to you?"

I looked at it attentively. One is a handwritten copy of the Nanganallur pancha mukha hanumat yantram! In the other sheet something was written in order in the grantha lipi! It was not intelligible to me.

Still, gathering courage, I asked him, "That Sadgurunathar should pardon me is what I ask you first doing ananta koTi shAstAnga namaskAram. It is all a miracle to me! Without anyone of us giving it, as to how the Nanganallur pancha mukha hanumat yantra prati came into your hasta (hands)..."

Before I could finish, SwamigaL laughed, "So you desire to know how, is that so?" Then he asked, "You know Pudukottai Dr. Vaidheesvara SastrigaL?"

"I know him very well, GurunathA", I said.

"If that be so, you do one thing. Go to Pudukottai and meet the elderly man Vaidheesvara SastrigaL. He knows these details! And he will tell you." Saying thus, SwamigaL gave me leave to return. Prostrating and receiving prasAdam, I started my way back.

That very evening, I was at the house of Pudukottai Dr. Vaidheesvara SastrigaL.

"varaNum, varaNum (welcome, welcome)", SastrigaL received me with a blossoming face and inquired, "on what purpose have you come?"

I told him everything in great detail. Listening to it with interest, SastrigaL said, "This is a samAchAram (news) that is parama rahasyam (of complete secrecy)! Even then, since Sadgurunatha himself has sent you to know it, I shall tell you. You should also keep it in your mind only." He cautioned and took me to the vAsal thiNNai (raised portico) nearby.

As we sat there, SastrigaL continued: "A day three years ago... Sadgurunathar sent word for me hurriedly. I went to Skandasramam at once.

There, taking me to a room privately, SwamigaL asked me to pick up a sheet of paper and a pen. Then he sat down upright, closing both his eyes. I was unnerved! As a jaTA makuTadhAri (with a crest of matted locks of hair), it looked as if sAkShAt Paramesvara was sitting!

Without opening his eyes, he ordered, "Now you should write down in Samskrtam what I shall go on telling you, without missing anything." Then he started telling, and I too took it down fast and finished it! Then as SwamigaL opened his eyes, I asked him, "SadgurunathA, what you told me now looks like the pancha mukha hanumat paramAna yantrottaraka shlokam (the root verse to write up the Yantra)?" Then he gave me all the details!" SastrigaL stopped to steady his breathing.

I was impatient. "That is alright, SastrigaaL... Did Gurunathar say anything about who gave him the yantrottAraka mUla shlokam of the Nanganallur pancha mukha hanumat yantram?", I asked with eagerness.

"He told me."

"Whoever was that?"

To this question of mine, Dr. Vaidheesvara SastrigaL replied with tears leaking out of his eyes.

"He said it was sAkShAt Sri Bhuvanesvari Ambikai!"

Hearing this, I stood in amazement! I raised my hands high towards the direction where that Sadgurunathar stands tall as a living holy figure and worshipped him.

02 December 2010, 07:42 AM
The 'Satara' that Resolved the saN^katas
Compiler: Sri Ramani Anna (in Tamil)
Source: Sakthi Vikatan issue dated Jun 14, 2007

VaikAsi anusham - May 31. The holy day when 114 years ago, when the lamp appeared to lead the way with its light to AnmIkam (spirituality). On this golden day when Kanchi Periyavaa took avatar, the very thinking of that para brahmam will give pari pUrNa shanti.

An incident that happened many years ago.

It was the time when in the Satara town of Maharashtra, the construction works of Uttara Sri Nataraja temple were going on in accordance with AcharyaaL's orders. People thronged daily to have darshan of PeriyavaaL who was camping in the town.

A Sunday. Three o' clock in the afternoon. A 30-year-old youth prostrated to AcharyaaL, his eight limbs touching the ground, and got up. Tears were seen in his eyes. Noticing it, Periyavaa asked him with affection, "EmpA, who are you? Which place, why do your eyes go red?" Without replying, he started crying. People nearby assuaged him and made him sit before SwamigaL.

"Which place are you from appA?" SwamigaL asked him.

"Palakkad, Periyavaa."

"You are coming all the way from Palakkad?" asked AcharyaaL immediately.

"Yes Periyavaa. I am coming all the way from that place."

"Alright. What is your name?"

"Harihara Subramanian."

"besh* (well) a good name. Right, what's your thagappanAr (father) doing?"

"My father is not in jIva dashA (living condition) now, Periyavaa. He was practicing Ayurveda in Palakkad. His name was Dr. Harihara Narayanan--"

Before he finished, SwamigaL with kutUhala (interest) said, "ada (I see), you are the son of Palakkad Ayurvedic doctor Narayanan? Very glad. In that case, tell me, you are the grandson of doctor Harihara Raghavan! All of them earned very good name in Ayurveda!". SwamigaL looked at him keenly, raising his eyebrows.

The youth said, "Yes, Periyavaa."

Smiling, AcharyaaL said, "besh! A lofty vaidhya paramparA (medical lineage). It is alright. You have not added any doctor title before your name?"

"I did not study for that Periyavaa. My father did not prepare me in that way," said the youth, without interest.

"You should not say that way! Did your father not prepare you, or you did not have the shraddhA (strong wish) in getting prepared in that way?"

There was no reply. "Taking birth in that vaidhya paramparA, you missed the chance to know things? Right, up to which class you have studied?"

"Up to the ninth, Periyavaa."

"Why? You had no wish to study further?"

"Somehow I did not have the wish Periyavaa. I now feel for it!"

"Your vivAham (marriage) is done?"

"Done Periyavaa. I have a daughter who is seven years old."

"Right, what do you do now?"

Tears gushed from his eyes. "Since I had no education, I could not get any high jobs, Periyavaa. I am doing the work of a supervisor in a local rice mill. The salary is seven hundred rupees. My family is running only on that amount."

"Oho... Is that so? Right. You have your own gRuham left for you by the periyavaaLs (ancestors)?" SwamigaL asked him.

Wiping his tears, Harihara Subramanian said, "There is a house Periyavaa, built by my grandfather. The very purpose of my coming here is to supplicate to Periyavaa about it. Many years ago, since her husband passed away, my father's sister came over to Palakkad bringing her two daughters. During a Navaratri festival time, my father mortgaged the house to a local person, took twenty-fve thousand rupees from him, conducted the marriage of the two daughters of my aunt, and then suddenly passed away. My aunt too passed away.

"My grievance, Periyavaa, is that during the festival time of Navaratri my father mortgaged the house that was lakshmikaram (prosperous, Lakshmi-given) and passed away. The amount has now come to forty-five thousand rupees including the interest. It seems the house is going to sink!"

SwamigaL lapsed into contemplation for a while. His silence dissolved presently and he said as he smiled, "Alright, now you celebrate the Navaratri festival at home, raising a kolu (an assembly of divine dolls) every year?"

"No, Periyavaa. I stopped the custom of raising a kolu after my father passed away, doing what he did."

AcharyaaL promptly interrupted him and said, "You should never talk so disrespectfully of Atthup periyavaaL (family ancestors). They are all very lofty people. I know it well! They have all gone after doing only excellent things! Keeping something in mind, your stopping the custom of celebrating Navaratri every year with a prosperous kolu is wrong! The Navaratri starts in a week from now. You revive the custom of raising a kolu in Palakkad from this year. All your afflictions will be solved and your will get prosperity!" Blessing the youth and giving him prasAdam, SwamigaL bid him farewell.

Twenty days passed. It was a Sunday. A large crowd in Satara to have darshan of AcharyaaL.

An assistant of the MaTham made way parting people in the queue and brought before SwamigaL a respectable man of 60 to 65 years of age, wearing a saffron jippa (tunic) over a pancakaccham (tucked in dhoti), and a number of tulasi, rudrAkSa garlands on his neck. He prostrated to AcharyaaL and started conversing in Hindi. SwamigaL also did his saMbhASaNaM (conversation) in Hindi and then asked the gentleman to go and sit on the stage opposite him.

At length, a small trunk box in hand, Palakkad Harihara Subramanian came and stood before Maha SwamigaL. He prostrated resting his eight limbs to the ground.

With artha puSTi (wealth of meaning) SwamigaL looked alternately at the youth and his trunk box. The youth opened the box slowly. Very ancient palm leaf scripts numbering 10 to 15 were kept inside the box, wrapped in a silk cloth. That Parabrahmam looked at him knowingly, yet as if it did not know.

The youth said innocently, "You gave me the orders to revive the custom of kolu from this year. When I climbed up the loft to retrieve the kolu dolls, I found this box there. I had not seen it until then Periyavaa! I checked its contents and found these scripts whose letters were unintelligible to me. So I brought it straight here."

AcharyaaL laughed and beckoned to the gentleman in saffron tunic who was sitting on the stage opposite him. To the gentleman he said in Hindi, "The apUrva vastu (rare article) you asked me about only a little while go has come here, look!"

The gentleman immediately sat down on the floor, took the palm leaves and started having a glance at their grantha letters using a lens he had with him. His face blossomed. Lifting those scripts and keeping them over his head, he grinned happily and said, "O Parama Acharya Purusha! I am searching for this apUrva ayurveda grantha for many years. You are the pratyakSa deivam (God present before the eyes)! Within half an hour you have brought before my eyes what I prayed to you for!" He prostrated to SwamigaL with wonder.

Harihara Subramanian stood amazed looking at all this. AcharyaaL called him near and said, "This gentleman is a great Ayurveda Siddha research scholar of Pandaripuram. Only half an hour back he told me about his searching for such an apUrva suvadi (rare palm leaves). Something struck my mind, I told him to sit and wait for sometime. And now you come and stand before me with this trunk box!" AcharyaaL ordered the youth, "All these will be very useful to him. Thinking of your father and grandfather, you submit with your own hands all these things to that gentleman."

The youth did as he was told. Tears of joy in the face of the gentleman who received the contents.

The gentleman looked at him and said, "I have come to possess an apUrva grantha by your grace! It would not be dharma to receive them without paying a kANikkai (an amount as a token of gratitude)." Then he placed five hundred-rupee-sections** (each having 100 bills in it) along with some fruits in a plate and held them politely to Harihara Subramanian. The youth looked at SwamigaL, who smiled and asked him to receive the money. Hands shaking, the youth received those fifty thousand rupees!

Calling him near, that walking God said, "What did I tell you when you spoke out your grievance about your family ancestors? I said they were all lofty people, they would have gone only after doing excellent things. It somehow struck in my mind. You saw the excellent thing your people had done, on the loft where the kolu dolls were kept? You said your house mortgage loan had swelled to forty-five thousand rupees in principal and interest! Now Sri ChandraMauleesvara has done his anugraham for it. Get back to Palakkad with happiness. Let the money be safe with you!" and bid him farewell after blessing him.

*besh - I think this term originates form bheSajam meaning healing, healthy. The equivalent terms based on health and healing in some other languages used as appreciative expressions include: nallathu in Tamil, accha in Hindi and 'well' in English.

**The term 'section' in Indian banking parlance, refers to a pack of 100 bills of currency. A 'bundle' is a pack of ten such sections.

puSTi - thriving, prosperity, comfort, wealth, opulence, breeding, rearing, nourishment


02 December 2010, 10:48 AM

Sorry for interference but I do not understand what you want to prove, I have read only first post fully but not all other posts

Many sanskrit scholars have stated that 'Bali' in Yajna means 'purnahuti' and not any killing, the stories of killing are made in Kaliyug, neither ashvmedh, nor gomedh yajna is for killing horse or cow.

No Dharm Granth says that any killing will make ॐ satisfied. But all Hindu daities have some living being as their mount, and make them pavitra as well

Could you explain

03 December 2010, 07:31 AM
namaste Param.

In the incident narrated in the OP, the AchArya has clearly stated his views about sacrificial killing in the veda yajnas, specially in what he states in the last paragraph:

"Therefore, what do you understand from all this? No one except the ascetics and rishis can observe total ahimsa. People can observe ahimsa only according to the rights sanctioned to them. Vedas say that the doing yajnas for the welfare of the world by householders will not amount to himsa. Only Vedas are the pramANam (standard) for us. Precepts that cannot be violated."

We find from Buddha's life that animals were sacrificed in yajnas even in this Kali Yuga. I have also heard of figures of animals made of rice flour offered in the fire, instead of actual animals. Animal sacrifice in veda yajnas is almost never practised today, although bali in pujas, specially to DevI forms is common. But that cannot be construed as ahiMsA or a crime considering the far higher figures of animals slaughtered all over the world for human consumption and at the time of Id festival in Islam. I heard that in every Muslim home a bakri--goat is killed on the day of this festival, its blood is poured in front of the house and then the meat is diced and hung in their houses to dry and preserved in the form of pickles.

There is a proverb in Tamizh: "The sin of killing is gone by eating."

Sorry for interference but I do not understand what you want to prove, I have read only first post fully but not all other posts

Many sanskrit scholars have stated that 'Bali' in Yajna means 'purnahuti' and not any killing, the stories of killing are made in Kaliyug, neither ashvmedh, nor gomedh yajna is for killing horse or cow.

No Dharm Granth says that any killing will make ॐ satisfied. But all Hindu daities have some living being as their mount, and make them pavitra as well

Could you explain

03 December 2010, 07:59 AM
namaste Param.

In the incident narrated in the OP, the AchArya has clearly stated his views about sacrificial killing in the veda yajnas, specially in what he states in the last paragraph:

"Therefore, what do you understand from all this? No one except the ascetics and rishis can observe total ahimsa. People can observe ahimsa only according to the rights sanctioned to them. Vedas say that the doing yajnas for the welfare of the world by householders will not amount to himsa. Only Vedas are the pramANam (standard) for us. Precepts that cannot be violated."

We find from Buddha's life that animals were sacrificed in yajnas even in this Kali Yuga. I have also heard of figures of animals made of rice flour offered in the fire, instead of actual animals. Animal sacrifice in veda yajnas is almost never practised today, although bali in pujas, specially to DevI forms is common. But that cannot be construed as ahiMsA or a crime considering the far higher figures of animals slaughtered all over the world for human consumption and at the time of Id festival in Islam. I heard that in every Muslim home a bakri--goat is killed on the day of this festival, its blood is poured in front of the house and then the meat is diced and hung in their houses to dry and preserved in the form of pickles.

But Yajnas originally do not teach killing any animal, the word Bali used in them originally means purnahuti, I met many Pundits and scholars, and they all says that, killing of animals was introduced by tantrikism in Kaliyug, and not original Vaidik.

Buddha was in Kaliyug himself, his own life shows that he supported non violence because he was always surrounded by Brahmins, but he only avoided killing animals, but allowed to eat dead animals which were not sacrificed, but he was not a vegetarian himself, his last supper was pork

Muslims sacrifice animals on Koran demand, there is no demand by Vedas for this. Islam is not any explain.

There is a proverb in Tamizh: "The sin of killing is gone by eating."That's nothing good, and it looks the opposite of that of buddha's

04 December 2010, 05:41 AM
'anubhavam Ayiram' (Experiences, a Thousand)
Author: Ramani Anna
Source: Sakthi Vikatan issue dated Aug 30, 2008
Type: magazine, fortnightly, Tamil
Publisher: Viketan Publications

Several years ago... Sri Kanchi Maha SwamigaL along with his parivAram (entourage) did vijayam (visit) of the Thanjai (Thanjavur) district areas. It was the month of Ani (jyaishTha). People from the villages of the surrounding taluks kept coming to have darshan of Maha PeriyavaaL who was camping in a large dharma chatram (free choultry) at ADutuRai.

The pramukhas (notables) of the villages Natarajapuram, Govindapuram, Thyagarajapuram, Sattanur, and Tirumangalakkudi surrounding Aduturai, had arranged on behalf of their places, for a samaSTi bhikShA vandanam (collective feeding of a sage and his retinue).

At a distance of only one k.m. from Aduturai is ADiyEn's (my) native place Marutthuvakkudi village located. My father BrahmaSri Santhana Vadhyar was then the MudrAdhikAri of Sri Kanchi MaTham of that area. On behalf of our village too he wanted a samaSTi bhikShA vandanam to be held. The local pramukhas had agreed for this.

On the morning next day, my father started for the choultry where SwamigaL was camping. He took me with him.

On seeing him, the MaTha kAryasta (secretary) said, "ShAstrigAL... Aren't you the MudrAdhikAri of Marutthuvakkudi? Shouldn't you have the bhikShA in your place one day? You have it on the coming Sunday possibly?"

My father said forthwith, "I too came over here to have it fixed. We shall have it on the Sunday." He asked the KAryasta, "Approximately what will it our expenses?"

The KAryasta said with a smile, "Shall tell you. Should remit two hundred and fifty rupees as the kANikkai (offering) to the MaTham. Then your expenses of buying coconuts, fruits, vegetables and so on. After everything is over, when receiving prasAdam from AcharyAL, pAda samarpaNai (offering at feet) as convenient to your village. All told it might take rupees five or six hundred for your expenses." And he asked, "Won't there be enough collection at your place?"

With no hesitation my father said, "bEshA AyiDum (will be accomplished well)". He continued with eagerness, "That's alright, but how much do the people of other places offer as pAda samarpaNai?"

"From five hundred to a thousand they do it", said the KAryasta. My father lapsed into deep consideration.

When we had darshan of AchAryAL within a short while, we prostrated to him and got up. My father informed SwamigaL about the BhikShA Vandanam.

"bEShA naDakkaTTumE (may it take place well)", SwamigaL gave anugraha. "Are there tanikAL (rich men) in our place who can do it Ekadesham (alone)?" he asked.

Lowering his tone, my father said, "Three or four persons are there. Among them two or three had now gone to Madras. The uddeshaH (thinking) is that we all get together in the village and do BhikShA Vandanam for PeriyavaaL." He prayed, "AchAryAL should give anugraha." Smiling, SwamigaL raised both his hands and blessed him.

There were only four days for the coming Sunday. My father started the collection. In the three AgrahArams together, there will be about 30 houses. The collection was over by Thursday evening. 400 rupees had been collected. My father and the other VaidIkAs in the village submitted another hundred rupees. Thus the total collection amounted to rupees 500! It was just enough for the BhikShA Vandanam.

Only for PeriyavaaL's pAda samarpaNai, money was required. It was my father's wish that at least five hundred rupees must be offered. He did not sleep well that night.

Friday! We went to have darshan of AchAryAL. Sitting in a thatched shed in the choultry, SwamigaL was giving darshan. The crowd surged like a wave. At a distance, in a corner, joining our palms, we prostrated towards the direction SwamigaL was seated. I looked at my father. His face was soaked in worry. His worry was whatever can be done for the pAda samarpaNai.

Suddenly a voice full of compassion: "Santhanam! Come near. Why are you standing there?"

Laughing and gesturing, AchAryAL beckoned him near. We both went near him, prostrated in shASTaaN^gam and got up.

"What Santhanam, yesterday you were not seen here at all! Any jOli (work) in your place?" SwamigaL inquired.

"Nothing of that sort Periyavaa. Aren't we doing BikshA Vandanam on behalf of our place this Sunday... On that account I was making some arrangements, that's all." Before my father could finish, SwamigaL interrupted and asked, "That's alright Santhanam, the laukIkams (collection) were completed as expected?" with a laugh. My father hesistated to reply to this.

Before he could open his mouth to say something, as if SwamigaL had understood something, "Worry about nothing! By the kRupA (compassion) of ChandraMauleesvara, things will happen as you have thought about them", SwamigaL fondled him with words.

Suddenly, "Why Santhanam... In the Kaveri river in this place, are there plenty of waters flowing now, you know about it?" he asked. Everyone was confused as to why Periyavaa should inquire about the Kaveri waters.

"It is flowing in plenty Periyavaa", said my father.

Periyavaa did not leave him at that. "Alright, when did you last go for your Kaveri snAnam (bath)?"

"A week ago Periyavaa!", my father replied.

"Let it be. Is there much water flowing now, you know about it?" This is Periyavaa.

A local Anbar (devotee) present there said with humility, "I had gone for the Kaveri snAnam this morning. A fair amount of water is flowing Periyavaa."

SwamigaL was not at samAdhAna (reconciled) at that. "Flowing fairly means... not understandable! Does it flow so one can immerse and do snAnam, I should know about it", he said. Looking at my father, he continued, "Santhanam, you do one kAryam. Go for Kaveri snAnam at dawn tomorrow morning. Have a look and tell me if enough tIrtham (water) flows for bathing with good immersion." Saying this, he suddenly got up and went inside!

We returned to our place thinking that PeriyavaaL was asking all these details for his own immersed bath in Kaveri.

Saturday! It dawned. There was a slight drizzle. In accordance with PeriyavaaL's orders, we went for the Kaveri snAnam. It was then seven o' clock in the morning. Apart from me and my father on the banks, there was not a single fly or crow. Taking bath my father said, "Waters are flowing enough for taking a good, immersed bath! Should go and tell Periyavaa."

Then he started saying the Kaveri snAna saMkalpam in a loud tone. Suddenly, from the banks was heard a clear and loud voice: "SAstrigAL! Please stay awhile. I too shall join you. For me too kindly do the snAna saMkalpam. There will be puNyam for you!" We both turned and looked. A man who could be estimated to be of 55 years of age was descending into the waters. A face that was not familiar at all!

Finishing the saMkalpa snAnam we climbed up to the banks. Changing his clothes, that man gave my father five rupees towards snAna saMkalpa dakshiNA (ritual gift). My father inquired about him.

He started saying: "For me too our pUrvIkam (ancestry) is only Marutthuvakkudi. My maternal grandfather too is from the same place. For my paternal grandfather Venkatachalam Aiyar, there was an own house in Marutthuvakkudi. After my grandfather, none of us remained here. We went to Bombay. Melur ChandraMauleesvara Swami near Tiruneelakkudi is our kula deivam. 'Whenever you went by the side of our place, have a snAnam in Aduturai Kaveri', my mother often used to say. I got that bhAgyam only today. I am going to Thanjavur in connection with a family legal case. Now having got Kaveri snAnam with saMkalpam, much tRupti (satisfaction)!"

Then he asked, "AmA (What) SAstrigAL! I witnessed as I climbed down from the train. Many people in maDisAr and pancha kaccham are moving in throngs. What is the visheSham here?"

My father elaborated to him about AchAryAL's vijayam and the grAma bhikShA vandanam. He was very happy to hear about it.

"Even to listen to it is happiness. There is this nirbandham (constraint) for me not to participate in the BhikShA Vandanam for the loka guru done on behalf of our place. Still, as an offer from our family, please include this amount too in the BhikShA Vandanam." Saying this, he prostrated to my father, and handed over an envelope to him. My father could understand nothing. He opened the envelope and looked. 500 rupees inside it!

"I shall take leave SAstrigAL", my father stopped the man who was just leaving. "Your nAmadeyam (name)?", he asked the man.

The answer he gave: "Chandramauli".

We both stood amazed.

Then we went straight to the choultry. Periyavaa was not there. They said he had gone to Govindapuram Sri BodhendraaL MaTham.

As my father went to the MaTham KAryasta and said, "Periyavaa asked me to check if enough water is flowing in Kaveri for an immersed bath." Before he could finish, the secretary said, "Periyavaa returned at four dawn time this morning finishing his Kaveri snAnam", giving it a grand finale. Our amazement grew!

Sunday. The BhikShA Vandanam was over. All of us in the village prostrated to PeriyavaaL. My father submitted that 500 rupees as pAda samarpaNai in a plate full of fruits.

Looking keenly at that fruit place for a while, SwamigaL said laughing, "What Santhanam! Isn't your wish fulfilled by the kRpA of Chandramauleeswara?" All of us stood amazed and fell shASTaaN^gam before PeriyavaaL.

nirbandh - to fix or fasten upon, attach one's self to, insist upon, persist in, urge
samaSTi - reaching, attaining; aggregate, totality.


05 December 2010, 06:40 AM
What did Kanchi SwamigaL Say to VinAyaka?
Author: mahAraNyam SriSri MuraLidhara Swamiji
Source: Sakthi Vikatan issue dated Aug 01, 2008
Type: magazine, fortnightly, Tamil
Publisher: Viketan Publications

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

prAkAra - a wall, enclosure, fence, rampart