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Thread: Kanchi Paramacharya: A Virtual Darshan

  1. #11
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    Re: Kanchi Paramacharya: A Virtual Darshan

    Paramacharya Stuns a Landowner!
    Author: Sri Ramani Anna (in Tamil)
    Source: Sakthi Vikatan issue dated Nov 05, 2006

    A Citra full moon day, many years back. An abhiSekam was performed in a grand manner with mahAnyAsa rudra japam at Sri Mahalingaswami Temple, Tiruvidaimarudur. The person who conducted it with 11 Vedic pundits was the landowner Narayanaswami Iyer of Tiruvarur. The rudrAbhiSekam that started at eight in the morning came to a completion around one in the afternoon.

    The landowner Narayanaswami Iyer was extremely devoted to Kanchi Maha SwamigaL. He decided 'this rudrAbhiSeka prasAdam should be submitted to Periyavaa somehow.' He reverentially kept the prasAdam on a banana leaf and folded it inside a new silk cloth. That same evening, he boarded the Madurai Madras passenger train at Tiruvidaimarudur railway station. He got down at Chingleput station in the early morning, took a bus and arrived at Kanchipuram.

    There was a large crowd at the maTham on that day. Finishing his bath and other chores, the landowner waited for Periyavaa's darshan. At about 12 o'clock in the noon, Maha SwamigaL came and sat down, after finishing his Chandramouleesvara puja. The crowd of devotees rushed forward. The landowner couldn't approach SwamigaL. He showed the prasAda bag and begged everyone, "All of you please make way! I have brought Tiruvidaimarudur Mahalingaswamy rudrAbhiSeka prasAdam for Periyavaa. I have to submit it to him."

    No one seemed to make way. An employee of the maTham who saw the anxiety and haste of the landowner, created a trail for him among the people and brought Narayanaswami Iyer near PeriyavaL. When he saw PeriyavaL, the landowner became insensate, dropped down heavily for a prostration and got up. Maha SwamigaL looked at him raising his head. He raised his brows as if he inquired what the matter was.

    With his hands shaking, the landowner babbled, unpacking the prasAdam bag, "prasAdam, prasAdu Periyavaa". "What prasAdam?" asked PeriyavaL and looked at him. In the meantime, the landowner managed to extract the prasAdam. He kept it on the cane plate found there and submitted it to PeriyavaL. On that plate were found in a small banana leaf, vibuti, kuN^kumam, sandal paste together with some bilva dalam, two parts of a broken coconut, and some poovan banana fruits.

    Maha SwamigaL asked, "All these are prasAdam of which kSetra?" and looked at the landowner once again. The landowner calmed himself and said with humility, "Periyavaa! I performed the rudrAbhiSekam for Mahalingaswami at Tiruvidaimarudur yesterday. It was a large abhiSekam with mahAnyAsa rudra japam. This is that prasAdam. Since Periyavaa would be happy, I have rushed here to bring it, boarding a train; you must receive it and bless me."

    Looking at that prasAda plate sharply for sometime, Periyavaa asked: "Narayanaswami! You are a big landowner yourself. Even then you performed this rudrAbhiSekam for Swami, teaming up with some other people to meet the expenses?"

    The landowner replied, "No, Periyavaa! I performed it myself, out of my own expenses," stressing the 'myself' part a little.

    PeriyavaL smiled to himself. He did not leave it at that. "So you did for for loka kSema at Madhyaarjuna kSetra", he added.

    The landowner replied with some uncertainty, "No, Periyavaa! For the last two or three years there was no yield in my fields. Some fields were even barren. I checked up with Tiruvidaimarudur Muthu Josyar. He advised me, 'On a Citra full moon day perform rudrAbhiSekam for Mahalingaswami. That will give you an abundant yield!' Only on that belief I performed it, Periyavaa".

    The prasAda that was kept before the sage remained untouched. AcharyaL did not accept it. Saying, "So it seems that you did not perform this act either for AtmArtam or for loka kSemArtam", he closed his eyes and dropped into meditation.

    AcharyaL opened his eyes after fifteen minutes. There was such a clarity in his face! And a knowing look of having understood many things within those fifteen minutes. Everyone around was very quiet. SwamigaL continued, "Alright... How many vedic brahmins attended the rudrAbhiSekam?"

    "I had arranged for eleven vedic pandits, Periyavaa!"

    SwamigaL persisted, "Did you know who were the vaidikaLs and which place they belonged to? Was it only you who made all arrangements?"

    The devotees who were witnessing the scene were surprised at the detailed inquiry Periyavaa was making. They also understood that he wouldn't do anything without a reason. The landowner took a piece of paper that he had tucked in his waist.

    "I am reading out, Periyavaa. Tiruvidaimarudur Venkatrama SastrigaL, Seenuvasa Ganapadigal, Rajagopala ShrautigaL, Marutthuvakkudi Santhana Vaadyhar, Sundaa SastrigaL, Subramanya SastrigaL, Tirumangalakkudi Venkittu Vaadhyar, and then--"

    AchargaL interruped him and asked easily, "All experts only, who you have arranged. Alright, check if your list has the name Thepperumaanallur Venkatesa GanapadigaL."

    Seething with happiness, the landowner replied, "It is there, Periyavaa! He also attended the japam", showing surprise in his voice.

    Though the devotees were taken by surprise at such detailed inquiry about an abhiSekam that was over, no one said anything. Everyone was silent and attentive.

    SwamigaL said, "Besh, besh! So you had engaged Venkatesa GanapadigaL also for the japam! A very good thing. Maha Veda vid! GanagadigaL is now very aged. Even difficult for him to raise his voice. He would feel it hard to control his breathing and intone the japam."

    As if he waited for this remark, the landowner replied, his tone raising, "Yes, Periyavaa! What you have said is very correct. He did not chant the rudram well. Sometimes he was siting silent with closed eyes. Often he yawned. All these resulted in the shrinkage of the counting of the japam numbers. He gave much trouble yesterday. I regretted having engaged him for the japam."

    SwamigaL swelled with indignation. "What you said... What did you say? So you have the temerity to talk anything because you have the money? What do you know about the yogyatAMsam of Thepperumaanallur Venkatesa GanapadigaL? Would you match the dust of the feet of that veda vid? How can you talk such words about him? I have now understood what happened yesterday at the Mahalingaswami Sannidhi! You answer my question now! When the GanapadigaL was sitting quiet with closed eyes at the time of the japam yesterday, did you not shout harshly at him, 'EngaaNum, are you not getting the money, you are sitting still with a shut mouth without doing the japam?' Tell me, did you shout these words to him or not?" The landowner was appalled. The crowd was amazed.

    Narayanaswami Iyer fell at SwamigaL's feet, his eight limbs touching the ground. SwamigaL did not say anything. The landowner got up himself. He closed his mouth and replied shivering, "My mistake, Periyavaa! It is true that I used the very same words you spoke know to the GanapadigaL in the Swami Sannidhi yesterday. Periyavaa should kindly pardon me."

    Periyavaa did not stop. "Wait, wait. Did you do that mistake only? You did honour the vaidikaLs with money, right? How much did you give each vaidikaL?"

    The landowner gulped and said weakly, "I paid ten rupees for each head, Periyavaa."

    SwamigaL did not leave him with that. "Tell me correctly! I know everything! Did you pay all the vaidikaLs equally with ten-ten rupees each?"

    The landowner stood silently. But the AcharyaL did not relent. "Listen, I shall tell you what you did yesterday. Perhaps you feel shy to talk it out. You seated the vaidikaLs in a row at the Sannidhi and was giving the sambhAvanA of ten rupees to each of them. When the turn of Thepperumaanallur Venkatesa GanapadigaL came, you decided, 'This man did not chant the rudram properly. Why should I give him ten rupees as I did for the others?' and gave him just seven rupees. You had the thought that somehow you had taken revenge on him. Did he care anything about it all? He just accepted what you gave him and tied it to the edge of his vastram." AcharyaL asked him hotly, "Tell me, is not what I am saying correct?"

    The devotees were stunned. No one did say anything. They wondered how PeriyavaL came to know what took place in Tiruvidaimarudur temple yesterday.

    The landowner prostrated to the sage and said, "A gross mistake, Periyavaa! It was out of ignorance that I behaved like that! I won't behave in such a fashion henceforth! Kindly parden me!"

    Before he finished, PeriyavaaL continued, "Wait, wait! It would have been less worse had it ended there." He asked, "For the japa brahmins, you arranged for the meals at the house of Ramachandra Iyer of Mahadhana street, right?"

    "Yes, Periyavaa!"

    "You served sumptuous meals, of course, with a feeling of immense happiness. You had arranged for cooking very tasty sweet pongal, with lots of cashew nuts and raisins added to it, and you served it with your own hands, with ghee dripping from it in the meals session, right?"

    Narayanaswami Iyer was more and more appalled. He closed his mouth and spoke with uncertainty, "Yes, Periyavaa! In the session I served only the sweet pongal with my own hands."

    "Alright, does your conscience admit that you did it with the dharma for serving a meal?" SwamigaL asked him sternly.

    The landowner did not open his mouth. AcharyaL said himself, "You need not tell me, I shall tell you! When you served the sweet pongal, since it was very tasty, the vaidikaLs asked for repeated helpings. And you obliged them. But when Thepperumaanallur Venkatesa GanapadigaL, giving up his reticence asked you many times, 'Serve me more of the sweet pongal, it is very tasty...' did you not carry on without serving him more, though you heard him? How many times did he ask you, giving up his normal reticence! And you did not serve him more! You committed the sin of partiality in a meals session! Was it dharma? You insulted a great sadhu!" SwamigaL fell into silence, overwhelmed with distress.

    The landowner stood with bowed head. The devotees were amazed and speechless. Closing his eyes and folding both his legs behind him, AcharyaL sat upright. His divine frame looked like the Lord Parameswara Himself. He sat motionless.

    Fifteen minutes passed by in complete silence. Then AcharyaL opened his eyes. Everyone was silent. AcharyaL continued his talk, looking at Narayanaswami Iyer: "MirasudarvaL! You should know one thing. GanapadigaL is eighty-one years of age now. He had done rudra japam in countless kSetras since his sixteenth year. Sri Rudram is always coursing his veins and nerves and breath. He is such a mahAn. The way you behaved to him is an act of great sin... an act of great sin!" PeriyavaL stopped, unable to continue further, and closed his eyes.

    He resumed again after sometime: "Your act of partiality in the meals session affected him deeply. You know what he did? I shall tell you, listen. He did not go back to his native place Thepperumaanallur yesterday evening. Instead, he went to Mahalingaswami temple. He did pradakSiNa of the outer courtyard three times. Went straight to Mahalingaswami and stood before Him. You know what he prayed for, joinng his palms?" PeriyavaL couldn't continue. He steadied himself and then resumed his talk.

    "With tears streaming down his eyes, he spoke to the God, 'Appa, Jyoti Mahalingam! I am your steadfast devotee. Since my early days I have recited mahAnyasa rudra japam countless times in your sannidhi. You have listened to it. I am now eighty-one years old. I have the mental strengh, but that strength is gone in my speech! It can't be that you wouldn't know what happened this afternoon when we were dining. I asked that landowner many times, leaving my shyness aside, for more of that pongal, since it was very very tasty. Though he heard me, the landowner moved away as if he did not hear my request. You know that I have an immense fondness for sweet pongal. Though I asked him out of temptation, I was grieved that he did not serve me more.

    'But then only after I had finished my meals, washed my hands and sat on the thinnai it occurred to me whether I could have such a jihvA sabalam at this age. Which is the reason I am now standing before you, Appa Mahalingam! With you as the mediator, I take a vow from this moment. Everyone gives up some favourite edible when they go to Kasi. It is only You who is in Kasi, as well as here. Therefore I take a vow before you that I will not touch the sweet pongal or any other sweet dish from now on until my soul goes out of the body! This is a promise Mahalingam.' With that vairAgya pramANam he said, 'Appa Jyoti Mahalingam! I take leave of you now," and did shASTaaN^ga namaskaram twelve times. Tears were flowing down GanapadigaL's eyes, as he left for his place. Now, you tell me... What you did was dharma? Will Mahalingaswami agree to it?"

    Periyavaa stopped. It was then three o' clock in the afternoon. "I don't want any bhikSA today", said SwamigaL. No one moved from there. Not even for their lunch. Total silence prevailed. Tears were seen in everyone's eyes. The landowner Narayanaswami Iyer stood transfixed. He could not raise his tongue to speak. Everyone's wonder was, 'How does Periyavaa narrate everything that happened yesterday at Tiruvidaimarudur as if he witnessed them personally?'

    Falling down to Periyavaa's feet, the landowner started sobbing vehemently. His tongue slurred as he said, "Periyavaa! What I did was a great sin! I did it out of vanity. Kindly pardon me. Never again shall I behave this way in my life. You should say 'I have pardoned you'!" The landowner patted his cheeks loudly.

    AcharyaL did not open his mouth. The landowner was persistent. "I pray to you, Periyavaa! You should accept this Mahalingaswami rudrAbhiSeka prasAdam. Kindly pardon me!" He pointed his hands towards the prasAdam plate.

    AcharyaL said, "Let it be, let it be there. That Mahalingaswami Himself will give me the prasAda anugraham."

    Before he finishd his words, a voice was heard outside the crowd: "Make way, make way!" Everyone moved to make way.

    Only a tuft of hair knotted at the end on the head. A bright five-folded dhoti on the waist, with a silky green cloth covering it. A large rudraksha garland on the neck. A noble man who could be around sixty-five years old, arrived near PeriyavaL, carrying piously a brass plate on which was the prasAdam preserved in a silk cloth. He submitted the prasAdam plate reverentially to AcharyaL and said, "My name is Mahalingam. I am the arcakA of Tiruvidaimarudur Mahalingaswami temple. Yesterday a rudrAbhiSekam was performed for Swami. A landowner conducted it. My eleder sister is given in marriage to this place. I came to submit the prasAdam to AcharyaL and then look her up. Periyavaa should do me the anugraham." SwamigaL prevented him as he proceeded to prostrate.

    Saying "You people have been given shiva dIkSA, you shouldn't do namaskaram to me", AcharyaL accepted the prasAdams brought and asked the Shivacharya to be given the MaTham's honours in return. Meantime, the SivacharyaL saw the landowner who was standing at some distance. "Periyavaa, it is this man who had conducted the rudrAbhiSekam there yesterday. He has come himself come here!" With these words, Mahalingam Shivacharya left the place, taking leave of the sage.

    The landowner Narayanaswami Iyer again prostrated AcharyaL and patted his cheeks loudly. He pleaded, "Again and again I pray to you, Periyavaa. It is a great sinful act I have committed. Only you should tell me the remedy for this act."

    SwamigaL got up briskly. "I cannot tell you the remedy for this. Only Thepperumaanallur Venkatesa GanapadigaL can tell you the remedy."

    "Will the GanapadigaL tell me the remedy for the deed of this paavi, Periyavaa?", the landowner asked with grief.

    SwamigaL said in a slightly raised voice, "If you have the prAptam, he will certainly tell you!" and hurried inside. He did not come out at all.

    The landowner waited for a few hours. And then, having come to a decision, he left the place and arrived at Chingleput boarding a bus. He caught a train and arrived at Tiruvidaimarudur on the next morning. He finished his bath in the Kaveri river there and with firmness of heart started walking towards Thepperumaanallur. He walked briskly with the resolution that he would somehow meet Venkatesa GanapadigaL, fall shASTaaN^gam at his feet, ask for his pardon, perform the remedy he would suggest and obtain paapa vimocanam.

    The landowner entered the Thepperumaanallur agrahAram. He inquired the first man he came across, the address of the GanapadigaL. The man pointed to a house on the street before which was a crowd of people and said, "You have come to offer your condolences? That is the home of Venkatesa GanapadigaL. Early this morning, he suddenly passed away. A painless, peaceful death. Go and have a look."

    Narayanaswami Iyer was stunned. He felt as if someone had hit him on the head. The firm words of AcharyaL at the MaTham yesterday seemed to ring in his ears. If you have the prAptam, he will certainly tell you!" He now understood that PeriyavaaL known yesterday itself that the landowner would not have the prAptam.

    The landowner went to GanapadigaL's house, offered his condolences, and prostrated to the gross body of the GanapadigaL, seeking his pardon mentally. Then he moved away from the place.

    Later, the landowner met with different kinds of adversities and happened to lose all his wealth. He went North and did service at the temple kitchens, finally arrived at Kasi kSetra and attained his mukti there.

    abhiSekah - ablution
    agrahAram - royal donation of land to Bra1hmans, land or donation given us. In practical usage, agrahAram refers to the street inhabited by brahmins, which surrounds a temple like a garland up front, hence the name agra + hAram.
    aMsa - share
    anugrahaH - blessings, favour, kindness, acceptance
    arcakA - one who performs a worship ritual
    bhikSA - alms, offered food
    bilva - the wood-apple tree, commonly called Bel
    Citra - the month of April
    dalam - leaf, petal of a flower, part, division
    dIkSA - initiation in general, consecration for a religious ceremony
    EngaaNum - (Tamil) a brahmin usage meaning 'why, you!' or 'hey, you!'
    jihvA - tongue, tongue of fire (flame)
    josyar - (Tamil) astrologer
    kSema - prosperity, ease, welfare
    kSetram - holy place
    kuN^kumam - vermillion, saffron
    loka - earth, world, subjects, people
    maTham - ashram, hermitage
    MirasudarvaL - (Tamil) a respectful address of a landowner
    mukti - release, liberation, deliverance
    nyAsaH - gathering, placing, depositing, establishing
    paavi - (Tamil) pApin - sinner, criminal, wicked
    pongal - a popular South Indian rice dish
    poovan - (Tamil) a variety of banana
    pradakSiNa - on the right side, go clockwise
    pramANam - size, shape, limit, determined testimony or proof
    prAptam - (Tamil) prAptiH - fate, luck, interference
    prasAdam - a sample of a holy offering
    sabalam - (Tamil) temptation
    sambhAvanA - paying regard to, respect, thought
    sannidhiH - nearness, union, presence of
    shASTaaN^ga namaskaram - prostration with the eight body limbs touching the ground
    thinnai - (Tamil) a raised sit out at the entrance of a house
    vaidika - derived from or conformable to the Vedas; vedic
    vaidikaL - (Tamil) one who performs a vedic ceremony
    vairAgya - freedom from worldly desires
    vastram - cloth
    vibhUtiH - holy ashes, power, valor, omniscience, omnipotence
    vid - a learned man, conversant
    vimocanam - liberation, deliverance, unyoking, alighting
    yogyatA - skill, ability, fitness

  2. #12
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    Re: Kanchi Paramacharya: A Virtual Darshan

    Shambhu's Murti
    Author: Sri JanaardanAnanda Saraswathi (in Sanskrit)
    Translated by: SriMaTham R. Balakrishna shastri (in Tamil)
    Source: Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol. 2, page 221
    Publisher: Vanathi Padhippaham

    ('There is no sAdhu like an avadhAni' thus was praised by Sri Maha SwamigaL, a mahAn who had the title Sri JanaardanAnanda Saraswathi.

    Shambhor Murti is a very wonderful literary work he wrote in Sanskrit. Periyavaa's biography is totally written in an adhyAtmika point of view. SriMaTham Balakrishna ShastrigaL has translated in Tamil this work which flows like a stream in Sanskrit. Some passages of the interesting work titled Shambhuvin Murti are given below.)

    *** *** ***

    In order to teach AtmavidyA and save the people who are trapped in the jungle of ignorance, and suffering from the intense heat of mundane existence, Shambhu's figure in the form of Sri Sankaracharya passes through this world, renouncing its silence and starting from the base of the banyan tree.

    *** *** ***

    It is a regulation that for the mUrtis to which puja is done traditionally at SriMaTham, only a person who takes the title pIThAdhipati can do the puja.

    When the pundit who knew the regulations of SriMaTham explained to the young ascetic that 'this one was Sri Chandramouleesvara and this Sri Tripura Sundari', they did not seem new to the lad who took over as pIThAdhipati in his twelfth year. It seemed to him that he had a longtime connection with them.

    When doing an arcanA, the feeling should be 'I remain as God'; there should no such thought as the self being different from the God that is worshipped. -- This was explained by the authorized pundit of SriMaTham.

    Bala Swami got into some serious thought. 'Is it not that this knowledge of unity should be present ever? If it is said 'at the time of performing a worship' does it mean that the jiva brahma abheda buddhi should be present only at that time?' With this idea in mind he simply asked, "only when doing an arcanA?"

    SriMaTham disciples were very happy at the revelation that SwamigaL was a jnana vruddha, though he was a lad.

    *** *** ***

    Tiruvanaikkaval Akhilandeswari temple maha kumbhAbhiSekam with tATangakah pratiSTA. The right to conduct this temple ceremony rested with Sri Kamakoti pIThAdhipatis from the ancient times. But then, now Sri Sringeri pIThAdhipatis contended this right.

    The case went to the court. The judgment that was given was 'only Sri Kamakoti pIThAdhipatis have the right in this matter, Sri Sringeri pIThAdhipatis should not stay in the place, they should go elsewhere.'

    The news of the judgment was informed to Bala Swami. Sri SwamigaL said: "In the court judgment a feature that is not relevant to the case is told. It was not needed to say it. Isn't it the case about the right of kumbhAbhiSekam? The court should have given judgment that was relevant only to that subject."

    Sri Sringeri SwamigaL appreciated Sri Kamakoti pIThAdhipati SwamigaL for speaking frankly and clearly on a complicated subject.

    *** *** ***

    Looking at his divya rUpam, some people think that he has conquered manmatha by his figure. Listening to the expertise of his words, some people think that he is the sarvajhna who is wearing kalAnidhi on his head as an ornament. Looking at the enticing movements of his limbs, some people, experiencing the amrita rasam-dripping looks that float from the corner of his eye, are happy considering him as Sri Kamakshi, the Lady of the City of Sri Kanchi and the beloved of Ekambaranatha. Since Sri Acharya remains a sarvAtmaka, it is only appropriate that different people are delighted with him in different ways.

    *** *** ***

    The actions of men are of two kinds: doing as pleased, doing as decreed in Shastras.

    The pravrutti of doing as it pleases is seen the most among people. That does not result in lofty puruSArthas. Only the conduct according to Shastras is capable of giving the four puruSArtha (dharma, artha, kAma, mokSa). But then it has declined. Which is why Arjuna thought that the para dharma shanti was better for him than his own dharma?

    Bhagavan, who wished his welfare, however, made a person like him stand upright in the conduct as decreed in Shastras.

    Just as Sri Krishna did, with the intent of obviating the indulgent actions throughout the Bharata Bhumi and establishing the Shastra-decreed actions, and with a purpose to make the people remain in dharmic conduct, yativara (Sri Chandrasekhara Saraswathi SwamigaL) undertook his vijaya yAtra from Rama Sethu to Kasi, the capital of Visveshwara.

    *** *** ***

    Just as the terms sarvajhna, Ishvara used with Parameshvara, are not formal usages, (gauNa prayoga), but words that denote the truth, the shabda, jagatguru used to denote Sri Chandrasekhara Saraswathi, the yati shreSTa, is also not a gauNa prayoga, but a satya prayoga.

    (Calling a courageous person a line cub or a wealthy man a raja are examples of gauNa prayogas or upacAra prayogas.)

    To call Paramesvaran the One who knows everything, and the One who rules over everything is not a formal usage, but a true usage. In the same way, to call Sri SwamigaL jagatguru is also a satya vacas and not a upacAra prayoga.

    *** *** ***

    Upanishads as the end of the Vedas teach many paths--advaita, samkhya, yoga, pasupada, vaishnava. People follow a path they choose.

    'Just as the rain that falls on different mountains, gush through differently named rivers and reach the ocean, people who follow different paths all reach You, who is the ultimate destination!' (says the bhakta kavi Pushpadanta in his Shivamahimna Stotram).

    Sri CaraNar decided to highlight the truth 'All darshans have a determined goal. There is no hostility about that goal'. Therefore, in the city of Chennai, he arranged for a sammelana called shanmadAcharya parishad. From all over the country sAkta, gANapatya, saura, vaishnava, kaumara, saiva pIThAdhipatis came together, discussed and associated among themselves. This parishad proved that Sri CaraNar was equal to everyone and that he did not like the arguments of separation.

    *** *** ***

    Sri CaraNar, who was devoted to the Veda and Vedanta paths, established many sabhas such as Veda Dharma Shastra Paripalana Sabha, Advaita Sabha, and NiyamAdhyayana Parishad. He motivated the Veda adhyApaka and vidyArthin in all places of the Bharata Bhumi, honouring them in many ways and rewarding them.

    In West Bengal, there were numerous people who belonged to the gautama shAkhA of the Sama Veda, but there was not single person who studied and practiced it. When he came to know this, he established a pAThashAlA in Kolkatta that taught three Vedas, chiefly Sama Veda. He raised the status of the Sama-Shukla Yajur Vedic School in Varanasi city, Uttarpradesh to a Shastra school that also taught NyAya and Vedanta. He founded two schools in Utkala (Orissa) Sri Jagannatha kSetram and arranged for teaching the pippala shAkhA of Atava Veda, and Shukla Yajur Veda. He also founded a large school in Hospet, Karnataka that had facilities to study all the Vedas with their angAs and upAngAs and the Veda bhASyas. In the same manner, he established several schools in the Tamil and Telegu regions.

    Near Nasik, Maharashtra, there was only one person who had studied the maitrAyaNIya shAkhA of the Yajur Veda. No one came to learn and practice that branch of Veda from him. Similarly, it came to be known that there were no students in Kerala to practice the rANayaNI shAkhA of the Sama Veda. As he came to know this, Sri CaraNar immediately sent suitable students to those regions and gave a new lease of life to the declining shAkhAs.

    *** *** ***

    Although there was always a crowd around him, Sri CaraNar, who always kept his mind engaged in Chandramouleesvara puja and meditation, did never have any anxiety or worry of mind. No paleness of body; no cloudiness or change of color of face; no harshness or anaucitya of speech; though redness was found in his eye, it was not due to anger, but only the mark of maha purushas. With apparently no sankalpa to do anything, he looked like the sky where the autumnal moon (sharad candra) was shining,

    *** *** ***

    Although he involves the people in the good things that are to be done, and involves himself in them, he remains with a controlled mind as one who has never smelled the fruits of an action. No worry such as 'Oh it needs to be done' in any matter; no attachment to anything; no grief or confusion in anything.

    *** *** ***

    Like Sri Ramachandra Prabhu, he acts with the purpose of setting an example in the path of dharma that he wants to establish in the world. (It is said in Ramatapani Upanishad, dharma margam caritreNa, jnana margam ca nAmadaH)

    *** *** ***

    Since the last four or five years, Sri CaraNar's state looks very different. What strict niyamas were observed in snAna, pAnam, sharira shuddhi, pUjA, dhyAna earlier, were now seen to be indifferent to. It is said in Gita that this is a state of brAhmI sthiti (the state of remaining as parabrahman).

    *** *** ***

    Just as in Kailash with all its aishvaryas, surrounded by the adhipati of the army of devas and the adhipati of pramada gaNas (viz. Kumaraswamy and GaNanathan), the adhipati of all vidyAs Sri Parameswara is shining, here, in Sri Kamakoti pITham pujya pada Sri Chandrasekhara Saraswathi SwamigaL is shining in the Kanchi kSetra, surrounded by the two yatIndras Sri Jayendra Sarawathi and Sri Vijayendra Sarawathi.

    *** *** ***

  3. #13
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    Re: Kanchi Paramacharya: A Virtual Darshan

    PeriyavaaL and We
    Author: Kamala Gurusankar (in Tamil)
    Source: Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol. 1, pages 217-235
    Publisher: Vanathi Padhippaham

    (The author uses the second person singuar 'nee' in Tamil to refer to Paramacharya. She also switches back and forth in the three tenses in this wonderful narration of her experiences. I have tried to maintain the poetic flow of her thoughts and emotions as much as I can. -- saidevo)

    jaya jaya shankara -- hara hara shankara
    jaya jaya shankara -- hara hara shankara
    kanchi shankara -- kamakshi shankara
    kaladi shankara -- kamakoti shankara

    These chantings are heard from some distance. Just the noise with no clear words or meanings initially. Going near, they become clear, and the tiny hairs of the body stand erect. There comes a large crowd, progressing slowly, like an army of ants. No pomp, no decorations, no shouts. People of different castes, speaking different languages, village folks, urbanites, men, women, children--everyone singing a bhajan in their familiar language; different namAvalis back and forth in the same procession.

    A good sunshine of a four-o'-clock sun. Does the sun play a hide and seek game? A little cloudiness, seen here and there. A small cycle rickshaw in the middle of the crowd. As if it's from a circus. Torn jute blankets on and above it; a mat, an umbrella made of screw pine flowers; plus some sundry items.

    With someone dragging the vehicle, behind it, holding the vehicle--You! (Nee!--the author uses a singular form of address throughout). As we see you nearby, we fall down and prostrate on the road itself, our hands and body shaking. You do not stop or wait, but bless with your eyes, as you continue to walk. Are they your eyes? No no, they are oceans of mercy!

    I was thinking for countless years to see you, to have your darshan. That yearning in the heart, whenever I hear about you, or read about you. It occurred to look for what is written about you, whichever magazine is taken. An apprehension that perhaps it may not be possible to see you. In those times, you were near Kanchi. Countless number of times we have come to Madras. I have requested to come over to Kanchi and see you at least once. I have begged. We are all ordinary people. Trifles. Thinking that only food, sleep, unnecessary pomp and gossip are the primary things. We will go wherever we like to go, spend whatever we like to spend. But then it is not possible to come over and see you.

    Every day, when I light the Swami lamp and look at your portrait, I would feel the twirl of distress in the mind that it would not be possible to see you with human efforts, unless you called. I never spoke my wish in words. Did you hear it, anyhow? If the child gets hungry, it need not cry to show its hunger The mother would understand it herself. Like that, my pain has been understood by you.

    Is it because of my yearning that I couldn't see you that you are coming all the way to see me? What do you have, a car or a railway coach? You come walking on this tar road, your feet aching. Worn on those feet, torn rubber slippers, repaired with manji naar.

    Was it a mile, or two? How long you have walked! Appa! You are coming walking all the way, over thousands of miles. This place we live in, this Hubli city, whatever puNyam it had accumulated, to have your footprints. We never thought even in dream that you would come. But then you are coming, it's a reality. Torn saffron vastram. Some covering over it, made of the fibres of a tree-bark. Rudrakshas on your neck and head.

    A minute's doubt when we look at you. Is it a human figure? No, no. It is only that Lord Parameswara who is walking on, wearing a tiger-skin! A moment's satisfaction of having had darshan of bhagavan. bhagavan is appearing to us in your figure!

    That day you took bath several times for your Ashrama dharma. With the result, you had intense cold and fever, people who were with you tell us. If it is just a human body primarily meant to take food, it would necessitate in seeking treatments, care and comforts, lying down.

    But then in your 86th year of age, without proper food or any sort of comforts, you are walking on with fever. That is the strength of your tapas. Solid power. You appear as a mixture of man and God. Human body, divine energy. Goddess Shakti is residing in you. That is why you appear as God, as Shiva. People say that on that day you had already walked for eighteen kilometers, so you should not strain further. It is only we who strain you. We invite you to come here and there and everywhere.

    As the sun had started going down, you are received in a roadside village, to a garden, near a cattle shed, in a small hut, its roof woven with straw. Like a small child, sometimes you too listen to everybody and give your consent.

    Did not you feel tired, walking so much distance? Did not you have thirst and hunger? At this hour, when the light is fading, you are sitting in a small hut, not knowing any fatigue, giving darshan to thousands of people; isn't it a great thing? Only when a king is sitting in his palace, he has thousands of worries. Here, before a pauper, is sitting on the sand and dust, the Maharaja of Sandur, with his family--and so much joy in his mind!

    On the next day, since you wanted to go on pattina prevesam, we prostrate and take leave of you and unwillingly leave you at the village border and get back. My husband is given the responsibility to repair the crystal garland of yours that got severed. What puNyam did we do, to have in our hands the garland that adorned your body? We repeatedly touch and see it with excitement.

    You won't eat anything. You have no hunger or thirst. No fatigue. But then aren't your assistants just ordinary people? They have their hunger and thirst. On that night they say that they do not have the strength even to prepare their food. But you wouldn't let them go to sleep with hunger and thirst. You would demand to be shown at least some uppuma (kitchadi) or rava porridge. I say that I will send them some food. And they say that they would prepare a little of uppuma and show it to you. What to do? To satisfy you, they need to sometimes deceive you.

    It was a Saturday. The entire city is abuzz, since you are arriving there on the next day. We know that you wouldn't enter houses. Still, festoons in every house; Kolam designs on the floor, made with flour. We have decorated everything with flowers. The look and feel of a wedding ceremony everywhere. Everyone is excited. Happy. Immense joy in everybody's heart. Our home is full of holy articles and grocery.

    Why so much joy and happiness on your arrival? Are you a king, or a big politician? A millionaire? Or a cinema or drama actor? You are just a pauper with nothing on hand. A sanyAsin. A sanyAsin of sanyAsins. At least a sanyAsin will have a maTham. You don't have even that. Such a bhAgyaM for us?

    We were considering where to house you when you consented to visit us. The worry was that we did not have a river bed, a pond or a well that is required for you. By chance, we had dug a well in our garden, and it was full of water. The remaining work on the well was completed in haste and a holy worship was performed to it. A small hut was built, touching the fence of our house and a shed was erected near it. Vacating the outhouses of our home, it was arranged to house your people and facilitate their cooking.

    Henceforth, no mention as 'you'; only 'Periyavaa'!

    On the next day, a Sunday, on 13-5-79, it is the 86th jayanti of PeriyavaaL. We have the fortune to celebrate it in Hubli. Under his (Gurusankar, my husband) leadership a committee comprising the people of Dharwar assembled. The VIPs held counsel among them and collected money from the people. Everyone was given a specific job in the arrangements to receive PeriyavaaL and celebrate his jayanti. The arrangements were made under the supervision of Sri Balachandra Sastri, a vedic pundit in Dharwar. Whenever we think about the name mentioned above, we remember what PeriyavaaL said: "You shoud pronounce the name as Phalachandra, not Balachandra. It means one with a forehead that resembled the moon."

    On the Sunday morning, after having our bath, with pUrna kumbhA and holy music we all go at the time of dawn, to the place where PeriyavaaL was staying, to receive him and get his blessings. PeriyavaaL is brought into the city in a procession along the Gadag Road, with bhajans, namAvalis and nAdaswara music. Some of us leave the procession, come back home and wait at the gate to receive PeriyavaaL with Arati. The cottage meant for PeriyavaaL has been erected in the golf course near our compound wall. Green grounds as far as eye can see. A railway line on the opposite side of the cottage. Beyond that the Udipi Krishnan temple and the Raghavendra Brindavan. Since it was a large ground we thought we could manage the crowd, but we faced much difficulties as the crowd that assembled was far larger.

    At some distance from our home, say about three kilometers away, the jayanti arrangements have been made in a Hanuman temple. AyuSya Homa, Navagraha Homa and many others, done by 121 brahmins with the chanting of mantras was a sight that eyes could not accommodate. As requested by the city notables, my husband and I acted as kArya kartAs, maintaining ceremonial purity (madi) and observing the dharmic and vaidik regulations, and went to the Hanuman temple to honour PerivaaL. We haven't seen such arrangements and divine presence so far. Shastrokta puja and vaidik acts are begun. Vaidikas from different parts of the South have assembled.

    The homas begun in the morning go up to nearly three in the afternoon. PeriyavaaL is brought in a procession to the Hanuman temple. A heavy rush of people. PeriyavaaL is sitting on a small stage opposite the homa gundam. The buzz of people everywhere.

    In the vasodara homam performed, my husband and I pour ghee during pUrNAhutI. PeriyavaaL sitting opposite us. After the homa is completed, we take the prasAda and tIrtha, go to PeriyavaaL, and prostrate, with the rush of people surging behind us. PeriyavaaL accepts the prasAda. Somebody gives a bilva garland to my husband asking him to offer it to PeriyavaaL, who accepts the garland taking it from my husband's hands and wearing it himself. This same garland is given back to us as prasAda. I could not control the tears of joy and my body is shaking. Such a bhAgyaM for us! Whose puNya is this? Ordinarily, one gets countless fortunes in life. But then the bhAgyaM of honourng a mahAn to whose feet the world prostrates--how can I term it? Only the fruits of earlier births. It only occurs to us to pray 'Hey bhagavan! Make us the best people in this life and give us this same fortune, birth after birth!'

    As soon as we got PeriyavaaL's prasAda, the women there touched our feet and said one after another we were so much fortunate. I went very emotional and cried. And then, saris and blouses were distributed to 27 sumangalis, and skirts to spinster girls who sat for the kanyA girls' puja. It was nearly five o' clock when everything was over and we took our food. By then PeriyavaaL had started from there, and walking a dirty way we thought he should not happen to walk through, reached his cottage.

    *** *** ***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  4. #14
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    Re: Kanchi Paramacharya: A Virtual Darshan

    Maha PeriyavaaL's Story About the Value of annadhAnam
    Author: Sri S. Ramani Anna (in Tamil)
    Source: Sakthi Vikatan issue dated Jan 18, 2007

    It was the time when Kanchi Maha SwamigaL was staying in Kalavai, many years before. It was a Sunday. A large crowd had gathered for darshan. One by one the devotees prostrated to the sage, received his blessings and moved away. A middle-aged couple prostrated to AcharyaL and stood up with folded palms. Keenly looking at them, SwamigaL said, "adede... who (is this)... Palur Gopalan! You came a year back. That time you spoke about some problems. Aren't you fine now?" and laughed.

    That Palur Gopalan replied, "We are very fine Periyavaa. As directed by you, from the time we started feeding an atithi in the noon time everyday, only good things are happening, Periyavaa! Good harvest in (my) fields. The cows don't die as before! The money that dripped out of hands without control for expenses stays in hands now. All that is (due to) the greatness of the atithi bhojana you have asked us to do, by your anugraha. I am doing it daily. Nothing else (is the reason for the prosperity)." Tears filled his eyes as he spoke. His wife who was standing by his side was also in tears of joy.

    AcharyaL said, "besh, besh. It is fine if you have understood that good things happen due to the act of atithi bhojana. Alright. Today both of you have come over here. There in Palur--who will do the atithi bhojana?" AcharyaL inquired worriedly.

    Gopalan's wife replied promptly, "We have made alternative arrangements for that Periyavaa. atithi bhojana will not be missed even for a day."

    Maha SwamigaL was very happy to hear it. "That's the way you should do it. You must have a resolution to feed the hungry. Doing atithi upacAra will give such an anugraha and safeguard the family! One day [i]sAkSAt Parameshvara himself will come in the form of an atithi, will sit and eat, you know that?"

    SwamigaL was talking with kutUhala. To listen to these anugraha words, the people standing in the queue surrounded him. He asked everyone to sit down on the floor. The crowd of devotees sat down.

    A devotee asked SwamigaL: "Is there such greatness in doing atithi bhojana, Swamy?"

    SwamigaL replied immediately. "Yes yes! It is a maha puNya dharma that could lead to mokSa! It has benefited a number of people! Only when you ask people like this Gopalan who have experienced it, they will tell you. Such a lofty dharma is this one!"

    A devotee got up and prostrated to the sage. He said with humility, "My name is RamaSethu. Tiruvannamalai is my native place. We all pray together to AcharyaL. We desire to listen more elaborately about the greatness of this atithi bhojana in a way we can understand it. Periyavaa should take mercy on us!"

    SwamigaL asked him to be seated. The devotee complied. Everyone was watching the walking God in silence. That parabrahmam started talking after sometime.

    "My memory is that it was (the year) thousand nine hundred and thirty-eight or thirty-nine. SriSankara MaTham was doing its administration from KummoNam (Kumbakonam). I am going to tell (you about) an incident that happened at that time. If you listen to it devotedly, the greatness that lies in this (incident) can be understood! I shall tell you (now), listen (carefully)."

    Swamigal stopped for a brief while and then continued: "There was a large house on the western bank of the Kummonam Maamaanga (Mahamaha) kulam. A grocer by name Kumaresan Chettiar was living in that house. I remember very well... The name of his dharma patni was Sivakami Achi. They belonged to Pallathur near Karaikudi. That couple had no children. They had brought a dependable boy from their native place and kept him with them for taking care of the grocery shop.

    "At that time, the age of Kumaresan Chettiar was perhaps fifty or fifty-five. That Achi's (age was) perhaps within fifty. At all times only the nama smaraNa 'Shiva Shiva... Shiva Shiva' would be issuing out of the mouth of those two people. There was no other talk! Chettiar had in his house a single-bullock cart. Seating Achi in the cart, Chettiar himself would drive! Every day both them would arrive in their cart at the banks of Kaveri to take bath. Finishing (their) bath, they would come to our MaTham, prostrate, receive the blessings and go back. They were such an intimate couple. About them, I am going to tell (you now) something that will overshadow all these, look (listen)!"

    He took to silence to keep them in suspense for sometime. The devotees were waiting with eager expectations. AcharyaL started speaking again: "You know what work that couple had been doing for many years? To serve and feed the atithis! Don't be surprised! They would entertain the Shiva disciples with food, every day at noon in the hall of their house, without shrinking a face, whatever the number of disciples they received as guest. They would seat the disciple in the thinnai at the entrance (of their house), wash his feet with water, wipe with a cloth, apply sandal paste and vermillion to them and lead them to the hall and seat them there.

    "They did not have any cook in their house! That amma would cook with her own hands, whatever number be the guests of Shiva disciples! Another important thing--if you ask what it is--is that they would inquire from the Shiva disciples the details of the vegetables and dishes they like, go and get them, cook and serve them! Such an elevated mind! Do you think how SwamigaL knew about all these things... There is no sort of secrecy about it. (One Sri) Sundaram Iyer, who was close to the MaTham, was looking after the accounts of Kumaresan Chettiar. Only he would tell me these things when he was free. Understand now?"

    AcharyaL stopped for sometime and relaxed. None of the seated moved an inch. They were all looking with fixed eyes at Maha SwamigaL. That walking God continued: "One day it was raining very well. (It was) noon time. Kumaresan Chettiar came to the entrance (of his house) and looked (here and there). No atithi was in sight! Holding an umbrella, he descended the steps of the Mahamaham pond and surveyed the scene. A Shiva disciple was seated after bath in a small building there, wearing vibhUti (all over his body). Chettiar prayed to him and brought him for dining (at his home). He seemed somewhat like a well-read Shiva disciple. He came singing Thevaaram. Washing his feet, Chettiar led him to his hall and seated him. The couple prostrated to the Shiva disciple. Chettiar's dharma patni went to the disciple and asked, 'What vegetables are the favourite of Swamy? Please tell me, so I can go to the shop, get and serve them after cooking.'

    "It seemed that the Shiva disciple was in good hunger. He got up and went to the backyard and looked around. He saw sprouts of tender spinach there. He came inside, called the mother and said that he needed nothing except the tender spinach in koottu and their stems in sambar and that it would be sufficient for him. Chettiar went to pluck the spinach with a bamboo plate in his hand. The rain had stopped by then. Since it was becoming late, the Shiva disciple who was very hungry, decided to give a helping hand for plucking the spinach, so he asked for a bamboo plate and went to the backyard.

    "Sivakami Achi was standing at the backyard entrance, watching the two men pluck the spinach. Both of them placed their plates inside the house after enough spinach was plucked. You know what that amma did immediately? She washed the two spinach plates separately. She lit two furnaces, kept the spinach in two separate pans on the furnaces and started cooking. The Shiva disciple who was looking at her act was surprised! He was confused: 'What is this? Both the plates has the same spinach sprouts. Without using a single vessel to cook them why this mother lights two furnaces and cooks them separately?'

    "After sometime, that amma took the pans out of the furnaces, took the disciple's spinach only to the puja room and offered it as nivedana to Swami. The disciple who was watching it was pleased with immense pride! Know what he had thought? He decided, 'I am a big Shiva bhakta. Sannyasi. So this mother has understood that Lord Shiva would accept only the spinach I plucked and offers it as nivedana. Still I would ask the mother herself after my meal about the offering.'"

    Stopping here briefly, SwamigaL watched the devotees sitting opposite him. Nobody lowered a jaw. He continued: "The Shiva disciple, who had finished his dining, asked that Achi about his doubt. You know what reply did the Achi give? (She said 'Ayya, when the spinach was plucked in the backyard, I was watching. My husband chanted the name 'Shiva Shiva...' and plucked the spinach. So it became ShivArpaNa then and there. There was no need to offer it again. You plucked (the spinach) without chanting any name. That is why, I lit a furnace, cooked your spinach separately and offered it to the Lord.' The disciple was embarrassed to hear this. The couple then prostrated to the disciple. He appreciated the Achi's bhakti and wisdom and started on his way. They were a couple who served annam in such a way..."

    AcharyaL stopped. The crowd of devotees was sitting with amazement. Nobody lowered a jaw. SwamigaL continued: "You know what was the phala prApti that was given to them for such incessant atithi bhojana? Some years later, they celebrated their shashti apta pUrti (completion of 60 years of age). On a Maha Shivaratri day they sat for darshan of the four sessions of puja in the Kumbeswarar temple. When they returned home, that amma, who sat in the puja room complaining of exhaustion, stretched out and breathed her last. Shocked, the Chettiar called her by name and went inside, but he too fell down and breathed his last. That was all. On that very day of Maha Shivaratri both of them attained the Shiva sAyujya together. Did you see the position that couple attained because of their act of incessant atithi bhojana? Even now, on every Maha Shivaratri day, I would remember the couple. They are the couple who served food in such a lofty manner."

    AcharyaL finished. Tears seeped from the eyes of those who heard the story. The walking God stood up and said, "Seems it is almost two o' clock. Everyone will be hungry. Go inside and dine well", and bade them farewell with compassion.

    arpaNa - offering , delivering , consigning , entrusting
    atithi - guest, a person entitled to hospitality (from a-tithi: one who has no fixed day for coming)
    bhojana - feeding, enjoying, eating
    kulam - pond, usually near or in the precincts of a temple
    kutUhala - curiosity , interest in any extra-ordinary matter
    mokSa - emancipation, liberation, deliverance, release from
    sAkSAt - before one's eyes, in person, in bodily form, visibily
    sAyujy - intimate union, communion with
    smaraNa - the act of remembering or calling to mind, calling upon the name of a god, a rosary of beads held in hand, not worn as a necklace.
    upacAra - service, act of civility, polite behaviour

  5. #15
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    The bhakta parAdhIna and the Paattiamma
    devotee:...... A very old woman (Paatti)
    author:....... Raa. Ganapathi
    source:....... KaruNaikkadalil sila alaigaL, pages 77-80
    publisher:.... Divya Vidya Padhippaham (Jun. 2005 Edition)
    type:......... book, Tamil

    It is not clear to my mind if this incident happened at the SriMaTham camp in Trichy National College High School campus, or Madurai Sethupathi High School campus.

    The darshan queue was stopped from moving because of some important deliberation that was going on inside the SriMaTham camp. An old woman was standing in the queue. She can be described as the old woman of old women! She could have been over a hundred years old, standing bent at a right-angle, a staff in her hand that she was holding shakily. She was crying with all the tiredness of her soul: "Sankara, my Sankara! I was agitated if I would see you, or leave this world without seeing you. You came seeking this place! Since you have come, I came to have your darshan, but you have stopped me (nirutthi vecchu-tiyedaa) Sankara!"

    Sri Sambha Murthi SastrigaL was going inside the camp, passing the old woman on his way. He was the pUrvAshrama younger brother of Maha PeriyavaL. He was of a kind heart, true to the family blood that coursed his veins. No sooner he heard the old woman's wail of yearning than he hastened his steps towards the interior. As he entered, he told Sri CaraNar who was immersed in an important delibration, "Outside--a Paatti--of a hundred or hundred and twenty or whatever age. Stands yearning and wailing for Periyavaa's darshan."

    Before the last words were out of his mouth, PeriyavaaL stormed outside!

    "Why have you stopped me, Sankara?" The Paatti was wailing repeatedly. He went to her, stood very near to her and said, "PaattI, here your Sankaran has come. Look! Without knowing that you have come, I was busy with something inside. And as I came to know it, here I have come running." The Ruler of Grace spoke the words of nectar, which came up as the essence of his love.

    "Vanduttiya, Sankara (so you have come, Sankara)!", said Paatti and held his hands tightly! The hands that were held by his mother Mahalakshmi AmmaL, were held today by another person, after a span of about 55 years!

    As she raised her face and looked at the holy visage of Sri CaraNar, the vRiddhAmbikA (the good old mother) said, "Though you have come running for my sake and stand before me, I cannot look at you properly with my dim eyesight! ennappA (my son), only you should give me some good sight for a good darshan."

    It was the time of a hot sun. There was a narrow, thatched roof over the heads of the people in the queue. At Paatti's words, the bhakta parAdhIna jumped aside the shelter of the roof and stood in the hot son, barefooted!

    "Is the vision better now, Paatti?" he said.

    "It shows up very well ennappA, it shows very well!" Paatti patted her cheeks loudly.

    PeriyavaaL gave her a complete darshan of his person, letting sunlight fall well on his face, tilting it, lifting it, and turning it in many angles, even turning his whole body giving her a darshan of his back.

    In a torrent of emotion, without knowing what she spoke, the old woman stuttered and lisped, cried profusely and was very happy!

    Sri CaraNar came near her again and said, "Have you seen me well Paatti! Can I go?"

    "Yes, I have seen you very well (PAtthuNtempa), my son! Even for this anAmadeyam (nonentity), KaruNAmurti, you have given your darshan. I was holding my soul just to see you. I have seen you know. Take me now my son, take me!" The parama bhakta prayed to him.

    "PaattI! When the time comes, let us take it. I shall ask you now to be dropped in your place. Go there and remain in Swami smaraNa (remembrance of God). Don't come running again to see me! I shall always be with you without leaving you aside for a moment!" The kRupA varSA (shower of compassion) gave her his words.

    Is there anything that matches the bhAgyam of the Paatti who received such words of assurance from Sri CaraNar who out of his modesty uses words only sparingly when he gives his abhayam to the bhaktas?

    ambikA - mother, good woman
    kRpA - tenderness, compassion
    parAdhIna - entirely engaged in or intent upon or devoted to
    pUrvAshrama - of an earlier ashram or stage, before the sanyAsa stage
    smaraNa - remembrance, reminiscence, recollection
    varSa - rain, shower
    vR^iddhA - old woman

  6. #16
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    "Where did you learn?"

    As narrated by Sri D.Sivasubramanian, Dy. Director Handloom (Retd.) TN Govt. now doing seva at Sri MaTham Office, with thanks to him for his permission to post his recollection in KF:

    As an ardent devotee of Kanchi MahaswamigaL, I have great pleasure to read articles appearing in magaziness, souvenirs etc. about MahaswamigaL and I am used to preserve them in my library.

    On one such occasion I was thrilled by an article written by Dr. C.R. Swaminathan, former Deputy Educational advisor to Govt. of India. given to a souvenir. I reproduce a gist of the article, the message of which, I feel, should be spread among the present generation.

    This happened in the year 1956-57, when H.H. Sri Kanchi MahaswamigaL was camping at the Madras Sanskrit College, Mylapore, Madras.

    One evening, MahaswamigaL was about to address a huge gathering in which great personalities like Rajaji were present. He was contemplating about the topic he should speak on.

    Suddenly, he called late Prof. Sankaranarayana Iyer, who was standing by the side of the dais and recited two lines of a Sanskrit verse. He asked the Professor if he remembered the remaining two lines of that verse. The Professor pleaded ignorance and got down from the dais.

    This conversation took place before the mike, so audience gathered could easily hear its details. Dr. C. R. Swaminathan, the author of the article on Mahaperiyava, heard the beginning of the Sanskrit verse that Periyavaa recited. Since he happened to know the other two lines of the verse, he went to Prof. Sankaranarayana Iyer and told him those two lines.

    The Professor went up the dais again and recited the lines before MahaswamigaL.

    Mahaperiyava asked him, "You said you did not know the lines. How come you know them now?"

    The professor replied "Someone in the audience remembered it and told me."

    Mahaperiyavaa inquired who was the person and told the Profession to call Dr. Swaminathan to the dais. When he came, Paramacharya inquired about his name and occupation. Then the sage asked, "Where did you study?" Thinking that the question was about his academic education, Dr. Swaminathan replied that he studied in the Presidency College, Madras.

    "Not that. Where did you learn this verse?"

    Dr. C.R. said that his grandfather taught him the verse when he was a child. Paramacharaya inquired about his native place, his grandfather's name and his family details. The entire conversation was held before the mike, so the audience heard every bit of it.

    The verse in question was the following:

    arthathuranam na gurur na bandhu
    kSudhAthuranam na ruciki na pakvam
    vidyathurANAm, na sukham, na nidhrA
    kamathuranam na bhayam na lajja

    One who pursues wealth knows no guru or relations.
    One who is hungry knows not taste or if the food was cooked well.
    One who pursues knowledge knows neither comfort nor sleep.
    One who has desires knows no fear or shame.

    Later in the discourse, Paramacharya dealt with the Kenopanishad and explained how Goddess Parvati came as a teacher to enlighten the celestials about the supreme Brahmin.

    When concluding the discourse, he referred to the earlier incident and said:

    "Before I started delivering my discourse, I called a young man to the stage to know where from he learnt the subhashita verse, of which I recited the first half. I knew who he was. What I wanted him to tell you about his reciting the other two lines this moral verse was that he had learnt it, not from his school or college, but from his grand-father, and that during his childhood days. It was to impress upon you all that children should get moral education at home from elders because they cannot get it from the modern schools and colleges".

    Dr. Swaminathan concluded his article with these words:

    "I am recalling this incident to show that an insignificant person like myself, extremely nervous, while standing before H.H. on the dais, noticed by about thousands of people forming the audience, could be utilisied by the Acharya to drive home to the audience that (a) a joint family system with elderly parents and grand parents can serve as a valuable supplement to the school education of young children (b) the elders can usefully spend their time by narrating such stories and morals to the children and (c) such teaching can be retained in one's memory only if imparted at the formative age."

    The above incident happened 50 years before, but the message holds good even today and will stand for years to come.

  7. #17
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    Sita Rescued...The Boy's Voice Got Restored!
    Author: Sri S. Ramani Anna (in Tamil)
    Source: Sakthi Vikatan issue dated Mar 18, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    "Aright. Whoever did the upanyAsa?"

    "Srivatsa Jayarama Sarma, Periyavaa."

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

    "I did, Periyavaa."

    "Who was the doctor?"

    "Doctor Sanjivi."

    "What does he say?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  8. #18
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    Periya Doctor... (The Great Doctor)
    author:...... V. MeenakshiSundaram, Secretary, Hindu Dharma Manram, Chennai-33
    compiler:... T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
    book:......... Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol. 1, pages 197-205
    publisher:.. Vanathi Padhippaham (Aug 2006 Edition)

    My memory is that it was the year 1957. Kanchi Maha SwamigaL and Sri Jayendra Saraswathi SwamigaL were camping in a house in Rameswaram Road, T. Nagar (Chennai). I was living with my parents in the northern end of the same street. My age then was twenty-two. I was studying in a Secondary Grade Teachers Training School.

    Sometimes Maha PeriyavargaL used to pass through my house, either during the morning or the evening hours. I had often seen Sri SwamigaL cross my house on the street. My mother at those times would be waiting at the entrance with a camphor plate, after having drawn a kolam in front of our house. It became her custom to show the lighted camphor before Sri Maha PeriyavargaL when he came in front of our house, and prostrate to him.

    The progressive thoughts in my mind, a sense of defiance, the nerve of youth, the lack of maturity to distinguish between good and bad--all these came together when I chided my mother, "This man is some sanyAsi. Why do you prostrate to him? What do you gain by that act? You are thus prostrating to him in an uncivilized way continually, is he going to save you? Don't do such wrong things hereafter." Hearing my indecent words my mother said, "Podaa, po!" ("mind your business!") and went inside.

    Years rolled by. I started working as a teacher in the P.S. High School, Mylapore, Chennai in the year 1959.

    A few years later, my mother started suffering from a severe setback in her health, her B.P. shooting up. The V.H.S. hospital at Taramani, Chennai had just then been established. I admitted my other there for treatment. At that time I was taking tuition at their home for the two sons of Mani Aiyer, proprietor of Kalyani Hotel (the hotel is no longer there now) near Mylapore Kapali temple. His family was very devoted and loyal to Sri Maha SwamigaL. They would often go to Kanchipuram and have darshan. They would consider doing service to his holy feet as their most enduring happiness.

    Mani Aiyer was residing in a house in Mandaveli near Mylapore. In the small puja room opposite the hall of their house, an adorned holy picture of Sri Maha PeriyavaaL was kept. A lamp would always be burning by the side of the picture. I would be sitting on the swing in the hall and taking class for the two boys. Since the puja room was always kept open, when Sri PeriyavaaL's picture came under my glance, a prickling sensation would arise in me. I would get down, go and close the puja room doors and then continue my teaching. It has happened several times this way.

    As I mentioned earlier, I was worrying over my mother's health condition and was teaching the lessons somewhat for the name of it. Tears would fill my eyes. The worry and fear that my mother would pass away leaving me alone would surge through my mind.

    One day when the teaching was going on, Tiru. Mani Aiyer who was just back home asked me, "What Sir! You are worried, your eyes have turned red! What is the matter?" Wiping my eyes I said, "Nothing of that sort Mani Aiyer! My mother's health is not alright. Hypertension. I have admitted her in the V.H.S. That is the cause of my worry."

    Mani Aiyer: You showed him to a good doctor?

    Myself: I told you already that I have admitted her in the V.H.S.

    Mani Aiyer: What did they say?

    Myself: They said that she will be alright, no cause to worry. But I am not satisfied with their words.

    Mani Aiyer: Sir! Let your worries go. I shall take you to a big doctor. Your mother will become alright if she just looks at him.

    Myself: Is that so? Who is that doctor, my mother would be cured if she is shown to him? Where does that big doctor reside? When can I see him? Shall I bring my mother right now?

    There was anxiety in my reply; also haste and enthusiam; much anticipation; because my mother should get well completely soon.

    Mani Aiyer: Your mother need not come. It is enough if only you come.

    Myself: Mani Aiyer! The disease is not for me, but my mother! If I come how can my mother become alright? Shoud not that big doctor test my mother?

    Mani Aiyer: Not necessary. If that big doctor just looks at you, your mother will become alright.

    Myself: (with some distrust) If I am seen my mother would become alright? Such a kind of doctor? Alright. If that is the case I shall come right now. Come on, let us go and see him.

    Mani Aiyer: You cannot see him just like that. He is not here. He is in Kanchipuram.

    Myself: In Kanchipuram? Why should such a big doctor reside in that place? Who is he? M.B.B.S. or M.D.?

    Mani Aiyer: He is beyond those degrees. He is the doctor of the doctors. (Pointing to Periyavar's picture in the puja room) He is the doctor I referred to.

    Myself: (laughing loudly without being aware of it) What Mani Aiyer! This man, doctor? He is the doctor of doctors? What do you babble? How can a sanyAsi become a doctor? If it is a question of some puja or rituals I can believe it. But then you talk of this man as a big doctor! Hmm.. would it be possible for this sanyAsi to cure my mother? This is just your imagination... (The words came out of the edge of my sorrow).

    Mani Aiyer: What, MeenakshiSundaram! You who is born in the brahmin community talk this way?

    Myself: What then Sir! After saying that you would take me to a big doctor, you now say that you would take me to a sanyAsi! How can it be possible, this kind of an action?

    Mani Aiyer: MeenakshiSundarm, your mother should become alright for you. Only that, right? I am responsible for it. We go to Kanchipuram tomorrow itself, alright?

    Myself: (with klesha) Mani Aiyer, if we go to him will my mother really get well?

    Mani Aiyer: Certainly. Enough if you have darshan of him and just speak about your mother. Your mother will certainly get well. You can also remain in peace.

    Myself: In that case I shall come to Kanchipuram. But when we are there you should not compel me to remove my shirt, take bath, wear vibhUti-kunkumam, or do namaskAram. I shall come; see him; tell him about my mother; that's all. (The torsion of the young blood was not gone yet).

    Mani Aiyer: What ayyaa, would you not take bath daily? Would you not remove your shirt occasionally? Not wear vibhUti-kunkumam even rarely? Do those things just once tomorrow! What, will that drown your lineage?

    Without knowing why, I did not object but agreed to those words of him. On the next day, the three of us--Mani Aiyer, myself and Tiru. Venkataraman who worked with me--started and reached Kanchipuram in the morning hours. Taking bath in the Sarva Tirta KuLam and wearing vibhUti and dhoti, I reached the gates of Kanchi SriMaTham for the first time in my life. And yes! There was a feeling of something like an electric vibration in my body.

    We enter the MaTham. Kanchi MahaSwamigaL in the front hall! Yes, the big doctor! He was sitting, leaning on a rice bag. Fruit plates and garlands of flowers are seen before him. Also a queue for his darshan. We too tucked ourselves in that queue.

    A bamboo plate in my hand. In the plate are fruits, spinach and some vegetables. My glance falls on the ascetic king seated there. Without any efforts, tears start to flow from my eyes. Yes, I weep without my knowing it. I don't understand the reason. Why should I weep?

    His keen look that has divine light falls on me. Raising his head, that god gestures me to come to him. He might have known my sorrow with his prevision.

    Again that talking god beckons me with a raised hand. I walked slowly and peacefully to him, placed the bamboo plate in my hand before him and prostrated to him unknowingly.

    "You are ashtasahasram (a sub sect)?"


    "What relationship do Seshadri, Kunju in Karukudi have with you?" (Karukudi is a hamlet near Tiruvaiyaru).

    "They are relatives of my aunt."

    "Your grandfather was the Palace Receiver in Thanjavur! Was he before or after Sundaram Aiyer?"

    I nodded head that I did not know it. Silence prevailed for sometime.

    Raising his head, "You have admitted your mother in the hospital? How is she now?"

    What! That god asks me the same question that I came to him with, seeking remedy. For this too, I just stand sobbing, with no reply from me.

    "Don't worry! Your mother will get well and return home."

    Yes, that big doctor had given a new lease of life to my mother! That mahaan looked sharply at me for sometime. Then, giving me prasAdam, he blessed, "Give this to your mother. She will get back home well."

    To this date, I heartily bow and adore that "great doctor" who vanquished the demon of ignorance in my mind and put me on the right path.

    As foretold by that "great doctor", my mother got well and arrived home safely. The big doctor has saved my mother's life. He is taking care of us till this day.

  9. #19
    Join Date
    August 2006
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    Re: Kanchi Paramacharya: A Virtual Darshan

    The 54 Lives Saved by Annai! (Mahima of Sringeri Sri SharadambaL)
    Author: Sri Ramani Anna (in Tamil)
    Source: Sakthi Vikatan issue dated Oct 10, 2007

    Series: Wonders Witnessed by this Adiyavan

    This happened several years ago. We decided on a yAtra (pilgrimage) to the kSetras (holy places) in Karnataka, more than fifty devotees of us teaming up for the tour. We started our journey in a large tourist bus. It was our custom to first go to Kanchi, have darshan of PeriyavaaL and then continue our journey.

    Around 4 o' clock in the afternoon of that day we stood up after prostrating to Maha SwamigaL in SriMaTham. Giving us his blessings, laughing and raising both his hands SwamigaL asked, "You people have come as a large ghoSTi... well, what's the matter?" Forthwith I elaborated on the details of our Karnataka Yatra to SwamigaL.

    Feeling happy he asked, raising his eyebrows, "What is the uddesha (motive) about the first place to go?" I said, "It is our uddesha, Periyavaa, that on reaching Mangalore, we would first go to Talakkaveri, do our saMkalpa snAnam (bath and prayer) there and then go to Sringeri. After that we have decided to have darshan at SubrahmaNya, Dharmasthala, Udipi, Kollur Mukambika, Kateel Durga Parameswari... in this order."

    Before I could finish SwamigaL interrupted me. "Wait, wait... In the list you have mentioned, you have missed an important place..." Looking at us who were all standing with a question mark on our faces, and smiling, Periyavaa advised us, "What, you don't understand? I shall tell you... Horanadu kSetra! Mother is staying there as Annapurani, giving her anugraham. A very special place. Must have darshan!"

    He continued: "You people do as I tell you now. First go to Sringeri kSetram from Mangalore. There, do your snAnam in Tunga, first have Guru Darshan, get prasAdam from them, then have darshan of SharadambaL and start from there (to other places). After this, you may go to the places in your order of preference. Let one thing be kept in mind though. Anyday you go to Sringeri, as far as possible, reach the place before sAyarakSai (evening)."

    All of us nodded our heads in affirmation, prostrated and got up. That Walking God ordered distribution of anugraha prasAdam to us all. The driver and conductor of the bus were called and the prasAdam given to them too. We started thereafter.

    On the next morning, our journey from Bangalore to Mangalore. We stayed in a Kalyana Mandapam in Mangalore at night. On the morning the next day we got ready to move after taking bath. A man named Ramanathan who accompanied us came to me and said persuadingly, "We shall first go to Talakkaveri from here. After doing our saMkalpa snAnam there, why not go to Sringeri later?"

    I did not agree to that. "Whatever uttaravu (direction) Kanchi Periyavaa has given, we should only follow that!", I said. It was not acceptable to them. "First we should go to Talakkaveri only!" they compelled me, as if having discussed it already among them. However much I pleaded with them, nobody was prepared to lend me ears.

    The bus travelled towards Talakkaveri. Staying there for a day and after finishing our saMkalpa snAnam, we started our journey towards Sringeri. It was 8:00 o' clock in the night. Both the front tyres of the bus that was going on the mountain road to Sringeri got punctured and the bus stopped. It was pitch dark outside. In the light from a torch light, Driver and Conductor started working on removing the wheels with the punctured tyres and fixing the Stepney wheels in their place. Hunger pinched our stomach; our last meal was at noon in Bagamandala. Somehow the bus started moving at 10 o' clock. Suddenly it started drizzling. It was 11 o' clock and yet there was no sight of Sringeri. Only then we had the doubt whether we were going on the right road! As God-given, we sighted a man coming in the distance. We stopped the bus near him and inquired. He patted on his head and said, "This road leads to another place. 15 km before you should have turned on the road that branched to the right." It gave us a shock!

    So the bus needed to be turned towards the direction we came. Driver got down and had a look. A narrow road, with valleys on both sides. Climbing onto his seat, Driver said with a falsely assured courage, "You people don't worry. I shall back up little by little with sharp turns on the steering wheel and somehow move the bus to an about turn!" and got on the task. Sitting with fear, we started chanting Rama Namam. Somehow having managed to turn the bus ninety degrees, Driver said in a loud voice, suddenly worried, "Sir, sir... Howevermuch I step on the brake, the bus starts slipping behind! Raise an even louder ghoSaNam (proclammation) in the name of God... Only He should save us all now!" His words had the effect of dissolving tamarind inside our belly. We too felt the bus slipping behind. All of us with tears welling up in our eyes started wailing, "Sringeri Sharadambaa, save us Ma! Sringeri Maha Sannidhaname, save us! Kanchi PeriyavaaLe, Ramachandra Murtiye, save us, save us...!"

    Suddently Driver said, "Sir, I have now taken my leg from the brake! The vehicle is not slipping behind! As if a hundred people are supporting it from behind, the vehicle stands intact! Now no worry at all. Shall turn the bus in a few moments" and started on his efforts. We did not stop the nAma ghoSaNam.

    appAda! (At last) the driver managed to turn the bus. All of us breathed a sigh of peace! It was exactly 12:00 hours midnight. Exactly at one-thirty we reached the entrance to Sringeri Samasthanam. A GanapadigaL who was standing at the entrance to receive us (it is my recollection that it was Nageswara GanapadigaL!) said with a laugh, "Vaango, vaango! You are all coming from Madras, right? First wash your hand and feet and come have some food. You would be hungry. Rice Uppuma and Bringal Gotsu are ready!"

    "How do you know, ShastrigaaL that we are coming? We did not even write to you?" I asked him. He said laughing, "It is vAstavam (true) that your coming will not be known to people who are like us. Maha Sannidhanam, dIrgha darshigaL (with foresight) will be knowing everything, you see? It was only Maha Sannidhanam who called me around eleven o' clock and gave orders, 'To have darshan of Sharada, 54 Bhaktas from Madras are coming in a bus. They all come with great hunger! So ask our people to prepare Rice Uppuma and Gotsu and keep the food ready. In addition, for them to stay, arrange a large hall.' After arranging all that I have come to stand here and receive you all!" He sunk us in surprise.

    Seeing the dIrgha dharsanam and karuNa (compassion) of SriSriSri Abhinava Vidyatheertha SwamigaL, Adiyen (I) wondered. Tears rushed to my eyes. Seeing that ShastrigaL said, "You are amazed at this thing... I am going to tell you another thing in the morning; you would then be really stunned!" and led us on. Hot Uppuma and Gotsu were served ready in 54 nuni (top) banana leaves. We ate the food filling up our stomach.

    The next morning. Finishing our snAnam in the Tunga river, we started to have darsh of Maha Sannidhanam SriSriSri Abhinava Vidyatheertha SwamigaL. The ShastrigaL we met last night was seen by us.

    To him I asked joining my palms, "You said you would tell us some vishayam (news) in the morning. I pray that you please tell it now."

    ShastrigaL started talking: "Would have been around 12 o' clock last night. Sitting in his ekAnta (private) room, Maha Sannidhanam was examining some Shastra books. I was sitting in the outer hall. Suddenly coming out, Maha Sannidhanam kept both his hand pressed hard to the wall and started murmurming some mantra. I too got up. From the posture of Maha Sannidhanam it seemed as if he was supporting the wall from falling. I did not understand anything. Five minutes later, taking his hands off the wall, Maha Sannidhanam came to me and said, 'You witnessed and wondered why I kept my hands against the wall in that pose and did some Japam. It is nothing else. The bus wherein came those people from Madras to have darshan of SharadambaL missed its way. Later when they realized the mistake and turned the bus, the brakes did not apply... bus started moving behind on its own. The Bhaktas in them wailed, 'save us, save us!' calling aloud the name of Amma Sharada. So I supported the bus from slipping behind by resting my hands on the walls. Now everything is alright, and the bus is coming towards Sringeri! You go and make the arrangements as I told you', and went inside his room. I stood stunned!" Listening to this, all of us wept. We started to have darshan of that Walking SharambaL.

    Looking at this Adiyen who prostrated and got up, SriSriSri Maha Sannidhanam said laughingly, "Should always listen to what the Mahaans say. And follow it. If you make a change in it everything that happens would be changed too. What, you understand?" With these words he did anugraha of prasAdam. This Adiyen then realized that Maha Sannidhanam only informed in sUcaka (by indicating) to the fact of our not following what Sri Kanchi Periyavaa ordered for us!

    sUcaka - indicating, betraying, informer, sign, omen
    ghoSTi - group, gathering

  10. #20

    suggestion required

    This is a valuable information.I am looking to practice yoga and I want to know more about bhakti yoga .Can any one suggest best poses in bhakti yoga.

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