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Thread: Kanchi Paramacharya: A Virtual Darshan

  1. #71
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    Re: Kanchi Paramacharya: A Virtual Darshan

    Experiences, A Thousand
    author:...... Balu, SriMaTham, Kanchipuram
    compiler:... T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
    book:......... Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol. 1, pages 123-141
    publisher:.. Vanathi Padhippaham (Aug 2006 Edition)

    pages 123-126

    (For those who had made it a habit to have darshan of Sri Maha SwamigaL, it is not possible that they did not know Brahmachary Sri Balu. He was remarkable among PeriyavaaL's aNukkat-thoNdarkaL (personal attendants). Even today he is engaged in the service of SriMaTham.)

    The story that Periyavaa told

    KarNan was one who gave a lot in charity. He would give away anything--diamond, cat's-eye, gold, money, vessles, whatever--that was sought from him.

    After giving up his life in the battle, he went to the svargam (heavens). He was hungry. Surrounding him were vessles made of diamond, cat's eye, and gold. But there was not a fistful of cooked rice or a cup of water. "Why is this so?", he asked of the assistants there.

    "You were a dAna sUra (sun of charity), no doubt. You gave away lots in gold and silver. But then you did not do any anna dAnam (charity of food)? Only what you gave there will yet get here", they said.

    KarNan felt humiliated. This dharma sUkSma (subtlety of dharma) went unknown to him.

    Even then, hunger pinched his stomach.

    Those who were there told him: "Once some people came hungry to you. You sent them to Duryodhana's house, pointing it with a finger. Put that finger that said 'meals will be served there' into your mouth and try sucking on it. Your hunger will fly away."

    KarNan did as he was told. And got the tRpti (satisfaction) of partaking a feast of six-tastes.

    The disease and its root

    The bhaktA (devotee) told the sage that he was suffering from unabated stomach ache.

    The uttaravu (orders) to him was to do vaisvadEvam every day, offer that annam (food) to an atithi (guest) and then take that food. Following the orders, the bhaktA got the nivaraNam (relief).

    Periyavaa told him, "If possible, in any kSetra (holy place) do anna dAnam to a hundred or thousand people."

    The bhaktA went to Guruvayur and did the anna dAnam at the Guruvayurappan temple.

    'nOi nAdi, nOi mudal nAdi'*--VaLLuvar would say. The nOi mudal is actually pApa (sin). Our Periyavar is the parihAra cikitsA sironmaNi (expert remedial medical attendant) who seeks the root and destroys it completely!

    Flowers bound in thread

    An anbar (devotee) from Chennai brought a large heap of flowers. Different kinds of garlands, kadambam (orange-colored, fragrant flowers), and thick garlands of jasmine--were all bound and arranged beautifully and colorfully.

    But then those could not be offered as garlands to ChandraMauleesvara. They were bound in cotton threads, instead of banana fibres. There was no custom to garland ChandraMauleesvara with flowers bound by threads.

    The mental pang of the anbar can't be limited to words. With how much love and devotion he brought those flowers! But then even a span of the jasmine garland can't be offered to ChandraMauleesvara!

    The puja being over, Periyavaa came out. On his way he noticed the garland of flowers in the baskets. "Why weren't these offered for the puja?" was the question he asked with a look.

    "Bound by threads."

    The heart of the anbar who brought the flowers throbbed violently as to what would be the reply.

    Periyavaa was a karuNamUrti (icon of compassion).

    "Let the puSpams (flowers) bound by thread be not used for the Swami. But they can be used for me?"

    Great happiness among the disciples.

    They made Periyavaa sit down, made him wear all the garlands and made it look like puSpAngi sEva (offer of decoration with flowers).

    For the bhaktAs gathered opposite him, it was a flood of AnandA.

    "Tirupati Venkatachalapathy" said a man. "Tiruchendur Murugan"; "Kanchi Kamakshi"...

    One Vedanti said, "Let somebody be saying 'jagan mithyA' (the world is an illusion). This kSaNam satyam (this moment is a reality). brahmam satyam. saguNa brahmam parama satyam (while Brahman is real, the Brahman with attributes is the Supreme Reality); saguNam, satguNam. (that with attributes is the one with goodness). Periyavaa saguNa brahmam... brahmAnandam..."

    That was a word of satyam!

    nOi nAdi, nOi mudal nAdi, athu thaNikkum
    vAi nAdi vAippac-cheyal
    -- ThirukkuraL 95:8 (948)

    "Diagnose the illness, trace its cause,
    seek the appropriate remedy and apply it skillfully."

    --Translation from the Himalayan Academy Website.

    nivAraNa - a. & n. keeping back, warding off; n. hindrance, disturbance, trouble
    vaisvadEvam - offering afternoon meal to God and then to a guest

    रत्नाकरधौतपदां हिमालयकिरीटिनीम् ।
    ब्रह्मराजर्षिररत्नाढ्यां वन्दे भारतमातरम् ॥

    To her whose feet are washed by the ocean, who wears the Himalayas as her crown, and is adorned with the gems of rishis and kings, to Mother India, do I bow down in respect.

    --viShNu purANam

  2. #72
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    pages 126-131

    The astrologer who understood

    A josyar (astrologer) from Kerala came for darshan. Periyavaa was observing kASTa maunam (vow of silence with complete inaction) on that day. He did not talk to the Josyar, but offered a fruit to the man with a smile.

    The Josyar came out. The SriMaTham staff members surrounded him. Wasn't it natural that everyone had a problem? Everyone was eager to know when there will be a dawn for his own problems.

    The Josyar said: "I cannot offer josyam in this place. This is a place where PeriyavaaL's sAnnidhyam (divine influence) remains paripUraNam (completely full). No gRha (astrological planets and mansions) would speak within three hundred feet from where Periyavaa stays; no devata would reply. You people come to the lodge where I am staying; I shall answer your questions."

    The Josyar had understood PeriyavaaL in a single look.

    Puja for the 'kuzhandai swAmi' (God of the children)

    In those days even in the games played by children there used to be the reflection of our sampradAya (tradition). Those were days when the new games of the present times did not enter and pollute the social life.

    In such a situation, how would be the recretational games of children in places like Kumbakonam where there were many temples, and temple festivals and swAmi vIdhi valams (divine procession on the streets) were held incessantly?

    All that hubbub in a real swAmi purappAdu (start of divine procession) was there in the games too.

    Bring a basketful of clay and let four hands knead it, and the Swami is ready--with all the paraphernalia of the veNNai tAzhi (butter pot), garuda vAhanam, kudirai vAhanam (vehicles of Garuda and horse) and so on!

    No dearth of flowers, with so many trees along the Kaveri bank.

    As for the mantra, should one pass out of a pAThashAlA (Vedic school)? sivAya namaH, vishnuve namaH, subrahmaNyAya namaH, puLLayArAya namaH...

    In this way, one Swami came on bhavani (procession) on the SriMaTham street in Kumbakonam!

    Swami came and stood before SriMaTham. No one expected it. Periyavaa came out. He did not slight it as just a play by the children.

    He bowed to that 'kuzhandai swAmi with his daNDam (staff); joined his palms into a kumbidu (namaste). Asked his people to do nivedanam (offering) with coconut and banana fruit. Asked them to distribute bananas and suger lumps to the boys. Then, lifting his hand in blessing, he allowed Swami to go ahead.

    kushiO kushi (extreme happiness) for the children!

    (Would Kannapiran (Sri Krishna) have played with the shepherd lads of Gokulam in this fashion in the Dvapara Yuga?)

    Is this not a unique way that Periyavaa used to respect the childrens' bhakti and motivate it for further growth?

    It is a known thing to all of us that Periyavaa performs daily, long and elaborate puja in ekAkram (single-pointed devotion). In the same way, he would also honour the pujas performed by others.

    Among the bhaktAs who come to SriMaTham, there would be those who do daily Panchayadana Puja. Periyavaa would visit those pujas and pray to the individual Gods.

    Once he sights a Pillaiyar temple when he goes out--he would not mind if it is a dilapidated temple, a small temple or one that does not adhere to the Agamas. There would be sidarkkAi (coconut breaking) for all the Pillaiyars!

    There is no chekku (oil-press) in Rameswaram

    Every kSetra (holy place) would have its own custom of worship.

    PeriyavaaL would be knowing many things about such customs that are not known even to those who reside in the kSetra.

    A purohita (priest) came from Rameswaram. He said for three generations they were living in that place.

    "You have seen the Nataraja of the RamanathaSwamy Kovil?"

    "Yes I have. I have also taken the sevArthis (devotee doing service) and showed them."

    "Are there seven curtains for Nataraja (there)?"

    The Purohit was confused. He did not know what to reply.

    Periyavaa said: "On the day of Tiruvaadirai (Arudra darshan), they would do puja to Nataraja, hanging seven curtains. After the seven curtains move aside, one can have darshan of Nataraja. Alright, how many Nataraja (images) are there in that temple?"

    The man from Rameswaram was shaken a little. "I have seen only one Nataraja."

    "There would be three Natarajas. Go and have a look."

    "Yes I will."

    "Is there a custom in the Rameswaram temple as there is in Guruvayur, to do abhiSekam (ablution) with the sesame oil obtained by grinding in a chekku (oil-press)?"

    "Yes", said the man, taking a chance.

    "There is no chekku in Rameswaram! The Swami of that kSetra is one who was formed by an image of the sand. There is an aitikam (tradition) there that there should be no grinding of chekku."

    Then to assuage the Prohit against any feelings that he might have, Periyavaa inquired about his kutumba kSema-lAbha (family welfare and prosperity) and gave him prasAdam.

    purohita - mfn. placed foremost or in front, charged, commissioned, appointed; m. one holding a charge or commission, an agent; (esp.) a family priest, a domestic chaplain
    रत्नाकरधौतपदां हिमालयकिरीटिनीम् ।
    ब्रह्मराजर्षिररत्नाढ्यां वन्दे भारतमातरम् ॥

    To her whose feet are washed by the ocean, who wears the Himalayas as her crown, and is adorned with the gems of rishis and kings, to Mother India, do I bow down in respect.

    --viShNu purANam

  3. #73
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    pages 131-135
    shuddha gangA

    A bhaktA brought a pot of Ganga Jalam from the Kashi kSetram after doing rudraikAdasi japa homam there, and submitted it to PeriyavaaL.

    "From where did you pick up the jalam (water) for the rudraikAdasi?", asked Periyavaa.

    "The vaidIkAs brought the jalam from the Kashi Kedar-ghat Ganga."

    "Kashi is Pamameswara's place. The gangai nIr, ganga maN (Ganga water, Ganga soil) and such things should not be brought from there. The tIrtham you have brought, add it round the bottom of some bhilva tree."

    Periyavaa explained: "Ganga Jalam should be brought from only where the Ganga is a shuddha gangA. It is shuddha gangA before the Yamuna river merges with it."

    The snake is gone, but then...

    The elephant blared in terror at midnight. The disciples were fast asleep. Nobody got up.

    The elephant has excessive fear towards small animals such as the rat, frog or sparrow. Thinking that some rat or frog would have dropped in at that night time, Periyavaa got up silently and went to the elephant shed.

    A big cobra its hood fully spread was swaying there in front of the elephant.

    Periyavaa forthwith woke up the shiSyas. They arrived carrying sticks. "Don't beat the snake. Just light a lamp of sesame oil, and it will go away."

    When a sesame oil lamp was lit and placed there as advised, the nAga snake that was in full hood till then crawed away and out of sight.

    The surprising thing in this incident is that by the disciples who have normal hearing powers the blare of the elephant was not heard, but the sound was heard only by PeriyavaaL who was saying that he had problem with his ears!

    Yes, Gajendra's supplicating wail 'Adi mUlamE!' was only heard by Sriman Narayana!

    Periyavaa asked the elephant to be tied up in some other place.

    "But the snake is gone!"

    "The snake is gone alright. But the fear would not have gone for the elephant!"

    Only after receiving the tidings that the elephant was taken to another safer place, Periyavaa went to resume his rest.

    Can keep it for four days

    There were hutments near where Periyavaa was staying in that village. Periyavaa would enjoy with happiness, when the children in the evening play uproariously, fight each other and raise a hue and cry. (At such times, a bhAva, a yearning would flash in Periyavaa's eyes that if he could not also join and play with those children).

    When Periyavaa was enjoying the childrens' play in this manner, an AmmaaL brought a vessel full of tirattup-pAl (milk koa), placed it before PeriyavaaL and prostrated to him.

    "ennathu (What is this)?... You have brought it shrinking the milk?"


    "Will it be sweet?"

    "It will be."


    Before that woman can reply, Periyavaa admired, "Yes, it pierces through the nose!"

    "I have prepared it in careful madi (ceremonial purity)... will not go sour... can keep it for four days... daily, Periyavaa, a little..."

    Periyavaa did not seem to take her words into his ears at all. But then he said with an eagerness, "What you do, take this vessel to the children playing there, distribute (the content) and bring the empty vessel, right? Prepare for me the next time and bring it..."

    Just as the kSIra sAgara sAyI (reclined in the ocean of milk) did amRta viniyoga (nectar distribution) as Mohini Devi, that AmmaaL gave away all that tirattup-pAl to the children, with paripUraNa tRpti (complete satisfaction). Looking kindly at the children eating the tirattup-pAl, Periyavaa felt happy.

    No, not for the elephant

    It was a custom in SriMaTham to give the elephants there large balls of annam (cooked rice) mixed with jaggery every evening. The mahout would take the ball in his hand and put it straight into the elephant's mouth.

    One day, when it was time to feed the elephants, Periyavaa came that side casually. He glanced at the sAdam made into balls. He ordered the disciple nearby, "Tell the mahout not to feed these balls to the elephant" and moved away.

    He called the manager unrgently.

    "The annam kept for feeding the elephant has not been boiled properly. It is dry and peeling off in flakes. The tIni (feed) should not be given in this way, with ashraddhA (want of trust and care). Because it is an animal that is speechless, can you give the sAdam only half boiled? Tell it to the mahout. The elephant should be given sAdam in the same way that the nivedanam (offer) is given to sAkSAt gajamukhan (the visible, elephant-faced Ganesha)... That much bhakti is needed; shraddhA is needed...Let fresh rice be cooked and offered to the elephant..."

    The disciples melted at the abundant compassion shown to a speechless animal.

    Periyavaa did not touch and examine the cooked rice balls. Why, he did not even stop there for a moment to look at the balls!

    How did he know then that they were not boiled properly and gone flaky at the surface?

    Will the sarvajnatvam (omniscience) be expressed even in such small matters?

    viniyoga - m. apportionment, distribution, division; commission, charge; use, employment;
    relation, correlation.
    रत्नाकरधौतपदां हिमालयकिरीटिनीम् ।
    ब्रह्मराजर्षिररत्नाढ्यां वन्दे भारतमातरम् ॥

    To her whose feet are washed by the ocean, who wears the Himalayas as her crown, and is adorned with the gems of rishis and kings, to Mother India, do I bow down in respect.

    --viShNu purANam

  4. #74
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    pages 135-141 (concluding part)
    X-ray eyes

    The homam having been performed in a grand manner, it was time for the final rite of pUrNAhUti to take place.

    The bhaktAs brought Periyavaa to the yAgashAlA (where the fire ceremony took place).

    Periyavaa went round the yAgashAlA in pradakSiNa (clockwise) and had darshan of the kalasa kuNDas (waterpots). At that moment when his AGYA (order) for doing the pUrNAhUti was awaited, he said, "Let there be no pUrNAhUti now; can do it a little later", and went inside.

    Everyone was nonplussed. Isn't this the right time, then why not do it?

    After he went inside, Periyavaa called a disciple.

    "The ghee kept for pUrNAhUti is not good; it has no homa yogya (fitness for the fire ceremony). Ask them to bring a fresh quantity of ghee."

    After arranging it as told, the disciple had a look at the ghee tin. It was coated thick with grease, infected with seven or eight insects.

    How were the defects of a half tin of ghee kept in a corner known to PeriyavaaL? Has he X-ray eyes? No, those eyes were svayam prakAsha (self-luminous) giving light even to the light rays!

    Won't give a paisa

    A vaidika (Vedic priest) who was a vedavid (Vedic pandit), an anuSTabdha (raised in staunch religious routines) and a nityAgnihotri (one who does 'agnihotra' daily) came for darshan.

    Periyavaa was conversing with him, after inquiring about him. He appreciated the pandit's vaidika anuSTAnam.

    The Agnihotri said: "I am going to do a yAga (fire sacrifice). Everything is ready. Many people support it...

    "I need to buy the yAga paSu (goats)... seems it would cost a lot. Periyavaa should do anugraha. For buying the paSu, should do dravya sahAyam (financial assistance) from SriMaTham..."

    Periyavaa expressed his blessings for the yAgam. "nalla kAryam. nannA nadakkum. (good work, will go well). The paSu himsa in the yAga is only ahimsa. Has dharma sammatam (sanction of dharma). I am a sanyAsin (ascetic). My dharma is what is known as 'ahimso parama dharma' (nonviolence is the ultimate dharma). Therefore, it is not my dharma to donate for buying the yAga paSu. So you complete your yAga, approaching some gRhastas (householders) for the dravya sahAyam."

    The man who came was very adamant. His aim was to somehow get money from PeriyavaaL. He did stotra (praise) of Periyavaa with the words, "The Yajneshvara is not in Vaikuntam. He is sAkSAt (in person) here! Only Periyavaa is the Yajneshvara..."

    "ShastrigaaL! If it is possible for you, perform the yAgam. I won't give a paisa from SriMaTham for buying goats... Had you told me about the yajnam in the beginning itself, sahAyam could have been done. But then for the type of kAryam you ask assistance for, it is not sanyAsa dharma to extent that help", said Periyavaa decidedly.

    It seemed to the disciples that though it was a disappointment for the man who came, he took leave somewhat pacified, realizing that the mistake was on him.

    Unruly monkeys

    A Sunday evening in summer. Periyavaa was giving darshan sitting inside his mEnA (palanquin). Devotees in large numbers had turned up for darshan. Offers of plates after plates of fruits, raisins, suger lumps and honey bottles were on the ground outside the palanquin.

    Suddenly an army of monkeys came there. In the bustle that followed, they mauled and ate the fruits; the honey bottles rolled on the floor.

    The disciples were restless that they might go to Periyavaa and try to do some mischief.

    No rEkA (line) of saMcalanaM (alarm) was seen on Periyavaa's face. An ishvarAGYA (divine order) of not to harm them came from him in the gesture of a snap of fingers! The loving devotees who came with staffs, stopped on their tracks, remaining motionless like the staffs they carried.

    At length, finishing their work, the monkeys went away for their Rama Karyam. Periyavaa told a story to the devotees.

    A village in the Thanjavur district could not withstand the trouble given by monkeys. A man hit a monkey that got caught in a stupid way, with a stick. Owing to internal injuries the monkey gave up its life after some days.

    The girl child that was born next to him was speech impaired. The time to get that girl married came up.

    The dampati (husband) came to Periyavaa, narrated their sin and wept.

    "Make a monkey figure out of clay and give it as offer to the temple of your grAma devata (village deity). Give the girl in marriage to one who gives his heartfelt consent to marry her."

    It happened in the same way. Later tt was learnt that the girl who was married gave birth to a child who spoke intelligently.

    "Should not beat the monkeys. Should show compassion to them. They come in the paramparA (ancestry) of Ram Sevaks. Even though they might give us trouble, we must leave them, thinking of Anjaneya."

    The loving devotees went melting, hearing the story and teaching from Periyavaa himself.

    The 'bhaktA's can't go, but the others...

    Every little creature enjoyed a grand welcome from PeriyavaaL!

    In Sivasthanam, no one enters Periyavaa's room. He would take care of his own chores.

    The assistants would place water in a small wooden pot at the entrance of the room. Individual wooden pots were placed for washing legs and hands, and for the anuSTAnam (religious routines).

    In summer, small animals like rats, squirrels and birds, would roam about, searching for water.

    Even though the shiSya-bhaktAs can't enter Periyavaa's room, there was no bar on these jantus (creatures) to enter. They would get inside in complete liberty, climb up the wooden pots, peep inside them, drink from the pots until their thirst is quenched and then run away.

    Periyavaa would be watching and enjoying their arrival and departure!

    Only we call them rat, squirrel, sparrow. To Periyavaa's eyes, did they appear as Pillaiyar, Ramapiran, Narayanan?

    रत्नाकरधौतपदां हिमालयकिरीटिनीम् ।
    ब्रह्मराजर्षिररत्नाढ्यां वन्दे भारतमातरम् ॥

    To her whose feet are washed by the ocean, who wears the Himalayas as her crown, and is adorned with the gems of rishis and kings, to Mother India, do I bow down in respect.

    --viShNu purANam

  5. #75
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    Don't beat the snake...
    author:...... BrahmaSri Ramakrishna Dikshatar, SriMaTham Vidvan, Kanchipuram
    compiler:... T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
    book:......... Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol. 1, pages 142-156
    publisher:.. Vanathi Padhippaham (Aug 2006 Edition)

    Pages 142-145

    Mahaans are not afraid of any prANi (animal). In the same way, the viSha jantus (venomous creatures) do not also fear him.

    Chaaturmaasya in Pandaripuram. A long venemous snake had crawled into the place where Periyavaa was staying. Everyone feared it. But then PeriyavaaL gave orders that no one should beat the snake. We clapped our hands and gestured to it to go away; and the snake cleared out of our sight on its own. Only we were troubled by sighting the snake, PeriyavaaL was never in saMcalanaM. And that snake too went on its own, and not just hurried off fearing our presence.

    But then if it is a cat, PeriyavaaL would have some sort of fear! According to the Dharma Shastras, a hair of a cat sticking to the human body could mean much sin. Therefore, if a cat happens to drop by, Periyavaa would ensure that it does not come near him, by clapping his hands.

    *** *** ***

    When camping in the Karveti Nagar, PeriyavaaL was reclining near an anthill. There were lots of winged ants too. People like Ramakrishnan and Kannan requested PeriyavaaL not to stretch himself near an anthill. PeriyavaaL did not let to their words reach his ears. He reclined there and then and slept well. And not a single ant did crawl over himself!


    The year was 1958. Sri PeriyavaaL was camping for a long time after the Chaaturmaasyam in the home of Mambalam Sri G.V.KalyanaRamaiyer.

    During that time, a series of lectures were given by a prabala upanyAsaka (popular discourser) at Mylapore. A large crowd.

    I had gone for a lecture during one of those days. The Upanyaasaka recited Appayya Dikshitar's shloka thus:

    maulau ganga shashAnkau
    kara caraNa talE shItalAngA bhujangAha
    vAmE bhAgE dayArdrA himagiritanayA
    candanam sarvagAtrE

    itham shItam prabhUtam
    tava kanakasabhAnAtha sODum kva shaktihi
    cittE nirvEda taptE yadi bhavati na tE
    nitya vAsO madhIyE

    and explained:

    "On your locks are the river Ganga and the moon. On your your feet and arms are the cold serpents. On your left is the compassionate daughter of the snow mountains and you have applied the cool sandal all over your body.

    How, O Lord of the Golden Cosmic Hall, are you able to bear such cold atmosphere? You are welcome to stay eternally in my heart which is hot due to the sins I commit."

    (Shloka transliteration and meaning from

    I felt some glitch there. What work do the smooth serpents have among the cool vastus (things)! There is no place for smoothness among this group of cold items. How can smoothness go with coolness?

    komalAngA bhujanghA -- no; perhaps only shItalAngA bhujanghA is the correct usuage here?...

    On the next day, when I got an opportunity to talk to Sri PeriyavaaL, I slightly hinted at this opinion of mine. Sri PeriyavaaL very much appreciated the 'shItalAngA.

    Sending word to that Upanyaasaka the next day, Sri Periyavaa experessed his happiness to the discourser: "Heard that you explained the maulau ganga shloka very beautifully. This boy had listened to it..." And then from nine in the night until midnight, Sri PeriyavaaL explained us many things elaborately about this shloka, enjoying its purport from different angles.

    "Instead of the komalAngA, the padam shItalAngA would be apt, says this boy. Seems to me what he says would be very appropriate. Now on, we can print it as only shItalAngA bhujanghA," Periyavaa said decidedly.

    There was no limit to the santoSham felt by me and the other Vidvans. My body shivers to think about how Sri PeriyavaaL recognised a word I told him and with what puShTi he implemented it.

    *** *** ***

    (Was the 'shloka' had only 'komalAngA' originally which was changed to 'shItalAngA' in the later prints? For, all versions of the 'shloka' that can be searched with Google on the Net have only the term 'shItalAngA'. --sd)
    रत्नाकरधौतपदां हिमालयकिरीटिनीम् ।
    ब्रह्मराजर्षिररत्नाढ्यां वन्दे भारतमातरम् ॥

    To her whose feet are washed by the ocean, who wears the Himalayas as her crown, and is adorned with the gems of rishis and kings, to Mother India, do I bow down in respect.

    --viShNu purANam

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    Pages 145-150

    It is my remembrance that the year was 1965. When Sri Maha PeriyavaaL was camping in Tirupathi, he arranged for performing a Kalyana Utsavam (for a fee of Rs.600/-). The Devastanam people gave prasAdam after the Utsava events were over. Srinivasa Perumal Darshanam was arranged for those who paid for the Kalyana Utsavam, outside the formality of the usual queue. Because of his devotion to PeriyavaaL, the Peshkar invited everyone who was with Sri PeriyavaaL--there were 15 people--for Perumal Darshanam.

    "If a Kalyana Utsavam is done, to how many is the darshan permission given?"

    "Six people", said the Peshkar.

    "In that case, only six of us will come for this privileged darshan. Myself, Pudu PeriyavaaL and then four other people..."

    "Everyone can go (for the darshan)...", said the Peshkar submissively.

    "That is wrong, adharmam. The Devasthanam has framed a rule that only six people can go. You are a Devasthanam chippanti (staff member). Because of your bhakti towards me, if you send all the fifteen people for darshan, in that act two offenses arise. One is the offense of a Devasthanam official himself transgressing a rule framed by the Devasthanam! When the people who frame the rules do not respect them, then why the rules? The other (offense) is what I have done by giving you a nirbandha (insistence) to overstep the rule!..."

    'Dharma is not for mere prasAram (preaching), it should be shown in anuSTAnam by the svayam.' Sri Maha PeriyavaaL by his own act had stood in proof of this statement. If 'rAmo vigrahavAt dharmaH'--Sri Rama is the holy form of Dharma--, our Maha PeriyavaaL is a second Rama was the truth I learned through my own eyes (on that day).

    A prankish ruler!

    Sri Maha PeriyavaaL, like children, had a tendency towards pranks. They would be very interesting.

    One night, a man named Marakkannu had the paaraa (vigilance) duty. It was perhaps two in the night. He had slept, sitting on his chair. Sri PeriyavaaL who woke up, looked outside, and saw Marakkannu sleeping. He did not disturb either the sleeping man or anyone else. It was the duty of the man on paaraa to strike every hour on a metal disk with a hammerlike wooden log, to indicate the time. Sri SwamigaL took that log and moved away!

    After sometime, Marakannu woke up and as it was time to sound the three o'clock gong, he searched for the wooden log. It could be got only if it was there? As the thought that only Periyavaa had moved past him, he became panicky.

    As it dawned, as the first thing he went to Manager Viswanatha Aiyar and pleaded his case, nearly shedding tears. "Alright, you go now. I shall take care of it", the Manager said and sent him away.

    Later at an opportune time he brought up the 'Marakkannu samAcAram'. "Call him."

    Marakkannu came.

    Sri Maha PeriyavaaL said laughingly, "You were afraid, weren't you? Well, don't be afraid!...", gave him a suger lump and sent him away!

    By this Sri PeriyavaaL showed in action that everyone could be controlled by love, and that control by power could not always be successful.

    *** *** ***

    There were also entertainments with Sri Maha PeriyavaaL!

    Once we were travelling from (Chennai) Tirumangalam to Ambattur. As usual, Sri PeriyavaaL was walking with his hand on the tricycle. Some seven or eight of us were walking along with him.

    "Nilakanta, you have seen a kapaTa sannyAsi?"


    "Nagaraja, what about you?"


    Looking at me, Sri PeriyavaaL asked, "Have you heard of a kapaTa sannyAsi?"

    "Heard of him... Ravana, Arjuna...", I said.

    "Only those?"

    With hesitation I said, "Kalidasan".

    "Kalidasan? When did he become a kapaTa sannyAsi?"

    "PeriyavaaL knows it... If Periyavaa tells the story, we would walk listening to it..."

    "No, you tell it."

    Kalidasa, who was the Asthaana Vidvan in the court of Bhojaraja, one day, when he heard something discourteous, quit the Sabha and started walking where his legs took him.

    Bhojan could not spend his time without Kalidasa. How to find him? He wrote two lines of a verse and announced through a tom-tom that anyone who completed the verse with the other two lines would be rewarded.

    Kalidasa, who was in a dAsIs house, though he heard nothing of the reward, completed the verse. The dAsI went and showed those lines to Bhojan. Knowing details from her, Bhojan later started in disguise in search of Kalidasa. On the way he saw a Sannyasi under a tree got the doubt if the ascetic was Kalidasan.

    Conversation began paraspara (between them).

    The Turavi asked Bhojan in disguise, "Who are you?"

    "I was an adaippakkaaran (betel nut bag carrier) with Bhojan. After he was dead, I did not like to be there, so I came out."

    "Ah!... My Bhojan is dead?" As the ascetic sorrowed and sang the charama shloka (the final verse), the man in disguise fell down dead. Since it was known without doubt that the man was Bhojan himself, the ascetic prayed to AmbaaL with a melting heart and sang shyAmalA daNDakam and then another verse with the meaning, "Here, Bhojan has awakened!

    Bhojan really got back his life stood up.

    I narrated this story and said finally, "It was on this occasion that Kalidasa enacted a play in kapaTa as a sannyAsi."

    "That was very svArasya (with absorbing interest). The fatigue of walking all the way was not felt at all!", said PeriyavaaL.

    Ambattur was reached.

    *** *** ***
    रत्नाकरधौतपदां हिमालयकिरीटिनीम् ।
    ब्रह्मराजर्षिररत्नाढ्यां वन्दे भारतमातरम् ॥

    To her whose feet are washed by the ocean, who wears the Himalayas as her crown, and is adorned with the gems of rishis and kings, to Mother India, do I bow down in respect.

    --viShNu purANam

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    Pages 150-156 (concluding part)

    An incident that happened during the Kashi Yatra in the year 1933.

    Sri PeriyavaaL's 'visit' to the Banaras Hindu University on an evening.

    When PeriyavaaL went there, Madak-kulatthur BrahmaSri Chinnasamy SastrigaL was giving a lecture, about 'vidhi rasAyanam', a Mimamsa work written by Appayya Dikshitar. Sri PeriyavaaL was enraptured by Sri Dikshita's style of writing. He was happy talking about it to 'AtmaVidya BhushaNam' Injik-kollai BrahmaSri Jagadeeswara SastrigaL who had accompanied him. (Only later to this incident, Sri PeriyavaaL read all the Granthas of Appayya Dikshitar).

    A reception to PeriyavaaL was held in the Kashi Raja's palace. Notables from the city were present. And a large number of Pandits. A feeling of derision in their hearts; an asUya (displeasure) that could not be placed: 'Why should this man bear the title Jagadguru?... With two questions, we can corner him!"

    As PeriyavaaL came and seated himself, a Pandit asked in Avesha: "Who is that Jagadguru?"

    "Myself", said PeriyavaaL.

    "Oho? You are the Guru for the entire Jagat?"

    "No, jagatAm guruH na (I am not saying it in the meaning 'a guru for the Jagat'). jagati padyamAnAH sarve mama gurave" (All the creatures in the world are my gurus--in that meaning I am Jagadguru)."

    The North Indian Pandits were dumbfounded. They never expected such a simple explanation.

    PeriyavaaL looked at the nests that sparrows had built in the pigeon holes constructed on top of those buildings. He showed it to the Pandits and asked, "kimitam (what are these)?"

    "nIDa (nest, resting-place)."

    "kena nimitta (built by whom)?"

    "caTake (sparrows)."

    "Sparrows with no hands or legs build nests. Though we have hands and legs we can't build nests like them. The sparrows have a kriyA shakti. That, I don't have. Therefore, the sparrow is my guru..." PeriyavaaL said, and worshipped them with folded palms, after patting his cheeks.

    The North Indian Pandits who saw this in person were amazed. They bowed to him, adoring him, "You are indeed the Jagadguru!" Until the last day PeriyavaaL stayed in Kashi, there were coming to him daily and prostrated.

    The story of the Uppuk Kuravan (the salt merchant)

    A large duHkham, an unbearable shokam befell me. I could not go to have darshan of Sri Maha PeriyavaaL for four months.

    PeriyavaaL sent word for me. Two or three big officials came and took me to him.

    It was ten in the night. Solitude. The shine of an akal viLakku (earthern lamp).

    "...nipuNau", said PeriyavaaL slowly, "sollu (tell me)."

    "tava hi charaNAveva nipuNau... the fourth shloka in the Saundarya Lahari...
    tvad-anyaH pANibhyAM..."

    PeriyavaaL, slowly, "Only AmbaaL is the adaikkalam (asylum) for everyone. She knows it--what to give, how, and when..."


    "SambaMurthy, would you know about the sandai (Shandy, a mobile market)?"

    "I know. Many merchants will bring various goods and sell them. The sandai will be held on a specific day in a week in every village. They would be travelling under a schedule of 'this place today, another tomorrow'."

    "Would you have heard about uppuk kuravan (a salt merchant)?"

    "Yes. Those who earn their living traditionally by selling salt in the sandais."

    "Yes, such an uppuk kuravan; one who had bhakti in Kamakshi...

    "Once, when he finished his work in a sandai and was on his way to the next village, he came across a jungly region. Some thieves watched this man, carrying his salt bags on a donkey. 'Dei (hey), this man would sell his salt tomorrow, carry money and go this way. We would at that time seize his earnings...', they made a plan. Forthwith,--would you know about the firecrakers they burst?..."

    "In temples, during the days of Utsava, they would prepare firecrakers with cracker-explosive mixture, hardening it and inserting a wick. When the edge of the wick is lit by fire, the spark would slowly traverse through and reach the explosive content; and that will burst with a loud noise."

    "Yes, what the thieves planned, if they burst a firecraker, the donkey would get upset and run in confusion. The uppuk kuravan would scream in fear, faint and fall down. Then they could seize the money from his lap...

    "On that day, when the uppuk kuravan spread his ware in the sandai, it rained heavily and all the salt melted away. He had naSTam, manak-kaSTam. He scolded Kamakshi with whatever words that came to his mind. His anger was also that he should return home with no money. Turning back, he travelled through the jungly region. When they signted him, the thieves lit their firecracker. The spark travelled through the wick up to the pipe that held the explosive mixture. When they were happy that it was about to burst, it did not burst! When they investigated the reason, they found that the explosive mixture was thoroughly wet in the rain that showered in the morning! So it did not catch fire. They said at once to the uppuk kuravan 'Swami has saved you. It was only for your good that it rained. Go home and worship God.'

    "The uppuk kuravan was dumfounded. 'Then, what I thought as AmbaaL doing me droham (betrayal of trust) was only wrong?' He thought, 'Kamakshi, forgive me. You know what I want, and when. Had it not rained and I had sold the salt and come this way with the earnings, these thieves would have beaten me up. It is my good time that you saved me!'

    "Therefore, whatever we get is only AmbaaL's prasAdam. Remaining without asking for anything is the good that we can do to ourselves..."

    When Maha PeriyavaaL's low-toned, leisurely, long talk came to an end, it was two-thirty in the night.

    "The ten tons of iron on my head has been unburdened", I said.

    His starting with the sandai and ending it with AmbaaL--though it was for my mental comfort, it suits everyone in the same state of mind, right?

    "Without skipping it, you read Ramayana daily. You will get peace of mind", said PeriyavaaL.

    The Ramayana ParayaNa and the peace of mind continue together, to this day.

    AveshaH - entering, influence, intentness, devotion, pride, flurry, sudden agitation, anger,
    possession by a god, spirit or demon, apoplectic or epileptic giddiness
    रत्नाकरधौतपदां हिमालयकिरीटिनीम् ।
    ब्रह्मराजर्षिररत्नाढ्यां वन्दे भारतमातरम् ॥

    To her whose feet are washed by the ocean, who wears the Himalayas as her crown, and is adorned with the gems of rishis and kings, to Mother India, do I bow down in respect.

    --viShNu purANam

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    PeriyavaaL's Distress
    Author: V. Swaminatha Atreyan (in Tamil)
    Compiler: T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
    Source: Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol. 1, pages 206-216
    Publisher: Vanathi Padhippaham

    Kanchi MahaswamigaL was walking towards the west, in an early morning, behind a cycle rickshaw, on the right side corner, via Music Academy in Cathedral Road, Chennai. (It might be in the year 1964-65). People who accompanied him were Neelakantaiyer of P.G.Paul & Co., SriMaTham Sivaramaiyer, Paanaampattu Kannan, Srikantan, Royapuram Balu and this man (that is, myself). Ten to twenty devotees added themselves to the crowd here and there.

    When they reached the corner of the road that turns to Gopalapuram, MahaswamigaL called me.

    "There, at the back, in front of the petty shop, is one with a tuft on his head, breathing smoke out of his mouth! Do you see him? Go to him and ask ' know the ShrautigaL?' and then come back."

    I ran. He was lighting a beedi using the glowing end of a smouldering rope that was hanging there. It was revolting to look at him. I approached him and asked.

    "Hey, you know the ShrautigaL of Paravaakkarai?"

    He became apprehensive and dropped the beedi. "Who are you? What for are you asking?"

    "Acharya SwamigaL wanted to know..."

    "PeriyavaL? Where?"

    "There", I pointed out to him. He ran away the opposite side. I waited for sometime and then reported to MahaswamigaL. "I asked. He ran away without replying anything."

    SwamigaL walked silently on the Gopalapuram road. Some distance away, inside a compound, a pandal was erected and festoons were displayed. Devotees received the sage with pUrNa kumbham.

    After we ascended the four steps at the entrance of a large bungalow, a place in a corner of the verandah, adjacent to a wall was pointed out. The boys placed the seat on which SwamigaL sat.

    The devotees bowed to him and left one by one. They had to go to their offices!

    SwamigaL got up and was about to go inside. At that time he came. Vibuti bands on his forehead. Irregular bands on the chest and hands. He had tied a towel around his waist. He prostrated to the sage.

    PeriyavargaL sat down again.

    "Who is this?" he asked, pointing at me.

    "A few minutes back Periyavaa had asked only this man to find out from me if I knew the Paravaakkarai ShrautigaL...", he said. "Yes, I am the grandson of Paravaakkarai ShrautigaL. The name is pranatArti."

    "Don't say pranatArti. That is Swami's name. Say pranatArti Haran. Or Haran. Swami would remove the pIDA of those who prostrate to Him. That is the (meaning of the) name."

    "Everyone call me this way. So it has become a habit."

    "What is the reason you are like this! Did you do the adhyayanam?"

    "Thatha had taught me sAmam and all."

    "Tell me a sAmam", said SwamigaL, indicating a popular sAmam. He recited two or three sentences. His tone was loud, well modulated, tender and sweet.

    "I forgot beyond this!"

    "You have elder or younger brothers?"

    "Two elder. They took up the English education and are employed somewhere. Since I am good at chanting, Thatha taught me Sama Veda. I did not like it. So I ran away from the house."

    "What do you do now?"

    "I am helping the policemen."

    "You help the policemen? What is that help?"

    "They take me to the courts. I testify as a witness. They pay me for that..."

    "How did you get the smoking habit?"

    "When I go with them, they would buy (cigarettes or beedis) in bundles. Also give me two or three."

    "You tell the court only things you saw, is it not?"

    "I had not seen anything! They would tutor me. And I repeat it!"

    "The lawyers would ask you questions thoroughly?"

    "Yes. That is why the policemen would take me to the place of murder and tutor me that the murder took place here and in this manner; I was standing at this place; it was crowded; I was just witnessing things for fun. The murderer ran away towards the direction of east. He had a sickle in his hand. Blood poured out from it. -- This is how they tutor me. Have I not testified in many cases? So I have a good practice. In whatever way the lawyer would question me, I would give an intelligent answer. Two or three times I had spoken incoherently. For that, the policemen beat me up severely."

    "Do you wear a shirt and all when you go to the court?"

    "No no. The policemen would not allow it. I have to wear large vibuti bands. I should have kept my poonool white with soap. They also compel me to wear a towel around my waist."

    "Is it not a sin to bear witness in this manner?"

    "Sin only. I know well. But I have no other go!"

    "Is that so? I will show a way out, will you do it?"

    "Please tell me."

    "There is this Kapaleeswarar temple in Mylapore. You go there in the evening, sweep the west gopura entrance and sprinkle water on the ground everyday. I shall ask you to be given ten rupees. And also a meal in the afternoon!"

    "Kovil undaik katti and all will not suit me."

    "No temple prasAda for you. I shall arrange for your eating at a house of one devotee daily in turn. You eat within that ten rupees at night."

    "All that won't work out right for me."

    "Don't be in a hurry! Stay in the MaTham for two days. Watch the ChandraMauleesvara puja. Immediately after the puja, I shall ask you to be served food. Think over and let me know."

    "It wouldn't be possible today. A big case in the Egmore court. If I don't go to bear witness they would break my backbone. Let me go." He went away.

    SwamigaL looked at him till he went out of the compound. Then he rose and went inside.

    Neelakantaiyer and I went after him.

    PeriyavaaL looked back. Neelakantier started talking slowly. "In spite of Periyavaa telling him so much, he did not listen?"

    "Let him remain! The policemen have taught the public an occupation called bearing false witness!"

    Neelakantier said: "What will the policemen do? Suppose a murder takes place in broad daylight and many people have seen it. It is well known who did it. But then who will go to the court to testify? Everyone has got his job. If they go to bear witness, the lawyers would make them wander to and fro the court entrance. They can't escape it. So those who have seen in person won't testify. Even if the accused accepts his crime, the case would be dismissed for want of a witness. And complaints will arise that the policemen did not conduct the case properly. So they have no other way than to fabricate a false witness."

    PeriyavargaL said: "A murder is the first injustice. Those who saw the murder not coming up to testify is the second injustice. Those who have not seen it testifying falsely is the third injustice. And you argue to justify all these injustices!"

    "Periyavaa should excuse me. I just told what happens in the world."

    "Another anguish in that. All this in the guise of a brahmin! The policemen believe that the court would believe a brahmin's word as truth even if he falsely testifies. Let all that go. This ShrautigaL's grandson is like this!"

    "He doesn't get into his ears what Periyavaa says!"

    "What will he do? He says the policemen would beat him if he does not attend the court!"

    "Seems Periyavaa is in much klesha. What can we do?"

    "You know that it is in the shastra that a sanyAsin should not give room for pleasure and pain in his mind?" Saying this the sage went for his bath.

    It was about three o' clock in the afternoon. I was sleeping in the verandah, next to the puja room.

    "Rama!" -- a loud voice was heard. I woke up.

    Melur maamaa--Ramachandraiyer--is the man who was attending the chores in PeriyavargaL's puja room. A very orthodox man. He was a lion-sighting-dream (meaning terror) to all the puja assistants. He would supervise the puja chores flawlessly. Even after the puja murtis are locked in the iron safe, he would be there guarding them.

    He came out of the puja room with a large brass pot in his hand. He saw me and called.

    "Did you come along in the Periyavaa's entourage this morning?"

    "Yes, I did."

    "What happened at that time?"


    "Something had happened! Periyavaa did not perform the puja today!"

    "Is that? It is like this..." I told him the story of the Paravaakkarai ShrautigaL's grandson.

    He moved away, stroking the front of his head with his palm.

    In the meantime, MahaswamigaL got up and came around to ease himself in the restroom.

    I bowed to him.

    "What did Melur maamaa say? Seems he did not take food today! Did you inquire?"

    I wiped my eyes.

    "You want to tell me something! Why not say it?"

    "What can I say to PeriyavaaL? A shloka of shridhara AyyavaL comes to my mind."

    "AyyavaL shloka? Would drip with bhakti rasam! Chant it, let me see."

    "tvan nAmadheya rasikA: taruNendu maule
    dhuHkham na yAnti kimapIti hi vAdamAtram |
    deshamIkila svavipatIva vahanti dhuHkham
    trukocarIbhavati dhuHkani jantumAtre||

    (I am sure that my phrasing of the shloka is bound to have errors. I request the readers to supply the correct lines as I can't find them myself. -- saidevo)

    "Tell me once again!" I recited it again.

    "There! Tell me the meaning, let me see."

    "The Lord who is wearing the crescent moon! Everyone says in this world that those who utter the sweet name Shiva Shiva would not suffer distress. It is only just talk. In reality, such people will melt with empathy if any suffering man or beast or worm comes into their sight, as if the distress happened to them!"

    "You said it well! Did you notice an interesting thing in that?"

    "What? I did not notice!"

    "He says 'taruNendu maule'. He addresses it to our ChandraMauleesvara. It is only the murti that his gurunathar Bodhendra Saraswati performed puja to--Chandramouleesvara. Only to him he has sung this way." Saying this SwamigaL moved away.

    I had an impulse to tell him something. Had I said it, probably that would have been construed as an apacAram.

    We can exchange it within ourselves!

    Sridhara AyyavaL, who lived three hundred and fifty years ago, had supplicated to that ChandraMauleesvara that a PeriyavaaL with a mind that melts at the sufferings of others is going to take birth!

    adhyayana - reading, studying, especially the Vedas
    beedi - a handmade, raw cigarette, wrapped in dry leaves
    gopura - the ornamented gateway of a temple
    kleshaH - pain, suffering
    [i]kovilp/i] (Tamil) temple
    maamaa - (Tamil) a brahminical address for an elderly or respected person
    pandal - a shed erected using plates made of dry coconut leaves
    pIDA - pain, distress, agony, trouble, loss, ruin, neglect, restriction, bindign, eclipse, catching
    poonool - sacred thread
    sAmam - (a verse of) sama veda
    shloka - poem, hymn, poetic composition
    Thatha - (Tamil) grandfather
    undaik katti - a temple prasAda which is actually a bowl-shaped lump of rice, made by pouring cooked, steaming-hot rice into bowl-shaped stone depressions in a slab of stone.

    Last edited by saidevo; 12 February 2011 at 11:07 PM.
    रत्नाकरधौतपदां हिमालयकिरीटिनीम् ।
    ब्रह्मराजर्षिररत्नाढ्यां वन्दे भारतमातरम् ॥

    To her whose feet are washed by the ocean, who wears the Himalayas as her crown, and is adorned with the gems of rishis and kings, to Mother India, do I bow down in respect.

    --viShNu purANam

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    Tales from the SriMaTham Assistants
    author:..... SriMaTham Balu
    compiler:... T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
    book:......... Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol. 1, pages 236-256
    publisher:.. Vanathi Padhippaham (Aug 2006 Edition)

    Pages 236-239

    As narrated by BrahmaSrI E.S.Vedapuri SastrigaL, Vivek Nagar, Chitlapakkam, Chennai-600064. (He is a native of Esayanur, North Arcot district.)

    Maha Periyava is a Purusha of pranks. When I was sleeping at night--at one or two o'clock--he would wake me up. I would get up hurriedly with the thought 'what could be so important now?' "What did you eat at night? Ate to a full stomach?" he would ask, and then say, "Aright, go and lie down!..." A small prank!

    *** *** ***

    Maha Periyavaa, whenever he commences an upanyAsa (lecture) would first recite the shlOka (hymn) 'sruti smriti purAnAnAm Alayam karuNAlayam'* and only then would start his speech.

    Once he sights a Pillaiyar temple, immense joy would overwhelm Maha PeriyavaaL! A coconut should be broken by dashing it against the floor (sidarkkAi) for all the Pillaiyars. "appO thANdA, kuzhandaikaL ellAm vandhu tEngAi chillu poRikkUk koLLum (only then will all the children come and pick up the coconut pieces)", he would explain as the reason for the act. A coconut will always be there in his mEnA (palanquin), just for the purpose of the sidarkkAi!

    In the same way, whenever he goes to Kamakshi temple from SriMaTham, he would ask for a bunch of bananas to be given as nivedanam (offer) to the Gangai Kondaan Mandapa Anjaneyar. He would recite the 'buddhir balam shlOka' and ask for Anjaneya's anugraha (blessings).

    *** *** ***

    kArvAr is the name for the manager in SriMaTham who attends to the welfare of the assistants who do edupidi vElai (run an errand). Once the manager did not 'measure the wages' for the Bhogis who carry the palanquin. The Bhogis when they next carried the mEnA sang thus, in order to bring it to the notice of Maha Periyavaa:

    "Rama Ramaiyah
    Kanchi Kamakshi
    Madurai Meenakshi
    Kasi Visalakshi
    inda vELaikku (for this session)
    innikku padi pOdalE (today no wage is given)
    ayyAtAn kEtkaNum (only our Lord should inquire about it)."

    PeriyavaaL understood the matter. Later he talked to the kArvAr, pacified the Bhogis and asked for the wages to be given to them.

    *** *** ***

    If Periyavaa is not there in the palanquin, it would be heavy to carry! There was a Bhogi named Beddha Kunju.

    "ayyA ERikkaNum (my Lord should mount the palanquin)", he would join his palms in supplication.

    "ENdA (why, my man)?"

    "pallakku ganakkiRathu (the palanquin feels heavy)!..."

    "nAnthAn pallakkilE illaiyE (But I am not inside the palanquin)?"

    "If 'ayyA' mounts it, it would feel like a cushion on our shoulder..."

    Periyavaa would mount the palanquin for his sake.

    *** *** ***

    In those days when a yAtrA (tour) is undertaken, three horses would accompany the entourage. One is the savAri kudirai (horse for mounting). Another is the Tangaa (a kind of drum) horse. When the border of a village is reached, the assistants would sound the two Tangas on the horse, in order to announce Periyavaa's arrival to the people of the village. The third is the tapAl (Mail) horse, used to get the mails from the post office and post the mails from SriMaTham.

    In addition, at the village border, they would play a [i]vAdyam[/o] (musical instrument) called Gowri KaaLai. Its notes would be heard over a very long distance.

    In the days of the 1944 yAtrAs, twenty-two irattai mAttuk kUNdu vaNdi (twin-bullock-driven, closed carts) used to go with the entourage. First the Puja Cart; and lastly the Karvar Cart. The guru pAdukas (Guru's sandals) would be carried in a small cart. It had the name Arai Vandi (a half wagon).

    *** *** ***

    Camp in Trichy. An Amma had stolen the Tirumangalyam (holy wedding badge) from another Amma nearby. When that Amma came to receive the tIrtha prasAdam (holy water), "You came in search of puNyam (merits) or to carry the burden of the pAva mUttai (sin-bag)", Periyavaa asked her. "Take the tAli (Tirumangalyam) out and give it (to her)."

    Then calling the woman who lost the article in theft, he asked her husband to tie the tAli in the ChandraMaulishvara sannidhi (precinct); and dropped a handful of Kumkumam in her hands, blessing her with the words, "You would remain in prosperity."

    *sruti smriti purAnAnAm
    Alayam karuNAlayam
    namAmi bhagavatpAdam
    sankaram lOkasankaram

    We salute the sacred feet of Sri Sankara, the abode of Srutis, Smritis, Puranas and of compassion, and who ever accomplishes the good of the world!
    रत्नाकरधौतपदां हिमालयकिरीटिनीम् ।
    ब्रह्मराजर्षिररत्नाढ्यां वन्दे भारतमातरम् ॥

    To her whose feet are washed by the ocean, who wears the Himalayas as her crown, and is adorned with the gems of rishis and kings, to Mother India, do I bow down in respect.

    --viShNu purANam

  10. #80
    Join Date
    August 2006
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    Re: Kanchi Paramacharya: A Virtual Darshan

    Pages 239-243

    A man from Andhra brought two baskets of quality mangoes. "SwamigaL should eat these fruits."

    Periyavaa asked him to distribute the fruits to everyone assembled there. At length, only one fruit was left in each basket. Periyavaa gave away one fruit as prasAdam to him.

    The Andhra man did prArthanA, "Periyavaa should eat that (remaining) fruit."

    "Me! Only two pieces from this fruit would come to me (for eating)! Should we not give something to the boys who do the kaingkariyam (service)? Do think that I ate the two baskets of fruits myself!..."

    *** *** ***

    Periyavaa was very fond of sangItam (classical and devotional music). He would also sing himself.

    Camp in Varakur. He asked me to come near him. "Shall I sing a song? Would you listen to it?", he said. When I said okay, he sang in a voice that was audible just to me:

    "kaNNA, chandramaulISvarar kitta
    vedapuri... vedapuri...
    indak kattai viLakkil
    nAlu tiripOttu eNNai vittu,
    Etthi vai, vedapuri...

    "My dear, to ChandraMaulishvara,
    Vedapuri... Vedapuri...
    In this wooden lamp
    rest four wicks, pour oil,
    and light the lamp Vedapuri..."

    Instead of giving an order to light the lamp, he conveyed it in a subtle way.

    He would say that we should read the Panchangam (almanac) daily. Many fruits can be obtained by knowing the tithi, vAra, nakSatra, yoga, karaNa, he would say. He would also listen to the daily reading of the Panchangam.

    *** *** ***

    If he goes for the 'koTTAkai' (washroom), gangAjalam (Ganga water) should be kept ready on a plate of stiched ('mandArai') leaves for his Achamana (purificatory sipping of water).

    He would do japam sitting inside his mEnA and closing its door. It was known by the very name 'oru maNi japam' (an hour's japa). There would be an alarm timepiece. Until his japam was over, he should not be disturbed, whatever the urgency.

    *** *** ***

    Periyavaa has taught me cooking! (What, you are looking with widely opened eyes? You think whatsoever time did Periyavaa went to the samaiyal kattu (kitchen construct)? Everything would be understood by him without ever reading a book.)

    "Know how to make kUttu (vegetable stew)?" he asked me once. I said I did not know. "Make it as I tell you; there will be no leftover of the kUttu..."

    "Boil some water and put some greengram dhal (payattham paruppu) in it. When it is somewhat boiled, drop the cut vegetables. After it is well cooked, season it with a pasty mixture of grated Bengalgram dhal (kadalai paruppu), coriander seeds and coconut. Drop some pepper and cumin seeds. Done this way, there will no leftover of the kUttu."

    I would prepare it as advised by Periyavaa. The atithis (guests) who stayed with me would also partake it. The entire kUttu would be consumed."

    Only making kUttu can be conversed with me. What can I understand of any talk about the Upanishads?

    *** *** ***

    What for are the panchendriyAs (five senses)? Only for bhagavat-ArAdhanam (worship of God). Only good should be done. bhavan-nAma (the holy name of God) should be written, spoken. Vishnu Sahasranamam should be chanted. karmAnuSTAnam (daily religious practice) should be done.

    When Periyavaa is present in SriMaTham, he would walk around the four Mada Streets as pradakSiNam (goind round clockwise) of Kamakshi. All of us should accompany him reciting Vishnu Sahasranamam twice or thrice.

    *** *** ***

    In those days the monthly wages of the cippantis (staff members) were only for the sake of its name. But then staying with Periyavaa would in itself be Ananda (happiness). For the man who rolls the wicks, three rupees per month; when Periyavaa goes out, for the man who carries the silver staff, eight rupees; for him who does the kaingkariyam (service) when Periyavaa goes to the 'koTTAkai' (washroom), three rupees; for him who grinds the sandal paste, eight rupees; for him who plucks the bhilva leaves and arranges them in order, eight rupees; for him who prepares the nivedanam at night, fifteen rupees; for him who prepares the day nivedanam, twenty-two rupees.

    Both morning and night there would be nivedanam of Vadai-Payasam.

    *** *** ***

    At the places he goes camping, he would ask me to perform the Avahanti homam. "ellOrukkum niRaiya chAppadu kidaikkaNum-dA (everyone should get plenty of food, dear)", he would say. Doing AvAhanam (invoking) of AnnaPurani on the kalasa tIrtham (potted holy water), I would do the homam according to the place and time. PeriyavaaL was very fond of getting the Avahanti homam performed!

    *** *** ***

    tithi - lundar day
    vAra, vAsara - day of the week
    nakSatra - one of the 27 asterisms
    yoga - 1/27th division of the solar longitudinal duration
    karaNa - an astrological division of the day equal to half a tithi

    For a good article on the Hindu calendar, check:

    *** *** ***
    रत्नाकरधौतपदां हिमालयकिरीटिनीम् ।
    ब्रह्मराजर्षिररत्नाढ्यां वन्दे भारतमातरम् ॥

    To her whose feet are washed by the ocean, who wears the Himalayas as her crown, and is adorned with the gems of rishis and kings, to Mother India, do I bow down in respect.

    --viShNu purANam

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