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Friday, March 8, 2013

I Lived with God (English) - Part 1

Author: Dr.D.Sundararaman - that son of Doraiswamy Iyer 

Recently, my wife, Lakshmi and I went to Kancheepuram on January 07, 1993, to have ‘darshan’ of our Periaval and to get his Blessings for the then forthcoming wedding of our son Guruprasad. On reaching the Kanchi Kamakoti Mutt, we learnt that Periaval was not giving darshan that day and might not give darshan the following day also. Still, we waited in line in the place where he usually gave darshan, from 11.30 a.m. to 12 noon. Then we watched the puja to Chandramauleeswarar, being performed by His Holiness Sri Sankara Vijayendra Saraswati Swamigal. After the puja we got His blessings. Then we went to my nephew Chandru’s house in Kancheepuram. At about 4.30 p.m. 

we felt that we should go back to the Mutt, thinking that perhaps we may be lucky to have Periaval’s darshan that evening. Well informed persons told us that it is quite unlikely. At about 5.30 p.m., we were told that Periaval would give darshan for a few minutes. It would have been enough for us but we had fifteen minutes of peaceful darshan. A Swamiji who was standing by the side of Periaval, came to me and told that as part of the Birth Centenary Celebrations of Periaval, a souvenir would be published containing accounts by persons who had been closely associated with Periaval and suggested that I should write about my experiences with Periaval for the souvenir. I did not know this Swamiji earlier. Later I learnt that he is called Mettur Swamigal.

When I heard the phrase, ‘Your experiences with Periaval’, my thoughts travelled back in time to a night in the year 1957 (or) 1958 at Orikkai Village, a night in which I had my most unforgettable experience – my VISHVARUPADARSHAN OF PERIAVAL. It was a busy day for him. Around 9 p.m. he asked his regular assistants to go back to Chinna Kancheepuram and told “Only Sundararaman should be here”. One of the assistants told him, ‘Sundararaman has not eaten’, to which Perival replied, ‘He must have by now become used to skipping his meals’. I had no say.

Then he sat in the middle of the inner yard. There was only dim moon light. He asked me ‘Do you know my early Story?’ I replied ‘I don’t know, even a bit’. Then followed a narration for about thirty minutes. My memory is still fresh though I am not sure of the year or the date. It could have been a day in 1958,during my college vacation. Even after nearly thirty four years, I remember the important points of his narration. It has been said by Spiritual Masters that ‘Truth never changes with passing of time, nor does one’s experience.’ I would be damned if I misrepresent or falsify or exaggerate my experiences with Periaval.

All my conversations with Periaval and others mentioned in this article were in Tamil, but I have done the translation with extreme care. The main points of his narration about his early story, had been imprinted on my mind.

When he became the Head of the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam at the age of thirteen, he soon found that the Mutt was in disorder. Workers in the Mutt were not serious about anything. The Mutt was in debt. The people managing the lands of the Mutt did not give the minimum produces from the lands, which were not enough to devotees to meet the daily expenses of the Mutt. Then he narrated about his first all India trip. With lot of emotions, he mentioned about the various difficulties he had to experience during the trip.

 During this trip, he said he had a very good understanding of India and of her then problems. He breezed through the British Raj, Mahatma Gandhi and Freedom Movement. I was deeply touched when he expressed his deep feelings for Mother India. (From my experiences I came to regard Him as one of the most patriotic and greatest Indians). To stop him from this sad narration, I told him humorously, “Your situation when you became the Peetathipati seems to be worse than my present situation.” “But” he continued, “Nowadays people write eulogizing me and our Mutt”.

“They don’t seem to know my difficulty in initial years. Nobody writes about my difficult times. When you will have a chance to write about me, mention especially about my difficult initial years”, he said concluding his narration. I did not expect the least that the conversation would end like this. I told Periaval immediately; “Periaval is now playing with me and teasing me. I am nothing. I will never have a chance to write about anything, certainly not about you.” Preparing to take his bath, he said, “You are certainly going to write and I am certainly going to see.” After his bath and short meditation, he told me, “You must be feeling hungry; I have forced you to eat in six houses, one day a week in each house. I know you don’t like this arrangement. But I want to see that you complete your University Education successfully. 

When you are hurrying to your class, if food was not ready in that house, you should go to the class without eating, I am sure. That is why I told earlier that you must have by now become used to skipping your meals.” He asked me to eat the rice flakes. I waited for him to begin eating first. But he asked me to eat and after seeing that I had eaten some handfuls, he ate. I was completely dazed. While I was eating the rice flakes, I was simply staring at his radiant face with penetrating eyes. I had a distinct feeling that I was seeing in his face, the entire world of the compassionate Almighty. I thought he was giving me VISHVARUPADARSHAN. This is probably the best way I can describe this experience.

After this, he went on a long spell of meditation. Keeping vigil, I was wondering myself, why and on what he was meditating so intensely. Ever since that night, his sentences, “ I always remember my difficult years and you are certainly going to write and I am certainly going to see” have been ringing in my ears, and, I have been asking myself: Will I ever be able to pay him back for those rice flakes? I have not understood Him completely.

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