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Thursday, March 14, 2013

I Lived with God (English) - Part 6

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

Part - 6

I paid my tuition fees and joined the Annamalai University. The Manager of the Mutt thereafter kept on sending regularly the term fees for five years.

Two months later, one morning, Mr.Rathnaswami Chettiar came in his big car to my sister’s house looking for me. We were quite surprised to see him. Chettiar, with folded hands, told me, “I am sorry for my mis-behaviour when you came to see me in my shop. Some days ago, I went to Kancheepuram to have darshan of Periaval. He briefly mentioned about you and asked me whether I remembered you. In the presence of many devotees, he asked me how I could break the heart of the young boy sent by him. I could not open my mouth. All along I thought I was very rich, but that day he made me look very poor in the presence of many people. 

After returning from Kancheepuram, I am coming straight here to see you and apologize to you. I will bear your entire educational expenses, please accept.” I could not believe this happening. But I did not lose my heart. I told him politely, “I was with Periaval ten days back. I would be going again in the following week. If Periaval asks me to meet you, I will come and see you in your shop”. Chettiar left saying, “I hope, you will come and see me soon”.

Two weeks before the above visit of Mr.Chettiar, I had an unexpected visitor with very good news. It was Thiru Murugesanar, one of my Tamil Teachers in my high school. I was quite surprised to see him. He was a member of the rationalist atheist group.

 I greeted Thiru Murugesanar with due respects. Murugesanar said, “You know, I am a strict follower of Periar; even though I have some Brahmin friends, I don’t go to a Brahmin’s house. I have come to congratulate you; you have brought name and fame to our school; you have stood first in the entire Madras State in the Tamil Examination of the S.S.L.C. final examinations; I just learnt that there is another student in another town, who has scored exactly the same marks as you have secured”.

“The Dharmapuram Adheenam had instituted, since a few years back, a cash price of Rs.300/- to be awarded to the student who stood first in Tamil in the S.S.L.C. examination of each year. They have given a telegram to your Head Master, asking a representative to be sent to the Adheenam’s office in Madras. They are going to decide, on the basis of lottery, to whom the prize money should go. You know I don’t care much about these Adheenams. But I am going to represent you at the Adheenam”. 

With a smile Murugesanar said, “I, a staunch follower of Periar, am going to represent you, a devout follower of Acharyar”. My sister and I felt jubilant. Murugesanar was about to leave. I thanked him and asked him whether he would drink a cup of milk in a Brahmin’s house. Murugesanar replied, “Our relationship is teacher-student relationship, nothing else matters now; I will gladly drink on this happy occasion”. 

Murugesanar drank the milk and left. Three days later, Head Master Velayudam Pillai sent a school boy to tell me the news that I had won Rs.300/- The next day there was a small celebration in the School, when my name was entered in a new Honor Role Board and I was awarded the cash prize.

After getting rich, unexpectedly, with Rs.300/- I rushed to Chinna Kancheepuram to report to Periaval. He was camping in nearby Sivasthanam. I did my usual namaskarams. I placed the three hundred rupees in a bamboo plate before him. He seemed to be quite surprised and looked at me. Proudly, I told him of my big award. 

“I am very happy to hear this”, he said. “What did the Chettiar tell you when you went to him for Rs.110/-?”, Periaval asked me immediately; I told him briefly what happened to me at the Chettiar’s shop, since Ramakrishna Sastrigal would have told him the details.

“You see the mysterious ways in which Bhagavan acts”, Periaval remarked. I said to myself, “I don’t know any Bhagavan but you”. “So, you rushed to tell me the good news, place your money before me and take it back”, He said smilingly. I kept my mouth shut. He continued, “You must have already thought of a plan as to how to spend it”. 

I told him I was going to pay Rs.100/ - to a doctor in Kancheepuram as fees for the forthcoming cataract operation of my mother and I was going to buy a second hand bicycle for Rs.100/-, “Still you are rich, left with Rs.100/-.” Periaval remarked humorously, gave me prasadam and asked me to return to Chidambaram. The simple and serene Sivasthanam temple has always attracted me

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