Author: Dr.D.Sundararaman - that son of Doraiswamy Iyer
Part - 7
After taking leave of Periaval, I went to do my ‘Pradakshinams’ in the Siva Temple. At the end of my first pradakshinam, I saw a young orthodox Iyengar, standing at the entrance of the temple and shouting, “There is a rich man here and Periaval wants to see him”. There were about forty visitors at that time and nobody responded. The young Iyengar returned to Periaval. At the end of my second pradakshinam, I saw the same person shouting as before. Nobody responded and the Iyengar returned to Periaval and after the third pradakshinam, I went inside the temple to witness the “Camphor harati” and came out. By then the same Iyengar was heard shouting more definitely, “There is a rich man here with exactly three hundred rupees and Periaval wants him”. It was now quite clear to me. I rushed to Periaval in the hut. I was wondering what was in store for me.
With an enchanting smile he asked me, “Are you the rich man, I have been looking for?” I humbly replied, “I have three hundred rupees at this moment”. Periaval said, “Will you give me thirty rupees?” I placed all the three hundred rupees in the bamboo plate before him. He said, “I just want thirty rupees”. Then I left thirty rupees in the plate and took the remaining amount.
Then pointing out to me the young Iyengar, Periaval said, “You have won this money for your expertise in Tamil; this young man wants to earn his living by teaching Sanskrit; he wants to prepare himself for this by passing some private examinations in Sanskrit. Tomorrow seems to be the last day for paying his examination fees. He asked me to give thirty rupees. Then I remembered you. With your own hands, give these thirty rupees to this scholar in Sanskrit”, Periaval concluded. I did as I was told and left. The Sanskrit scholar came out of the hut to thank me. I told him we should all know whom to thank! I returned to Chidambaram.
After the visit of Mr.Chettiar, that week-end, I rushed to Chinna Kancheepuram to report to Periaval. I told Periaval about Chettiar’s meeting with me in my sister’s house and about his offer to me.
Periaval asked me, “Did Chettiar himself come to your house and apologize to you?”. “Yes. He did”, I replied. Periaval went silent for a few minutes. Then he said, “I was somewhat harsh with Chettiar, when he came to see me. He regrets now, what he did to you when you went to see him. But, you see, the mistake is not entirely Chettiar’s. I should have told his Manager explicitly what I wanted the Chettiar to do for you. Certainly he should not have asked you whether you had lands or house or jewellery. If you had any of these, I would not have sent you to him. Now that Chettiar is willing to take care of all your expenses, what do you want to do?”, Periaval asked me.
I replied, “I don’t feel like accepting anything from Mr.Chettiar.” “You seem to be still angry with him, he made a mistake and repents for it. What else you want him to do? He is also one of my devotees; if you don’t accept anything from him after all this, he is going to feel terribly bad and I don’t want that to happen”, Periaval said. Then Periaval asked me how much I needed for my monthly pocket expenses and I replied that not more than ten rupees would be needed.
Then Periaval proposed a compromise, quite fair to both of his devotees, that I should get from Mr.Chettiar Rupees ten every month, ten months a year until the completion of my studies. I returned to Chidambaram and told Mr.Chettiar what Periaval wanted me to do. Thereafter, every month I used to go to Chettiar’s shop to receive ten rupees. On these occasions, Chettiar used to make brief enquiries about Periaval and about my education. I knew precisely to whom he was showing his respects.