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Saturday, March 2, 2013

Jnana Deepam --- Jagatguru Sri MahaswamigaL

Jnana Deepam
Author: P.M.Jayasenthilnathan, Kanchipuram (in Tamil)
Compiler: T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
Source: Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol. 1, pages 66-72
Publisher: Vanathi Padhippaham
Translator: saidevo

Jagatguru Sri MahaswamigaL is a God who took form and walked and lived among us in our times. He lived, shrinking his oon and swelling his inner light and poured on us the insatiable nectar of Ananda. Spending most of his time inside his 'mena' (palanquin), he served for the welfare of this world.

MahaswamigaL's power of memory is very big. It was his speciality to keep every little thing keenly in his mind and express it at the right time. We shall recollect an incident here.

This sage was a cherisher of nature and solitude. He liked staying in places such as open sheds and choultries, shades of trees and roadside places during his yAtrA.

He was touring in Andhra Pradesh state once. He stayed in a shed on the roadside. A devotee came in a car to have darshan of Sri Maha SwamigaL.

"My name is Kalyanam. I am appellate authority in the customs department. I belong to the Thanjai district. Lots of problems in my family; no peace of mind. Only Periyavaa should solve them. Which is why I have come for darshan."

Periyavar asked him to sit down and heard his family problems. Then, raising both his hands, blessed
and sent him, giving him a fruit.

One or two years passed. Spring came up in the life of Kalyanam. His problems were solved and peace returned. He came back to thank the sage, who was in his yAtrA at that time too. The man had darshan of PeriyavargaL on the way, lowered the burden of his mind on the sage's feet and stood happily.

"Because of PeriyavargaL my family lives in peace. I want to submit some offering to SriMaTham." PeriyavargaL laughed and said, "Need not offer anything now" and sent him. Kalyanam returned half-heartedly.

Several years passed. maha kumbhAbhiSekam arrangements for Thillai Peruman were being made.

I was asked to come to SriMaTham one morning. Thiru T.N.Krishnamoorthy, who was the SriKaryam of SriMaTham at that time, and I went and stood before Maha SwamigaL. Sitting inside his palanquin, he was giving us orders on the tasks to be done at the time of kumbhAbhiSekam, which included Tirumurai Music, Tirumurai Seminar, reciting Tiruvacakam completely, and the children of dIkSitAs reciting Shambhu Natana Stotra.

A man came. Periyavar asked him to sit with us. The man who had come was Kalyanam, the arbitrator.

Periyavar asked him, "You met me on this day at this place (giving him the details), you remember it?" The man was astonished. When reminded of his second darshan, the man somewhat recollected the details and nodded his head.

"Are you fine now? You wanted to give money to the MaTham! Can it be given now?"

"I shall give it now definitely, no problem," said Kalyanam.

"That money is not needed for the MaTham. It is kumbhAbhiSekam time at Thillai for Nataraja. I have instructed these people about the tasks needed to be done there. You give your money for those tasks and get them done. Let that money go to Nataraja. You discuss with them and come back."

The three of us came out, discussed the details and went back to him. Maha SwamigaL was also happy and bade us farewell with a smile.

To bring to memory in those few minutes, the details of a meeting that took place many years back, and fulfil at the right time a man's wish made long back, chanelling for service to Nataraja Peruman -- it only brings amazement to think about the loftiness of such act of blessing, such divine welfare and divine feeling.

*** *** ***

The prevision of knowing before it happens is a jnana puNya gifted to him. "maunam enbathu jnana varambu" -- 'silence is the boundary of knowledge' is the axiom of wisemen. To remain without speech is the border of knowledge. Maha SwamigaL was the book of silence. He did japam for an hour daily, remaining silent. That silence was total, with no stirring of a limb, like a log dropped on the ground--kASTa maunam. A timepiece would have been placed before him but that was just for its own sake, for when the sage finished his meditation and opened his eyes, a precise time of an hour would have passed. On occasions, this silence would continue for hours--even days. Only Shivam knew his cittam.

If it necessitated to communicate when he remained silent, he would do it using signs. He would also dissolve his silence and give his grace when a situation warranted it. Only his mind was the scale that decided what those situations were.

Another Incident

A school for the visually challenged, functions in Poonamalle. A teacher from this school came and had darshan of Maha SwamigaL who was then staying in Sivasthanam. He prayed to SwamigaL, "I am planning to bring the school children next Sunday to have Periyavar's darshan. Those children have no eyesight. So they can't have a darshan of PeriyavargaL with their eyes. So PeriyavargaL should talk to them a few words and bless them. I have come to inform this proposal, I want anugraham." Maha SwamigaL heard his words with his holy ears, that was all to it, and the man went away.

On the morning of the next Sunday, that teacher brought the visually challenged children for Periyavar's darshan, in a chartered bus, which was parked outside. An assistant of the sage said, "Periyavar observes silence since yesterday." That was all! There was no limit to the distress of the teacher. He cried openly and slapped his head. A sight that moved the onlookers.

"Alas! These children have no eyesight! They can't see PeriyavargaL! Only if a few words are spoken they could hear them and be happy. Even if Periyavar does not talk to us, we would have a darshan of him and go away. What would these children do? It was only for these children that I came last week and prayed. Now I have become a maha paavi who has disappointed them!" The teacher sobbed again and again.

An unexpected situation. PeriyavargaL came out from his room and signed to the teacher to stop his wailing. He asked for a wooden plank to be placed near the well and sat on it. His silence dissolved. He called each and every child near him, patiently inquired the name, place and the reason for the loss of vision, and blessed the child. The children had Periyavar's anugraham for a full hour. He gave a big plate of fruits, raisins and suger lumps to the teacher, asking him to distribute them to the children.

Everyone was immensely pleased with this anugraham. The teacher knew no bounds for his joy. He cried even now. Cried in distress earlier, in joy now.

Even today it overwhelmes the heart with joy to think about the incident when Maha SwamigaL appreciated the needs of the visionless children and dissolved his vow of silence to bless them with words--a silence that he did not give up even for President V.V. Giri or Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

Maha SwamigaL is a jnana deepam that never goes off. Let us pray to the flame of light to guide us on our path

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