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Thursday, April 4, 2013


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 asprasAdamto him.

The Andhra man didprArthanA, "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 thekaingkariyam(service)? Do think that I ate the two baskets of fruits myself!..."

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Periyavaa was very fond ofsangItam(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 thetithi, vAra, nakSatra, yoga, karaNa, he would say. He would also listen to the daily reading of the Panchangam.

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

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

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

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

"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 thekUttu."

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

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

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What for are thepanchendriyAs (five senses)? Only forbhagavat-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 aspradakSiNam(goind round clockwise) of Kamakshi. All of us should accompany him reciting Vishnu Sahasranamam twice or thrice.

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In those days the monthly wages of thecippantis (staff members) were only for the sake of its name. But then staying with Periyavaa would in itself beAnanda(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 thekaingkariyam(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 thenivedanamat night, fifteen rupees; for him who prepares the daynivedanam, twenty-two rupees.

Both morning and night there would benivedanamof Vadai-Payasam.

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

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