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Monday, April 29, 2013

With the Bells Ringing Aum...'

'With the Bells Ringing Aum...'
Author: Radha Ramamoorthy, Pudukottai (in Tamil)
Compiler: T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
Source: MahA PeriyavAL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol. 2, pages 32-43
Publisher: Vanathi Padhippaham (May 2005 Edition)
translator: saidevo

The Sound of Aum

I used to write poems and songs on PeriyavAL and submit to him. I would write on an ordinary paper and keep it in PeriyavA's sannidhi. He would take and read it himself or would ask Sri Balu who would be on his side to read it. Sometimes he would ask me to read it and listen.

On one occasion, I wrote a song as a Raaga Maalika on the daily puja that PeriyavA does. I kept it near Sri PeriyavA. He said to Sri Vedapuri SastrigaL who was beside him, "Take it and read." The SastrigaL took and read the paper. When he was half way through, PeriyavA asked him to stop. Exactly at that time the MaTham's bell rang and PeriyavA said "Aum! Aum!" loudly for each stroke of the bell. After it was over he said, "Now you read on."

Vedapuri continued, reading the next line I had written, which was "With the bells ringing Aum, Aum...". All of us there were surprised.

Why should the bell ring exactly at that time? Why should PeriyavA recite "Aum... Aum..." for each stroke of the bell? Which God's saMkalpa is this?

That incident seemed to make me realize PeriyavA as telling me, "You don't write anything on your own that is not known to me. It is my anugraha that makes you write."

What Place? What Name?

My sister-in-law's husband had come to our house at Pudukottai from Bangalore. He gave me a notebook full of 'Sri Ramajayam writing' and ten rupees in cash, and asked me to submit them to PeriyavAL with the words, "Bangalore Kuppusamy Aiyer asked me to submit this notebook and this money of ten rupees."

There was a large crowd near PeriyavA when I entered Kanchi SriMaTham. Famous pundits and other famous people had assembled near him. Since I could not stand in the vicinity of PeriyavA for a long time, I placed the Sri Ramajayam notebook and the money on the fruit platter of someone else and stood at a distance. Little by little the crowd dispersed. PeriyavAL too stood up, with that notebook in his hand.

"Who placed this?" he asked.

"Myself", I said.

"What is the name of the man who wrote this? Is he from Bangalore? What else did he give?"

I was shaken at his words. "PeriyavA! Kuppusamy Aiyer came from Bangalore to our house in Pudukottai. He gave me this notebook and ten rupees. It was my mistake to have submitted it without telling PeriyavA; should kindly pardon me."

He made me say what I hesitated to speak. And there was also a smile on his face that looked at me!

This incident taught me that we cannot hide anything from PeriyavA. I realized that whoever told me whatever to be conveyed to him, it should be told verbatim to him and any offering submitted to be given personally to him.

I am Ganapathi too!

My brother-in-law's daughter Jaanaa and I often used to go to Kanchi and have darshan of PeriyavAL. We would submit different offerings each time we went there.

On one occasion, it occurred to us to string a beautiful aRukampul garland and offer it to him. With araLi flowers forming the border, we prepared a large aRukampul garland and went on the next morning to offer it.

By the time we reached Kanchi it was eight in the morning. PeriyavA was sitting, conversing with everyone around him. We kept the garland pack and a pack of suger lumps in front of him. He took it and kept it aside in a corner. He did not even open the pack to look what it contained. We were having darshan of him, standing.

A woman came around ten o' clock. She had in her hand an intricately designed silver armour for Pillaiyar. As ordained by the sage, she had arranged for the silver armour, for the Pillaiyar of the temple at their place of domicile, and brought it for PeriyavA's anugraha. PeriyavA took the kavacam from her, kept it on his lap and told his disciple nearby, "Take that," pointing to the pack in a corner.

The disciple unwrapped the pack and handed over the aRukampul garland to PeriyavA. How did he know the contents of the pack, without looking at it or asking about it?

He enwreathed the silver kavacam with the garland. It fitted nicely as if tailor made for the object. Then he took the kavacam with the garland, fitted it his chest, turned to all the four sides and gave darshan. We all went into ecstasy.

The woman who brought the kavacam stood with joined palms, tears welling up in her eyes. PeriyavAL gave the kavacam with the garland to her through his disciple.

What we took to offer him was an ordinary thing; but for the fullness of heart we had, there was no limit to it! This was because, he made us somehow realize the abheda between him and Ganapathi.

I am Kamakshi too!

A woman, who was a resident of the place where PeriyavAL was camping, had aparimita bhakti on him. Because of her family circumstances, she could not go out of her house often and have darshan of the sage.

One day she somehow managed to be out of her house and came to SriMaTham camp for darshan. It was afternoon. Sitting on the puja stage itself, Sri PeriyavA was talking with many people. This woman went near the stage with the camphor plate in her hand to take an Arati and looked at the face of PeriyavA, but he abruptly turned his face away. She tried twice or thrice but PeriyavA did not show her his face.

The woman was very unhappy. When PeriyavA looked like facing her, she lighted the camphor. But before she could go near and wave her Arati in circles, PeriyavA got up and went inside. Stunned, she moaned to herself, "Ambike! Why do you test me like this? What sin did I commit?" Consoling herself, she said, "Alright, I will take the Arati for you" and waved the flame to AmbaL Tripurasundari kept on the puja stage and started for home very disappointed and tearful.

As she came out of the pandal, a man came running and said, "Amma! PeriyavA's call for you." "For me? Can't be," she said with hesitation. "Yes, for you only Amma, come!" said the man. She went inside hesitatingly. PeriyavA who was sitting on the stage told her, "Don't feel disheartened that you had to take the Arati meant for me to AmbaL. Now you show me the Arati."

She staggered to take the camphor and placed it on the plate. Her hands shaking, she lit the camphor. Steadying herself, she went near him and waved the Arati in front of him in circles, and looked at PeriyavAL's face. PeriyavA appeared to her as sAkSAt Kamakshi with her sugercane-bent bow and parAnkusha and smiling face. Short of fainting, the woman patted her cheeks loudly with the words, "Amma! Amma!", bhakti flooding herself.

This was the incident that made us realize that the AmbaL on the stage and PeriyavAL are one and the same. The woman was Nagalakshmi, of Trichy. She told me the incident herself. I have heard similar incidents where PeriyavAL gave darshan as AmbaL to people from their own mouths.

I am Parameshwara too!

The Vasanta Navaraatri time in Satara. Some of us from Pudukottai went and stayed there for a week to offer suvAsinI bhikSA. We used to offer PeriyavAL with different kinds of flowery garlands and crowns.

On an evening, ten of us were sitting on the floor outside his room. Sri PeriyavA came out. We bowed to him. Rajam AmmaL submitted a nagAbharaNa kirITa (a crown in the borm of a snake). Made of veTTivEr (cuscus-grass), with a bead of sandal paste, it was formed as an umbrella of cobra snakes.

PeriyavA took the crown and gave it to a disciple beside him to adorn the Shivalingam nearby.

RajammaL hastily prayed to him, "PeriyavA should wear it."

PeriyavAL pointed to the Shivalingam and declared, "He and I are not different. I am Him and He is me", and gave a laugh. An instant flash of light that resembled lightning appeared before our eyes as he spoke the words. What bhAgyam! We were dumbstruck, sitting in a shiver of ecstasy.

Compassion to the Narikurava

A village near Villupuram. A man of the narikurava tribe camping there, decided to commit suicide due to family afflictions. He came to the railway station and stretched himself on the platform, with the intention of jumping onto the rails when the next train came.

The man slept. He had a dream-like vision, wherein a saamiyar (sage) appeared before him and said, "You need not die. Come and see me. I shall grant you peace." He woke up with a start. A wave of freshness spread through his body.

It occurred him to search for the sage who came in his dream. He sold the gold ring he was wearing for a long time and started on his search using the cash he obtained for the ring. He went from village to village and had darshan of many sages, but none resembled the man who came in his dream. He did not give up, though he was depressed.

Maha PeriyavA was camping at that time in the village called Ekambarakuppam near Vellore. The nomad who came that side sighted the sage one evening. He stood before the camp entrance and started shouting: "Oh Saami! This is the Saami! You asked me to come! Come on, come out!" Sri PeriyavA called RajammaL and told her, "Find out who he is and serve him some food. I shall see him tomorrow morning."

As RajammaL went to him and said, "Appa, who are you? I shall serve you food. Saami will see you in the morning and talk to you!", he repled, "Yes, Thaayi (mother)! I had a quarrel with my two wives. I married a third girl. One day I saw her mix poison in the food she served to me. I was shattered and decided to end my life. At that time this Saamiyar came in my dream and asked me to see him."

PeriyavA came out on the next morning. The nomad immediately wailed, "Saami! You appear to me like my mother. I shall collect the garbage and be with you here!"

PeriyavA said, "Get back to your village properly. People will treat you with respect henceforth. You think of me whenever you face a difficult situation. Everything will be alright!" He gave the nomad fruits. He also collected and gave money from the people there and sent him back to his place.

This incident was narrated to me by Pudjkottai RajammaL. When this happened, Trichy Subhalakshmi, Trichy DharmambaL and some other women were there with her.

He Thought, It Came About

Sri PeriyavA was conversing with people and giving darshan with a smile on his face. Before him on the floor were platters of different kinds of fruits. My memory is that it was during the month of Purattaasi (Aug-Sep) or Aippasi (Sep-Oct).

A girl child was walking round and round the crowd. PeriyavA called the child and said, "Take one fruit that you like from these fruits." There were pineapples, apples, grapes, guavas and oranges on the platters.

But then the child said, "I want a mango!" It was not the season for mangoes. Even the maavadus (tender little raw mangoes) had not started to grow on the trees. PeriyavA sat thinking! He said, "Vedapuri! Check with Mettur Swami if he has any dried mango chips", closed his eyes and started meditating.

Within minutes, two people came from Andhra with a fruit platter, picking their way among the crowd. There wre two large mango fruits on the plate. PeriyavA opened his eyes. He called the child and said, "Take them!" The child happily picked up one fruit from the platter.

Vedapuri returned with the words, "No mango chips there" and was stunned to look at the mango on the child's hand.

"ENdaa! How did the mango fruit come?" asked PeriyavA.

With overwhelming emotion, Vedapurai replied, "PeriyavA thought about it! And the mango came!", tears coursing his eyes.

We were happy to witness the PeriyavAL's shakti with own eyes.

It was not known where the Andhra people who brought the mangoes went. May be they had gone to a place not visible to our eyes?

I am Narayana too!

My daughter Janaa had designed an aishvarya kolam. It was on a framed Mahalakshmi portrait, decorated with broken glass pieces of different colors. We submitted it to PeriyavAL. He took it, admired, and said, "This is Mahalakshmi. Where should I keep Mahalakshmi? Should be on my chest." With these words, he kept the Mahalakshmi portrait on his chest, turned to all the four sides and gave darshan to everyone there. We understood that PeriyavA made us realize that he was also the aMsa of Narayana.

Subhalakshmi AmmaL of Trichy once told him with regret, "PeriyavA! Today is somavara amAvAsya (a Monday new moon night). Without remembering that I should walk around the peepul tree this evening, I have come over to Kanchipuram."

Pat came the reply. "So what? You go round me 108 times. That would be enough!"

Periayavaa was not just Narayana; he was also Asvatta Narayana!*

* The peepul tree was considered as the male principle (Asvatta Narayana) having multiple tiny seeds for maximum propagation. In Tamil its name itself is 'Arasu' (King). The neem tree on the other hand (with a single large egg-like seed) was always associated with Mother Goddess (female principle) in South India.

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