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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Kanchi Periyava

When shrI PeriyavargaL was in Orikkai, my family and I had darshan of him. Then shrI PeriyavA told a nearby assistant Kumaresan something. Forthwith, calling me, Kumaresan said, "shrI PeriyavA says that all the Chozhiyas want to do bhikShAvandanam." I said I would try to arrange it. shrI PeriyavargaL also wanted the bhikShAvandanam of the Chozhia class people to be held continuously on the occasion of every ChAturmAsya.

A week later, for this purpose, we convened a meeting in the presence of shrI PeriyavA. In this assembly were present Chittur Gopalakrishna Iyer, myself, Sundaram Iyer, his brother, Kumaresan, and a few others. shrI PeriyavA suggested the name, 'Chozhadesiya UrdhvashikhA brAhmaNAL bhikSha'. "Among you people is there in prasiddha--well known, KriShNaPremi. Making him a patron, establish a Trust and every year the people of your class do the bhikSha", he said. Accordingly, establishing a Trust, we are performing the bhikShAvandanam every year. Since this bhkiShavandanam is done in anusaraNam of--following, PeriyavA's Ajna--orders, all of us are doing it with bhakti-shraddha--sincerity of faith.

In the 'GururatnamAlA', a grantham--book about AchAryALs, full details of the AchAryALs of shrI KAmakoTi PITham are given. In this book, when narrating about several PIThAdhipatis, the phrase that they belonged to the 'drAviDa brAhmaNa' class is seen. That is, several AchAryas who adorned this PITham belonged to the class of Dravidian brahmins. A doubt that only UrdhvashikhA brAhmaNas are the Dravidian brahmins, arises here. And a deep thought that may be because of that shrI PeriyavA asked for arranging the bhikSha of the Chozhiyas.*

About Appar in (a)Hagari

In the place called Hagari (actually Aka-hari--pApanAshini; aka means pApam--sin and hari is to destroy it), on the banks of the river, in the campus of a temple that was newly being constructed, shrI PeriyavA was staying for sometime.

At that time, shrI PeriyavA asked his adhyanta shiShya--close disciple, Dunlop KRShNan to read out DevAram and was listening to it. The 'mUvar DevAram'--DevAram of the three saints, is voluminous, would take a few days to be read out. Staying there, Dunlop KRShNan was reading it out to shrI PeriyavA.

Appar (SvAmigaL) attained mukti on the day of the Sadaya nakShatra in the month of Chittirai (Chaitra). The place he attained mukti is TiruppugalUr.

shrI PeriyavA spoke about this: "You know it? For Appar, mukti was in TiruppugalUr. Appar entered the garbhagraha--sanctum sanctorum. Then he did not return. This everyone knows. But then there is one thing that is not known. SvAmi (Shiva) came as singam--lion, and avarai appaDiyE kaDiththu sApTuTTAr--ate him up by gnawing (underlined is the word PeriyavA used). NAvukkarasar said, 'appanE--Father, it is painful to me'. SvAmi said, 'appanE, you taste sweet to me.' (It is known that behind the Shivalingam in the garbhagraham there was a bas relief that showed this, and that this was removed in the recent times). In the TiruppugalUr patikam too Appar addresses SvAmi as 'singamE--O Lion'. These two are the AdhAra--support for this happening."

(After I returned home, I checked Appar's TiruppugalUr DevAram--Third TirumuRai, 99th Patikam--TiruppugalUr ThiruththANDagam--the second pAsuram in the patikam that starts with "eNNukOn').**

அங்கமே பூண்டாய், அனலாடினாய், ஆதிரையாய், ஆனிழலாய், ஆனேறூர்ந்தாய்,
பங்கமொன்றில்லாத படர் சடையினாய் பாம்பொடு திங்கள் பகைதீர்த்தாண்டாய்,
சங்கையொன்றின்றியே தேவர் வேண்டச் சமுத்தினஞ்சுண்டு சாவா மூவாச்,
சிங்கமே உன்னடிக்கே போதுகின்றேன் பூம்புகலூர் மேவிய புண்ணியனே.

a~ggamE pUNDAy, analADinAy, AdiraiyAy, AnizhalAy, AnERUr~ndAy,
pa~ggamonRillAda paDar chaDaiyinAy pAmpoDu ti~ggaL pakaitIrttANDAy,
cha~ggaiyonRinRiyE dEvar vENDach chamutthina~jchuNDu chAvA mUvAch,
chi~ggamE unnaDikkE pOdukinREn pUmpugalUr mEviya puNNiyanE.

I have not heard about this matter or read it anywhere. Apart from the two above references, only shrI PeriyayA's vAk--word, is the third AdhAram--support.

When the Sambandhar DevAram was read, it came to be known that he belonged to the KauNDinya gotra. Looking at me shrI PeriyavA asked, "What gotra yours?" I said, "KAshyapa gotra."

I contempted it well as to why he should have asked me this question at that time. I belong to a family of the UrdhvashikhA--frontal tuft class. The brahmin subcaste known as ChozhiyAL today.

I got the anumAnam--inference, if shrI JnAnaSambandha MUrti svAmigaL too was of the Chozhiya brAhmaNa class.

About Max Muller at MahAgaon

A village named MahAgaon is in KarnATaka. One should go in a bus from Gulbarga (to reach it).

When shrI PeriyavargaL was there, I went to the place and had darshan of him. 1982 or 1983 is my memory.

When I went there, shrI PeriyavargaL was talking about shrI VidyAraNya:

"shrI VidyAraNya has done bhAShyam--commentary, for all the four Vedas. A German called Max Muller has also done bhAshyam. Further, several Western scholars have written about the Vedas in their books. Vedas is one of shabda-pradhAna--chiefly voice-activated; not artha-pradhAna--meaning-activated. There is no nyAyam--reason, for this to be known to the Western philosophers. Still, those people, showing shraddha--sincerity in the subject of reading the Vedas, being inclined to read them and know their contents, and as required for such task, doing vRtti--expansion of their knowledge in our SaMskRta-bhAShA-jnAnam and the culture of our desham--country, have written their books. There are many of these books. Depending on the cultural background of each, there would be differences in their way of understanding the Vedas and the ways and means they wrote in their books about their understanding.

"Since there are lots of (vital) differences between shrI VidyAraNya BhAShyam and the contents of the topics these occidental philosophers wrote, if the task of bringing out the Gloss in the Vedas from shrI VidyAraNya BhASha is done, doing the related research with our scholars, and giving them the necessary dravya--financial assistance, it would be very useful for our people. Two or three vidvAns--pandits must be assigned specifically for this task."

Accordingly, he was discussing it with shrI AnnAdurai AyyangAr, who was the Executive Trustee of the Veda RakShaNa Nidhi Trust, shrI C.R.SvAminAthan was the then Educational Secretary in the Central Government, and some others. (To know the exact meaning of the word 'Gloss' that PeriyavA used fluently, we people who had received the English education had to consult a dictionary). shrI PeriyavargaL asked C.R.SvAminAthan specifically, "Is there any scope for financial assistance from the Central Government's Education Department for such type of research?"

To that shrI SvAminAthan said, "There is. We are doing such financial assistance to the Benaras Hindu University, VArANasi."

It is known that as a result of this vivAdam--discussion, the VidyAraNya Trust must have been established.

VedaPATha Nidhi Trust

The material given here was not told me by shrI AnnAdurai AyyangAr:

When Periyavar was staying in MahAgaon, a few of his bhaktas--devotees approached him and sought his permission saying, "It is 75 years since shrI PeriyavA came to the PITham. With a view to celebrate it, we people would like to arrange for a Platinum Jubilee."

To that shrI PeriyavA said, "Oho! 75 years have passed since I came to the PITham? I was a small boy when I came to the PITham. At that time the Veda VidvAns in KumbakONam did poShaka of--nourish me. Even at that time they would have been of 70,75 years of age. All of them would have now gone to the paralokam--other world. Still, whoever has sought Ashraya--refuge of the VedaMAtA, should not stand before any other person folding their hands. In that respect, we are all duty bound to do upakAram--assistance, to the Veda vidvAns who have crossed 75 years of age. Of such Veda vidvAns, some might be in extreme shrama-dashA--difficult condition of life, in their old age. Maybe their sons and daughters are not in a position to look after them. Maybe their hand, leg or eye is not in svAdhInam--its natural power. In a condition of no upAdhyAya-vRtti--living by teaching, there would be shrama--difficulty even for the daily meal. For such people (who have crossed 75 years of age), if they are given at least 75 rupees per month, that itself would be the Platinum Jubilee for me."

Then he asked me, "On this subject, will your start a Trust, in contact with many people?"

"Whatever shrI PeriyavA's abhiprAyam--opinion, it can be done accordingly."

"Do it accordingly. Do you know Palkiwala of Bombay?

"Yes, I know."

"Make him the Managing Trustee. Two more people, Harish Mahindra and Mehta are there. Also make them Trustees. Make T.S.Santhanam in TVS, Madras also, a Trustee. You be the Secretary. Make immediate arrangements to establish this Trust. If money is taken from the Veda RakShaNa Nidhi (Trust) for this purpose, it would be dharma-virodha--in opposition to dharma. There should be no sambandham--connection, between this Trust and that. This is a kaingaryam--service, we do for the VidvAns who are of advanced age and in a state of not being able to do anything, after dedicating their entire lifetime to the study of Vedas and teaching it to others. This is not dole. They must be approached with bhaya-bhakti and the money given to them in vinayam--humility."

He immediately gave me leave to return to my routine.

After I had left the place and gone some distance, he sent word for me again. "If they are given 75 rupees it would only help them eat annam--rice. If 25 rupees is added and they are given 100 rupees, it would help them to pour some buttermilk over the annam and eat it", he said. What a compassion!

This is the story of the birth of the VedaPATha Nidhi Trust.

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