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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Paramacharya

OM SRI GURUPYO NAMAHA;,respectful pranams to sri kanchi maha periva


It was the Chitra-Pournami day in April, 1983. The Paramacharya had arrived in Kodangal, a border village in the Mehboobnagar district of Andhra Pradesh. His campsite was a cattle shed converted into parnasala. A friend of mine and myself were fortunate to have his viswarupa darshan and sit near him for two hours during his early morning japa early the next day.

By the time he completed it, a small crowd had gathered around him. He began conversing with them and enquired about the owner of the place. A relative of the owner came forward and answered the queries of the saint with regard to the family, their occupation, extent of land they owned, crops grown livestock possessed and other details.

One would have thought that these queries were made as a formality with new acquaintances. The real intention of the Acharya became clear when he enquired where the cows and buffaloes were being kept. On being told that they were kept in the open, he asked whether they would remain so throughout the hot sunny day. Perhaps he felt he was occupying what was their residence. He suggested the immediate removal of some of the articles of the Mattam that were kept their and asked them to bring the animals there to rest.

Moving as this gesture of concern for the dumb animals was, the unobtrusive manner in which he ensured their rights was equally touching.


It was again another Chitra Pournami in 1989. I had gone to Kanchpuram and wanted to have the darshan of the Paramacharya. It was dusk and getting dark. The Paramacharya had gone to the Sri Kanchhapeswarar temple and was seated in the prakaram, when I reached there. There was a handful of devotees around him.

As I prostrated before him, the sage enquired about me. A personal attendant of the Acharya explained the question to me. When I gave the details, he asked about our actual place of birth. I told him that my father was from Trichur and mother from Kodungallur in Kerala. On hearing the places, his face lit up and he remarked “Bhagawathi Ksethram”. At this point, I told the personal attendant that the Mahaswami had visited these places. The Acharya enquired from the attendant what I was telling and, after a few seconds, remarked “It was many years ago…before you were born”.

It was correct. The visit had taken place three years before my birth. I was stunned. It suddenly occurred to me as to whether I had committed an apacharm by speaking on my own to the attendant in the divine presence. Trembling I immediately fell at his feet to atone for the lapse, And when I got up, the karunamurthy was in a posture with one arm raised, blessing me.

Our family is just one of the countless ordinary devotees of the Paramacharya, with no special connection with the Mattam. And yet how did he know about the time of my birth? The answer is that He, in the words of Dr. T M P Mahadevan, had realised was ‘one’, by knowing which a person knows everything else.

Dr. M Padmanabhan, Chennai

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