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Monday, July 1, 2013

Compassion towards ThAtthA--Grandpa

Experiences of ViShNupuram BrahmashrI G.VisvanAtha ShAstrigaL
author:....... His daughter Smt.MohanA PanchApakeshan
compiler:..... T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
source:....... Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol.2, pages 143-151
publisher:.... VAnathi Padhippaham (May 2005 Edition)
type:......... book, Tamil 

Compassion towards ThAtthA--Grandpa

When PeriyavAL was camping in Kollankode, he had convened a vidvat sadas--assembly of scholars, there. Since the shrImukham--invitation, came to our ThAtthA--Grandpa also, he had gone there.

Whatever else is not available for my ThAtthA in the morning, a cup of coffee was a must! But in ShrIMaTham there was no coffee supply. Strict niyama--regulations!

When ThAtthA was yearning for a cup of coffee, a man came and took him outside the MaTham and bought him a cup of coffee. Only then ThAtthA felt his life-force returning to his body!

ThAtthA went and sat in the Sadas. In a short while PeriyavAL came there. After doing namaskAram--prostration, to the sage, ThAtthA went near him. Looking at ThAtthA, PeriyavAL asked, "Had your coffee?"

What reply to give? ThAtthA was confused. With the remorse that no one present there took a cup of coffee except him, he dodged, "vandhu--that is, EthO--somehow, he gave me..."

"Only I asked him to give you", as PeriyavAL said, ThAtthA went melting in the heart!

PeriyavAL was very strict that the people in ShrIMaTham should not take coffee. Still, some sippantis--staff members, had been drinking coffee. Since it would be difficult for them not to have a cup of coffee, for the Pandits who came to have darshan in small villages, with compassion, PeriyavA would arrange for supply of coffee to them.

*** *** ***

In those days, if it was PeriyavAL yAtrA--tour, a large rAja-parivAram--royal entourage, would go with him. Three elephants, five horses, twenty-two closed carts, fifteen cows, two riding horses (of which one was black and the other panchakalyANi--horse whose feet and face are white), two tonga horses, and in front of the savAri--ride, the tiruchchinnam--trumpet, will move making a loud noise. uLpArA--inner circle guards, five men and veLipArA--outer circle guards, five men. Apart from them, several people as Veda Pandits, aNukkat-thoNdarkaL--personal attendants, a manager, the kazAnA--treasurer, notables, and mELa-thALam--drum and long pipe.

If it is PeriyavAL vijayam--tour, the entire town will be allolakallola--in clamour. Now, that wonderful sights are to be seen only through the mind's eye.

*** *** ***

In 1940, PeriyavAL did vijayam to ViShNupuram, finishing his KAshi yAtrA. When PeriyavAL was going on savAri, as a notable approached him and uttered as SAmi ShAstrigaL, the name of the guru who taught PeriyavAl, PeriyavAL in great anguish kept asking him again and again: "enna sonnE--what did you say? enna sonnE--what did you say?"

That bhakta--devotee, was restless thinking: 'What apachAram--improper conduct, did I display? PeriyavAL is writhing in such pain?'

PeriyavAL told him, "What do you know about him? Even I have not uttered his name; only as ViShNupuram ShAstrigaL I would refer to him." Such respect for his guru!

Isn't this a kindly advice not just to the devotee, but to us also?

*** *** ***

In order to take classes for shrI PeriyavAL, ThAtthA was given jAkai--residence, in the house adjacent to ShrIMaTham in KumbakONam. My father too would go frequently and stay there.

On the open terrace of the MaTham, there were pipes to drain the rainwater. When it rained, PeriyavAL (in his boyhood) would go to the open terrace along with my father. And they both would plug the pipelines and play in the water that stagnated there! If it rained when the sun was shining, PeriyavAl would get wet in the rain, shout, "GangA snAnam... GangA snAnam!", dance and feel happy!

*** *** ***

"I want to perform panchAyatana pUja", my father prayed to him in his ViShNupuram camp. Since the pUjA mUrtas--images, such as SAlagramam, BANam, Sphatikam were not available then, the anugraham--favour to send them after reaching KumbakONam was given.

When KumbakONam was reached, the pUja mUrtas were given to a sippanti with orders to deliver them to ViShNupuram.

"In whose house to deliver?"

"Deliver it to the gRuham--house, where I am present!"

The sippanti had climbed up and down the steps of each house in the ViShNupura AgrahAram, but could not apprehend (the location of the house). As he came to our house and peeped in, he sat on the thiNNai--raised portico, with fullness of heart.

My father who came out asked him, "enna samAchAram--what news?"

"PeriyavAL asked this pUja (box) to be delivered to you."

"To me?"

"Yes, without specifying the house, he asked me to deliver it at the house where he was present. I saw PeriyavAL's portrait, plainly visible before the eyes, in the sloped front courtyard. Since he is present here, I understood that he wanted me to deliver it to this house. Here, the pUjA box."

We never had any doubt that PeriyavAL has always been residing in our house.

*** *** ***

A dhanavat--wealthy man, had great bhakti--devotion, in PeriyavAL. He came to IlayAttankuDi for darshan. He brought two wooden boxes full of apples and placed them before PeriyavAL. PeriyavAL too had a glance at the boxes and then went inside.

As the Dhanvata was saying to the shiShyas--disciples, there, "I have bought these apples for PeriyavA. You peruchchALis--bandicoots of the MaTham don't devour and empty them", PeriyavAL had arrived, receiving the words in his ears. But he did not give a hint that he heard those words.

Some Nari kurava--gipsy, families had pitched a tent in the place and were staying at that time.

On the evening the apple boxes came, PeriyavAL sent word for the boys of the Nari kurava families and gave each one of them an apple, and that in front of the Dhanvata!

Dhanvata's face showed his distress.

"I too am a peruchchALi--bandicoot, in the MaTham", said PeriyavAL.

The Dhanvata was stunned as he realized his mistake. Then he sought pardon.

The same Dhanvata, on another occasion, bought a plenty of muNDus (dhotis) from KeraLA and submitted them.

"Why so many?"

"For the sippantis of ShrIMaTham."

From them, PeriyavAL asked six dhotis to be drenched in kAShAyam--saffron dye.

The Dhanvata could not understand the reason.

"Two for Anjaneya (an ascetic who stayed in the MaTham then)! Two for Pudu PeriyavAL, and two for me! We too are the sippantis of the MaTham!"

As PeriyavaL uttered these words, the Dhanvata went mellowing and happy in the heart, realizing the sage's simplicity, bounds of which could not be discovered.

*** *** ***

PeriyavAL had great interest in ShrImad BhAgavatam. Once, RAmamUrti Aiyar reading BhAgavatam, PeriyavAL was doing shravaNam--listening, of it.

At that time, NeeDAmangalam shrI KRShNamUrti ShAstrigaL who was prabala--famous, for his BhAgavata pravachanam--exposition, came there and informed the sage that he has returned after doing BhAgavata upanyAsam in Delhi.

"The VidvAns came and listened to it?"

"They came."

"What did they say?"

"One VidvAn said, 'If the rAsa-panchAtyAyI was not there in it, ShrImad BhAgavatam would be a great grantham--book'".

Smiling slightly, PeriyavAL said, "Only after doing paTana-shravaNa-mananam--reading, listening and reflection, of the rAsa-panchAtyAyI, I decided that saMniyAsam was siddha--accomplised, for me!"

Doesn't this look like a slight reproof to those who do pravachanam just by prattling without understanding the principles?

*** *** ***

PeriyavAL had done vijayam--toured, to ViShNupuram, some seven or eight times. He had stayed there during important occasions such as Shankara Jayanti and NavarAtri.

On the entrance point to our village, in the streets and in road junctions, we would set up ornamental arches and welcome him. Select GItA shlokas would be written in large letters on those arches.

As PeriyavAL came in his mEnA--palanquin, he could not have a glance at what was written in the thaTTis--plaited banners. After the puja was over at night, he took a petromax gas light with him and walked down reading the verses one by one. A pricking sensation in our hearts, who selected the GItA shlokas. If he would appreciate them, or chide us?...

Finally he said, "All very good! You people have mentioned as to how I should be."

It was a fact that as we heard this, we were restless at heart. But then we understood that it was not an accusation that was done AropaNam--imposed, on us. We understood the truth that it was only a svaya-vimarshanam--self-criticism, done for vEDikkai--fun. The magnanimity to do self-investigation

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