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Monday, July 22, 2013

Removing the distress of hunger - Periyaval

'Compassion' will benefit many people in many ways. PeriyavAL's kAruNya--compassion, is like a mother's affection. No one should wither due to hunger. Some incidents about his feeding people who came to him, specially the Veda pandits.

(a) On the day of 01.01.1977, it was VaikuNTha EkAdashi. Myself and shrI KRShNasvAmi aiyar had gone to SivAsthAnam to consult PeriyavAL about printing certain Veda books. The time was morning six-thirty. The sight of shrI PeriyavAL starting and leaving, with a daNDam--staff, and a small kalasha--waterpot. As we told him about the subject of our coming there, he asked us to accompany him with a gesture of hand.

We started with him. We learnt that since it was the day of VaikuNTha EkAdashi, the uddesham--intention, of the departure was to go to all the PerumAL temples in ViShNu, Shiva kAnchi and have darshan. We walked.

Even before crossing the Veda PAThashAla in the YAnaikaTTi street in ChinnakAnchi, since we were having darshan in all PerumAL temples in every nook and corner, (and since my walking habit was much less), myself and KRShNasvAmi aiyar who accompanied me, sat for resting on the thiNNai--raised portico, of a house.

In a short while, an aNukkat-thoNdar--personal attendant, of PeriyavAL came running towards us and said, "Are you KRShNasvAmi ShAstri? PeriyavAL asked me to tell you:

'For him kAlshramam--can't stand exertion of legs. You go look for him, ask him to take AhAram--food, in svakAlam--proper time, at the PAThashAla, and stay at ShivAsthAnam. After I return, the subject of printing the Veda books can be discussed.'"

Can the measure of my going melting at heart then be spoken? Accordingly, we took our AhAram at the PAThashAla and took rest at ShivAsthAnam.

Finishing his PerumAL darshans, shrI PeriyavAL returned to ShivAsthAnam at three in the afternoon with a mandahAsam--smile, looking as fresh as he was when he started in the morning. Forthwith he called us, and gave suggestions about printing the Veda books in the grantha lipi.

(b) VyAsa-pUjA day, somewhere near (the village) Orirukkai. Flooded with a large crowd of people. Some of us were with PeriyavargaL.

This is what to a staff member of ShrIMaTham did PeriyavAL say: "A large number of people have come. They have the intention to take AhAram--food, after my VyAsa-pUjA is over. But then, their hunger can't withstand until then. Watching the puja after taking food also won't appeal to their minds. So to everyone, cook saltless rice, keep it in a tAmbALam--large salver with sloping rim, and distribute to them. This won't be a pAthakam--hindrance with adverse effect. Otherwise, they will suffer much."

In a short while, (saltless) curd rice was ready in aNDAs--large bronze containers. Everyone asked for it and ate. Then was the VyAsa-pUjA held until four in the evening, with a divya darshan for everyone!

What kAruNyam!

(c) Wherever the place (even a poTTal grAmam--(Tamil)barren village), whatever the time, even late in the night, whoever came to shrI PeriyavAL's mukhAm--camp, he would order his sippantis--staff members, to prepare food and feed them. Without letting it go there, he would call those sippantis one by one in private and asking him, "What AhAram did you cook and feed for those who came?"--such fairness is unique for PeriyavAL.

(d) To the children who were learning the Vedas, PeriyavAL's motherly affection is matchless.

On serveral occasions he would ask the rich devotees who came to him, "Will you do a favour for me?"

"My bhAgyam--fortune."

"Prepare sweet and savoury bhakShaNas--refreshments for the children in the Veda PAThashAla at the YAnaikaTTi street, go and distribute them to the children yourself."

Later, after some days, when those children came, he would ask with concern, "Was the bhakShaNam given that day? Did you have it?"

(This is a great revolution by PeriyavAL at the time when it was said as a proverb that the rotten banana fruits which a cow won't take was for the boys of the Veda PAThashAla.)

Wherever ShrIMaTham camped, as per PeriyavAL's orders, specially in the summer months, like the thaNNIr pandhal--charity of water at public places, he would be giving diluted buttermilk. In visheSham--distinction, the scene of PeriyavAL sitting in a hut on the bank of the PAlAr river in the Orirukkai village during a hot summer and distributing diluted buttermilk to those who came, can't be described in words.

Loka kAruNyam

It is a sarva-sAdhAraNa--quite common, scene that the bhaktas--devotees, who came for darshan, telling him their shortfalls and sufferings repeatedly and praying 'PeriyavAL should do the anugraham--favour'. Those who have darshan of PeriyavAL and return without asking him anything are very very rare. In such a state, starting from the VishvarUpa Darshan at dawn every day, even if the devotees throng continuously for many hours thereafter and come to him in turn with their kaShTa-naShTa--pain and loss, with matchless patience, his listening to them and then giving them abhayam--safeby, raising his divya-karam--sacred hand,--who can explain that aruL--blessing?

(a) A PATTi--grandma, once in KAnchi MaTham told him repeatedly of her family squabble. The sippanti--attendant, who repeated the news so PeriyavAL could hear it clearly, slightly chiding her, told her in a loud tone: "PATTi, don't you have any other work? How many times should you repeat it?"

shrI PeriyavAL: "ENDA--hey, who is that? Why do you shout?"

"Some PATTi whoever. Simply repeats what she told many times over."

"What does she say, it's not falling in my ears, you ask her again and tell me", as PeriyavAL said this, what Anandam--happiness, for the PATTi!

(b) Sometimes he would prescribe the kaShTa-parihAra--atonement/remedy for the afflictions. Asking for the devotees' financial position, his orders will be for them to visit temples and bath in sacred water sources or do dAna-dharma--charity with money and food. One such incident.

A business pramukha--notable, came to KAnchIpuram, had darshan of MahA SvAmigaL and said: "My business is dull for so many days now. Several worries I have. Can't sleep at night. Can't withstand the mental agony. I require PeriyavAL's aruL--blessing."

shrI PeriyavAL, "Will you do one thing?"

"I am waiting to listen."

"On the night of paurNamI--day of full moon, as much as possible for you, keep looking at the pUrNa chandran--full moon, in the AkAsham--sky, and do dhyAnam--meditation, imaging that shrI KAmAkShi AmbAL is in that ChandramaNDalam--lunar region. All the worries will leave you."--(what compassion!!)

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