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Friday, September 20, 2013

I am Balaji........Kanchi Mahaan Paramacharya

During the period when Kanchi Mahaan Paramacharya was on his tour of Maharashtra, a Jamindar (a rich landlord) was providing all the necessities and was seeing to the conveniences of the Paramacharya’s stay there. So that there should be no fault or problem in any of the arrangements, the landlord had appointed a servant of his to be near the paramacharya always to attend to His needs. 

The young lad’s name was Pawar. It was flawless service that the boy provided and the paramacharya was very satisfied with Pawar.

When the camp was nearing its end and Paramacharya was about to leave the place, He asked the landlord, “Can I take this boy with me ??” The landlord was overjoyed !! What a huge honor it was that a servant of his was going to serve the Mahaan !!

He immediately replied, ” By all means, please take him with you. I shall take care of his family. I will see to it that they receive all that they need as then he does not have to worry about his family isn’t that so ??”. From that day on, that North Indian boy was one of the team at the Sri Matam. 

The next camp was at a place that had no facilities of any kind. It was night time and the Matam people had all prepared their food and had finished their dinner. It was Paramacharya’s strict order that there should be no fault or shortage in food matters for anyone working at the Matam.

After everyone had finished their dinner, Paramacharya came in and asked each and every person if they had had their dinner. Everyone confirmed that they had eaten. In the end he came out and there Pawar was standing as the sentry at the door.

As he does not know Tamil, Paramacharya asked him by action if he had had his food and he shook his head sadly and said “No”. Paramacharya immediately called the manager of the Mutt and said, “This boy has come trusting us to take care of him. How come you never had the thought of feeding him ?? Even if he did not ask, could you not have asked him by sign language if he had had his food ?? All of you have finished your dinner and closed the kitchen. In this remote place, where will he get anything to eat ??”

Paramacharya was so angry and bombarded the manager with these questions. The manager immediately told Paramacharya that he would arrange some dinner for Pawar.

After a few minutes, a man came by cycle there with a ‘thookku’ (a vessel that has a handle) in his hand. He said that he had noticed the light in the camp still burning and had come there. When they made inquiries, he said that he was carrying food to a nearby place and had come to see the Mahaan on the way. Paramacharya immediately asked him, “could you give some food to this person here (Pawar) ?? The compassionate soul was requesting the newcomer for the sake of his employee !!!

That man immediately said, “I have dinner in this ‘thookku’. Let him have it. I will make some other arrangements” and left the thookku there itself and left the camp. When they opened the thookku they found hot Chappathis and sabji(vegetables) that North Indians usually eat !!! Smilingly the compassionate Paramacharya asked Pawar to eat it !! Pawar was moved beyond words seeing Paramacharya’s compassion in asking for food from an unknown person for his sake.

After that day, that newcomer did not even come to the camp again and did not come to collect his thookku (the vessel he had left behind) !!

Once Pawar became a permanent employee of the Mutt, Paramacharya became everything to him. Up till the time the Paramacharya went into his “Menaa” (the palanquin into which he used to cuddle his body and sleep) to sleep, Pawar took care of his every need.

After many years, Pawar’s family came to Kanchipuram to see the Mahaan. They stayed for a couple of days and had His darshans. Having satisfied themselves here, they wanted to go to Tirupathi for Darshan. When Pawar came and told Paramacharya about their wish, he blessed them and said “Let them go happily”.

Inwardly Pawar had the wish to join them on their trip to Tirupathi. But he needed His blessings and permission. Also who would take care of the responsibilities that were entrusted to him ?? He wanted to go for just a day with his family and come back and so hesitantly he went and asked for permission.

Paramacharya said, “You want to see Balaji, is it not ?? Okay you also go with them”. Pawar was overjoyed !!

It was Pawar’s duty to shut the Menaa tightly once the Paramacharya went in and to open it first thing in the morning too. That morning it was planned that Pawar and his family would all go to Tirupathi.

As per his regular routine, Pawar was getting ready to open the ‘Menaa’s curtain and finish his morning duties soon so that he could leave with his family. Early morning when Pawar opened the curtain of the ‘Menaa’ he was shocked and overcome with “Bakthi”(devotion) as Paramacharya gave him darshan as Balaji. He could not believe his eyes.

When Pawar prostrated and bowed down before the Mahaan, the unasked question from the Mahaan was ,”Dont you know that Balaji is here itself ??” Pawar remained speechless for a few minutes and then slowly looked at the Mahaan with folded hands and said, “I am not going with them to Tirupathi”.

It was a fact that Pawar asked the question within his mind, “When the All pervading Lord is here itself, why should I go elsewhere in search of God ??”.

To this very same Pawar, Paramacharya arranged for another deity’s darshan too. This happened during one of His North India Tours. When there was no proper place available within the city limits to set up camp, the Mahaan used to set up His camps a little away from the city. This time too the camp was set up in such an isolated place, surrounded by forests.

One evening, Paramacharya started walking when everyone least expected it. Pawar was his only companion. He ordered that no one else should accompany Him. It was a small pathway and He reached the hillock’s base and started walking slightly up the hillock. After a little distance, when they cleared the creepers and plants a bit, a cave’s entrance was visible. Only a single person could go in easily.

The Mahaan asked Pawar, “Will you go inside and have a look ??” but Pawar folded his hands and said respectfully, ” I am scared. I am not going.” When he said that, the Mahaan looked at him and smiled slightly and entered the cave Himself. Pawar was very worried and stood outside wringing his hands with worry and fear. After a few minutes, Paramacharya came out with a smiling face.

He then told Pawar, “Now you can go, can’t you ?” 

When Paramacharya Himself had gone in and come out, it won’t look good if he did not go, thought Pawar and entered the cave. Once inside, there was sudden brightness in the dark cave and he saw a platform in front of him. Lord Anjaneya (Hanumar, the dasa of Lord Rama) was sitting in his Vishwaroopam (full cosmic form) and doing penance with folded hands. Pawar’s eyes were dazzled and he could not believe his eyes. He bowed and prayed with folded hands to Lord
Anjaneya and came out in a rapturous, ecstatic mood.

Once he was outside, the Omnipotent Paramacharya just asked him one question, “Have you seen ??”

With folded hands Pawar just shook his head in the affirmative and they both left that place. 

How very lucky and fortunate this Pawar is!

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