Total Pageviews

Saturday, December 21, 2013

PeriyavA's anugraham--divine favours

The yAtrA--journey, continued. We arrived at an old samasthAnam--princely state, called SANDUr.

shrI Ghorpade of the rAja-parampara--royal lineage, and the iLayarAjA--(Tamizh) prince, gave a very grand reception to PeriyavAL.

Fifteen days camp in this place. shrI Shankara jayanti was celebrated in-visheSham--with distinction.

President NIlam SanjIva ReDDy had darshan of PeriyavAL in SANDUr. What was important was where he had it.

PeriyavA gave darshan, sitting under a vanni--mesquit, tree, in the goShAlA--cow shed, run by king Ghorpade! The president was surprised at PeriyavAL's eLimai--simplicity, and samatvam--equality/equanimity. The meeting was a quiet incident, without any of the fanfare that accompanies a President's visit.

Where PeriyavAL stayed, king Ghorpade has constructed a temple resembling a maNimaNDapam--large hall, as a memorial for PeriyavAL. There was no limit to Ghorpade's gurubhakti!

*** *** ***

kugrAmam--hamlet, on the way from ChittUr to MadanapaLLi. We stayed for the night at the Shiva temple. Since it was night and due to the exertion of walking, PeriyavA retired. Since it was customary to start the yAtrA in the early morning, all of us who were his disciples were ready. PeriyavA gave orders, "Let us start sAyaMkAlam--in the evening."

When there was enough sunlight, PeriyavA came out of the temple to give darshan. Some fifty to sixty people who had come from the surroundings, with their children, gathered and prostrated at a distance in reverence.

It was a surprise for all of us! The people of this village had come the previous night and had darshan standing in a queue. Since they could not have darshan if PeriyavA started in the early morning from that place, the people preferred the night for their darshan. Why did not these people too have their darshan at that time?

"Come near and have darshan", we went and invited them. They did not accept it. "We people should not come near the temple. We were waiting for sAmi--sage, rAtri muchchUDum--the whole of night. Only now has sAmi come out..." It was a village regulation that those untouchables should not enter the temple, they said.

We went to PeriyavAL to inform the matter. There was no need for that, however.

"There are lots of mango fruits given by those who had darshan last night. Collect them in a sack and give to these people. Let them eat, they are fasting since last night."

As we gave the fruits, they received and consumed them happily. "Didn't you people take anything last night?"

"No. We came to have a look at sAmisAmi stayed inside. So we stayed here because he should come out in any case..."

How did PeriyavAL know of their fasting? That is the brahma-granthi--BrahmA's knot!

*** *** ***

PeriyavAL's sallApa--making fun, Ecchu--jeers, and zleShas--puns would be in a way that would be pleasing; they would not hurt anyone.

He would call me in chellam--(Tamizh) indulgence, kitthuvAi--stutterer, and rickshaw OTTi--rickshaw driver.

We were staying in the VinAyaka temple near the MIraj city. The orders for me were to visit the place scheduled for our next camp and check the camping facilities there.

Carrying out those orders, I entered the VinAyaka temple. After taking bath, I met shrIKaNThan uncle.

"Since last night he did not take even water. Would not touch milk or the fruits, PeriyavA. We even tried to persuade him by begging, but no use. You are a small boy. If you ask him, perhaps PeriyavA might be in sammatam--agreement", he told me.

Doing vandanam--reverence, to PeriyavA, I submitted the fruits given by the anbars--(Tamizh) devotees, at the place where I had gone to check.

"You had your meal?"

I nodded no.

"Go have your meals and then come."

I had the thought that it was a good time to broach the subject that shrIKAnThan uncle spoke to me about. "I shall dine after PeriyavAL has his bhikShA."

When PeriyavargaL compelled me, I left the place saying "I shall dine later". Five minutes later, a call from PeriyavA. I went to him.

From the heap of fruits in front of him, he asked me to take a fruit per variety. I gave them to him. Cutting each fruit (with his own hands!), he gave a half to me and asked me to find how it tasted. Thinking that PeriyavA thought of himself consuming a half fruit that was not sour, I received the halves and at them.

PeriyavA asked me about the taste of each fruit. I told him. 

"ippO pasi aDanggiDutthA?--(Tamizh) has your hunger subsided now?"

How natural were those words, without any trace of ekkaLippu--(Tamizh) conceit-tinged exultation about, 'Look, how easily have I deceived you!'

I was moved to the point of tears. Only the memory of my mother came up. Since I couldn't bear to be hungry, she would serve me sAdam--cooked rice meal, at precise hours in our house. My throat choking, I told him about shrIKaNThan uncle's sadness (about PeriyavA not taking anything for bhikShA).

"It was Sunday yesterday. I had milk and fruit. Only in prAyashchittam--atonement, I remained without having any bhikShA now. It is pradoSham day today. After doing pradoSha pUja, I shall have my bhikShA."

Should I feel garva--pride, for his answering me, considering me as of some importance? Or should I melt at heart for his atonement for a small doSham--fault? I couldn't understand.

(It is shAstra vidhi--scriptural regulation, that one should observe upavAsam--fasting, on a Sunday night. Therefore, the custom at shrIMaTham on Sundays was to take something before sUrya-astamanam--sunset, on that day. There would be no work at all in the kitchen on a Sunday night! Only in accordance with this, that PeriyavA instructed me as narrated above.)

bhakta--devotee, named Kulkarni, placed a wrist-watch in front of PeriyavA.

'What is this for?', PeriyavA asked him by a glance.

"I have brought this so you can give to a man doing kaingkaryam--service, with you. PeriyavA can do as he wishes."

Picking up that wrist-watch, PeriyavA looked at it, turning it this way and that. Then he called and asked me to wear it on my wrist. "This should always remain in your wrist. Whenever I ask you the time, you should tell me", he ordered.

That wrist-watch is still with me. I am safeguarding it as a rare pokkiSham--(Tamizh) treasure.

*** *** ***

A village called UkAr Kurth on the banks of KRShNa river. There, we were staying in a Shiva temple.

PeriyavA would arise much early in the morning and sit up. He would at that time wake up one among us who were doing his kaingkaryam and converse with him.

One day when he was talking to me in that manner, he spoke elaborately about Indira Gandhi. (I gain nothing by knowing such things. In addition, it seemed to me at that time that there was a trace of sneer in PeriyavA's talk. Still I was listening to him as SivanE--doing nothing like Shiva!)

He said that Indira Gandhi was the arasu kAttha ammai--mother who saved the nation, in the twentieth century, and spoke about the sacrifices she had done for the country. 

It all seemed awkward to me. PeriyavA would sometimes be conversing with us in a funny and sneering way. I thought it was one such occasion.

"Going to KAnchIpuram, on the outer compound wall of the EkAmbaranAthar temple, you should draw two pictures. One, the picture of the seventh century arasu kAttha ammai--also called tAntOnRi amman--self-manifested goddess; two, the picture of the arasu kAttha ammai (Indira Gandhi) in the twentieth century."

I was listening to it all, standing; and then I said, "No, I won't do it."

"Right, now get out (and see)", he told me.

When I came out and looked around, I found some Railway officials waiting for a darshan (of Indira Gandhi). And I understood that PeriyavA spoke so that it all would fall on their ears.

*** *** ***

Another funny incident.

"Prepare a hundred, or hundred-and-fifty, pavun kAsugaL--gold coins, and bring them in a bottle, do it forthwith", PeriyavA ordered me. I could not follow him for a minute. Then, understanding what he said, I moved away from the place and came out.

Many people were waiting outside for darshan. What PeriyavAL spoke to me had indeed fallen on the ears of everyone outside. Some of them had the nappAsai--(Tamizh) fond hope, 'A hundred, or hundred-and-fifty pavun kAsugaL! It would be preferable that I get two or three of them! I can keep them in the puja...'

Everyone surrounded me. They supplicated to me, "Get me two or three coins." "AhA!" I said and moved from that place.

To have darshan of PeriyavAL, Vedic pandits and those learned in the shAstras--scriptures, would come. Giving them importance, PeriyavA would bless them with some kind of sanmAnam--gift.

When I was moving away from that place fast, a mahA paNDita from Mylapore (Chennai) called me with nayam--(Tamizh) civility. "You should get me ten or twelve gold coins", he told me. "Okay".

What PeriyavA referred to (not to explain it as such in front of the many present before him) was only the chips prepared by cutting the nEndirangkAi--a variety of long banana that is famous in Kerala, into round pieces and frying them.

When I placed before him a bottle of those chips in an hour, I told him about what the Mylapore Pandit had asked me. "Call him" he said. The man came.

"Extend both your hands..." The Pandit was happy inside like getting drenched in a shower of snow flakes.

He extended both his hands. Taking a handful of chips from the bottle, PeriyavA dropped them into his hands. The Pandit couldn't understand anything. Still, how to ask PeriyavAL? What to ask?

When he came out receiving the chips, the Pandit asked me. "Why did PeriyavA give chips to me?"

"Only what you asked for."

"Me? Why should I ask him for chips? When did I ask him?"

"You asked me an hour ago; and I told PeriyavA about it..."

He blinked. "But then what fell in my ears sounded like gold coins..."

"That is nothing but this one! What PeriyavA uttered in zleShas--pun, was only this..."

A great disappointment for the vidvAn. He consoled himself, "The prasAdam--divine gift, PeriyavA gave..."

Calling things with iDukuRip-peyar--(Tamizh) conventional name, talking in zleShas--pun, all such things being in aparimitam--unmeasured, in PeriyavAL--we had enjoyed it.

*** *** ***

When we were staying in UkAr Kurth, (Tamizh cine actor) Gemini GaNesan's wife came for darshan. When she was talking to PeriyavAL, a poor brAhmaNa--brahmin, of that village came and sought financial assistance from PeriyavA, for the marriage of his daughter.

PeriyavA told Gemini GaNesan's wife, "If you have anything, why not give him?"

Forthwith, the woman removed a pair of gold bangles she was wearing and gave them, with much happiness.

"Don't give it to him now. Enough to give him four days before the marriage", PeriyavA said. Then he told a bank manager who had come there, "Keep these in your bank locker. You can give then later."

Two days later, the same brAhmaNa came and wept loudly. He said all the things at his home were lost in theft, on the previous night. The only property remained were the bangles in the locker! "By PeriyavA's anugraham--divine favours, at least those gold bangles escaped (from getting stolen)..."

Laughing, PeriyavA said, "What came for the head ended up with the turban, pO--go (with the consolation)", and gave him prasAdam.

The value of those bangles at that time was twenty thousand rupees!

No comments:

Post a Comment