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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Maha PeriyavaaL who ruled over me-01

Maha PeriyavaaL who ruled over me
devotee:...... T.A.Bhashyam, North Mada Street, Chinna Kanchipuram
author:....... T.A.Bhashyam
compiler:..... T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
source:....... Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol. 6, pages 1-12
publisher:.... Vanathi Padhippaham (Jun 2008 Edition)
type:......... book, Tamil 

Pages 1-5

The fortunes I obtained worshipping Maha PeriyavaaL are many and varied. Every time I went for darshan, I had filled my eyes with and felt happy at the sight of his graceful compassion that he showed towards all his devotees.

When Periyavar stood in blessing at Kollarchatram, two old smArta brahmins came in darshan of him.

After the usual inquiries, he asked, "A sAma veda pAThashAlA was run in your village, wasn't it?"

"Yes, we both studied our Veda only there..."

"And then, I went to seek another job..." Both of them stood with their heads down.

"At least something of what you studied is in memory?"


"Will come to mind. Both of you recite now..."

There was no other go, they got stuck with PeriyavaaL. They couldn't say "No we can't recite" decisively, for that would be construed as a big apachAram (disrespect).

"HariH Aum", they started, and that was followed by a pravAham (gush) of susvara sAma gAnam (melodious Sama Veda songs) for a quarter of an hour.

They were themselves surprised that they could sing sAmagAnam without a single discordant note.

Later when giving them prasAdam, he said, "If you recite the brahma yajna prashnam daily, what you have studied won't be forgotton." They took leave promising to do as advised.

*** *** ***

Sitting inside in the Kollachatram, Periyavar was talking to his bhaktas.

He stopped suddenly and said to a disciple, "A yAchakan (beggar) who has lost both his legs is going in the street with a kakSha daNDam (crutch supported by the armpits). Call him."

The beggar came and stood near the entrance. Periayar looked at him and ordered that a dhoti-towel be given to him.

A beggar going in the street--how did he come in the sight of Periyavar sitting inside?

*** *** ***

A turbulent situation in SriLanka. The Tamilians could not live without fear. Various kinds of constraints. Some of them who saught refuge in Tamilnadu came for darshan of PeriyavaaL.

It was then only a week after a leader of the SriLankan Tamils, Padmanabha, was murdered. A frightful tumult ensued in SriLanka.

A long queue for PeriyavaaL darshan on that day. When the turn of the Lankan Tamils came, they started talking about their sufferings just falling short of shedding tears. Periyavar looked the very personification of compassion.

"Leaving all your properties, you people have come just to escape from the situation? How is your jIvanam (life) here? If you return, would you get back your properties?"

Perhaps nobody talked to them with such kindness! Those people narrated the situation in Lanka in a heart-rending manner. PeriyaaL's words of sympathy were precious remedy to the bruises of their hearts.

"Peace should return to your nation... You people should get back your properties!", he blessed them with these words.

People awaiting their turn in the queue started feeling irritated (by this long interview). When an attendant of the MaTham explained to them, "We all can come back again another day and have darshan of PeriyavaaL if it is not possible today. But just look at the fate of these people...", the people in the queue were pacified.

*** *** ***

A few days before PeriyavaaL went for paramapadam (samAdhi), he was talking about our divya prabandha ghoSTi (Divya Prabandha Group).

"You have a shikhA (tuft of hair), lakShaNam (appropriate) to look at. If everyone in your ghoSTi keep a shikhA and do the prabandha sevA it would be blissful to look at", he said.

Some of the members who heard these words keep a tuft and do anvayam (associate) in the Group. "The day will come soon when everyone sports a tuft in accordance with PeriyavaaL's abhilAShA (desire)", I told him.

*** *** ***

The time when PeriyavaaL's shatApt (hundredth year) celebrations were held. He asked our ghoSTi to come over to the MaTham and do the Divya Prabandha service.

We recited arranging the divya prabandha pAsuras as koyil, tirumalai, and perumAL koyil.

When we stopped at a place, PeriyavaaL said, "Do the sevA of 'kaNNinuT chiRuttAmbu'." We were all surprised, because when the entire nAlAyira divya prabandham is about PerumAL, only the eleven pAsuras sung by Madurakavai Azhvar and started with 'kaNNinuT chiRuttAmbu' were in adoration of Nammazhvar. The people of our Group were very happy to realize that since the Azhvars are even more adorable than the Bhagavan, PeriyavaaL ordered recital of that pAsuram of Madurakavi.

A VaishNava Jeeyar SwamigaL had newly received the sannyAsa Ashrama svIkAram (order of the ascetic).

As he had much interest in Maha PeriyavaaL since his pUrvAshramam (earlier state of life), he wanted to meet the sage now. When his wish was conveyed to Periyavar, he sent the MaTham van. Jeeyar SwamigaL, myself and some assistants went in the van.

As the Jeeyar SwamigaL came, Periyavar welcomed him with a blossoming face saying, "vArum, shrI rAmAnujarE (Welcome, Sri Ramanuja)!" and followed it with the words, "No, no... srI irAmAnusarE!!" (This was because when do sevA of the prabandham, we would call it IrAmAnusa NUtrandAdi, adding an 'i'; and Periyavar had that subtlety in mind).

When the prabandha sevA was over, the sage blessed the saint with the words "innum oru nUtrANDirum--live for another hundred years..." and honoured him with a green shawl with jari decorations, and fruits. At that time the sage told the rare newsbit that the palanquin in the SriPerumpudur temple was given as a gift by the previous Sri Kanchi PIThAdhipatigaL.

*** *** ***

The Rajagopura Kalasam of Kanchi Varadaraja PerumaL temple had fallen down and broken. The divine repair project to the Rajagopuram was started at the initiative of Periyavar and the works were going on.

Periyavar at that time was camping in Tenambakkam. He took it as his custom to do daily pradakShiNam of the sannidhi mADa streets of the Kanchi Devaraja PerumaL temple. The pace of Periyavar's walk was one that could not be met by the others!

Periyavar stood for a few minutes at the entrance of our home in the North Mada Street and did dhyAnam; he looked towards the inside of the house. We did not understand then as to 'what for is this look of grace'. It was not known as to why Periyavar who passed our house with his usual pace every day stood before it on that day (23-12-1977) and then passed along.

Could it have been due to tiredness of his frame caused by the swift pace of his walk? No.

We understood the reason during that night. Yes, my sacred father on that night attained paramapadam (obtained VaikuNTa prApti).

(My father had no eyesight. He was always doing pArAyaNam of the Vishnu SahasranAmam. He would attend the gopUja, gajapUja held in the evenings at SriSankara MaTham located in the Yanaikatti Street; and do sahasranAma pArAyaNam there.

*** *** ***

I had gone to do sevA of PeriyavaaL, along with three directors of the New Delhi Central Government Transport department. Morning six-thirty on a Tuesday.

'Periyavar is not well, so no darshan today', the SriMaTham chippantis (assistants) told us.

The directors Tiru. Anandakrishna Aiyyar, Suman (a North Indian) and Gopalan were much disappointed.

Venkudi doctor examined PeriyavaaL and said, "Fever with 103 degrees of temperature; may not do the snAnam."

"Today is mangaLa vAram, I must do snAnam in the mangaLa tIrtham..."

"A thousand mangaLa vAra snAnas you have done; it's alright if one mangaLa vAra snAnam is not done."

Periyavar got up suddenly, came out quickly, inquired the Muslim who was selling pori at the GangaikoNdAn Mandapam entrance of his health, passed that way to the MangaLa TIrtham and prepared to take bath!

The MaTham assistants were aghast! They ran to him and said, "We shall bring some warm water, and Periyavaa should do snAnamin that warm water on the banks of the pond." Periyavar agreed to it.

Forthwith all of us (including the Delhi director) started doing pArAyaNam of the Purusha SUktam.

On the banks of the MangaLa TIrtha PushkaraNi, a mahonnata abhiShekam (divinely eminent bath) took place as a sight that filled the eyes and overflew.

It was a wonder of wonders for the three officials who were worried on that day about having at least a minute's darshan of Periyavar,--the sight of Periyavar doing snAnam, Purusha SUkta pArAyaNam becoming food for their eyes and ears!

*** *** ***

Once it happened that I, who was working in the administrative office of the Chennai Harbour, had to take my higher official Tiru. S.Ganesan for darshan of Periyavar.

After inquiring him of his pUrvottaram (preceding and following members in the family tree), the places he worked and such other things, Periyavar asked him, "Do you perform the sandhyA vandanam every day?"

"No. My udyogam (calling) is does not suit it... Periyavaa should excuse..."

After keeping silent for a minute, Periyavar said: "Shall I tell you a prAyashchittam (atonement) for it? Could you do it?"

"Shall do it", said Ganeshan.

"You said you have three daughters. What would you do if you had four?"

"I shall educate that girl too well and get her married in a good place."

"Assuming that you have four daughters, whatever you would do that fourth daughter, spend that money for a kAryam (task) I shall tell you now.

"According to our Shastras, the nitya karmAnuShThAnas (daily religious observances) and studying the Vedas differ as per the gotra--sampradAya. The SandhyA Vandana mantras are not identical for everyone. With proper pandits, you should arrange to examine those mantras and classify them based on the shAkhA-gotra-pravartAdi (brach of the Veda and gotra), and publish handy books. You must distribute those books free to the boys studying in colleges and polytechnics. At least a few of them would in later days undertake the karmAnuShThAnas as per their tradition. You call the Mahapandits of the Mylapore Samskrta College to your bungalow, discuss with them and publish the books..."

My higher official agreed to the proposal enthusiastically. (But then I have no knowledge if those books were published).

This incident is an example that Periyavar had concern for the next generation.

*** *** ***

Periyavar had unnata bhakti (high devotion) towards Sri Kanchi Devaraja PerumaL. (Deva PerumaL = Devarajan = Varadarajan).

On the day of Garuda sevA, if PeriyavaaL happens to be in Kanchipuram, it was his custom to do sevA to PerumaL standing in some place (inside the sannidhi, at the Gopuram entrance, entrance of the sixteen-legged mandapam, entrance of the Kacchabesvara temple or near the GangaikoNdAn Mandapam opposite the MaTham).

In return in the evening, as accords a MaThAdhipati, the honours of bahumAna panchamudra saDAri* would be done to Periyavar.

In the same way, if Periyavar happens to be in Kanchipuram, on the day of Sri VaikuNTa EkAdasi he would come to the temple (sometime between the morning and night), do sevA of PerumaL without disturbing others and return to his place. I have also witnessed his going on pAdayAtra to the eight sannidhis in the eight Divyadeshas in Kanchi for having the aShTa vishNu darshanam on the VaikuNTa Ekadasi day.

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