I was a resident of Darwad. I paid an official visit to Hyderabad in the early eighties and met my friend there who was working in Railways. He suggested that I visit Kanchi Periyaval who was camping in a village by name Mahagon (Gulberga District) and pay my respects to Him. I was asked to take a taxi to Mahagon and proceed to my destination by train from Sholapur. My friend arranged for the tickets accordingly and I proceeded to Mahagon by taxi after buying some Pomogranates at Hyderabad.
I found Maha Periyaval sitting on an elevated platform and did Sashtanga Namaskaram six times. He gave me a piercing look. A young person who was acting as an attendant to the saint asked me to identify myself. My attempts to identify myself with my job and ancestors (both paternal and maternal) did not cut any ice with the Saint and He responded with a vacant stare. When I lost hope and decided to withdraw from His presence, He asked his attendant as to how many Namaskarams he does to Him. “Two” was the reply. He asked another boy present there the same question and got the reply “One”. Now the Acharya turned to His attendant and asked him why I did six. The attendant in his turn put the question to me. I told him that when I was very young I met the Acharya with my grand mother and was asked to do six namaskarams by her. Upon my reply Maha Periyaval prompted the attendant to ask me if I still remembered my grandmother. I replied I remembered her adding that I was 26 when she passed away. Now Maha Periyaval addressed me directly. “In 1948 (he mentioned the precise month and date as well) at Thiruvdaimarudur your grandmother came for my Darshan along with you clad in a Kakhi short. You did one namaskaram and tried to run. Your grandmother called you back and instructed you to do six namaskarams. Do you remember? With a sense of shame I admitted that I don’t remember. Such was His photographic memory that He remembers to the minutest detail a visit of a commoner like me!
In 1980 I left a 24 years old job in Kerala and called on the Acharya with my wife to seek His blessings to start a factory in Chennai. Since no positive response came from Him I asked for permission to join a new job which was given readily. As I was about to leave the scene the Acharya asked me as to why I should not start a Flower Garden. Though I was not impressed with this suggestion I responded “ I will do so if you bless me”. After this I joined a new job and did very well.
In 1992, I decided to get into farming. From Mumbai I went to Thailand for collaboration and visited the Acharya with the project report. We got His blessings He asked me what the project was and I explained to Him. After listening He uttered the words, “Vandika” and “Nakula”. When I could not understand these words He explained that they are Sanskrit words for Orchids used in Ayurveda. He added Vandika was the root word and there are no words in Tamil to denote “Orchid”. I was stunned to discover His knowledge in Ayurveda, Botany and Linguistics. That was the one and only Maha Periyaval! At the time of my departure His Holiness jogged my memory to our conversation that took place in 1980 when I met him for permission to start a factory in Chennai and He asked me to start a Flower Garden instead! How prophetic and farsighted was He!