author:...... Balu, SriMaTham, Kanchipuram
compiler:... T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
book:......... Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol. 1, pages 123-141
publisher:.. Vanathi Padhippaham (Aug 2006 Edition)
(For those who had made it a habit to have darshan of Sri Maha SwamigaL, it is not possible that they did not know Brahmachary Sri Balu. He was remarkable among PeriyavaaL's aNukkat-thoNdarkaL (personal attendants). Even today he is engaged in the service of SriMaTham.)
KarNan was one who gave a lot in charity. He would give away anything--diamond, cat's-eye, gold, money, vessles, whatever--that was sought from him.
After giving up his life in the battle, he went to the svargam (heavens). He was hungry. Surrounding him were vessles made of diamond, cat's eye, and gold. But there was not a fistful of cooked rice or a cup of water. "Why is this so?", he asked of the assistants there.
"You were a dAna sUra (sun of charity), no doubt. You gave away lots in gold and silver. But then you did not do any anna dAnam (charity of food)? Only what you gave there will yet get here", they said.
KarNan felt humiliated. This dharma sUkSma (subtlety of dharma) went unknown to him.
Even then, hunger pinched his stomach.
Those who were there told him: "Once some people came hungry to you. You sent them to Duryodhana's house, pointing it with a finger. Put that finger that said 'meals will be served there' into your mouth and try sucking on it. Your hunger will fly away."
KarNan did as he was told. And got the tRpti (satisfaction) of partaking a feast of six-tastes.
The bhaktA (devotee) told the sage that he was suffering from unabated stomach ache.
The uttaravu (orders) to him was to do vaisvadEvam every day, offer that annam (food) to an atithi (guest) and then take that food. Following the orders, the bhaktA got the nivaraNam (relief).
Periyavaa told him, "If possible, in any kSetra (holy place) do anna dAnam to a hundred or thousand people."
The bhaktA went to Guruvayur and did the anna dAnam at the Guruvayurappan temple.
'nOi nAdi, nOi mudal nAdi'*--VaLLuvar would say. The nOi mudal is actually pApa (sin). Our Periyavar is the parihAra cikitsA sironmaNi (expert remedial medical attendant) who seeks the root and destroys it completely!
An anbar (devotee) from Chennai brought a large heap of flowers. Different kinds of garlands, kadambam (orange-colored, fragrant flowers), and thick garlands of jasmine--were all bound and arranged beautifully and colorfully.
But then those could not be offered as garlands to ChandraMauleesvara. They were bound in cotton threads, instead of banana fibres. There was no custom to garland ChandraMauleesvara with flowers bound by threads.
The mental pang of the anbar can't be limited to words. With how much love and devotion he brought those flowers! But then even a span of the jasmine garland can't be offered to ChandraMauleesvara!
The puja being over, Periyavaa came out. On his way he noticed the garland of flowers in the baskets. "Why weren't these offered for the puja?" was the question he asked with a look.
"Bound by threads."
The heart of the anbar who brought the flowers throbbed violently as to what would be the reply.
Periyavaa was a karuNamUrti (icon of compassion).
"Let the puSpams (flowers) bound by thread be not used for the Swami. But they can be used for me?"
Great happiness among the disciples.
They made Periyavaa sit down, made him wear all the garlands and made it look like puSpAngi sEva (offer of decoration with flowers).
For the bhaktAs gathered opposite him, it was a flood of AnandA.
"Tirupati Venkatachalapathy" said a man. "Tiruchendur Murugan"; "Kanchi Kamakshi"...
One Vedanti said, "Let somebody be saying 'jagan mithyA' (the world is an illusion). This kSaNam satyam (this moment is a reality). brahmam satyam. saguNa brahmam parama satyam (while Brahman is real, the Brahman with attributes is the Supreme Reality); saguNam, satguNam. (that with attributes is the one with goodness). Periyavaa saguNa brahmam... brahmAnandam..."
That was a word of satyam!
nOi nAdi, nOi mudal nAdi, athu thaNikkum
vAi nAdi vAippac-cheyal -- ThirukkuraL 95:8 (948)
"Diagnose the illness, trace its cause,
seek the appropriate remedy and apply it skillfully."
--Translation from the Himalayan Academy Website.