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Thursday, March 6, 2014

Incidents that Give a Poignant Feeling 1 and 2

Incidents that Give a Poignant Feeling
author:...... R.Santhanaraman, Chennai-33
compiler:... T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
book:......... Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol. 2, pages 44-52
publisher:.. Vanathi Padhippaham (May 2005 Edition)
translator.. saidevo

Pages 44-47 

I think it was the year 1950. Periya PeriyavaaL Sri Chandrasekharendra Sarasvati SwamigaL for chAturmAsyam was staying in the Semmangudi village near Tiruvarur. Wearing tirumaN and without even taking my (morning) cup of coffee, I was waiting to receive the first tIrtham after Periyavaa completes his puja. Around 12 o' clock when PeriyavaaL finished his puja and came to give tIrtham, the surge of the crowd pushed me who was standing first in the queue away by 30 feet. Since the others pushed me away who was standing in the queue for six hours without taking even a cup of coffee I cursed them within my mind, 'Let no one here be given the first tIrtham.' 

Periyavaa who took the uttaraNi to give tIrtham said, without giving tIrtham to anyone, "There, call that AyyangAr boy standing at the corner". I went to him. He said to me, "'Although (my) PATTi asked me to, I did not take my coffee and waited starving for six hours, to get the first tIrtham; and still they drove me away? Let no one here be given the first tIrtham', you cursed? I appreciate your bhakti. You will be amogha. Here, get the first tIrtham!" Everyone appreciated me.

*** *** ***

Could have been 15 days since my upanayanam was held. PeriyavaaL did pattina prevesam in the Semmangudi village only on that day. Everyone prostrated to him on the street. I too prostrated and did an 'abhivAdaye'* to Periya PeriyavaaL. At once the people nearby looked at me and said, "apachAram, apachAram! You should not do anabhivAdaye to PeriyavaaL." I looked closely at Periyava PeriyavaaL. (There came the doubt in my mind, our VAdhyAr asked me to prostrate and say abhivAdaye to elders? But these people tell me I should not do it now? So is this man an elder (periyavar) or not?). PeriyavaaL looked back at me and said, reading my thoughts like an X-ray (reads the inside of a body), "A doubt has come to you as you looked at me if I am PeriyavaaL or not, right?" Then he told me, "'abhivAdaye' is a life history.--In those days, people would not buy a mAppiLLai (bridegroom) as they bought mADu (cattle) at the NIlatthanallUr shandy. They had learnt ingitam. Through the 'abhivAdaye' they would know that such and such man is of such gotram, such sUtram and then decide about giving their daughter in marriage to the man or not. Whereas I am a tuRavi (ascetic), I have no wife, I have no daughter--to give you. Therefore it is not necessary that you do abhivAdaye to me. It is not a mistake that you made an abhivAdaye, however. You understand?" "I understand", I said. In the middle of the road, an upadesham for me for 10 minutes. Can't forget it!

*** *** ***

In that same Semmangudi village at PattAmaNiyAr's house, after the puja was over, everyone went away. I was standing alone at the place where the kUDam (hall) and tAzhvAram (courtyard) met. PeriyavaaL is having bhikShA in the kitchen room at the other end of the hall. Throughout the (walls of the) hall, (framed) portraits of (the gods) Sarasvati, Lakshmi, Thanjavur Krishna and such others are hung. Raising my head I looked at a portrait. In one portrait PeriyavaaL having bhikShA was visible as a shadow. Forthwith I turned my eyes to look at some other side. PeriyavaaL saw me standing, called SriKAryam and asked him to tell 'the boy', "Don't look, move away." SriKAryam came and told me, "Looking at PeriyavaaL having bhikShA is improper; move away." I told him: "I did not look of my own accord. It was itself visible to me in that portrait located straight in my vision. Forthwith I stopped looking." Since this talk fell on PeriyavaaL's ears, he said from where he was, "Don't admonish that boy. He did not look at me with a wishing mind. My having bhikSha being visible from here at 45 degrees in the portrait as a shadow and reflected back to him at 45 degrees reaching his eyes."

Appreciation from PeriyavaaL for explaining my actual position; and kind words for me. Never to be forgotten.

Incidents that Give a Poignant Feeling - 2

For tirumanjanam (ablution), SriKAryam brings tIrtham from the Semmangudi river, in a silver pot, sitting on the paTTatthu yAnai (sovereign elephant). As it came to the entrance of the house, the elephant started going crazy. SriKAryam immediately jumped with the silver pot from the elephant and ran inside the house. The mahout of the elephant too ran away for life towards the adjacent village. All the people in the street close the doors to their house and look from their windows. I was also having a look. Running amuck from the east end to the west end in the street, the elephant smashed the pandal legs, pillars at the gates, and the thattis (thatched boards for cover) on the thiNNais (raised porticos).

SriKAryam who ran inside told Periya PeriyavaaL, "The elephant is running amuck." PeriyavaaL at once came out alone, went near the elephant and said, "Gajendra! What naughtiness are you indulging in? Go back in silence and lie down!" What wonder! Forthwith, the elephant, like a cow on a rope, lay down filling the street, its head on the north and tail on the south side, and remained silent. PeriyavaaL called SriKAryam and asked the man to bring camphor, incense, bananas, and flower. SriKAryam brought and kept them on the thiNNai and went back inside, apprehensive of any danger to his life! PeriyavaaL stayed alone and performed the Gajendra Puja to the elephant that lay down in the middle of the street, made the animal wear flowers, waved the incense then the camphor to it and finally gave the animal the banana bunch. The elephant ate the fruits. Then he told the elephant, "Get up and go. Don't do any viShamam (mischief) henceforth." The elephant got up and stood to a side. That the elephant's frenzy subsided within an hour is a miracle, which happened only due to PeriyavaaL's divine act; and I witnessed that puja, my eyes filled with the sight.

The greatness of the Agnihotra House

Fifty years ago, PeriyavaaL's bhikSha was arranged in the house of a mirAsdAr (landowner) in Semmangudi of the Nannilam taluk. But even before the appointed time, PeriyavaaL came on foot from the adjacent village and sat down on the vAsal thiNNai (raised portico at the entrance) of Agnihotri Tiru. Nageswara Dikshitar's house. He told the people there, "Isn't this the house of Agnihotri Nageswara Dikshitar? Where is he? Call him? Today only in this gRuham is the bhikSha."

Dikshitar was supervising the work in the fields. People went to him and said, "Sitting down on the thiNNai of your house, PeriyavaaL has said that the bhikSha is in your house; he sent us for calling you." Dikshitar rushed back to his house, prostrated to PeriyavaaL and said, "apachAram, I have made you wait." PeriyavaaL replied, "Your house where the Agnihotram is performed has dragged me down to it." The bhikSha went on well in the landowner's house. What greatness has the Agnihotram!

PeriyavaaL's novel explanation

Periya PeriyavaaL used to do upanyAsam at the entrance of Tiru. S.S.Natesa Ayyar's house, fifty years ago. We all would go there and listen to it. This is a news PeriyavaaL said one day.

He stayed in Ranchi, Bihar state for two months. He said that in the whole of those two months he was not able to see the Ranchi RamakoTi PiThAdhipati, since the pontiff had gone on yAtrA to other places. Even later on, when the pontiff stayed in Ranchi, he was not able to meet the Kanchi Kamakoti PiThAdhipati even once. At last when they met one day, the Ranchi PiThAdhipati asked Kanchi PiThAdhipati, "Though all these days passed by, why is it that I was not able to meet you?" PeriyavaaL said that he replied to the question as

वो राम का काम नहि
और काम का राम नहि

"vo rAm kA kAm nahi
aur kAm kA rAm nahi

quoting a Hindu shloka. Ranchi RamaKoTi was taken aback, and was happy, for PeriyavaaL tactfully quoting a Hindi verse to one whose mother tongue was Hindi, and giving it the right meaning that applied to the circumstances. (It was not Rama's work. In addition, this is not a RamakAryam (work for Rama.) Maha PeriyavaaL said that he thus put a fullstop to the talk indicating in sUchakam (hint) that the MaThAdhipatis not meeting each other might have some alpa kAraNam (trivial reason) which need not be tied to any divine act. 

PeriyavaaL's friendliness

Maha SwamigaL's bhikSha was arranged at the TozhudUr landlord's house, located on the north bank of the KamalAlayam tank, Tiruvarur. But when PeriyavaaL came on foot from the adjacent village and was passing through the Durgalaya Road, he suddenly entered the house of T.V.Krishnamurthi Ayyar, a retired district doctor. Krishnamurthi said, "apachAram, when I am here to welcome you, you have come seeking my house on your own?"

"Those things are only for the others. You and I are schoolmates. Between us, no such saTTatiTTams (rules and plans)", PeriyavaaL said, "You come without fail to TozhudUrAr's house." He added, "You start giving free treatment daily to the poor. That itself would be a great puja for you." From that day on, that doctor until his last days, took up the practice of free treatment to the poor, giving them free medicine, money to buy any medicine from the shop, and money for food and bus charge to the poor who came from adjacent places. These acts were witnessed by me and my father. If PeriyavaaL's friend is of such kindness, who can measure the compassion of PeriyavaaL?

*** *** ***

Several years ago when PeriyavaaL was staying in Pudukottai, Kunniyur landowner K.S. Sambasiva Ayyar stayed there for a few days, having darshan of the sage. One day PeriyavaaL called Sri Sambasiva Ayyar and said, "You get back home; the field harvest is to take place. Go back and look after your family affairs." To that Sri Sambasiva Ayyar replied, "I shall stay here for one day today, watch the puja and then leave."

But PeriyavaaL said a little sternly, "You get back today itself to Mannargudi. You should not stay here today. Start immediately." So he left for Mannargudi. And in that night Sambasiva Ayyar attained Shivaloka PrApti (Shiva's heavenly abode).

My father PerumALagaram P.K.Rajagopala Ayyargar told me this new. What dIrgha darshanam (foresight), PeriyavaaL's!

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