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Saturday, March 29, 2014

MY STRENGTH. Part 4,5,6,7 and 8


When Sree Saranar was camping in Chennai for nearly one year and a half, from the 1957 Navarathri , we witnessed and experienced how amazing was this ‘STRENGTH’ of His.

But we should admit that as compared to the ‘Strength’ with which He wandered ,on foot, in forests and hills, in neighbouring states, for four continuous years even at that ripe age, what I am going to mention here is nothing. But then, this writer (Sree Ra.Ganapathy) has only heard and learnt about that ‘Yatra’ (through others). Whereas during that Chennai camp, this fragile self, who got attracted to Him a little before that camp, witnessed and was amazed at the various duties He performed without any rest, and at the ‘Strength’ which supported Him and all that personal experience had etched itself deep in my mind.

Visiting and camping in each and every part of the city, The Saint visited hundreds of organizations; talked to thousands of devotees; chatted with them and showered His Anugraham. What He talked to them, He also spoke during various discourses.

Waking up at the ‘unearthly’ hour of 3 A.M till the following midnight, Sree Saranar, was deeply involved in His daily routine for days, weeks and months on end.

In between, there used to be elaborate Poojas, sitting ( really back- breaking sittings, for us also!) for hours together!

We used to wonder how this ‘fragile’ body of His was able to withstand all this!

No ! I think the word withstand is not suitable here as it implies some struggle in managing that tight schedule! But He involves Himself in all those activities with a fountain of enthusiasm. Yes Sirs!! Involvement, Commitment! His is the real example of ‘Involvement’, or ‘Commitment’.

Be it a silly matter or a knotty problem, the involvement and commitment He showed in solving each of them that is brought to His attention, has no parallel!

Yes! How much ‘Sakthi’ or ‘Strength’ one should possess to perform this!

It will be a misnomer if we call it ‘Asura Bhalam’ (strength of a demon); we should call it ‘Hanuman Bhalam’ (strength of Sree Hanuman)---the most apt word!

Boundless ability, and utmost Humility, these two opposite poles joined together---- our Mahan is another ‘avatar’ of Sree Hanuman. 

During that Chennai camp, it was a day when Sree Acharya was staying in Mambalam.
Plenty of people came that day to seek His Anugraham. After seeing all of them, He also performed the elaborate Pooja. He Himself went to neighbouring area to see other devotees.

Work, work, and work; no rest even after ‘Bikshai’.

Visit to outside places again after the night Pooja. It was 10=30 P.M when He returned to camp; people were waiting with ‘petitions’.
With the pinnacle of patience, Gurunaathar, listened to all of them, gave remedies.

When all the people dispersed, it was 12 midnight!

Did He go to sleep at least then?


Ever in thoughts of Duty! Never ending duty! He had said that ‘Development of Dharma is one of His duties, isn’t it? That duty was waiting!
Sree Saranar, who was always thinking about ways of development of Veda Dharma, showed more vigour in that, at that time and was preparing huge plans to prevent its deterioration and save it for the future generation.

That day, Vedic scholar Sri Agnihothram Ramanaujathathacharyar, who was giving untiring service to Veda Dharma development had come to Sree Matam.

At that time (midnight), Sree Saranar had called for him to come and see Him. He started pouring out His thoughts and plans which came out like a fountain, to him.

To be continued……… 

Part 5.

While speaking on this incident, Sree Thathacharyar says, “He explained all the minute principles found in the ‘Grantha’s, speaking as if He is explaining the ordinary worldly matters to be done! This interesting experience was unique by itself! I was immersed in an ocean of Bliss, without being aware of the passing of time! As He is a phenomenon which was beyond Time, We will not be aware of the passing of time, while talking to Him.”

The discussion stretched and stretched , and it was past 3=30 A.M , the time Periava usually wakes up!
He started for the secluded place in the back yard, in order to take some rest, before starting the next day’s duties. Agnihothram Swami says, “ when I looked at Him walking, holding the Dhandam and Kamandalam Himself, It was as if the ‘Dharma Devatha’ himself was walking! I followed Him!”

At that ‘unearthly hour’, a lady came in His way, holding a child, followed by another young lady.

Agnihothram thought, ‘ this lady has come to trouble Him, who is just going for a small rest after being awake throughout the night, talking non—stop till the tongue got dry’ and rushed to stop her; but before he could do that, that lady placed the child at the feet of Periava, prostrated before Him and started talking!

Agnihothram Swami could not digest this; and asked her, “ Oh lady! Does Periava need some rest or not?”

The lady ignored his intervention , asked her daughter also to prostrate before Periava, and started talking animatedly! She said that her daughter recently gave birth to that child and was proceeding to her husband’s home in Bombay (present Mumbai) by the morning express. As she was very particular about proceeding only after getting Periava’s Anugraham, she had to come at this untimely hour and trouble Him. 

Karunamoorthy said, “Born you are as a lady, you, in the midst of your hurried programme to start your journey, have come with your child in this untimely hour; you are the one who has taken a lot of trouble!”

Periava looked at Agnihothram Swami with a meaningful smile! It revealed His appreciation for Agnihothram Swami’s care for His health, as well as the intensity of her devotion, without minding Agnihothram Swami’s effort to stop her.

He sat down there and then.

He asked Agnihothram Swami himself to go inside and fetch the prasadham for them.

Agnihothram Swami says, ‘ He made the time to bless the devotees, unmindful of my intervention”.

At that hour, it would take some time for the attendant to prepare Prasadham and bring it. When it came, He gave it to the devotees with His usual kindness. They took leave with their fulfillment showing abundantly on their faces.

After this, Periava explained to Sree Agnihothram Swami, why they should not consider it as a trouble given by the devotees, that they should not stop people coming to see Him to seek His advice and kind words, what seems to be a trouble for Him is in fact the strength He gets out of it. And He also explained in detail how it gives Him the strength.

After listening to Periava’s explanation , Agnihothram Swami says, “ I cannot explain my feelings with mere words. I was immersed in the ‘ Brahmaanandham of the ocean of love’ for some time.” 


Part 6.

There is no need to say ( in so many words), that Periaval is the Embodiment of Truth. He is one with the one and only Truth , isn’t it? But though it exists as one single entity , when it shows out in different ways, in many situations, and in many different mental status, it takes many many different shapes. Great scholars have shown that even BhagavathPadhal, has paved the paths according to these different manifestations of Truth, and leads us to the ultimate Truth! Maha Parameswaran manifested Himself as Periaval, as an avatar of Simplicity, into this world which we see. At that time, even as He knows that He is an entity beyond this human world, for the outside world of Karma, He identified Himself as a simple being. In that state of Simplicity, in that status of simple mental status, Periaval says what is percieved as Truth.

‘Flawless person’ as He was, He was surrounded by two ‘faults’. One, He was surrounded externally by the various worries and problems put forth to Him by the people, and two, internally, He perceived Himself as a human with faults!

What He lectured earlier , was according to the latter status—as a human being with shortcomings.

Sri Sankara BhagavathPadhar has said, that what one person experiences cannot be denied by another. That way, what we, the innumerable devotees, ----although we cannot call our inner feeling by the big word ‘Bhakthi’----- experienced about our Acharyar, with our own eyes, cannot be denied even by Him. Therefore, we, with our feeling of Bhakthi towards Him, have to deny what He said about Himself! 

When He says that, we go to Him because we think He has a Divine Power purely due to His background, we have to deny that with the truth of our own inner feeling, isn’t it? Those who approach Him because they think that He carries the name of Sankaracharyar, that He is the head of the famous Kamakoti Sri Saradha Peetam, will form a very very small number. The other majority of us approach Him purely for His sake! Although it cannot be explained in detail, some Greatness in Him only has attracted the lakhs and crores of people towards Him. The greatness of Wisdom, of Devotion, greatness stemming out of observing the daily rituals, intellectual excellence, and the greatness of Love and Kindness which excels all the previously mentioned ones, all these join together as one inexplicable and unique Greatness of His own , which radiates the magnetic waves, which in turn attracts the whole world! Unlike what He says, there are many people, who developed Devotion , respect and attachment towards Sankarar, and Sankara Peetam, ONLY because of His connection!

He says again that what He knows is a miniscule portion! If so, then, how come all these scholars in Sastras, wise men from other religions, scientists, political experts, historians, archeological experts, experts in law, musicians, dance exponents, great sculptors, business greats, and other experts in various fields are amazed at His wisdom , intellect, knowledge and expertise and say that they themselves have learnt a lot from Him-----Is it all exaggeration?
When He says sons who will hesitate to share some confidential matters with mothers and the wife with her loving husband, some times reveal their difficulties to Him ONLY because of His background, we should vehemently deny that, isn’t it? Are there not other saints with similar background? Why, then ,such ‘confidential’ persons do not go and flock there? 
“I have not done any thing”—He says. We will come to this later.

We will look at His other statement, “ Except listening to them with these ears, I don’t do any thing”----we will analyze this ‘ear—lending’ matter!

Who can go on lending an ear to this list of never ending worries? Even ‘Bhooma Devi’, who is supposed to be the pinnacle of patience, will get tired and fall down! Besides allotting a few hours specially for this ‘listening -to—the worries’ section, from 3=30 A.M to midnight, He accepts our endless ‘grievance petitions’ even during other times, obstructing His other duties, with patience and smile. Who else can do this?

How many absurd, silly, and meaningless ‘petitions’ we would have submitted to Him? Even by mistake, has He ever branded them as silly, or absurd or meaningless? Even when others brand them that way, He will say, “ They only know their worries! If we were to be in such situations, we also would have appealed the same way”. Yes! He was the heart—felt relative of those people, sharing their sorrows with them!

TO BE CONTINUED……………………………

Part 7.

‘VEDA MATHA (Goddess of Veda) has eulogized the Paramaathman, with a superlative adjective, “The Best”. Among those , is the word “ஸுச்ரவஸ்தம்”-- meaning “the best in listening well”.

Our Sree Saranal is that ஸுச்ரவஸ்தம மூர்த்தி”

It was 3=30 P.M on a particular day.

“Is there nobody?”-----SriSaranar is enquiring. He means if there is nobody who has come to see Him with a ‘petition’!

The attendant who just took over his duty a little while ago says there is none.

Periaval who was sitting with His feet on the ground, legs folded at the knees, put His hands on the ground, in between His legs smiled and said, “ My things have to begin now only!”

The attendant, was surprised and asked Him, “Has not Periava had Bikshai?”

His smile widened and He showed His forefinger and rotated it anticlockwise, indicating the ‘thing’ before that!

Yes, His ‘Abhinayam’ (silent mono acting!) talks better than actual words!

“Japam?”----queries the attendant.

He repeats the earlier sign once again!

Shocked, the attendant asks, “Bath?”

Once again, the same signal!

The attendant, not understanding, keeps looking at Periaval!

Now, with a big smile, He changes His sign. He keeps the forefinger horizontally, in front of His lips and moves it from right to left and back.

The attendant was really shocked and said, “Oh! Not yet cleaned the teeth?!”

He replies ‘yes’ with the sign only and gets up for cleaning His mouth, saying happily ‘Today only, I am a real Sanyasi like that ‘ODACHERI Swamikal’, without any specific time table, taking things as they come!”

Does He mean that in other times, He is a ‘fake’ Sanyasi?

Ok! Let us leave that! That Swamikal was without any time table, not bothering about outside matters, as He thought that the Bliss inside His heart was the real sainthood .But our Saint has discarded the time table, for the sake of listening to the worries, problems etc. submitted to Him by the thousands of people coming in  long  queues! Could that True Sanyasi have withstood even a miniscule portion of this botheration?

That particular early morning 3=30 also, when He went to ‘Kottakai’ (meaning ‘bathroom’) and returned, somebody came with an urgent petition.   ‘ஸுச்ரவஸ்தமர்’ also sat down to listen to him. No sooner did that petitioner take leave, than   another one followed, then another two, and some more----the crowd started swelling, and our ஸுச்ரவஸ்தமர், forgetting about cleaning the teeth, bath and other duties, sat there, and went on listening…listening….and listening! Even after that, at 3=30 P.M, as if that was not enough, He asks, “Is there no body?”

TO BE CONTINUED………………………………
Part 8.

Twelve hours of non-stop listening feat!

Deserves Guinness record! 

He, who does it twelve hours a day, is the one who also says, “I don’t do anything other than lending an ear to them”!

Who else can perform that, Sir?

This is the routine, which used to happen very often:-

Sri Saranal, after completing the tough daily tasks, would have just gone to have some rest. When devotees come at that time, to see Him, the attendants used to tell them that He cannot be disturbed then. The devotees will be about to return , though reluctantly.

Exactly, at that time, Periava will come out ! Or, He will say from inside, “Has some body come? Looks like some person has come! I could see some shadow! Call them!”

This way, He will start His ‘Anugraha Karma’ which, according to Him, is the antidote to His tiredness!

And He will tell the attendants, “You are only thinking about my tiredness! Why don’t you consider their difficulties also? They all come from different places, leaving their duties, spending time and money, by travelling in crowded trains and buses . For many of them, it may be necessary to return to their places to attend to some urgent jobs. Is it fair to break their hearts by sending them back, considering only my difficulties, and ignoring theirs?”

We often hear the phrase ‘the one who lives for others’; Our Periava is the most suitable example for that phrase!

He says that He simply hears what we tell Him! Then, says, “I have not done anything” !

We will not agree, Oh! Great Soul! All our appeals, from stupid and silly requests to Prayers from the heart of our soul, have been fulfilled , just by lending Your ear to them , haven’t they? How many thousands of prayers from each one of thousands of people have been fulfilled this way! When You say that the problems of the ‘petitioners’ have been solved chiefly because of their faith, that will be putting it very very mildly, from Your point of view; but from our point of view, it is an exaggeration! Because, we know who we are---- fickle-minded, and full of suspicion! We do not possess any such strong faith as You say!

From the devotees’ articles of their real experiences published in hundreds of books, and magazines , we can prove that MahaPeriaval was an emperor without parallel , who not only listened to their worries and problems, but also solved them!

Bhaktha Meera appealed ( to Lord Krishna), “Oh! Lord! Remove the worries of the people!” ( ஹரீ, தும ஹரோ ஜனகி பீரு). Hari means ‘thief’; the thief who steals your heart; Meera prayed that, THAT HARI should steal the peoples’ worries. He takes an avatar now and then, to do that job! There is no doubt that Sri Saranal is one among the few Great Mahans who have come to this earth for that very purpose!

Such a Great Soul, who possesses this great strength of Divine Love, is the one who says that hearing peoples’ appeals to solve their worries, gives Him the strength!

He became one with the Ambal, meditating on Her always! She, who is called “SHAKTHI’, is the One who is the origin of all the sakthi (in this universe). When the Sakthi personified says that He gets His strength from the weaklings that is us, we cannot ‘lend an ear’ to that statement! 

From His own mouth, which does not reveal any of His inner thoughts, has come this statement, that ‘His mortal body and the worldly life have been created for the sole purpose of reducing the burden of sorrow from the peoples’ lives!’ Does it not mean that His is not an ordinary human birth; it is an ‘avatar’ of the strongest among all the Powers , which is the ‘Power of Love’ ?

Even if one considers Him as the best among the humans, and not necessarily as a Divine incarnation, the power of His wisdom, of devotion, of Penance by performing the Karmas, of Intellect, and the Power of Love which excels all others, are not ordinary ones!

Dennyson, wrote this poetry,
“My strength is as the strength of ten
Because my heart is pure”

Our Periava, who is the embodiment of the purity of mind, was as strong as one thousand elephants. The tough Karma Yoga which He, with His fragile body, observed for over eighty years , could be achieved only due to that power ! 

We can only partially accept His statement, to the extent that whenever a setback creeps into Him as to ‘what will happen to ‘Asthikam’ in future’ He gets rejuvenated by the ‘petitions’ which had removed the setback and added strength to Him, but we can never agree that those ‘petitions’ only had given Him the necessary strength.

‘நிர்பல்கே பல் ராம்’ -- He is the strength for all of us, who are mere weaklings!

It is not the strength of the mortal body, but it is the strength of the Soul; the power of Love in the twin act of the single soul. That power of Love is eternal, even after the mortal body perishes.


We started this article with the title “My Strength”. We will complete it with the realization that He who said thus, is our strength.

Will conclude with a small epilogue from the translator………………………

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