This is an English translation of the post in Tamil by Sri. N.Ramaswamy (tutyraman) on the 8th of April, 2014.
Though it has been 33 years, since I joined Government of India service, I am thrilled when I recollect that incident today. I think it was in the month of May or June in the year 1981. My father’s younger brother started on a pilgrimage to Kasi along with his disciples. I was 23 years then. I was looking for a job, after completing my college studies. I also joined my uncle on that pilgrimage. My uncle had always had the practice of having darsan and receiving the blessings of Periava before he started on any pilgrimage. My uncle and I jointly prepared the plan for the pilgrimage.
We started from Tuticorin along with 45 pilgrims, in a bus and planned to first have Periava’s darsan and receive His blessings, before proceeding on our pilgrimage. I think that at that time, Periava’s entourage was in Maharashtra, near Karnataka. With great difficulty, drenched in lashing rains, we located the place where He was camping. I think the name of that village was Upari. Periava was on the other side of a curtain, in a hut; we waited for His Darsan, keeping ourselves awake through the night. When He came out of the hut much before the sun rise, Oh! He was radiating the shining brightness of the morning sun! All the devotees who had accompanied us started singing ‘ABHIRAMI ANDHATHI’. When He glanced at us from head to toe, all the accumulated tiredness of the night faded away, and we got a new strength!
The Karuna Moorthy, started walking slowly towards a river which was running nearby. When the devotees were singing a particular line in the ‘ABHIRAMI ANDHATHI’. He asked them to sing one particular line again and again and again. That line was , ‘Mother, our Abhirami valli’ (ஆத்தாளை, எங்கள் அபிராமி வல்லியை).
Till today, we could not get an answer to our question, why He had asked us to sing that particular line repeatedly! Continuing His walk, He leaned against the rickshaw, and was looking at us and hearing the song. We would have happily walked about four kilometers, along with Him. He took bath in the river and continued His walk. Another four or five kms, passed by. He reached the tiny village, went to the Shiva temple and after sprinkling the water He had brought with Him on the statues of Shiva and other deities, sat down in meditation. The villagers who were not aware of His greatness, were simply looking at Him.
After a few hours, He called my uncle(Poet Sankaran), enquired about His welfare and listened to the details of the pilgrimage. After thinking for a while, He asked , “who prepared the plan for this yatra?” My uncle replied that we all made the plan. Our plan was, after receiving Periava’s Anugraham, to proceed to Puri, Kasi, Gaya, Badrinath and kedarnath THROUGH Andhra Pradesh, then proceed to Gujarath, have darsan in Dwaraka, Somnath, and return to Nasik, Panchavadi and then to Mookambika, before returning home. But, as Periava was not satisfied with that programme, He changed it. He asked us to visit Mookambika, Nasik, and Panchavadi, and then return home THRIOUGH Andhra. As we have made all arrangements as per the original plan, we hesitated to change it.
He then explained the reason for the change of plan, “You are going on BHARATH yatra. Bharatham is like a temple. You should go round in the clockwise direction only (ப்ரதக்ஷணம்), and not anti—clockwise (அப்ரதக்ஷணம்). We decided to change our plan unanimously, as per His advise. He then called each one of all the pilgrims, enquired about them and blessed. At the end, my uncle introduced me to Him, as his elder brother’s son and said, “He is waiting to get a job after his education. Periava should bless him”. I prostrated at His lotus feet and stood up.
“What have you studied in the college?”
“You have studied Chemistry in Tuticorin. Do some thing related to salt”
I was at that time in great frustration as I could not get any job even after attending many interviews, so, when Periava said this, I felt rather sad. But still, I did not bother very much about what He said.
We all started on our journey after receiving the blessings of Periava.
We were at the last leg of our changed plan. We entered Andhra and reached the border to Tamil Nadu. When we reached the Chennai—Thirupathi check post, our vehicle was stopped for the payment of travel tax. We were shell shocked when we were told the amount we needed to pay as tax! Rs.1500/ per person! If we don’t pay, our vehicle will be confiscated----the tax authorities were very firm on that! They said that the increased tax rate had come into effect since one month and a half! We were wondering what to do ! All the pilgrims were poor illiterates. All the money they had brought with them had been spent. Beg however much we did, they did not budge! All of us sat down near the check post and started singing ‘ABHIRAMI ANDHADHI’ Especially, we sang repeatedly that particular line which Periava had asked us to sing there, meditating on Periava! For more than half an hour, that song was ringing in the air near the check post. Many vehicles stopped by, and they were all looking at us.
I don’t know what happened, suddenly, the check post officer came down and asked us to pay the tax as per the previous rates and leave. Nobody could guess how it happened. The previous rate was less than Rs.100/ per person. Affter paying the tax, before we left, we asked somebody there the reason for this change. This was what he replied to our query, “Today only we got the letter. Somebody from Andhra had filed a case against the new increased rate in the high court and had obtained a stay on the operation of the new tariff rates.” Tears swelled in our eyes and flowed down our cheeks. So this was why Periava had asked us to change our plan—we couldn’t help thinking this way. Had we started the journey as per the original plan through Andhra, we would have paid most of our cash as travel tax as per the new rates, would have terminated our travel plan half way for want of money and returned home!
After completing the pilgrimage, when I went home, another amazing event was waiting for me! When I entered the house, a post card was lying on the dusty floor. I picked it up and read the contents. It was a pleasant surprise for me. It was a call letter from the employment exchange, for an interview with the dept. of salt inspection, for the post of salt inspector! I then heard the voice of the walking God,, telling me, “You have studied chemistry in Tuticorin. Do some thing related to salt”.
Among more than one hundred persons who attended that interview, I got selected, all with His blessings! Until now, I am continuing in the same dept. now as a deputy controller.
I am happy in attaching herewith some rare photos taken during our pilgrimage and our meeting with Periava. These photos were taken (in1981), with a roll film camera, (digital camera had not been invented then) and processed in Singapore.