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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

What life has taught me - in the words of Periva

Bhavan's Journal was privileged to publish the Paramacharya's article entitled 'What Life Has Taught Me' many years ago. 

Rarely do saints like our Paramacharya talk about themselves. But He did so and what He said was marked by 'vinaya', humility of which He is never tried of speaking. 

Said the Acharya: "God has created some souls to live for others only. Let us now go over to the incidents as narrated by Sri Maha Periva Himself...
The first two experiences remembered as having occurred in the third of fourth year of my life, are dreadful to think, as they were interwoven with temptation, a greed avarice, deceit, groaning, loss lamentation and the like.

A 'mara naai' as they call it in Tamil or teddy cat (an animal which generally climbs on trees and destroys the fruits during nights) somehow got into a room in the house and thrust its head into a small copper pot containing jaggery. 

The animal was not able to pull out its head and was running here and there in the room all through the right with its head stuck in the pot.

People in the house and neighbours were aroused by the noise and thought that some thief was at his job. But, the incessant noise continued even till morning hours, and incessant noise continued even till morning houses, and some bravados armed with sticks opened the door of the room and found the greedy animal. 

It was then roped and tied to a pillar. Some experienced men were brought and after being engaged in a tug-of-war, they ultimately succeeded in removing the vessel from the head of the animal. 

The animal was struggling for life. It was at last taken to some spot and set free, I presume. 

The first experience of my life was this dreadful demonstration born of greed causing all out neighbours to spend an anxious and sleepless night.

The next experience relates to a main in the street who entered the house seeing me alone with tiny golden bangles upon which he began to lay his hands. 

I asked him to tighten the hooks of the bangles which had become loose and gave a peremptory and authoritative direction to him to bring them back repaired without delay.

The man took my orders most obediently and took leave of me with the golden booty. In glee of having arranged for repairs to my ornament, I speeded to inform my people inside of the arrangement made by me with the man in the street who gave his name as Ponnusami. 

The people inside hurried to the street to find out the culprit. But the booty had become his property true to his assumed name, Ponnusami (master of gold).

These two experience at a tender innocent age are recurring successively in some form or other even at this tottering age, nearing seventy, reminding me of being liable to be duped or eagerness to get by some short cut some material gain.

In attempting to judge the objective world with this rod of selfishness and superficiality of mine which has rightly earned for me the reputation of being a clever Swami, I am prone to come to the conclusion that there lives none without predominantly selfish motives.

But with years rolling on, an impression, that too a superficial one true to my nature, is dawning upon me that there breathe on this globe some souls firmly rooted in morals and ethics who live exclusively for others voluntarily forsaking not only their material gains and comforts but also their own sadhana towards their spiritual improvements.

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