In the early 1980’s my income began to increase and I was able to save some money for punyakainkaryam. Maha Periyaval was camping in Maharashtra at a place near Sholapur. My father told His Holines “Raman is now getting some good income. Please advise him what is the best punyakainkaryam for which he can spend his money and get the maximum punyam”
His Holiness was silent for a few minutes and then replied “ all of you as Brahmins should have studied the Vedas and spent your life teaching the Vedas to others. It is now too late. Many in your family have become doctors. The next best thing you can do since you have not done Veda Adhyayanam is to support Veda Patasalas and Vedic scholars. Give the maximum possible money for this and you will compensate to some extent for you not having studied the Vedas”.
With His divine blessings and the blessings of Pudu Periyaval, Bala Periyaval and my parents it has become my great good fortune today to be able to give some amount every month to the Veda Patasala at our Sankara Mutt at Tirumala.
At Kurnool the three Periyavals stayed for several weeks. The first time we went there and performed pada pooja to Sri Adi Sankara’s Paduka the padukas were covered by a silver kavacham. A few days later when we visited again the kavacham was not there. Pattammal, my wife, asked Sri Chandramouleeswara Sastrigal who was officiating as the priest for the Pada Pooja what had happened to the silver kavacham. Shri Sastrigal said that the silver kavacham was put temporarily by Pudu Periyaval as the Padukas were likely to be damaged. Maha Periyaval however wanted only gold kavacham and had himself removed the silver kavacham. He then showed the bare padukas to Bala Periyaval and pointed out the depressions made in the padukas by Adi Sankara’s toes and heels. He did this so that Bala Periyaval would understand how much Adi Sankara would have walked all over India in those padukas for such impression to be made on the padukas.
My father did not attend the pooja that morning and I told him in the evening in the hotel where we were staying, about the proposal for the gold kavacham. Being a very practical man he objected to the idea and said it will be a great attraction for thieves as the padukas were small in size and were being carried all over the mattam at every camp.
I spoke to Pudu Periyaval the next morning and conveyed my father’s idea that it may be unsafe to put a gold covering for the padukas. Pudu Periyaval replied that Maha Periyaval has decided to put a gold covering and thereafter no further discussion was possible. Pudu Periyaval said it may cost about Rs. 2.25 lakhs, which was quite a large sum in those days. That night I suddenly had a feeling that I should undertake the whole project myself. I requested my father for permission to request His Holiness. My father asked whether I can manage to donate such a large sum at such short notice. I replied, “I will manage somehow”
Next morning I requested Pudu Periyaval if I could pay the entire cost of Rs.2.25 lakhs and our family would feel so much blessed, if he could agree. Pudu Periyaval was non-committal. He said many devotees wanted to participate by offering gold ornaments and cash, but he agreed to convey my request to Maha Periyaval. We waited in suspense for the whole day. The next morning Pudu Periyaval said Maha Periyaval has agreed. You can send the money. We were overjoyed to be granted such blessing.
The most interesting part of this story came a month later.
An elderly lady, one of my patients called on me in my clinic. She said she came purposely to see me, not for medical consultation, but for some other matter. She proceeded: “I went to Kurnool three months ago. I heard that a gold covering is to be put for Adi Shankara’s Padukas. Several other ladies and I took off our bangles and chains and offered them to Maha Periyaval towards the required gold. Maha Periyaval told us he is going to allot the project to one person only; he would not tell us who that person would be”.
My parents and I went to Kurnool a few days after she had left. In my ignorance I had imagined till then that the offer to undertake the full project single handed was my original idea. Suddenly I now realized that it was Maha Periyaval’s telepathic power which had converted us suddenly that evening from opponents of the idea of gold covering to supplicants to take on the whole project single handed!.
It is only because of the blessings of my parents and forefathers and probably some punyakainkaryams done by me in my earlier birth, that I was given this unique opportunity in this life.