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Monday, July 21, 2014

The Slippery Maypole

Source: In the Presence of the Divine
Narratives of Experiences with Maha Periyaval - Volume 1
Translated by: Sujatha Vijayaraghavan

A Rg Veda Ghanapati came with his five pupils. He told the boys to chant a portion of the lesson they had learnt, in Periyava’s presence. The tone was almost unmusical. That apart, the boys had a very poor knowledge of Sanskrit, as was evident from their recitation. The Ghanapati said, “It is very difficult to teach Veda to these children. It is better to send them to an English school”. 

Periyava told the teacher to sit down.

“Ghanapatigale, everything in the world is difficult. Cooking is difficult. You have to light the stove. Boil the water. Drain the starch after the rice is cooked. Vegetables have to be sliced and boiled…. 

Washing clothes is difficult. One has to wash, rinse and squeeze out the water. Then the clothes should be shaken and dried…

Everything is difficult. You must have heard of the Uriyadi festival at Varahur. One has to climb up a slippery pole and seize the bundle of reward tied at its top. The pulp of aloe vera and castor oil would be smeared liberally on the pole. It would be extremely slippery. It just will not be possible to climb up at all. Besides, when one attempts to do so, the onlookers would spray water through a forceful hose upon the person! It would be so difficult. Still there would be so much competition and such enthusiasm to win. Finally, one person would win. 

If a little effort is taken, the children will learn the Veda excellently. The Veda is divine knowledge. It is rare that children come forward to learn the Veda. What is to be done if those that have come are sent away?”

The Rg Vida Ghanapati was deeply impressed by Periyaval’s advice. He began to teach the children with applied earnestness, not minding his own struggle. 

Five years passed. Those five pupils appeared for the examination that is held by the Veda Rakshana Nidhi Trust. All the five boys passed in the first division in the Rig Veda examination. They were rewarded in ample measure. They proved that the teacher’s efforts were not wasted.

Will Periyaval’s words ever fail?

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