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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Meeting of Periava and Mahatma Gandhi

Mahathma Gandhi was touring the South India in the latter half of 1927. He had heard about the Sage of Kamakotipeetam and wished very much to meet him. The sage was camping at palghat [Pallakad] at the time in the course of his vijaya-yatra. The Mahatma Gandhi went there on the 15th October, 1927. The meeting took at place on that day at Nellisseri village, palghat, Kerala. 

His, Holiness received the Mahatma in the cattle-shed situated in the backyard of the camp. It was a unique experience for the Mahatma. Here was an authentic successor of Sankara, dressed in a piece of’ ochre cloth made of khadi, and seated on the floor. The Acharya too appreciated the occasion provided for getting to know, at first hand, the leader of the nation who had adopted voluntarily the mode of a simple peasant’s life. At the very first sight, the Mahatma was drawn to the Perfection Incarnate that was seated before him. The atmosphere was surcharged with spiritual silence. After a few moments the Acharya spoke in Samskrit and invited the Mahatma to take his seat. Gandhiji offered his obeisance and sat near the Acharya. He said that, as he was not used to speaking in Samskrit, he would use Hindi if that was permitted, and that he could understand what is spoken in Samskrit. So, the conversation took place without the need for an interpreter-the Acharya spoke in Samskrit, and Gandhiji in Hindi.

This was purely a private interview; there were no reporters; and except for one or two attendants of the math, no one was present. The conversation, which took place in a most cordial atmosphere, lasted for over an hour.

On taking leave of the Acharya, the Mahatma gave expression to the immense benefit he had derived from this unique meeting. How profoundly he was drawn to the Acharya will be evident from an incident that occurred during the interview. It was 5.30 in the evening. Sri C. Rajagopalachari who had accompanied the Mahatma had been waiting outside, went inside the cattle-shed and reminded the Mahatma about his evening meal; for the Mahatma would not take any food after 6 P.M. The Mahatma made this significant observation to Sri. C. Rajagopalachari: “The conversation I am having now with the Acharya is itsclf my evening meal for to day” As the Mahatma was leaving ,after a very fruitful interview, the Acharya gave him a pomelo fruit with his blessings. The Mahatma received it with great reverence, remarking that pomelo is a fruit which he liked best

Later in the evening, Gandhiji addressed a public meeting in Coimbatore. Some people in the audience were eager to know about the interview Gandhiji had had earlier with His holiness. Gandhiji replied saying that they discussed points of mutual interest, that the interview was a private one, that because of this, news paper reporters were not present there and that there was no point in his disclosing the details of the interview. Nothing more was known about this historic meeting.

A request was made to His Holiness in November 1968 for a message of the Seminar on The relevance of Mahatma Gandhi to the world of thought held at the University of Madras. Out of his abundant grace, Jagadguru, the preceptor of the World, sent a message in which he recalled the meeting in 1927 with Gandhiji the Father of the Nation and paid the following tribute:

“We wish to place before this Seminar one of the’ many things which Gandhi and I we discussed when we met at Palghat, Kerala in the last Prashava year. Before Gandhiji arrived at Palghat there came the news of the assassination of Sraddhananda of the Arya Samaj. Referring to this incident Gandhiji remarked as follows:

“I have an apprehension in my mind that assassination of this kind would occur more often than now [in the coming years] Let not there arise in me hatred even in a small measure against the present assassin. There arises a desire in me that I should able to embrace with love even so cruel a man who commits a heinous crime, as this one, an atatayin. But it is extremely difficult to cultivate such heartfelt affection. Yet I shall make an honest attempt in this direction.”

All that we wish to point out is that, in this world it is very rare even to hear about such a feeling expressed".


[Courtesy Bhavans Journal]

The conversation that took place is now for you to read. 

Excerpts from “A Succinct Biography” 

The details of the conversation between the great men remained a complete secret, since no one else was allowed inside. Even till long after Gandhiji’s demise, the Acharya did not reveal anything about the conversation, in spite of the repeated requests of ardent, interested devotees. But later some details came out. About a year after the return of His Holiness to Kanchi, after the prolonged tour on foot, for six years, a letter was published in the name of a Professor Swaminathan, in an issue of Statesman (Calcutta). The professor was then editing the works of Mahatma Gandhi. The letter contained some details about the conversation between the Acharya and Gandhiji. The letter was perused by His Holiness. Sri Neelam Raju Venkateseshayya, (then editor of Andhra Prabha) had often entreated the Acharya to narrate details of the conversation between the Acharya and Gandhiji in 1927. But the Acharya Swami, once (years ago) told Sri Seshayya, “You have been always asking me about my talk with Gandhiji. None except the two of us knows anything about our talk. Now Gandhiji is no more. Suppose,I reveal the details of our conversation, will it not give rise to a doubt about its truth in the minds of Gandhiji’s followers?”. Sri Seshayya felt that a great secret of dharma had been revealed by the Acharya. In the letter published in the Stateman giving some details regarding the conversation between the two great men , it was stated that Gandhiji had informed SriKishore Lal Masurvala, a resident of Gandhiji’s ashrama and Srimati Ganga Ben Vaidya, about some of the details of his talk with the Kanchi Acharya. In the middle of June1985, Sri Venkataseshayya was summoned to Kanchi. When he reached Kanchi, His Holiness asked him to read the letter published in the Statesman and then said to him, “Now that some parts of the talk that transpired between Gandhiji and me have been published, I shall comply with your repeated requests concerning the same”. (The conversation between His Holiness and Sri Seshayya was in Telugu language and it has been translated into English)

A=Acharya, G=Gandhi


A : “I appreciate your pointing out about a good thing to mankind. Energy isessential for leading a righteous life. Danger only will result by leading a life based onphysical entities bereft of religion.”


G : “Yes, I do understand”.

A : “Our Bharat is one of the very ancient countries of the world. Our country isendowed with old, excellent learning and with an ancient culture. In the past, peoplefollowed the social dictum of Varnashrama Dharma, they were engaged in the activitiesassigned to them, and thereby protected their dharma and enjoyed happiness in the worldand in the next”.

G : “Modern society is different from the society of the past. Will it be possible togo along with the ancient ideals of social life?”
A : “ The quality of cold water is different from the quality of hot water. If both get mixed they will loose their natural characteristics and become useless. Society of course will not be uniform. For instance take a mango tree. It has several branches. In these branches flowers blossom and mangoes emerge at different times. But the tree is only one. Society is, like the tree, only one. Even as the different branches and the trunk combine into tree, all castes together form society. Nowadays, politicians enter the fields of religion and society and try to make in roads into them and to change them. And this had weakened our religion, and altogether changed the smooth running of the world”.

G : “I concur with the opinion of your Holiness”.

A : “What is the necessity for the removal of untouchability?”

G : “Among the people of Bharatadesa, besides Hindus, there are Muslims, Christians, and also some other religionists. Hence it seems to me that untouchability needs to be removed, what does your Holiness think about entry of the untouchables in totemples”?

A : “Temples are sacred places. They are intended for those who believe that God is enshrined in the Sanctum sanctorum of the temple. The Agamas extol the sacred nature of the temples. Those who do not have faith in the Agama Shastras and those who do not accept the principles enunciated by the Agamas in connection with the purity and sanctity of the temple are decidedly unfit for entering our temples”.(Later after a talk between the two for more than twenty minutes over other problems, almost towards the end, the conversation turned on to the murder of Swami Sraddhananda).

A : ‘I suppose, you know about how Swami Sradddhananda has been killed by a Muslim recently”.


G : “Yes. In the present condition of our land how can we attain unity amidst Hindus and Muslims”.

A : “In case a Hindu kills you or me in the future, can we hate the entire Hindu community on that count?”(In the letter of Sri Swaminathan published in the Statesman(1985), he has hinted that Rajaji expressed to his friends, the prophetic remark of His Holiness immediately after the assassination of the Mahatma).

Read more: http://www.periva.proboards.com/thread/876?page=1#ixzz39gV2LTRN

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