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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Experiences with Maha Periyava: the abundant compassion

No, not for the elephant
It was a custom in the SriMatham to give the elephants there, large balls of annam (cooked rice) mixed with jaggery every evening. The mahout would take the ball in his hand and put it straight into the elephant's mouth.

One day, when it was time to feed the elephants, Periyava came there casually. He glanced at the rice being made into balls. He ordered the disciple nearby, "Tell the mahout not to feed these balls to the elephant" and moved away.
He called the manager immediately.

"The annam kept for feeding the elephant has not been boiled properly. It is dry and peeling off in flakes. The teeni (feed) should not be given in this way with ashraddha (lack of trust and care). Because it is an animal that is speechless, can you give the rice only half boiled? Tell it to the mahout. The elephant should be given rice in the same way in which the nivedanam (offering) is given to sakshat Gajamukhan (the elephant-faced Lord Ganesha)... That much bhakti is needed; shraddha is needed...Let fresh rice be cooked and offered to the elephant..."

The disciples melted at the abundant compassion shown to a speechless animal.

Periyava did not touch and examine the cooked rice balls. Why, he did not even stop there for a moment to look at the balls!

How did he know then that they were not boiled properly and gone flaky at the surface?

Will the sarvajnatvam (omniscience) be expressed even in such small matters?

Author: Balu, SriMatham, Kanchipuram
Book: Maha Periyaval - Darisana Anubhavangal vol. 1

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