When Maha SwamigaL was staying near Belgaum in Karnataka, I went with my family for darshan.
When my father prostrated to PeriyavaaL, the sage's personal attendant introduced my father with the words, "He is the father of Hubli Ramaswamy." (I was then working as an official in the Hubli Railway Division. The SriMaTham assistants had given me the title 'Hubli Ramaswamy').
"Your name, isn't it Narayanan?", when Periyavaa asked "yes", said my father.
Then I prostrated. The same attendant introduced me as "Swaminathan's father."
The usual inquiries, questions, answers, tidings about the native place. Ten minutes passed by.
Looking at me, Periyavaa asked with a smile, "You are a big labour officer, right? They say 'generation gap' in English, what is it?"
I told him something but I was aware myself that it was not the correct explanation. Finally, when I finished talking, that Mahaan told:
"When they introduced someone in the olden days, they would say, 'he is the son of so and so. Those who wore pUnUl (sacred thread) would start with 'abhivadaye', inform their 'gotram', 'sUtram', 'nAmam' and introduce themselves. Look, how all that has changed now! The inverse way of saying as 'so and so is so and so's father' has come up now. This is the 'generation gap'!."
PeriyavaaL'e explanation surprised those around him who were well versed in English!
*** *** ***
I waited for two hours for the darshan, but couldn't have it. Since waiting any longer would affect my office work (I had come to the nearby junction to do the inspection), with a kumbidu (joining palms in reverence) from staying afar, I went to attend my work.
Two hours later, an assistant from SriMaTham came to the railway station and told me that Periyavaa had asked him to bring me.
"Tell me exactly what Periyavaa told you."
"Go and look in the Satara station. That Ramaswamy would be doing the inspection there. Ask him to come", he said.
Finishing my work in a hurry, I went for the darshan. In a bid to seek his pardon, "Periyavaa was very busy. I could not get back to my headquarters without finishing the work, (or else) my higher officials would shout at me...", I started.
Periyavaa did not seem to mind my reply at all. "What do you want?" he asked me.
At that time, there was only one problem in my mind--my daughter's marriage.
"My daughter should get married in a good place. Appa is much pestering me. He too sends the jAtakam (horoscope) to many people, asking for the varan jAtakam (horoscope of the boy). Most people don't reply. The horoscopes that arrived did not match..."
"Only that? Alright, go. I shall conduct your daughter's marriage."
This clear reply astonished me. 'I shall conduct...'
It seemed that a rain of ice was showered on me. Only those who encountered such unexpected attack of pleasure can understand my position then. Thinking no further, in a naive way I asked him at once, "satyamAgach cholReLA (you say it in truth)?"
Such a question to the satya svarUpam! (Thinking about it even now gives me shivers.)
The karuNai vaLLal (patron of compassion) smiled slowly. That was all. This incident at that time wasn't recorded deep in my mind.
Going back home, I got immersed in my work. Two months later, a letter came from Mumbai. The reply with the horoscope of the boy, to the letter my father wrote sometime back that was not in memory.
The horoscopes were in agreement. With the other formalities finished, the marriage also took place.
A gap of over two years.
SriMaTham camp in Kurnool.
Myself, my daughter and her child went for darshan of Periyavaa.
Keeping the child at PeriyavaaL's feet under his graceful look, we were replying to his inquiries. (The child meantime went to sleep.)
After Periyavaa gave prasAdam, I took leave with my daughter and walked four or five steps back.
It seemed that Periyavaa called us back with a snap of his finger. We turned back.
"How am I to do rakSaNa (protect) of this child, keeping it in the MaTham? Take it away!"
We were overwhelmed with embarrassment. In the pErAnanda (great joy) of PeriyavaaL's darshan, we totally forgot about the child!
My daughter ran and took the child in her arms. Periyavaa then told SriKaNtan, his assistant nearby, "Ask him if it is satisfactory for Ramaswamy."
We did not understand. Why such a question now? We are only taking leave in happiness?
We could not reply.
"Ask what his daughter's name is."
"Uma!", I said.
"mAppiLLai pEru (the bridegroom's name)?"
"Alright... you should not blame me. I have conducted the marriage only after taking care of the peyar poruttham ('matching of the names)!"
Tears poured down my eyes. Such a power of remembrance? Such an anugraham? The puNya (merits) of a kOti janmam (one crore births) would perhaps fructify collectively in this way.
*** *** ***
1985. Kanchipuram SriMaTham.
Prostrating, I got up.
"yAru (who is that)?... Hubli Ramaswamy? Where do you come from? Only from Madras?"
"From Vijayawada I come. My work is only there now..."
"It is not so... only from Madras?"
Thinking that what I said earlier did not reach PeriyavaaL's holy ears, I said in a slightly louder voice, "From Vijayawada...should come only through Madras..."
"No... You have come from only Madras", said Periyavaa.
With no inclination to argue it further with PeriyavaaL I received the prasAdam and came to Chennai. I had some work there. Ringing up my higher official by phone I asked him for a week's leave.
He said: "Ramaswami! Here is a bombshell... you are transferred to Madras!..."
"Sir, I had not asked transfer for Madras, only for Secunderabad..."
"Sorry. You are to be relieved tomorrow. Go to Vijayawada immediately and get relieved tomorrow."
I did as told.
A copy of my transfer orders to Chennai--would it have gone to PeriyavaaL's hands before it reached me?
"No... You have come from only Madras"--in that minute when Periyavaa said it, I had been an official in Chennai only.
All we can do is just only one thing. And that is to transfer all our burderns to PeriyavaaL, without worrying for anything!