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Saturday, October 11, 2014

Periva's gentle reprimand

Source: In the Presence of the Divine
Narratives of Experiences with Maha Periyaval - Volume 1
Translated by: Sujatha Vijayaraghavan
It was the auspicious Friday in the month of Avani (August-September) when women worship Varalakshmi in an elaborate manner. As usual, Periyaval was performing the ritualistic worship. The abiseka of Tripurasundari and Sri Chandramoulisvara was completed, the deities were decorated and archana also performed. The next part of the worship was the offering of incense and lamps, followed by the offering of cooked food. Coconuts had to be broken and offered as a preliminary to these. But they were not to be found near the puja altar, where they were usually placed. The attendant in charge of the puja hall was shocked for a moment. Five or six coconuts were needed at once. A thought struck him and running to the kitchen, picked up some coconuts and breaking them there rushed back with the halved ones to the place of worship. Even then, the food offering was delayed by a few minutes. The worship came to a final close finally.
Periyaval did not ask anyone, "Why the delay in fetching the coconuts?" He did not get up and go for biksha. He sent for the Manager who came and stood before him in a respectable attitude. He felt it in his bones that a storm was about to break, for the news of the delay in the appearance of the coconuts during puja had reached him by then. He wondered who was going to be shown the door.
"Do you know what festival it is today?"
"Varalakshmi puja".
"Do you perform the puja in your house?"
"Do you buy screw-pine flowers, fruits, coconut and all other accessories?"
"I do"
"You have money. You can afford to buy these things. What will those without money do?"
There was no reply.
"Look. The attendants in Matha are all very poor. They get a meagre salary. They cannot afford to buy fruits and coconuts. So what you must do is, on festival days such as Varalakshmi puja. Ganesa Chaturti, Gokulastami and so on, give them coconuts, fruits and vegetables. During Sankaranti, an extra share of sugarcane, ginger and turmeric-clusters should be bought and distributed to all the attendants of Sri Matha".
"As commanded", said the manager.
"Otherwise the articles stored for Candramoulisvara puja will vanish mysteriously!"
The gently stroke fell upon everyone without really hurting anyone.

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