A bank director in the country of France. He was keen on having a darshan of Periyava, having heard about him. Dr. Raghavan used to receive frequent phone calls (from the bank director). He would ask if he could come and have a darshan of Periyava. Dr. Raghavan (who was a Sanskrit professor in the Madras University) would inform Periyava about the request. Even though he had told, "He is very keen to have darshan of Periyava; he bothers me frequently", Periyava did not give his consent. Some years passed in this way.
Suddenly one day Dr. Raghavan received tidings that said, 'I have arrived at Bombay. I shall come over to Madras and meet you. Should please arrange for the darshan.'
At that time our Acharyas were staying in Mylapore Sanskrit College. One evening Dr. Raghavan was waiting to have darshan of Periyava. Periyava called him and inquired. When told about the Frechman's proposed visit to Chennai, Periyava said, "Alright, bring him."
Before he sat for the upanyAsam after the puja, Periyava called me and said, "If any European turns up, seat him on a chair, as he would not be able to sit on the floor. I shall see him after the upanyAsam."
When the upanyAsam was over and Periyava was about to get inside, he asked, "Did anyone turn up?" "No one turned up", I replied. At that time a man wearing a dhoti and towel came to the front and prostrated to Periyava four times. (The sampradaya is to always prostrate to sannyAsis four times.) Behind the man came Dr. Raghavan and SankaraNarayana Aiyer (professor of Philosophy at Mylai Vivekananda College). Since that European came in dhoti and towel I was misled. Periyava told me, "Ask him how did he knew about prostrating four times." The Eurpoean said, "I did as everyone did here."
Periyava told me, "Bring only the Frenchman." I said, "I wouldn't understand the English he speaks. It would be better if Dr. Raghavan or SanakaraNarayana Aiyer is present."
"The English you know would suffice. You bring him," quipped Periyava. Dr. Raghavan and SankaraNarayana Aiyer stood outside the thatti (a coconut leaf weaved sheet of cover).
The Frenchman who came inside and sat spoke: "I am studying Vedanta for sometime now. Suddenly one day I felt that my entire body had gone numb, that I was residing outside the body, and my figure was extended from the earth to the sky. I also saw universes hanging from my body. It was very blissful at that time. There was no trace of sorrow. After this incident, nothing bothers my mind in my daily life. My wife deceased. My son too was dead. These occasions did not create any ripple in my mind. I was always blissful.
"People in the bank think I am insane, looking at this mental state of mine. So I have an inherent fear that one day they might put me behind the bars (of a hospital)."
Periyava asked him, "What is inside? And what is outside? Aren't everything is inside four walls?"
This question created a big change in him. He requested Periyava, "You should be always with me." Finally, he asked Periyava about some upadesham.
Periyava said, "What you are doing now (meditation), you continue. I shall be with you till your attainment." He tore a piece of the vastram he was wearing then and gave it to the Frenchman with the words, "Keep this always with you as my prasAdam." Such a heap of anugraha for him on that day. He took leave with immense happiness, having received the grace.
Coming outside, the Frenchman prostrated to Dr. Raghavan and said, "It was only because of you I got this much bhAgyaM."
Periyava went to bed after they were gone. After he retired, I asked him about a doubt in my mind.
Without replying anything to me, Periyava lapsed into sleep. He called me the next morning before he started his one hour japam. He asked me, "Do you know how many are the Nayanmars?"
I replied, "The Arupatthu Moover Utsavam is held (every year)! So, only sixty-three."
"Go to the Kapali temple, count and come back," he said. When I did it, I counted sixty-seven. I told this to Periyava.
"Who are those four people in excess?" he asked me.
I went back to the temple, inqured and came back. "One of them is the 'appAlum adi sarndharukku adiyAr!'" I said.
Periyava graced me with the knowledge, "appAl is those who are beyond desam and kAlam. Since the element of time is involved, it also refers to the adiyArs to be born in the hereafter. This man is beyond desam. He has just four janmas left."
Though Periyava who was such a jnani is not among us now, he is always living in his figure of grace and giving us abhayam.
SRI KANCHI MAHA PERIVA THIRUVADIGAL CHARANAM