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Saturday, November 8, 2014

Ways of the World

When Sivasankaran, a long-standing devotee of Sri Matha came for darshan one day, an attendant treated him very harshly. Sivasankaran was very upset.He felt that he had been insulted. He was not inclined to run to Periyaval and complain. He had , however, an opportunity to talk to Periyaval. 

Indirectly, but intending to unburden his heart, he said with a tact, as if he were injecting a needle into a banana fruit, "Some attendants at the Matha are pronouncedly bad. They commit wrong. They covet monetary gifts. I wonder how Periyaval manages with such people around him".

Periyaval was full of laughter. His expression seemed to suggest, "What you say is not new to me".

He then began to speak.

"Consider a factory where thousands work. Is everyone skilled and straightforward? Lakhs of people are working in Government offices. Everyone does not have the same level of commitment. Many do not work properly. Or if they do, they do their work imperfectly. It is not possible to send them home. The Government has its apex body functioning. That is important. It is enough if this apex body is alright. That much is enough. Only that much is possible. The Sri Matha is an empire in itself. Many kinds of attendants are necessarily to be found here...... Do you know Parameshwara?

Sivasankaran knew five or six gentlemen of the name of Paramesvara. He blinked, not knowing which if them Periyava was referring to.

"I was referring to Parameshwara, the Lord of Kailasa. He has a snake around his neck. He holds fire in his hands. A malevolent deity is kept under control beneath his feet. His retinue consists of corpses and ghosts. He roams all over the world taking all these along with him and performs his dance. If the snake were to be let loose it will go all over the place enjoying great freedom, frighten and bite everyone. If fire is uncontrolled, it will destroy settlements and wilderness alike. If malevolent forces are allowed to go about freely, they will attack anyone they encounter. As for corpses and ghosts, one need hardly say anything (about what they may do). Paramesvara's glory lies in keeping all these evil forces with him".

Sivasankaran stood in shocked silence. He had expected that Periyaval would quieten him with some placatory words. But Periyaval's reply sparkled with the perception of the ways of the world and was given in such unambiguous terms.

It is not Sivasankaran alone, but all devotees must attain greater refinement.

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