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Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Scene that Stands Green in Memory

author:...... G. Kanakasabhai, Lalgudi
compiler:... T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
book:......... Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol. 2, pages 29-31
publisher:.. Vanathi Padhippaham (May 2005 Edition)
translator.. saidevo

Thirty-five years ago from now, I had gone on a sthala yAtrA to Kanchi Nagar with my tuNaiviyAr (wife). With the diDha eNnam (firm determination) to have darshan of Kanchi PeriyavaaL, we went to TiruMaTham on a puNya dinam (holy day).

A firm intention to somehow become the ilakku (target) of SwamigaL's nayana dIkShA. At nine in the morning we went to the SriMaTham office, met the Manager and told him about our abhilASha. He said that the darshan of SwamigaL could be had only after ten-thirty, gave us the kAla sandhi prasAdam and made us be seated. We told him that "we belonged to the Kaarkaattha Pillaimaar caste (see footnote 1), and had also obtained the Shiva DIkSha." "What if it is so? You people are also of pure thoughts", was the reply and the upachAra was given all along from the beginning.

When the directions came after ten-thirty that darshan of SwamigaL can be had, I too removed my mElangi (upper cloth), did pAda shuddhi (feet-washing), wore TirunIRu (vibhuti) and with bhaya-bhakti, stood in the queue with my tuNaiviyAr.

A long rEzhi (courtyard) before where PeriyavaaL stayed; an open passage at its outer end. Only through these the sevArtis should go. SwamigaL gave his aruLAsi (graceful blessings) with his hand from his PiTham to the sevArtis who had come.

When we both went, a disciple standing in the rEzhi asked us, "Who are you people? Where from you have come?" I said, "We are from Lalgudi, from the family of TambachiyapPillai." (Earlier the elders of my family had told me that when Kanchi PeriyavaaL came to Lalgudi our family elders had darshan of him in a bhikShA vandanam they hosted, so I told about our Periya Thatha ThambachiyapPillai.) For us too, SwamigaL gave his aruLAsi with his hand. We did namaskAram to him and moved away.

At that time the man who was in the rEzhi told us that SwamigaL called us once again. We went with the thought that it was our bhAgyam to have his darshan again. PeriyavaaL then asked me, "Nataraja Pillai pEranA? (grandson of Nataraja Pillai?)" I could not bear the pleasant shock it gave me. What to say about PeriyavaaL who recollects people who lived so many years ago! With his jnAna dRShTi (vision of knowledge), how he blossomed it all in blessing through his tiruVai (holy mouth) that Nataraja Pillai was kumArar (son) of Tambachiyap Pillai and that I was his grandson!--we were immersed in surprise over his long time vision.

We took his blessings again and then took leave. Even today we think about this kidaitthaRkariya pERu (a fortune not easily got) and go swelling in our hearts.


1. Pillai is a title used by many castes such as Vellalar, Vanniar, Karaiyar, Ahamudayar, Kallar et in Tamil Nadu and is also used by some Nairs of Kerala. It is also used by many Tamil speaking people in Sri Lanka.

The early census reports and manuals (I’ve read) give both karkatta and karaikkatu as synonyms for one of the subdivisions of the Pandya Vellalars. others are nangudis, panjais, arumburs, sirukudis etc. it was suggested that it derived from the territorial 'karaikaadu'.

...the name suggests Vellalars who saved or protected the clouds, or one of the authors says 'waiters for rain'. there is the legend of god Devendra withholding rain from the Pandyadesa after a quarrel with the king, and later instituting the Vellalars of the Pandya land as security for the clouds, hence the name of 'Karakava Vellal Waru', redeemers of the clouds.

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