Experiences with Maha Periyava:
Sri Maha Periyava was camping in Satara in Maharashtra. There were multitudes of people waiting to have a darshan of the Mahan. There was a devotee of Paramacharya, who was proficient in playing the veena. On hearing about Paramacharya’s visit to Satara, he too came to visit the Mahaswami. He had a desire to play the veena in front of Maha Periyava.
After some time, the veena player managed to have the darshan of Maha Periyava. Upon having darshan, he requested Paramacharya if he could play a small piece on his veena. Maha Periyava gave him permission and he started to play the veena. It is a well-known fact that Paramacharya was adept in all arts and fine-arts. The veena player’s performance was great and everyone in the crowd liked it very much. There was a brief silence following this and then Maha Periyava picked up the veena and played a small piece. Sri Maha Periyava’s performance was even better than the veena player. After Periyava completed the performance, the veena player’s eyes were flooded with tears. He immediately prostrated onto the holy feet of Sri Maha Periyava and kept on prostrating to Him again and again. Paramacharya looked at him but He did not utter a word. After a while, Maha Periyava went inside.
Everyone was witnessing the whole scene but no one knew what was happening. When the veena player stepped out, some of the devotees of Maha Periyava asked him what had happened. The veena player told them that he had committed a grave sin and that Maha Periyava had subdued his ego. When queried by the devotees to elaborate on what had happened, he told them that he had played a very rare set of notes on his veena, and while playing, he had forgotten some of the notes in the middle of the performance. He added that he had looked around at the spectators and decided that no one would really know the notes and had managed to play some other notes instead. Upon completion, Maha Periyava picked the veena and played the same notes that he had earlier fumbled upon. He said that Paramacharya had played a very rare piece on his veena; the same notes which were played by Ravana to propitiate Lord Shiva in Kailasha. The veena player also admitted having an inflated ego and said that it was only Paramacharya who had subdued his ego.
The message from this incident is that even if one is blessed with extraordinary talents, one should always be humble.