author:....... VenkaTesa NaTarAjan, KumbakONam
compiler:..... T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
source:....... Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol.2, page 281-296
publisher:.... VAnathi Padhippaham (May 2005 Edition)
type:......... book, Tamil
I venture to write about some svAnubhavas--personal experiences, aDiyEnggaL--we people were immersed in, understanding the divya vIkShaNIya sukham--pious comfort of divinely charming glances, graced by shrI MahASvAmigaL.
Some details about our vaMshAvalI--lineage, as pUrvapIThikA--introduction; shrI MahASvAmigaL's kAruNya prakAsham--compassionate glances, are related to these details.
01. Our father is one who was named G.VenkaTesan. Lifetime: 1897-1978. He was one who studied Tamizh in the shadow of the sacred feet of mahAmahopAdhyAya shrI U.VE.SA. aiyar during 1913-1918. He was elder to and was a great friend of Ki.VA.Ja. Then he was a teacher till 1930 in the TirukkATTuppaLLi shrI SivasvAmi aiyar High School. Following which, he thought about introducing and spreading 'chAraNIyam'--scout practice, there, was 'drawn' by DivAn GaNapati shAstrigaL, accepted since 1930 an udoyogam--occupation, in PudukkoTTai samasthAnam, then worked as the grAma-abhivRddhi--village advancement, officer, and retired in 1957. shrI SAmbamUrti shAstrigaL, PeriyavAL's pUrvAshrama--of earlier stage of life, younger brother, was our family friend since 1931. His mAppiLLai--son-in-law, shrI Chandramauli too has been such, till today.
My father's knowledge of Tamizh texts and his capability of giving a lecture resembling the flow of sluice-opened waters, on the basis of the RAmAyaNa and the Shiva-ViShNu purANas, won MahASvAmigaL's appreciation.
02. Our mAtAmaha--maternal grandfather, was TiruvAngkADu RAmaseSha shAstrigaL, who obtained the title 'shAstra ratnAkara' ('Jewel-mine of the Scriptures). He was one who was in great anusaraNa--service/use, in ShrIMaTham to PeriyavAL, since MahASvAmigaL's bAlya-prAyam--boyhood.
03. shrI MeTTUr SvAmigaL was one who in his pUrvAshramam in PudukkOTTai, lived in the (street) house right adjacent to ours. So, he very well knew about 'scout' VenkaTesa aiyar and his family. Taking up an udyogam--job, even when I was nineteen, I had gone north, to the states Bihar and Orissa.
What follows is daivikam--divine:
01. The next year our father passed away, my anuja--younger brother, C.BAlasubrahmaNiyan met PeriyavAL in a camp in the KarnATaka desham, waited for an opportunity, paid respects, and prayed him that they wanted to do something in memory of their father. On that day, MahASvAmigaL was observing mauna-vratam--vow of silence, so he did not say anything. He told us that the sage talked to him on his own the next morning.
"ENDA--hey! OnggappA--your father, used to speak a lot in Tamizh? He would recite the verses in 'Tirumandiram'. You know anything of the sort, can you recite something?"
It seems that MaNi, that is, BAlasubrahmaNiyan, after thinking for a while, recited a song.
PeriyavA said: "SundaranAthan becoming MUlan--*1, was in that SAtthanUr, where your PeriyammA--mother's elder sister, was given in marriage. Every year, aippasi month (Tamizh month from mid-Oct. to mid-Nov.), on the day when the ashvati nakShatram accompanies the paurNami--full moon day, on that day is TirumUlar's nakShatram--birth star. Hm... how much do you intend to spend?"
Since MaNi, shy and twisting a little, just showed his bhavya-bhAvam--expression of submissive consent, PeriyavA continued to talk:
"Call that Dunlop KRShNan, where is KadarkkaDai--handloom shop, VenkaTarAman? You should create a Trust. Should admit five-six or ten-twelve, whatever available, school boys in SAtthanUr. No discrimination of jAti-matam--caste or religion. Keeping a notebook, each boy should write down all the three thousand 'Tirumandiram' songs. They must finish it well before the aippasi month. You people go to SAtthanUr (a day before), and have a pravachanam--lecture, on that evening in the temple, let someone talk in your father's bhANi--style. Next day, ashvati, at the time of dawn, (you people and the boys) go to the AiyanAr temple at the border of the town--there, are the sannidhis of TirumUlar and MUlan--have the pUjAri--village priest, and after doing karupUra-Ararti and all that, all of you sit down, read the fifty verses starting from 'aindu karatthAnai' and do namaskAram--prostration. Then you all walk down, reading the (remaining) verses aloud, to the TiruvAvaDuturai MasilAMaNishvara temple. There is a widespread ashvattha--peepul tree in the temple's outer prakAram--courtyard. It is said that only by sitting under that tree did TirumUlar sing all the three thousand verses, one per year. You people, who go there in ghoSTi--group, sitting under that tree, should do pArAyaNam--reading aloud, of Tirumandiram muchchUDum--the entire TirumanDiram. Onecondition, you people should read only from the manuscripts of the boys."
He paused for a short while. Everyone, with their mano-vAkku-kAyam--mind-word-body, which did not wander elsewhere, were enjoying what their eyes and ears received. The voice of the deivam--God, continued, with a mohana--captivating, smile, that was unique to him.
"I am not asking you people to be-in-paTTini--(Tamizh) go without food. Stopping (the reading) as saukarya--convenient, you can take AhAram--food, now and then, can drink coffee. Whatever interest comes from the Trust (money), with that, should do some kind of sanmAnam--honorarium, to the pasganggaL--boys."
What to say, is it a daiva-vAkku--divine voice!
The festivities went on like a kalyANam--marriage, every year, the family of shrImAn SAmbasiva aiyar, mirAsudAr--(Tamizh) landowner, residing in the vaDakkutteru--North street, of KuLatthangkarai SAtthanUr and the family of my younger brother MaNi, joining hands. Chandramauli, mentioned above, and shrI SAmbamUrti who was known as sAr--sir, would participate. shrI SubrahmaNya aiyar, grandson of shrI mahAmahopAdhyAya aiyar (Uv.Ve.SA). came every year (for the event).
On the evening of the first day, selecting aDiyEn--me, in the outer prakAram of the sannidhi of Ananda-gaurI sameta--together with, Siddeshvarar, they asked me to give a lecture. By the sustained efforts of learning and listening from my father and then polishing it thereafter, I had the AshIrvAda-balam--strength of blessings, so I could talk Tamizh in-saraLam--fluently. The first year, (the lecture was about) 'Ammai-Appan', then 'Nala-charitram', 'KaNNappa nAyanAr', 'Sundara-kANDam (of Kamban)', 'KRShNa-dUtu' (KRShNa going on a mission), ityAdi--and so forth. As an elderson, AppA's--father's, words of blessings stood in good stead for me. The next day, it would be sAyaraKShai--evening time, when we finished the mutRodal--complete reading out.
Every year, C.MaNi and his family would go and pay respects to PeriyavAL wherever the sage camped, and inform him about the TirumUlar event. Asking probing questions, MahASvAmigaL too would share his keen interest and give his blessings.
The event was held for thirteen years. A hundred people in the first year, which dwindled to only six-seven in the end, comprising only us! At length, PeriyavAL himself asked us to stop it.