In the year 1978, shrI PeriyavargaL was camping in the campus of the PANyam cement factory located on the banks of the Hagari river, which is a tributary of the TunggabhadrA river.
Our father was then working as the Station Master of the Kadapa (formerly Cuddapah) railway station. The PuShpagiri maTham is located in ChennUr near Kadapa. Occasioned by a meeting with the manager of that MaTham, MAyavaram KaNNAvaiyar, the friendship between Father and him was growing. Owing to that, we had the opportunity of PuShpagiri SvAmigaL staying for fifteen days in our gRham--house, doing pUjA in-vistAram--elaborately, and giving darshan to his bhaktas--devotees.
One day PuShpagiri SvAmigaL said, "The very kAraNam--reason, for my taking up saMnyAsam--renunciation, is only PeriyavAL!
"When I had completed my college education, he asked me, 'Will you take up the administration of the PuShpagiri maTham?' First I did not agree to the proposal. But then PeriyavA spoke to me about the distinctions of the PuShpagiri maTham. The health of the then pIThAdhipatigaL--pontiff, of the PuShpagiri maTham was not alright at that time. The MaTham was in much a kShINa--withered, state. When PeriyavargaL ordered me, 'Only you should take up the responsibility as pIThAdhipati of that MaTham and set its administration right', I could not refuse him.
"PeriyavargaL KAmAkShi svarUpam--form! Seems there will be no worldly news that would not be known to him!" We were much delighted to listen to him declare in this way.
Did you witness an accident?
When my thambi--younger brother, had darshan of PeriyavargaL, he asked, "Did you witness any accident on your way?"
"Yes..." Why he asked that question was known later.
When certain mukhyastas--VIPs, from BellAry, after going to MantrAlayam, were returning in their new car via Hagari, they had darshan of PeriyavargaL. The uttaravu--order of the sage, was that they stay in the place for the night and continue their return journey on early next morning. As they had to get back immediately, they started without staying for the night, and met with an accident en route!
Bring your mother!
For four or five years, our mother was suffering from rheumatism. She was bedridden. But then my mother had a great wish to have darshan of PeriyavargaL. How could it happen?
When supplicated to PeriyavargaL with much hesitation, he said, "Bring her".
Taking Mother in a car, we parked it at the entrance of the temple where Periyavar was staying. PeriyavargaL's dRShTi--sight, fell on the car. The sadas--assembly, of vedic pandits was going on inside the temple. Hearing the noise of the car, they muttered their disapproval and looked at us with disdain.
But then PeriyavargaL, as if he was calling a child, called to my mother, "vA...vA--come..come". My thambi and I supported Mother and took her near him.
"MaNi, seat her in-bhadram--with dear care" PeriyavA said, and started talking to Mother. In the pravAham--rush, of emotions, my Mother could not talk to him properly. Somehow she managed to narrate to him about our family problems. He gave her his anugraham--divine favour, "Everything will be alright gradually... don't worry."
When Mother was talking, PeriyavargaL asked me many times, "MaNi, is that your mother talking?" I said, "yes". Only later the kAraNam--reason, was known.
In her last days, Mother could not talk and she breathed her last in that state of health. Only this the mAmunivar--great sage, had indicated to us on that day.
In Shiva temple...
A village called VENivIrApuram near BellAry. Populated by people who depended on agriculture for their life. If there were no rains, there was no jIvanam--life.
They came to PeriyavargaL and supplicated to him in Kannadam.
"Is there a Shivan temple in your village?"
"Do abhiShekam--pouring water over, (to the Shivalingam) with a hundred-and-eight pots of water. Enough if you do it uttering the mantra shiva, shiva. Do shivanAma japam sitting in the sannidhi--divine abode, until sUryodayam--sunrise."
As ordered by Periyavar, the shivArAdhanam was held on the next day. On the day after, they skies parted and it rained heavily!
The vigraham--image, VidyAraNya did pUja to
The mukhAm--camp, (of the sage) was in the Hospet ChintAmaNi maTham.
A LalilAmbAL vigraham is there, to which the Adhipati of that MaTham does daily pUja. PeriyavargaL said that it was vigraham VidyAraNya, who established the Hampi city, did pUja to.
A karNa-parampara--heard through the ears (not written down), legend is that in a guha--cave, located on the banks of a pond in Hampi, HanumAn did sandhyA-vandanam. VidyAraNya had done tapas--penance, in that guha (MalayALa brahma kuDi--lineage).
PeriyavargaL stayed there.
The custom-forlorn temple car was run
Since some parts of the ratham--car/chariot, of the Hampi VirUpAkSha temple suffered a damage in a fire accident, that custom of running that car (in an annual festival) was abandoned. PeriyavA encouraged the people of the TunggabhadrA Steel Company to get it repaired. Even in the state of complete repair, for some reason, the car refused to move. When the news was conveyed, PeriyavargaL came to that place and stood for sometime with closed eyes. Then he asked the car to be pulled. And the car moved happily, gently shaking (its tall frame)!
During that time came the ArAdhana--worshipping, month of the AchArya who held the title before PeriyavAL.
Taking the help of SakhArAm BhaTTar who was doing pUja kaingaryam--puja services, in the RAmar temple at a place called GangavatI, PeriyavA ordered to appoint for the ArAdhana, uttama--most elevated, Vedic pandits of KarnATaka.
An atyanta shiShya--prominently close disciple, (now METTUr svAmigaL) and I, along with SakhArAm BhaTTar, visited the kugrAmas--hamlets, and invited several pandits who had done-arpaNa-of--dedicated, their life to the Vedas.
At that time, we saw the apUrva mUrtam--rare image, of HanumAn, in the KALI temple at KukkanUr, Koppal district, where the purANa-kAla--of Puranic times, ChandrahAsan worshipped. A pair of glittering stones of ratnam--gemstone, was fixed in the eyes. The installation of the image was such that the bhakta--devotee, from whatever spot he had darshan, had the impression that HanumAn was looking at him.
Vacate the maNDapam immediately!
The mukhAm--camp, was in Anakunti, on the banks of the TunggabhadrA river. One can see the ruined Chinna--cut images, of the KRShNadevarAya sAmrAjyam--empire, here.
They say that this was the place where shrI RAmA, standing behind a tree, killed VAli with his arrow. Similarly, it was the place of Nava BrindAvanam, considered sacred by the MAdhvas. The Nine BrindAvanas located on a rocky island in the midst of the TunggabhadrA is adored as the KAshi of the MAdhvas. So, MAdhvas used to visit the place in large numbers, and do pUja with bhakti--devotion.
The AnnapUraNI temple, which is under the administration of the ChintAmaNi maTham, is located in the city of Hospet. Goddess AnnapUraNI was given a decoration with laDDus, in accordance with Periyavar's AGYA--orders!
Around two o' clock in the afternoon, he gave his shiShyas sudden and urgent orders to immediately vacate the maNDapam--pavilion, where the cooking and dining was done, and move to the place adjacent to the AnnapUraNI temple. "There would be a cat and its kitten staying in the samaiyal-kaTTu--(Tamizh) kitchen. Drive them away too."
The maNDapam vacated by the shiShyas, after the next half-an-hour, for whatever reason, started falling down slowly!
PeriyavA saved everyone, including the cat and its kittens!
A boxful of fruits
When I went for darshan once, he asked me, "Will you buy fruits for the pAThashAla--Vedic school, boys?"
I was in goose bumps. It is enough if he said a word, "Buy fruits"? Shall I not carry it out as the first task, keeping it on top of my head?
The words of someone making an inquiry in MarAthi (language) was heard. PeriyavargaL asked the man to be brought inside at once. The details narrated by the man who came were: He was a retired employee who worked under a rAja-kuTumbam--royal family, of KAshmIr. Presently he was in SatAra. That KAshmIr king was one known to PeriyavargaL, he said. Gathering information that PeriyavA was camping in SatAra, the King had sent ten wooden boxes filled with high quality apples, to be presented to the sage. Taking delivery of those boxes from the office of the lorry company, the man had come straight to PeriyavargaL.
He piled up the boxes before PeriyavargaL. "It has turned out very well! You are saved from the expenses! Take two-three boxes and distribute them among the pAThashAla boys. You take one box..."
When hundreds of bhaktas were yearning to get one fruit from PeriyavAL, I had the fruit prasAdam--divine gift, of a boxful!
The bhakti of the boatman
The mukhAm--camp, was in PaNDarIpuram. Getting down from the bus, one can have darshan of PeriyavargaL, only after crossing the ChandrabhAgA river.
It was eight in the night when we got down from the bus. The sky was overcast with rain clouds, and it was drizzling. Dangerous floods swept the river.
The boatman at first did not oblige. He said in MarAthi, "It is dangerous to cross the river now. You can go in the morning." When we said, "we need to have darshan of SvAmigaL...", he said, "Shankar guruji? achChA--well, climb the boat."
After reaching the other bank, I stretched my hand with the fare to him.
"nahin--No, I won't get money! Shankar guruji is our eye-witnessed deivam--god. The very PaNDarinAtha (he is)! He called and talked to us. It was like ViTTal himself coming over and talking to us!"
Earth-ruling kings and well-read pandits adore PeriyavAL. Here a pAmaran--an illiterate, adores him! How can this be?
Giving up the idea of finding an answer, I am falling at the sacred feet of PeriyavA, doing vandanam--reverence, to him. Perhaps this is the answer?
Only that viDaiyERi--Bull-Rider, knows it.