author:...... R.Santhanaraman, Chennai-33
compiler:... T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
book:......... Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol. 2, pages 44-52
publisher:.. Vanathi Padhippaham (May 2005 Edition)
I think it was the year 1950. Periya PeriyavaaL Sri Chandrasekharendra Sarasvati SwamigaL for chAturmAsyam was staying in the Semmangudi village near Tiruvarur. Wearing tirumaN and without even taking my (morning) cup of coffee, I was waiting to receive the first tIrtham after Periyavaa completes his puja. Around 12 o' clock when PeriyavaaL finished his puja and came to give tIrtham, the surge of the crowd pushed me who was standing first in the queue away by 30 feet. Since the others pushed me away who was standing in the queue for six hours without taking even a cup of coffee I cursed them within my mind, 'Let no one here be given the first tIrtham.'
Periyavaa who took the uttaraNi to give tIrtham said, without giving tIrtham to anyone, "There, call that AyyangAr boy standing at the corner". I went to him. He said to me, "'Although (my) PATTi asked me to, I did not take my coffee and waited starving for six hours, to get the first tIrtham; and still they drove me away? Let no one here be given the first tIrtham', you cursed? I appreciate your bhakti. You will be amogha. Here, get the first tIrtham!" Everyone appreciated me.
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Could have been 15 days since my upanayanam was held. PeriyavaaL did pattina prevesam in the Semmangudi village only on that day. Everyone prostrated to him on the street. I too prostrated and did an 'abhivAdaye'* to Periya PeriyavaaL. At once the people nearby looked at me and said, "apachAram, apachAram! You should not do anabhivAdaye to PeriyavaaL." I looked closely at Periyava PeriyavaaL. (There came the doubt in my mind, our VAdhyAr asked me to prostrate and say abhivAdaye to elders? But these people tell me I should not do it now? So is this man an elder (periyavar) or not?). PeriyavaaL looked back at me and said, reading my thoughts like an X-ray (reads the inside of a body), "A doubt has come to you as you looked at me if I am PeriyavaaL or not, right?" Then he told me, "'abhivAdaye' is a life history.--In those days, people would not buy a mAppiLLai (bridegroom) as they bought mADu (cattle) at the NIlatthanallUr shandy. They had learnt ingitam. Through the 'abhivAdaye' they would know that such and such man is of such gotram, such sUtram and then decide about giving their daughter in marriage to the man or not. Whereas I am a tuRavi (ascetic), I have no wife, I have no daughter--to give you. Therefore it is not necessary that you do abhivAdaye to me. It is not a mistake that you made an abhivAdaye, however. You understand?" "I understand", I said. In the middle of the road, an upadesham for me for 10 minutes. Can't forget it!
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In that same Semmangudi village at PattAmaNiyAr's house, after the puja was over, everyone went away. I was standing alone at the place where the kUDam (hall) and tAzhvAram (courtyard) met. PeriyavaaL is having bhikShA in the kitchen room at the other end of the hall. Throughout the (walls of the) hall, (framed) portraits of (the gods) Sarasvati, Lakshmi, Thanjavur Krishna and such others are hung. Raising my head I looked at a portrait. In one portrait PeriyavaaL having bhikShA was visible as a shadow. Forthwith I turned my eyes to look at some other side. PeriyavaaL saw me standing, called SriKAryam and asked him to tell 'the boy', "Don't look, move away." SriKAryam came and told me, "Looking at PeriyavaaL having bhikShA is improper; move away." I told him: "I did not look of my own accord. It was itself visible to me in that portrait located straight in my vision. Forthwith I stopped looking." Since this talk fell on PeriyavaaL's ears, he said from where he was, "Don't admonish that boy. He did not look at me with a wishing mind. My having bhikSha being visible from here at 45 degrees in the portrait as a shadow and reflected back to him at 45 degrees reaching his eyes."
Appreciation from PeriyavaaL for explaining my actual position; and kind words for me. Never to be forgotten.