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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Incidents that never escape from memory

devotee:...... Srimati Indira Balasubramaniam, West Thana, Mumbai
author:....... Srimati Indira Balasubramaniam
compiler:..... T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
source:....... Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol. 6, pages 180-196
publisher:.... Vanathi Padhippaham (Jun 2008 Edition)
type:......... book, Tamil 

Pages 180-185

Kanchi MahAn needs no introduction. If it is one kind of joy to read about the experiences had by those who approached him, it is another kind to share them with others; and to write about them is a third kind. He was also unique in fulfilling the yearnings of those who sought him.

It was the time when kanakAbhiShekam was being arranged for the MahAn. A letter received from the MaTham said that those who wished to participate in the service might give according to their shakti gold worth one sovereign or an equivalent amount in rupees.

I decided to give the pair of bangles that I had made for my marriage. Although it was a month and a half for the day of the kanakAbhiShekam, we had no plans to visit Kanchipuram at that time. And this man (my husband) would be very strict that what we offer should not be known to a third person; so it wasn't possible for us to send the offer through a third person. He said we might send a 'draft' for an equivalent amount (for the bangles).

Whereas I said, "Have already kept it for Periyavar, can't change it." I had inquired with two jewellery shops as to whether the pure gold obtained from melting the bangles would amount to a sovereign. With confusion in mind, as I thought that perhaps PeriyavaaL was not willing to receive my offer, tears welled up in my eyes.

As I entered the house, what a surprise! A man from the MaTham was talking to 'this man'. He said that the letter was sent as an advance announcement and that he had come in person to receive the offer.

A relative woman of mine had lost a number of her jewels since her husband was not behaving properly. I told her, "You too give a sovereign." She did as I said and thereafter she did not lose anything.

*** *** ***

Thinking of PeriyavaaL if one climbs down his/her doorsteps, it would be his responsibility until the person returns home. During the MahAn's north Indian yAtrA we went to Solapur where he camped. The railway station master of that place, though a Marati, guided everyone who sought his help to the place where the sage was camping.

He asked us to take a bus, so we got into a bus. The conductor asked us to get own at a place. We got down and walked. It was very dark, with no sign of human movement. A stretch of fields on both sides. Even after walking for a half hour we couldn't locate the place where the MahAn was staying. Fear seizing my mind between its jaws, I thought of the MahAn and prayed to him. Not even five minutes would have passed and we sighted a boy riding on a cycle at a distance. We also came to know that he belonged to the MaTham. When we asked him he said, "Only ten minutes walk, follow me."

Once we went to a place called Miraj and stayed with the MahAn in the MaTham for two days. The day of our return came. A Marati man came on that day with family for darshan. When he inquired us about Periyavar, we said, "you can go inside and have darshan." When he went inside, we came out and stood under a tree. We were discussing, 'there seems to be no vehicle or bus from here to the Miraj railway station; how are we to go there?' A car that went passed us stopped suddenly. The Marati man we were talking to awhile ago, got down and told us, "Where do you want to go? You can't get a vehicle here, so come in our car." Getting rapturous about the MahAn's compassion for us, we accompanied them.

*** *** ***

The MahAn was staying on the other side of the river in Pandaripuram. When we went there, it was eight o' clock at night. A boatman promised to take us to the other side and did so. When we offered money for the service, he refused to take it. "I don't get money from people who come to have darshan of the MahAn", said that poor Marati boatman.

We could buy lots of the tulasi leaf bunches there. Stringing them into a garland using the fibre of the banana tree, we gave it to him and stood aside. I was a bit distressed at heart that he did not even have a look at it. A hour passed. A Marati man brought a statue. He said, "This Lakshminarayana statue we got when we dug our land." Periyavar did abhiShekam to the image with water from his kamaNDalu. Adorning it with the tulasi garland I had submitted, he asked the man to take it home. Perhaps he did not wear the garland himself knowing that the statue would be brought to him.

*** *** ***

Sometime later, four or five people brought a man bitten by a snake. With his mouth foaming, the victim found it hard to breathe. Periyavar looked at him once and gave a lot of vibhUti. A man who brought the victim smeared it all over the body and dropped some in the victim's mouth. Half an hour later, the victim was restored to normal health and went back walking with the people who brought him.

*** *** ***

He was an expert in appearing in dreams too for blessing a person. One of my elder brothers died when he was eighteen years old. At that time my mother's age was hardly thirty-four. When my mother had thoughts of suicide with no thought towards her other children, he appeared in her dream. My mother changed her mind and lived on, and reared us all, feeding us with devotion towards Periyavar.

Many years back my mother became unwell. I found myself crying before Periyavar in my dream. The cut half of a coconut was in his hand, filled with its water. He says to me, "Look, I have only given you a good coconut." Today my mother is eighty years old.

*** *** ***

During the year 1974 my father once took diamonds to a goldsmith's home to make them into a diamond stud for me. He went around eight in the morning but did not return even at nine in the night. Those days there were no telephone facilities like we have today. Worry started spreading in our mind. My mother said, "Come, let us pray to Swami." Crying, I said, "Who else is there for us, except PeriyavaaL?" Before I could finish that sentence, my father's head was seen at the doorsteps. It is another matter that he explained the delay in his returning.

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