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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Merciful Who Elevated His Devotees-06

chAturmAsya vratam

One night 'Amma' came to our home in her usual way. The 
AtmavicAram (spiritual inquiries) started. She explained us about the Bhakti Yoga in Gita. She gave vyAkhyAnam (commentary) on every shloka. We were listening to her with shraddhA (care). In the middle of her speech, Amma said:

"Srinivasa! Something strikes me. I think it would be right. Sri PeriyavAL thinks 'you must have a 
shikhA (tuft of hair)'. So if you go to him with a shikhA and do vandanam, he will immediately give you prasAdam."

I laughed humorously and said, "I don't think what you say would be right. In case he has such a 
tiruvuLam (divine thought) he could have ordered me! Moreover, PeriyavAL gives prasAdam in all places, to all classes, even to those without a shikhA! Why should I alone be an exception?"

"He looks at you as a 
visheSha vyakti (special individual). He looks at you as a jIvan who is yearning to have Atma paripAkam. He considers that for the AtmavicAram that has happened to you, a shikha in the shAstrokta way (as decreed in the Shastras) is a necessity. It is his saMkalpa (reflection) that if you change to shikhA and kacchA inbahiranGgam (exterior), the paripakvam will automatically happen to you and bring pUrNatvam (completeness)."

For that I replied:

"I am somewhat toiling with 
AtmavicAram in my antarangam (interior). In this effort, I am being given anugraha and guided by Sri Avadhuta SwamigaL and Sri Swamy Sivananda Sarasvati. With full faith, I read about the bhakti and vedanta viSaya (subjects), do yogAbhyAsa (yogic exercises), dhyAnam (meditation) and thus carry on with mysAdhanA. It doesn't occur to me that a shikhA is a necessity for these things. I preseve in rahasya (secrecy) the SishtAchAram (the anuSTAnam of our sacred predecessors), bhakti viSayam. No one should know about this connection between me and Bhagavan. I shall in any case attain nargati (liberation) anyway. Sri PeriyavAL's such conditions would apply only to the days of old; they are unsuitable for these days."

Amma said with a cool confidence:

"All that you read and observe until now are of course good; there is no doubt about it. The time has come for that to shine. You have realized well that the 
AtmA (soul) is different and the sharIraM (body) is different. Then why the abhimAnam (self-conceit) about the sharIraM? The talk about those who do not follow the Shastras is a different issue. I believe that since you remain faithful in the Satanata Dharma, it would be shreSTa (best) for you to observe the shAstra vidhis (rules of the scriptures), remain in shikhA, panca kacchA and do bhakti and nityAnuSTAnam (daily observances). An abundance of Atma lAbha (spiritual gains) is waiting for you. My vaakku (word) will not go untrue. Since PeriyavAL is giving a preraNa (direction) in my mind, I am telling you this." Amma thus finished her advice to me.

I realized that for such 
hitopadesham (good advice), PeriyavAL has given us Amma as our Atma bandhu (spiritual connection) by his anugraha towards us. Immediately, pointing to my wife nearby, I said, "I don't know if she would like my changed exterior or not; I need to get her consent." And that was the wonder! As one who has moved with me this long, understanding my inner life, she said without any hesitation, "I give my full consent. What I see are only his Atma gunAs (spiritual traits). The changes that would happen to his exterior would not make me hate him." 'Amma' was just laughing, her toothless mouth wide open!

Looking at her Amma said, "You have passed! It is a matter of joy that you don't remain as a hurdle to his spiritual progress. Both of you together should lead the spiritual life. That is also MahA PeriyavAL's 
saMkalpam. (to me she said) You get into a shikhA on an auspicious day."

Next she said, "You two go to the Tirupathi hills. This is a good 
sUcakam (indication). You have your shikhA in Tirumala itself, have Swami darshan and then go to KaLahasti. Sri PeriyavAL is staying there for his chAturmAsyam. Have dharshan of him. He will give you prasAdam immediately. And he will be very happy."

We both went to Tirumala and stayed in the evening at Sri Parakala Matham. In the early morning the next day (4-7-1966) I changed my hairstyle into a 

We bathed in the 
tIrtha (waters) of Swami PushkaraNi. Wearing kaccham and tirumaN kAppu (the Vaishnavite religious symbol), I stood with my wife at the entrance of the Rajagopuram of the Tiruvenkatamudayan temple.

At that time, the 
PIThAdhipati (pontiff) of the Tirumalai EmperumAnAr Jiyar Matham, Periya Jiyar Swamy (Srimad Sadhu Ramanujachar Swamy) came to the temple with his honours, surrounded by his disciples. adiyen (this man, I) prostrated to Jiyar SwamigaL.

Jiyar Swamy gave me his 
kaTAkSa (glance), called me near him and asked, "Swamy which Divya Desam?" I said, "adiyen from Vazhaippattu village near TiruvahIndraPuram." He said, "eLLA! sAtthumaRaikku" (take him with us near the God) and took me with his gOshti (group) and let us stand near the KulasEkaran Padi of the garbhagRuha(sanctum sanctorum) of Tiruvenkatamudayan. We did sevA along with the gOshti of Jiyar Swamy, singing the sAtthumaRai pAsurAs (hymns) of Tiruppavai.

In those days, Periya Jiyar Swamy would give his 
anugraha only to those SriVaishnavas who wore shikhA, panca kaccham and Urdhvapundaram (the mark of upgoing lines worn on the forehead by Vaishnavas), came to his MaTham and submitted daNDam (prostrated to the authority of the sceptre) to join his gOshti when he visits the temple forsAtthumaRai sevA.

*** *** ***

KaLahasti is a Siva 
sthalam (place). The KaLahasteeswarar temple has been honoured by the Nayanmar hymns. The place is mentioned is the puranas. The temple is located at the foothills of the KaNNappar Malai. In the vicinity of the temple is the PasuMaTham. The SvarnaMukhi river runs in front of the temple. Sri MahA PeriyavAL was observing chAturmAsyam camping in the PasuMaTham.

We both reached PasuMaTham at eight hours in the morning. The 
kaingaryaparar (assistant) took us to where Pudu PeriyavAL was staying.

We prostrated to Pudu PeriyavAL.

dampati! Very glad! Had darshan of PeriyavAL?"

"No. We are coming just now."

"Go quickly and have darshan of PeriyavAL."

We went inside the MaTham; at that precise moment the 
kaingaryaparar came to us quickly and said, "PeriyavAL's directive for you; he is there in that room." He took us to the room. We stood near the threshold. It was a small room, and seemed a bit dark; we looked keenly through the darkness. Sri MahA PeriyavAL was sitting inside on the floor. His white teeth glowed in the darkness. His eyes blossomed and emitted light. The coolness and vAtsalyam (affection) of his look comforted and cooled our minds, and they melted. The Jagatguru's voice rang loudly like a bell.

"Both of you come inside! Looking this side, prostrate together," he spoke as he gestured with his hand. Keeping raisins, 
kunkumam and phala mantrAkSata in a cane plate upon a small wooden tripod before him and touching them with his fingers, he gave us his kaTAkSam (glance) with a smile.

"Both of you together take the 
prasAda plate", he said.

"Only now you have become a SriVaishnavan!", he told me and was in 
parama santoSam (joy of full satisfaction).

"We came to Tirupathi, had 
sevA of Venkatesvarar and then came to have darshan of PeriyavAL from there", I said.

"Amma told you? Amma is your 
jIvanAdi (lifeline), right?" he said.

Since he had set the answer in his own question, we said "Yes."

"Amma would tell a lot about Bhagavat Gunam?"

"Since PeriyavA darshan in Villupuram, for the last three months, Amma comes to our home daily and talks about Bhagavat Gunam until late night", we said.

"Nataraja! Take these people to 'Swamimalai Amma' and ask her to attend to them", he said.

"How many days on leave?"

"One week."

How to narrate Sri PeriyavAL's 
krupa (compassion) and vAtsalyam (affection)! For three months he observed silence only in the case of the two of us, he was strict in not giving us prasAdam, and got his saMkalpa that he had made about me fulfilled, mentally acting through 'Amma', and the Anandam he had thereupon--what to say of it! For him, an Advaita Sanyaasi, what is there to be done by this man?

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