author:....... A devotee
compiler:..... T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
source:....... Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL vol.2, page 261-263
publisher:.... VAnathi Padhippaham (May 2005 Edition)
type:......... book, Tamil
Narrated by the 'vantoNDar' Sankara aiyar, belonging to the Sivagangai ChImai.
When he was in his sixth grade in (a school at) PudukkOTTai, and participated in the 'VeLLaiyaNE VeLiyERu'--'Quit India', Independence movement, both his eyes were damaged when the police fired on the mob. He stayed absconding for two years in Mudumalai. Both his eyes had turned completely blind. With indescribable duHkha--suffering, he had darshan of shrI PeriyavAL for the first time in 1950, along with the patron NATTukkOTTai CheTTiAr who was acclaimed as the DEvakOTTai zamindar. That was the turning point in his life.
When shrI PeriyavAL blessed him with the words, "SankarA, only for doing service that God has tested you in this way. You keep doing service, and no grievances will be there for you", the duHkham that he had experienced for many years disappeared and his mind became light and easy.
Later, he learned Tamizh very well, got trained to the extent of memorizing the Shaiva, VaiShNava Tamil texts and started teaching the children. His favourite text was AruNagirinAthar's 'KandarubhUti'. A woman who was a relative of his came forward and married him voluntarily. It was the custom of Sankara aiyar to go to towns and villages and do bhajan with the boys and girls. He would also enact stage plays. He would conduct examinations for the children and give them gifts. Even Christian and Muslim pupils used to take those tests.
In appreciation of his Tamizh SEvA, shrI KripAnanda VAriAr conferred on him the title 'VantoNDar'--an ardent devotee.
Whenever he had darshan of shrI PeriyavAL, the talk would be about DEvAram, TiruvAchakam and TirukkuRaL. Just by listening to anyone who narrated about PeriyavAL, he would gush tears. He would wonder, "Who else is there who knows Tamizh (texts) so well as him?"
He is presently seventy-six years old. During his seventieth year when his friends explained to him that he was likely to get his vision back due to advanced medical procedures, he declined it with the words, "By shrI PeriyavAL's anugraham I am happy now although without vision in my eyes. What is there to gain by obtaining vision henceforth?"
In the year 1958, when shrI PeriyavAL was camping in the Sanskrit College, (Mylapore,) Chennai, he had gone for the vishvarUpa darshan with the DevakOTTai zamindar. In those days it was PeriyavAL's custom to observe kAShTa manuam--severe silence during the morning times. But then when these two people came, everyone was surprised at PeriyavAL's greeting, "Come, SankarA, come and sit down here."
After the dIpa namaskAram was over in the evening, shrI PeriyavAL said, "Everyone was surprised when I gave up my maunam--silence, and talked this morning, but no one knows why. You people are happy looking at me in the morning at dawn time. But then how could that happiness arise for Sankaran who has no vision in his eyes? Which is why I talked so that he would at least be happy listening to my voice."