Once Maha Periyaval remarked to my father that He cannot do any “Dhanam” charity to get punyam for Himself. As a sanyasin He was penniless. If He gave some money or articles from the Mattam to the poor and needy, He would not get punyam as the property belonged to the Mutt as an institution and not to its head as an individual. My father was so moved that from that day on he started to do “go Dhanam” which is to gift cow to a Brahmin and perform the sankalpam in such a way that the punyam should go to Maha Periyaval. He also apportioned a part of the Trust started by him for Go Samrakshana and wrote a will that half the punyam from the project should go to the three Periyavals. He also instructed me that the sankalpam which is done for the daily ashtothra pada poja for Sri Adi Sankara’s paduka should be worded in such a way that the pada poja is done for the health and longevity of the three Periyavals. This is the reason why the pada pooja from our trust is always done separately and not combined with pada poojas by other devotees.
When my father had a massive heart attack in 1971, he immediately sent a request to Maha Periyaval that His padukas may please be sent to him. Maha Periyaval sent a pair of His padukas immediately. Father recovered miraculously. Till he passed away in 1995 father always used to sleep with his head near Maha Periyaval’s padukas. They are the most prized possession in our family today.
In the early sixties, sometimes there would be no biksha vandanam in the Mutt especially if the Mutt camp was in the interior villages in economically backward areas. One day in 1962, Maha Periyaval called my father and asked him to establish a charitable trust so that the biksha vandanam could be done at least on some important religious days from the interest obtained from the Trust funds. These included Yugadi, third Krithika Somavaram, Brindavana Dwadasi, Annabishekam, and first day in Navarathri, Bhogi, Pongal and Mattupongal. The trust was started with a capital of Rs.25,000/- and it gradually grew over the years. Periodically father and I used to add to the capital from donations, savings and other offerings. One day I requested that Maha Periyaval should bless us so that Nitya Biksha vandanam may be done. What seemed impossible and impractical then has become a reality now and the trust has gradually grown with capital value of nearly one crore and sixty lakhs of rupees. It is now possible to do daily bikshavandanams from the trust income daily ashtothara pada pooja, daily trisathi padapooja, daily padapooja at Maha Periyaval’s adhishtanam and additional biksha vandanams on all amavasya days and on all mornings during Dhanur Masa. It is only because of Maha Periyaval’s blessings that it was possible for the trust to have recorded such a phenomenal growth.
My father used to talk quite a lot to Maha Periyaval. My mother who was an equally great devotee was the exact opposite and would never talk unless she was asked a direct question. She used to accompany my father practically every time he visited Maha Periyaval’s camp for nearly fifty two years. Once my father asked Maha Periyaval to given a “Candaham Malai”. As Maha Periyaval did not respond he repeated his request. Maha Periyaval then beckoned to mother and asked her to come to the front. He took off a candaman Malai He was wearing and gave it to my mother. It was His way of rewarding silent bhakthi!
A few days before He attained mukti, I had gone with my parents to Kancheepuram for darsanam. I was asked to examine Maha Periyaval and take his blood pressure. As He was not in good health, only I was permitted to go in. The first question He asked me was “Has (your) father come”? I replied “Yes”. Maha Periyaval closed His eyes and remained silent. I took His blood pressure and came out. That was the last time I spoke to Him. I like to think that He blessed us silently on that occasion too!