'' Thatha, Ramanujulu a Telugu gentleman , has come to see you. Shall I bring him in?'' Gopu the grandson asked.
'' By all means, but I dont recollect having known anyone from Andhra by that name as yet.''
Kamala the local school teacher brought a taal lean person, with deepset eyes and partly bald headed moustached old man in a khadar jibba.
On seeing him Thatha said ''Namasthe'' and before the person could talk anything Kamala teacher intervened and introduced him as a new colleague in her school.
''He is our new Hindi teacher. When I told him about you, he wished to see you and pay his respects''
Sorry sir, I dont know Tamil, and I will be happy to talk to you in English, as I am told you are not familiar with Hindi.
''Yes Mr. Ramanujulu.''
I have heard many interesting stories about Maha Periyavaa of Kanchi Mutt through Kamala teacher which you write and told her also.
I wish to hear from you about Him, any incident which you may remember readily, which would make really happy to hear from you.
'' I am glad you have heard and know about the great God who walked on earth, until recently. A couple of days ago I read about an incident whch would explain his Deerga Dharisanam (Fore knowledge)
Thatha then started telling about Maha Periyavaa.
''You see Mr Ramanujulu, a small bit of salt is enough to turn a potful of milk into curd. When you are engaged in Dharmik activities association with a single bad element is enough to spoil it. That is why our ancestors always preached about our having to be very selective in acquiring friends and entertain Sath Sangh. Any bad influence would prove disastrous for a long time good image earned by hard work and sincerety.
Maha Periyavaa was once camping at Kalavai, near Kanchipuram. It was a bright April morning with Sun's rays beginning to be harsh. Despite the sweating Sun, there was a large crow of devotees thronged around the hut-shed where Mahaperiyavaa was seated. Then a big car arrived there and people gave way to the big pot bellied man who alighted from the car and neared Periyava's place with baskets full of fruits and garlands.
Someone in the crowd knew him and murmured to others '' He is a big criminal lawyer from Thanjavur''
The lawyer's wife clad in ceremonial 18 cubit saree along with two boys, carrying new dhoties, upper cloths accompanied the lawer who was wearing Panchakachcham in the traditional way with his upper cloth tied around his waiste carrying a bamboo tray containing the fruits, garlands, cashewnuts, dired grapes, almonds etc., and there was a brown fat envelope also therein.
The family bowed and stood before Periyavaa, and the lawer folded his hands after placing the basket and tray ful of offerings.
Periyavaa just gave a cursory glance at the tray and basket and in his feeble voice asked the lawyer, '' What is the envelope for ?''
''Periyavaa it contains some small money''
''what do you mean by ''small money'' Is it Ten rupees or Eleven rupees?''
The big lawyer looked at people around him watching the exchange between him and the Periyavaa, thought perhaps the Mahan has underestimated his image and so pretended to be very humble and polite but expressed loudly so that all could hear ''Fifteen thousand rupees''
He wanted others to know he was rich and a big criminal lawyer earning a lot and wanted to exhibit his capability.
For a few minutes Periyava kept silent and then asked him ' How did you come here from Thanjavur?''
'' In our airconditioned big car Periyavaa'' replied the rich lawyer in an audible loud voice.
'' I see. Take the cover and safely keep it back in the car. Flowers and fruits are enough''
The lawyer never expected this and shuddered with utmost shock. He simply followed the instruction given by the Periyavaa.
Periyavaa distributed the fruits and flowers to all others in his presence and sent the family after talking to them for a few minutes with Vibudhi Kumkuma Prasadham.
The sound of the car leaving the place was heard by the silent spectators.
Periyavaa looked at the disciples and bakthas looking at Him perplexed as to why He did not accept the huge sum of Rs 15000. Periyava could easily read what was working on their minds and so he announced.
What the criminal lawyer brought to me was part of the fees he earned in winning a case based on lies and falsity in the honourable Court. Swearing on holy books has become a laughing stock. I did not want to accept anything being part of a Papa Karyam.
Though the Kanchi Mutt was poor and was in great need of funds for maintaining and administering the Mutt activities Periyava was very firm in his principles. The bakthas present learnt a bit of salt was enough to curdle a potful of milk.
Ramanuju's eyes were full of tears and he folded his hands and prostrated before Thatha and wanted his permission to visit frequently to learn more from him. Kamala teacher as usual had no words to thank as her grateful eyes shed tears of perfect happiness.