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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Maha PeriyavaaL who ruled over me-02

A VaishNava Jeeyar SwamigaL had newly received the sannyAsa Ashrama svIkAram (order of the ascetic).

As he had much interest in Maha PeriyavaaL since his pUrvAshramam (earlier state of life), he wanted to meet the sage now. When his wish was conveyed to Periyavar, he sent the MaTham van. Jeeyar SwamigaL, myself and some assistants went in the van.

As the Jeeyar SwamigaL came, Periyavar welcomed him with a blossoming face saying, "vArum, shrI rAmAnujarE (Welcome, Sri Ramanuja)!" and followed it with the words, "No, no... srI irAmAnusarE!!" (This was because when do sevA of the prabandham, we would call it IrAmAnusa NUtrandAdi, adding an 'i'; and Periyavar had that subtlety in mind).

When the prabandha sevA was over, the sage blessed the saint with the words "innum oru nUtrANDirum--live for another hundred years..." and honoured him with a green shawl with jari decorations, and fruits. At that time the sage told the rare newsbit that the palanquin in the SriPerumpudur temple was given as a gift by the previous Sri Kanchi PIThAdhipatigaL.

*** *** ***

The Rajagopura Kalasam of Kanchi Varadaraja PerumaL temple had fallen down and broken. The divine repair project to the Rajagopuram was started at the initiative of Periyavar and the works were going on.

Periyavar at that time was camping in Tenambakkam. He took it as his custom to do daily pradakShiNam of the sannidhi mADa streets of the Kanchi Devaraja PerumaL temple. The pace of Periyavar's walk was one that could not be met by the others!

Periyavar stood for a few minutes at the entrance of our home in the North Mada Street and did dhyAnam; he looked towards the inside of the house. We did not understand then as to 'what for is this look of grace'. It was not known as to why Periyavar who passed our house with his usual pace every day stood before it on that day (23-12-1977) and then passed along.

Could it have been due to tiredness of his frame caused by the swift pace of his walk? No.

We understood the reason during that night. Yes, my sacred father on that night attained paramapadam (obtained VaikuNTa prApti).

(My father had no eyesight. He was always doing pArAyaNam of the Vishnu SahasranAmam. He would attend the gopUja, gajapUja held in the evenings at SriSankara MaTham located in the Yanaikatti Street; and do sahasranAma pArAyaNam there.

*** *** ***

I had gone to do sevA of PeriyavaaL, along with three directors of the New Delhi Central Government Transport department. Morning six-thirty on a Tuesday.

'Periyavar is not well, so no darshan today', the SriMaTham chippantis (assistants) told us.

The directors Tiru. Anandakrishna Aiyyar, Suman (a North Indian) and Gopalan were much disappointed.

Venkudi doctor examined PeriyavaaL and said, "Fever with 103 degrees of temperature; may not do the snAnam."

"Today is mangaLa vAram, I must do snAnam in the mangaLa tIrtham..."

"A thousand mangaLa vAra snAnas you have done; it's alright if one mangaLa vAra snAnam is not done."

Periyavar got up suddenly, came out quickly, inquired the Muslim who was selling pori at the GangaikoNdAn Mandapam entrance of his health, passed that way to the MangaLa TIrtham and prepared to take bath!

The MaTham assistants were aghast! They ran to him and said, "We shall bring some warm water, and Periyavaa should do snAnamin that warm water on the banks of the pond." Periyavar agreed to it.

Forthwith all of us (including the Delhi director) started doing pArAyaNam of the Purusha SUktam.

On the banks of the MangaLa TIrtha PushkaraNi, a mahonnata abhiShekam (divinely eminent bath) took place as a sight that filled the eyes and overflew.

It was a wonder of wonders for the three officials who were worried on that day about having at least a minute's darshan of Periyavar,--the sight of Periyavar doing snAnam, Purusha SUkta pArAyaNam becoming food for their eyes and ears!

*** *** ***

Once it happened that I, who was working in the administrative office of the Chennai Harbour, had to take my higher official Tiru. S.Ganesan for darshan of Periyavar.

After inquiring him of his pUrvottaram (preceding and following members in the family tree), the places he worked and such other things, Periyavar asked him, "Do you perform the sandhyA vandanam every day?"

"No. My udyogam (calling) is does not suit it... Periyavaa should excuse..."

After keeping silent for a minute, Periyavar said: "Shall I tell you a prAyashchittam (atonement) for it? Could you do it?"

"Shall do it", said Ganeshan.

"You said you have three daughters. What would you do if you had four?"

"I shall educate that girl too well and get her married in a good place."

"Assuming that you have four daughters, whatever you would do that fourth daughter, spend that money for a kAryam (task) I shall tell you now.

"According to our Shastras, the nitya karmAnuShThAnas (daily religious observances) and studying the Vedas differ as per the gotra--sampradAya. The SandhyA Vandana mantras are not identical for everyone. With proper pandits, you should arrange to examine those mantras and classify them based on the shAkhA-gotra-pravartAdi (brach of the Veda and gotra), and publish handy books. You must distribute those books free to the boys studying in colleges and polytechnics. At least a few of them would in later days undertake the karmAnuShThAnas as per their tradition. You call the Mahapandits of the Mylapore Samskrta College to your bungalow, discuss with them and publish the books..."

My higher official agreed to the proposal enthusiastically. (But then I have no knowledge if those books were published).

This incident is an example that Periyavar had concern for the next generation.

*** *** ***

Periyavar had unnata bhakti (high devotion) towards Sri Kanchi Devaraja PerumaL. (Deva PerumaL = Devarajan = Varadarajan).

On the day of Garuda sevA, if PeriyavaaL happens to be in Kanchipuram, it was his custom to do sevA to PerumaL standing in some place (inside the sannidhi, at the Gopuram entrance, entrance of the sixteen-legged mandapam, entrance of the Kacchabesvara temple or near the GangaikoNdAn Mandapam opposite the MaTham).

In return in the evening, as accords a MaThAdhipati, the honours of bahumAna panchamudra saDAri* would be done to Periyavar.

In the same way, if Periyavar happens to be in Kanchipuram, on the day of Sri VaikuNTa EkAdasi he would come to the temple (sometime between the morning and night), do sevA of PerumaL without disturbing others and return to his place. I have also witnessed his going on pAdayAtra to the eight sannidhis in the eight Divyadeshas in Kanchi for having the aShTa vishNu darshanam on the VaikuNTa Ekadasi day.

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