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Sunday, January 24, 2016

‘Periyava Utharavu!’

Periyava was standing like a tree with folded hands. No movements. No speech. Not even ‘kan-jaadai’ (eye signs). Sri Kannan Mama and Sri Baranidharan took ‘Utharavu’ and left to Thindivanam.
They were recollecting how it all began….
It was the year 1958 in Sanskrit College. Sri Baranidharan (aka Sridhar, Cartoonist, Marina, drama writer) belonged to a family full of ‘Honours’ of those days. Sri Vasan of Anantha Vikatan sent a letter across to Sri Kannan Mama for getting the blessings of Periyava for the article written by Sri Baranidharan. Sri Kannan Mama who was toiling till 12 midnight and then up again by 3 am with Periyava, couldn’t manage the ‘load’ of Bhakthas in Madras.
So, when Sri Baranidharan wanted to have darshan of Periyava and get the article blessed, Sri Mama responded, “Publish as such… Why anugraham from Periyava… Will inform later.”.
If Periyava had to give a nod to the article, it may take another half-an-hour or one hour more, making it too tiresome after the midnight. While thinking so… ‘Periyava Utharavu!’ came.
‘Periyava Utharavu!’, someone came and told Sri Kannan Mama. So Sri Mama rushed inside. By that time, Periyava came and sat in ‘Pallaakku’ where Sri Mama used to blew the mosquitoes with a hand-fan for sometime, soo that Periyava will get into ‘Vishraanthi’.
Periyava started the conversation…
Periyava: “Were you talking to someone?”
Mama: “Some guy named Sridhar… He draws cartoons in ‘Anantha Vikatan.. He has brought the recommendation letter from Vasan… Wished to show it to Periyava for anugraham…”
Periyava looked as if what’s next? What’ll Sri Kannan Mama say…
Sri Mama recollects, “எனக்கும் அலுத்து போறதொன்னொ… ஒரு நாளைப் பாத்தா மாதிரி பதினோரு மணி…பன்னெண்டு மணி ஆயிடுதோன்னோ…இதைப் போய் சொன்னாக்கா, அவனை கூபிடுனுட்டா அது கூட ஒரு அரை மணி ஒரு மணி ஆயிடும்…” (Every single day, by the time all the chores are done, it’s almost 11pm or 12 Midnight… It gets so tiring… If I say this, Periyava would interrogate for that and it will take another half-hour to one hour for that)
But everyone knows the ‘Golden Rule’:
“பெரியவாக்கிட்ட பொய்யே சொல்லக்கூடாது…. (We should not lie to Periyava)
பெரியவா ஒரு காரியம் சொன்னாக்க அதை ‘முடியாது’ன்னு சொல்லக்கூடாது!”, (If Periyava orders to do something, we shouldn’t deny it) as mentioned by Sri Sivan Sar to Sri Ugranam Thiyagu Thatha.
So, Sri Kannan Mama said all about what happened as is: “ஒழியறப்போ பாக்கலாம்னு சொன்னேன்…” (“I said, Will see that at leisure…”)
Periyava said, “ஒழியறதுனா… எப்போ ஒழியறது? இப்பவே கூப்பிடு அவனை!” (When can we find leisure time, call him now itself.)
Sri Mama recollects, “ஓரே ஒரு தட்டி இருக்கும். அதுக்கு அந்தப்புரம் இருந்து இவாள்ளாம் கேட்டுண்டு இருப்பா… பரணிதரன், எம்.எஸ், எல்லோரும் அப்படி கேட்டு கேட்டுதான் என்கிட்ட பிரியம். இல்லேனா என்கிட்ட என்ன இருக்கு? ‘பாட்டரிய தொட்டுண்டு இருக்கிறவரைக்கும்தான் பொம்மை ஆடும்… இல்லைனா பொம்மையை குழந்தை உடைச்சிட்டு போயிடும்’. நமக்கு அந்த மாதிரி யோக்கியதை…”, in a humblest way. (There used to be a “thatti”… Devotees will be on the other side of it listening to Periyava… Baranidharan, MS and many others got acquainted to be only through such communications. If not for my service to Periyava, what stature do I have? recollects Mama in a humblest way).
Sri Baranidharan was called upon. He came and with mixed feelings, submitted the article that he had written – Will Periyava accept? Or Will Periyava reject?”.
Periyava began to read it. And started talking…
“சென்னையில் பொன்மாரி” (“Chennaiyil ponmaari”)
“உனக்கு சமஸ்க்ரிதம் தெரியாதோ?” (Don’t you know Sanskrit?)
Sri Baranidharan replied, “இல்லை தெரியாது…” (I do not know)
“அதான் சமஸ்க்ரிதமா சொன்னதை எல்லாம் விட்டுட்டே! அதையும் யார் கிட்டேயாவது கேட்டு எழுதிக்கோ! பொன்மாரின்னு போட்டுருக்கியே… கல்மாரின்னு போடேன்!” “இல்லை… அப்படி போடக்கூடாது…” “ஏன்? மன்மதன் புஷ்பம்தான் போட்டான்…எரிஞ்சி போயிட்டான். ஆனா சாக்கிய நாயனார் கல்தான் போட்டார்…அது அர்ச்சனைதான்.” (That’s why you didn’t include what all were said in Sanskrit… Ask someone about it and include that as well.. )
Periyava blessed the (first) article capturing the ‘Upanyasam’. Sri Baranidharan then did something that was never ever done by anyone.
Sri Baranidharan kept a Pen in front of Periyava. Periyava never wrote as a Sanyasi, took that pen and HE just drew a line and returned to him. Sri Baranidharan was excited.
Sri Kannan Mama recollects, “அப்புறம் ஆத்துக்கே போகலை…இங்கேயே இருந்திட்டான்” (After that, he didn’t go home, he stayed there.)
Nearly for two and half years, Sri Baranidharan spent most of his time after office at Periyava’s camp in Chennai. He had written all the ‘upanyasam’ by Periyava in Chennai.
On Periyava’s advice, a series of articles and then a book covering several ‘yatra’ and the temples in India under the title: ‘Thiruthala Mahimai’ were published. In Tamilnadu, nearly 250 temples were specifically covered!
Whatever Periyava shared with Sri Kannan Mama about His schooling in Thindivanam aroused tons of curiosity. During a ‘moola’ star day, when Periyava was in ‘Kashta mounam’, they set to their exciting tour to Thindivanam. (We’ll see that in the future postings.)
Till today Sri Baranidharan thinks, it was Periyava who shaped his career as a writer.

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