Monday, May 31, 2010

Guru Samarpanam - Issue # 2

Speech by Sri Muralidhar Swamigal about Mahaperiyava

There have been Mahatmas in every age. They have divine vision. Nothing is unknown to them. Sri Ekamram (a householder who had been a personal attendant to Maha Periyava for nearly three decades) said that once when Maha Periyava had camped in Pandaripura, there lived in this holy kshetra a young boy who used to do severe sadhana. He used to visit Periyava every day. His hair was unkempt and he wore religious marks on his body. He repeatedly sought sanyasa from Maha Periyava. But Maha Periyava's only response to all his pleadings was silence. Whereas, there was this man who was doing 'bhiksha kainkarya' (cooking and serving food) to Maha Periyava and who was not in the least interested in sanyasa.

But Periyava coaxed him into it! This man went on grumbling, 'I did not want sanyasa but Periyava has given it!' And people around found fault with Periyava's actions. They said, "How religious and spiritual this young boy is but Periyava has refused sanyasa to him whereas He has given it to another who does not want it and does not seem to deserve it!"

People see and judge a person outwardly whereas a Mahatma 'sees' through him and knows him inside out. After some years it was learnt through newspapers that this boy who had sought sanyasa from Periyava had married a foreign lady! With our limited mind we cannot see within. But a Mahatma's viewpoint ('drishti') is always right. To comment on their actions or to analyze their actions is very wrong. Maha Periyava came to the peeta (of the Kanchi Mutt) at the young age of 12.

Maha Periyava took sanyasa at the young age of 12. He came to the Peeta at this tender age. Just as we say a father should behave like a father, a mother should behave as befitting her status, so was Maha Periyava as a 'Peetadipathi' (Head of a Religious Mutt). He was an example of how a Peetadipathi should be. He was so in all aspects - as a Sanyasi, as a Guru, as a Vidwan and as a Tapasvi. He possessed highly exceptional qualities that are beyond description ('anirvachaneeyam' ).

He was an adept in Mantra Shastras. Once, a poor boy came to Maha Periyava in deep anguish. He had none to call his own except a sister whom he had married off. But she had become mentally deranged and her in-laws were pressuring him to take her back. He had no permanent earning or place of stay, and so was perturbed about bringing his sister back. She used to behave abnormally. Periyava asked the boy to bring the sister while He performed Lord Chandramouleeswara puja. Periyava said that after the puja He would do japa with the sandal paste ('chandan') which He would splash on her; and, she will react violently and run to a mango tree. Periyava instructed that none should follow her or stop her. She was very restless when she was brought in and would not stand there. Maha Periyava did as He had said. She ran out and hit against a tree and fell. She then became all right as the 'brahma rakshas' that had caught hold of her had left her. No allopathic medicine can cure such troubles. They will call it nervous weakness and at the most put the person to sleep using sedatives.

We proudly declare that a person had lived for 100 years but what is the use of living that long without a goal? But if Maha Periyava has lived a hundred years it had been a real living. He has shown how one should live. He remained as a beautiful ornament to the Peetta that he had occupied.

Once a topmost official in the Government asked Maha Periyava, "What is the way out ('gati') for me?" Maha Periyava said, "Once a goat has been caught by the tiger it can never escape its clutches. So, one on whom 'Guru kataksha' (glance) has fallen he cannot escape it." The official said, 'I am not a goat but a wild buffalo. The wild buffalo escapes tiger's jaws!' Maha Periyava said, "But the the scar of the attack has been left by the tiger. And that will work!" This person then asked, "Point out to me all the fake swamijis. I will put them all behind bars," and further inquired of Maha Periyava, "How to differentiate the good from the bad?"

Maha Periyava said, "Once while camping near Satara I had hidden three ripe mangoes in a basket full of unripe mangoes. When a child came in I asked it to pick a mango from the basket. It picked up a ripe one! A child could pick up the ripe mango from amongst a basket full of unripe ones. Just as the way a child knows what is ripe and what is unripe, so too would those who go out in search of Truth recognize a true Mahan at some point of their life." A devotee of Maha Periyava, was in tears as He did not visit her home. Maha Periyava said to her, "Why do you invite me into a home built of bricks? I will come and sit in the home of your 'hrudaya' (heart)!" What wonderful words? How could he coin such words out of the blue?

Once, Maha Periyava addressed a big gathering, "All of you have assembled here eagerly to listen to me. You have extended a big welcome to me here and all of you are also lending assistance to the Mutt. Everybody says that I must speak something. Instead, I feel that I can spend the time better in meditating on Ambal (Devi). What is the use of mere words? I feel that I should meditate on Ambal. There is no use of offering any 'upadesa' (counsel) to you all without doing any dhyana of Ambal. And again there is no need for words once I successfully complete the dhyana of Ambal and attain Her! This is because just by seeing me all of you will be transformed! Therefore, words are useless under all circumstances! "

Once, Maha Periyava performed a detailed 'upanyas' on Adi Sankara under the heading 'Egoless Acharyal'. Once, while speaking with His close devotees, Maha Periyava said, 'It is said that sanyasis (ascetics) should not possess any desire. But, I have a desire!' When the devotees asked, ‘What is it?’ Maha Periyava said in all humility, 'I desire that none in the world should know that such a sanyasi lives!' Further, in a 'Deepavali' special issue brought out by a weekly many years back, the replies of dignitaries from various walks of life to the question, 'what is the lesson learnt by you from the world?' had been published. This question was placed before Maha Periyava also. Maha Periyava said to them, "Every moment the world is teaching me some lesson. But only I do not possess the required maturity to learn!" This shows His humility.

Once, when Paul Brunton (a foreigner who came to India seeking a spiritual Master and the author of the famous book 'Search in secret India') sought 'upadesa' from Maha Periyava, Maha Periyava offered him the wonderful 'upadesa', "Be humble! You will find what you seek!"

Just through deep continuous thought ('smaran') of Mahatmas ('punya purusha') we will attain their state.” We also give below an interesting incident that Sri Ekamram (a householder who had been a personal attendant to Maha Periyava for nearly three decades) narrated, to show the value placed by Maha Periyava to all the work of the Mutt without any difference of high or low.
The different duties in the Mutt were allotted to different staff. As such it fell on a young man to wash the vessels used in the Sri Chandramouleeswara Puja. One day this young man while washing the vessels thought aloud, this is the lowliest and worst of all the services rendered in this place! This grouse of the young man fell on the ears of Maha Periyava who happened to pass by.

The next day Maha Periyava instructed all the staff of the Mutt to assemble in His presence.
When all had reported, Maha Periyava said, 'There are innumerable people who consider it the highest of blessings to wash the vessels used in Sri Chandramouleeswara Puja. But here is this young man who feels otherwise. Therefore, today he should be spared of this duty and all the rest of you should each wash a vessel!' And that day even the manager, who was only a year or two younger to Maha Periyava and a highly learned and intelligent man, lent a hand in washing the Puja vessels of Sri Chandramouleeswara. The young man quickly realized his mistake and fell at the feet of Maha Periyava. From then onwards he attended to his duty with all enthusiasm and reverence."

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Saturday, May 8, 2010

Guru Samarpanam - Issue # 1

Now people want to live in comfort and to be provided with all sorts of amenities. There is no end to their unseemly desires. In America, it is said, everybody has a bungalow, car, radio, telephone, etc. But are people there contented? No. There is more discontent in that country than in our own. There the incidence of crime is more than anywhere else. It is all right that every American has a car. But today's car is not good enough for them tomorrow. More and more new models keep coming in the market and each new model offers more comfort than the previous one. This means that the American citizen is compelled to earn more with the appearance of each new car. A time may come when aircraft will be used in the U. S. for people to fly from house to house.

Similarly, we see such a progression all over the world in the matter of housing. First there was the hovel or the hut; then came the dwelling with the tiled roof; afterwards houses with cement and concrete walls. The flooring also changed over the years. First the floor was wiped with cowdung; then it was plastered and cemented; the mosaic flooring came later; and the search is on for smoother and shinier surfaces. It is the same case with clothing - better and finer fabrics are being made everyday. Although we are already living in comfort we are all the time using our ingenuity to discover objects and gadgets that will make our life still easier. However, all the time we are likely to have the feeling of uneasiness with all the comforts we already possess and this means there will be no end to our yearnings. Not knowing any contentment or peace of mind we are compelled to earn more and more. It is like thinking that fire can be extinguished by pouring petrol on it; we keep discovering newer and newer objects but in the progress we keep further inflaming our longing for ease and comfort. This truth was known to our sages, to our forefathers. They taught us that we ought not to seek more than our bare needs. In recent times Gandhiji impressed upon the people the same lesson.

In this century, people seek ostentatious living in the name of progress. So long as the hunger for new comforts continue neither the individual nor society will have contentment. There will always be feelings of rivalry, jealousy and heart-burning among people. In the varnasrama dharma, the Brahmin and non-Brahmin are equal economically speaking. In spite of the caste differences, the same simple living is enjoined on all. The ideal of equality can be achieved only if all people live a simple life. In this order every individual experiences contentment and inner happiness and no one has cause of envying others their prosperity. No man, whatever his vocation, should have either too much money or too many comforts. Above all what is important is that for which all these are intended but that which cannot be truly obtained through them: contentment and a sense of fullness within. Only when there is inner satisfaction can one meditate on the Lord. And only in the mind of a man who has such contentment is the Ultimate Truth realised as a reality. When a person has too many comforts he will be incapable of going beyond the stage of sensual pleasures. If he is addicted to enjoyments, without any need for physical exertion, he will do injury to his mind, and his inner being. Hard work and the capacity to suffer discomforts are essential for those who yearn for Atmic uplift. They will then learn to realise that there is comfort in discomfort and in hard work.

Mahaperiyava miracle experienced by Ghatam Mastero Vikku Vinaykram

An ardent devotee of the Paramacharya, he attributes all the success to his bountiful blessings. “I have felt his divine presence on more than one occasion,” he says.

Once Vinayakram went on a tour to Athens to perform a concert alongwith L. Shankar and Zakir Hussain. Somehow the ghatam he took got broken a few days before the scheduled date. Vinayakram was in tears and called his wife in Chennai and told that he would like to return as there is no point in staying in Athens. His wife told him to wait for one day and she went to Kanchi Mutt and told the same to Acharya. Acharya did not reacted for her statement and kept quiet. She was in tears and when she was about to leave Paramacharya gave a full coconut and remained silent. Meanwhile Zakir Hussain went scouting around Athens and atlast found it in a show piece in an American’s House. The American was initially skeptical in giving telling that the person who gifted to him asked him not to give or sell it to anyone. When asked who has gifted him the Ghatam he told it was “Vinayakram” to everyone’s surprise. Zakir then told him that the ghatam is required by the same person who has gifted you. The American then decided to part the ghatam with a letter to Vinaykram that the is happy to part the ghatam if it of great use and you will not be let down by the Lord whom you worship. Even more surprising the instrument was exactly in the same sruti in which Vinaykram were to perform.

In another occasion in Germany, after missing a flight to the U.S., Vikku spent some time going around a music shop. On learning that the visitor was Vinayakaram, the shopkeeper showed him a ghatam and asked him to certify it. It was made by a German lady. Vikku was satisfied with the tonal quality that equalled the ones made in India. A jubilant shopkeeper gifted it to Vikku despite the latter’s protests. On reaching the U.S., Vikku found his own ghatam in a broken condition and used the one he got as a gift for the concert. The sruti was G (5kattai) and it perfectly matched the concerts aadhara sruti of C (1kattai). Convinced that it is Maha Periyaval’s ghatam, Vikku has found for it a place in his puja room.

Reference :

Hindhu Dharama – by Sri R.G.K.
The Hindu – “Pot of Rhythm”
Talk by Sri Ganesa Sarma