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guru sat charitam (Guru's Holy Life)
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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2007 3:54 pm    Post subject: guru sat charitam (Guru's Holy Life) Reply with quote

oLiyudan oru nAL (A Day with the Light)
author:....... Raa. Ganapathi
source:....... maitrIm bhajata, pages 120-182
publisher:.... Divya Vidya Padhippaham (Aug. 2006 Edition)
type:......... book, Tamil

Pages 120-125

On the occasion of the 114th Jayanthi Mahotsavam of Kanchi Paramacharya, we are blessed to have a look at a day in his life, as narrated by his staunch devotee and inimitable author Sri Raa. Ganapathy in his book 'maitrIm bhajata'.

It's a long account extending over 60 pages. As usual, I shall try to serve this prasAdam by the only way I can do it--in smaller instalments.
-- saidevo

Arjuna had the desire to know how would one anchored in jnAnA be, how would he talk, how would he sit and walk and do such things (in his daily life). Such a desire is one that could commonly arise in every one of us. And when we start knowing it, that holy fount would wash our dirts a little.

How would our JnAnaGuru, who is a jnAna niSTA (always established in wisdom), be? How would he talk, remaining full of peace in unity, full of love in duality? How would he sit, so closely, unassumingly? How would he walk, in countless poses? As hamsa (swan), also as the pArasika ashva (Persian horse)?

How can it all be told in such a few words? Alright, let us have a look at the daily affairs of our Acharya KamakotigaL in an orderly way. On the occasion of this holy Deepavali, let us reminisce on the nityappadi (daily affairs) of the JnAna Deepa OLi (lamp flame of knowledge). Isn't it that the grammar says of 'guru' as one who removes darkness?

The beats of the Nagaaraa drum in SriMaTham would rise in the air around four-thirty early morning, a time known as the Brahma MuhUrtam. It would be followed by the sounds of the Tangaa drum. The assistants would get up as this gaMbhIram (resonance) starts to engulf the atmosphere.

Even before them, with nobody except his antaranga kinkara (personal assistant) knowing when he got up, our Gurunathan would have awakened and finished his chore in the 'koTTAi' (washroom). 'To come back from the koTTAi' is the SriMaTham paribhAshA (slang) for 'he is back from the washroom, after answering his nature's call.

When he goes for that, the way he stands wrapping his vastram (cloth) over his head in a summAdu (turban), as according to the Shastras, would be a pose of grace!
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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2007 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

After answering the nature's call, he would do unerringly the act of cleaning himself with sand and water, known as mRttikA shuddhi, and the act of gargling his mouth, the exact number of times mentioned in the Shastras--the pEr-anubhUtimAn (great man of knowledge) who is past sakala shAstras!

Even his getting up in the morning should be in a Shastric time. "A muhUrta kAlam is 48 nimiSam (minute). The brahma muhUrtam starts three muhUrtas before the sUryOdayam (sunrise). Thus if the udayam is at six o' clock, brahma muhUrtam would start at 3:36 hours. It would be a dosham (deficiency) if one does not get up even after it starts."--From these words of his, we can do the anumAna (inference) that he gets up either at three-thirty or even earlier (in the morning).

We should stress the word anumAna because he would never on the maximum be explicit about the things concerning him; we should understand only by anumAna!

Our Acharya SwamigaL is a strange mixture! Looking at the simplicity of how he moves with everyone from the parama pAmarar (simple rustic), weaving himself through them with an open heart, we know that he is completely without the qualities of obstinacy and reticence. We have the happiness of knowing with utter clarity that personification of purity and simplicity who is crystal clear in his manners.

But then even within that crystal clarity what amount of thievish secrecy?

I have titled this account 'oLiyudan oru nAL'. Light not only shows up other things clearly, but is itself clearly visible. It is that quality which makes the other things known clearly. Since the katturai nAyakar (hero of this essay) is like that light, this title (for the account on him).

But then strangely, this oLiyudan oru nAL will also be oLivudan oru nAL (A Day with the Veil)!

Why one day, even for those who spent their entire life in his service, he has remained in a veil so they would never know about the jIvAdhara viSaya (life supporting details) concerning him!

Another strange thing lends its trace here. We would all keep hidden our shortcomings, errors and ordinary human tendencies. We would let out and take pride of our skills and about anything good we have done. We would showcase our skills and good deeds, even imagining about them.

Such lowly shortcomings as ours are never possessed by that mahA mEru (the great Mount Meru). Still, when he looks at himself from the lofty state of that Meru, it seems to him that what he does and how he is have a few-many shortcomings. He would be natural and explicit about such shortcomings on his part.
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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2007 4:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whether an avatar, or the one who is born as a man and raised himself to the status of divinity through sAdhana and Grace, whoever it is, there are some human tendencies that are part of the human vesture that is worn by him. There are numerous indications for this in the life of avatars and other mahaans (great men). In that way, SriCaraNar would explicitly and naturally speak about his own tendencies so the people around him would know about them.

But then he would completely hide his skills, his wonderfully sublime tendencies and the good deeds that he did!

He would never speak about the jnAna pEranubhavam, the bhakti pEranubhavam (great experiences of knowledge and devotion) he had.

Not only that. As the peak of his good deeds, the great experiences of wisdom and devotion that he confer on some of his devotees--even those he would do remaining in a veil, never revealing that he did them!

He would never speak about his vidvat mahimA (greatness of knowledge) either.

Thus within the play of veil that he enacts in many ways, he would also not explicity show the wonderfully sublime tendencies related to the path that he travels, which is paved to the atom with the rules of the Shastras. He would not open his mouth to say that all he does from the time he gets up to the time he retires are only shAstrAcara (according to the Shastras).

Nevertheless, unlike the matters of knowledge and devotion, since this dharmAcara viSaya (matters relating to dharma) that fall under the Karma Yoga path, have their dealings with the outer world, we have the fortune of seeing well without any veil, in kArya rUpam (form of action), at least the one speciality of his shAstrAnuSTAnam (adherence to Shastras).

That guides us in such a path at least to some extent. And it prompts us to have a reverential attitude towards that path and feel self-pity for our inability to go that way.

If we keenly look at his andRAdam (daily life) with a feeling of devotion, we could infer the inner depth of some of what he does and feel happy about it, keeping well in mind that a day with the light is also a day with the veil.

anubhUti - perception; knowledge from any source but memory; (in phil.) knowledge gained by means of the four pramANas (perception by the senses, inference, comparison, and verbal authority); dignity, consequence.

anumAna - the act of inferring or drawing a conclusion from given premises; inference, consideration, reflection; guess, conjecture; one of the means of obtaining true knowledge.

sarala - candid, honest, straight, direct
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PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2007 2:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pages 125-128

For many other things, however, we can only infer about them much later, when some day we meet with their effects.

For example, we watch with our own eyes that he listens to numerous supplications from people day after day. We also watch with clarity, listen and celebrate how he listens to all the supplications, from the most naive to the loftiest, with utter compassion and utmost sympathy, and tells solutions, taking into account what is sAdhya (possible) and what is svabhavikA (natural) for each person.

But then the solution he says with his mouth later becomes for those devotees an actuality, made possible by his kRupA shakti (power of compassion) that entered into it a thousand times more powerfully than his verbal solution!

And this will be revealed by inference only to the devotee who received the solution from him. It will never be known to another person who is watching it today, standing next to the devotee!

It is not with such big matters of anugraha; even in small things such as brushing the teeth that is done by everyone, he would hide his speciality and let it be known only by inference.

After he is back from the 'koTTAi' (washroom), his next chore would be brushing the teeth. He would do it as the very danta dhAvana samaskAra of the Shastras, selecting only those twigs that are allowed, and gorgling only that many times as ordained.

One particular tree belonging to the milky and thorny variety, and is recommended as the best for brushing the teeth with, was found in a place where he camped. During those days he was there, PeriyavaaL would do his danta dhAvana using its twigs daily.

A kinkara (assistant) one day tried to brush his teeth with such a twig. After that he could hardly take his food for a week! So much bitter was that twig.

For PeriyavaaL however, that bitterness was not felt at all! So he had not mentioned about it to his assistants, when using the twigs of that tree for many days for brushing his teeth. From this incident, the kinkara inferred about the sage's jitendriyatva (the ability of subjugation of the senses)!

*** *** ***
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PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2007 2:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I said that only his antaranga kinkara (personal assistant) would know when PeriyavaaL gets up in the morning. Saying that would not mean that he was sleeping before he opened his eyes and got up! The personal assistant only knew when he got up, not when he awakened. Whether he would sleep before getting up or just stay in a sleepless state, only he knows.

Even at that time of early morning when he gets up before dawn after lying down in his mEnA (palanquin) or other kIkkidam (narrow place), a small growd would start forming around him with the yearning 'let this dawn be the time of dawn for their life too'. The KaruNalayar who took avatar to bless crores of people with soft words, would give them his blessing.

adAdA, what difference between the hero of this essay and its author! That Karmayogi of compassion would start his task of giving blessings as soon as he awakens to the outer world from his real sleep or sleepless state whatever, even before the first crowd of people gather around him. The author has failed to inform as such in writing the act of his blessing that the hero of this essay had as his daily practice!

Yes, this task of compassion would start even before he gets up and goes to the 'koTTAi'.

Is he not the holy figure of simplicity and concealment? Therefore he would not mostly show his blessings as the blessings he gives. Instead, he would disguise them as his own act of prayer for the sake of his praying devotee.

In that manner, after he awakens daily, as a first task he would say the prArthanA shlokA (prayer verse) that seeks sarva jana kSema (welfare of all people), with a mellow heart.

Sarve bhavantu sukhinah
Sarve santu niraamayaah |
Sarve bhadraani pashyantu
Maakaschit duhkha bhaag bhavet ||

May all be happy! (sukhinah)
May all be free from disabilities! (niraamayaah)
May all look (pashyantu) to the good of others!
May none suffer from sorrow! (duhkha)
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PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2007 2:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Occasionally, this shlokA would come out of his mouth audibly. On other days, this prArthanA would take place only within his mind, in his typical way of veiling things about him.

An assistant who happened to listen to his audible chant of this shlokA one day had requested the sage to teach him the shlokA. PeriyavaaL had said then, "Oho, did I tell it audibly today?"

shrEyO bhUyAt sakala janAnAnAm! (May the whole of humanity attain excellence!) is not just the concluding line of his song of blessings to the United Nations Organization. He is the shrEyo nidhi, Ashraya nidhi who always keeps it in his thoughts.

Thus, even before the shAstra pUrva kArya kramam (routine of scriptures) starts, the karuNA pUrva kArya kramam (routine of compassion) would start!

Is there any start, or end? Don't the North Indian musicians have a double tambura sruti--a tambura for pancamam and another for madhyamam? In a like manner, throughout his life of euphony and harmony (isai, isaivu), a tambura for advaita jnAnam and another tambura for dvaita karuNai have incessantly been buzzing as the AdhAra sruti (basic note)!

*** *** ***

dhAvana - washing, cleaning, rubbing off.
jitendriya - an ascetic, subjugation of the senses, having suppressed the organs of sense.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2007 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pages 128-133

After listening to the grievances of his adiyArs (devotees) and giving them solutions, he would take his tiru-muzhukkAdu (holy bath).

PeriyavaaL would do the mukkAla snAnam (bathing at three times in a day): in the early morning as prAtaH snAnam; mAdhyAnihakaH snAnam before noon; sAyaMkAlaH snAnam in the evening.

In the time between a snAnam and the puja that follows it, SriCaraNar would converse only in Sanskrit. He would speak that divine language as his mother tongue. When he handles our mother tongue Tamil, his mother tongue Kannada, and some other Indian languages Telugu, Hindi, and Marathi, why even English--as his mother tongue, what to say of the grace of his speaking that divine language? The style of his speaking that language would be as simple as his simple life. In addition, it is also the language of kindness that flows from his heart! So everyone would understand it. Where it is not understood, an assitant would translate it.

There are people who think 'what is wrong in speaking in languages other than Sanskrit? Should there be shAstram, sampradAyam even in these things?'

If we look at how a day of PeriyavaaL's passes, there will be many things that he does in the shAstrokta (scriptural) way. Though he is an advaita anubhUtimAn inside, what is visible to the outer world is only his dharma shAstra Ashrayam (patronage of dharma Shastras). It is this external conduct that appears important to us in his dinacarya (daily routine). Therefore we must apprise those who raise questions about him, of a foundational subtlety concerning him. We should inform the questioners--why, everyone else too--about PeriyavaaL's 'individuality'.

In nature's laws under God's creation of the world, there will be something that is of an opposite nature. Our PeriyavaaL would also say, "There must and will be pairs of opposites." He would say that the anti-body, anti-atom of the scientists and such inevitable opposite force appears to be an inevitable part of the lIlAnanda (joy of sport) of God's creative principles.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2007 4:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In His unintelligible lIlA in the present shakApta (era) of the Kali Yuga, God has given, generally for the entire mankind, the propensity to kick out even moral disciplinary bindings in the name of freedom! Under this trend, there are so many people who either totally reject the bindings of religion and scriptures without looking at the good and bad in them, or choose from them only what seems good based on their buddhi (intelligence) and saukaryam (easeness) to follow, and avoid everything else as not good. Should there not be an opposite even for this trend? Therefore, there must be some others who would completely accept the bindings of religion and scriptures without thinking about the good and bad in them. Indeed there are some people who are such. But then circumstances pressurize them to be unable to show in practice what they have completely accepted in mind.

In such a state, did not Lord Shiva restore the balance with the opposiite force of a kuRumuni (diminutive saint) who looked small in form, when the balance of the earth was upset by the inhabitants of the three worlds assembling at the Himalayas during His holy marriage? In the same way, He has brought about the happening of the avatara of our Guru Munivar, who has a diminutive form, to withstand as opposite force, all the Acara kattukkulaivu (loosening of the binding rules of conduct) that takes place, sarva vyapakam (prevalent everywhere) in the world today.

In this, God has also expressed his lIla caturam (dexterity of sport) in another way! Talking about a siddhAnta (doctrine) in the name of samatvam (equality), today's world is giving up many of the precepts of Acaram. In reality, however, there is no sarva jana sama prema (equal love for all the people) in anyone's heart. For this trend too, God has made as an opposite force, our Acharya SwamigaL who has sarva jana sama prema in his heart only to remain as an AcAra mUrti (icon of traditional conduct) who shows no samatvam but only differences outwardly!

As we saw earlier, while we all hide our shortcomings he hides his fullness acting as an opposite pole! God has made him as a rUpam (form) who as an opposing force, belittles himself openly to the world where it has become a rule for people to exaggerate themselves. Perhaps the Agastya of the ancient days and the Acharya Peruman of today remain diminutive in form, to highlight the greatness of simplicity seen in their smallness.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2007 4:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is not that there are no other pontiffs or heads of ashrams who eminently follow the rules of Acaram. But then even they consider it necessary to be flexible in the pressure of circumstances and they do remain flexible at such times. The modern world gives them the certificate that they have the broad-mindedness to accommodate the needs of the times. But they are not sufficient to create the balance as the opposing force. Without any question about time, need, good or bad, only SriCaraNar remains in this utpAda (upright) position, taking avatar to keep up the rule of the Shastras and balance the world from gong awry.

This is his individuality. God has sent him as an individual who keeps up the Principle of Shastras cent per cent, while all the other religious leaders remain as adherents in a lesser or larger way, of what is termed as the principle of progress. There is no puNya (good) in asking 'whether in today's circumstances, widows relinquishing their hair, brahmins remaining without crossing the sea, and such other things are needed, are they possible? Reestablishing the varNa dharma can be a possibility even in dream or imagination? Why is he holding on tightly to all such things?' If there is someone who completely rejects the rules of the Shastras, only when there is another who completely regards them as necessary, will the natural balance of Ishvara niyati (divine order) be kept and the world will be saved from derailing. If the disease is acute, its treatment would also be acute? Parashakti has enacted her play of keeping the balance with just one vyakti (individual) who possesses aparimita (limitless) spiritual power! He is an individual who has come in that way.

What is it that we refer to as the 'spiritual power'? Only love! In his external activities of observing the rules, it is true that he takes some people as suitable for certain things and rejects many others as not suitable for those things. In his heart, however, he is the one who showers love in vishva vyapakam (omnipresence) without rejecting anybody.

Only because of that visheSha (speciality), all the people in this world of freedom adore this strict disciplinarian as 'whatever said and done, he is a great man'!

*** *** ***

AshrayaH - patron, supporter, resting place, asylum, place of refuge
catura - dexterous, clever, ingenious, shrewd, charming, agreeable
utpAda - coming forth, birth, standing on legs, having the legs stretched out
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2007 10:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pages 133-137

Our Gurunathar is one who does everything according to the Shastras. As for our Shastras, they have given precepts for everything, including the dAmpatyam (husband-wife intimacy) considered parama laukikam (completely worldly), with the purpose of making every act fit for the Atma shreyas (liberation of soul). Sri Periyavaa is one who observes in an unblemished manner all the precepts given in them for a renunciate who is a maThadhipati (pontiff).

People ask about why so much Achara bindings for an Advaitin. In reality, however, only a true advaita anubhUtimAn (one established in Advaita) can observe all the (Achara) bindings and show that it can be done. In Dvaita, the mind will always remain. Only when it is present, can the duality of another thing be experienced (right)? When mind comes up, with that in Dvaita comes the inevitable difference in perception. And if that comes up, then likes and dislikes would surely follow. The mind does not like to be bound. When there are likes and dislikes, even if it a question of the Shastras, the two would stand up for a clash. The Advaitin has no illusion of the mind as the Self. He is one who has realized that he is the unbound Atma. He plays in the Dvaitic world only with a disguise that appears to us as his mind. He has no perception of differences. He looks at everything as one. So the one that appears as mind would accept whatever comes by, without liking or disliking it. Since it does not reject anything, it would accept anything that comes by.

In the kolam (state) of Kali, when everyone rejects the bindings of Shastras, to compensate and balance it, the responsible position of a Jagadguru was given to our anubhUtimAn. He is the one who has already realized the boundless Atma svatantra (freedom of the soul)! Therefore he shows the disguise that is his mind as the one that obeys all the bindings.

*** *** ***

We saw about his mukkAla snAnam (bathing at three times in a day). Even that snAnam is shAstravat (according to Shastras)! He does it according to the precept that the bather should not scoop up water and pour it over him; instead he should immerse himself in the water. This is known as avakAhaha snAnam.

When he camps in places where there is a river or a pond, this is done without any difficulty. In places where this facility is not there, water will be drawn from a well and poured into a large tub. If there is no such tub available, a new tub for this purpose would be built. If the well itself is not there, even a new one will be dug. There is no puNya (good) in the 'progressive thinkers' curving up their faces!
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2007 10:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

[On the occasion of SriCaraNar's camp during 1932 in the Mylai Sanskrit College, the well that was there was converted into a taDAkam (tank). It bears the name 'Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi Tirtham'.]

He would recite the aghamarshaNa sUkta (recited for ablution) and other mantras that are to be recited at bath time while taking bath.

After that vastra dhAraNam, vibhUti dhAraNam, japa mAla(s) dhAraNam (wearing of clothes, holy ash and rosaries).

There is no one who has not praised it; none who has not prostrated to him. The kAshayAmbara (saffron-clad) giving darshan as the very form of the paripUraNa (fullness) of parishuddha (purity), with vibhUti on his forehead, kANDikA on his neck, Kamandalu in one hand and the dhandam in the other, held as the scepter of Sanatana Dharma!*

The (onlooker's) mind will only say 'ParamaSivan, ParamaSivan' in that dharshan that PeriyavaaL who is the prema dIpam gives blending his Jnanagni and Achara jvAla (the flame of Acharas, referred to as neruppu (fire) in common parlance)!

In the morning, a vedavid (a Vedic pandit) would perform the puja in the ChandraMauleesvara Sannidhi for the kArAmpasu that is reared for this purpose in SriMaTham. Our Gurunathan who is like GoLakshmi that comes carrying its burden of compassionate nectar, would also be present at the time of this Go-puja (puja to the cow) in nirmala svarUpam (spotless form), after his bath, his already pure frame purified more by his bath. He would worship the cow that gives the nectar to perform abhiSeka (ablution) for Ishvara who is the VisvaNathan (lord of the universe). An illustration for what Lalitha SahasraNamam utters in adjacent terms as Gurumurti, Gunanidhi, Gomatha!**

The cow is beauty mixed with simplicity. The elephant is beauty mixed with majesty. After the Go-puja, the Gaja-puja would be held.

After this, our Gurunathan would finish his morning anuSTAnas (religious practices). The avatara who came to do pratiSTAbanam (establishment) of anuSTAnas! To talk of niSTai (meditation), only what he does is niSTai. If the Lokacharya who takes all the worldly affairs into his ears and gives solutions for them sits in an hour's japam, for that one hour, the world would totally slip away from him. Though it is referred to as 'an hour of japam', he would then be totally immersed in his Atman that is Brahman and is the root of the japam and dhyAnam. In other words he would be one with the ParamPoruL (Absolute Reality). Exactly an hour later, he would open his eyes. Even to put it that way is wrong...
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2007 10:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

...To say that he 'would open his eyes' would mean that he would be closing his eyes during his niSTai? That might not be the case. If our Gurunathan starts his niSTai with his eyes open, he would remain in the same state for that entire hour. His eyelids would not wink even for a fraction of a second. Whatever lights play before him, his eyes would not move; they would remain like the netrAs in a chitra (eyes in a painting).

Once when our Gurunathan was doing his japam, a pAriSada (attendant) who came to the place felt like having set his foot on a snake. This was because opposite our Gurunathar and very near to him a cobra lay coiled, raising its head, its hood in full spread before the sage's face, and its eyes looking at the sage's eyes. His eyes were open too, but they neither looked nor moved. Withdrawing silently, the pAriSada brought a cane basket, deftly inverted it and covered the snake. In addition, he kept standing there, to ensure that our Gurunathan did not accidentally open the basket after his niSTai dissolved. We have seen a similar later day's event in an earlier essay.

(The notes and glossaries are my additions. --sd)
* In Tirumantiram, Saint Tirumular describes the insignia of the Siva yogin:

To smear holy ashes is the first step to tapas.
Rings of copper in the ears,
And garland of rudraksha around the neck--
These, too, are other emblems
For Siva to reach.
Thus does the blemishless Siva yogin
For tapas prepare. Kundala for ears to adorn.
Kamandalu for water to hold.
Kandika for neck to fill,
A conch to blow, a bowl to beg,
And a kappara to hold the ashes,
The correct sandals and yogic seat,
The yoga sash and yoga staff--
These ten are the yogi's appurtenances.

Tirumantiram, Verse 1662 and 1664
( ...

** The relevant passage in Lalitha SahasraNamam reads:
Darandolita dirghakshi darahaso jvalanmukhi
Gurumurtir gunanidhir gomata guhajanmabhuh .. 121

Darandolita dirghakshi: Who has shapely, wide and elongated eyes tremulous with mercy.
Darahaso jvalanmukhi: Whose face is lit with a gentle smile.
Gurumurtir: Who assumes the form of the Guru.
Gunanidhir: Who is a treasure house of virtues.
Gomata: Who is the source of speech.
Guhajanmabhuh: Who is the mother of Guha (Kartikeya).
( / ...

kArAmpasu - (Tamil) a cow with black tongue and nipples
shreyas - good quality, virtue, virtuous deed, auspiciousness, blessing, Moksha
taDAka - a tank, pool, shore
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2007 4:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pages 137-142

Another occasion, SriCaraNar is going to Tiruvottiyur from Tandaiyarpet (Tondiarpet). He is walking, holding a covered vehicle that looks like a cycle rickshaw. (It is true that SriCaraNar who is tenderness personified walks softly like Goddess Ambika, but during his saMcAra (wandering) in the outer world, he would only practice the king's style of walking. Look, how fast he moves on! While walking in this manner on the roads, if there happens to be a temple somewhere in the distance, it would be known somehow only to him. His sriCaraNAs (holy feet) would immediately get out of their sandals and start walking on the ground, observing the practice of reverence mentioned in the Shastras. The sandals he got rid of would be kicked several feet behind due to the fast pace of his walk!)

On that day, when he is thus walking towards Tiruvottiyur, a sudden loud noise that freezes the blood is heard. It takes sometime to understand what that amanuSya (not human) noise is due to. Some puppies got stuck under the wheels of a speeding bus. The noise was due to their wail in the last pangs of death. While the people in his retinue finally manage to assuage their feelings, SriCaraNar himself goes on walking like an ivory doll, without slipping away from his regular, straight path.

To the pAriSadas (attendant) who do their kaingaryam (service) to him, the other people share their wonder of the sage's acala (rock-like) state. A pAriSada who has some idea about the inner-depth of the sage says, "He wouldn't know anything about the happenings that the road we are walking now is Tiruvottiyur highway, that a bus went through this road or that the puppies got stuck in its wheels. He is in his one-hour japam."

It remains a wonder for us as to how one who has no consciousness of his physical self could direct his legs and walk.

If Adi Sankara prayed, "Let my sleep be samAdhi; all my saMcAra be my pradakSiNas", for our Abhinava Sankara even saMcAra becomes samAdhi!

The wonder of directing the physical body in a mechanical fashion has been given to Parama Jnanis even in the state where they experience only their Atma.

In the same way, we need to think that the feel of time even in this kala atIta (going beyond time) state, has also been somehow with him, because when that one hour is over, he would dissolve his niSTA (meditation) on the dot of a second.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2007 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If the time has not increased by an hour in the clock when he gets up from his niSTA, it would only mean that the clock is wrong. For one who was totally unconscious of the world for a duration of one hour, he would continue his conversation where he left it before his meditation, dragging on with the words, "...Hm, vandhu (now)".

Our Acharya Peruman who is skilled in his experience of the Inner Light, guarded his Ashcarya shaktis (surprising powers) in a secret manner! That in itself is an AshcaryaM! Notwithstanding, on rare occasions his powers that hold surprise and wonder (to the others) would unfold their petals just a little. When SriCaraNar comes to the feel of the outer world after dissolving his state of samAdhi, on some occasions some puzzling words that hold surprise to the onlooker would part and drop out of his mouth. He would utter, lisping like a child, the name of some place and some person there. The onlooker would have no idea of the person, and PeriyavaaL would quickly cut that thread. Later, the same person would come and stand for darshan or a letter would be received from him.

This is not an ordinary thing of surprise that we usually refer to. This should be said as a special surprise. Because in his niSTA he had been united with the Brahman, completely rejecting the world of maya; but then when he gets back to the outer world, if something about that world of maya comes out of his mouth...! Did they say without knowing that nothing concerning a Jnani could be known by another person as it is!

The bhAgyavantAs (fortunate) who know about his inner skills would only laugh, "Does this man do niSTA and then dissolove it? Such changes he displays in his state are only his play!" They would shed tears of joy asking, "Do you think that he is united with ParamporuL only during that one hour and is away from It during other times?" He is the one who has become the act and object of niSTA, crossing the stages of going into and dissolving niSTA.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2007 4:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the same way that he walks and has the feel of time during the time of his niSTA that is known even to the rustic, he also attends to all the affairs in the outer world remaining in his inner life of anavarata niSTA (uninterrupted meditation)! That is what is talked about as jIvan mukti sthiti (the state of a liberated-while-living). It would be an apacAram (offense) to think that a Jivan Mukta stops at the state of his (external) acts because he does them. It is sahaja samAdhi (natural samAdhi) to remain in the state of samAdhi even during one's physical actions. To remain apart from physical acts while in samAdhi is kevala samAdhi (exclusive samAdhi). Like a child that sucks milk even in its sleep, a Jivan Mukta is seen engaging himself in his world affairs, always immersed in paramAnandam (complete bliss) of the paraveLi (trans-physical).

There is another simile here. To the simile that is told by a Sanskrit verse, our PatthinatthupPiLLai also has sung more or less identically. Those are the shloka and (Tamil) verse that PeriyavaaL fondly recites.

The mantra that Varaha Upanishad gives in the form of a shloka (verse):

pu~Nkhaanupu~Nkha vishhayekshaNa tatparo.api
brahmaavalokanadhiya.n na jahaati yogii .
sa~Ngiita taala laya vaadyavasha.n gataapi
maulistha kumbha parirakshaNa dhiir naTiiva .. 82..

82. As an actress, though subject (or dancing in harmony) to music, cymbals and other musical instruments of time, has her mind intent upon he protection of the pot on her head, so the Yogin, though intent for the time being upon the hosts of objects, never leaves off the mind contemplating on Brahman.

(Translation from: ...

PattinatthadigaL's song:

etthozhilaich cheitAlum etavatthaip pattAlum
mutthar manamirukkum monatthe! - vitthakamaik
kAthiviLai yadiiru kaivIsi vandAlum
tAthimana nIrkkudatthe tAn!

The AdigaLAr refers to the action of the women who carry pots of water that they bring from a river. When they walk away from the riverbank, even if they are playful and walk waving both their hands, their mind will always be on their pots.

"He has sung 'mutthar manamirukkum monatthe. irukkum or iRakkum (be or die) who knows?" said SriCaraNar.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2007 4:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We know by reading the biographies of some MahaPurushas that it was as difficult for them to come back from the nirvikalpa samAdhi, as it was to attain it getting united with the SatChitAnanda which is the real Existence-Consciousness-Bliss, after the mind processes and the mind itself fall away. It is said that those uttama vyaktis (lofty people) would remain in that state of samAdhi for days together! The others would have to catch hold and shake them violently, stopping short of beating them, in order to bring them back to the normal world!

Whereas in the case of our Gurunathan who is a Jivan Mukta who has attained the loftiest state, the getting into and later dissolution of niSTA happens very easily.

The cloud ascends the regions of the sky in seconds; and in seconds, it becomes rain and touches the earth. This is also a cloud. This is the cloud that gives to those who cannot withstand the heat and humidity, solace the moment its shadow falls on them and then spreads in the regions of the mind as abhaya hastam (the hand of protection), raining grace and blessings!

abhinava - quite new or young, very young, fresh; modern
anavaratam - uninterrupted, incessant
kevala - exclusive, only, mere, sole, isolated, simple, pure.
sthiti - standing, stopping, staying, remaining in or with; abode, place; situation, rank, dignity; devotion to or occupation with; stability, duration; firmness, constancy, existence, occurrence; state, condition; conduct, procedure; axiom, maxime, rule, custom, usage, boundary, limit; rectitude, virtue.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2007 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pages 142-145

Gurunathan's greatness is to get into any state by just the thought of it. Even then, to a large extent he always takes delight in showing himself in the normal state with human qualities, away from those amAnushya (superhuman) states. He partakes this drama wonderfully because he can effortlessly throw away his apAra shaktis (boundless powers). If the worldly people are to have faith on themselves (for spiritual progress), the Acharyan should also be like them and guide them. If the Acharyan always stays in the amAnushya state so that the others think 'we cannot reach such a state', then how can the disciples get the self confidence that they too can progress? Of all the prasAdams our SriCaraNar gives to his disciples, the most significant is this self confidence that he creates in them by showing himself as one of them and still be able to reach the Turiya state. We can thus say that he takes up the states of niSTai[/] (meditation) and [i]samAdhi in which he seems to have severed all external sensations--which is what Turiyam is as we have understood it--, only to show the people that a person who is like them can reach the state of Turiya and this gives them faith and confidence (in their own abilities).

As he comes out of his niSTai, our Gurunathan would do shravaNa (give ear to) of the Panchangam. In other words, that day's Panchanga details such as Tithi, Va(sa)ra, Yoga, Nakshatra, Karana would be read before him.

Then he would take bhASya pAtam (explanatory lectures) remaining the very 'original' Gurunathan to the pundit disciples who are trained in Veda and Vedanta. That is, he would explain the commentary given by Adi Sankara to Badarayana's Brahma Sutra. The same class would also be a sabha (assembly) for research in philosophy and Shastras. Above all, his svAnubhUti would flash and resolve even the most complicated puzzles in the text.

The vidvat shreSTas (best among the learned) too would speak admiringly about SriCaraNar's vyAkhyAna caturam (ingenuity of explanation).

It is said that some passages would confuse even the mahA vidvAns. They would all put their heads together, even debate with each other and express their differing conclusions. PeriyavargaL who encouraged all their discussions would later lay, "You people have seen the subject with all keenness. Something strikes me too. You think over and tell me if there is any room for making such a meaning out of it", and explain the thought that 'struck him' in clear Sanskrit.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2007 4:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Those pundita siMhas (lions among pundits) on hearing it would simply do AhAkAram (loud appreciation) of what they heard from him and do shASTaaN^ga namaskaram to SriCaraNaaL! And they would say with slithering tongue, "Only what Periyavaa says is the tAtparyam (real meaning). Bhagavat Pada himself has come as Periyavaa and clarified what he has written!"

(It is a scene of unique honour to witness PeriyavaaL surrounded by the vidvat ghoSTi (group of pundits). Is he not the one who showed in action the opinion of Bhagavat Pada that SriMaTham should remain as the ratnakoSa of Shastras? At Tirividaimarudur, when he did pratiSTA (installation) of Bhagavat Pada's sri pAdam (holy feet icons), he did ashtotra arcanA to it in a nUtana (novel) way using a hundred and eight shawls which he later gave in honour to the hundred and eight vidvat shreSTas who were invited for the occasion and took pleasure in doing so. The photography of our VidvanmaNi surrounded by them all would shoot a vidya rasmi (ray of light of knowledge) in our mind.

Gurunathar has taught the Shastric lessons to Sri Jayendra Saraswathi SwamigaL for many years with deep explanations and compassion. Sri Sankara Vijendra Saraswathi SwamigaL too is one who has received this bhAgyam. Apart from his, Gurunathan has also trained these two heirs with other pandita jAmbavats.

Readers might have seen the beautiful portraits (photographs) of the heirs taking lessons from the JnanaVaari (rain of knowledge). We present them here also as plates.

Following this, SriCaraNar would start giving darshan to the bhaktas. He would come and stand pouring coolness over the eyes that would be eagerly waiting with the thought 'eppo varuvAro, endRan kali teera? (when would he come, to mitigate my sufferings)'. Our Chandrasekharar would come and stand before the adiyArs (followers) as a moon that gracefully slipped from the full moon and touched the earthly world tenderly. The moonbeam will be there in his eyes, the moonbeam will be there in his handy gestures, the moonbeam will be there in his smile, and his speech. What will be there with the moon except moonlight? What will be there with Love except love?

nUtana - novel, recent, belonging to "now" or the present day, new, modern, young, fresh.
ratnakoSa - of a lexicon and various works
svAnubhUti - one's own experience, self-enjoyment
tAtparya - the real meaning, scope, or purport of a speech or work.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2007 6:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pages 145-149

Gitacharya divides bhaktAs into four classes: those who seek wealth, those who seek mitigation of sufferings, those who seek jnAna and the jnAnis who seek nothing. All these four classes come to SriCaraNar. Of them, the majority will be those who pray for betterment of their worldly life and those who seek mitigation of their physical and mental diseases. A few may be here who seek jnAna, bhakti and a good heart. And those who have already attained fulfilment, so need to ask for nothing, will be the rareest among the rare.

SriCaraNar has accomplished as a sAdhanA, the equity of taking all these people with similar anutApa (warmth).

Everyone has the right to come to this sannidhanam (holy place) and converse. There is no necessity for any prior appointment. Our Gurunathan is one who does anugraha (favour) to all the levels of people in status, society, spirituality or age, giving his ear to everyone in the same manner. If it is asked where one can look for equality, it can pointed out, with both hands extended, that the concept will be found here. With the suppleness of his mind glistening in all his body parts, the beauty of his sitting with laLitam (sweetness, grace) and conversing with laLitam (charm, grace)! One can understand why Goddess Ambika has the special name Lalitha!

In this morning hours, he would also go through all the important news from the newspapers.

After this the first session of puja. If there rises an AnandA in looking at a lotus flower with its layered petals, its pedestal within them, its kesaras (filament) around the pedestal and the yellow knob in each kesara, there is also a delight with the sight of a simple coral jasmine flower with its red stalk and ten or twelve petals. The short morning session puja ends like the simple coral jasmine flower. Not even the instruments play at that time.

Amidst thick silence our Gurunathan does arcanA to the spatika (quartz) lingam that is ChandraMauleesvara and the mEru chakra that is Kamakoti Tripura Sundari. He would then be seen with the intense shine that differentiates him as the tejo giri (shining mountain) Annamalai that is distinct from the man of moon we stared at early morning, raising our heads.

Darshan for the devotees, after the puja is over; and the dialogues of grace. It might stretch long hours at times.

Thereafter, finishing his mAdhyAnihakaH snAnam and anuSTAnam, he comes like a bunch of pearls for the second session puja.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2007 6:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

AhA, it is a bhAgyam to see him doing japa and dhyAnA. Especially when he meditates sitting on the banks of a river or pond under the vast expanse of the sky, a shanta saukyam (peaceful health) would be seen sprouting over him! His kolam (position) of meditation under the tree would spread cool shades in our heart! It is not as if his inner peace is refelected depending on the outer environment; even if he is seen doing meditation sitting in some dark room, the peace will gush into our hearts!

The second session worship is as elaborate as the beauty of the multi-layered lotus flower. To the spatika (quartz) lingam that is ChandraMauleesvara; to Goddess Tripura Sundari in the form of Sri Chakra of gold in three dimensions that is known as Meru; to the Goddess Herself in the form of a two-dimensional Sri Chakra in stone, known as bhu prastAra (a spread-out on earth)--made and gifted to SriCaraNar by the Bobbili Raja several years back, after employing a great Sivacharya who was also well learned in the Shastras, who made the SriChakra in its two-dimensional form in stone and sanctified it with special rites involving mantras; to the small svarNa vigraha (golden icon) Vinayaka; to the svarNa nAga (golden cobra) that is Lord Muruga (a Vel would be inserted in its mouth); to Narayana Murti residing in the Salagramam; to Surya Narayana remaining in the form of a crystal; and to Durga Devi in yantra rupa, he now performs an elaborate puja. Many people would have known that one of the Pancha Lingams given to Kaladi Sankara by sAkSAt Kailasha Sankara is in our MaTham. It is also the belief that the Salagramam here is the one that sAkSAt PerumaL gave him when Sankara sang his Karavalamba Stotra on Narasimha Murti.

In addition to these mUrtis (icons) to which SriMaTham Acharya SwamigaL himself does puja, there are many other vigrahAs (icons) such as Sri Adi AcharyaL (Adi Sankara) and Sri Rama. The MaTham SastrigaL would do the puja to them.

It is a custom to give the principal rank to Adi AcharyaL in the Guru Vandanam that occurs in the beginning of all pujas and japas and do mAnasIka (mental) worship, by those who are Acharya SwamigaL here.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2007 6:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

During the elaborate second session puja, Sri PeriyavaaL performs it with abhiSekas (ablution) of milk and sandal paste, lots of arcanAs and nivedanam (offering). Depending on the bhakti exuding from the bhaktAs, the milk will be received either in pots or in pitchers. He would once do the milk abhiSeka to the spatika lingam for the entire time Sri Rudram is recited. Holding in his right hand either a cattle-horn with a hole or a dhAra (showering) vessel, he would shower milk on the God through it. Like his mind his hand also would remain fixed at that time. We would then see the hand that the Vedas adore as the hand that has attained the state of bhagavat (godliness) by worshipping Bhagavan daily.

After SriCaraNar completes the pUrva bhAga (initial parts) of the puja, when the curtain in front of the puja maNdapam (pavilion) is opened aside, devotees will only witness this scene of milk abhiSeka that would shower milk over the hearts. During this time, brahmins will recite the hymns meant for puja times such as the Yajur Veda Rudram, Chamakam, Rig Veda Pancha Rudram, Devi Suktam, Purusha Suktam and Sri Suktam, filling up the ears.

When the curtain that is closed after the milk ablution reopens, our hearts will be cool at the sight: ChandraMauli and Jagan Mata would give darshan, lying buried in sandal paste and accepting the camphor ArAdhanam done by our Gurunathan. The curtain would be closed again.

When it reopens, SriCaraNar would have started his arcanA. In the meantime, he would have done decorations to the Murti that had the abhiSeka and the pUja gRuham (puja room). That lovely decoration would be a proof of the subtlety of his artistic mind.

(The pUja maNdapam, pUja gRuham referred to here is chiefly the small, chariot-shaped contruct. There is also another pUja maNdapam smaller than that, made of wood.)
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pages 149-153

Srivatsa Somadeva Sarma who was somehow left inside the curtain with PeriyavaaL one day during the time of decoration, would say: PeriyavaaL did not know that Sarma was there inside. He was so immersed in his task of decoration with a singular mind.

Sarma, who was witnessing PeriyavaaL at his task, said that he felt surprised, happy and also had some irrecognizable fear. PeriyavaaL would do the decorations in one way, look at the puja bimbams (image) and chuckle. Sometimes, after looking this way at the images, he would change the earlier decoration and do it differently. He would finally nod his head with satisfaction when everything was done well.

Sarma's surprise, happiness and fear was all due to his understanding that SriCaraNar did all those things in a dialogue with his Mother and Father.

Sarma said that later when he broached this subject to PeriyavaaL himself, PeriyavaaL told him with pretended anger, "Who allowed you inside? Mind your business", and put an end to it!

A bhaktA asked him anxiously if his lotus hands will not pain by such time-consuming and elaborate alaNkAra jOTanai (decoration and adorning).

Sporting a lovely smile, SriCaraNar said, "What for is this hand then?" and then sang a line from Thyagaraja:

'chetulaara shrungaaramu chesi chootunu'

'I would have darshan of you after decorating you with my own hands.'--is the meaning.

On another occasion, Periyavaa is said to have expressed:

"Since you all have kept me aloft as maThAdhipati, you people do everything without showing anything to my eyes. At least let me do this alaNkAram giving some labour to my body! Is not 'kAryam' (task) is one done specifically with the karam (hand)? Let one such thing be for me too."

It is a fact that all the tasks for him are done by the pAriSadas (attendant). Nevertheless, he would (sometimes) himself draw water from the well (for his washing requirements). The onlooker's mind would be unhappy if the bhagavAn should do it when an assistant is waiting on him. At the same time, it would be lovely to watch him do it deftly and effortlessly, without any mess that would be typical of one who never does such things.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

(He talked about the kAryam of the karam. But then who could match him for the task that he did with the leg, the 'Nataraja bus service' (walking)? Whatever his age, how many miles he would have walked majestically?)

Many people have mentioned that when SriCaraNar performs puja, the one who is done puja to and the one who does it would merge. But then our Gurunathan who does abhyAsa (practice) of other states in addition, even while being in nirvikalpa samAdhi, would also be an Adarsha bhakta (perfect devotee), remaining separate while at the same time merged with the deity that is done puja to. We should say something here that is not known to many people.

It is known to many that as a thirteen year old bAlakan (boy) with not adequate training in the Shastric ways he accepted the pIThAdhipatyam (position of a pontiff). Thereafter, due to his wonderful sharaNAgati (surrender of the self) and the aparimita anugraha (limitless favours) of AmbaaL and AcharyAL, he became very soon a Shastrachara Chakravarti as well as a jnAnAbhUtimAn (self-realized) past the Shastras. Nevertheless, he has been keeping his great experiences hidden within himself. Even in the later days when he was crowned as the king of Jnanis, he conversed with people grouping himself with the AjnAnis (nescient). From such a man on rare occasions, his inner anubhUti (experiences) would separate and come out.

One such thing happened when the SriMaTham pUjaka (priest) who was a Mahavidvan himself taught the puja vidhis (rules, formulae) to him during his thirteenth year of life. The Vidvan told the bAla yati (young ascetic), "It is mentioned that when the arcanA (worship) is done, it should be done with the abheda dRSTi (undivided sight) in the bhAva (state) of tvam vA ahamasmi. (That is, it is mentioned that the arcanA should be done with the advaita view that the deity worshipped and the worshipper are one and the same.) The milky white face of the bAla yati blossomed like a full moon in a mandahAsa smile and in the flame of his eyes. With gaMbhIra (majesty) rippling in that sweetness, he asked: "Should that be only when the arcanA is done? Amazed, the Vidvan prostrated to him.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 2:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In what Sri VidhyaraNya has said as 'there are three kinds of brahma jnAnis. Those who are always in the samAdhi state, insensitive to external stimuli; those who are always in jnAna vicAram (self inquiry) remaining in the state of vivekis (wise men) and those who are in the practical world of vyavahAra (external activities)', Sri Maha PeriyavaaL is one who even as he does all his sport in the vyavahAra lokam remains with his brahma jnAnam unaffected and undissolved. In this vyavAhara, he did the puja rituals in the same way that he did all other things--according to the Shastras.

He would do the arcanA ensuring that every bilva patram (leaf of the bilva tree) and thumbai flower that he picks up is in its complete form as ordained in the Shastras. While briskly doing the arcanA, with a sUkSma shaki (subtle power)--similar to the sixth sense of the English language--he would throw away a flower that has the slightest dosha (defect) and pick up another, without getting the rhythm (of movements and the mantra) disturbed.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2007 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pages 153-156

If he starts doing arcanA (worship) to AmbaaL, it would be a separate world. Without distinguishing between ordinary and visheSha (festive) days, he would go on doing Ashtotram, Trisadi, Sahasranamam and so on. It would seem that it was not one but many Sahasranamas when the arcanA stretches for hours together. Thus ordinary days would become special days, and his bhakti then would raise swelling. Suddenly the arcanA would stop. With fixed eyes, he would be looking at Devi, the chakra rUpiNi. Neither the Devi nor the Sri Chakra would be visible to us. The Sri Chakra would be hidden behind clothes and jewels. Only the ball of sandal paste with a large Kumkumam dot on it, fixed to the arrangement would be visible to our eyes. But then the scene that becomes visible to him is different! In that scene, sometimes a stream of tears would gush out of his eyes; sometimes he would laugh. That would seem Anandamaya (blissful) at one time; the same laugh would seem that of a madman at another time. It is said that that laughter would sometimes make one think, 'Is this man a pishAcaH (ghost)?'. It would seem that he talks something, with both of his palms spread towards AmbaaL. The next moment, the arcanA would continue briskly without skipping a laya (rhythm).

The bhakti vinaya (devotional humility) he showed in doing Kumkuma archanA! Since the holy Kumkuma particles should not spill onto the ground, he would pick the powder tightly gripped between his thumb and index fingers and do the arcanA in such a way that the pinch falls directly on the bimbam (image). There were days his flowery fingers had bruises with the very color of the Kumkumam, by thus tightly gripping (and releasing) the powder for hours on.

Even the way he picks up a flower basket at a distance by gracefully bending his flexible body, and his drawing up with his left wrist his head covering when it slips would look Pujamaya!

Again the curtain is drawn to close the scene. A short while later the ringing sound of a small bell is heard from inside. It is the indication that our Gurunathan himself rings the bells and does the nivedanam (offering).

In SriMaTham, apart from annam, pAyasam and the sweets, everything including the sAmbAr, rasam, kari, kUttu and all such vyanjanas (preparations) are offered as nivedanam.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2007 3:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PeriyavaaL used to be very strict about the nivedana padArtham (prepartion offered) should filling up to the brim of the container vessel. If it is less he would be adamant without doing the nivedanam until such time as the shortage is cooked and filled up! It was also the case that the pAyasam was less in level and PeriyavaaL filled up the shortage by pouring water over it! He thus regulated his kiMkaras (assistants) in such matters by being strict about them. Later, he would make harmless remarks such as, 'After having made to sit for the meal, ChandraMauleesvara has been made to wait today', 'For the Gangadhara the pAyasam today is Ganga Bhavani' and take the kitchen people in his stride.

Was it not the puja done with the firm feeling that the devata mUrtis whom puja is done to, take food in vAstavam (reality)?

As another aMsam (part) of this, he would not do nivedanam with padArthas that are steaming hot. He would wait until they cool down to eatable warmth. He would minimize the delay by making his assistants use a hand fan to cool the preparations.

A Shastrajna (expert in Shastras) supplicated a different opinion to PeriyavaaL on this subject. Showing evidences from the Shastras that the Devas don't take the sthUla padArtha (physical preparation), only its steam and vapours, he supplicated, "There is nothing that is not known to PeriyavaaL. If it is an aparAdh (mistake) should pardon me."

"No aparAdh at all!", PeriyavaaL said comfortingly with a smiling face. "Even if it is me, if it seems that I do something different from the Shastras, to bring it up to me thus is a big upakAram (service) to me. But then in this thing that you speak of", he patted on his chest and twice gestured with his hand to reassure the pundit.

That was an abhinaya (gesture) that made it clearer than any word of mouth that in his affairs what he does are the right things.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2007 3:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When a Dharma Shastra Holy Avatara does things in contrary when his very life principle is that only what the Shastras say are the rules and there is nothing separate as his personal matter?

The (pundit) bhaktA guessed it. Hesistating, he asked, "Is that the AdeshaH for PeriyavaaL?" He asked if it was God's will for PeriyavaaL.

But then, will that man who hides things within him untie it more than that? He just kept quiet. The bhaktA believed that his not denying it showed his consent.

"If that is so, shall I too do the nivedanam at eatable warmth?" asked the devotee.

The Gurunathar floated a smile and said, "If you have that kind of AdeshaH then do that way."

That saying confirmed the devotee's belief and sealed it!

AdeshaH- order, command, instruction, advice, information, prediction of future.
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2007 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Namaskarams Saidevo,

All this while I have relished reading your wonderful postings of Guru Charitam. The narrations are so beautiful that one really loses himself in contemplating on them. I plan to buy this wonderful book and gift it to a relative. Hence could you please give me details of this book and where it could be purchased.

Thank you in advance.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2007 5:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Namaste Shrinivasan ji.

shrinivasan wrote:

All this while I have relished reading your wonderful postings of Guru Charitam. The narrations are so beautiful that one really loses himself in contemplating on them. I plan to buy this wonderful book and gift it to a relative. Hence could you please give me details of this book and where it could be purchased.

I am glad and blessed that you enjoy my translations of Guru Sat Charitam. The 'oLiyudan oru nAL' is 62 page narrative by Sri Raa. Ganapathi in this book:

"Maitreem Bhajata" (Tamil) (Rs.50/-)
by Raa. Ganapathy
Divya Vidya Padhippaham
Flat No.6, No.22, Gilchrist Avenue
Chennai - 600 031 (Tamilnadu)

Sri Raa.Ganapathy narrates Paramacharya's biographical tales in another book also, which is almost devoted to it:

"Kanchi Munivar Ninaivuk Kadambam" (Tamil) (Rs.45/-)
by Raa. Ganapathy
Divya Vidya Padhippaham

Some other Tamil books I now/plan to translate from are:
Publisher: Divya Vidya Padhippaham:
"Maha PeriyavaaL Virundhu" by Raa.Ganapathy
"KaruNaik Kanchi Kanaka Dharai" by Raa.Ganapathy
"Sankarar EnRa Sangeetam" by Raa.Ganapathy
"Sollin Selvar Sri Kanchi Munivar" by Raa.Ganapathy
"KaruNaik Kadalil Sila AlaigaL" by Raa.Ganapthy

Publisher: Vanathi Padhippaham
23, Deena Dayalu Street, T.Nagar, Chennai - 600 017

"Maha PeriyavaaL Darisana AnubhavangaL" 4 vols.

No phone numbers are given in the publications. If you a resident of Chennai, it would be easy for you to visit their offices and buy the books straight away.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 6:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you very much for the details. I shall try to procure the both books of Ra Ganapathy.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2007 3:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pages 156-161

A lot can be said about how SriCaraNar, who lived following the rules of the Shastras to their minutest details, observed the same discipline with respect to pujas also. Two cooked rice grains as indicative of the ready-to-serve state of the entire pot of sAdam!

On the day of the Vinakaya Chaturthi the gurumUrti who allays the karma (of devotees) does puja to Vigneshvara.

As he goes about each and every upacAra (service), the upacAra of offering a vastram (cloth) turns up.

SriCaraNar was observing the custom of doing puja under the vocal, scriptural guidance of a ShastrigaL for the naimittika (occasional) pujas on special occasions which were different from the nitya (daily) pujas done on his own.

On that day's puja, the ShastrigaL read 'vastra yukmam samarpayAmi' (I submit a pair of clothes), the line in the Puja Kalpam. PeriyavaaL looked at the thAlam (plate) on which the vastram was kept.

As he saw it, he continued to keep looking at it. He kept quiet without repeating the line of verse ShastrigaL chanted, or adorning Vigneshvara with the vastram.

Except when he repeated puja mantras, shlokAs and nAmAvaLis, SriCaraNar would observe silence during the puja times.

(All the mantras including the one mentioned above, he does not repeat vocally on most of the times. The devotee who spoke to him about doing nivedanam steaming hot had also asked SriCaraNar about this instance. The devotee had told him that to vocally chant the verses was the custom he had known. "gRustAs (householders) should chant the Vedasuktas only vocally. It would be better if it is possible for them to also chant the other verses vocally," was the only reply SriCaraNar gave the devotee. The devotee could guess (by that reply) that ascetics need not have to do a ghoSaNam (speaking loudly) of even the Veda mantras; and the term 'possible' indicated that the pressure of feelings that made it not possible for SriCaraNar to chant vocally, silenced him.)

No one could understand why PeriyavaaL kept silent without submitting the vastram to Vinakaya.

The ShastrigaL was nervous: "It is mentioned in the Kalpam as 'vastra yukmam samarpayAmi'. Was it that I made a mistake in chanting the verse?"

PeriyavaaL took the vastram and showed it, protruding a finger. The ShastrigaL understood it! The phrase 'vastra yukmam' meant a pair of clothes: a vEshti (dhoti) to tie around the waist and an uttarIyam over the shoulders. But the vastram which was kept on that day was a single one. Only after the second vastram was also provided as per the rule, the puja continued.

*** *** ***
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2007 3:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The second example is one I witnessed personally.

The Maha Shivaratri night in 1968. The celebrations are held in the Eluru town of Andhra Pradesh.

The third kAla (session) puja in the late night. Everyone was tired due to upavAsam (fasting) and not sleeping up to that time.

The voice of the rudra pArAyaNa (chanting Rudram) people that rose gaNa ghoSa (as loud proclamations) during the pujas of the previous two sessions now sounds a lot less in strength.

The ShastrigaL who was arranged for the occasion could not withstand the strain.

As narrated earlier, for such naimittika pujas PeriyavaaL arranged a vAdyAr (priest) and followed him totally as we do. The vAdyAr is referred to as tantra-dhAraka (one who recites the texts) in the North. When doing this under his guidance, in the tradition of the disciple learning from the guru, only after he proposes, the one who does the puja should chant after the mantras and other texts. This is done in adherence to the puja saMkalpam (resolution) taken by the performer that he would do it 'AchArya mukhena kariSye' (I do it through the guru). It could be that PeriyavaaL who is the JagatAcharyaL may not say 'AchArya mukhena', but he kept it as his custom of not uttering the mantras until they were proposed by the ShastrigaL. In his case 'keeping it as his custom' does not mean that he did it according to his wish! It should be either a Shastra vidhi (presciption, rule) or a divya AdeshaH (divine sanction) obtained exclusively for him--only such things he kept as his custom. This custom of his repeating after the ShastrigaL chanted it should be one such.

The inconsistency the ShastrigaL displayed--being very tired by the time of the third session puja--in looking at and reading the Puja Kalpa text perhaps under the dim light of the tall, brass lamps! The strain he underwent to read the text, properly dividing it in the word boundaries!

Many of those shlokas--perhaps the entire thing--was for SriCaraNaaL already committed to mind!

Still... whatever that discipline! Waiting all along until the ShastrigaL understood the text properly and read it, and then repeating it either within his mind or by upAmcu-vAca (as lip movement), he conducted the puja at the pace of a turtle.

Such patience can never come to us! And that during the scene of offering arghyam at the end!
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2007 4:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The sAhasam (daring act) as in a circus did by the Peruman of slim frame who had seen seventy-five years of his life, (sitting in a pose) like the PerumaaL Koyil Garuda Vahanam, the knee joint of his folded left leg touching the ground and his right leg folded in such a way that its foot rested on the ground! In those days since his hearing was becoming fainter he also had giddiness. Even then, in this Gaaruda pose he sat waiting until the ShastrigaL gathered the text letter by letter and chanted and then he repeated while offering the arghyam with three shlokas for Sambasiva, and one shloka each for AmbaaL, Subrahmanya, Nandikesa and Chandikesa.

In 'subraHmaNya mahAbhaga' when the ShastrigaL was totally confused and struggling, and faltered in reading out the text, it seemed to us that we should rush to the stage, seize the book from him and read out the text ourselves! But then PeriyavaaL who was very familiar with that vAcakam (saying) was simply looking at the vAdyAr's face, without any haste, like a quiet student!

*** *** ***

They speak of two kinds of bhakti: vaidhi bhakti (rules-based devotion) and anurAga bhakti (love-based devotion)*. Doing bhakti based on the rules of the Shastras is vaidhi. Doing it purely out of love is anurAga bhakti. Since rules cannot be observed in love, these two names came up. Some people say that since bhakti is in inself based on love, there is no such thing as vaidhi bhakti. His close devotees know it as completely true that SriCaraNaaL is one steeped in parA bhakti which is the borderland of anurAga. Nevertheless, there is none who did vaidhi bhakti like him.

He was the one who was the puzzle of puzzles remaining all the while the simplest of the simplest!

*** *** ***

* Rupa Goswami speaks of three kinds of bhakti: ...

arghya - n. worth or fit for an honourable reception. n. a reverential offering to gods or venerable men.
naimittika - occasional, special, accidental, produced by any or some particular cause
nitya - innate, native, own, continued, perpetual, eternal, ordinary, usual, fixed, necessary, obligatory, regular
sAhasa - boldness, daring, rashness, temerity, overstraining
upAmcu - recitation of a mantra in a hushed low voice so as to be heard by the reciter alone
yukmam - pair, couple, brace
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2007 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pages 161-166

We were in the nivedana stage of the nitya pUjA. We have given ample time for ChandraMauleesvara to finish his bhojana, saparivAram (food and dishes) leisurely. Let us get back to where we left.

Along with the many kalpokta pakSya-bhojaya naivedyas the simple AhAram (food) prepared by pakvam exclusively for SriCaraNar, if any, will also be offered. The reason for saying 'if any' is that since he used to be on fast on many days there wouldn't be any exclusive AhAram prepared for him in those days.

The correct meaning of the term 'pakvam' is 'boiled'. In that sense, PeriyavaaL's bhikSA is not made pakvam at all. Following the Shastra (rule) that a Sanyasi should have no agni sambandham (relationship with fire), even in his bhojanam, his niyama (routine) was to only take apakva AhAram such as aval (flattened rice) soaked in buttermilk, prepared without putting it on the oven. That was why apart from the food prepared for the puja and brAhmaNa santarpaNam (feeding brahmins), exclusive food for him is prepared in addition.

His submitting to another vidhi (rule) of the Shastra should also be mentioned here. (For us who are svantara yuki (people of freedom) let this alternate medicine be visible in letter-form to our eyes as much as possible!) It is the vidhi for us that we should necessarily take pitRsheSam. If the shrArdam (ancestoral annual ceremony) falls on an Ekadasi, even then we should take pitRsheSam. Like the pitRshrArdam for us, the ArAdhanam (homage) of his Guru Swamy for that turavi (ascetic)! Only on that day, he would eat pakva padArtha (cooked dishes) also as gurusheSam!

If he finds that he created a reason for someone thinking that he gave room for the temptation of the tongue, he would remain on rigorous fast for many days and punish himself.

It is the Dharma Shastra vidhi that one should not take food after sunset on Sundays. In his eighty-fifth year of age when he was camping hear Belgaum, he drank milk on a Sunday after sunset, as he became tired in the hot sun. For this act, he stopped taking milk at night for the next fifteen days. Was he not the daNDam (staff) bearing ascetic king who dispensed punishment for himself just like a king orders punishment for a citizen?

At last we have finished (the narration up to) ChandraMauleesvara naivedya upacAram!
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2007 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thick flames become visible through the curtain. It means that the puja assistant lights all the mukhas (faces) of the dIpArAdhana plate, turning them one by one towards him.

At that very moment there will raise a bustle among the bhaktAs. With sakala vAdyas (all kinds of musical instruments) playing loud, the curtain will be drawn aside. All the thickset flames will shine clearly tapering into cones. Our Gurunathan would raise the large dIpArAdhana plate with his frail hand and do the dIpArAdhanam. Whose tapas is this that such a pavitram (pure event) happens in this world full of flaws? No one can at that time refrain from patting on the cheeks saying "HaraHara HaraHara".

Our Gurunathan will get up, resting on his daNDam. The beauty of his ground round the Puja Mandapam foot by foot, as if he is careful that the Parashakti Anubhavam filled up to the brim inside him should not spill over, can be known only by seeing it. Those who remained confused until now whether to see the Swami to which the puja is done or the SwamigaL who does the puja, would have now engaged their eyes and mind completely with our Gurunathan. Shrivelled as a green creeper, when he goes fixing his cotton-soft feet deftly on the ground, disappearing behind the back of the Puja Mandapam and then reappearing pradakSiNa (clockwise) on its left side, something within us will raise shivering up. Appearing parama shantam, when SriCaraNar turns around himself as Atma pradakSiNam and then does daNDa vandanam, even iron hearts would melt on their own.

The Puranas mention that in Kanchi and Tiruvanaikka and many other places Ambikai Herself worshipped Iraivan as Kamakshi and Akhilanda Nayaki. As to how the puja that Ambikai does would look like, we can see it today when our Gurunathan does pradakSiNa namaskAram.

It is the puja that a Jivanayaki does for her Anmanayakan. Manivacakar has sung that Parama Jnanis also worship Shiva the Ekapurusha, by becoming a woman.

pappaRa vIttirun^ dhuNarumn^in adiyAr
pan^dhanai van^dhaRuth thAr avar palarum
maippuRu kaNNiyar mAnudath thiyalbin
vaNaN^guki RAr aNaN^ ginmaNa vALA!
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2007 1:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

He does upacAras such as chatram chAmaram (umbrella, handfan) to Swami. After waving the fan of flowers for Swami, he sticks the fan itself into the cluster of the flowery garlands of the Puja Mandapam. They all stick to their places nicely as if listening to whatever he says. We might even get the tApam (heat of feeling) that we can't be like them, staying at where we are placed by him. (In the same way, since the feet of AmbaaL, who is Sri Guru RupiNi is located on the shiras (head), when he heaps on his head the flower garlands offered by the devotees, it is a wonder they nicely stay in place (on his head) and look beautiful! There is a photograph in his tirukkOlam of wearing a large rose garland as summAdu (turban) and a jasmine garland as its droop that stayed still as he conversed moving his limbs.)**

After the chatra-chAmaram, the shAstrokta upacAras multiply as nRtta-gIta (dance and song)! In shAstronusAra (following the Shastras), this Sanyasi will make a small adavu (basic movement) and do nRttopacAram, his movement being so short that most of those who witness the puja can't make it out as an adavu! And then for the gItam (song), our (Indra) Saraswathi will play just one small 'sarigamapadani' on the little svarNa vInA (golden veeNa) and rest the vAdyam on the Chakra RupiNi. (We have darshan of him as Saraswathi, resting on him a small wooden veeNa in the photo pages [left of page 181 in the book]).

The pITham on which Swami and AmbaaL rise-and-bless is a swing attached to the vitAnam (awning) of the Puja Mandapam. SriCaraNar will sway this swing with his slender fingers. We would then have the vishrAnti (rest) that he also sways us in a cradle.

Mantras will be showered by the vedavids (Vedic pundits) from the caturvedAs (four Vedas). After the mantra puSpam is offered, SriCaraNar will do a short punar pUja. Total silence for sometime. The sound of our Gurunathan taking up water in a dhonnai to offer arghyam and even the tiny sound of the rice grain falling onto the vessel when the mangalAkSata is offered will be audible. He would scoop and throw flowers and leaves. Suddenly, with a mudrA (sign) of twisting his hands he would take from the flowers offered to Swami, touch his eyes with them and complete the puja, his heart filled like a flower bouquet.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2007 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can there by any end to this puja? Is it not that our Gurunathan is one who lives as Thayumanavar said, 'oru kAlamanRitu, sada kAla pUjaiyAi oppuvittEn' (this is not a puja for single time, so I recited it as an all-time puja)? The madhyAnakAla pUja (afternoon puja) done with so much of specialities will go on for about three hours.

With what end does that Avatara Murti all these Mahapujas? Only for our sake. It is only for our sake that he prays with melting heart 'SarvE janAH SukhinO bhavanthu' (may all the people be happy) in all his mukkAla pUja? Is there any greater welfare to the world than that?

*pappaRa vIttirun^ dhuNarumn^in adiyAr
pan^dhanai van^dhaRuth thAr avar palarum
maippuRu kaNNiyar mAnudath thiyalbin
vaNaN^guki RAr aNaN^ ginmaNa vALA!

cheppuRu kamalaN^gaL malarumthaN vayalchUz
thirupperun^ thuRaiyuRai chivaperu mAnE
ippiRap paRuththemai ANdaruL puriyum
emperu mAnpaLLi ezun^dharu LAyE

Staying liberated, Your slaves experiencing (You), cutting off the bonds, they, many in number, worship with the human feeling that of the (dyed eyed) women. Oh the Groom of the Lady! Oh Lord shiva of thirupperun^thuRai encircled with the cool fields blooming with red lotuses! My Lord, who cuts off this birth blessing taking us slaves, Bless getting up!!

** Between pages 180 and 181 of the books there are eight plates of rare black and white photographs of MahaswamigaL. The rose turban is one among them.

(Source: ...

dhonnai - cup like vessel made of leaves pinned up at corners
punar - back, home, in an opposite direction, to go back or away, to give back, restore, to turn around, again, once more
santarpaNam - satisfying, causing happiness, gratifying
sheSaH, sheSam - remainder, part left out
vedavid - knowing the Veda, conversant with it
vitAna- m.n. spreading out, extension; awning, canopy; abundance, multitude
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2007 2:59 pm    Post subject: why Sri Caranar instead of Sri CHaranar? Reply with quote

Dear Saidevoji,


I was enjoying the translation and and see many places you used "Sri Caranar" where as we read like "Sri cHaranar". Have seen for upac(H)aras as well.

Is there any reason?

jaya jaya sankara! Hara Hara Sankara!
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2007 3:37 pm    Post subject: Re: why Sri Caranar instead of Sri CHaranar? Reply with quote

Namaste Dharmadi ji.

dharmadi wrote:

I was enjoying the translation and and see many places you used "Sri Caranar" where as we read like "Sri cHaranar". Have seen for upac(H)aras as well.

Is there any reason?

For transliteration of Sanskrit (actually SamskRta) words, I use the ITRANS scheme based on the encoding by Avinash Chopde. The words I look up in a dictionary in Devanagari I key in using the ITRANS editor (this is available for downloading at ... before I transfer it to my translated work.

I understand your point which is very valid because the 'cha' and 'ka' sounds in the words 'Sri C(h)aranar' and 'upac(h)Ara' give different meanings in Sanskrit! 'charaNam-karaNam, upachAram-upakAram' -- very different meanings indeed!

In the INTRANS encoding the English lowercase alphabet 'c' is the equivalent of the Sanskrit first 'ch' and 'Ch' (C in uppercase) is the Sanskrit second 'cch'. Thus 'caraNar' is the Sanskrit 'charaNar' (the capital N for the 'Na' sound in 'ta-tta-da-dda-Na') and 'upacAram' is the Sanskrit 'upachAram' (A for the longer vowel).

The address 'SriCaraNar' (Sri CharaNar written as a single word) is Sri Raa.Ganapathy's favourite coinage for addressing Maha PeriyavaaL. According to the ITRANS encoding this term should be written as 'sricaraNar', in which I have capatilized the S and C.

Incidentally, 'ca' and 'cha' are both the equivalents of the Sanskrit first 'cha', so from henceforth I shall use 'SriCharaNar' to make the address clearer. So also with 'upachAram' instead of 'upacAram'. Thus I shall try to take care and use 'cha' where the equivalent 'ca' is likely to sound as 'ka'.

I am grateful to you for bringing this up. Please also advise me of any other errors/ambiguous usages in my text, specially in the Sanskrit verses I have quoted.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2007 3:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pages 166-169

How much zeal did he have in performing pujas! Love and duty, both these senses made him give it this much of importance. Duty? Yes, he would say that Parameswara Himself directed (Adi Sankara) AcharyaaL to perform for loka kSemam (welfare of the world) saparivAra pUja (elaborate puja) to the Shiva-Shaktis who are the mother-father of all the Lokas (worlds), AcharyaaL did the puja as directed and bestowed it as a duty prescribed by Ishvar plus Guru for the descendants of his MaThams. Our Munivar Piran who was immersed in viSva prema (love for the world) is one who considered that the puja performed for the parents of the world is to make all the people of the world remain in harmony as children of the same parents and bhaji (worship) the maitrI (friendship) in them, as sung in SriCharaNar's lokopadesha (advice to the world) song ('maitrIm bhajata').

How many are the times has he done viSTAra pUja (extensive pujas) even when he was suffering from severe fever and going without jala pAnam (water to drink)!

(An incident is reported that) once during the time of PeriyiavaaL's madhyama prAyA (stage of being middle aged), when someone went near him, the person felt a heat wave as from a kiln of bricks! Even at ten in the morning the sage was lying stretched out with no awareness about his body! Inexpressible vicAram (worry) for the MaTham people. After ten o' clock with a sort of vajra saMkalpam (might of will power) he gets up. Adamantly managing to come over the swerve and stagger of his body, with no possibility of anyone getting the courage to halt him, with a dhIra gaMbhIram (fierce majesty) he goes to the Kaveri (river). Comes back klupta (determined) after a bath. Sits for the puja. Performs the puja very elaborately.

There would be no bhikSA (food) after the puja. Still, without any vishrAnti (rest) he comes down to give interviews to the devotees. Now the MaTham people halt him. Supplicate to him. But this man says, "If I sit for vishrAnti, joram (fever) will come and catch me up. If I strive without stopping my duty, Swami will take care of my joram. Even if my prANA (breath) goes away in duty and reaches him, it would be still visheSam (special)!"
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2007 3:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We see here two branches of the same duty. The duty of performing puja for the sake of the people; the duty of the direct interview that he grants to the people! He considered the latter also as a puja! To say more of it--it should of course have been based on Adesha (divine directive)--even that 'parents' puja he entrusted one day to his vArisu (descendant) and for a good quarter century continued the latter 'peoples' puja!

During the puja, a small piple instrument called Timiri that resembles the Nadasvara and is pratyeka (singular) of its kind, would be played.

After the puja, those who are to do bhikSA on that day would have their bhikSA vandanam done. The man who performs the bhikSA would place the pUrNa kumbham on the head of the MaTham's elephant, his wife would place the plate of country sugar with a bowl of honey atop it, get them back and submit them before SriCharaNar. Friends and relatives of the bhikSA performer would carry the bhikSA money exchanged into silver coins, and then fruits, flowers, vegetables, raisins and cashews and submit them before our Gurunathan. It is a custom followed in the MaTham for a few years now that instead of the donor saying that he does the bhikSA for the Acharya, he would say that he does it as an upahAra (offering) to ChandraMauleesvara Puja. Our Gurunathan is following the yati dharma (dharma of ascetics) so blemishlessly. What are the money and coins and fruits and flowers for a turavi (ascetic)? He accepts them remaining as the Pujari of Ishvara!

After the bhikSA vandanam is over, Gurunathar would retire to ekAntam (privacy) and read Vishnu Puranam in accordance with his svadharma niyati (personal duty); he would also recite the Gita. Though SriSankara maThadhipatis (pontiffs) appear as Shaivas by the name Sankara, vhibUti dhAraNam (wearing the holy ash) and ChandraMauleesvara Puja, Narayana upAsanam (worship) is also very important for them. Their words of blessings, giving SRImukam (introductory/recommendatory letters) are all with only Narayana smaraNam (memory of)! In that way, he used to hold Vishnu Sahasranama pArAyaNam (recitation) in his presence. (In addition, at that time, he would also do pArAyaNam, shravaNam (chanting and listening) of Indrakshi Kavacham and the Siva Kavachams.)
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2007 3:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One night it was beyond midnight when SriCharaNar returned to MaTham after his tiruvIdi ulA (procession round the place). The door of the mEnA (palanquin) where he slept that night did not open even at five the next morning. Thinking 'What, even PeriyavaaL had AyAsam (fatigue) and gone into nidrA (sleep)?', the pAriSada (attendant) peeped in through a gap in the mEnA.

klupta - done, prepared, cut, pared, produced, strengthened, fixed, settled, determined, thought of, invented.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2007 7:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

namaskars Saidevoji. You stopped in the right place and we will be looking forward to know what happened then :)
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 10:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pages 169-171

He found PeriyavaaL reading a book with the help of the light from a handheld torch! It became intelligible to him that it was the Vishnu Puranam book. What he did not understand was why this change in the time table and the sage reading the book in the early morning!

Later on SriCharaNar himself made it understood. In the unusual rush of the previous days' tasks, he was obliged to skip this Purana paTaNam (reading). As an 'imposition' for that our Yati who is the very form of niyama (discipline), though he went to sleep far later in that night, got up earlier than usual the next morning, silently finished his 'koTTAi' (washroom) danta dhAvana (cleaning up teeth), and compensated the omission by an additional time of paTaNam!

Our AcharyaaL is the residence of the three Shastras: Sruti-Smriti-Puranam. After the sRutiyukta (spoken by Sruti) karmAnuSTAnam (daily practices) and puja are over, it was only appropriate reading the Gita that our AcharyaaL considered Smriti and the Vishnu Purana used heavily among the Puranas by him in his quotes!

After this is over, if it is not a day of upavAsa (fast), our Gurunathan will partake his simple food. In the beginning years of his ascending the PiTham, he used to partake tiruvamudu (sacred, cooked rice meal) once a day, avoiding the tastes of saltiness, sourness and hotness in the meal. He took a small quantity of milk and fruit at night. But then as days went by, he extremely reduced his AhAram (food). Though he was not in a state that required to melt his bodily oon (meat) in order to brighten his uLLoLi (inner light), for whatever reason he started such an experiment! Though it was not necessary to take bitter things in order to develop the jnAnam (knowledge, wisdom), there was a time when he took only such things as tender neem leaves and bhilva leaves. He has spent a few years eating only three fistfuls of annam (cooked rice). Then he started accepting some nelpori (parched paddy grains) soaked in buttermilk, but then even that he skipped on many days. There was also a time when he stopped taking the fruit and milk. It is a wonder that can't be understood as to how it was possible for him to perform puja from three in the morning until twelve at night without any sign of fatigue, or walk miles together with the very little, saltless food he consumed. Beyond all that, even after taking through his hears to his heart the different kinds of supplications and suferings of his bhaktAs, he remained fresh without any signs of withering!
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Though it was all restless work that took in ceaseless supplications of sufferings, how much he remains as a vEdikkai vinodan (one who sports and amuses)! He is a unique player of pranks, a role that generally doesn't seem to go well with a man of his vayas (age), Ashramam (stage), and sthAnam (standing, status)! Saying it this way does not mean that we cannot see tIvra gana (intense weight) in him. For one who has all the mAnuda guNa gaNa mahimAs (greatness of human character and association), he would also make us stand at a distance and pay our respects to him, becoming a man with dIrgha chintanam (high thinking)!

After the bhikSA, mostly our Gurunathan himself will distribute the tIrtham (holy water) that was used in Swami abhiSekam (ablution). (Immediately after the puja is over, after his tIrtha prAchanam (consuming water with a mantra), he would go for his tiruvamudu only after distributing tIrtham to ascetics, vidvans, AchAra shreSTas (best in religious conduct) and such other people). The bhaktAs who are waiting to receive tIrtham from the hands of Periyavar, even if the time is twelve noon or one or even two o' clock, would receive that holy water mixed with abhiSeka sandal paste. We should have done bhAgyam to receive that tIrtham given by that amRuta karam (ambrosial hand) which it gives with parama karuNa in a large uttaraNi (spoon) that can termed a small ladle! That the tIrtham is capable of giving sakala kSema (all prosperity), of removing sakala dosha (all deficiencies), there are abundant proofs.

dIrgha - long (in space and time), lofty, high, tall; deep
tIvra a. strong, violent, intense, fierce
uttaraNi - a small spoon used for taking water
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2007 2:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pages 171-174

Following this our Gurunathan will take rest for sometime, when he will be ramita (delighted) to take up what he terms as the 'newspaper akkappOr' (newspaper gossip). He will listen to the news published and then to the letters received by the MaTham that would be read out to him. Then he will give directions to his employees about the tasks to be done.

That would be the time when his wonderful managerial skills and wordly knowledge would be given expression to. For the letters, he will dictate the replies then and there. Though he could take the right decisions quickly and with excellence, he will consult the MaTham officials and assistants, listen to their suggestions, encourage them to speak out what they have in mind and work out a plan that would be put to action. Through this our Gurunathan demonstrates the rustic term 'mariyathai kodutthu mariyathai vAnguvathu' (giving and getting respect) in a wonderful way.

It is very apt to think about him in parellel with Raghavan who lived adhRSya (invincible) in the world saying that he considered himself only as a man. We see that glory here every day--the grandeur narrated by Ramayana of how that RamaPiran during the Vibhishana charaNagati (surrender) prompted the suggestions of everyone in Sugriva's army including the vAnaras (monkeys), giving him his due respect, valued the suggestions and took the final decision.

Only with the MaTham assistants? He will not hesitate to listen to the suggestion of the devotees who come to him, including the parama pAmara (most rustic) among them. More surprising than that is how that rustic will also give his suggestion without hesitating, to this great expert! Howsoever he obtained that saulabhyaM (ease) of moving with all of them with the feeling 'nammavar' (belongs to us)! That is the 'maitrI visheSam' (speciality of friendship) that he made his Gita-Upadesham!
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2007 2:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excepting the time of antaranga SrIMaTha karyams (private tasks), amidst all those MaTham office work he will never forget his worldly office work, and keep on allowing the devotees to him. Around four-thirty or five in the evening, he will come out to give darshan to the people. Without being reticent, the devotees would express their personal sufferings and supplicate for 'periyavaa anugraham'. He will give them vibhUti, kumkumam, akSata prasAdam with a completely involving mind. His very eye and hand will convey the anugraham. It would appear to some people that he need not bring something from somewhere and give it as his anugraham. His very posture of standing before them--tired, fading vibhUti marks on his forehead, his body looking shrivelled and his garment around the head slipping--would be his anugraham to them. Just like KaLidasa said that the dancer MaLavika standing tired is in itself an abhinaya (dance gesture)!

Our Gurunathan who ramins as the taru, taru nizhal, nizal kanintha kani (the tree, the shadow it gives and the fruit mellowed in that shadow) whom anyone can approach and supplicate anything, will come before the Puja Mandapam and stand silently. There would be a bustle only in the crowd. The reason is that the MaTham elephant, which is always a fountain of enthusiasm for the children, will arrive at the Sannidhi. With all the MaTham employess present, the Treasurer will read out the day's income and expenditure openly to the Swami, Adi Acharya and the people assembled there. During that time, the elephant will wave the chAmaram (feathery fan) to the pAdak kuRadu (sandals) of BhagavatPada the mUla sthapakar (root founder) of the MaTham, and then will bow and blare. This incident is known as the 'tIvatti salAm'. Then the NatesAshtakam will be recited with nAtya layam (rhythm and dance movements). With Ramanama, Shivanama smaraNam (memory of), the devotees will disperse.

At the time of the evening, after taking bath again, our Gurunathan will come svaccha (bright and pure), looking like a lawn bright in the rain. He will then perform his sandhya anuSTAnams. Tapas and peace swelling up, he will then be a jvalita tejomaya bimbam (blazing fire of light)! In that jvAla (flame) our impurities will be burnt into ashes at least for that time being.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2007 2:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

After seven, the night puja will start. On Fridays and days such as Pradosham, Navaratri, this ArAdhanam (worship) will be held for nearly four hours with abhiSekAti (ablutions) and AvaraNa pujas. On other days, the puja will end briefly in three quarters of an hour. Pradosha Puja will be started before the Sandhi and held in a grand manner.

The visheSha puja held during the night, has a speciality. When the alaNkArams (decorations) are over and the curtain drawn aside for archanA, the Rudra Trisati mantra 'aum namO hiraNya bAhavE namaH' will rise. And that hiraNya bAhaU (golden arm) itself we will witness pratyakSa (before the eyes). Yes, the arm of SriCharaNar that moves in the light of the lamp will shine golden.

A visheSham (speciality) is also there in the Pradosha Puja. SriCharaNar, wearing a kirITam (crown), kuNDala (ear rings), kaNThakA (necklace), karavalayas (bracelets)--all made of rudraksha, will give darshan as sAkSAt Sankara! A thought will then raise that even his dhandam (staff) has become a shUlam (trident).

The one who remains as pratyakSa Shiva Jyoti during Pradosha Puja will glisten in coolness during the PaurNami Puja like AmbaaL Herself!

adhRSya - a. invincible, irresistible.
AvaraNa - covering, enclosing, shelter, garment
caraNagata - fallen at one's feet
kaNThakA - necklace
kirITam - diadem, crown, crest, any ornament used as a crown
kuNDala - ear ring, bracelet, ring
pratyakSa before the eyes, plainly visible, clear, distinct, actual, immediate
ramita - gladdened, delighted, rendered happy, pleasure, delight
svaccha - a. very clear, transparent, bright, pure
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2007 2:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pages 174-177

Knowing no passage of time, how elaborately to that Kamakoti thAi (mother) would this sEi (child) who is also her only, do the ArAdhanam (worship)!

If that puja finishes at eleven in the night, thereafter, looking at the pUrNachandra (full moon), meditating her in that moon, he would recite the complete Sahasranamam. If we were to recite as he does, turning the face to the moon by the angle it is located at that time, within a minute or two we would have pain in the neck and drop our face. With vaidhi bhakti (rules-based devotion) and rAga bhakti (love-based devotion) in confluence in him, since that Parama Bhakta also remains as a yogirAjan (king of yoga), even if it takes three quarters of an hour to recite Sahasranamam leisurely, that Chandra (Sekhara) Mukham fixed on the moon, would not for a moment droop. How much cool would be that nectarine scene to the Atma!

There are days when Gurunathan will give upanyAsam (lecture) after the night puja. It would never be complete to write about the beauty of his upanyAsam. Perhaps we can write his [i]upanyAsa vAkyas (contents of the lecture). But then without those soft and wonderful bodily movements swelling out of the heart of the upanyAsaka, where the self is ramita (delighted) in the subject, that writing would only be equal to paper flowers. He will be quiet for several minutes to start with. There would be no other way for us then except to keep quiet ourselves. One anbar (loving devotee) has written that it would seem that he observes silence only to train us in silence in that way for at least sometime.

Though he will be sitting quiet, a hundred thousand ripples of movement would be rising up in him. Taking a marukkozuntu (fragrant grass mixed with flowers in a garland), he would rub his ear lobe gently; would press more hardly the daNDam (staff) leaning on his shoulder; would caress his jaw with the back of his fingers; like a child feeling sleepy, would rub his eyelids gently; or would stroke or wipe the tip of his nose; would sit folding a leg; (or) would squat on his two feet; (or) would sit like a bundle, folding both his legs; would adjust his vastram (cloth), or would slacken the vastram that is sitting alright on him; would remain with a bowed head, as if his eyes were looking at his feet; would wrinkle his forehead as if lakhs of thoughts beat like waves in him.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2007 2:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It would seem that the parama siddhi, parama sukham (ultimate accomplishment, ultimate bliss) of remaining summA (inert) that Thayumanavar spoke, can't be seen even for a drop here! The hand and leg without remaining summA would be doing something actively. In that case, is this man not the one who remains summA?

His very nature is remaining summA. He has come among us so as not to remain that way. For all of us to remain summA, the vastu (thing) that remains summA has come to do kAryam (work) all through the day and night. May be it brings on itself all these ceSTa (pranks) so as not to slip to its natural state? When we get sleep at a time not meant for sleeping, shall we not bring active tasks on ourselves? Perhaps that way!

We feel this even when Gurunathan is doing puja. It seems that he voluntarily brings on him a state of jAgrat (wakefulness) so that he should not remain merged completely with the object puja is done to, should remain a little different from it and do the kAryam of puja without the least mantra, tantra lobham (confusion in mantra and tantra), serving as a guide to the world. His search for the puja dravya (puja substances), stiring persistently with a hand under a tripod and taking out a flower basket or a cup, repeatedly turning his head towards the devotees when doing puja--all bring up only this thought. Isn't it that the shikharam (summit) of the tyAga shIlam (behaviour of sacrifice) is to slacken the apex feeling of blissness in oneness? But then looking at these external acts can it be said that he is not merged with the object of puja? When he looks at us turning his head during the puja time, that fullness flourishing in that look, is what other than the state of fullness of the Atma?

It is all rows and rows of waves on the surface of an ocean. Marine life and shells under them. Going deeper, the embryos of swrirls, beyond that the depressions connected with the monsoons, hurricanes and cyclones. Going further deep digging out these all, there will be no current at the bottommost. The oceans remains in all these states at the same time. Why can't the Mahaans also remain in all states at the same time?

lobha - confusion, perplexity, greed, avarice, impatience, strong desire
marukkozuntu - (Tamil) southern wood, s. sh., artemisia abrotannum pallens
shikharaH - summit
tyAga - sacrifice, leaving, abandonment, quitting, forsaking, rejecting
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