Daily Nectar : How do we know that we’re spiritually progressing?

How do we know that we’re spiritually progressing? Periyava had answered many such difficult, complicated, intellectually-challenging questions from top-brains. “What question should I ask you?” is one such serious question to Periyava… Mr Arthur Isenberg’s question and Periyava’s answer to him is a message for all of us!

periyava smile

“The person who sat opposite to me was 65 years old, slim, a bit on the smaller frame side. The top of his head was almost entirely bald or shaven, the lower portion of his face was outlined by a white beard. He had white moustache and white eyebrows. His body was clothed in the saffron-coloured mantle of the Sannyasin”.

This is how Mr Arthur Isenberg described Periyava before asking his questions.

He came to Numbal,  near Chennai with Sri Raghavan on 20th April 1959. It was late in the evening with full-moon.
He asked few intelligent questions to Periyava. Periyava knew it and so there was a smile in Periyava’s eyes.

Mr Arthur had also recollected, “Not that any of this mattered. What did matter was His face, and more particularly, His eyes, which looked at me with a mixture, or rather a fine blending, of intelligence, kindliness and compassion, while at the same time somehow reflecting a most gentle sense of humour”.

Periyava’s answer was perhaps, a bit anticlimactic to him. Periyava told him to continue along the line he was already following. He got clarified with few more questions..

Then he asked an important question to Periyava…

“How can one know whether one is making progress, stagnating or retrogressing in the quest of wisdom?”

Periyava replied: “If each year, the number of things or events, which can arouse your anger or lust grows smaller, you are making progress; if it remains the same, you are stagnating; if it increases, you spiritual development is retrogressive.”

Modern management gurus say, “Without measurement there cannot be any progress”. Here Periyava has blessed a measurement for spiritual progress: ‘How many happenings in a year that we put up with and how many times we react negatively to it?’

Prayers to Periyava to make us better day-on-day, month-on-month, year-on-year & birth-on-birth.

Hara Hara Sankara Jaya Jaya Sankara


Article Courtesy: Thanks to Sri Rathinam for sharing this incident which carries a very intense message for all of us.


{ 8 Comments }

  1. Conjivaram Rajan Gopalkrishnan says

    Periyava had put it across so clearlyl without ambiguity. in this materialistic world, we continue to get angry and react if there is setback to our expectations and wishes and all the time keep chasing money. In the process we lose peace of mind. atleast from today, we must give a serious thought and follow Periyava’s advise for our own good and for Lokakshemam. Jaya Jaya Sankara Hara Hara Sankara

  2. sundar says

    This incident had an interesting prelude without which it would not be complete and also it gives an insight into Periyava’s quick wit and repartee.
    Arthur Isenberg had come planing to ask one question to Periyava. He asked that if he were wise what question he ought to ask Periyava to which Periyava replied that had he been wise he would not need to ask anything from anyone. After a hearty laugh,he asked him to be considered in quest of wisdom and implored Periyava to instruct him. This was the incident reported in a book containing interviews given by Periyava to foreigners which is with me

    • navEdaham says

      Quite true.

      When Sri Kannan Mama has said ‘He is a realized soul’ pointing to Mr Kamal, aminister from Lebanon & an ardent devotee of Periyava.

      Periyava responded saying”…say realized man. Soul is ALWAYS realized!’

      Ram. Ram.

  3. Karthi Nagaratnam says

    சினத்தை நிந்தனை செயுமுநி வரர்தொழ …… மகிழ்வோனே

    This is said by Saint Arunagiri in one of the Tiruppugazh. Aiyan says the same thing…Is it Aiyan saying the same as what Saint Arunagiri said…No, it is Aiyan, the Parabrammam who is the form of Lord Swaminathan, reinforcing his ardent devotee Arunagiri’s words…

    “How can one know whether one is making progress, stagnating or retrogressing in the quest of wisdom?”
    Periyava replied: “If each year, the number of things or events, which can arouse your anger or lust grows smaller, you are making progress; if it remains the same, you are stagnating; if it increases, you spiritual development is retrogressive.”

    Why I say this? Same Saint Arunagiri Appan, nearly 500 years back…

    எதனாலோ ‘திருவேரகப்பதியில் வளர் ஸ்வாமிநாத குரு’ வைத் துதிக்கும் திருப்புகழ்களில் ஒன்றில் அருணைமுனி அவனை ராஜத லக்ஷண லக்ஷ்மி பெற்றருள் பெருமாளே !
    என்றும், இன்னொன்றில் ராஜத லக்ஷண லக்ஷ்மி பெற்றருள் தம்பிரானே !
    என்றும் அழைத்திருக்கிறார். உமா மகேஸ்வரியைத்தான் எக்காரணத்தாலோ லக்ஷ்மி நாமத்தில் குறிப்பிட்டிருக்கிறார்.
    நமது குருநாதனின் தாயார் நாமம் மஹா லக்ஷ்மி. எனவே அவர் ‘லக்ஷ்மி பெற்றருள் பெருமாள்/தம்பிரான்’ தான்.
    நன்றி – அண்ணா ஸ்ரீ ரா கணபதி அவர்கள்.

  4. Ramram says

    U have missed out a vital point which Mahaperiyava had conveyed. It is not only the number of things or events but the duration of the anger (In fact kama, krodha, lobha, moha, mada, matsarya) which form part of human characteristic hallmark should reduce. If the anger was earlier for a long period and if it is reduced now then there is progress.
    It is those who carry on piling imprints and etch the impressions of another or the situation or the external circumstances that stand small in one corner. Those who pride and bask in AHAM have no hope of attaining internal serenity.

    jai jai sankara hara hara sankara. I simply love mahaperiyava

    • nivEdaham says

      Very good point.

      Even MahAn Thiruvalluvar has said
      ‘Gunam ennum kudreri nindrAr- Vehuli (anger)
      KanamEyum kAthal arithu’
      Too difficult for humans with higher level of character, to hold anger beyond seconds.

      Ram. Ram.

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