Remembering MahaPeriyava : ātma jñānī

Remembering MahaPeriyava
A write up series by Chandarsekharan Raman.

(Thanks to Chandru for sharing his insight of Maha Periyava through Bhagavad Gita)

On this day, 121 years ago, Sri MahaPeriyava took His avatāra. His entire life of 100 years was for only one purpose – to help us so that we all do not take any more avatāra!!

Lord Krishna in the Bhagavadgītā extols the qualities of a jñānī in many places and contexts! But of all places and contexts, He brings in the lakshana of a jñānī while advising Arjuna about Karma Yoga! This is a sudden switch of context back to jñānī! Why was the Lord going back to that topic more so because (I am as confused as) Arjuna was confused in terms of “Why jñānam?”.

In the beginning of chapter – 3, Arjuna presents a question that he is really confused as to why the Lord is asking him to fight this gory war, if ātmajñānam is the only means to get rid of the worries he expressed to Krishna. The Lord then gives an elaborate argument as why Arjuna should do the right karma with the right attitude. He provides various angles to look at it, depending on the person’s maturity.

After the elaborate description, the following two verses about a jñānī are presented:

यस्त्वात्मरतिरेव स्यादात्मतृप्तश्च मानवः |

आत्मन्येव च सन्तुष्टस्तस्य कार्यं न विद्यते || 3-17||

For the person who would delight in the Self, who is satisfied with the Self, contented in the Self alone, there is nothing to be accomplished.

नैव तस्य कृतेनार्थो नाकृतेनेह कश्चन |

न चास्य सर्वभूतेषु कश्चिदर्थव्यपाश्रयः || 3-18||

For that person (who revels in the Self), there is indeed no purpose here in this world for doing or not doing action. Nor does such a person depend on any being for any object whatsoever.

MahaPeriyava MahaVishnu

Sri MahaPeriyava, an ātma jñānī Himself, did not have anything to accomplish in this world! But He still walked the entire bhāratadēśa just out of compassion and taught us all the right way to live! He always stressed on performing duties and even at the age of 80, He started another pāda yātra and was keeping His anuṣṭānam! Why should He do if He has nothing to gain by the anuṣṭānams?

Lord Krishna’s sudden switch of contexts is made clear in the next shloka:

तस्मादसक्तः सततं कार्यं कर्म समाचर |

असक्तो ह्याचरन्कर्म परमाप्नोति पूरुषः || 3-19||

Therefore, always perform well the action that is to be done without attachment because, by performing action without attachment, a person attains the highest.

Let us all remember the great Mahan, who was born on this day, so that we do our duties with the right attitude, and attain the highest so that we do not take another janma!

सकृत्स्मरणमात्रेण भवरोग विनाशके |
श्रीचन्द्रशेखरपादाब्जे भासेतां हृदि मे सदा ||

Article Courtesy: Remembering MahaPeriyava Write-Up Series


  1. L.Kasi viswanadha rao says

    Chandrasekhara chandrasekhara pahimam .. Chandrasekhara Chandrasekhar rakshamam..




  3. Parameswaran Narayanayaiyer says

    Video only will get things to mind.Best of all seen so far.Periyavaa was happy only as u said in the final about rain
    THANKS a ton.Mahaperiyavaasaranam.–Parameswaran.

  4. T.S.Muralikrishnan says

    ” Kaama Koteeswaram Vandhey Kamakshi Padasevakam, Bhavaam Bhodhi Maha Nawkaam Bhaktha Sri KamaDhenukaam : ” Hara Hara Sankara Jaya Jaya Sankara.

  5. Sriram Krishnan says

    சக்ருத்ச்மரண மாத்ரேண பவரோஹ விநாஷகே|
    ஸ்ரீசந்திரஷேகர பாதாப்ஜே பாசேதாம் ஹ்ருதி மே ஸதா||

    மஹா பெரியவா பத்ம பாதம் ஷரணம்.

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