Remembering MahaPeriyava : sanyāsī (jñānī)

Remembering MahaPeriyava
A write up series by Chandarsekharan Raman.

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

109 years ago, on 13th Feb 1907 (English Date & Tamil date Maasi 2nd which is tomorrow Sunday), at the tender age of 13, Sri MahaPeriyava took Sanyasa Aashramam.

In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord says

यस्मान्नोद्विजते लोको लोकान्नोद्विजते च यः |
हर्षामर्षभयोद्वेगैर्मुक्तो यः स च मे प्रियः || 12-15 ||

The one because of whom people do not get disturbed and who does not get disturbed by people, and who is free from elation, intolerance, fear and anxiety, he is beloved to Me.

Shankaracharya’s commentary for this verse goes as :

यस्मात् संन्यासिनः न उद्विजते — न उद्वेगं गच्छति, न सन्तप्यते न संक्षुभ्यति लोकः; तथा लोकात् न उद्विजते च यः ।

The sanyāsī (jñānī), because of whom people are not disturbed, not afflicted, not agitated; so also – who is not disturbed by other people,… is dear to Me.

The above sanyāsī (jñānī) lakshana given by Lord Krishna and Shankaracharya fits perfectly for MahaPeriyava.

MahaPeriyava MahaVishnu

It was a hot summer agni nakshatram day at Kanchipuram. During summer months, outside the Sri Matam, an old lady (paatti) distributes buttermilk to quench people’s thirst. Early in the morning hours, MahaPeriyava called paatti and asked her to buy lots of curd and make 2 pots full of buttermilk (neer mor), seasoned with perungayam, ginger, chillies, karuveppilai, etc. The paatti, who usually makes only half a pot, was surprised by He was asking her to make 2 full pots of buttermilk. She felt that it might get wasted as she knew the usual crowd!

A group of atheists — calling themselves “rationalists” — had convened a big meeting that day in Kanchipuram. Close to 100 people attended the meeting. They clapped for every statement of the speaker, who bad-mouthed Rama, Krishna and other Gods. The meeting dispersed when the heat peaked to its highest.

The group wearily walked to the bus stand in the hot sun, while looking for something to quench their thirst. When they saw the paatti sitting behind the 2 big pots of buttermilk, they felt delighted. It did not matter to them that it was from Sri matam. Paatti started distributing the buttermilk and the 2 huge pots of buttermilk were empty in no time.

Just when some of them were hesitating whether to enter the Sri Matam, Sri MahaPeriyava Himself walked out from inside, saying He wants to have darshan of Lord Anjaneya swami outside the Sri Matam.

The “rationalists”, after looking at the Divine Walking God approaching towards them, fell at His feet. He came and stood in the hot sun and asked with a motherly compassion, “Did everyone of you get buttermilk?”. “Yes Saami”, they were all moved by his compassion. “May you all be blessed”, He lifted up His arms.

On this day Feb 13th, let us remember the great Mahan, who lived His life exemplifying a true sanyāsī (jñānī).

जन्मानेकशतैः सदादरयुजा भक्त्या समाराधितो
भक्तैर्वैदिकलक्षणेन विधिना सन्तुष्ट ईशः स्वयम् ।
साक्षात् श्रीगुरुरूपमेत्य कृपया दृग्गोचरः सन् प्रभुः
तत्त्वं साधु विबोध्य तारयति तान् संसारदुःखार्णवात् ॥

Meaning: When a devotee worships the Lord in the course of hundreds of births in a Sattvik (sattva predominant) manner, with faith, following the Vedic scriptures and observing rituals, it is then that in some birth, Lord Shankar is pleased and appears in the form of a Guru, thus granting the realisation of the universal principle of Atmadnyan (the soul principle) in its absoluteness. He liberates the disciple from the worldly ocean of sorrow and unhappiness.

Article Courtesy: Remembering MahaPeriyava Write-Up Series


  1. K. Viswanathan says

    Mahaperiyava Thiruvadigale Charanam. Hara Hara Shankara Jaya Jaya Shankara Jaya Jaya Shankara Hara Hara Shankara. Maha Gurubyo Charanam.

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