Remembering MahaPeriyava : Stithaprajna Lakshana

Remembering MahaPeriyava
A write up series by Chandarsekharan Raman.

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

After Lord Krishna gives the teachings about jñānam and karma, Arjuna is very much intrigued about the kind of person the Lord was talking about. He asks the following question to the Lord:

अर्जुन उवाच |

स्थितप्रज्ञस्य का भाषा समाधिस्थस्य केशव |
स्थितधीः किं प्रभाषेत किमासीत व्रजेत किम्‌ || 2-54||

(O Kēśava, what is the description of a person of firm wisdom, one whose mind abides in the ātmā, Self? How does such a person, whose mind is not shaken by anything, speak, sit and walk?)

MahaPeriyava MahaVishnu

Once when MahaPeriyava was camping in the Sanskrit college in Madras, one veda pandita wanted to hear in His own words about stithaprajñā lakṣaṇa during one of His upanyasams. MahaPeriyava did not answer anything. The veda pandita was waiting, but MahaPeriyava never spoke about that in his speeches.

The night before the veda pandita was leaving back, MahaPeriyava asked one of his attendants to call him. It was already very late in the night and it was quite dark. MahaPeriyava was sitting under a tree with a small lamp by his side. This pandita, who was quite tired after the day’s work, immediately rushed to MahaPeriyava and did namaskaram to Him. MahaPeriyava said, “Are you leaving tomorrow?” “Yes”, he replied. “You should be very tired after the day’s work. Why don’t you sleep next to me here itself?” The veda pandita was very happy. He said, “It is my great bhagyam!” Then he spread his own towel and slept there.

Half an hour passed. The pandita could not sleep at all. There were a lot of red ants in that place. As it was dark, he could not even see where they were coming from! He rolled over from one side to another, tried everything he could to avoid the ants. He was bitten all over his body by those red ants.

MahaPeriyava was sleeping unaffected by all this. Will ant bites affect Him? Was He not the one who did not have dēhābhimāna at all? He then asked the pandita, “Are there too many ants here?” The pandita replied, “Yes Periyava. I just cannot sleep here”. To this MahaPeriyava replied, “Didn’t you want to know the lakṣaṇa of a stithaprajñā? A stithaprajñā is one who does not get affected even if there is pain in the body!” The pandita fell at His feet. MahaPeriyava was compassionate to ask him to go and sleep inside one of the rooms. He continued to sleep under the tree with red ants around Him.

श्री गुरुभ्यो नमः |

Article Courtesy: Remembering MahaPeriyava Write-Up Series


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