It was 1965-66. Large tents were erected on the paddy fields, on the way to Thiruparangundram. It was Madurai Conference called by Periyava. Vidwans had come from all over. HH Maharaja of Nepal inaugurated the conference. During the conference, a postal mail came from Sri Ganesh Sastrigal – a great scholar from Satara. The letter was written in Sanskrit.
Sri Simizhi – that’s how Periyava nicknamed son of Simizhi, Sri Venkatrama Sastrigal. He was serving as an anukka thondar to Periyava. He knew Sanskrit and English. He was asked to read the letter. He read. It had a word ‘Unvarithaha…’. No Vidwan could grasp what it meant. Sri Praandhiyangarai Sastrigal opined that we should make the meaning of that word, based on the sentence. So he opined, it means, “It is going on like that”. Each Vidwan began to say something but nothing seemed to gel in with the content of the letter…
Sri Simizhi went to the Iyer Bungalow nearby. He had seen a Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary, the previous day. Periyava enquired about Sri Simizhi. Soon he came back and said he had gone to iyer bungalow to refer Monier-Williams.
Periyava said, “Monier-Williams எப்பேர்ப்பட்ட வித்வான் தெரியுமா?” (“Do you know Monier Williams is a big scholar?”) Periyava continues, “அவன் Morphology Dictionary போட்டு இருக்கான்”. (“He has complied Morphology Dictionary”). “Morphology-னா என்ன தெரியுமா? அதாவது இந்த இந்த வார்த்தை இந்த இந்த காலத்தில இன்ன இன்ன மாதிரி அர்த்தம், அப்படீன்னு சொல்லுறது” (“Do you know what Morphology means? It describes what each word meant during various periods across the years”).
Periyava revealed, “Unvarithaha… Avathithaha… ‘It is completed’ is the meaning!”. Periyava also explained an important thing for all of us…
“நாமெல்லாம் நமக்கு எல்லாம் தெரியும் நினச்சிக்கிட்டு விவாதித்தோம். அவன் தெரியாதுன்னு போய் பாத்துட்டு வந்துட்டான்” (“We all thought we knew everything and started brainstorming. But he knew that he doesn’t know anything about this and referred to the dictionary”) “நமக்கும் அவனுக்கும் அதுதான் வித்யாசம்!” (“That is the difference between us and him!”).
Periyava made the Pundits from all over (who were proud to be part of that elite Sadas) realize the humbleness of the Anukka Thondar is superior than those experts in that domain…
What matters really – Knowledge Or Humbleness?
Whether it is Science or Sastra or Satsang or Running a Trust or Posting a message, it is not our knowledge or expertise that matters. It is our complete devotion to Periyava and absolute humbleness that matters!!!
Sashtaanga Namaskarams to Periyava to bless us to be so… All the time. Ram. Ram.
Article Courtesy: Sri Rathinam