A write up series by Chandarsekharan Raman.
(Thanks to Chandru for sharing his insight of Maha Periyava through Bhagavad Gita)
Keezhambi is a small village near Kanchipuram. The village has a long standing association with the Kanchi Matam. All produce from the lands in Keezhambi village were generally sent to the Matam. One year, an excess of groundnuts (Tamil: nilakkadalai) from the lands were delivered to the Matam. The manager of the Matam told MahaPeriyava, “All these groundnuts are the harvest from Keezhambi village”. MahaPeriyava non-chalantly looked at it and went away.
Three weeks went by. The groundnuts were still lying there in the baskets and nobody was interested in taking them. The manager thought it was better to sell the groundnuts off. So, he sold them and used the money for the Matam expenses.
A week later, MahaPeriyava asked the manager, “Where are those groundnuts from Keezhambi? Bring some for me, I want to eat them!” The manager was now in trouble. He felt bad that MahaPeriyava didn’t even touch the groundnuts when they were lying there all the while, but now he wants them when they were sold off! But, he didn’t want to disappoint Him too. So, without His knowledge, he called two young boys from the Matam and went to the Keezhambi village to find out if they can get some groundnuts left over in the field. Unfortunately, they could not find even one single piece! After frantically searching all over the field, they found a rat burrow in one corner. It suddenly struck the manager that the rats would have stored some groundnuts as their food. They immediately cleared the rat burrows and were thrilled! They could gather two bags full of groundnuts from the rat burrows. They happily went back to the Matam.
Back at the Matam, the manager said, “Periyava, here are the groundnuts you wanted.” MahaPeriyava asked, “Why did it take so long to get the groundnuts? Where did this come from?” The manager was stammering, “I had to take care of something else…hmm, but this is from our Keezhambi village only”. MahaPeriyava was not convinced. He looked at the other two people and starting grilling them, “Where did this come from? Were both of you also busy? What were you doing?” One of them got nervous blurted out the truth, “Periyava, it took us some time to get it from the rat burrows”. The manager gave a silent stare to the young man and pinched him in the back. He was obviously annoyed that he couldn’t keep a secret. MahaPeriyava did not stop there. He made the young man narrate the whole incident completely. The manager could not hide his embarrassment.
MahaPeriyava then looked at the manager and calmly said, “Just because I asked you for groundnuts, you took so much pains to get these?” He immediately added, “But you have done a terrible thing of robbing away the food from those poor animals. This amounts to thieving!” Saying this, He asked the two young men to load the two bags of groundnuts in a vehicle. He also asked them to buy 4 bags puffed rice (Tamil: pori) and loaded in the vehicle. All of them, including MahaPeriyava proceeded to Keezhambi village. The manager did not understand what He was up to! MahaPeriyava asked them to locate the rat burrows. He then poured the puffed rice and groundnuts into the burrows. He then looked for other burrows in the field and filled all of them with the puffed rice and groundnuts. After filling up all the burrows, He told the manager, “If you would have told me that the groundnuts were sold off, I would have just been happy. For my sake, you should not have troubled those poor creatures. They would have gone without food today!”. What a mind-set!!
All these anecdotes being read/heard many times through many sources make us emotional and we immediately tend to realize that MahaPeriyava is “Parameshwaran”, “Sarveshwaran”… But, most of the times, we tend to forget all these “Thiruvilaiyadal” that HE executed was not just to subtly hint us on Who HE is, but most importantly to teach us how one should conduct his/her life. Sometimes when we chant the shloka “sarve bhavantu sukhinah, sarve santu niramayah”, it may just be coming out as a lip service to the Lord. Here is a great Mahatma who came down to Earth to teach us how to live!
In the Bhagavad Gita, the Lord declares,
यो मां पश्यति सर्वत्र सर्वं च मयि पश्यति |
तस्याहं न प्रणश्यामि स च मे न प्रणश्यति || 6-30||
(The one who sees Me in all beings and sees all beings in Me, for him (or her) I am not remote and he (or she) is not remote from Me.)
Was Paramacharyal ever remote from the Lord?
अपार करुनासिन्धुं ज्ञानदं शान्तरूपिणम् ।
श्रीचन्द्रशेखरगुरुं प्रणमामि मुदान्वहम् ॥
Article Courtesy: Remembering MahaPeriyava Write-Up Series