Thursday, February 28, 2013

kanchi periyavarudan A.K.Velan

காஞ்சி  பெரியவருடன்  ஏ .கே .வேலன்
   
Scorpion Wings,: From the bookParamacharyarpages

 From the bookParamacharyarpages

A.K. Velan
Author: 'Paranthaman' (V.Narayanan) (in Tamil)
Source: From the bookParamacharyarpages 188-194, 1992 edition
Publisher: Narmadaa Padhippaham
Translator: saidevo

As narrated by the author:

When the reception with honours was being given in a house, a man in the opposite house who was not yet ready with bath and formal clothes, came to the grill gate entrance of his house, with just a dhoti around his waist, on hearing the beat of themeLam, to see what was going on outside; he came inside the glance of Paramacharya who accidentally turned his face towards the other side. When he was standing with no idea of what was going on, the sage beckoned to the man to come near him.

The man who knew practically nothing of the sage, came near themenA(palanquin) and stood with joined palms. SwamigaL lifted his hand to bless him and asked his assistant to give the manakSata prasAdam. Everyone was surprised.

I did not know about this incident. One day the man requested me as a friend, "I need to have personal darshan of Kanchi Periyavar and get his blessings. What is the way to do it? I don't know about the formalities there. People say that there are many kinds of strict formalities there! You should make arrangements for it." I knew about the formalities there only in a general way; I had no personal experience in the matter. Without approaching any of the office bearers there, I wrote a letter to the present address where the sage was camping. I gave information in my letter about my friend's personal details and requested for a time to have darshan.

Two days later, a man came to see me with my letter in hand. He gave me an address and said if we went there tomorrow or the day after, at six in the evening, the devotee of the house would take us for the darshan; he went away saying nothing more. I gave this good news to 'A.K. Velan'. He came on the right time the next evening. As if going to a temple, we went to the address given. The devotee there was also ready. He was aparama bhaktaof Paramacharya. He was in a good position in life, holding the chief manager's post in an engineering company. He was happy narrating Paramacharya's greatness in every word he spoke.

"One of the rare traits with PeriyavaaL is that he would never ask a person to observe something that he himself does not observe. He would not also compel a person to observe something that is not done by the others. This special trait cannot be seen in many other ascetics.

"The fruits in this basket are of a rare variety; came only this morning by plane from the Kashmir side. Such tasty apples can be seen nowhere. The grapes here do not have seeds; they would melt in the mouth. They are here for PeriyavaaL's exclusive consumption. It would be abhAgyaif PeriyavaaL takes it. I shall be happy even if he eats just one or two of them. I should get thatbhAgyam, let us see!" The devotee was hot with anxiety.

Our car reached Noombal around eight in the early part of the night. It was pitch dark. The air was filled with condensing moisure. We did not wear a shirt or a shawl to cover the upper trunk, just a towel wrapped around the dhoti in the waist. There was no street lamps on the side of the main road. We needed to go through an interior passage on the side to reach that place. Just one lamp was visible at some distance from the area where the sage was staying. With darkness all around, our car was going along raising dust, through the passage that had potholes made by the constant traffic of factory lorries and other vehicles.

A medium-sized thatched shed. A 'petromax' light (gaslight) outside it. The lantern was going off and on with swells of darkness and light. Hurricane lanterns were hanging here and there, giving out the light they could. An old tiled building with verandah, on one side of the thatched shed, maybe it was the office of that brick manufacturing factory.

On the portico and inside the shed some people with glaring marks ofvibhUtiwere moving about, wearingkacchadhoties on their waist. I thought that they were the MaTham officials.

The man who brought us, made us wait outside the shed, went in to meet some notable, and within a minute or two came back saying, "You can have darshan, come" and led the way. A complete, peaceful and holy silence was prevailing there.

We followed our man, carrying the fruit plates and garlands we had brought with us. We expected that Periyavar would be staying somewhere inside the building or on the far side of it. What wonder! AmenA(palanquin) was kept in a corner of the shed, immersed in dim light. We would have gone hardly ten feet, when our man asked us to put down what we carried and said, "Prostrate, prostrate now!" Only by looking keenly inside themenAwe had the sight of Periyavar. He was sitting inside on his feet, covering himself with a saffron cloth. Our having darshan of hismukhAravindam(face that is a lotus flower) and his two eyes that were shining likechandra-sUrya(moon and sun) in that dim light, made us go dizzy with ecstasy.

Prostrating, we stood up with joined palms. He beckoned to us to sit down. We sat on the ground beside themenA. The disciple nearby took the fruit plates and flowers and showed it to SwamigaL. He gave hisanugrahaby touching them and asked them to be kept away. SwamigaL waved his hand. The disciple tookakSata, kumkumamandvibhUtiin two wooden bowls and stretched them out to SwamigaL. SwamigaL touched them giving hisanugrahaand let the disciple give them to us. We placed a gold sovereign each in the same bowl. SwamigaL did not seem to heed them at all. In those days, a sovereign of gold did not cost thousands, only hundreds. (When we started to get back, we were given receipts for them from the office).

I told about A.K. Velan in a few words. I spoke about his Tamilpulamai(expertise), his having worked as a teacher in the Karanthai Tamil College, his participation in the movements connected with the Kazhagam (the DMK political party), his success with the production of his own movie, and his constructing a building at at cost of Rs.50,000 out of the income from the movie for the college where he taught.

SwamigaL listened to each information keenly and asked, "Tamil colleges are there in Madurai and Karanthai. In what other places are such colleges?" My friend gave him the names Mayilam (Mayiladuturai), Nellai (Tirunelveli), Tiruvaiyaru and some other places. PeriyavargaL was always keen to know about connected topics, getting his doubts cleared and clearing other doubts. Because of this trait he had connection with countless experts in many areas of knowledge.

He was very fond of interacting with experts. He had many of them coming to him, cutting across the borders of caste, religion and age. He liked seeking information from them and thereby giving them out to the world through them. He remembered many things and inquired Velan about UmaMaheswaran of Karunthattankudi, a lawyer and a man of great knowledge, who was instrumental in setting up the educational association of the Karanthai college. He also sought details about Karanthai Kaviyarasu Venkatachalam Pillai.

In that peaceful environment, thatdivya darshanamextended for over three quarters of an hour. There was no one nearby. That time was a holy moment in our life. Those golden memories still persist fresh in mind, even after the passage of 25 years.

When we took leave, Velan sought blessings from the sage, for the holy works of the Kodambakkam Vadapalani Murugan Koil frontal structure that he had taken up. After keeping silent for sometime, SwamigaL said, "Continue to do your Tamil services" and blessed, raising a hand. It so happened that Velan did not take note the real meaning of that day'supadeshamamidst the happiness having got the darshan and blessings of the sage.

The frontalmaNDapaholy works were not only unsuccessful, but had also created some discord. Only later I came to know from Velan since he believed that only on the strength of the voluntary blessings he received at (Raja) Annamalaipuram, he came to establish his Arunachalam Studio and got some affluences in life that followed, he wanted to have a personal darshan.

All that is fine, but it might be asked as to why the sage should beckon to come near him a person who was just watching his procession at a distance and voluntarily give the person hisanugrahaand blessings. This is what I pointed out earlier that for thejnAnis some connection rises inside them with someone from somewhere. We may not be able to understand it from the cause and effect logic.

I could know only later when I went to Thanjai (Thanjavur) with A.K.V. that Velan's paternal grandfather was an ascetic. He has attainedsamAdhiin a village adjoining Thanjai. These things came to mind when I visited there once with him.

ஏ .கே.வேலன் பற்றிய சில அரிய தகவல்கள் 

A.K. Velan - 2
Author: 'Paranthaman' (V.Narayanan) (in Tamil)
Source: From the bookParamacharyarpages 052-064, 1992 edition
Publisher: Narmadaa Padhippaham
Translator: saidevo
speech at the end, took the stage in the beginning itself. I informed him of the call from SriMaTham after he
As narrated by the author:

Another incident. Happened around 25 years ago. Sri Jayendrar was the younger Periyavar then. He was camping for months at Ilayattankudi in Chettinad with the entire group of SriMaTham assistants and was giving his blessings and grace to the devotees. The temple in Ilayattankudi, Kundrakkudi and PillaiyarPatti are established and run by the clan of wealthy traders of Chettinad (the Nagaratthaars). They are their family temples.

A Pongal festival was being celebrated at KilaSeevalPatti about three miles from Ilayattankudi. The celebrations included speeches by the masters in different subjects.

Around 5 o' clock in the evening A.K. Velan was giving a special speech. When I was there on the stage with him, I was called by someone from the rear end of the stage. Wearing bands ofvibUtiall over, a middle aged brahmin inpanca kacchadhoti anduttarIyam(shounder cloth) and sporting a tuft of hair on his head, asked on seeing me, "You are the one who has accompanied Pulavar A.K. Velan from Chennai?" When I said yes, he continued, "Chinna PeriyavaaL has directed him to come to Kanchi PeriyavaaL MaTham after his speech is over. You please inform this to him and bring him there. Since I have some urgent work I can't stay here. I may be excused; shall take leave now," and went away.speech at the end, took the stage in the beginning itself. I informed him of the call from SriMaTham after he

We had planned to urgently go to Thanjai directly from there after the speech and then return to Chennai. To suit our program, my friend who was to give his  finished his speech. It gave him some surprise, though he was a respected person in SriMaTham and had the
bhAgyamof Paramacharyar voluntarily talking to him and blessing him. (This incident is given in the earlier part of this tale).

Being in such a situation, why did he hesitate! Only a few days before this Pongal celebrations he had been released from the Tiruchi Central Jail on completion of a six months term for the dharna he participated in. The dharna was against the raise in prices of essential commodities and was conducted by the D.M.K. The first batch of the sit-in agitation held in Thanjavur, the native place of Kalignar Karunanidhi. After he was arrested, A.K. Velan presided over the second batch of dharna held before the Thanjavur Collector's Office, where he was also arrested. Before this incident, he used to have dharshan of Paramacharyar in Chennai and other camps whenever he had an opportunity. Thus his hesitation was due to the sudden change in the path of his life.
and inquired about hiskSema lAbha(health and prosperity). They took him to the office and seated him. Meantime, the news reached thepIThAdhipati(pontiff). PeriyavargaL was then in his blessing posture in theadhiSTAnaShiva temple adjacent to the camp. It was theadhiSTAnamof the 65thpIThAdhipatiof Kamakoti P
He went to the Ilayattankudi camp, taking courage, with the dutiful feeling that he should not disobey the orders from SriMaTham. The Pulavar was liked by the SriMaTham assistants and officials. One reason for this cordiality was that he was himself a man of goodness and modesty. The other reason was that he was among the people who received direct blessings from Paramacharyar.

The SriMaTham people received him with kindness iTham, Sri (Sudarsana) Mahadevendra Saraswati SwamigaL, who was Paramacharyar's Parameshti-guru. When Paramacharyar was in the Ilayattankudi camp, a variety of
Atmika sadas(spiritual conferences) andshAstra sammelana(scriptural meetings) took place at frequent intervals. The Shaastric lessons for the then younger Periyavar Jayendra SwamigaL was also going on, which were taught by very great Vedic pundits, even from the adjacent states of Andhra and Karnataka. The place which was devoid of the modern facilities was nevertheless in the mood of festivity, with visits from the devotees near and far.

Abramachary(bachelor) came and took us to theadhiSTAnamas directed. It was a small temple with a small building with some surrounding space. Grass had grown all over the floor. With compound walls on four sides, a peaceful atmosphere was prevalent there. Paramacharyar had taken his seat at one side of thesannidhiof the frontal hall. Some great people were participating in a conversation with him. Velan went and prostrated with the fear of what Paramacharyar might say to him. The sage gave a look at Velan, his face tilting up. As Velan stood joining his palms in reverence, he realized that it was not a harsh but a benevolent look; the light of the sage's glance flashed and ran like lightning; he raised his hand and blessed. The assistant nearby gaveakSataandvibUti. Earlier, during every darshan Paramacharyar used to make him sit, speak a few words, giveprAsadamwith a touch of his hand and bless by a raised hand.* It was not so on that day. When we hadpradakSiNaof theprAkArawe saw Sri Jayendra Periyavar on the other side conversing amiably with the students of the Veda Paatashaalaa, sitting on the grass. When we bowed to him, he inquired "Eppo vandheL(when did you come)?" and asked us to be seated there.

"As per Periyavaa's directions only I had sent a person there asking you to come here! You have no physical problems after having 'gone there' and come back (I hope)?"

Velan could not open his mouth to speak. He could only gesture that he had no physical problems and was peaceful.

Sri Jayendrar continued: "You did it only for the welfare of the people. Nothing wrong with that. So many ways to work for the welfare of the world. Good things can be done in other ways also. Are there any ways that are not in our TirukkuraL or the Tamil Literature?

"You can dosevAin those other ways. Aren't you having a large family, profession, responsibilities and duties? Periyavaa had such anabhiprAyam(opinion about you). Which was why the call here on your return trip."

Velan said nothing in return. We bowed and took leave.

Velan could not talk for sometime. His misty eyes revealed the melting of his heart. When we took leave of people in the SriMaTham camp and came near our car, the people from the catering area who were known to us approached us and compelled, "You can start after the night puja andbhojanathereafter." We explained to them the urgency we had to visit Thanjai the same night and then return to Chennai as we had to be present in the city on the next day. Asking us to wait for a minute, one of them went and came back with three packs ofpongalandpuLiyodara(tamarind rice), and gave them to us with compulsion.

For the apex position that Paramacharyar was in, in what quarters of a word, with the backing of a complete prevision. People who had shown sincerity in following thway was this A.K. Velan a person to keep in his mind and worry about? A.K. Velan individually was not a great person to be considered or expected of in akAryArthaway; he was also not a rich man, or a man of position. He also did not have anything that is not found elsewhere. He had nothing except that he was a devotee, a man of love and humility and a truthful man. He was the owner of an ordinary studio. He was not a man who amassed lakhs in the film industry. And he was a man with a big family. Next to God, it can be seen only in Paramacharyar: his care to regulate the actions of a person, his love to take into his fold, his thoughts to correct and guide. Thousands of people in our country have had such experiences from Paramacharyar; are still getting them. Many would cherish them as great treasure in their heart and discuss them as rare honours and gifts. Whenever I used to meet such people, I felt that the world did not know about such treasures and was eager to bring them out. The reason behind the publication of this bookParamacharyawas only that yearning to give expression to those experiences.

When I reminded him of this Ilayattankudi incident and was conversing with him, Tiru. Pulavar A.K. Velan told me a subtle point. "When one gets the opportunity of a first darshan of Paramacharyar, one should keenly observe, remember and follow verbatim, what the sage expresses very subtly in a half or three at subtle advice have come to gains, and they adore it as his divine power. Those who neglect the subtle advice, when they get totally different experiences, would regret that they were pre-warned, only they themselves did not heed. One cannot but wonder at such great divine power, highlighted by the experiences of a great number of his devotees.

"You reminded me of what Sri Jayendra SwamigaL told me the other day: that there were no ways that did not find a place in our Tamil literature and books; and that service can be done in one or more of those ways. I am now reminded of another rare incident that happened to me sometime back. When I had my first darshan of him in Noombal, the directions Paramacharyar gave me was nothing but 'Continue to do your Tamil services'! You talked about me, my family and my undertakings in great detail. He listened to them, inquired still more about other details and yet gave the direction to continue to do only my Tamil services. Since I did not have the clarity and conviction of following Paramacharyar's dictum then and continued with my temple construction works, I suffered expenses beyond my capcity. We started the sculptural works using the stone slabs brought from a hill near Kanchipuram known to be suitable for such works. We also got the full clearance and cooperation of the temple administration officials. We started our holy works on an auspicious day. Yet things did not go as planned and desired by us. I am now reminded that I did not get the blessings I asked him on that day for these works." Velan went emotional as he spoke about this incident.

Velan also remembered and told about his yet another darshan at this same Ilayattankudi on a previous, rare occasion. The two darshans are very different, yet theabhimAnam(affection) is the same in both.

"When I was returning in my car with family after having bath and darshan in Rameswaram, we came across the signboard that the road to Madurai was closed, so we had to take a diversion via Tiruvadhavur. The early night had already passed. We went in a wrong way and later inquired and found the right direction, but it was ten o' clock in the night by then. The children were hungry. The small hotels in the villages we passed through were already closed. Taking the correct road, we went to search for a restaurant near a theatre,
"First, you people come this way. Can have darshan after theAhAra(food). All this only as per Perbut there were no food facilities in that area. We were asked to go to Pudukottai straight for food. We would have come some distance in the road we were directed to travel. We saw a large arch across the road with the words, 'Welcome, Sri Kanchi Kamakoti pIThAdhipati Jagatguru Sri Sankaracharyar!'

Only then I remembered about Paramacharyar's Chettinad camp. I asked the driver to go to the camp. My people in the car said, "It is going to be one o' clock now. It won't be polite to wake up and trouble the people in SriMaTham. Let us go straight to Pudukottai." It was not that I did not have that idea. But my mind was anxious that having come thus far, it was not proper to pass by without having a darshan, when SwamigaL is camping nearby and en route.

I said, "Let us go there and see. If we have the chance let us have a darshan. Or else let us have apradakSiNaof the place and go. When we reached Ilayattankudi, I had already directed that the car driver should not sound the horn and wake up people there. Except of a light here and there, there was nothing shining in the area. A temple pond of moderate size, with some houses and coconut trees around it were seen. We were keen to meet somebody who would know where Periyavar would be staying. The car was driven very slowly. A brahmin held up his hand and stopped the car. Even before I got down opening the car door, he asked me, "You are A.K. Velan, right?" With eagerness, I asked him about where Periya SwamigaL was staying. He said, "First get down the steps of the pond and wash your hands and legs. Ask the people in the car to do the same." After complying with his directions, we asked him if he could take us to where Periya SwamigaL was 
camp and served hot cooked rice,pitlaa(a special sambar) and steaming hotrasam. After 25 years, I could not forget that tasty meal. Two people carrying hurrycane lamps, we were taken to theadhiSTAnam. SwamigaL was awake at that time of the staying.
iyavaaL's directions: that you are coming and that we must do these things to you."

How did he know about us, who were wandering somewhere? I could not understand how could he know about us and take us into his fold at this time of past midnight. All of us including the children were seated in a line on the floor at one side of the 
night, as if to give us his darshan. We prostrated to him with a sense of immense gratitude. He inquired about our trips and travelling. We asked for his permission to go to Thanjai that same night. He said that it was enough if we took the trip only in the morning. I humbly told him again about the urgency. He again emphatically said that we could go in the next morning.

Our intention was not to trouble the MaTham for our night stay. We were accommodated at one another side of the camp on convenient, largejamakkALams (thick, cotton beds) with amAppiLLaipillow at the foot of a wall (a raised construct about the height of two bricks at the foot of a wall in choultries to serve as pillow for the wayfarers). Within 15 mintues of our settling down to sleep, a man came and said, "Periyavaa told us to give milk to the young children. Took us some time, should excuse." I later came to know that Periyavar had noticed our children below eight years when we prostrated to him and had said, "The children would not have eaten properly. Give them some milk." What a great and compassionate heart Periyavar had!

Note:
*This is what the author has narrated here, though it is generally known that Paramacharya never used to touch anyone physically.

Glossary:
prAkAra- a wall, enclosure, fence, rampart

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