[Advaita-l] How to treat a vaidhika?

Rajaram Venkataramani rajaramvenk at gmail.com
Wed Jul 25 05:58:58 CDT 2012

I am forwarding this only because it brings out an important lesson in
terms of how we should treat vaidhikas. The revival of the vaidhika dharma
is dependent on the proper treatment of vaidhika brahmanas. It is the
responsibility of all jatis and schools of thought to get this.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: venkataramani ramachandran <vramanir at rediffmail.com>
Date: Wed, Jul 25, 2012 at 9:10 AM
Subject: Fw: One incident with Paramacharya
To: dithya2k at gmail.com, mahalakshmirajaram at gmail.com, rajaramvenk at gmail.com,
yasoda.rajaram at gmail.com

*Paramacharya Stuns a Landowner!*
Author: Sri Ramani Anna (in Tamil)
Source: *Sakthi Vikatan* issue dated Nov 05, 2006

A *Citra* full moon day, many years back. An *abhiSekam* was performed in a
grand manner with *mahAnyAsa rudra japam* at Sri Mahalingaswami Temple,
Tiruvidaimarudur. The person who conducted it with 11 Vedic pundits was the
landowner Narayanaswami Iyer of Tiruvarur. The *rudrAbhiSekam* that started
at eight in the morning came to a completion around one in the afternoon.

The landowner Narayanaswami Iyer was extremely devoted to Kanchi Maha
SwamigaL. He decided 'this *rudrAbhiSeka prasAdam* should be submitted to
Periyavaa somehow.' He reverentially kept the *prasAdam* on a banana leaf
and folded it inside a new silk cloth. That same evening, he boarded the
Madurai Madras passenger train at Tiruvidaimarudur railway station. He got
down at Chingleput station in the early morning, took a bus and arrived at

There was a large crowd at the *maTham* on that day. Finishing his bath and
other chores, the landowner waited for Periyavaa's darshan. At about 12
o'clock in the noon, Maha SwamigaL came and sat down, after finishing his
Chandramouleesvara puja. The crowd of devotees rushed forward. The
landowner couldn't approach SwamigaL. He showed the *prasAda* bag and
begged everyone, "All of you please make way! I have brought
Tiruvidaimarudur Mahalingaswamy*rudrAbhiSeka prasAdam* for Periyavaa. I
have to submit it to him."

No one seemed to make way. An employee of the *maTham* who saw the anxiety
and haste of the landowner, created a trail for him among the people and
brought Narayanaswami Iyer near PeriyavaL. When he saw PeriyavaL, the
landowner became insensate, dropped down heavily for a prostration and got
up. Maha SwamigaL looked at him raising his head. He raised his brows as if
he inquired what the matter was.

With his hands shaking, the landowner babbled, unpacking the *prasAdam* bag,
"*prasAdam, prasAdu* Periyavaa". "What*prasAdam*?" asked PeriyavaL and
looked at him. In the meantime, the landowner managed to extract the *
prasAdam*. He kept it on the cane plate found there and submitted it to
PeriyavaL. On that plate were found in a small banana leaf, *vibuti,
kuN^kumam*, sandal paste together with some *bilva dalam*, two parts of a
broken coconut, and some *poovan* banana fruits.

Maha SwamigaL asked, "All these are *prasAdam* of which *kSetra*?" and
looked at the landowner once again. The landowner calmed himself and said
with humility, "Periyavaa! I performed the *rudrAbhiSekam* for
Mahalingaswami at Tiruvidaimarudur yesterday. It was a large *abhiSekam*
 with *mahAnyAsa rudra japam*. This is that *prasAdam*. Since Periyavaa
would be happy, I have rushed here to bring it, boarding a train; you must
receive it and bless me."

Looking at that *prasAda* plate sharply for sometime, Periyavaa asked:
"Narayanaswami! You are a big landowner yourself. Even then you performed
this *rudrAbhiSekam* for Swami, teaming up with some other people to meet
the expenses?"

The landowner replied, "No, Periyavaa! I performed it *myself*, out of my
own expenses," stressing the 'myself' part a little.

PeriyavaL smiled to himself. He did not leave it at that. "So you did for
for *loka kSema* at Madhyaarjuna kSetra", he added.

The landowner replied with some uncertainty, "No, Periyavaa! For the last
two or three years there was no yield in my fields. Some fields were even
barren. I checked up with Tiruvidaimarudur Muthu Josyar. He advised me, 'On
a *Citra* full moon day perform *rudrAbhiSekam* for Mahalingaswami. That
will give you an abundant yield!' Only on that belief I performed it,

The *prasAda* that was kept before the sage remained untouched. AcharyaL
did not accept it. Saying, "So it seems that you did not perform this act
either for *AtmArtam* or for *loka kSemArtam*", he closed his eyes and
dropped into meditation.

AcharyaL opened his eyes after fifteen minutes. There was such a clarity in
his face! And a knowing look of having understood many things within those
fifteen minutes. Everyone around was very quiet. SwamigaL continued,
"Alright... How many vedic brahmins attended the *rudrAbhiSekam*?"

"I had arranged for eleven vedic pandits, Periyavaa!"

SwamigaL persisted, "Did you know who were the *vaidikaL*s and which place
they belonged to? Was it only you who made all arrangements?"

The devotees who were witnessing the scene were surprised at the detailed
inquiry Periyavaa was making. They also understood that he wouldn't do
anything without a reason. The landowner took a piece of paper that he had
tucked in his waist.

"I am reading out, Periyavaa. Tiruvidaimarudur Venkatrama SastrigaL,
Seenuvasa Ganapadigal, Rajagopala ShrautigaL, Marutthuvakkudi Santhana
Vaadyhar, Sundaa SastrigaL, Subramanya SastrigaL, Tirumangalakkudi Venkittu
Vaadhyar, and then--"

AchargaL interruped him and asked easily, "All experts only, who you have
arranged. Alright, check if your list has the name Thepperumaanallur
Venkatesa GanapadigaL."

Seething with happiness, the landowner replied, "It is there, Periyavaa! He
also attended the *japam*", showing surprise in his voice.

Though the devotees were taken by surprise at such detailed inquiry about
an *abhiSekam* that was over, no one said anything. Everyone was silent and

SwamigaL said, "Besh, besh! So you had engaged Venkatesa GanapadigaL also
for the *japam*! A very good thing. Maha Veda *vid*! GanagadigaL is now
very aged. Even difficult for him to raise his voice. He would feel it hard
to control his breathing and intone the *japam*."

As if he waited for this remark, the landowner replied, his tone raising,
"Yes, Periyavaa! What you have said is very correct. He did not chant the *
rudram* well. Sometimes he was siting silent with closed eyes. Often he
yawned. All these resulted in the shrinkage of the counting of the
*japam* numbers.
He gave much trouble yesterday. I regretted having engaged him for the*japam

SwamigaL swelled with indignation. "What you said... What did you say? So
you have the temerity to talk anything because you have the money? What do
you know about the *yogyatAMsam* of Thepperumaanallur Venkatesa
GanapadigaL? Would you match the dust of the feet of that veda *vid*? How
can you talk such words about him? I have now understood what happened
yesterday at the Mahalingaswami Sannidhi! You answer my question now! When
the GanapadigaL was sitting quiet with closed eyes at the time of the *japam
* yesterday, did you not shout harshly at him, '*EngaaNum*, are you not
getting the money, you are sitting still with a shut mouth without doing
the *japam*?' Tell me, did you shout these words to him or not?" The
landowner was appalled. The crowd was amazed.

Narayanaswami Iyer fell at SwamigaL's feet, his eight limbs touching the
ground. SwamigaL did not say anything. The landowner got up himself. He
closed his mouth and replied shivering, "My mistake, Periyavaa! It is true
that I used the very same words you spoke know to the GanapadigaL in the
Swami Sannidhi yesterday. Periyavaa should kindly pardon me."

Periyavaa did not stop. "Wait, wait. Did you do that mistake only? You did
honour the *vaidikaL*s with money, right? How much did you give each *

The landowner gulped and said weakly, "I paid ten rupees for each head,

SwamigaL did not leave him with that. "Tell me correctly! *I know
everything!* Did you pay all the *vaidikaL*s equally with ten-ten rupees

The landowner stood silently. But the AcharyaL did not relent. "Listen, *I
shall tell you* what you did yesterday. Perhaps you feel shy to talk it
out. You seated the *vaidikaL*s in a row at the Sannidhi and was giving the
*sambhAvanA* of ten rupees to each of them. When the turn of
Thepperumaanallur Venkatesa GanapadigaL came, you decided, 'This man did
not chant the*rudram* properly. Why should I give him ten rupees as I did
for the others?' and gave him just seven rupees. You had the thought that
somehow you had taken revenge on him. Did he care anything about it all? He
just accepted what you gave him and tied it to the edge of his *vastram*."
AcharyaL asked him hotly, "Tell me, is not what I am saying correct?"

The devotees were stunned. No one did say anything. They wondered how
PeriyavaL came to know what took place in Tiruvidaimarudur temple yesterday.

The landowner prostrated to the sage and said, "A gross mistake, Periyavaa!
It was out of ignorance that I behaved like that! I won't behave in such a
fashion henceforth! Kindly parden me!"

Before he finished, PeriyavaaL continued, "Wait, wait! It would have been
less worse had it ended there." He asked, "For the*japa* brahmins, you
arranged for the meals at the house of Ramachandra Iyer of Mahadhana
street, right?"

"Yes, Periyavaa!"

"You served sumptuous meals, of course, with a feeling of immense
happiness. You had arranged for cooking very tasty sweet *pongal*, with
lots of cashew nuts and raisins added to it, and you served it with your
own hands, with ghee dripping from it in the meals session, right?"

Narayanaswami Iyer was more and more appalled. He closed his mouth and
spoke with uncertainty, "Yes, Periyavaa! In the session I served only the
sweet pongal with my own hands."

"Alright, does your conscience admit that you did it with the dharma for
serving a meal?" SwamigaL asked him sternly.

The landowner did not open his mouth. AcharyaL said himself, "You need not
tell me, I shall tell you! When you served the sweet *pongal*, since it was
very tasty, the *vaidikaL*s asked for repeated helpings. And you obliged
them. But when Thepperumaanallur Venkatesa GanapadigaL, giving up his
reticence asked you many times, 'Serve me more of the sweet*pongal*, it is
very tasty...' did you not carry on without serving him more, though you
heard him? How many times did he ask you, giving up his normal reticence!
And you did not serve him more! You committed the sin of partiality in a
meals session! Was it dharma? You insulted a great sadhu!" SwamigaL fell
into silence, overwhelmed with distress.

The landowner stood with bowed head. The devotees were amazed and
speechless. Closing his eyes and folding both his legs behind him, AcharyaL
sat upright. His divine frame looked like the Lord Parameswara Himself. He
sat motionless.

Fifteen minutes passed by in complete silence. Then AcharyaL opened his
eyes. Everyone was silent. AcharyaL continued his talk, looking at
Narayanaswami Iyer: "*MirasudarvaL*! You should know one thing. GanapadigaL
is eighty-one years of age now. He had done *rudra japam* in countless *
kSetra*s since his sixteenth year. Sri Rudram is always coursing his veins
and nerves and breath. He is such a *mahAn*. The way you behaved to him is
an act of great sin... an act of great sin!" PeriyavaL stopped, unable to
continue further, and closed his eyes.

He resumed again after sometime: "Your act of partiality in the meals
session affected him deeply. You know what he did? I shall tell you,
listen. He did not go back to his native place Thepperumaanallur yesterday
evening. Instead, he went to Mahalingaswami temple. He did *pradakSiNa* of
the outer courtyard three times. Went straight to Mahalingaswami and stood
before Him. You know what he prayed for, joinng his palms?" PeriyavaL
couldn't continue. He steadied himself and then resumed his talk.

"With tears streaming down his eyes, he spoke to the God, 'Appa, Jyoti
Mahalingam! I am your steadfast devotee. Since my early days I have recited
*mahAnyasa rudra japam* countless times in your *sannidhi*. You have
listened to it. I am now eighty-one years old. I have the mental strengh,
but that strength is gone in my speech! It can't be that you wouldn't know
what happened this afternoon when we were dining. I asked that landowner
many times, leaving my shyness aside, for more of that *pongal*, since it
was very very tasty. Though he heard me, the landowner moved away as if he
did not hear my request. You know that I have an immense fondness for sweet
*pongal*. Though I asked him out of temptation, I was grieved that he did
not serve me more.

'But then only after I had finished my meals, washed my hands and sat on
the *thinnai* it occurred to me whether I could have such a *jihvA sabalam* at
this age. Which is the reason I am now standing before you, Appa
Mahalingam! With you as the mediator, I take a vow from this moment.
Everyone gives up some favourite edible when they go to Kasi. It is only
You who is in Kasi, as well as here. Therefore I take a vow before you that
I will not touch the sweet *pongal* or any other sweet dish from now on
until my soul goes out of the body! This is a promise Mahalingam.' With
that *vairAgya pramANam* he said, 'Appa Jyoti Mahalingam! I take leave of
you now," and did *shASTaaN^ga namaskaram* twelve times. Tears were flowing
down GanapadigaL's eyes, as he left for his place. Now, you tell me... What
you did was dharma? Will Mahalingaswami agree to it?"

Periyavaa stopped. It was then three o' clock in the afternoon. "I don't
want any *bhikSA* today", said SwamigaL. No one moved from there. Not even
for their lunch. Total silence prevailed. Tears were seen in everyone's
eyes. The landowner Narayanaswami Iyer stood transfixed. He could not raise
his tongue to speak. Everyone's wonder was, 'How does Periyavaa narrate
everything that happened yesterday at Tiruvidaimarudur as if he witnessed
them personally?'

Falling down to Periyavaa's feet, the landowner started sobbing vehemently.
His tongue slurred as he said, "Periyavaa! What I did was a great sin! I
did it out of vanity. Kindly pardon me. Never again shall I behave this way
in my life. You should say 'I have pardoned you'!" The landowner patted his
cheeks loudly.

AcharyaL did not open his mouth. The landowner was persistent. "I pray to
you, Periyavaa! You should accept this Mahalingaswami *rudrAbhiSeka prasAdam
*. Kindly pardon me!" He pointed his hands towards the *prasAdam* plate.

AcharyaL said, "Let it be, let it be there. That Mahalingaswami Himself
will give me the *prasAda anugraham*."

Before he finishd his words, a voice was heard outside the crowd: "Make
way, make way!" Everyone moved to make way.

Only a tuft of hair knotted at the end on the head. A bright five-folded
dhoti on the waist, with a silky green cloth covering it. A large *rudraksha
* garland on the neck. A noble man who could be around sixty-five years
old, arrived near PeriyavaL, carrying piously a brass plate on which was
the *prasAdam* preserved in a silk cloth. He submitted the *prasAdam* plate
reverentially to AcharyaL and said, "My name is Mahalingam. I am the *arcakA
* of Tiruvidaimarudur Mahalingaswami temple. Yesterday a*rudrAbhiSekam* was
performed for Swami. A landowner conducted it. My eleder sister is given in
marriage to this place. I came to submit the *prasAdam* to AcharyaL and
then look her up. Periyavaa should do me the *anugraham*." SwamigaL
prevented him as he proceeded to prostrate.

Saying "You people have been given *shiva dIkSA*, you shouldn't do *
namaskaram* to me", AcharyaL accepted the *prasAdam*s brought and asked the
Shivacharya to be given the *MaTham*'s honours in return. Meantime, the
SivacharyaL saw the landowner who was standing at some distance.
"Periyavaa, it is this man who had conducted the *rudrAbhiSekam* there
yesterday. He has come himself come here!" With these words, Mahalingam
Shivacharya left the place, taking leave of the sage.

The landowner Narayanaswami Iyer again prostrated AcharyaL and patted his
cheeks loudly. He pleaded, "Again and again I pray to you, Periyavaa. It is
a great sinful act I have committed. Only you should tell me the remedy for
this act."

SwamigaL got up briskly. "I cannot tell you the remedy for this. Only
Thepperumaanallur Venkatesa GanapadigaL can tell you the remedy."

"Will the GanapadigaL tell me the remedy for the deed of this *paavi*,
Periyavaa?", the landowner asked with grief.

SwamigaL said in a slightly raised voice, "If you have the *prAptam*, he
will certainly tell you!" and hurried inside. He did not come out at all.

The landowner waited for a few hours. And then, having come to a decision,
he left the place and arrived at Chingleput boarding a bus. He caught a
train and arrived at Tiruvidaimarudur on the next morning. He finished his
bath in the Kaveri river there and with firmness of heart started walking
towards Thepperumaanallur. He walked briskly with the resolution that he
would somehow meet Venkatesa GanapadigaL, fall *shASTaaN^gam* at his feet,
ask for his pardon, perform the remedy he would suggest and obtain *paapa

The landowner entered the Thepperumaanallur *agrahAram*. He inquired the
first man he came across, the address of the GanapadigaL. The man pointed
to a house on the street before which was a crowd of people and said, "You
have come to offer your condolences? That is the home of Venkatesa
GanapadigaL. Early this morning, he suddenly passed away. A painless,
peaceful death. Go and have a look."

Narayanaswami Iyer was stunned. He felt as if someone had hit him on the
head. The firm words of AcharyaL at the MaTham yesterday seemed to ring in
his ears. *If you have the prAptam, he will certainly tell you!*" He now
understood that PeriyavaaL known yesterday itself that the landowner would
not have the *prAptam*.

The landowner went to GanapadigaL's house, offered his condolences, and
prostrated to the gross body of the GanapadigaL, seeking his pardon
mentally. Then he moved away from the place.

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