[Advaita-l] How to treat a vaidhika?

PNKKrishnadas pnk.krishnadas at gmail.com
Thu Jul 26 00:21:04 CDT 2012

Thank you, Shri Rajaram.  A most beautiful and tearful story.  A story
full of honour and humility.




-----Original Message-----
From: advaita-l-bounces at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
[mailto:advaita-l-bounces at lists.advaita-vedanta.org] On Behalf Of
Rajaram Venkataramani
Sent: Wednesday, 25 July 2012 8:59 PM
To: A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta
Subject: [Advaita-l] How to treat a vaidhika?

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 Kanchipuram.

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, Periyavaa".

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

"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

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 attentive.

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 * vaidikaL*?"

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

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 each?"

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

The landowner prostrated to the sage and said, "A gross mistake,
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,

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

'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
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
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
"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 vimocanam*.

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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