Experiences with Maha Periyava: Revive the custom of keeping a Golu!
This is an incident that happened many years ago. It was a time when the construction work of Uttara Sri Nataraja temple was going on in accordance with Kanchi Paramacharyal’s orders in the Satara town of Maharashtra. People thronged daily to have darshan of Sri Maha Periyava who was camping in the town.
It was three o’ clock in the afternoon on a Sunday. A 30-year-old youth prostrated before Periyava and got up. Tears were seen in his eyes. Noticing it, Periyava asked him with affection, “Enpa, Who are you? Where are you from? Why are your eyes watery?” Without replying, he started crying. People nearby consoled him and made him sit before Periyava.
“Where are you from Appa?” Periyava asked him.
“You are coming all the way from Palakkad?” asked Periyava immediately.
“Yes Periyava. I am coming all the way from there.”
“Alright. What is your name?”
“Besh* (well) a good name. Right, what’s your Thagapanar (father) doing?”
“My father is not in jeeva dasha (living condition) now, Periyava. He was practicing Ayurveda in Palakkad. His name was Dr.Harihara Narayanan”
Before he finished, Periyava with kutuhala (interest) said, “Ada (I see), you are the son of Palakkad Ayurvedic doctor Narayanan? Very glad. In that case, tell me, you are the grandson of Dr.Harihara Raghavan! All of them earned very good name in Ayurveda!” Periyava looked at him keenly, raising his eyebrows.
The youth said, “Yes, Periyava.”
Smiling, Periyava said, “Besh! A lofty Vaidhya parampara (medical lineage). That is alright. You have not added any doctor title before your name?”
“I did not study for that Periyava. My father did not prepare me in that way,” said the youth, without any interest.
“You should not say that way! Did your father not prepare you, or you did not have the shraddha (sincere faith) in getting prepared in that way?”
There was no reply. “Taking birth in that Vaidhya parampara, you missed the chance to know things? Right, up to which class you have studied?”
“Up to ninth, Periyava.”
“Why? You had no wish to study further?”
“Somehow I did not have the wish Periyava. I feel for it now!”
“Your vivaham (marriage) is done?”
“Done Periyava. I have a daughter who is seven years old.”
“Right, what do you do now?”
Tears fell down from his eyes. “Since I had no proper education, I could not get any high jobs, Periyava. I am doing the work of a supervisor in a local rice mill. The salary is seven hundred rupees. My family is running only on that amount.”
“Oho… Is that so? Right. You have your own gruham (house) left for you by the Periyavaals (ancestors)?” Periyava asked him.
Wiping his tears, Harihara Subramanian said, “There is a house Periyava, built by my grandfather. The very purpose of my coming here is to ask Periyava about it. Many years ago, since her husband passed away, my father’s sister came over to Palakkad bringing her two daughters. During a Navaratri festival time, my father mortgaged the house to a local person, took twenty five thousand rupees from him, conducted the marriage of the two daughters of my aunt, and then suddenly passed away. My aunt too passed away.
“My grievance, Periyava, is that during the festival time of Navaratri my father mortgaged the house that was Lakshmikaram (prosperous, Lakshmi-given) and passed away. The amount has now come to forty five thousand rupees including the interest. It seems the house is going to sink!”
Periyava went into contemplation for a while. His silence ended and he said smilingly, “Alright, now you celebrate the Navaratri festival at home, keeping a Golu (an assembly of dolls) every year?”
“No, Periyava. I stopped the custom of keeping a Golu which my father used to observe after he passed away.”
Periyava promptly interrupted him and said, “You should never talk so disrespectfully of Aathu periyaval (family ancestors). They are all very great people. I know it well! They have all gone after doing excellent things! Keeping something in mind, your stopping the custom of celebrating Navaratri with a Golu every year is wrong! Navaratri starts in a week from now. You revive the custom of keeping a Golu in Palakkad from this year. All your afflictions will be solved and your will get prosperity!” Blessing the youth and giving him prasadam, Periyava bade him farewell.
Twenty days passed. It was a Sunday. There was a large crowd in Satara to have darshan of Periyava.
An assistant of the Matham made way parting people in the queue and brought a respectable man of 60 to 65 years of age, wearing a saffron jibba (tunic) over a panchakacham (tucked in dhoti), a number of tulsi and rudraksha garlands on his neck before Periyava. He prostrated to Acharyal and started conversing in Hindi. Periyava also conversed with him in Hindi and then asked the gentleman to go and sit on the stage opposite him.
After some time, Palakkad Harihara Subramanian came and prostrated before Maha Periyava. He had a small trunk box in hand.
With Artha Pushti, (wealth of meaning) Periyava looked at the youth and his trunk box. The youth opened the box slowly. Inside the box, wrapped in a silk cloth were ancient palm leaf scripts numbering 10 to 15. The Parabrahmam looked at him knowingly, yet as if he did not know.
The youth said innocently, “You gave me the orders to revive the custom of Golu from this year. When I climbed up the loft to retrieve the Golu dolls, I found this box there. I have not seen it so far Periyava! I checked its contents and found these scripts whose letters were incomprehensible to me. So I brought them straight here.”
Periyava laughed and beckoned to the gentleman in saffron tunic who was sitting on the stage opposite him. To the gentleman he said in Hindi, “The apoorva vastu (rare article) you asked me about only a little while ago has come here, look!”
The gentleman immediately sat down on the floor, took the palm leaves and started having a glance at their grantha letters using a lens he had with him. His face blossomed. Lifting those scripts and keeping them over his head, he grinned happily and said, “O Parama Acharya Purusha! I have been searching for this apoorva ayurveda grantha for many years. You are the Pratyaksha deivam (God present before the eyes)! Within half an hour you have brought before my eyes what I prayed to you for!” He prostrated to Periyava with happiness.
Harihara Subramanian stood amazed looking at all this. Periyava called him near and said, “This gentleman is a great Ayurveda Siddha research scholar of Pandaripuram. Only half an hour back he told me about his searching for such an apoorva suvadi (rare palm leaves). Something struck my mind, I told him to sit and wait for some time. And now you here and stand before me with this trunk box!” Periyava ordered the youth, “All these will be very useful to him. Thinking of your father and grandfather, you give all these things to that gentleman with your own hands.”
The youth did as he was told. There were tears of joy in the face of the gentleman who received the contents.
The gentleman looked at him and said, “I have come to possess an apoorva grantha by your grace! It would not be dharma to receive them without paying a kanikkai (an amount given as a token of gratitude).” Then he placed fifty thousand rupees along with some fruits in a plate and gave them politely to Harihara Subramanian. The youth looked at Periyava, who smiled and asked him to receive the money. Hands trembling, the youth received those fifty thousand rupees!
Calling him near, that walking God said, “What did I tell you when you spoke out your grievance about your family ancestors? I said they were all great people, they would have gone only after doing excellent things. It somehow struck my mind. You saw the excellent thing your people had done, on the loft where the Golu dolls were kept. You said your house mortgage loan had increased to forty five thousand rupees in principal and interest! Now Sri ChandraMouleeswara has given his anugraham for this. Get back to Palakkad with happiness. Let the money be safe with you!” and bid him farewell after blessing him.