Periyava & Tagore

I never knew that Periyava & Tagore had met each other…Very interesting incident….


It was Navarathri time and Periyava was in Calcutta. It was a grand celebration at Periyava’s camp.  Everyday there was a ‘Navaa Varna Pooja’, Sumangali Pooja, Kanya Pooja & many more. She never missed it out. She is a Mami settled in Calcutta. She was also a regular visitor to Sri Rabindranath Tagore’s ashram. After about nine long days to Periyava’s camp, she had been to Tagore’s ashram. Any Calcutta-vaasi is naturally a ‘Devi Upasaka’. And Tagore was a ‘Sri Vidya Upasaka’ but he did had some modern thoughts. Tagore’s command on Literature is known well. Mami had visited Tagore after a short break. Tagore was asking her where were she on those days. She explained that Periyava had come & there were Navavarna pooja, Sumangali pooja, Kanya pooja,  etc.

Tagore understood that Periyava was also a Devi Upasaka’.

Tagore , “Does Swamiji do Kanya Pooja with any child or only with Brahmin child?”

Mami, “No! Periyava never deviates from the tradition. He does Kanya Pooja only with  Brahmin child”.

Tagore, being one of the world’s highly respected (nobel) liberates , quoted one of the namas from the Sri Lalitha Sahasra Namam : “Aa’brahma keeda Janani” and said “He is a great Devi Upaska, won’t he know the meaning of it? It means SHE is the source of everything, from tiny insects all the way to Brahma (who creates the world). Still he is thinking having only a Brahmin child for Kanya Pooja!”

Mami was very upset to hear someone like Tagore taking a jig at Periyava. She came back to Periyava’s camp & her face was still dull.

Periyava asked, “நேத்தைய பூஜைக்கு வரலையோ?” (“Didn’t you come to puja yesterday?”)

Mami, “இல்லே பெரியவா, தாகூரை பாக்க போய் இருந்தேன்…” (“No – I went to meet Tagore.”), she couldn’t decide ‘to say or not to say’.

Periyava understood and asked “ஏன்? அவர் என்ன பத்தி எதாச்சும் சொன்னாரோ?” (“Did he say anything about me?”)

She couldn’t with hold, told everything what he said with tears.

Periyava smiled & said, “அவரை அதுக்கு அப்புறம் மூணு அக்ஷரம் இருக்கு, அதையும் சேத்து படிக்கச் சொல்லு!” (“There are three more askharams – ask him to include them while reading”.

Now Mami caught up with enthusiasm. She knows there is a fitting reply but couldn’t get it. Was asking Periyava, what it means.

Periyava, “முதலில் அவரிடம் சொல்லு. அப்புறம் பாக்கலாம்…” (“First go and tell, let us see later”)

So without any other way Mami quickly went back to Tagore & said what Periyava said.

Tagore recollected “Aa’brahma keedajanani Varnaasrama Vidhayini Nijaakjaroopa Nigama PunyaaPunya Phalapradha!” Repeated it mentally few times. “Aha! Aha! Is this the way to understand the Devi’s Sahasranama? I never knew it. HE has replied. Swamiji has replied my very own question”.

Tagore told with a bit of excitement and also quickly begged down, “Swamiji is a Mahaan! Have you told what I told to him. Oh! It’s a mistake.”

Immediately, he found out the next step being a honest literal “I must have his darshan. Please arrange but not openly because evry Swamiji will put pressure on me to visit. But I must have his darshan!”

Mami came back satisfied to Periyava. Tagore did have darshan when Periyava visited a ‘Sethiji’s home’ unknown to common public.

Tagore wrote in his daily, “There are Mahaans even today whom I’ve to visit & STILL learn!” of course, without naming Periyava.

Many devotees have said – few  devotees have had darshan. Tagore is fortunate to hear from ‘Devi’ herself, this time. Probably out of his Upasana or out of Periyava’s Karunyam …

Categories: Devotee Experiences


20 replies

  1. In 1935 swamiji stayed for about 4 months (july to Oct) with 20 bullock carts, cows, horses, elephants, I do not know Mami

  2. Mahaperiyavaa Sharanam

    With HH Anugraham I have been editing interviews into smaller ones and also relevant to each topic. Yesterday I did edit one video of Brahmashri Bashya Ratnam Shri.Sivaramakrishna Sasthrigal. In that interview he explains this particular incident and he refers that Periyavaa himself tells this incident during his Upanyasam. I will forward that particular edited portion to Shri.Maheshji.

    Today first mail in sage of kanchi that struck my eyes was Periyavaa and Tagore and I was curious to see that fully.

    Although the post might have been taken from other persons interview the content is same and not twisted as per my very little understanding.

    Jai Sriram

  3. I had read this incident of Tagore meeting Maha Periyava several times over the years. Important for us is the message of reading the Slokam in the right context and learning from someone who is well versed.
    In narrating incidents about Maha Periyava, there had been cases of exaggeration and at times cases false stories- a few I knew of them as untrue as I know from personal knowledge. However the lesson to learn or reading about Periyava is always an experience of Ananda and if a miniscule amount of good thoughts emanate that is our blessing. Let’s not worry about actual incidents.
    I read a story about Maha Periyava in relation to the Dhyana slokam in Sri Lalitha Sahasranamam. When he placed His feet on a cushion made by a devotee, Maha Periyava said to have said that the words in the Dhyana slokam – Sindhooraruna vigraham. – he felt the words ” raktha kadastha raktha charanaam” should be read as “raktha padastha raktha charanam” because of the meaning of the words. Whether it happened or not is immaterial, but the message of words in the contact – I nowadays substitute “padastha” when reading the slokam.
    Gurubyo Namah.

  4. Hara Hara Shankara, Jaya Jaya Shankara!

  5. From the nature and the content of the narration, the question posed by the great poet and the answer given by the Mahaswami I believe intuitively that such meeting would have taken place. As I mentioned in my earlier post, the greatest lesson here is that when we want to interpret a sloka, we must consider the entire content and never a part of it.

  6. While reading “Aha! Aha! Is this the way to understand the Devi’s Sahasranama?”, I experienced the ecstasy even not fully understanding the meaning of the theme. I will be grateful if translation in tamil is available.I want all the postings to be given tamil. Can anyone pleeeeeeeeeeease..?

  7. My humble suggestion is that we must try to learn more from the mistakes of others, so that we can avoid them.Even when we find it hard to get authenticity for certain narrations, still we will be immensely benefitted.
    Once we read a sloka, we must take into account, the entire verse and also the other associated verse to know the real meaning. Mistakes and wrong understanding occur, once we slice a sloka, unearth its meaning, take it out of context and apply it to practice. To understand the real meaning of the divine slokas, we need to practice Aachaaram and Anustaam, and above all learn sastras under the feet of Acharyaas like our Mahaperiava.-Aachaaryavan purusho veda-

  8. Once we read a sloka, we must take into account, the entire verse and also the other associated verse to know the real meaning. Mistakes and wrong understanding occur, once we slice a sloka, unearth its meaning, take it out of context and apply it to practice. To understand the real meaning of the divine slokas, we need to practice Aachaaram and Anustaam, and above all learn sastras under the feet of Acharyaas like our Mahaperiava.-Aachaaryavan purusho veda-

  9. Nothing wrong with his request. He is as good a bhakta as others.

    Not all incidents of Maha Periyava could be / have been recorded as they occurred. Hence, it is not possible to authenticate all of them. If it is possible, we may do so. If it is not possible, we may accept them or ignore them. It will not and cannot add to His greatness or weaken the bhakti of His devotees/believers.
    Whatever has been written will not be 100% as they happened – may be only video recordings may able to do it – which was not necessary.
    All of human history is as perceived and written by the writer which is debatable. And a writer’s expression is altogether a different matter.

    To me, memories about Him are spiritual & pleasant and they are more important than 100% authenticity.

  10. This incident was narrated by Paanaampattu Kannan maama(poorvashram name). I think MahaPeriyava himself quoted this incident to him

  11. considering the fact that the forum has only staunch believers and Baktas of Periaval and there have been
    a large number of such instances some of them personally known to most of us suggestion of probing the veracity of the incident
    appears a little odd and unwarranted as what is being done is here is sharing and not trying to form any
    opinion on Periyaval as every one knows about His greatness

  12. I am as fervent a disciple of Sri Mahaperiyava as others in this valuable forum. I have extensively read most if not all the authentic accounts of Sri Mahaperiyavaa’s life. At the same time, I wish to confess that this is the first time I have even seen a reference to an incident connectingTagore and Sri Mahaperiyava.

    The references to names of Mami or the Seth or place seem to be intentionally left vague . I request that reliable references be provided .
    Otherwise this should be dismissed just as an imaginary creation of some ardent Bhakta of Sri Mahaperiyavaa.

    It is not difficult for me or anyone to come up with racy narrations of Sri Mahaperiyavaa’s interactions with personalities like Aurobindo Ghosh, Ramana Maharishi, Subrahmanya Bharati , Lord Mountbatten or any other contemporary.of the first half of 20th century.

    I hope the moderator will not delete my posting but permit it so that sincere readers are not exploited.

    • Just to clarify.
      What I meant in the second last para was that “it is not difficult for me or anyone to come up with racy BUT IMAGINARY narrations of ……..”

    • Dear Venkat.

      Some of the articles I have been posting recently are sourced by one devotee, who listens to all video interview and transcripts them….Nothing new…So this also is from some interview – I do not know which one…I will find out the interview and let you all know….

      In my opinion, no one has time to sit and fabricate stories. However, I do know that there are some incidents that have been twisted differently in different forums….


      • Just like how we can’t validate everything in ethihasa, but the story has a subtle meaning to interpret. Here this Tagore may or may not be the “Tagore”. Message is clear, he conducted a “play” and the character, whether real or imaginary, was forced to question and get clarity. Remember, parabrahmam is connected to every living and non living being here. How many places did Periyava go and how many people did he meet virtually and physcially, is beyond interpretation. For instance, right now do we know what is the view of hubble’s telescope? what is happening in sun? what is happening in the undiscovered galaxies? what is happening to the plane that disappeared? what is happening to the whale swimming in samudhra? what is happening inside the crust? Search for Truth! You will get it! Naa Irukaen

      • According to one tradition, one in the Jagadguru Peetham (Seat of the World-teacher) must not call on another holy man on his own, This is the reason why he didn’t interacted with aurobindo ghosh or ramana maharishi. It is also not needed because all of them are subtly connected and operate from the same eternal source. Few persons like venkat who think they know everything about Mahaperiava and fail to recognise other gurus like ramana, aurobindo and sai baba. They who want to take pride in their racist behaviour , call many narrations about Maha Periava as fake news circulating in internet. If any church father say they know everything about Jesus will you accept ?. But many devotees of Mahaperiava fail to accept few narrations about him as true and belief that they know everything about Mahaperiava.

  13. It is very surprising to know that Gurudev Tagore was also a Devi Upasaka. But what was not surprising is that reading this piece gave ananda as usual.

  14. This brought me tears as the way Periyaval treated Tagore and vice versa, because both are great.

  15. Dear Mahesh

    Blessed every Blog to read… This is too wonderful to read, because of specific information…


    Namaskarams every lotus feet of devotees who worship, read, think and dream of Sri Periyava

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