My first darshan by HH Sri Sankara Vijayendra Saraswathi Swamigal

Thanks to Shri Venkatesan Ramadurai for FB posting..Periyava_Bala_Periyava

I had darshan of Maha Periyavargal and Pudu Periyavargal when they were camping in Satara. One evening, the dipa namaskaram was conducted. The elephant waved the chamaram to the paduka. Since the place where the elephant was standing was a bit inclined, when its hind legs slightly slipped, it blared loudly. Appappa! Everyone was in dread. I was shaken.

Another day, Maha Periyavargal was sitting in a corner. Pudu Periyavargal was sitting centrally, doing an upanyasah. Suddenly he stopped his speech and went inside. I could not understand why. After a few minutes, when somebody informed that he went inside upon a direction from Maha Periyavargal, the reason was known. And that was a surprise.

When Periyavargal was doing ChandraMauleesvara puja I used to sit near him and watch it. One boy used to do the services such as breaking a coconut for Swami nivedanam and applying ghee to the lamp. I used to keenly observe such things as he was doing.

Later I had an opportunity. I had darshan of Maha Periyavargal at a place called Gulbarga. It was surprising to me to watch how fast he walked even at such advanced age. I went to the place Brahmapuri Panappoori from Gulbarga traveling on a horse drawn cart. There in the temple is the Shivalingam having the name Paataleshvarar. I was asked to recite Rig Veda there for two days during the puja time. I did it, and also recited Tothakashtakam as asked for.

One day, some bhaktas came to PeriyavargaL and were talking about the divine work and kumbhabhisekam of Sri Jalakandeshvarar temple, Vellore.

At those times I had the habit of watching Periyavargal keenly when he did danda tarpana and anustanam. At those times he would be reciting some mantra. It seemed strange to me to watch him do japam with closed eyes for an hour. Somebody would gift money to those who did Veda recitation. Watching it all seemed new to me.

One day, an old man came to me and said that Perivargal called me. He was staying at a distance of a furlong. I went to him. Perivargal gave me a book –it was Taitriya Mantrakosam– and asked me to sit by his side. Then asked me to turn some pages of the book. Then he asked me to read the last five lines on the left page. Then he ordered me to recite the mantra starting with sriye jatam and ending with ya evam veda five times. I did as told. Then he asked me to indicate the place where the mantra was found in the book. I turned the pages and showed it to him. Then he asked me where the mantra samita mite mitatram was found. I told him. He asked another person to bring the book Rgveda Aitareya Brahmanam. That book was not available. I told him, “Vidyaranya Bashyam I studied stands in memory. A person in Tandalam village is having a book printed in Telugu. Whenever I had time, I learned it from him.”

Silence pervaded for some minutes. Then he asked me, “in that mantra which usage is the correct one, vashat krityam santatai or vashat kruttai santattaiya?”* I informed him that it was the second usage that was the correct one.

Then he told me like an upadesham, “Read Tatvasaaram. In addition, learn to read and write Telegu well.”

One day Periyavargal was sitting in a narrow spot in Sri Paataleshvarar temple. Thirteen Vedic students were sitting before him to take an examination on Rg Veda. Since he ordered me to come too, I joined them. He gave me a book and ordered me to write a mantra on its last inner cover page. I was confused as to what mantra I was to write.

Periyavargal had often asked me to recite the deeparadhana mantra. He would ask me to repeat it several times. When I recited he would pay keen attention to me. Then he would say, “Recite this mantra this way — write it down and learn.” I did not know if Pudu Periyavargal had told something about me to Periyavargal. Only after it was decided to grant me sannyasa Ashramam, I understood the meaning of all that Periyavargal had been telling me.

One day, in the month of May 1983, I was led to the presence of Periyavargal. He was staying in a cotton mill at Mahbub Nagar. The day I was to take sannyAsa Ashramam was close at hand. Some people who had known the purpose for which I had come there, took me reverentially to Perivargal. Periyavargal at that time was talking to people around him about Polagam Sundara Sastrigal–as to how he was a matchless vidvan in Dharma Shastras and how one can count with fingers such great vidvans today. He was happy that I had come there for a darshan.

It was known that I had to go to Hyderabad from there and then to Tirupathi without fail. I was standing in his presence having his darshan with the thought that I got his grace through the very look from the corner of his eye. Acharyar also looked at my side. Then I moved away.

I understood then that Periyarvagal had earlier told a bakta that the latter would have darshan of three acharyas at the same time.

Our Maha SwamigaL lived as satya murti–as a personifaction of Truth. Everyone would be surprised at his tremendous ability of remembrance. With his sankalpa of doing good to mankind, he took much delight in doing good even to the one who criticised him. He was like a great dam that contained within itself a deluge. He was the one who worked ceaselessly for social justice and unity. Whatever he thinks another person should be doing, he would do it himself, setting an example. May his grace protect us all.

Compiler: Sri T.S. Kothandarama Sarma (in Tamil)
Source: Maha PeriyavaL – Darisana AnubhavangaL, Vol. 1, pages 35-40
Translation: Saidevo
Publisher: Vanathi Padhippaham

Categories: Devotee Experiences


7 replies

  1. HaraHara Sankara JayaJaya Sankara. This is a Maha Periyava darisana anubhavam narrated by Sri Bala Periyava himself of his own experiences in darshans of the sage of kanchi Sri Maha Periya in the times before his accepting Kanchi Kamakoti peetha pontificate in the lead up to being granted the Sanyasa ashrama. A rare and valuable gem of an ariticle. Thanks. Periyava thiruvadigale saranam.

  2. Hara Hara Shankara, Jaya Jaya Shankara! Divine Experience! It is a pity that Maha Periyava Dharisana AnubhavangkaL by devotees compiled by Sri. Kothanda Rama Sarma have stopped after 7 Volumes had been published. I wish the Experiences of Devotees as narrated in Sage of Kanchi come out soon as a continuation in book form. If Sri Sivaraman, Sri. Ganesa Sarma and Mahesh do it, by Maha Periyava’s Grace, it will be a great service!

  3. Is there similar narration about first meeting between Maha Periyava and Pudhu Periyava?

  4. It is thrilling to even read this, whilst reading I could see it vividly in a mental picture (like a video) thanks to Sri Kothandarama Sarma

  5. What an interview!!Bala Periava narrating His experiences with His Guru is touching and priceless!!

  6. Periava have always been an inspiration and guidance as well as gracious to me and from the days of balaperiava I had the fortune of having Darshan of all the three together


  1. HH Periyava facts needed for ashtothram – Sage of Kanchi

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