A Guru Poornima that changed my life – Shri P.Swaminathan


Jaya Jaya Sankara Hara Hara Sankara – Our sathsang volunteer Smt. Sunitha  Madhavan shared this article and translation. As a prelude, below is a couple of lines of write-up about this awesome incident followed by the actual incident itself. What a grace to Shri P.Swaminath by our Periyava!! If anyone has that article please let me know so I can post it here in Tamizh as well. Rama Rama

Kalikambal Shanmuga Sivachariar, Shri.Shanmuga Sivachariyar was present when Shri. P. Swaminathan made his debut at Ayodhya Mandir, has a flash back into Sivachariar’s family connection to Maha Periyava. Shri Swaminathan himself wrote about it at length in Malai Malar which was published during Guru Poornima.

Guru Poornima that changed my life – Shri. P.Swaminathan

I express my manifold obeisance to the walking God, Kanchi Maha Periyava. This  very Guru Poornima day changed my life. It was all Guru’s grace and nothing else.

Having been a writer all along, the determination to  perform upanyasam occurred on this Guru Poornima day.

When my friend and lyricist, Ramanan suggested I move out of journalism and take up another vocation, I wondered whether it would be possible at all. But it set my inner mind into thinking.

What else do I know other than writing? I can never work out a balance sheet to settle accounts. I belong to those category of people who purchase a thing from the shop, accept the change returned at the counter even without checking, and shove it into the bag. I am not good at calculations; it is also because I believe the person.

I do not have the competence to set up a decent shop and do business. I lack shrewdness in handling money.

When I was working in Vikatan, during one Deepavali season, I went to Surat in Gujarat State and purchased in large numbers many varieties of sarees. In those times, working people who buy sarees from vendors visiting their offices were more than those who trek their way to saree shops  for purchases. (Even today this type of business provides livelihood to some). I thought it would help in getting a decent earning by buying beautifully designed  low cost Surat sarees and selling them  for a small profit margin.

The sarees sold out as expected. But money collection was not up to the mark.

I can seek a computer job…… take up a course in photography. But in these areas, I had neither experience nor interest.

Even in the office where I worked, while preparing articles for the magazine, I used to call for help 4 or 5 friends if I had a problem with the computer and could not log on. When such is my situation, how would it ever be possible to change my profession and enter a new field?

I told everything to Ramanan and sought his counsel.

He said:” Swami…. you have read a lot on Maha Periyava….. you have also written….. using those experiences, start speaking on stage”.

I was perplexed.

In Kumbeshwaran Temple in Kumbakkonam, during festival times  I have heard doyens like Varriar Swamigal, Pulavar Keeran address the public under pandal (canopy) woven over the large prakarams (temple corridors).

In order to hold the audience spell bound before the stage, those great speakers will digress from the main theme. But after half  an hour, they will connect it to the main subject and proceed, which astonished me.

Among such Jambavans – stalwarts in this world of Upanyasams, how is it possible for me to thrive? I am not used to it at all!

So, spouting my lips I replied “Speech is not my fort. I have never tried that field “.

Laughing, Raman said “Swami……don’t I speak, ….are not many listening to it……?”

This is his humility.

I asked him “Sir, it is not that. I have to keep ready in memory lot of information. When I contribute to a magazine, I will leisurely recall the names of Pancha Pandavas and write them. But if it is public speaking how will I manage to say them spontaneously on the spot?”

“Swami…. everything will flow. In this world there is nothing that can’t be achieved ” answered Ramanan with a glow in his eyes.

Even though I have read about such matters and heard others say them, it was his words that made me realize afterwards, the truth in it through experience.

Yes! It was the walking God-Kanchi Maha Periyava who made it possible for me to achieve everything.

May be He decided, I am not mature enough to take direct instructions from  Him and so made me understand through Ramanan!

It was past 9’oclock that night when I returned home after taking leave of my friend saying half halfheartedly “Okay……..”.

That day was Guru Poornima. It was the Tamil month of Aani. It is the auspicious day for paying obeisance and honoring all Gurus. I decided to arrive at a decision some how on that day.

It is possible for a writer to go through his article several times and make corrections before it goes to the press. Even afterwards, he can switch off the printing machine, correct the mistakes and again switch it on.

But in public speaking it is not like that.When one squats on stage and starts speaking, it is all live; whatever is said directly reaches the audience at once. Besides every one’s attention is focused on the speaker.

After having presented the matter on stage, it can’t be said “Sorry. Earlier when I spoke, I had pronounced the word wrongly. Or I had by mistake uttered a name that is not correct”.In front of the microphone to announce corrections will be absurd. All that is possible in the office press. On stage, if anything improper is spoken, those who know the speaker will sympathize. Others who are strangers may be enraged.

That night, my wife and daughter were fast asleep. My daughter was then studying 10th standard.

Their dreams and prayers must be, I take up next, a good job.

Wife feels proud to tell others that the husband has an honorable employment with decent earning.

Daughter feels happy to share with her friends the name of the institution where her father works.

What is in our subconscious mind is seen as dreams, in sleep.

That is why at night before retiring to bed with good thoughts, after drinking a glass of water, we  apply sacred ash on the forehead and pray to God. This will ensure if at all dreams come, they will be good, not bad.

I could not sleep. I kept thinking  I must make a decision somehow on this Guru Poornima day. Lying down would not get me a wink of sleep.

Even now I remember very well. It was early morning, 2.45 am.

Waves of thought kept coming and going. Suddenly it occurred to me that  I aught to speak. The resolve sprouted with great enthusiasm  engulfing me.

Yes! ” I will get on stage and start speaking…… Maha Periyava will guide”. I decided for sure  on that early morning at 2.45 am.

I determined to take  up public speaking. For this to happen, Maha Periyava will bless. This is the thought that made me actually decide.

Will not a mother holding the hand of her toddler child, carefully watch its steps? Similarly I thought , Maha Periyava will hold my hand and guide  me step by step.

My very first upanyasam was at Ayodhya Mandapam in West Mambalam. This is truly a great blessing conferred on me by Maha Periyava.

That place had been sanctified by the touch of Kanchi Maha Periyava’s holy feet. Countless spiritual discourses and Yagnams had taken place there.

It was there that my first upanyasam was held.

Ex editor of ‘Amudha  Surabhi’, Thiru. Vikraman who won the Kalaimamani award, had arranged the venue for me.

My well wishers, Krishna Sweets Murali, Sri Krishna Ghana Sabha President, the accomplished dancer Padma Subramaniam, lyricist Ramanan, auditor Sankaran, Kalikambal kovil Sri Shanmuga Sivachariar, culinary expert Jaimahi Jayaraman, were all among the audience in the Mandapam. Approximately more than 700 bakthas were assembled. I never worried about my ability to render  flawless, flowing speech.

But one soul had that worry. That was my wife, Chella!

Possible reason may be, if I messed up and failed in the endeavor, what would be the next assignment for me to take up. This could  well be the cause of her worry.

But in all subsequent speeches that were arranged , I could feel Maha Periyava’s unmistakable presence.

All is His will; nothing else.

If thought and action are prompted by Him, we do nothing. Worry vanishes.

On this Guru Poornima day, I pray to Maha Periyava, the ocean of compassion to bestow well-being on all.



Categories: Devotee Experiences

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1 reply

  1. Superb experience. Swaminathan congrats!

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