Thursday, November 20, 2014

"I wish you had praised the other Shankara peethams also"!

I had looked forward to the day when I could have the privilege of a brief glimpse of the 
Paramacharya of Kanchi at least from a distance. At last that day came in 1963. I was at 
Madurai on a holiday.

It so happened that the Paramacharya had been camping at Narayanapuram outside the 
city. One July morning I decided to take a chance at the Math. I wrote my local address on 
the visiting card and gave it to one of the aides who immediately sent it in for the 
Mahaswami's attention. No reaction. I sat in a corner resignedly prepared for a long wait!

After a couple of hours Paramacharya came out to perform `Go puja'. Though I was within 
His sight, He did not take notice of me. Since it was time for His other rituals, He 
disappeared into the solitude of His private retreat.

Hours passed. No response from Him. 7 p.m. I was told not to wait any longer, because it 
was time for Mahaswami's evening puja after which He would retire for the day.

This went on for five long frustrating days! But I would not give up. The longer I had to wait, 
the stronger my resolve to have an audience with Him. At last on the sixth day, at about 1 
p.m. I received word from the Math that Periyava would like to see me!

I rushed to the Math without a minute's delay. But no, it was not that easy. I was told to wait. 

After four hours, Paramacharya agreed to see me.

The moment of ecstasy had arrived: I was face to face with Divinity itself in flesh and blood. 
I was immediately reminded of what Arthur Koestler, a tough, intellectually arrogant atheist 
and iconoclast, said about Paramacharya. After an audience with Him, the controversial 
author of the irreverent book on India and Japan, "The Lotus and the Robot'', said in effect 
that, "If God exists, here He is!"

Receiving me with the sort of smile one saw only on the bronze icons of deities, the sort of 
smile about which Koestler said: "If ever Jesus smiled, he must have smiled like this great 
Hindu saint'', the Paramacharya began comfortingly:

"Did you have to wait too long? I was only testing the strength of your faith. Now relax. 
Before you ask about me, I must ask about you!"

His questions reflecting his transparent, fatherly concern focussed on my family 
background, early life, my main interests, details of my professional career, my health 
problems, if any, my life in Bombay, and the like. He was now in a communicative mood 
which prompted me to share my ten-page questionnaire with him.

After a casual glance at the questionnaire, he returned it to me saying: "Read out the 
questions first, before I react to them. After you have finished, I'll try to answer the questions 
one by one. No hurry, we can go through the exercise at leisure".

"The real reason for my making you wait for nearly six days was my own selfish desire to 
spend a sufficiently long time with you for a meaningful, mutually beneficial discussion. Now 
you ask and I answer. Let us settle for a long, unhurried tete-a-tete as the French might 

<What blessings for the author>

Our two-day long discussions, covering a wide range of areas as divergent as Aristotle and 
Adi Sankara at one extreme and astrophysics and Atharvaveda at the other, were spread 
over nearly ten hours, five hours each day. The venue was a most unlikely one: The store 
room with rats, spiders, cockroaches and lizards all over the place.


Paramcharya sitting on the bare floor rested against a rice sack. As we were talking, the 
stream of bhaktas from different parts of the world and India continued and every one of 
them received His attention.

They spoke to Him in their respective languages in which He also seemed to feel 
thoroughly comfortable, handling each of these with the ease and grace of his own mother 
tongue, Kannada. To my astonishment, His aides told me that he had a mastery of 17 

Three weeks later. The first instalment of my two-part article had just appeared in my 
paper. I went to the math with the issue. The Paramacharya's aides had already shown 
Him a copy.

Greeting me with an embarrassed smile, He said gently:
"After reading your article I feel taller by a few inches. I wish you had not praised me so 

I said: It's nothing, Your Holiness, compared with what the Western intellectuals keep 
saying about You.''

To which He replied: "I wish you had praised the other Sankara peethams also. You see, 
we have no protocol problems. We are all engaged in the same task of continuing 
Bhagavatpada's mission. You could have avoided that unfavourable reference to another 
Math, an equally great institution set up by one of Adi Sankara's senior disciples. I hope 
you will not run into rough weather because of your over enthusiasm for the Kanchi Math!''

Placing my copy of the Weekly before him, I requested Him to autograph it.
Politely refusing, he said: "Sanyasis don't sign. Narayana!''

Paramacharya made every devotee feel specially favoured. What endeavoured Him to His 
devotees was, not His stunning scholarship which sat lightly on His frail shoulders, but His 
intensely humane concern and compassion beyond words and His charmingly disarming 
humility and transparency. He shared His erudition and wisdom with everyone around.

He could explain J. M. Keynes' General Theory of Employment or Einstein's Theory of 
Relativity as lucidly and gracefully as He would narrate a fairy tale to a tiny toddler.


What a beautiful one! A lovely reminder that God indeed tests our faith; let us simply go 
about our duties always having blind rock solid faith in Him, come what may!

Narrated so well by Shri A.S. Raman, the incident he shared with Swamigal way back in 
1963. He is seen speaking to Swamigal in the picture. I am told that Shri Raman was 
the first Indian editor of the Illustrated Weekly of India.

Source: The Hindu

Thanks a ton to Shri Venkatesan Ramadurai  for reproducing the complete, unabridged
interview from the erstwhile Illustrated Weekly of India. Here is the link to that interview:

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Panchavadi Goshala

Panchavadi Gosala feels strong divine presence, vibration, and blessings of many yogis & mahans of our times; Puyja Sri Yogi Ram Surat Kumar, Pujya Sri HH Kanchi Maha Periyava & present Aacharyas, Pujya Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, and Pujya Sri Krishna Premi Anna. 

Pujya Sri Muralidhara Swamigal is the spiritual guide and philosopher for Smt. Mataji. Listed below are Seva options on how we can support Panchavadi Gosala. Apart from these Seva options, whatever contribution one makes (even minuscule) to support these Gho Mathas will be blessed by these Mahans.

1. Gho Dhanam – 

                        According to our Sastras, no other deed is considered more meritorious (noble) than doing Gho Dhanam. The donor can bring a cow and leave her in Panchavadi Gosala bearing her maintenance expenses of Rs. 1500 per month. They can also at was rescued; contributing to the cost of the cow (depends on various factors like when it was secured, age, weight, etc.), and its monthly maintenance expenses. Gho Matha gets adopted in the name of donor’s choice and Panchavadi Gosala takes care of her throughout her life. A certificate is issued in donor’s name and gets published in Panchavadi Gosala's web site.   This is done for transparency and as a token of appreciation. 

2. Gho Samrakshanam -

 Without adopting, contribute Rs. 1500 for the monthly maintenance of a Gho Matha. A certificate will be issued as a token of appreciation & recognition.

Contribute Rs. 1 a day or Rs. 365 per year. Goes a long way in sharing the burden off  Panchavadi Gosala in many ways.

Help sponsor Gho Matha Medicines/Vaccination on need basis. 

3. Gho Bhojan -

Sponsor for Gho Matha's food for a day/week/month/year. The cost depends on how many Gho Mathas we want to feed and for how many days.  This can be done on auspicious days, Pithru Divasam/Shraddham days, festivals, birthdays, etc. Per our Sastras, Gho Samrakshanam clears Deva, Rishi, and Pithru Doshams. 

Arrange with vegetable vendors/markets for supply of vegetable waste to Gho Matha’s on a frequent basis.

Perform Amavasya & Pournami Puja at Panchavadi Gosala. Providing the Puja offerings to Gho Matha is considered an extremely noble deed as per Sastras.

4. Gho Seva -

Provide physical support by visiting Panchavadi Gosala and performing service frequently. Panchavadi Gosala is pretty flexible on timings of your support, week days/week ends.

5. Ghosala -

Help mobilize funds for construction of a shelter home for additional cows that will come in after being rescued from slaughter market. Even small contributions will help Panchavadi Gosala move towards the goal of building this shelter home shortly.  It also encourages Panchavadi Gosala to freely approach open market to rescue cows deemed for slaughter. The cost for shelter home construction costs around Rs. 72,000. This includes building food, and water tanks for Gho Matha including power supply. Kindly remember, construction of a shelter home to protect Gho Matha’s is equivalent to building a temple, a very rare opportunity for all of us to participate.

Last but not the least; help create Gho Matha Samrakshanam awareness to your family and friends by visiting our websites listed below. Only when a person realizes the current status of Gho Matha’s in our country they will realize the huge impact, will be able to appreciate and whole heartedly contribute for this divine seva.

Panchavadi Gosala Trust (Regd.), South Mada Street,  Kolathur, Vandalur-Kelambakkam Main 

Road, Near Mambakkam,  Chennai - 600 127. Cell - 9445423445 / 9789914875/ 044-27479389, 

Gho Matha Samrakshanam Awareness - , 

Contribution Info.

1) Cheques/DD Payable To:


Attn: Smt. V. Raja Lakshmi,

39/1, K. MalayappaNaicken Street,


Chennai - 600 028.

2) Online transfer details for those living in India

Account Number: 30158581140

State Bank Of India Santhome Branch

IFS Code: SBIN0005797

Jai Gomatha!!

3) Online Transfer details for those living abroad.

Bank Name: Bank of America, Last Name: Srinivasan, A/C #: 325039447568,  Routing  #: 

121000358 (Paper & Electronic), 0260009593 (Wires),  Zip Code – 95116.

In the Memo section, please mention “Gho Samrakshanam”.  Kindly send a note to after transfer. We will transfer the money to Panchavadi Gosala and will get you a certificate/receipt.


One of my friends in the US, Shri Sai Srinivasan reached out to me to help spread the 

word. So let us all do our might, for nothing will please Swamigal more!

Monday, November 10, 2014

"Do you know that Mahavishnu and mosquitoes are similar in some ways?!"

Once Kanchi Swamigal told some people at the Matam, "Do you know that Mahavishnu and Mosquitoes are one and the same in some ways?!" And as usual, He Himself started to clarify that puzzle.

"In Lord Vishnu's hand the Chakra is spinning continuously and so does the mosquito which keeps spinning and buzzing near us all the time. Bad people will shy away from looking at Lord Vishnu due to His luminosity and so do people having irritation in the eyes will be unable to look at the mosquito. Lord Vishnu plays with Shruti (Vedas) and a mosquito keeps buzzing around our Shrutis (ears)."

The reason He narrated this analogy is because of the mosquito menace at place He had camped. He used to console people with this, 

"If we remember that mosquito is none other than Lord Vishnu Himself, then we can sleep in Happiness undisturbed by the mosquito bites!" 

He had this knack of dealing with any adversity in such a nice and humourous manner.

Once there was a long spiritual talk being given by someone. Swamigal listened to it patiently. And then the talk ended. After that Swamigal told that person, 

"What, just because you had the 'saakku' (good excuse) did you speak for such a long time?!". 

He continued, "You were sitting on a 'saakku' (sack) and giving the talk, I was referring to that saakku only, do not worry!".


Translated from Shri Ganesa Sharma's tamil book

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

"So, you are going to keep My name for the hospital?"

I went with my wife to Kanchipuram in the mid nineteen eighties to have Swamigal's darshan. The purpose of the visit was to obtain His blessings for building the eye hospital that I had planned for a long time. I prostrated to Him and placed the plan for the hospital building before Him.

"Oh, you are going to construct an eye hospital?", He remarked.

I nodded my head affirmatively.

"So, you are going to keep My name for the hospital?"

I told Him, "Yes".

He then closed His eyes for sometime. And then He placed the plan on His Head and again closed His eyes! When He opened His eyes, He held a coconut in His hand for a while and gave it to me.

"Go ahead", said He and blessed me!

Dr RV Ramani had come to our office today to speak about the activites of Sankara Eye Foundation (not affiliated to Sankara Nethralaya). The word 'Sankara' caught my eye and I decided to attend the talk. As he started with his presentation, the third or the fourth slide had pictures of Mahaswamigal, Pudhu Periyava and Bala Periyava and I was thrilled to say the least! He mentioned that the Eye Foundation was running with Their blessings. After the presentation was over I spent a few minutes with him, when he narrated the above incident to me.

Sankara Eye Foundation's website: