Monday, August 29, 2016

"Swamigal, I want to die only in my Hometown!"

Sri Chembai Vaidhyanatha Bhagavathar, the revered Guru of many stalwarts, including the famous singer Yesudas, T. V. Gopalakrishnan, V. V. Subramaniam, P. Leela etc, lost his voice due to throat cancer. He took a vow to Lord Guruvayurappan, stating that he would donate all his earnings from his music concerts if he was blessed enough to regain his voice.

He was cured and regained his voice and he adhered to the vow he made to the Lord.

When he called on Kanchi Paramacharya, he made a fervent appeal to bless him, so that he would die only while he was performing at his home town.

An as he wished, the singer departed from this world when he was singing in his birth place! 
The temple priest told him that he would live for 120 years. Chembai responded saying that there was a kanakku an equation between him and Lord Krishna and that the priest could not predict it. Then he did his Sandhya vandanam. And then his head slid to one side and he was Gone.

There is no parallel to the overwhelming compassion of the Great Guru.


Thanks to Shri Arcot Easwaran for this post in

Chembai was a famous Carnatic music singer from Palghat in Kerala. He was born on 1st September 1896, a Janmashtami day! He passed away on 16th October 1974, at the age of 78, of a cardiac arrest. Shortly before that, he performed his last concert at a Poozhikkunnu Sreekrishna temple in Ottapalam (the venue of his first concert), and concluded the concert with his favourite song "Karunai Cheivan Endu Thamasam Krishna" (Why is there so much delay in conferring Your mercy, Krishna?). His nephew said he had always spoken about an easy death, and had attained it!

In his tribute, Mridangam Maestro Palghat Mani Iyer said, “Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar sang till he had his pechu Speech. Chembai sang till his last moochu Breath!”.

The above is a picture of Sree Poozhikunnu SriKrishna Temple at Chembaipuri, Ottappalam. Thanks to MyPalakkad page in facebook for this picture.

Address of Temple: Poozhikunnu Sreekrishna Temple Lane, Ottapalam, Kerala 679101.

Source: Wiki/The Hindu.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Some Celebrities with Mahaperiyava portraits!

Too good this is, is it not! Famous Carnatic music vocalist Sudha Raghunathan with someone dressed up as Kanchi Mahaperiyava from a program on her Guru Smt ML Vasanthakumari and Smt MS Subbalakshmi. Thanks a ton to Uma Ram for sharing this with me.

Famous Carnatic Musician and Mahaperiyava's Devotee Neyveli Santhanagopalan's daughter Sriranjani singing and being Blessed by Kanchi Mahaswamigal in the background.

Here is the link to that beautiful song, "Poonguyil Koovum The Cuckoo (Nightingale) will Sing":

Thanks a ton to Vidya Raju for sharing it with me.

Look at Whose picture is on the table of Ace Tamil Film Director Shri SP Muthuraman! I was watching his interview in youtube, when I was stunned to see Kanchi Mahaswamigal's picture in the first few seconds itself. Shri Muthuraman, the humble man that he is, has directed many, many top hit movies from AVM production house. I got the feeling of unearthing a Gemstone from an unexpected place! Incredible! I am unable to stop smiling... :)))

I have absolutely no idea who Chef Venkatesh Bhat is, but I think I know the One in the Picture in this Picture! Thanks to Uma Ram for sharing this with me.

This is the pooja room of former India Prime Minister Smt Indira Gandhi. Thanks to Renuka Vishwanathan for sharing this with me.

Famous Carnatic Vocalist and Devotional songs singer Smt MS Subbalakshmi at her pooja room.

Here is former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Shri NT Rama Rao and his wife Smt Lakshmi Parvathi with Swmaigal's portrait. Thanks a ton to Akhil Pattamatta for sharing this with me.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Greece Princess Irene with Bala Periyava!

Five decades ago, members of a royal family from Greece met Kanchi Paramacharya HH Chandrashekarendra Saraswati Swamigal at Machilipatnam in the district. The family came as seekers of truth. The spiritual voyage was supremely worthwhile. Since then, the family has continued to attend the programmes being organised by the Kanchi Mutt all these years.

Clad in maroon red saree and vermilion on her forehead, Princess Irene, recollected, “We met Paramacharya 50 years ago at Machilipatnam. I am glad to visit Andhra Pradesh again.” Recounting that they came to know about the greatness of Indian philosophy through Indian philosopher TMP Mahadevan, 

Ms. Irene said that her family has been organising seminars and meetings on philosophy for the last five decades. The Vedas and Indian philosophy alone could show path of peace to the world. The Vedas were a rich source of knowledge. The Vedas belong to everyone. The Vedic life was above caste, region, religion and country. World peace can be achieved by following Vedic life, she said, adding one can see God in every human being if he or she sheds ego.

Kanchi Shankaracharya HH Vijayendra Saraswati Swamigal said that the Vedas contained essence of every faith. It was the duty of every citizen to protect the cow, He said.
Greece Princess Irene is seen addressing a gathering at Labbipet Venkateswara Swamy temple in Vijayawada on Thursday August 25th, 2016.

Source: The Hindu.

Bala Periyava Pictures from Krishna Pushkaram 2016 in Vijayawada!

Thanks to Shri Krishnamoorthy for these lovely pictures which were taken in Durga Ghat in Vijayawada!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Kanchi Mahaperiyava's idol installed at Thiruvannamalai Shankara Matam!

Kanchi Mahaswamigal's panchaloka idol was installed on August 21, 2016 at 11 am in Thiruvannamalai Sankara Matam with Sri Rudrabhishekam, Upanishad parayanam, Sahasranama archana followed by Veda Parayanam, Namasankeerthanam, Thevaram and Thiruvasaga Parayanam. Earlier in the day, more than 300 Devotees did Giripradakshinam of the Arunachala Hill along with Mahaperiyava's idol. The Panchaloka idol's monetary value is Rs 1 lakh. Many Devotees participated in the function.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Your singing made Me break My Vow of Silence!

My Guru Maharajapuram Santhanam was a great devotee of Kanchi Mahaperiyava. He has composed a thillana and three other songs on His Holiness which he rendered in almost all concerts as also in cassette recordings.

I had the opportunity of singing with my Guru as vocal support since Aug 87 till 23rd June 92 (his last concert in manjakkudi village). I had the wonderful chance of accompanying my Guru to have darshan of Mahaswamigal and also sing along with my Guru and get the prasadam from His Holiness. many times. My Guru had lot of cherishable experiences with the Saint - out of the many one experience my Guru narrated very often is given below:

When Shri Maharajapuram Viswanatha Iyer was residing at Nungambakkam and Mahaperiyaval was camping at a place adjacent to his house and was in mounavratha. One evening when Shri MV Iyer was singing at his house "Vinayakuni" and singing neraval at "anadharakshaki Sri Kamakshi".

Suddenly Mahaperiyava got up from His seat walked and reached Shri MV Iyer's house and entered. An agitated Sri MV Iyer then performed namaskaram and Periyaval said:

"Your singing made me come into your house! and of course out of the mouna vratham also!"

That time Sri MV Iyer had a desire in his mind. He wanted Mahaperiyava to gift the rudraksha combined spatika mala that Periyava used to wear. But he did not get this in his life time.

Later when my Guru visited Sri Periyava at Satara one evening, Periyava asked him to sing Mohanam in detail. Then when my guru asked if he could leave, but the Saint asked him to stay that night. Early in the morning when my guru heard some sound in the adjacent room, and when he opened the window, he was surprised to see Periyava cleaning His staying place on His own!

Periyava on seeing my guru through the window asked him to come and sing mohanam ragam "evaruru ninuvina" again. My guru sang and Periyava gave prasadam and permitted him to leave.

My guru left with heavy heart as he was expecting that gift that his father wanted to receive. My guru would have waked some 100 feet. Suddenly the mutt staff asked him to come back to Periyava as instructed by HIS HOLINESS. My guru rushed back to the Saint.

The smiling Saint removed the rudraksha cum spatika mala and presented it to my Guru. My Guru was in tears. May be this was the beginning of the honours that my Guru received which even his father did not!


Narrated by Dr Radhakrishnan Ganesh about his esteemed Guru Shri Maharajapuram Santhanam. In the first picture is Carnatic Vocal Maestro Shri Maharajapuram Viswanatha Iyer and in the second are a young Dr Ganesh and his Guru Maharajapuram Santhanam

Sunday, August 21, 2016

She felt a 'Fernweh' to visit Thenambakkam!

I have never had Darshan of Kanchi Mahaperiyava's padhukas and we were wondering how to get to know Pradosham Mama's residence address in Kanchipuram where they said a Padhuka is kept. I believe Paramacharya heard my request I guess and made that darshan available to us at Thenambakkam. 

Here are Swamigal's Padhukas in a beautiful Golden case. He had used these padhukas when He used to stay at Thenambakkam and left them there. We have never seen it on our earlier visits here. It must have been under lock and key. Even a subtle thought, wish is answered by Paramacharya. Reason enough for all our thoughts and prayers to be Noble. Is it not?


How beautiful.

Narrated by a good friend who dashes to Thenambakkam (it is about 10 kms from Kanchi) at the drop of her hat! She always likes to be Anonymous. She says, "Even before I went there for the first time, I felt a 'Fernweh'. It is a German word and it means a longing to go to a place where we have never been. A magnetic force attracting us. So true of Thenambakkam for me personally. Very apt for anything to do with Paramacharya."

Here are some beautiful pictures she had clicked there.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Kanchi Matam's Aasthana Engineer!

Devotees from Madurai, offer Bhiksha vandanam on the first day of August every year, during Chaturmasya vratam. On one such occasion, when we had all gone for darshan, Kanchi Mahaperiyava asked us if we had offered bhiksha vandanam to Sringeri Maha Sannidhanam (the 35th Shankaracharya of Sringeri, HH Abhinava Vidya Theertha Swamigal seen with Sharadambal in the picture) Who was observing Chaturmasya vratam at Madurai then. We replied in the negative.

Periyava was not pleased with our failure to offer bhiksha vandanam to Yatis who were camping at our place. We were ordered to get a suitable date from Sringeri Maha Sannidhanam immediately, on our return to Madurai.

"Don't you all have funds?" was the rebuke we received from Mahaperiyava for our failure. 

We conveyed the same to Maha Sannidhanam and offered bhiksha vandanam on a suitable date just as we offer to Kamakoti Peetam.


The above is the Experience of 'Engineer' (Umayalapuram) Sundaram Mama. Thanks to Shri Mohan Ramiah for typing this.

Sundaram Mama says:

"I am eighty plus and remember things on and off and also I am poor in drafting my experiences for the social media. My association with Sri Kanchi Mutt and Sri Acharyals is over the last fifty years. Mahaperiyava never liked people to talk about His miracles, some of which have occurred in my family life. I only keep praying to HIM to take me to His Holy Feet at an early date. He used to call me as Madurai Engineer Sundaram. I had the privilege of being called Kanchi Mutt's Aasthana Engineer."

Our Acharyas had blessed Engineer Sundaram Mama to build the Arch in front of Adi Shankara Mandapam Temple in Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu, as seen in the above picture. (pic courtesy of What a Beautiful Arch it is!

Sundaram Mama seen in the year 2012 
in California, in the third picture.


Friday, August 19, 2016

Mahaperiyava did Dhanda Namaskaram to HH Mouna Guru Swami's portrait!

One of the greatest Saints who lived in the 18th century is HH Sri Mouna Guru Swamigal in Kumbakonam. Mouna Guru is a very generic name which has been adopted by numerous Seers. The word Mouna means absolute silence. 

The Paramacharya of Kanchi has talked a lot about this Saint in Deivathin Kural Voice of God book(Volume 3). When He describes the state of perfect bliss or Nirvana, He quotes 3 examples - Sri Sadasiva brahmendra , Sri Mouna Guru Swamigal and Sri Ramana Maharishi. While the other two are reasonably well known, Sri Mouna Guru Swamigal was not known except in close circles. The state in which these Saints lived bordered between Nirvikalpa Samadhi and Sahaja samadhi.

Mouna Swamigal is said to have initially stayed at Tirubhuvanam (around 8-10 kms from Kumbakonam) and then moved here. Swami Vivekananda has visited this Saint on three consecutive days when he came to kumbakonam. Annie Beasant, Arundale have visited him and Annie beasant installed the arch on the way to His samadhi, which can be seen even today. 

The following is an incomplete translation of Paramacharya's words in Tamil on Mouna swamigal:

"Mouna Guru Swamigal used to stay for hours in Samadhi. The body was still and his eyes would be closed or open but never blink. Even if someone where to take his fingers close to his eye, it would not blink.

Food was forced by His disciples down His mouth. Sometimes it went in and sometimes it just stayed there. Ants would swarm His mouth for the food and they also used to bite him. His skin turned red but the saint would never budge from His samadhi state.

Some devotees applied sugar on His tongue but there was not even saliva getting formed , indicating his complete withdrawal from all his senses."

Source of above:

One Shri Nalla Pillai was one of the disciples of  Mouna Guru Swami in Kumbakonam.  He was commissioned by North Arcot Collector to take photographs of prisoners in the district for police files.  He came to Arunachala Hills and having been impressed by Bhagavan Ramana, Shri Pillai gifted Maharshi Mouna Swami's portrait!

Kanchi Mahaswamigal once did His Dhanda Namaskaram to the portrait of Mouna Swami at the home of Shri KG Krishamurthy in Thiruvidaimarudhur! Mouna Swamigal had even visited Shri KGK's home in the late 1800s!

In the above picture Kanchi Pudhu Periyava is seen doing Dhanda Namaskarams to Kanchi Swamigal. This is how it is done.

Mouna Guru Swami shed His mortal coil on 22-Apr-1899. Even today His Mahasamadhi attracts numerous devotees. Located near the Kumbeshwara Temple in Kumbakonam (the city gets its name from this temple), this Shrine radiates peace and serenity. There is a small Shiva linga placed on top of His Adhistanam. The address is:
Mouna Guru Swamigal of Kumbakonam,
Valayapettai Agraharam (near Kumbeshwara Temple)
Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu - 612001

Thursday, August 18, 2016

"Balakrishna, what did you say now?"

Shri Jayarama Sharma had once gone to meet Swamigal along with Shri TS Balakrishna Sastrigal. The purpose of the visit was to release the book Shri TSB had written about his illustrious father Shri Sambamurthi Ghanapadigal, in the august presence of Him.

Being Shankara Jayanthi day, the throng of devotees at the Matam was just too much; so they decided to go to Kamakshi Amman temple but the scene was the same there too! They saw Him lying down on the portico 'thinnai' in a house near Kamakshi Amman temple and went near Him.

"Your father used to live in Thiruvadaimaruthur, no?", says He to Shri TSB.

And goes on to tell their family's background in minute details....!

And asks him to read from the book. As Shri TSB starts to read, he is surprised to hear the snoring sound of Swamigal, and stops reading!

The Sarveshwaran says quickly,

"I may be snoring, but don't stop, my ears are always listening...!"

And then Shri TSB goes on to say how his father's family migrated from the North to South India and how they were received with respect by the local Kings wherever they went for the sole reason that his father was well learned in the holy Vedas.

And his father settled down near the banks of small place called North Pennaiyar near Vizhupuram.

The Seer who was snoring until now, gently asks Shri TSB:

"Balakrishna, what did you say now? North Pennaiyar? No, it should be South Pennaiyar as it is in South Arcot district. Please correct it"!

Shri TSB was floored!

Shri TSB was born on 18th August in the year 1918. He attained His Lotus Feet on January 1 in the year 2003.

The above is the beautiful caricature of Shri TSB by Shri Keshav Venkataraghavan.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Chanting Sahasra Gayathri alone will repay your indebtedness to Me!

I took my daughter to have darshan of Kanchi Mahaperiyava. Though He was laid up with high temperature He gave me darshan, and enquired about the health of my daughter. I burst into a tempest of tears for His mercy, compassion, kindness and divine blessings.

He then instructed me to perform Sahasra Aavrti (1000) Gayatri Japa, every Sunday and avoid discussing politics which would invariably involve turning the mind away from things spiritual. He said that my performance of Gayatri Japa alone would repay my indebtedness. For some months afterwards I obeyed His command with implicit faith and earnestness and switched over doing Gayatri Japa every day instead of only on Sundays!

In another incident I went to Satara in Maharashtra, where the Paramacharya was camping. Around 3.00 AM in the wee hours of the morning the Paramacharya sent for me and asked me to recite Dhayana Sloka of the sacred Gayatri, which I did it trembling within myself!

For nearly 30 minutes, the great Sage gave a rich annotation, and instructed me to etch it in my mind while performing the Japa! I however confessed that being too small, mired in profound ignorance it would be difficult for me to capture the picture of sacred Gayatri, as it was expounded, but I enthroned the lotus feet of Mahaperiaval in the inner recesses of my heart while doing the Japa. 

He displayed His benign and divine smile. It was an epochal event in my life. He aroused and awakened my sensibility and sensitivity to the glory and greatness of sacred Gayatri!

I too break into a Tempest of Tears everytime I read this.

Narrated exquisitely from the Heart by Shri CN Kuppuswamy, what an incomprehensible blessing for him! 

Let us all take a vow do the Gayathri Japam this way, from tomorrow, without fail! And let us do it like how our Acharyas are doing it in the above pictures.

A very blessed Avani Avittam and Gayathri Japam Day to Everyone.