Let His Grace Protect us
His Holiness Jagadguru
Sri Sankara Vijayendra Sarasvathi Svamigal
Sri Sankaracharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham
The first darshan took place when Maha Periaval and Pudu Periaval were camping at Satara. One day, in the evening, the Dipa-namaskaram (prostrations unto the light) was being performed. An elephant was fanning with a caamaram. As the place where the elephant was standing was a slope its hind feet slipped. it gave a trumpet. Quite alarmed. I took to my heels.
On another day, Sri Mahaswamigal was sitting in a corner and Sri Pudu Periaval was delivering a religious discourse. Suddenly he stopped it in the middle and ran. I could not understand why. Only when some one told me after a few minutes that Pudu Periaval did so only at the behest of the Maha Swamigal, I knew the reason. Then I was very much surprised.
I used to observe at close quarters the Chandramouleeswara pooja performed by Sri Periyaval. A boy was doing the service like breaking the coconuts to be offered to the Lord and filling lamps with ghee. I would watch closely this boy's chores.
Later on, one occasion, I had the darshan of Sri Mahaswamigal in Gulbarga. I wondered at the fastness of his walk even at that advanced age. I went by a horse-cart to Brahmapur Panpur from Gulbarga. There is a Patalesvara Lingam in a temple there. I was asked to recite the Rigvedamandaram for two days at the time of the pooja. I did so. I was also directed to recite the Totakashtakam. one day, some people came to place before Sri Periaval with proposals regarding the temple renovation and Kumbabhishekam of Sri Jalakanteswara at Velur.
During that period, I used to observe keenly the observances and the Dandatarpanam of Sri Periaval. I thought that He was chanting some Mantras. It was a mystery to me when I saw Him meditating with closed eyes for an hour. The presents to those who chanted the Vedas were invariably in rupee coins. Even that was strange to me.
One day, an aged person approached me to say that Sri Periaval wanted me. He was staying in a place a furlong away. I went there. A book was handed over to me. It was Taittiriya Mantra-Kosam. Sri Periaval ordered me to sit down. Then Sri Periaval was turning some of the pages of the book. After some moments, He asked me to read the last line on a page on the left side of the book. Then he commanded me to read five times the lines there of the mantram beginning with "Sriyejatam" and ending with "Ya evam veda". I did accordingly. Then he asked me to locate the part in the book, wherein, the portion ending with "Samita mita mitatran." When I gave the correct answer, he asked for the texts of Rigveda and aitareya Brahmanam. The texts were not brought. Then I told Him, " I remember to have read Vidyaranya Bhasyam. A person in Tandalam had the text in Telugu and I learnt from him whenever possible."
Several minutes passed. Then He asked "In the Mantram which type is the correct reading "Vashatkrtyam Santatyam," or "Vashatkrtyai santatyai". I answered that the second reading is the correct one. He then instructed me to study Tatvasastra (philosophy) and also learn to read and write Telugu language well.
On one day, Sri Periaval was sitting in a narrow spot by the Patalesvara temple. There were 13 vedic students present to take examination in the Rig Veda. He sent for me and I went there. He took a book and handed it over to me to write a mantra on the last cover of the book. Not knowing which mantra I should write, I stood puzzled. Often Sri Periaval told me to chant the Diparadanai mantram and to repeat it many times. He was keenly listening to my recitation of the mantram and asked me in this manner to chant and write the mantram Sri Pudu Periaval had not told Sri Periaval anything about me. Only after I was ordained into the Turiyasramam, the significance of this episode was clear to me.
One day, in may 1983 I was taken to the presence of Sri Periaval. He was camping in Mahboobnagar in a cotton mill. The day on which I was to enter Sannyasa Ashramam was nearing. Some persons who knew the purpose of my being there on that day, took me with all honours to Periaval. At the moment Sri Periaval was talking to some persons around Him about Polagam Sundara Sastrigal, as a reputed authority on Dharmasastra and about the dwindling number of such great authorities today. He was then apprised of my being there for His darsanam. I had the compelling need to go to Hyderabad and from there to Tirupati. Hence, thinking that I had obtained the grace of Sri Periaval by His mere look, I first stood there looking at Him. Sri Acharya I was also steadily looking at me. Then I started.
I learnt later that Sri Periaval had told a devotee that he would see three Acharya Swamigals together.
Our Paramacharyal is the very embodiment of Truth. His prodigious memory is a matter of great wonder for all. Sternly determined as He is to do good to people, He feels profound joy in seeing and helping those who hate him. He is comparable to dam which contains wild floods within control. He saves the social order and harmony. His discernment is astute. He is ever studious. He shows in his conduct what he asks others to do.