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Some family reminiscences
Our family for one has the proud privilege and fortune of enjoying the grace and affection of the Holy Paramacharya right from the year 1964. Even during our adolescent period we had the good fortune of having darshan of Paramacharya on many occasions.
One day, 1964, when His Holiness had taken his bath in the Sarvatheertha tank at Kanchipuram and was just coming out, my husband Sri v. Rajagopalan, sister-in-law Sow. Vasantha and I were just waiting for His darshan. Then we were not closely known to the Acharyal. On seeing Him my husband advanced made an appeal to His Holiness to bless him by a visit to Arakkonam. At Arakkonam Thiru Duraiswamy Aiyar and advocate Sri Krishnamurthy Aiyar were ardent disciples of His Krishnamurthy Aiyar were ardent disciples of His Holiness. His Holiness then enquired whether there was a open watercourse like a tank, or a lake, or a river near Arakkonam, to which my husband replied in the affirmative. His Holiness looked at us and said that if God willed that way, it would take place in fulfillment of our desire. Later Holiness started a journey by foot to Bugga Theertham and reached Thakkolam village, which was on the route. From Thakkolam, a word was sent to our family about the arrival of His Holiness at Thakkolam. Immediately we proceeded to Thakkolam and requested Him to accept our hospitality at Arakkonam.
His Holiness graciously accepted our invitation and arrived at Arrakkonam. When He reached our house, where already people had gathered, we received Him with Poornakumbham observing all reverential norms. His Holiness to our astonishment took the coconut in his hand and hurled it vertically upwards and to the surprise of all, the coconut fell right on the head of His Holiness and stayed put there. Then His Holiness wished that food arrangements might be made to His retinue.
During the stay of His Holiness at Bugga Theertham, we carried food everyday by a car to Bugga. But one day it so happened that not a single vehicle was available, not even a taxi, for us to carry food at Bugga. It was 1:30 p.m. We grew anxious. At that moment Sri Simpson Jayaraman and his wife, who were at that time to Bugga, sent their car we carried food. Evidently His Holiness knew our predicament and came to our help.
Many years later again, when His Holiness was on his walking trek to Bugga, we met Him at tiruttani. At Lord Subrahmanya's temple. His Holiness asked us whether we could arrange food to Him and to his followers during all the days of their stay at Bugga. We humbly said that if His grace were bestowed on us, it would not be difficult task to make the arrangement. When we reached the foot of the temple hill, His Holiness remarked "Look after me, and you will be looked after." These words are still ringing in our ears, and those who heard these words are still in the Math at Kanchipuram. Everybody said that it was a rare fortune for us to be called on by His Holiness and entrusted with the sacred work of feeding His followers. That evening my husband sent his brother Mahalingam, his wife Vasantha and my mother-in-law to Tiruttani to have the darshan of His Holiness. His Holiness still remembered the name of Mahalingam. He observed that Mahalingam's children were our children. Because of the grace of the Paramacharya, our family has been able to weather many a storm.
In 1974, when the marriage of our eldest daughter was to be performed at Madras, we sent to Kanchipuram, worshipped the deity, Kamakshi, there and reached Thenampakkam to obtain the blessings of His Holiness. His Holiness was observing silence then. But when we reached the place, to our great luck, we heard His voice. We placed before Him a plate containing a sacred Thali and the bride's apparel (saree and jacket) and sought His Blessings. His Holiness in benign grace touched the articles and blessed that all our family members would live in bliss and prosperity. Shri R. Venkataraman, President of India, with his wife Smt. Janaki Ammal who attended the marriage of our eldest daughter at Madras, referred to the Paramacharya's blessings to our daughter and said that her married life would be a continuous sunshine. This event is ever green in my memory.
The account of the marriage of other daughters would make this write-up longer than necessary. I shall confine myself to the case of our fourth daughter Sow. Lalitha. We went to Trichy and saw a good alliance for her. The boy's parents were also willing. We therefore invited them to Arakkonam to `see' our daughter. On returning to Arakkonam we were surprised to find Lalitha totally opposed to the marriage. But Lalitha is second to none in her devotion to the Periyaval. Hence we took Lalitha to Kanchi, and were for a while in the august presence of His Holiness. After taking leave of His Holiness, we returned to Arakkonam. In the meantime, we found a sea-change in Lalitha's views. She now agreed to the proposals. We naturally attributed this change in her outlook to the blessings of His Holiness. Lalitha in her outlook to the blessings of His Holiness. Lalitha is now at Trichy leading a happy family life. If this not a miracle, what else could be?
In the year 1963, my husband while travelling to Vellore, suffered a stroke which make him almost speechless. He was soon admitted in C.M.C. at Vellore, where effective treatment was accorded to him. Even though he recovered, he was speaking incoherently and often faltering. On knowing that Paramacharya was then camping at Alagar temple in Madurai, I sent along with my mother-in-law and had his darshan, invoked His blessings and returned to Arakkonam.
But as soon as I returned home, I was told that my husband regained his speech and was normal. What a wonder!
In 1984, Arakkonam was gripped by election fever and the atmosphere was tense. Some anti-social elements of the rival group entered our shop and attempted to assault my husband's brother Mahalingam. Instantly Mahalingam's thoughts turned to Sri Jagadguru, and the result was that the assailants fled. The damage was slight. There can be no greater proof than this event to show that the grace of His Holiness turned beasts into men. When we apprised His Holiness about this he humorously called my brother-in-law "Katthikutthu Mahalingam" (Dagger-stabbed Mahalingam) and placed a shawl on his shoulders.
Just three years ago, an ulcer developed in my right hand causing swelling, pain and agony. I was not able to lift my hand and I could not eat. My husband took me to several doctors at Madras who could not even diagnose, let alone cure the ailment. I was taken to Kanchi to see His Holiness. His Holiness was about to retire after giving darshan. After darshan when we too were returning without hope, His Holiness sent word through one Padmanabhan of the Math and called me before Him. When I went in, the told me to prostrate at His feet. I prostrated at His feet with deep reverence. We then returned to Arakkonam. On the same night the ailment in my hand completely vanished.
We are indeed fortunate for the privilege we have been granted to narrate in the form of an article our memorable experience with His Holiness and we express our humblest pranams to His Holiness on his happy occasion of His Centenary Celebrations.