The Sub-Judge of Kumbhakonam

The following is an English translation from Tamil original of an article by `A friend'. The article appears in the souvenir published by the 450-year-old Raja Veda Kavya Patashala of Kumbhakonam.

He was a Sub-judge in Kumbhakonam (Tamilnadu) during 1961-63. I had not known him before or after he had assumed charge. One day, in the latter half of 1961, I was required to meet him. The message came through his clerk. I was a little surprised but when I went to meet him, he received me with courtesy and asked me to associate myself wit the effort to reform some public charitable institutions initially set up to do dharmic word.

Having under his control 35 such institutions, he had occasion to observe that they were not functioning according to the original intentions of their founder/donors. As one who had n experience of running such institutions, I was reluctant to undertake the assignment offered by the Sub-Judge. When I showed my disinclination, the Sub-judge told me firmly but in an endearing tone: "Why do you reject a request to serve a good cause? People are generally inclined to go on talking endlessly about the deficiencies of public institutions. They stop with that. I did not know you before, and, yet, I called you here because God prompted me to do so. If you do not wish to have a share in this good work, you will be committing a sin." I was nonplussed.

Fortunately, the Paramacharya of Kanchi, Jagadguru Chandrasekharendra Saraswati, was then camping at Elayatthangudi. I put in a telephone call to the manager of the Math, Sri Viswanatha Iyer, and requested him to ascertain the wishes of His Holiness in the matter. He gave a reply call conveying the Paramacharya's approval to my undertaking the assignment. I informed the Sub-Judge about my willingness to take up the responsibility he had intended to give me. Promptly, and with joy, he made me a trustee of the Govindakudi Appakkutti Iyer Charities. (GAC)

Along with me two more trustees were appointed. The Sub-Judge made the three of us responsible for the running of the Veda Patashala under the auspices of the GAC. He assured us of his help and support in overcoming all obstacles. Thanks to all round co-operation, we succeeded in reviving the Vedic school and running it with a strength of 70 pupils.

One day the Sub-Judge took me to an Arabic College in a village near mayavaram (now Mayiladuthurai). He took me to the classes where the students were taught the Koran with meaning. Turning to me, he said: "Like this, even the Vedas should be taught so that there would be sustained growth of Vedapatachalas." I remembered immediately that the Paramacharya had once asked me about a `Vedabhashya College'. I did not have adequate funds then but when the Paramacharya broached the subject, I told him without hesitation: "If that be His Holiness's wish, I will do everything possible to start such a college." His Holiness replied that He would ask me to do so at the appropriate time.

Now, that my visit to the Arabic College, I was determined to start one. I mentioned this to Paramacharya when I met Him the next time and requested Him to inaugurate it also if He had the time and convenience. The Paramacharya nodded His head in assent with a smile on his lips.

The initial obstacles to the starting of the Vedabhashya College having been overcome with the help of Sub-Judge, I reported progress to the Paramacharya. he remarked humorously: "Yes our own people will not listen to me. Even without my telling him, the Sub-judge has done his best."

A few months later, when the Paramacharya was camping at Kalyanapuram near Veppattur, the Sub-Judge expressed, rather hesitantly, a desire to meet Him. I told him that I would let him know His Holiness's convenience to meet Him in two days. When told His Holiness about the Sub-Judge's desire, the Paramacharya readily agreed to meet him. The Sub-Judge's joy knew no bounds when I told him that he could visit the Paramacharya.

The next day, late in the afternoon, both of us, the Sub-Judge and I called on His Holiness. It was raining heavily. The sub-Judge stayed back in the car and I went to meet the Paramacharya. The Acharya was in the midst of a discussion on some sastraic subject. The moment He saw me He gestured with His hand to mean, `Where is he?' When I said that he was in the car, the Acharya asked me to take the Sub-Judge to a premises nearby. I did so and within a short time, in pouring rain, wading through the slush, the Acharya reached the building. His Holiness enquired of the Sub-Judge about his family and honoured him with a shawl. The Sub-Judge replied to all the gentle queries and was on the verge of tears. I was a silent witness to their colloquy. "Be well, doing good things." He spoke not a word about the Veda Patashala or the Vedabhashya College. Returning to Kumbhakonam, the Sub-Judge, asked me to fix the date for the inauguration of the Vedabhashya College. It was finally opened by the Paramacharya on Dec. 12, 1963 at the Town High School, Kumbhakonam. About 5000 attended the function. Both the District judge and the Sub-Judge were present and also spoke on the occasion.

The Paramacharya spoke for about two hours. He also introduced the Sub-Judge to the gathering. When He had concluded his speech and the crowd had started dispersing, the Paramacharya raised His hand in a gesture of asking the people to sit down. He then narrated an incident.

When the Acharya's entourage which included the Math animals - the horse was carrying the drum - was passing in front of a mosque, there were objections from a group of Muslims. The horse was stopped but a conflict was somehow avoided. One of the members of the group at the mosque wanted to meet the Acharya the next day alone. The Acharya agreed though many objected to the Acharya meeting a stranger from what was considered to be a hostile community alone.

The Acharya brushed aside all objections and met the gentleman all alone. Did the visitor have any bad intention? No, all that he wanted was to read out to the Acharya the slokas in Sanskrit he had composed in praise of the Acharya! Asked how he learnt Sanskrit and what occupation he was engaged in the visitor replied that he had learnt Sanskrit from his father and other elders and that he was running a mutton shop! After narrating this episode, the Paramacharya said: "There are good people in every community," and made a brief reference to the good work of the Sub-Judge.

The Sub-Judge had several meetings with the Paramacharya after this function. When he was in some difficulty and I mentioned it to the Paramacharya, the Acharya just observed: "Both of you have God's grace." The Sub-Judge used to say: `Dharma will protect.'

Innumerable are the acts of benevolence of the Sub-Judge. He saw to it that the students of the Veda Patashala and the Vedabhashya College were properly fed and taken care of.

This is a divinity that binds us, the Sub-Judge and I as well as the Math.

What is the name of the Sub-judge? Judge Kamaluddin!