Paramacharya's grace in a devotee's life

K.S. Padmaja

My mother has great reverence for His Holiness Paramacharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham for the last 25 years and her devotion has increased over the years, and her devotion has increased over the years, especially after father's death nearly 20 years back. There ha been a major incident in my mother's life, which I wish to share with you all.

One eighteen year old, accompanied by a girl related to her couple of years younger to her, my mother was lucky to get an opportunity of a special darshan of Paramacharya in the year 1953. During the conversation. His Holiness, on being told to my mother that she had passed Praveshika in Hindi after completing School Final, felt that Hindi would not be of any use in her life and she failed to improve English, she might have to repent for it later on.

Despite His Holiness suggestion, when my mother expressed her unwillingness to take up a job at that time, Paramacharya foreseeing some tragedies that were to occur in my mother's life, asked whether she could prepare appalam (crisp flake made of black gram and rice flour and fired or baked like puri) and sell, if a need arose. His Holiness further mused that even if one sold 100 appalams for Rs. 7/- many appalams could be prepared in a day.

My mother failed to understand the true meaning of Paramacharya's word.

Instead of seeking Paramacharya's guidance for her future life, she felt confused and wanted to get away from the place immediately. Reading my mother's thoughts, Paramacharya offered both the girls a banana each as prasadam, which they promptly refused. Even His Holiness's repeated advice to take their lunch at the Mutt itself that day fell on deaf ears. My mother's ignorance almost cost her life. Within a few years after 1953, a series of tragedies started striking at my mother's life in quick succession. First, she was married off to a person much against her wished in the year 1957. Even from the first day there was little understanding between husband and wife. But after my brother's birth in the year 1958, things slowly started shaping up better and there seemed to be some meaning in their life, until I was born in the year 1961. Even though I was born a normal baby, I fell a victim to Polio at the 8 month, the attack not only paralysed my whole being, but also my parent's happiness.

Then started the unending struggle against my disease. By the time I turned 12, my father dies of cancer in the year 1973, despite having led a very clean and pious life.

With a meager amount of saving to bank on, two children - one crippled - to be brought up in life, my mother realised at that juncture the true meaning of Paramacharya's words exactly 20 years before. Holiness, Paramacharya always bestowed His grace and mercy on her. As my father happened to be Central Government employee and had a earned a very good name throughout his service, my mother was offered a clerical job with a month's time, after my father's death by the Government. But for that job. We would have been left in the lurch.

One after another Paramacharya's predictions were coming true. At that time 100 appalams were being sold at a rate of Rs. 7. Once in office Hindi proved to be of no use for my mother. English eluded her, when it came to the question of drafting notes. Thus my brother and I were mute witnesses to our mother's inconsolable cry of repentances recollecting Paramacharya's words day after day.

But her anguish did not go in vain. Soon her appointment, by Paramacharya's grace, she was transferred to a section where application of mathematics was more essential that English, a job which my mother, relished most. Till date despite few internal transfers, she is getting posted in such sections where the use of English language is minimal.

Except for one uncle, and with a little support from other close relatives, my mother, lacking proper mental strength to tackle such a grave situation, used to cry daily sitting near Jagadguru's picture. In the meanwhile, as desired to our mother, soon after performing our father's 1st ceremony in the year 1974, one fine morning, we three of us left Madras early as 5 O' clock for Kalavai where Paramacharya was staying at that time. As by fate, may be, on our arrival, we came to know that it was one of Paramacharya's mauna vrata (silence) day. Within few minutes His Holiness came out, gave us a few minutes' darshan, blessed us silently and went away. Immediately someone belonging to the Math came out to announce that Paramacharya has called it a day of silence and no one should disturb His Holiness.

On hearing these words, two of three families who were with us chose to leave the Math. My mother, too dazed to digest the position, started cry silently. Suddenly she took an extreme step by asking mother and me to sit along with her until Paramacharya calls and talks to us, even if it were going to more than a day or two. Both of us too young to know what to do on our own, meticulously followed our mother's instructions.

We would have spent nearly an hour like that when those who went to bus-stand not finding us there, came back to the Math, thinking that Paramacharya was giving us special darshan. When told the reason, they started to pacify my mother saying that it was useless and dangerous for a lady with two young children, to stay back in the village like that. But my mother was unmoved like a rock. At that time some unbelievable occurrence took place. A person belonging to the Math came out to announce that whoever facing severe problems in their life can meet and place them before Paramacharya and seek His blessings.

For the first few seconds we could not believe our ears. Other devotees who were with us were not sure for first few minutes whether to go near Paramacharya or not, as they themselves had declared loudly that by His Holiness grace they were quite peaceful in their life. So it became obvious that the lone family with innumerable problems was none other than ours. Even reaching the place where Paramacharya was seated was a task for me. We had to cover a good distance through the garden, on an uneven ground. Not bothering about the heavy rain which drenched us completely, my mother and brother with great difficulty virtually carried me to the place of safety. We were the last family to enter the room of Paramacharya.

Once at the feet of Paramacharya, overwhelmed by His Holiness mercy, my mother shaking from head to toe started to sob uncontrollably in a loud voice, now and then narrating her plight incoherently, and praying to the Paramacharya to save us from our woes.

As repeated assured by His Holiness on that day, my mother managed to bring us up single-handedly, with next 7 years, despite undergoing some trying moments in between. By 1981 my brother and I secured good jobs and now at the time of Paramacharya's centenary year, when we look back, we know we have certainly came a long long way in our life.

Without any doubt, we owe our growth to Paramacharya and we are indebted to Paramacharya's grace and blessings. Our salutations to His grace.