Strange are the ways of Paramacharya

K.R.K. Mohan

My brother was an ardent devotee of Paramacharyal of Kanchi Sri Chandrasekharendra camped at Machilipatnam in Andhra Pradesh. Thousands of devotees thronged for his darshan to receive his blessings and to hear his message. My brother who was passing hardest times in those days was sitting in corner. Though he wanted to go near the Paramacharya to have close look and have his blessings, he could not do so because of the crowds. All of a sudden His Holiness called my brother by name saying "DURGA PRASAD..ILAA RAA" in Telugu meaning "come". God and the Paramacharya only should know as to how he knew his name and identified him. My brother never met the Swamiji prior to that. Wonder struck my brother made his way through the surging crowds to the Swamiji. he prostrated before His feet and virtually washed his lotus feet with tears. The Paramacharya raised him and consoled the he would get good days and also he would be blessed with a male child soon. True to the words of Paramacharya my brother had better times and was blessed with boy whom he named as Chandrasekharan after the Swamiji.

The second experience was my personal one. I always had great respect for the blessed souls like Paramacharya. But I rarely visited them mainly fearing the crowds and I had o occasion to have a darshan of Paramacharya. During forties I was studying in my High School. I always longed to become a scientist inventing new things. As such one I wanted to discover a new medicine to remove the pimples with which I was badly suffering. Mixed salicylic acid with camphor and oil were applied to my brow. I had unbearable burning sensation on my forehead. Immediately I washed my face looking into the mirror. Lo... To my horror I found a big portion of the skin on my forehead was burnt showing the flesh. I applied some ointments but the skins remained charred giving a very bad appearance. My people were asking about this and very much worried and showed me to doctors but of no avail. What happened was, a chemical reaction took place between the salicylic acid (a phenol, compound) and camphor releasing phenol which has the quality of burning the tissue. After my analysis I could find this. Anyway several months passed but the scar remained.

One night I had a strange dream. Normally as soon as I woke up I forget the dreams but the particular dream remained stuck up in my memory. An old Brahmin with an "Angavastram" a small towel wore around loin) and with a big kumkuma Thilakam (saffron dot on the forehead) stood before me. He Said "I know you are much worried about this ugly scar. For one month you take well-water bath right from the head in the early mornings. In the evening you go to the Nageswara Swamy temple (which was very near to our house) and make three "pradakshinams" (Rounds around the inner temple) and have the darshan of the Sivalingam without fail. After one month you will regain your original appearance.".

Initially I did not give much credence to the dream. But as I saw the old man's face persistently before my eyes, I thought as to why I should to heed the advice. After all what he told was not that difficult. So, on the very next morning I got before dawn, went straight to the well and took the cold bath shivering from toe to tip. I was habituated to take hot water bath even in midsummer. Further I used to get up late. In such a case, my waking up before dawn and taking a cold water bath from the well water and that too in the mid-November when winter was at its peak made my people stare in wonder. I evaded answers to their curious queries.

I was atheist and not so religious-minded. So I very rarely went to the temples. Yet as decided, I started going to the Nageswara Swamy temple daily in the evening, make three rounds and have darshan of the Lord Siva. If due to unavoidable reasons I could not go to the temple on any day, I apoligised to the Lord on my very next visit and cleared the arrears of the rounds. Thus I very strictly followed the advice of the old Brahmin of my dream.

All these days, as soon as I got up the bed, I used to look into the mirror very anxiously. But nothing happened during all these thirty days, and there was not even a trace of improvement. But believe it or not, on the 31st morning when I looked into the mirror as usual, to my utter surprise and shock, the scar vanished entirely.

My face regained its original form. I mentioned this incident to my friends and people. As several decades passed since, I forgot all about it. But today (i.e. 25.9.1993) a strange thing happened which dug out this incident of four decades back from the times. Yesterday, I came to Madras to take part in a literary seminar. I utilised this visit to meet Mr. V. Meenakshisundaram, Secretary of the association for Hindu Dharma with whom I had lively discussion for about an hour. In the course of discussion he asked me to contribute an article about His Holiness Paramacharya of Kanchi Sri Chandrasekharendra Sarasvathi Swami for their Souvenir. He asked me whether I had any personal experience of receiving the grace of the Paramacharya. I said no. Still during the course of our further discussion he repeated the question. I still said `no' but said that my brother had a great experience and I narrated that to him. Then he said that I could write about the same in my article and asked me to send the same immediately. At the house of Sri V. Meenakshi-sundaram, I saw some photos of he Paramacharya. While I was returning my lodge I had a sudden flash of Paramacharya's figure before my eyes. I felt that I saw that particular face some time back somewhere. But I couldn't recollect where and when I saw. This engaged my mind quite seriously. I came back to my room and sat contemplating. Suddenly the face of that old brahmin who came in my dream flashed my eyes. Wonder or wonders! It was the same face which flashed before my eyes a little ago while returning from Mr. V. Meenakshisundaram's house. it is no other but that of the Paramacharya. Even after four decades I very will remember the face which I saw in my dream. Now I am convinced that it was an old brahmin advised me and saved from the ugly appearance. In fact, in my teens I did not know anything about the Swamiji. Still he came in my dream on his own accord and showered his grace on me. That is why it is said that the ways of God are mysterious. We do not know through which blessed soul God showers his bliss.

Incidentally I would like to mention that my surname (family name) is Kanchi and the first initial in my name stands for this. My forefathers failed from Kanchi only. Perhaps this `Kanchi' connection might have brought me nearer to the lotus feet of the Paramacharya. I consider myself at very fortunate for receiving the divine bliss through the Paramacharya of Kanchi who is believed to be the God who is seen. As already explained if we have to see the God with our physical eyes, he has to come down within the frame of our five senses. I believe that God has thus come down in the form of Paramacharya to shower bliss on his devotees.