Paramacharya as I knew Him

K. V. Srikanthan

A brief report is submitted here about my thrilling experience when I was working as Income-tax Officer in Kanchipuram during the year 1970. For about a year I had frequent contacts with Paramacharya, almost thrice a day on routine visits, as my office and residence were both near Paramacharya's place of stay.

My father was a scholar in Samskrit. He was a teacher in Veda during the earlier decades. first at Chittoor (Palghat) Samskrit Pathasala for a few years. He made an All-India tour and wrote in Samskrit, a narrative which remained an unpublished manuscript for many years until Paramacharya took it in His mind to print it and name it as "Dharma-Seela-Theerthaatanam", as my father had already been given the title, "Dharma Seela" for his charitable nature. He ordered me to publish book and gave minute and detailed instructions on matters such as family tree, people who knew the author and now living, a preface, an introduction, an all-India map with the holy places, and scholars whom the author met and son on. Scrupulously I followed the instructions. As later my father was serving at Mysore Maharaja Samskrit College till 1927, the photos of Sringeri Swamiji's for two or three generations were alone ordered to be published but not of Paramacharya and His line. The book was published by one Mr. Narasimha of Ramayana Printing Press, Madras-4, who was ordered by Paramacharya to complete the task. He ordered me to distribute the books free of charge among Samskrit scholars and I followed his order. Paramacharya recollected that my father used to read the manuscript himself before Him and that I also read it after one generation (after half a century) at the time of printing. At the temple at Sivaasthana, Paramacharya shed tears of joy when I informed Him, I had become `Krtakrtya' and submitted the book completed in due time as he ordered. I feel this was a very great moment in my life and I thank the Almighty for His Grace of having given such an opportunity!

The first time I had met Him was at Namakkal on one night about 11.00 p.m. when I spoke a few words in Samskrit which He appreciated. He was pleased. Later, once at Devakottai, when I came in contact with Him, he permitted me to take a photograph and later recollected this when I met Him, rendered a couple of songs and got His blessings.

Later again at Ilayathangudi and Karvetinagar I was blessed by Him. My second elder brother, Shri Krishnamurthy Sarma of Bhandarkar Oriental Institute, Pune, wrote a biography of my father in Samskrit verses. Swamiji had it read to Him by me, with deep interest during His stay at Santhaliswarar temple and enjoyed the grammatical peculiarities contained therein.

AT Kanchipuram, Saint Thyagaraja Utsavam was celebrated. Vidwans recited Pancharathna Kritis in a group. His Holiness enquired through His disciple about the participants and my name was mentioned.

The above occasion with my name was in His mind and he remembered it later and used it to purpose. Once Sangeeta Vidwan Erode B. Srikanthan visited the Sri Matham during office hours and desired to sing before Him. Paramacharya ordered him to go to Income Tax Office to bring me for his namesake to sing along with him. "We had not learnt or sung together so far", the Vidwan said. But we obeyed it came all right. Then we sang some songs at the temple before Goddess Kamakshi as ordered by Him and we left after being blessed by Him. I asked Him how this was possible. Paramacharya said "You are a Sangeeta Vidwan and his also one. So it is all right." `Let me become one such Vidwan by these blessings, now', said I. Such name-tally was a miraculous brain-wave of that Paramacharya, ever to be employed to purpose of such an occasion.

I am regular reader of the daily "The Hindu" When I first landed at Kanchipuram, I used to approach the nearby Ramakrishna Reading Room, for reading that paper. Once the daily was not available at this Reading Room and could not guess where to search for another Reading Room. As a routine I went to have Dharshan of Paramacharya where on Research Student was talking with Him. Paramacharya casually asked him to give a visit to a Reading Room and got the "The Hindu" How had my mind and requirement passed through to Him is still and mystery and telepathy.

Paramacharya had treated me as a family member and used to enquire of me all details such as what food I took every time and who had prepared it whether by myself, or my wife or my daughter. during her vacation at college on visit to Kanchipuram from Madras, where my family was staying for about a year.

Whenever I visited His place, I served Him by removing the grass and weeds on his way to the tank for his baths.

Paramacharya used to advice me not to introduce myself as Income Tax Officer, but as the "son of Karupattur Venkatarama Sastrigal". Blessed are we to living during His time.