Renovation yielded redemption

Capt. N. Rengaraj, M.A., D.P.Edn.

My association with Kanchi Math and Maha Periyaval dates back to 1970's. Of the multifarious projects carried out under the guidance of His Holiness, temple clean stands part as the unique one. The reasons are many. First of all, the clean place is the place of God. In order to have a pure and peaceful mental state for prayer, a pure atmosphere is indispensable.

In this regard I would like to recall an incident that took place in 1976. During that time, I used to meet Maha Periyaval His Holiness Chandrasekharendra Sarasvathi Swamigal daily. Being an N.C.C officer myself, I would talk to Him about the services rendered by N.C.C. students. One day he suddenly asked me, "Why should not we use the same N.C.C. cadets to clean Sri Ekambaranatha Swami Temple here?" I immediately realised the need behind that. At the same time I thought of the difficulties involved. But, however, on his advice, the renovation was taken up by the cadets of Pachaiyappa's College, Kanchipuram, under my leadership. Because the enclosure behind the Nataraja shrine was so thick with giant trees and shrubs that they simply concealed from view the ruined mandapam. We also suspected that there would be poisonous snakes and other harmful creatures. Moreover, to undertake such a mammoth project we needed special equipment. But all these difficulties vanished by the divine grace of Mahaperiaval. After getting the blessings form Him we started working. Dr. Nagaswai, then the State Director of Archaeology, inaugurated the project. More than 200 N.C.C. cadets under my supervision worked hard for more than two months on shift basis with the assistance of the District Collector and Five Service personnel. And it was done. I could not believe my eyes. The task was accomplished. What we saw there was not only the Mandapam but the model of historical Chalukya architecture.

The brief memoir of mine will show that care and interest shown by the Maha Periyaval in renovating the places of worship, which, in fact, have been the beacon-light of Hinduism. I am happy even now to think that I was one of the many who worked for the remarkable and successful projects.