HH Paravakottai Andavan: Whence will such another walk this earth again?

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Sri Poundarikapuram Swami’s Vaikunta Prapthi took place in Srirangam on November 13, 2011. HH 45th and HH 46th Azhagiya Singars were present along with hundreds of shishyas of various Mutts and Ashrams during the ceremony.

Gnana vairagya bhushanam. Borrowing from Sri Vedanta Desika’s taniyan, this description fits our acharya sarvabhouma perfectly. Abhinava Vasishta. No way any of us could have seen that famous sage’s behaviour first hand. But having moved with our acharya sarvabhouma we can guess about that hoary saint’s deportment.Henceforth HH Paravakottai Andavan will be the ultimate standard by which all yatis will be judged.Adiyen feels totally inadequate to write further. Who am I to even think of enumerating the qualities of this great acharya. Adiyen is the emperor of transgressors and the subject was the most immaculate preceptor. Added to that this language is not flexible or rich enough to faultlessly translate the Sanskrit words. I pray to the knowledgeable ones to excuse this error filled attempt of mine.

Gnana- This does not mean just knowledge. Discrimination, scholarship, presence of mind, correct response at the appropriate time. The ability to remember and recollect, the ability to use the correct phrase or word, the quality of expressing oneself clearly without ambiguity etc. etc. The ability to understand complex and abstract themes and explain and teach them in a manner that every one understood. The patience to bear with those less intellectually gifted. The gift of lowering one self to the level of the pupil. The eagerness to learn. The child like enthusiasm even in his tenth decade to grasp new concepts. He had them all and much more.

Vairagya- The rigid self abnegation. The quality of sticking to a pattern come what may. Total trust and belief in what our blessed predecessors said. Absolute disregard for pain and physical difficulty. His healing and recuperative powers bordered on the miraculous. He astounded us surgeons by attending to his duty on the first post operative day. His daily repast would make a sparrow seem to be a glutton. Due to unavailability of qualified cooks many a time he had to make do with inadequate food, he never complained. His asceticism, austerity and sense of duty was unrivalled. His anushtana inspite of severe difficulty in breathing and difficulty in locomotion was supra human. His will power was adamantine. He has set unattainable standards for all future yatis.

Parama Karunika- This is usually used to describe Sri Periavacchan Pillai who expounded upon the works of the azhwars. The most compassionate or merciful. He was worried about the fate of every Sri Vaishnava who came to him. He unfailingly asked them whether they performed sandhya vandana. Troubled by the dereliction of even this simple duty among most, he untiringly, almost daily, explained why we must do this duty. It hurt him to see even the elderly neglect this. His aim was not to find fault but to make everyone immune from our Lord’s nigraha, displeasure. He was single handedly responsible for making available erudite but rare to get commentaries on Sri Desika’s works. He used to say how happy he was that commentaries on all Desika’s stotras were published during his life time. He always insisted on keeping the price low but never compromised on the quality of the books. Another example is the latest, fourth edition of the commentary on Sri Desika’s Srimad Rahasyatrayasara. He insisted that the print should be bold so that the elderly(he commented, tongue in cheek, that after all only the Sanskrit knowing elders are going to read this!) need not strain their eyes. The paper should be flawless and the notes on each topic be printed nearby. He asked us what the price should be. Most of us quoted price in excess of 1500 Rs. He was shocked. He said that the price should not exceed 800. He used to say that we are not into this for profit. As it is, people are not buying these books, if you offer them at such high prices they will rot on the shelves. Another example of his empathy was that he made available chairs for the elderly to sit during various sadas. He said those who can sit on the floor should do so, but those who cant, should not abstain, they can sit on chairs at the back. In spite of his dedication to protocol he did not expect every one to follow it. He excused those who were physically unable but never applied that rule to himself. He was soft spoken and had good words for even those whom he did not approve of. He was always able to see the point of view of others. He was a diplomat to the core but never shirked from pointing out mistakes. He did it in the most charming way possible. He very rarely lost his temper inspite of almost daily irritations. He had a classic and subtle sense of humour. He was very quick on the uptake and his repartees were superb. His humour was never hurting to the recipient and he laughed wholeheartedly. His sarcasm was never injurious. He castigated the wrong doer in private and never insulted any one.

Niyantha – He controlled his fiefdom well. His administrative skills enabled the small Poundrikapuram ashramam to grow in an all round manner. The successful venture at Thiruneermalai made him happy. He would insist that the costs must remain affordable and facilities be kept ever ready for those with strict anushtana. The inauguration of a branch in Banguluru afforded him great satisfaction. He always had a soft corner for people from the former state of Mysore. He was very hopeful of setting up a center at Tirumala. Once he had a dream of Vekatachalapathi and the next day the news came that permission would be accorded atop the sacred hills. It was by his grace and attention to even the tiniest detail, that the lovely temple for Padmavathi and Srinivasa at Indra nagar in Trichy is doing so well. It was a project very close to his heart. Srinivasa as always has a massive following there and is justly famous as a varaprasadi, boon giver. HH insisted that everybody who came to worship must be made to feel at home. Recently the inaugural run of the temple chariot made him happy. His ability to get along with one and all was the reason the affairs of the ashrama were conducted smoothly. Of late he used to say that if someone relieved him of the responsibility of administration he would be happy just to read, write and discourse. Sadly it was not to be. Another venture left incomplete was his telling of Ramayana, Ramapiranai karpom. He worked day and night to finish it but, as he used to say his duties and visitors prevented him from working fast. He was writing about the wars in the yuddha kandam in the second part, the first part containing Vibishana saranagathi which he said was the best portion of the adi kavi’s opus. That will soon be published. He had already written Sri Rama pattabhishekam anticipating that he may not live to complete the whole sequentially. Even at this age his handwriting was clear and handsome and he painstakingly looked up many references without tiring.

Advithiya – Peerless. His will power was superhuman. He had great difficulty in moving about due to the kyphosis and decreased lung capacity. He was on daily doses of oxygen. Never did he shirk his duty. His anushtana continued as in his younger age when he was fully fit. He never complained. He sought medical attention only because others insisted. As a medical professional, adiyen was repeatedly left dumbfounded by his capacity for healing. But even he could not over come that achita tattva, kala. Adiyen can never forget the mild smile, manda smitha, on his handsome face as he must have received Bhagvat sakshatkara, vision of our Lord, as he shed the mortal coil. The tejas, effulgence was otherworldly.

Whence will such another walk this earth again?

By Dr.S.Sundar Rajan MS ortho Trichy

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