Encounter with Palaniswami
Visit to Kuruvapuram The efficacy of constant meditation about Srīpāda Srīvallabha I resumed my travel from Vichitrapuram only due to the mercy of SrīpādaSrīvallabha. My mind was eager to visit Parameswara in Chidambaram. My travel continued for three days in a happy way.
I was getting food without asking for it. On the fourth day, I stood at the threshold of a Brahmin’s house and begged for food. A ferocious housewife came out of the house and yelled that there was no food. I waited for some time outside the house. The householder came out and said, “I am not fortunate enough to extend hospitality to guests and visitors. My wife is a great shrew.
When she gets angry she breaks earthen pots on my head. In this matter, my wife and the wife of my guru stand on an equal footing. However, there is one difference. My wife demands from me the cost of pots broken, but the wife of my guru does not harass him in that manner. Just now some pots were broken on my head. There is no dearth of food and water in our house, but I must compulsorily reimburse the cost of broken pots immediately.
This is very troublesome to me. If I could get some money distributed during religious functions as sambhāvana, today there would be no trouble. If it is not possible then I must borrow the money from someone. I can only repay the loan whenever I get money through sambhāvanas. Out of the money received by way of sambhāvanas, I use a portion of it for the repayment of debts and the rest is handed over to her. This system continued for some time. However, in the recent times, she is taking away all the amount of sambhāvanas. Therefore, I am not able to repay the loans.
People who know my position are no longer coming forward to offer me any loan. They are asking me, ‘How will you repay the loans? Are you thinking that you can repay the debts when you receive money through sambhāvanas?’ That way
is also closed now. As I am rich, no one is giving any donation. Moreover, they are ridiculing me.
I must now pay the cost of broken pots. After scolding you sharply, my wife called me inside the house and said, ‘There is a pilgrim in the street. You go along with him and bring a donation received at any place. Then only you will receive food in the house.’” Then that henpecked husband told me that he would come along with me. He said that he knew very well all the houses of the Brahmins in the village and that they might get meals as well as money as dakshina.
I was taken aback. I thought “Srīpadā! Srīvallabhā! What is this horrible test?” I went to each and every house in that village of Brahmins along with that Brahmin. No one offered any meals, not to speak of offering any financial help. Then that Brahmin who accompanied me lamented, “Till now I am only unlucky. As you joined with me, your fortune was also lost and you also became unlucky.” Then I told him “Srī Dattatreya is the omnipotent Lord who provides food to all creatures! He dwells in Kuruvapuram in this Kali Yuga assuming the name and form of Srīpāda Srīvallabha.
I am going there to see Him. Let us sit at the foot of that audumbara tree chanting His name. Let us leave it to the mercy of Srī Datta.” The Brahmin agreed to that. Hunger was scorching in the stomach. We were chanting the name of Srīpāda Srīvallabha in a feeble voice. While we were continuing the chant of the name of Srīpāda, servitors of the king of Vichitrapuram approached us and submitted, “Sirs, the yuvarāja3 is now able to speak.
His muteness was removed. The king ordered us to immediately bring you. Therefore, you please come along with us.” I could not disclose our miserable plight to those royal servants. I told them that I could not come alone and that they should take my companion also along with me. The servants of the king agreed to that. They took us with all respect seated on the backs of horses.
Seeing this, the residents of the agrahāram were utterly amazed. The king said, “Mahātmā, even after knowing that you are a great scholar, I sent you with empty hands without honouring you. After you left, the prince fell unconscious. We did a number of services to him.
After a long time, he opened his eyes and began uttering ‘Srīpāda Srīvallabha Digambarā! Srī Dattadeva Digambarā!’ The prince disclosed that a very tall, extremely handsome yogi of sixteen years appeared and placed holy ash in his mouth. Who is that yogi? Where is his residence? What is the relationship between Lord Srī Datta and that yogi? Kindly tell us.” I submitted with humility, “In what way can I describe the glory of Srīpāda Srīvallabha? He is actually an incarnation of Lord Datta.
His form of incarnation is very extraordinary as that of the incarnation of Srī Krishna. What I heard about Him is only very little. I am travelling to Kuruvapuram to have His dārshan. I am visiting sacred places and holy men on the way.” The learned people of Vichitrapuram wondered at this strange happening. They praised Srīpāda Srīvallabha in various ways because the king now got his good nature back, they were rid of the troubles, and that their yuvarāja’s mutism was cured on account of their austerities for forty days. The king honoured me with a donation of gold.
The king’s preceptor said, “Sir, wisdom dawned on me after so many days. I realised that Shaivaites by abusing Vishnu and Vaishnavites by abusing Shiva are only amassing sin and that no purpose is served. As a result of our abusing of God, we experienced all troubles. With or without knowing, we observed austerities for forty days for propitiating Lord Datta, thanks to the advice of Mādhavā Nambūdri.
We are very indebted to you.” When we took leave of them, Mādhavā Nambūdri also expressed his resolve to come along with us. We agreed. We three returned to the village of my Brahmin friend. We distributed the gold given to us by the king to the Brahmins of that agrahāram. After receiving gold, my friend’s termagant wife offered us food. Afterwards, she became a devotee of Srīpāda Srīvallabha.
She turned docile, leaving her previous termagant temperament. Mādhavā Nambūdri and I travelled towards Chidambaram. Sage Agastya appointed Parabrahma Sastry, a resident of Ryali village situated in the Godavari region, for the priesthood of Dharma Sāsta Ayyappa Deva. In the course of time, Vedic scholars from the village Nambūru of Gartapuri were invited by the royal families ruling Malayala Desa.
|Shanker Batt with palani swamy|
Many Brahmins left Nambūru and propagated Vedic knowledge in Malayala Desa. These people are called Nambūdri Brahmins. The ancestors of Ādi Shankara1 also belonged to Nambūru. Nambūdri Brahmins are famous for their religious observances and traditions, discipline and devotion, proficiency in mantra, tantra and yantra practices, but Mādhavā Nambūdri was an unlettered one.
He was eking out his livelihood working as a cook in the houses of some Brahmins. He lost his parents in childhood. Close relatives did not help him. He had an unshakable devotion towards Lord Datta. After hearing about the incarnation of Srīpāda Srīvallabha, he was eager to visit Him as soon as possible. We heard that there were some great siddhas near Chidambaram.
We visited Srī Palaniswami, an old hermit leading a solitary life in the hills. When we arrived at the entrance of the cave of Srī Palaniswami, he saw us and greeted us, “Both Mādhavā and Shankar are coming together? What a fortune!” We realised that he was a great siddhā who could call us by our names even without any acquaintance. Merciful Srī Swamī said, “My sons, it is time to cast off this body and enter into a youthful body in accordance with the command of Srīpāda Srīvallabha.
The age of this body is 300 years. It is the order of Srīpāda that I should leave this body and live for another 300 years in a new body. Even the liberated ones during life, and those who crossed the circle of birth-death order of Creation, should return when Srīpāda orders them to come back! The great resolve that administers the entire Creation has incarnated in the form of Srīpāda Srīvallabha. His descent will always take place in the subtle worlds of higher regions. To come in human form is rather rare.
His is a comprehensive yogic incarnation. Incarnations emerging from a fraction of His infinite powers always take place on this earth to protect devotees. My son Shankara, you have mentioned about Sage Kānāda and his theory of atoms in Vichitrapuram. Please explain in detail.” The theory of atoms propounded by Sage Kānāda I said, “Swamī, please excuse me. I know very little about Sage Kānāda and his theory of atoms.” Whatever I said in Vichitrapuram came out of my mouth without any effort from me. Swamī also knows that,” I replied. Compassionate
Srī Palaniswami explained in the following manner:
“The entire Creation is made up of superior atoms. Due to the existence of particles much finer than atoms, electrical current flows get generated. Just as the various planets rotate in different orbits around Sun, these finer particles rotate with incredible velocity around their central point in their respective orbits. All the emotional vibrations of living creatures are much subtler than the finer particles. Nothing will remain constant in this pulsating universe. Change is its nature. Changing every moment is its natural trait. The consciousness of Lord Datta is much finer and subtler than the above vibrations.
Obtaining His grace is easy and also difficult. When each atom or particle is divided ad infinitum, each part of the atom becomes equivalent to a void. The combination of infinite Maha Sūnyās1 results in this Creation. Just as matter is created, anti-matter, which is entirely opposed to matter, also exists. When these two get mixed, the anti-matter is extinguished. Matter can change its qualities and properties. The idols of worship become alive and active after the ritual of initation of life force is performed.
Then they are rendered capable of fulfilling the desires of devotees. All mantras originate in kundalini. The Gayatri mantra also manifested in it. “People think that Gayatri mantra has three lines, but there is a fourth line for the Gayatri mantra. It is ‘parorajasi sāvadom’. This four-lined Gayatri mantra indicates formless Brahman2. Kundalini shakti3 creates this universe with 24 traits. There are 24 letters in Gayatri as well. Number 24 is also called Gokulam. ‘Go’ stands for 2 and ‘kulam’ stands for 4. The form of Brahman is beyond all changes and therefore, it is indicated by the number 9. Number 8 is a form of Maha Māya4. Srīpāda Srīvallabha was asking people whom He liked, ‘Do Chowpāti Dev Lakshmi.’ Parabrahma is the Lord of all. He is the Pati of all. So, the Lord Patidev stands for number 9, Lakshmi stands for number 8, Do stands for number 2, and Chow represents number 4.
Instead of asking for two chapāthis, He was asking strangely in a non-grammatical manner ‘Do Chowpāti Dev Lakshmi.’ In this manner He was reminding the living beings about the mysterious number 2498. The Parabrahman and the Parāshakti1 of the Gokulam reside in the form of Srīpāda Srīvallabha. Please note that Lord Srī Krishna is Srīvallabha Himself. We recognise that the Gayatri mantra took the shape of His formless sandals. “My son Shankarā, twelve kinds of variations exist in the gross human body.
The gross body, which can be experienced by all, is subjected to the influence of the gross Sun. Through the practice of the kriya yoga discipline, one can obtain bodies with more and more subtler variations. These bodies of twelve different variations are under the influence of Dwādasa Ādityas. However, as Srīvallabha is far superior to Dwādasa Ādityas, His divine gross body is endowed with wonderful divine vibrations. “Even before His descent with a human body in Pīthikapuram, Srīvallabha arrived in this place 108 years ago. He blessed me.
He came here in the same form as He is now in Kuruvapuram.Where is the end to His divine plays? Sometime after Srīvallabha came here, great sages of the Himalayas worshipped Srī Badari Narayana in the great holy place Badari with Brahmakamala flowers. I observed that all those Brahmakamala flowers were falling on the auspicious feet of Srīpāda. He is beyond time and space.
” Srī Palaniswami concluded his narration. I had an undefinable experience on hearing the sacred sayings of Srī Palaniswami. I requested him, “Swamī, what are Brahmakamalas? Where are they available? I gather from your words that Lord Datta would be elated if worshipped with them. Kindly clear my doubts.Srī Palaniswami in reply to my query extended his merciful looks on me and said, “Srī Maha Vishnu worshipped Sadashiva with Brahmakamalas. That which was mentioned as the lotus springing from the navel of Srī Maha Vishnu is also Brahmakamala. If Srī Datta is worshipped with lotus flowers, material and spiritual wealth will be achieved. As replicas of the Brahmakamalas in the celestial world, Brahmakamalas are found on earth in the Himalayas at an altitude of 12,000 feet.
These blossoms bloom once a year. My son, they bloom only during midnight. This is another wonder. When it blooms, an excellent fragrance wafts over the entire area. All the great spiritual aspirants in the Himalayas eagerly wait for days and months to witness this rare spectacle. The flowers remain buried in snow from autumn to spring season.
In the beginning of Chaitra month, the flowers spring out of the snow. The process of blooming takes place during the entire summer. The flowers fully bloom during midnight by the time of Sravana Suddha Pūrnima. It is at this time that the snowy Shiva linga of Amarnath becomes visible. My dear Shankarā, this wonderful miracle takes place now and forever for the benefit of spiritual seekers, great sages and siddhas living in the Himalayas.
All sins get destroyed by looking at the Brahmakamalas. Obstacles to yoga cease. This miracle confers instantaneous results. Therefore, yogis and ascetics attain higher status in their respective paths. After it blooms, the Brahmakamala flower disappears; after all, those who were destined to see it had completely seen it. “My son Shankarā, I want to remain in complete penance for ten days. If any distressed people come here, yourself and Mādhavā have to arrange for their dārshan without causing disturbance to my deep meditation.
If any dead one bitten by a snake is brought here, tell the people who brought the body as my order that they should leave the body in the waters of a river or that they should bury the corpse in the earth.” Srī Palaniswami seated there went into a samādhi through penance. Mādhavā and I were arranging his dārshan to distressed devotees in a calm manner. Some of the devotees supplied us with food materials.
Mādhavā said that he would start cooking with the fallen branch of a coconut tree nearby. I agreed. Mādhavā went with another person. As irony of fate would have it, a cobra hiding behind the bough of the coconut tree had bitten Mādhavā when he lifted the coconut branch to carry it. Three persons brought Mādhavā to the cave.
As the command of swami cannot be violated, I buried the body of Mādhavā. People of that place cooperated with me. I sobbed. Mādhavā’s pure heart, pure devotion and unshakable faith on Srīpāda Srīvallabha came to my mind and I became very much perturbed. I consoled myself that destiny could not be avoided. After this sad incident, I witnessed another unfortunate incident. The relatives of a young eighteen year old person brought his dead body.
They were crying and shouting with sorrow. The youth also died of snake bite. I informed that swami was in yoga samādhi and that they should bury the body in accordance with the orders of swami. The devotees there informed the visitors that my friend also died in a similar manner and that his body was also buried following the orders of swami. The distressed people became crestfallen and were blaming their misfortune in many ways. Under the unavoidable conditions, they buried the new youth.
Every day three or four people used to visit swami. They used to see swami who was in a state of samādhi in a calm manner and were leaving without any disturbance. Ten days passed like this. On the eleventh day, in the Brāhmi Muhurtha, Srī Palaniswami became fully conscious and called for Mādhavā. I narrated to him all that happened, sobbing and crying. Then Srī Palaniswami consoled me and looked at me with his yogic power. That yogic look caused a great movement in my spinal cord and created an unbearable pain.
Srī Palaniswami saw me again with placid looks. My pain disappeared. He said, “My dear, Mādhavā does not have the fortune of seeing Srīvallabha with his physical body. For the last ten days his subtle body is in Kuruvapuram in the presence of Srīpāda. His desire is fulfilled irrespective of what had happened. The sportive plays of Srīvallabha are unimaginable. No one can comprehend the mysteries of time, fate and causes. That is possible only for Srīpāda. Srīpāda has entrusted me the responsibility of introducing life of Mādhavā into his gross body.
We must perform that task immediately.” All the grief which gripped me until now disappeared in a moment. What more did I want than Mādhavā regaining his life? We came to the place where Mādhavā was buried. The corpse was exhumed. I was assisted by two other persons. Srī Palaniswami asked us to move towards the group of palmyra trees on the southern side and cry aloud, “Oh king cobra that had bitten Mādhavā! It is ordered that you should come to the presence of Srī Palaniswami. This is the command of Srīpāda Srīvallabha.”
We followed the instructions of Srī Palaniswami carefully. Srī Palaniswami took four tiny sea shells from his loincloth. They were placed on four sides of the corpse. After some time, they rose from the ground to some height. Afterwards, they flew into the sky speedily in four directions making a fluttering sound. Later, we saw a hissing cobra crawling on the ground. That snake was very restless.
The four sea shells of Srī Palaniswami were fixed as if glued on its hood. Srī Palaniswami asked the snake to remove the poison from the body of Mādhavā. The snake sucked out the poison from the point in the body where it had bitten Mādhavā. Chanting the name of Srīpāda Srīvallabha, Srī Palaniswami sprinkled water charged with the mantra on the snake. The snake kissed at the feet of Srī Palaniswami, circumambulated thrice and retreated peacefully.
The good results earned by offering food to devotees of Datta Srī Palaniswami said, “This serpent was a female in a previous life. She became old. She had some sin and also some virtue. Once, she offered some food to a Brahmin who was a devotee of Datta. It is the nature of Datta to be pleased easily. The lady went to Yama Loka1 after her death. Yama Dharma Raja2 asked her, ‘You have earned some sin3 and some merit4. As you offered food to a Brahmin who was a Datta devotee, you received very great benefit. At present, Srī Dattatreya lives in the human world in the form of Srīpāda Srīvallabha.
He ordered us to make changes in your account of your merit and sin so that you gain great merit and take less sin. So Chitragupta made changes in your account. Do you want to experience the results of sin at first or enjoy the happiness of merit?’ For this she replied that she would like to undergo at first the suffering on account of the small amount of sins and that she would enjoy the life resulting from merit later.
Therefore, she took birth as a snake on this earth. As she had a mentality of harming others, she was biting all those who crossed her way. So, she was accumulating more sin. My dear, there are four classes of snakes. The first type of snakes will not harm anyone but simply take air as food and live like yogis. The second type of snakes will kill those whose shadow falls on them. They become angry when the shadow of anyone falls on them. The third class of serpents will try to keep away from the view of humans.
They run away with fear if any person comes face to face with them. The fourth class of snakes will take a revengeful attitude against anyone and bite him even though no harm is caused to them by the person concerned. “That lady was filled with rajas1. So it bit Mādhavā who came nearby. She had bitten him because of the merit earned in the previous birth. Mādhavā lost his life because of sin earned in his previous life. By the grace of Srīpāda Srīvallabha, that old woman was liberated from her serpent life and attained a higher world.
As an embryo, the jīva lies in the form of a serpent in the fetus stage. On account of nāga dosha, mortality of children takes place Mind, intellect, will, ego and body of the donor of the food get filled with auspicious vibrations. By that, he will be endowed with the power to attract all objects in the creation. Bountiful plenitude of materials comes from the grace of Goddess Mahalakshmi. The whole Creation is governed by subtle vibrations and fine regulation”, Srī Palaniswami explained.
The greatness of Srīpāda Chanting the name of Srīpāda brings wealth and prosperity as blessings of Srī Lakshmi. How can we describe the luck of those who obtain His grace? On account of the mercy of Srīpāda, Mādhavā remained intact even though he was buried in the ground ten days before. Now Srīpāda is granting him life force.
How can one explain the grace, mercy and the divine miracle of Srīpāda? Mādhavā was gaining consciousness. He asked for water for quenching his thirst. Srī Palaniswami cajoled him and made him drink ghī. That ghī was also one hundred years old. Mādhavā refused to drink ghī. Srī Palaniswami persuaded him by promising to give him water after he drank ghī. After Mādhavā drank the ghī completely, he was given fruit juice. After some time, water was given to him.
Description of Nāga Loka
Mādhavā regained his life. Our joy knew no bounds. Mādhavā was telling thus, “I reached Kuruvapuram in the subtle form. Srīpāda Srīvallabha is very tall. He has large eyes. Compassion, mercy and love overflow from His eyes continuously towards all creatures. As I was in a subtle body, I was invisible to other devotees there who were in gross bodies. Srīvallabha ordered me to go to the middle of the island in Kuruvapuram.
Chanting the name of Srīvallabha, I went into the depths from the middle of the island. I noticed that many fortified structures existed in the depths of the earth at its center point. I learnt that it was Pātāla Loka. For those in gross bodies, only gross material forms will be visible. For those like me who go there in the subtle form, the subtle world is visible there. The inhabitants there belong to the Nāga race2. They have the power to take any form they like.
They usually prefer to be in the serpent form only. I saw many great serpents there. Some serpents had thousands of hoods. Diamonds decorated their hoods. Light emitted from those diamonds. Some serpents remained in a posture of deep silence and appeared as if they were in a yogic trance. A wonder! There was a great serpent among them. It had thousands of hoods. On that serpent, Srīpāda Srīvallabha was resting like Srī Maha Vishnu. Some of the great snakes were reciting Vedic hymns. Srīpāda was listening to that melodious singing in a rapturous mood.
The big serpent beside me was saying this: The magnificent glory of Srī Dattatreya “‘In the ancient aeon, Lord Datta was born as a son of Atri and Anasuya on Anasuya Mountain in Chitrakoot of Nepal. He did not end His incarnation, but moved in a subtle form in the Nilagiri Mountain, SrīShaila Mountain, Sabaragiri hill and Sahyadri. Those who wear directions as robe, those who are sky-vested are famous as Digambaras. Datta was absorbed in yoga in Sahyadri. He taught kriya yoga to Gorakshanāth who was a follower of the Nātha tradition. He appeared to a yogi named
Jnaneswar1 in a formless yogic form seated in Kechari Mudra.
He surpasses time and place. For us who are in the presence of the Lord, past, future and present time elements do not appear differently. Everything is an eternal present time for us.’
Viewing Dattatreya along with Anaghā Devi
“Another great serpent by my side said, ‘My boy Madhavā, we are kāla nāgas3 and we are called rishīswaras4. Srī Datta wanted to conceal Himself after ruling [over the universe] for many thousands of years. He went under water in a river and remained immersed in water for many years. Then He came to the surface. We, as His followers, remained there with the hope that He would return with us. We knew that He was trying to conceal Himself from us.
He again dived into the water and came out after many years. However, this time He had a goblet of wine in His hand. In another hand He held a beautiful damsel of sixteen years. We went away regretting that we misunderstood Him as God and He seemed to be a drunkard and womanizer. He disappeared. After He disappeared our eyes got opened. It occurred to us that the goblet of wine in His hand was ambrosia of yogic ecstasy and the beautiful damsel was Anagha Lakshmi Devi who combined in Herself the triumvirate of Lakshmi, Parvati and Saraswati.
We undertook a rigorous penance for His reincarnation on this earth. Srī Datta was compassionate and took the incarnation of Srīpāda Srīvallabha in Pīthikapuram. Description of Srī Kuruvapuram “‘The place where He went into the water for bath is now the sacred Kuruvapuram. Just as He was in watery samādhi, we were also in a state of yogic samādhi with finer pulsations in this subtle world. Kuru was the ancestor of Kauravas and Pāndavas. It was at this holy place that King Kuru was imparted divine knowledge.
My dear Mādhavā, even Ādi Sesha1 cannot describe the greatness of Kuruvapuram.’ The previous history of Sadasiva Brahmendra Swamī “I paid obeisance to the holy feet of Srīpāda Srīvallabha. Merciful Srīvallabha spoke thus: ‘My son, this divine form of My dārshan is very rare and a great fortunate thing. One of the serpents that spoke with you will take birth as Jyoti Ramalingaswam in the ensuing centuries. It will disappear also in the shape of radiant light.
The other serpent that spoke to you will be born on the earth in the centuries to follow with the name of Sada Siva Brahmendra3 and demonstrate many miracles. Pīthikapuram is very dear to me. My pādukas4 will be installed in Pīthikapuram. My pādukas are going to be installed in the house of My maternal grandfather where I was born. The acts of My birth are divine and mysterious. They are to be kept as carefully guarded secrets.
You visit the place in Pīthikapuram where My pādukas will be installed and from there proceed to Pātāla Loka. There you meet the kāla nāgas which undertook rigorous penance. You come back after that.’” With smiles, Srī Palaniswami said, “My son Madhavā, let us talk about the kāla nāgas of Pithapuram afterwards. We must immediately take bath and carry on meditation. This is the order of Srīpāda Srīvallabha
Sripada Srivallabha Charitamrutam English - Chapter 3
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