- For this Sanyasi, perform Thirukalyanam
for the Ninth time!
Author: Sri Ramani Anna (in Tamil)
Source: Sakthi Vikatan issue dated Nov 20, 2006
This is an incident that happened some years ago. An evening time. a large crowd in Kanchi SriMatam waiting for a darshan of Maha Swamiji. Periyavar came out of his solitudinous room. He came to the stage where he usually sits and seated himself, leaning on the wall.
One by one the people came before him. Prostrated to him. and appealed to him with an earnest prayer to solve their problems. Swamiji gave them suitable replies, blessed them and gave them prasAdam.
Eight-thirty in the night, all the people had gone after darshan. Swamiji was about to raise and get back to his solitudinous room. A dampati came hurrying up. Behind them rushed a young girl. All the three of them prostrated to Paramacharya. Then they extracted the articles they had brought from four 'big shopper' bags, spread them out on the large cane plates that were seen near them, and submitted them to the sage.
Acharyal pointedly looked at the cane plates for sometime. They were filled with sugar lumps, cashews, pistachio nuts, almonds, dry grapes, and dates. Surprised, Swamiji looked at the people who brought them, and happiness coursed his face lines.
Adede! It's our Viswanathan! When did you come from America? Your wife has also come... Besh, besh! Very glad. Everyone is fine? EndAppa, why have you brought such a lot of cashews and dry fruits? Any good news of a marriage? Here, standing by your side, isn't she your daughter? Oho... you have fixed her marriage! Why, Viswanathaa, there is no marriage invitation on any of these plates?" Swamiji asked.
That was it. The three of them fell at AcharyaL's feet, sobbing loudly, as if a sluice was released and a flood of water gushed forth.
Maha Swamiji could not understand. He checked himself and asked with affection, "Why Viswanatha... did I say something irrelevant? You people are sobbing like children?"
Immediately Viswanathan patted his cheeks loudly and said hastily, "Shiva, Shiva! apacAram, apacAram. Nothing of that kind, Periyavaa. The moment you asked, 'Arranged your daughter's wedding, where is the invitation?', the three of us couldn't contain our sorrow, Periyavaa! She is now twenty-five years old. We are trying, since her seventeenth year, coming over from America and staying here for two months. Not a single varan did crop up,
Periyavaa! somehow the chance slips by. She is educated. Has beauty. We have money. With all these things, there is no luck!" He started crying again.
It was nine-thirty at night. AcharyaL understood the situation. He thought of easing the tightness that prevailed. "It is alright, don't feel sad. Come and sit here, all the three of you!" He pointed to the floor oppsite him.
The three people sat meekly. AcharyaL started speaking: "Viswanatha! I know that you are doing plenty of dhana dharma for temples/ponds and the poor and destitute. Such a mental agony for you! Alright, how many years now since you went and settled in America?"
"Twenty years, Periyavaa" replied Viswanathan.
Swamiji pointed to the girl. "She is your eka putri?" he asked smilingly, "what is her name?"
Closing his mouth, Viswanathan replied, "Her name is Aparna. Yes, my only daughter, Periyavaa."
"Did you show her horoscope to the jyotishikahs?"
"Checked with a number of astrologers, Periyavaa. Everyone of them talks about some dosha or other. They also suggest remedies. I have done everything they recommended!"
"What are the things you did?" asked AcharyaL inquisitively.
"I did Pitru dosha pariharah with tila homam at Rameswaram. Then shukra prIti at Kanjanur. Rahu prIti at Tirunageswaram. Guru prIti at Alangudi. Special puja at Tirumananjeri near Kuttalam. Shani prIti at Tirunallar with a bath in the NaLa Tirtham... I did so many of such things, Periyava!" said Viswanathan.
Before he could finish, Swamiji clinched it with the words, "So you say it is a lack of phala prApti." Abruptly Swamiji said to Viswanathan's wife, "You have got the jewels-and-bolts ready for the daughter's marriage?"
"Everything is ready, Periyavaa", she replied.
"Besh, besh! How many sovereigns (of gold) you give to her?"
Viswanathan replied, "Thirty sovereigns for our daughter, Periyavaa. In addition, we have made two separate sets of jewels worth twenty sovereigns each."
"What for are those two separate sets of twenty sovereigns?"
"It is like this Periyavaa. If Aparana's marriage is fixed, with that marriage, we have decided to perform the marriages of two poor girls, meeting all the expenses. Which is why the two separate sets of jewels. But then Aparna's marriage itself is not getting fixed, Periyavaa!" Viswanathan expressed his longing, tears popping up in his eyes.
Swamiji slipped into some serious thinking. It was ten thirty at night. Then he asked Viswanathan, "Within how many days you people should return to America?"
"Twenty days more, Periyavaa."
"Besh, besh," Swamiji was happy. "You people have finished your dinner?"
"Not yet", said Viswanathan.
Swamiji sent word for the cook and asked him when he showed up, "What is available?"
"Rice uppuma and pumpkin sambar", said the cook.
Swamiji asked Viswanathan's family to go the kitchen and have their food. He waited until they came back. It was eleven in the night then. He looked at Viswanathan affectiontely. "Viswanathaa, you have a noble heart! With your daughter's marriage, you are ready and waiting with jewels for performing dharmic marriages for two other girls. What a broad mind you have! Kamakshi will guard you". Swamiji assuaged him with gentle words.
He then said, "Do one thing. You go to Tiruvanaikkaval tomorrow morning with your family. There you perform abhisheka ArAdhanam to Mother Akhilandeswari and Jambukeswarar and pray to them. What you ask of your daughter Aparana is that... there they would have adorned Mother Akhilandeswari with a shining tATangakah on her ears. Ask your daughter to have a keen darshan of the ornaments without blinking her eyes and praying 'let me be married soon!'. After doing this--"
Viswanathan interruped Swamiji as he said excitedly, "Periyavaa, our family deity herself is Tiruvanaikkaval Akhilandeswari!"
Swamiji said, "Besh! It is a good thing then. So you go with family tomorrow morning and do this. Then you go straight to Tirupathi. There you perform a Tirukkalyana utsavam to Srinivasa Perumal and pray to Him. Everything will turn out well. All these cashew, dry grapes and suger lumps that you have kept here generously like the endowment rows in a marriage... take all those things and offer them to Akhilandeswari." As he said this, Swamiji got up.
Viswanathan's family prostrated to him.
Viswanathan looked at Swamiji and said hesitantly, "Periyavaa, since the seventeenth year of my daughter Aparna, every year when I came here, I performed Tirukkalyana utsavam to Tirumali Srinivasa Perumal. So far we have have done it eight times, Periyavaa!"
"Alright Viswanathaa! What is there to lose? As this Sanyasi says, perform it for the ninth time!" Swamiji said laughingly and hurried to his room.
In the next two days, Viswanathan's family completed the ablution and worship and tATangakah darshan at Tiruvanaikkaval as ordered by Paramacharya and reached Tirupathi.
On that day, a number of bhaktas had remitted money to perform Srinivasa Tirukkalyanam. There was a large crowd in the marriage hall. Viswanathan's family was sitting in a corner in the centre portion of the hall. The vaikanasa bhaTTAcAaryas were conducting the celestial wedding of Lord Srinivasa chanting vaivAhiha mantras in a grand manner. Their intonations reached a peak and vibrated throughout the hall.
Viswanathan grieved within his heart thus: 'Appa Srinivasa! Is this your dharma and nyAya? You get your wedding performed every day in such grand manner! What sin did my daughter Aparna commit? Why do you not get her married to a suitable varan?' He started uttering a sob. His wife and daughter began to sob and weep, suffocating in their grief.
A family was sitting near Viswanathan. The family head appeared to be fifty or fifty-five years old. He rubbed Viswanathan's back comfortingly. "Sir, my name is Vaidyanathan. Madras. I am watching you for a long time. On this occasion of witnessing the Tirukkalyanam with joy and happiness, it is not proper for you three people to sob and weep," he said tactfully.
Viswanathan was moved. Briefly he poured forth his worries to the gentleman who comforted him. Vaidyanathan turned and looked at Aparna. His mind told him that the girl was stately and beautiful.
Vaidyanathan asked him: "Your gotra?"
"vAthUla gotra", said Viswanathan.
"We are Srivatsa. Alright, your daughter's age?"
"She is now twenty-five; why do you ask?"
Vaidyanathan said, "Let this Tirukkalyanam be over. Then I shall take you and talk to you in detail."
Srinivasa Kalyanam came to a completion and everyone was given prasAdam. Vaidyanathan took Viswanathan's family to the quarters where he was staying for the occasion.
There he told Viswanathan, "I have only one son. He is twenty-six now. Name Srinivasan. We belong to Melattur on the Thanjavur side. I am now working in the Defence Accounts in Madras. My son is employed in America in the Ford Motors company with a good salary. He is coming tomorrow to Madras on leave. I have been searching for a suitable alliance for him for the last three years, but nothing settled. We are all devotees of Kanchi Kamoti Matam. Three months back we had darshan of PeriyavaaL and prayed to him with the grievance of our son's marriage being delayed. He said 'Pray to Tirumalai Srinivasa and perform a Tirukkalyana Utsavam, your son will get married immediately.' Only today came the prApta. If that Periyavaa's anugrahah is there, even you daughter can become our daughter-in-law!"
They exchanged the horoscopes and showed them to a famous josyar in Tirumalai.
What a surprise! The astrologer who examined the horoscopes said that they matched on all the ten aspects perfectly! Both the family were very happy. They returned to Chennai the same night.
Srinivasan arrived from America the next day. He found Aparna suitable for him. Aparna also found him suitable for her.
Within fifteen days, Viswanathan fixed an auspicious day and booked the Rajeswari Kalyana Mandapam in Chennai. After the arrangements, both the families went to have darshan of the Kanchi Mahaan. Since there was a heavy rush, only around nine in the night could Viswanathan's and Vaiyanathan's family approach the sage.
Periyavaa looked at them keenly, his two palms shading his eyebrows. Both the families prostrated to him. Vaidyanathan was standing behind Viswanathan. As before, Viswanathan submitted the generous offerings of suger lump, dry grapes, cashews and so on and stood before the sage, his hands folded across his chest.
A divine happiness was seen on Periyavaa's face. After looking at Viswanathan for sometime, he said in a loud voice, "EndAppa Viswanathaa! Immediately after performing the Tirukkalyanam to Srinivasa for the ninth time for this Sanyasi, has not the phala prApti been gained? Besh, besh, your daughter Aparna is indeed lucky!" and uttered a rolling laughter.
Both the families were stunned. No one could raise a tongue.
Swamiji continued: "Viswanathaa! You grieved and wept very much the other day. It occurred to my mind that your daughter was having the janmAntriya vivAha prati bandhaka dosha. Only for the nivritti of the dosha I asked for Akhilandeswari's tATangakah darshan and the performance of Srinivasa Tirukkalyanam for the ninth time! You understand now?" Following Swamiji's laughter complete silence prevailed there.
Swamiji continued: "Who is going to be your sambandhi? What is his native place?"
Vaidyanathan, who was standing behind Viswanathan, came to the front and prostrated to AcharyaL. He said, "It is me, Periyavaa, who is going to be his sambhandi! It's all your anugrahah."
Periyavaa placed his finger on his nose. "Who is this? Oh Melattur Vaidyanathan! EndA Vaidyanathaa, three months back you came and told me that no girl's horoscope was found to be matching for your son working in America. I remember having asked you to perform Tirukkalyana Utsavam for Tirumalai Srinivasan and pray to Him. Alright, when did you perform the Tirukkalyana Utsavan?"
Vaidnathan said, "Both of us performed the Tirukkalyanam on the same day Periyavaa! We finalised the alliance in Tirumalai itself. All your blessings!" His voice turned husky as he spoke.
"Rest in prosperity!" AcharyaL blessed them with a filled heart. It was ten in the night. Swamiji said laughingly, "It is beyond time, Viswanatha! They said that it is the same rice uppuma and pumpkin sambAr in the Matam today. Do have your tiffin here without fail!" He bid them farewell with the compassion of a mother.
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