It was sometime in 1963. The queue that formed at Sankara Mutt at Kanchi to get Prasad and blessing from His Holiness, Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati Swamigal was moving steadily. At the tail end of the queue, I too was standing, very impatiently. Now, you would ask me: “why this impatience?” In fact, I had not come here on my own accord. I came out of a compulsion.
I was working in a Calcutta company, reporting to its Managing Partner, Sri S.V. Narasimhan. While granting me leave for going to my native place at Thrissur, Narasimhan suggested that I break my journey at Madras visit Kancheepuram and seek blessings from Acharya Swamigal. I was not enthusiastic to the idea because being very eager to see my near and dear ones after over three years I wanted to hurry home and also spend the full leave-time with my people and in my native place. However, I respected Narasimhan’s advice and reached Sri Kamakoti Mutt at Kancheepuram. Needless to say, only my body was there while my mind and heart were hovering around ‘my people and my native place’.
I stood there like a person eager to complete a formality and get over with it. While standing in the queue, I noticed Paramacharya, seated on the ground and surrounded by other disciples. He was smilingly giving Prasad to the devotees coming in front of him and giving his signal of blessing. I thought that the same thing would happen to me also. “He would just give the Prasad, show his hand in blessing and look for the other person”. My thought went on these lines, but alas, how wrong I was! When I stood before the sage of Kanchi, I got the biggest surprise in my life. He proved all my assumptions wrong. Rather than waving his hand, Paramacharya asked me to come near him and sit. He asked me in Tamil: “Where are you coming from?” I said: “I am coming from Calcutta”. Then, he asked me “Do you know Narasimhan, the President of Ved Bhavan?” I was stunned. I said: “I am working in his company. He only advised me to come and seek your blessings“. “Oh! very good”, Swamigal said in his characteristic smile. “Convey my blessings to him”, he added. Then, Swamigal kindly enquired about my welfare and about my activities. I could not believe that Jagadguru, whose is venerated throughout the world, was enquiring about my welfare. I was humbled. In fact, he spent about 10 minutes with me, the privilege many other devotees were aspiring for. As I kept talking I experienced a sense of close affinity and affection, as if I was talking to a friend. I realized that there was a magnetic power in him that attracted all devotees towards him. Paramacharya was God’s incarnation (Avatar Purusha) and perhaps he has known in advance what was going on in my mind and like a real Guru, given me the correct vision. His simplicity, his humility and above all the divine aura that surrounded him moved me beyond words. It was an experience that is inexplicable; the experience that I still cherish in my heart even after 50 years.
The few minutes I spent with him brought an enormous influence on me. I realized that concepts like “my people or my town” are born out of illusion. What is real is Govinda, the truth, whom we can reach through the grace of Guru. This is the lesson I am learning from Swamigal’s works: “Deivathin Kural”. Guru comes in one’s life in different forms. I realized that in my case, Guru came in the form of Narasimhan and shown me the eternal Guru, the Jagadguru.