Experiences with Maha Periyava: Auditor Venugopal
Auditor Venugopal was a native of Salem. He was a staunch bhakta (devotee) of Maha Periyava. He was the auditor of Kanchi Sankara Matham. It was his nature to give credit to Maha Periyava who guided him to that profession.
As he gained some popularity, Venugopal bought a car. The desire of showing the new car he had bought to Maha Periyava arose in his heart. Venugopal headed straight to Kanchipuram in his car. Only after he parked the car in front of the Matham, he came to know that the Mahan was camping in Kalavai! The car then started off its trip to Kalavai.
Parking the car outside where Maha Periyava was staying, Venugopal went inside the camp.
When he saw Venugopal entering, Maha Periyava asked him, "Car vaangiyirukkiyo? (Have you bought a car?)". And that was even before Venugopal told the Sage about his new car. The auditor was dumbstruck. The Mahan was one who knew time in all the three tenses.
"Yes", he said slowly. For a moment he even thought if it was a mistake in buying the new car before he had a word with the Mahan. But then the Mahan never thought it wrong to live comfortably within one's means!
"It is a good thing only. Alright, you do an errand for me now!" said the Mahan.
The auditor only nodded his head in affirmation, consenting to do an errand for the Sage.
"You need to go a little distance from here and turn right. If you go along the road thereafter, you will sight a pond. An old man will be sitting on the banks of the pond. You bring him here in your car. What, will you do it?" The auditor started off even before the Mahan finished.
Going like an arrow on its course, the auditor found the old man with a beard on the banks of a pond. He did not know if Periyava wanted to bring that old man. For he knew that there would be a thousand meanings in what Periyava said.
Going near the old man, the auditor spoke to him about the Sage's instructions.
"Did he call me? Then surely I shall come with you", said the old man. Staggering, he got into the auditor's brand new car, who took him to the Mahan's sannidhi (presence). The old man stood folding his palms before the Sage.
"Enna saukkiyama irukkiya? (What, are you doing well?)" Periyava asked the old man.
"Edo irukken (somewhat fine)!"
The Matham’s honours were given to the old man in accordance with the directions of the Sage. After giving the old man dhotis, shawls and some money for his expenses to the man's satisfaction, Kanchi Mahan told the auditor: "Take him and drop him where he wants to alight and then come back!"
A car ride for the old man again. The auditor dropped him where he desired and then came back to the Matham. He did not ask who that old man was, nor did the sage say anything about it. Auditor Venugopal stood before the Mahan, his hands humbly folded across his chest.
"The man you brought here. Do you know who he is?"
The auditor nodded his head to say no.
"When I was a small boy, suddenly one day he brought me in his horse cart. I did not know why at that time. Only after coming here, they said that I was the 68th Peethadhipati (pontiff)... I did not know Samskrutam at that time... I did not know Vedas... Only after coming over here, I learnt all those lessons. How many years have gone by, did you notice it? It was only this Periyavar (respectable old man) who brought me here, making me sit inside his horse cart. He also did not know then why they asked me to come here! How can I forget him? I suddenly remembered him, which is why I asked you to bring him here in your new car," said Maha Periyava.