Maha Periyava is all Gods incarnated into one!
I am Ganapathi too!
My brother-in-law's daughter Jaana and I often used to go to Kanchi and have darshan of Periyava. We would submit different offerings each time we went there.
On one occasion, it occurred to us to string a beautiful arugampul garland and offer it to him. With arali flowers forming the border, we prepared a large arugampul garland and went on the next morning to offer it.
By the time we reached Kanchi, it was eight in the morning. Periyava was sitting, conversing with everyone around him. We kept the garland pack and a packet of sugar lumps in front of him. He took it and kept it aside in a corner. He did not even open the pack to see what it contained. We were having darshan of him, standing.
A woman came around ten o' clock. She had in her hand an intricately designed silver armour for Pillaiyar. As instructed by the sage, she had arranged for the silver armour, for the Pillaiyar of the temple at their place of residence, and brought it for Periyava's anugraham. Periyava took the kavacham from her, kept it on his lap and told his disciple nearby, "Take that," pointing to the pack in a corner.
The disciple unwrapped the pack and handed over the arugampul garland to Periyava. How did he know the contents of the pack, without looking at it or asking about it?
He adorned the silver kavacham with the garland. It fitted nicely as if tailor made for the object. Then he took the kavacham with the garland, fitted it to his chest, turned to all the four sides and gave darshan! We all went into ecstasy.
The woman who brought the kavacham stood with joined palms, tears welling up in her eyes. Periyava gave the kavacham with the garland to her through his disciple.
What we took to offer him was an ordinary thing; but for the fullness of heart we had, there are no words to express! This was because, he made us somehow realise the abheda between him and Ganapathi.
I am Kamakshi too!
A woman, who was a resident of the place where Periyava was camping, had aparimita bhakti on him. Because of her family circumstances, she could not go out of her house often and have darshan of the sage.
One day she somehow managed to go out of her house and came to SriMatham camp for darshan. It was afternoon. Sitting in the puja stage itself, Sri Periyava was talking with many people. This woman went near the stage with the camphor plate in her hand to take an Arati and looked at the face of Periyava, but he abruptly turned his face away. She tried twice or thrice but Periyava did not show her his face.
The woman was very unhappy. When Periyava seemed to face her, she lighted the camphor. But before she could go near and wave her Arati in circles, Periyava got up and went inside. Stunned, she moaned to herself, "Ambike! Why do you test me like this? What sin did I commit?" Consoling herself, she said, "Alright, I will take the Arati for you" and waved the flame to Ambal Tripurasundari kept on the puja stage and started for home very disappointed and tearful.
As she came out of the pandal, a man came running and said, "Amma! Periyava is calling you." "Me? Can't be," she said with hesitation. "Yes, for you only Amma, come!" said the man. She went inside hesitatingly. Periyava who was sitting on the stage told her, "Don't feel disheartened that you had to take the Arati meant for me to Ambal. Now you show me the Arati."
She staggered to take the camphor and placed it on the plate. Her hands shaking, she lit the camphor. Steadying herself, she went near him and waved the Arati in front of him in circles, and looked at Periyava's face. Periyava appeared to her as saakshat Kamakshi with her sugarcane-bent bow and parankusha and smiling face. Short of fainting, the woman patted her cheeks loudly with the words, "Amma! Amma!", bhakti flooding herself.
This was the incident that made us realise that the Ambal on the stage and Periyava are one and the same. The woman was Nagalakshmi, from Trichy. She told me the incident herself. I have heard similar incidents of people from their own mouths where Periyava gave darshan as Ambal.
I am Parameshwara too!
The Vasanta Navaratri time in Satara. Some of us from Pudukottai went and stayed there for a week to offer Suvasini bhiksha. We used to offer Periyava different kinds of flowery garlands and crowns.
One evening, ten of us were sitting on the floor outside his room. Maha Periyava came out. We bowed to him. Rajam Ammal submitted a nagabharana kireeta (a crown in the form of a snake). Made of vettiver (cuscus grass), with a bead of sandal paste, it was in the form of an umbrella of cobra snakes.
Periyava took the crown and gave it to a disciple beside him to adorn the Shivalingam nearby.
Rajammal hastily prayed to him, "Periyava should wear it."
Periyava pointed to the Shivalingam and declared, "He and I are not different. I am Him and He is me", and gave a laugh. An instant flash of light that resembled lightning appeared before our eyes as he spoke the words. What bhagyam! We were speechless, sitting in a shiver of ecstasy.
I am Narayana too!
My daughter Jaana had designed an aishwarya kolam. It was on a framed Mahalakshmi portrait, decorated with broken glass pieces of different colours. We submitted it to Periyava. He took it, admired, and said, "This is Mahalakshmi. Where should I keep Mahalakshmi? Should be on my chest." With these words, he kept the Mahalakshmi portrait on his chest, turned to all the four sides and gave darshan to everyone there. We understood that Periyava had made us realise that he was also the amsha of Narayana.
Subhalakshmi Ammal of Trichy once told him with regret, "Periyava! Today is somavara amavasya (a Monday new moon night). Without remembering that I should walk around the peepul tree this evening, I have come over to Kanchipuram."
Pat came the reply. "So what? You go round me 108 times. That would be enough!"
Periayava was not just Narayana; he was also Ashwatha Narayana!*
Hara Hara Shankara Jaya Jaya Shankara!