Dr. S. Padmanabhan
In 1966 when I was working in the Nagercoil Branch of the State Bank of India, one correspondent of the reputed daily "the Hindu" came there to discount a cheque. While he was talking with the Manager the purpose of his visit which was to write a detailed article about the Nagaraja temple at Nagercoil. He added that only a man well about this temple and since he was not able to write the article he wanted some one from the area to assist him. The Manager of the bank, Shri S. Krishnamurthy who knew that I was interested in such writings introduced me to the correspondent. Then both of them entrusted the work to me.
The article I wrote Nagaraja temple appeared in "The Hindu" on 7.8.1966. continuing this, thereafter, I happened to write a series of articles about the various temples in the area which appeared in "the Hindu" and also in some of the leading journals of India including Times of India Express and Bhavan's Journal. In 1970 my articles on the temples of Kanyakumari district were collected and published in a book form with a Foreword by the noted historian Dr. K.K. Pillay. In the same year the Tamil version of the Book under the title Kumarimaavatta-kovilgal was published with the benediction received from His Holiness Sri Sankaracharya of Kanchi. My connection with the Sankara Mutt at Kanchi started from then.
After many years I got the great opportunity of having a darshan of Mahaperiaval on 24th August 1986. I reached Kanchi Math early morning. I prostrated at the feet of Mahaperiaval presenting my book Hinduism, the Universal Religion which was a research paper presented in the World Hindu Conference held at Columbia in the year 1982. Swamiji was convalescing after an eye operation. Moreover, due to sore throat he was not able to speak. Sitting within the palanquin he talked gently and one Kumaresan was speaking, putting across to the devotees what Swamiji was saying in a low voice.
Receiving my book Swamiji closed the doors of the palanquin and with the help of a torch-light started to read the book. After 15 minutes Swamiji was requested to take bath. Within a short time he returned after he bath and said that he did not have the mind to place book down. I cannot forget these divine words of Mahaperiaval about my book. Looking at the from page containing the photograph of Sivalinga which was found in Roma, and which I had taken during my visit to Vatican Museum, Swamiji began to ask question after question. I explained to Swamiji the details about the Sivalinga; Swamiji was giving a patient hearing.
Then he uttered appreciative words on my book "Kumari-mavatta-kovilgal" written sixteen years ago, and "South Indian Temples", a paper presented in the World Conference on Religion held in Madurai. He blessed me for the success of my endeavors. I was wonder struck at Swamiji's photographic memory recalling all that had happened several years ago.
Later in 1987 on the eve of my daughter's marriage and in 1990 at the time of my son's marriage, I had the rare opportunity to have the darshan and blessings of Swamiji.
The bridegroom selected for my daughter was a Major in the army. Hence many members of my family were apprehensive and reluctant to have this alliance. At this juncture the thought of Swamiji came to my mind and I went to Kanchipuram with my family. When Swamiji was told about us, he stood up from his seat and came to us. He blessed us and advised us to proceed further without any hesitation. This incident was an unforgettable one. Needless to say, with the blessings of Swamiji, the married people are happy.
It is my earnest prayer to God that this Avathar of Almighty may live many more years and continue to bless the people of the world.