Sunday, December 28, 2008

Utmost Poverty !

The family life of the newly wedded couple has started. It was all well at the beginning of the marriage life. But sooner Venkatanatha and Saraswathi realised their situation. At times they had no food for days together. Sometimes they could harldy have a square meal by luck. Saraswathi sat gloomy at a corner thinking about their dire poverty. 

Venkatanatha : "Why are you like that?"
Saraswathi : "What should I prepare for Naivedyam(offerings to God)?"
Venkatanatha : "Bhakthi(Reverence,devotion) ! Let Bhakthi be the offering for today!"

She controlled her tears. 

Saraswathi : "What about today's meals?" 
Venkatanatha : "Meditate Lord Sri Hari ! Perform His puja and chant His name. That's today's food for us and what ever we offer Him with devotion is accepted by Him. What did Kuchela offer Lord Sri Krishna? What did Dhruva offer? To get His mercy, the only way is devotion." 

Saraswathi was lost in his speech. He sang few Keerthanas(Songs) and listening to them Saraswathi fell asleep. He took his Veena, tuned it and started playing. Later he too slept with leaning his head on the Veena. This was a routine in Venkatanatha's house. :(

Though Venkatanatha knew to perform various pujas and karmas, to be successful, apart from being talented one should also have diplomacy and ostentation. Venkatanatha was not so. This quality of his was taken as an advantage by others. 

Some students came to him to learn scriptures. Along with them he went for alms and in that way few days rolled on. Saraswathi gave birth to a baby boy and he was named Lakshmi Narayana. He was fed mothers' milk for few days. But later there was no money to buy milk.       Some how Venkatanatha was managing to lead this life of poverty.

Once there was a Yagnam in a lawyer's house nearby. There was a feast given to all brahmins(Santarpana) whoever came in. Learning about this feast, Saraswathi ran to her husband and informed him. Venkatanatha along with his wife and son went to the lawyer's house for the feast. The place was filled with preists, family members and other scholars. The brahmins who attended the feast acted to be helping. And some were trying to dictate others. But Venkatanatha sat meditating at a corner because he was neither interested in such activities nor had any intentions of acting. Some of them noticed him not working and asked him who he was and why he was not working. The Chief of priests walked in and ordered Venkatanatha to make some sandal paste instead of sitting idle. Venkatanatha thought this to be a better job rather than others. 

So he started making sandal paste while reciting sacred hymns. Suddenly he remembered Agni Suktam(A hymn in praise of Fire God) and started reciting. While he was reciting he finished making sandal paste and he handed over that to the preists. That paste would be served to all the brahmins during the feast. Along with the Chief preists, everyone applied the paste to their body. Surprise ! All the priests and brahmins started yelling -"Burning burning  !" The paste that cools the body has now turned out to cause burning sensation ? Where's the mistake? The owner of the house was worried and furious that he had lost his face in front of so many guests. He came to know that the sandal paste was made by Venkatanatha. He shouted on Venkatanatha whether it was his job with a tinge of sarcasm. Then Venkatanatha realised that he recited Agni Suktam while making the paste.

He immediately took the stone on which sandal paste is prepared, started reciting Varuna Suktam(Hymn in praise of Rain God) and prepared a fresh paste again. He gave them this paste and asked everyone to forgive him for the mistake that had happened. When everyone applied this paste, this time their bodies turned cool. Astounded and dumbfounded by this incident, the owner fell at the feet of Venkatanatha for his actions and foolishness. He apologised for all that he had done and pleaded Venkatanatha to forgive him. All the others present there including the Chief preist also fell at Venkatantha's feet asking him to forgive. They expressed that he was born for a noble cause on this Earth. 

Venkatanatha kept silent through out, had lunch and set to leave to his home. But the owner of the house stopped him asking him to stay until the Yagnam was successfully complete. After the Yagnam completed, the owner offered Venkatanatha several gifts and sent him with satisfaction. Along with wife and his son, Venkatanatha returned home with those offerings. 

Like this, in some way, as if God had sent, they used to get some food or money. But still managing with students and a kid was rather very difficult for Venkatanatha in such village. 

In Kumbhakonam, there was MadhvaMatha Peetam, Sarvagna Peetam. Sri Sudheendra Theertharu was the Guru for that Peetam. Venkatanatha's father, Thimmanna Charya had touch with the Guru of the present Guru Sudheendra Theertharu. And he also had good reputation in the peetam. When Venkatanatha was young, he accompanied his father to this peetam several times. And Sri Sudheendra Theertharu treated Venkatanatha very kindly with special care and interest. He already knew that Venkatanatha would turn out great on one day.

Venkatanatha thought that if he moved to Peetam, his education could be continued. He could spend sometime with fellow students and learn various scriptures. Especially Nyaya Sudha, compiled by Sri Madhva Charya, could be learned from Sri Sudheendra Theertharu. Even family life would be better at Guru's place. 

Thinking so, he started to Kumbhakonam on a fine day along with Saraswathi and Lakshmi Narayana.

Sri Raghavendraya Namaha !!!   

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