On this Mahaperiyava’s Aradhanai day, 14th December 2017, I wish to recall the Selfless Sacrifice of a Great Devotee of Mahaperiyava, Sri Annadurai Iyengar! A well respected Lawyer from Kulitalai, suddenly decided to donate nearly 10 acres of his fertile lands on the banks of Akanda Cauvery for preserving Vedhas, when Mahaperiyava called for people to preserve Vedhas by starting a Vedha Rakshana Nidhi Trust in the late 50s!
I had the Bagyam of meeting him at Ugar near Pune in 1979 when Mahaperiyava was camping on the Banks of Krishna River ,well taken care by the devoted Ugar Sugar Factory Mgt.It was a cold December day when I went all the way to have Mahaperiyava’s Blessings for a new assignment I was to accept as GM of Rengavilas Mills from the New Year!(I never do anything important in my life without His Blessings!)
I went and prostrated before Mahaperiyava,when He asked me “Enge Vandhe?”(What brought you here?”)
I explained about the job as a GM for Rengavilas Mills,a unit of NTC Group!
Mahaperiyava smilingly asked one Krishnamurthy,a fat Man in the crowd of people sitting there(I learnt later on that he was a VP in Asian Dev Bank,Manila)”Can he join there?Is it good Company?”
Krishnamurthy said:”He looks quite young(I was 32)and sooner he may even become the Chairman of the group and so I feel he should join!”
Mahaperiyava smilingly asked me “How much Salary they give you?”
I told Him the details..suddenly there was a pause and a pin drop silence!I was kneeling before Him without knowing what to do!Mahaperiyava broke His silence and asked ,Sri Annadurai Iyengar,standing in a Queue of ardent assistants,”Did you start that Vedhic School at Belgaum you were planning to start?”
Sri Iyengar said(He always keeps his four fingers near his mouth,bowing in all reverence to Mahaperiyava whenever he talks to Mahaperiyava,as can be seen in the pic)”Last week I have started with 10 students?”
Mahaperiyava:”How much are you paying them?”
“Rs150 after providing accomodation and food!”
Again a few minutes of Silence!
Mahaperiyava said with agony on His face,pointing fingers to me,”Such a small fellow..drawing so much salary.You go and beg all sorts of Brahmin households, drag an unwilling 10 year old boy,forcing him to have a tuft and give him just 150 in a month to learn Vedhas,who will come for Vedhic Schools ?”
I immediately understood Mahaperiyava’s feelings and again prostrated saying “I will give whatever Mahaperiyava orders me for the Vedhic School!”
Mahaperiyava smilingly said:”You don’t have to do anything.Your father has done so much for the Mutt!Anyway Iyengar note down his name also!”(My father never called on Mahaperiyava excepting on one occasion to receive Him in Ramnad but as an M.L.C used to take up Mutt’s cause on various matters and got things sorted out!)
Mahaperiyava again asked Sri Iyengar:”Please read out that ltr we have received from US!”
Sri Iyengar read out an offer from a very ‘famous Indian’ at that time,offering Rs4 cr to Kanchi Mutt,if both can collaborate to start Vedhic Schools all over!Mahaperiyava asked Sri Iyengar :”Do you think we shd take that offer!”Sri Iyengar never talks much before Mahaperiyava and kept quiet!Mahaperiyava said “We shdn’t touch such money!”
(Within a few months that man was involved in various Scandals and arrested!)
Mahaperiyava looking at me kneeling all along said smilingly:”Don’t worry.Go and join!”and blessed me with a few Fruits !
I cdn’t continue in Rengavilas for more than a year as , being a totally corrupt Govt Organisation,despite a very very honest Chairman,P.K.Duraisamy IAS, who persuaded me to join NTC! I got a lucrative assignment in Nigeria and went abroad!When I returned from Nigeria for my first holidays,I went and met Sri Iyengar at his Cenotaph House!He was delighted to see me offering a cheque and said “such an amnt I cannot take ‘without getting Mahaperiyava’s instructions!I am going to Mahagaon tomorrow and you can also come with me!”
I was stunned to see Sri Iyengar’s total devotion,all the time walking ,even under very hot climate,without sandals ,on bare feet!We reached Mahagaon,again on the Krishna River bed!Vedhapuri mama saw us and said:”Luckily you have come on time Mahaperiyava is about to go on Nishta!”
Sri Iyengar introduced me and said about the cheque !
Mahaperiyava remembered clearly the Ugar incident and asked me :”So you have literally taken my orders that you shd give a portion of your Salary for Vedhic Schools!”
As usual I cdn’t control my tears and He blessed me bountifully !Sri Iyengar said about another trust for which also he needed some amnt!Mahaperiyava asked me :”Can you do that also?”
I said “Yes”
Mahaperiyava then asked Vedha Puri mama, “Is there any picture of mine here?”
Vedhapuri mama searched and brought this picture(see below)and placed it before Mahaperiyava!
Mahaperiyava blessed this photo with Kumkum and gave it to me,which is my Treasured possession, in my Puja Room!
I have never seen a more dedicated Man than Sri Iyengar,who used to sincerely send MOney Orders everymonth to various Vedhic Scholars .I used to sometimes help him! Many wd have profoundly thanked Sri Iyengar,for sending that Rs400 which was the only amount on which they were surviving and on seeing such ltrs, me and Rajagopala Mama used to uncontrollably weep!,(He retd as the CFO of Air India and fully dedicated to help Sri Iyengar in Vedha Rakshana NIdhi Trust to conduct examns for Vidhyarthis)
Amidst many who benefitted from the Trust is the Present 46th Ahobila Mutt Jeer!(Please listen to Him:
All Brahmins must come forward to preserve this age old Treasure,Vedhas, and donate a bit..not much!
Sri Iyengar who brought Nani Palkiwala as the Chairman of Vedha Rakshana Nidhi Trust and others like Keshub Mahendra and TS Santhanam, did such yeoman service,we shd always remember him, whenever we see a Vedhic School anywhere!He gave his life for this and Mahaperiyava used to admire his dedication and despite several obstacles from some vested interests in the Mutt,Mahaperiyava always supported Sri Iyengar!
You can see this blog too to know to what extenet today some people are willing to support this Vedhic culture,though it was so tough to keep the students fed,even once a day,in those Days!Vedha Vyasar