Experiences of Maha Periyava: Periyava's noble heart
It was an evening around 6 pm. Sri Maha Periyava was seated peacefully in a corner of the SriMatham at Kanchi and four or five people were standing beside Him. An old lady, who must have been above sixty, came there. Her head was shaved, and a portion of her white saree covered it. I was also witness to the scene there. The then Government of Tamil Nadu had announced a scheme of granting financial assistance to senior citizens and it had just begun to be implemented. Paramacharya was conversing with the devotees who had come there for darshan. It was clear that the old lady was anxious to say something. She was an old resident of the SriMatham.
"A petition to Swamigal" … the old lady began.
"Do you also have problems?" asked Swamigal.
Feeling encouraged, the lady said, "Well... It's nothing., really. The Government is giving twenty rupees a month as pension to the aged. Also to those that have no one to support them..."
'Yes… So what about that?"
"It is like this…. If the Matham recommends my case, I will also get money."
"Of course you will. But alright, what do you lack here? You get your meals at the right time. You are also given sarees to wear. You have a place to stay… why then do you need money?"
"No...It is just that it is given… ex gratia…for free…that's why…" The old lady replied in a discouraged tone.
"Look here! I am also one without anyone to support me. I stay in a corner of this Matham. Shall we both apply for that pension?" Periyava asked mischievously and laughed.
As soon as she heard these words, the old lay hung her head in shame.
It was Sri Maha Periyava's opinion that it was a great sin to misuse the aid given by the Government. He explained this not only to the old lady, but also to every one present there.
Paramacharya continued to speak. "At least we get food to sustain our life. We have a place to take shelter from rain and sun. We have clothes to wear and preserve our dignity. The Government has introduced the scheme for the really poor who struggle to get even these bare necessities. If I get you this pension, it will be denied to an unsupported old man or woman truly deserving it, will it not?"
The old lady and everyone gathered there saw Sri Maha Periyava's noble heart.
Author: Erasu Chennai -61
Compiled by Jagadguru Sri Maha Periyava - Kanchi Paramacharya/Fb