The Leela of Disciplehood
Kripananda Variyar Swamigal
Among the great modern-day devotees, one of the greatest I have seen was Kripananda Variyar Swamigal. A great personality! I can say that he was My Tamil guru. I learnt Tamil listening to his speeches. He was one of the greatest devotees I have seen in My life. Even in his underarms, he would wear a rudraksha by piercing! I asked him, “Why, Swamiji?” He said, “Even when I put down my hands, I remember ‘Muruga’! When that rudraksha pokes me, I remember ‘Muruga’!”
So, this was all done for a constant ajapa japa (an automatic internal repetition of the Lord’s name)!
Even when the hand moved, he wanted to remember the Lord’s name.
Once, he was giving a lecture on how to do Shiva pūjā. He was saying that the Śivaliṅga should be worn on the neck, and during pūjā, you should remove it and keep it in your hand and pour water and do pūjā. He was making a statement in Tamil:
‘அங்கம் வேறு லிங்கம் வேறு ஆக கூடாது அப்பனே! அங்கம் வேறு லிங்கம் வேறு ஆக கூடாது!” (“Angam veru, lingam veru, aaga koodadhu appaney! Angam veru, lingam veru aaga koodadhu!”)
“அங்கம் வேறு லிங்கம் வேறு ஆனால், ஆதி முருகன் அருள் கிட்டாது! அங்கம் வேறு லிங்கம் வேறு ஆகாதவன், ஆதி சைவன் என்பது சைவ சாத்யம்!” (“Angam veru, lingam veru aanaal, aadhi murugan arul kittaadhu! Angam veru, lingam veru aagaadhavan Aadhi Saivan enbadhu Saiva Saadhyam!”)
He was saying, “‘The linga should not be separated from the body.”’
After the lecture, all of us went and took blessings from him, and received vibhooti (sacred ash).
I asked him very casually, “Swamiji, how can the linga, the being (I meant the atma, the soul, which is Mahādeva) – how can that be separated from the body? It can never be separated!”
I told him in Tamil: “லிங்கத்தை எப்படி, சாமி, அங்கத்தை விட்டு எடுக்க முடியும்? அங்கம் வேறு லிங்கம் வேறு ஆக முடியாதே!” (‘Lingathai eppadi chaami angathai vittu edukka mudiyum? Angam veru lingam veru aaga mudiyaadhey!’)
He was just shocked, and he just looked up! He was holding a vibhooti bag in his hand and giving vibhooti to the people. He just kept the bag down and joined his palms in respect, and said in Tamil: ‘சுட்ட பழம் வேணுமா, சுடாத பழம் வேணுமானு, அவ்வையை கேட்ட மாதிரி என்னை கேக்க வந்தாயா அப்பா?’ (‘Sutta pazham venuma, sudaadha pazham venuma nu, Avvaiyai keta maadhiri ennai kekka vandhaaya appa?’)
There is a story where Subrahmanya directly came down and corrected the understanding of a great lady saint, Avvai, and he himself taught her and liberated her. He gave her enlightenment by giving her an important understanding. She had become a little egoistic about her knowledge, and Subrahmanya directly came down and removed her ego, and made her understand, and gave her enlightenment.
So, he (Kripananda Variyar) said, “Just like you did for Avvai, did you come again to give the truth to me?”
His humbleness! I don’t know what he saw in Me; I was a mere ten-year-old boy. I didn’t say anything; I just smiled and walked away.
Till I left the hall, he was sitting with joined palms! Only after that, he started giving vibhooti to the rest of the people.