I have a great pleasure and feel blessed to reproduce an article that came long back in one of the magazine/article called “HRD Times”. Not sure what this magazine is all about….My ananthakoti namaskaram to Shri Hubli Ramaswamy mama for sharing this document with me.
I originally thought of just typing this whole thing and sharing; then I thought of plotting the whole trip on Google Maps – just out of curiosity.
Here is where the fun started. I’ve spent probably several hours to even understand the route. Shri HH Mettur Swamigal’s noting on a city name is different than what is in Google Maps. For instance, palli vs palle, ankall vs ankallu …so many like this…some town as note by HH Mettur swamigal is somewhere very far – at least 50 miles – completely confused how Periyava would have walked that far – didn’t match with the kms noted. searching in google maps was so painful….i was so frustrated. Several times I screamed out of frustration “Periyava, how/why you went there. There is no reason for you to walk that much out of the main route – you have to explain me now….” – how silly I was! Twice – after spending of lots of time the whole map got messed up – then I restarted from the scratch.The whole exercise of doing this map resulted in dizziness and fatigue! That is when I experienced “Without His blessing nothing is possible. “
But don’t forget to note that all my tiredness happened sitting on the bed and the laptop on my lap – wrapped in a warm blanket to beat Chicago cold. Now think of a 80-year old Mahaswamy walked every inch of this map. When I think about that, there is a shiver in my spine! This is no human thing. He walked an average of 12 kms per day – at this time He was 80 years! If He weren’t that Adi Shankara and Parameswara Himself, this is simply not possible. How HH Mettur Swamigal planned this route is beyond imagination. What a great mahan and His great sishya – HH Mettur.
Last but not the least, a must-note on my wife’s part in typing this chronicle – a big help for me in bringing this to you quickly. Without that there is no way this would have happened. appada, my morning coffee is guaranteed :-)
Whether I picked up more bakthi or not, I picked great insight into Chitoor and Anantapur district – I can even be a tourist guide now for that area!!
My scribbling ends here and some professional editor had written the following.
Here is the silhouette of HH Mettur swamigal – looks like Him, talks like Him, walks like Him.
We have, with reverence, pleasure in placing before our readers of the notings of Sri Mettur Swamigal. They are not a mere recording of events, but a pilgrimage by us, along with Sri Mettur Swamigal, in the pursuit of purity, as shown by SRI SRI MAHA SWAMIGAL.
One needs a lot of blessings to write about great saints like H.H. Chandrasekarendra Saraswathi Swamigal.
He was the simplest of simple in person. His requirements were the tiniest of tinies – eating, sleeping, walking etc. so to call Him ‘big’ was too small. If He were to be called so, it is for his foresight, thoughts and knowledge. He was arranging to feed those thousands who visited Him to witness the daily poojas but He Himself used to take that saltness morsel. The places he used to stay – cattlesheds, roadsides, even sometimes near railway gates.
During His Pada Yatra in 1970’s at His seventies, persons who used to accompany Him wondered at the speed at which He walked, slept during short hours at nights and the pace at which He got up and went about His sojourns, unmindful of who follow and how! He never needed a place to stay and all that He wanted was to know the route! That was perhaps for our sake, since He knew the unknown.
A frail figure of an Engineer was the one to cycle ahead and locate the route, plan, roads etc. It is hard to conceive how this bachelor engineer in his forties (who left his lucrative job and other worldly comforts) was locating places to lead HH! Yes, but that was the way of HH. After all, He had to show to us that He was ignorant and no miracle can be performed by Him.
“Mettur – people know him only by that name, even though His parents have given him a name as “Rajagopalan” – suited HH even in food habits. Perhaps, HH thought that he was the only person who kept a meticulous Dairy Notes of events and places. Maybe He knew that he would follow the path of HH and HH one day would grant him the favour of Sanyasa, which we cannot think of.
Today he is called “Mettur Swamigal” and people may take that view, his simplicity as from a simpleton when he says that his walking without footwear in hot sun is only “endurance” and nothing special. One definitely gets the feeling that our culture and heritage has its imprints strongly and the footsteps are not erased.
Kanchi Mutt has always had its greatness. Maybe it is invisible to us who are in the old “Paramparyam” following the treaded path but we do have our Gurus doing poojas and renovating temples to ensure that the footsteps are further deepened for prosperity.
[ There are many things remarkable about Mahaswami of Kanchi. One of them was His constant movement from place to place, spreading the message of Sanatana Dharma, by expounding its principal tenets in a language that is simple and lucid, exhorting people to keep alive the study of the Vedas and follow its teachings, encouraging Vedic Scholars, interpreting the ancient scriptures, holding up the beauties of Sanskrit poetry, and not the least, setting a personal example of austere living that bordered on self-denial.
Sri Mahaswami, after His assumption to the Peetam, in 1907 at the age of 13, started on his great Vijaya Yatra in 1919 that lasted till 1939, a period of 20 years. The Yatra took him to all the districts of Tamil Nadu, Malabar and Cochin in Kerala, the Andhra area and, through Vidarbha, to Varanasi and Calcutta.
In the late fifties (1957-1958) His Holiness stayed in Madras and gave discourses that, thanks to the arduous labours of some of His devotees, have been preserved in print.
During 1966-68, His Holiness toured Andhra Pradesh and presided over the All India Vedic Convention at Vijayawada, and the Agama, Silpa, Folklore, Sadas at Kalahasti, Secunderabad and Rajahmundry.
In April 1978, His Holiness started on a long Pada Yatra through Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra, and returned to Kanchipuram only in April 1984. During the last of his six-year Pada Yatra, one of the devotees of the Mutt, Sri Mettur Swamigal maintained a day-to-day dairy of the Mahaswami’s activities. The dairy, spread over 82 pages, had been written in light blue ink. As it started fading out, Sri A. Kuppuswami, a great devotee of the Mahaswami, took the work of engaging a person to write over the faded lines once again so that the pages could be xeroxed. But, the person whom he had engaged had hardly completed 29 pages, when he had to leave Kanchipuram for Madras. Sri Kuppuswami himself copied out the rest of the pages and made the whole dairy available to us.]
I intend to add more info in this map…….This can become a permanent record of this maha padha yatra.
Click on the “View larger map” to see the map for viewing pleasure.
- 15.4.78. – Sat.: H.H. suddenly left Sivasthanam at 3.00 a.m. After darshan at Kamakshi Temple and at the Math of Sureswaracharyal, H.H. proceeded to Kezhambi. Biksha and night stay (13 km).
- 16.4.78. – Sun.: Ramanavami – Reached Tirupputkuzhi. Night stay at Damal (8km).
- 17.4.78. – Mon.: Siru Karuppur. Night halt at Walajpet (16 km).
- 18.4.78. – Tue.: Lalapet – Kaththarikkuppam (17 km).
- 19.4.78. – Wed.: Noon – Annaikkattur and night halt at Ponnai (16 km).
- 20.4.78. – Thu.: Noon river snanam, and Pradosha Puja. Night stay at the road-side village of Krishnapuram (11 km).
- 21.4.78. – Fri.: Theosophical Society, Chittoor (11 km). Night halt at Darmarajagudi, Maitappalli, on Palamner road (11 km).
- 22.4.78. – Sat.: Moogali Venkatagiri (11 km). Night stay at Mugali (7 km) Mugaleeswarar – Kamakshi temple – continuous water flow from Nandi’s mouth.
- 23.4.78. – Sun.: Palamner (23 km) Kalluppatti, 8 km from Palamner.
- 25.4.78. – Tue.: Basavarajakandiga (10 km).
- 26.4.78. – Wed.: Punganur (19 km). Stay at Somanathaswamy and Veerabbadraswamy temples. Sri Siddaiya Chettiar and his son Krishnamurthy, great devotees, and were allowed to apply ointment to the footsores in H.H’s feet. Footsores caused by walking.
- 27.4.78. – Thur.: Moolam.
- 28.4.78. – Fri.: Day time at Bhaganapalli flour mill (5 km). Evening anushtanam at Sugalmet Elementary School for aborigins. Night stay at Idirpalli ( 8 km).
- 29.4.78. – Sat.: Day time ‘Gopana Bani’ of Major Narasimha Naidu (5.5 km). Night stay at Srinivasa Perumal Temple at Madanapalli.
- 1.5.78. – Mon.: Siva temple on the Bangalore road (15 km). Elevation 2231 ft. M.S.L. Horslay Hills (2.9 km). Night halt at flour mill (7.5 km) on the way to C.T.M. ( 8 km).
- 2.5.78. – Tue.: C.T.M. Siva temple where H.H. had stayed for 45 days, 40 yrs back, during His Varanasi Yatra (6.5 + 2 km).
- 3.5.78. – Wed.: Ekadasi – Poolanandalapalli (3 km). Noon stay Vayalpad Vyeya Choultry ( Padmanabha Gupta) (5 km).
- 4.5.78. – Thur.: Night stay Poolanandalapalli 5 km.
- 5.5.78. – Fri.: Gamigundi at the foot of the hill in C.T.M. A beautiful spot (2 km from C.T.M.) Night stay at Siva temple (1 km). Sri Venkatramana and his wife had darshan in the evening at the time of H.H’s visit.
- 6.5.78. – Sat.: Amavasya.
- 7.5.78. – Sun.: Midday in the coconut grove at Reddivarpalli. Night stay at Ankul (8 km) in the Rama temple (10 km from Madanapalle).
- 8.5.78. – Mon.: Kumbarakota on the link road of Madanapalli – Ananthapur – Madanapalli – Cudappa main road (2.5 km). Night stay at Rama Temple.
- 9.5.78. – Tue.: C.T.M. bypassing Ankul very a difficult thorny track (5 km). Night stay in a grove near Reddivaripalayam.
- 10.5.78. – Wed.: Gavigundi and then C.T.M. (6 + 1 km).
- 11.5.78. – Thur & 12.5.78. – Fri.: SANKARA JAYANTI
- 13.5.78. – Sat.: Morning stay at Hanuman Temple and night stay at Vayalpad (8 km).
- 14.5.78. – Sun.: Tharikonda Lakshmi Narasimhaswami Temple (6 km).
- 15.5.78. – Mon.: Returned on the Vayalpad road – Night stay at Sivkripa Plastic Industries (5 km).
- 16.5.78. – Tue.: Gale at high speed like cyclone.
- 17.5.78. – Wed.: Huge neem trees sway violently. Blisters on the feet give unbearable pain to H.H.
- 18.5.78. – Thur.: Went to Vayalpad for Ekadasi Avagaha Snanam and returned (2 km).
- 19.5.78. – Fri.: To C.T.M. (9 km).
- 21.5.78. – Sun.: Narasimha Jayanti – Avathaara Kattam by Kakavakkam Subramanya Sastrigal.
- 25.5.78. – Thur.: Ankallu (8 km).
- 26.5.78. – Fri.: Gantlamadunu (8 km) Amarnarayanaswamy temple – Night stay at Narasimha temple (7 km).
- 27.5.78. – Sat.: Gattu Venkateswara temple (4 km).
- 28.5.78. – Sun.: Beerangi Kothakota (7 km). Night stay at Kannika Parameswari temple (7 km).
- 29.5.78. – Mon.: Night stay at Pulikkal Adiseshan temple (6.5 km).
- 30.5.78. – Tue.: Midday reached Mulakala Cherugu – Groundnut Mill (6.5 km). Proceeded on Kathri road and entered Ananthapur District.
- 1.6.78. – Thur.: Reached Tanakkal after Ekadasi snanam in Papagni river.
- 2.6.78. – Fri.: Started very early. After stay at Nallacherugu, proceeded to Chimayelampalli (18 km).
- 3.6.78. – Sat.: Kadiri Narasimha Swami Temple. – (9 km) a very big temple – Lot of monkeys – after Pradosha puja, went to Hanuman temple at Kuttakola. (4 km).
- 4.6.78. – Sun.: Kalasamudram forest bungalow (9 km).
- 5.6.78. – Mon.: Amavasya snanam at Madyaleru. Midday Enamalavarpalli cow-shed Malakavemula (7 km). Night stay in an unfinished house at Nallasethipalle.
- 6.6.78. – Tue.: Cattle-shed (3.5 km – km short of Mudugabba). Night stay in a road side tent at Sankapalle (7.5 km).
- 7.6.78. – Wed.: Ralla Ananthapuram (5 km). Evening snanam at Chitravathi river (7.8 km). H.H. did not stay at the camp arranged but proceeded to Dammapuram (6.2 km) Mounam.
- 8.6.78. – Thur.: Bathlapalle High School (6 km). Night stay just after Sanjeevapuram (6.5 km) in the mango grove.
- 9.6.78. – Fri.: Elikapalli groundnut field (8 km). Night stay – Mounam broken.
- 10.6.78. – Sat.: Akuthota Palle groundnut field (5 km).
- 11.6.78. – Sun.: Sankara Matam Siva Temple, Ananthapur (9 km).
- 12.6.78. – Mon.: Tungabadhra canal.
- 14.6.78. – Wed.: Night stay at Maruru T. (8.6 km).
- 15.6.78. – Thur.: Roadside Siva temple at Mukthapura.
- 16.6.78. – Fri.: Dharmavaram Chennakesavan Temple (8 km). Night stay at Sayappa’s farm at Mallenapalle (6.5 km). Sri Sayappa is the Karnam who received H.H. 45 years ago with his wife during His Kasi Yatra.
- 17.6.78. – Sat.: Sankameswara Temple at the confluence of Chatravathi and two other small streams (7 km). Rama temple with navagrahas newly constructed. H.H.’s visit in Sri Muka year is engraved in a rock. At that time, He had camped at Santaleswaram 3.2 km away and visited this place.
- 18.6.78. – Sun.: Dwadasi – Pradosham.
- 20.6.78. – Tue.: Pournima.
- 22.6.78. – Thur.: Dammapuram.
- 23.6.78. – Fri.: H.H. approved F.R.P samples for rickshaw fabrication.
- 24 & 25. – Sat & Sun.: Brilliant exposition by H.H.
- 29.6.78. – Thur.: H.H. to Rathrapalli – Another day of exhilarating Bashya Patam for two hours. Proceeded to Malyavantham Hanuman temple on Tadpatri Road (5 km).
- 30.6.78. – Fri.: Chinnasubba Naidu’s thottam at Pappura.
- 1.7.78. – Sat.: Ekadasi snanam in canal and stay at Alam Venkatiah’s house at Bondalawadi (1 km).
- 2.7.78. – Sun.: Dwadasi – Pradosham – Went to Narpla (5 km) stay at Siva temple.
- 3.7.78. – Mon.: Nadimitholu Karnam’s thottam (5 km). Bondlawada Karnam Subha Rama Rao is still accompanying us. All orange growing areas. (invited to Hagari for Vyasa Puja).
- 4.7.78. – Tue.: After Amavasya snanam in the same canal (1 km) before Nadimithottam and Biksha, proceeded to Malapalli (6 km) for night stay.
(…..to be continued…..)
Kannadasan’s lines come to my mind::
அதோ, அவர் எங்கே போகிறார் என்று சொல்லாமலேயே போய் கொண்டு இருக்கிறார். இந்த வயதிலும் எந்த வாகனத்திலும் ஏறாமல் போய்க்கொண்டிருக்கிறார்.
அதுவே உங்கள் யோகமாக இருக்கட்டும்……