Experiences with Maha Periyava: Prayaschittam for going abroad!



Jaya Jaya Shankara Hara Hara Shankara – Thanks to Shri Raman for the Whatsapp share. It will be interesting to see the direct Tamizh version of the article below. If anyone has, please share. Relating to this topic I’m also posting a quote from Deivathin Kural below.

Also, the interview published below in the comments section does not have contain the travel time to US, etc. As a caution, this interview needs to be taken in the right sense and context as we do not have the exact source, the context when the interaction happened, the purpose behind it, the perception of the receiver (professor), and his opinions, etc.   Ram Ram

நம்முடைய தேசத்தில் மட்டும் தான் வேதத்துக்கு ப்ரயோகம், கர்ம பூமியான இந்த பரத கண்டத்தில் மட்டும் தான் வேத கர்மாக்கள் செய்தால் பலன் உண்டு என்றாலும் அந்தப் பலன் இந்த தேசத்துக்கானது மட்டுமில்லை. ஸகல லோகத்துக்கும் பலனை உத்தேசித்துத் தான் இங்கே நம் தேசத்தில் வைதீக கர்மா செய்வது. ஹ்ருதயத்திலிருந்து ரத்தம் சரீரம் பூராவுக்கும் பாய்கிற மாதிரி இங்கே செய்யும் வைதீக அநுஷ்டானங்கள் லோகம் முழுதற்கும் க்ஷேமங்களைப் பாய்ச்சி விடும். – பூஜ்ய ஸ்ரீ காஞ்சி மஹா பெரியவா

Vedhas are chanted only in our country and only if Vedha karmas are performed here in Bharatha Desam (karma bhumi), they are fruitful. But the fruit is not only for this country. We do Vaidhika karmas here keeping in mind the good of the entire world. Just as the blood flows from the heart to all parts of the body, the Vaidhika anushtanas we observe here bestow welfare on the whole world. – Pujya Sri Kanchi Maha Periyava

Experiences with Maha Periyava: Prayaschittam for going abroad!

By the blessings of Sri Maha Periyava, I have been able to do brain operations in India continuously in the government General Hospital in Madras from 1964 to 1992 and after I retired from government service, I have been in private hospitals for more than a decade.

What is perhaps equally important is that I have been able to involve throughout these forty years in training several dozens of young doctors in neurosurgery in the General Hospital, Chennai from 1964 to 1992 and in Apollo Hospital, Chennai recognized for DNB qualification in neurosurgery from 1992 onwards.

In those days when a Brahmin boy went abroad and returned he was supposed to go to Rameswaram and have a bath in the ocean for purification. Somehow although we are an orthodox family, I could not do this. Soon after my return I had to undergo surgery for hernia. Then I got married. Later I became very busy in hospital work and I could never get the time to plan a trip to Rameswaram.

Sometime in 1975 I went to Kancheepuram with my younger sister and niece to have darsanam of Maha Periyava. By that time I had already been abroad several times. An elderly Brahmin gentleman who had just come from Nigeria was present too to have darshan. There was a crowd of about sixty or seventy persons and Maha Periyava talked for about an hour on my problem of going to Rameswaram.

I am giving below the gist of the conversation His Holiness had with me.

His Holiness, while addressing the crowd of devotees: “This elderly gentleman had come from Nigeria to ask me if he should do Prayaschittam for going abroad”. Turning to me he smiled “Probably, Kalyanaraman also had come because he has a selfish interest in this as to whether he should also go to Rameswaram”.

His Holiness: “How many versions of Ramayanam are there in India?”

SKR: “Probably about a hundred”.

His Holiness: “There are about 300 languages and dialects in this country and probably an equal number of versions of Ramayanam. How did Rama and Sita return from Lanka to Ayodhya?”

SKR: “By Pushpakavimanam”.

His Holiness: “That is right. It is very interesting that neither in Valmiki Ramayanam nor in any of the other 300 versions of Ramayanam there is any mention that Rama and others did prayaschittam after returning from Lanka. You may say that they travelled by air and prayaschittam is required only if you travel by sea.

Then He mentioned the name of a Frenchman and asked if I had heard about him. I replied in negative.

His Holiness: “This man was a historian. He lived in India at the time of early Chola kings. At that time one of the daughters of the reigning King could not get suitable bridegroom in India. In those days Hindu Kings were ruling over countries now known as Cambodia, Thailand, and Indonesia etc.” Have you been to Bangkok?

SKR: Yes.

HH: “Have you been to the famous Buddha temple there, which contains many pictures depicting the story of Ramayana in the prakarams of the temple?”

SKR: Yes.

HH: “So the Chola king in south India chose a prince in Cambodia as his son-in-law. The prince came to India and married the princess. The royal couple accompanied by a large retinue of purohits, maids in waiting and servants returned by ship to the bridegroom’s kingdom. After staying a few days there the purohits returned by ship to India. This French historian has given a very detailed day by day account of this marriage in his book. He has not mentioned that the purohits did Prayaschittam either on reaching Cambodia or on returning to India.

Then His Holiness asked me: “How long does it take to go to America nowadays?

SKR: It would take about eighteen hours and if there is a break of journey in London about twenty four hours.

Then His Holiness enlightened us:

That is the real point. In the Shastras it has been specifically stated that if one did not do nityakarmanushtanam (daily religious rituals like sandhya vandanam, samitadanam, agnihotram) for three days continuously one had to do prayaschittam. In those days practically everyone did their daily religious duties. The only time they could not do so was when they travelled by sea as pure fresh water was not available for bath. That is why if they travelled by sea (for more than three days), they had to do prayaschittam. Probably the purohits reached Cambodia in two days and Rama reached Ayodhya in a few hours. Therefore, there was no need for prayaschittam.

If you apply that rule today, then some people in the present audience will need to do prayaschittam several times a year for omitting to do sandhya vandanam for three days in succession! One need not go abroad to qualify oneself for doing prayaschittam!

This is again a remarkable example of how His Holiness interprets the scriptures and gives simple anecdotes step by step to illustrate the point discussed, to a lay audience. Needless to say I was very much relieved that I had not “sinned” by not going to Rameswaram! The occasion also reinforced my resolve never to omit Sandhya Vandanam or reciting the Gayathri manthram even for a single day.

His Holiness continued:

Some people say that you should do prayaschittam only if you go to another island. Is Africa an island?

SKR: Yes.

His Holiness: No, Africa and Asia form single large mass of land. Only about a hundred years ago when the Suez Canal was dug by the Englishman, it technically became an island.

In fact Australia, Asia, Africa and Europe were all one large land mass and in the millions of years that have gone by, the land mass drifted away from one another with the oceans coming in between them and formed individual continents.

Here again was another example of the vast knowledge of history, geography and geology that His Holiness had mastered.

He concluded by saying that neither the gentleman from Nigeria nor Dr. Kalyanaraman need to do prayaschittam because they have travelled for less than three days to reach India but everyone certainly had to do it if they had omitted Sandhya Vandanam for three days or more!

Author: Prof S.Kalyanaraman, Neurosurgeon, Chennai

Categories: Devotee Experiences


18 replies

  1. what an introspection by Maha Periva! We are blessed by this article and cleared by so many doubts! Thanks to Dr. Kalyanaraman

  2. Ram Ram. There is something missing in this conversation. Whatever the duration, going abroad is against our “Dharma”. Periyava will not give any direction against Dharmasastra. Request you to suspend this post and re-post with correct clarity. Please check doubly on this topic. Else check with Jagadguru directly on this and post his direction.

  3. I am also surprised and shocked to read this.

  4. The message is very clear and the essence of Dharmasastra is to adhere to Karmas. Apart from Nithya karma there are other karmas like tharpanam, sharaddam which has to be done only in this boomi and there are several instances, periyava has reiterated the importance and significance.

    Obviously for a brahma gyani ahimsa paramo dharmaha. From that angle he has to avoid hurting the sentiments of everyone and pass the message in subtle way. Lets not get into the debate on whether the message is apt or did the conversation happen. We have to look at it from the situation and context.

  5. This is narrated by Dr. Kalyanaraman in his divine experience with Maha Periyava at ( 19:55 )


  6. Please understand that this clarification (not exemption) was given only to Dr S Kalyanaraman, given his medicinal compulsions, and thereby service to society. Such upadeshams apply only to that particular recipient and should not be taken as a general advice.

  7. ram ram. There is no intention to hurt. we all joined here because of Srimatam, Kanchi and no other force. The message on the broader note, shows that there is no wrong in going ABROAD and it also qualifies time limit. As per dharmasasthra there is no time limit. Jagadguru will never give direction against dharmasastra. It is only opinion formed by the related parties on time limits to go abroad and anushtanam and IT WAS NOT SPELT by Sri. Periyava. My humble request is to be clear on the message, when floated in the forum like this. Otherwise, it will lead to message as if ” Periyava has accepted to this”. Already we see more Brahmin elders with burmuda and T shirt with this Foreign qualification and let us not further damage the struggle by our Acharyal to keep this community in the path of dhrama. Rest is left to “HIM”.

    • Sri S.Sankar Garu Namaskaram! I understand your intention on Shastra and power of words uttered by Maha Periva which should not be mistaken as an exemption from performing Nithya Karmas, from this article. People in the present generation always seek an excuse to give up Nithya Karma Anushtanams wherever and whenever possible. At the same time, people with thorough knowledge in such Anushtanams, might even fumble at times. This article enlightens doubts to those who have any such. I believe you would also view this article in that way. Knife is a knife, whether one is using for cutting the vegetable or to hurt somebody is all upto one’s vision on it. Hope you get my point. Periva Pada Sharanam.

  8. This discussion would have any relevance if it was discussed thirty years before.
    Times have changed.
    When even Vaideeka Brahmanana’s, (who strictly follow the achara and anushanams) nowdays have been regularly traveling abroad,what about laymen like us.
    Mahaperiyavaa, being a Brahma Gnanai knew our predicament and has given clarifications through Sri Kalyanaraman, long back.

    The essence of Maha-Periyavaa’s teaching is that we should perform our religious Karmas with faith and devotion, where ever we are.
    You have more spiritual congregations in the cities of USA than in many parts of Tamilnadu.

    The virtual temple of Maha Periyavaa (this blog) has so many instance of devotees adhering to the Vedic Dharma even in foreign countries.
    So lets accept the change of times, and adjust to the changes.
    But let us be steadfast in our Spiritual Pursuits, as directed by Maha Periyavaa.

    • Sri Sridhar Garu, I second your views. Would I add some points over that? Agni has no partiality, it burns to anyone who with or without intention touches it, so the Shastras of our Sanatana! If you follow it properly it gives the best benefit and vice versa. We leave to one’s own discretions. We just share the ‘Maha Vaagyas’ from the mouth of Maha Periva and follow it. Have them or leave them, one’s own will.

  9. Hara Hara Shankara, Jaya Jaya Shankara! Times have changed! Economic considerations and lack of opportunities, educational, occupational etc., especially in Tamil Nadu for the past 50 years, all have made Brahmins go abroad for a livelihood! Maha Periyava has not twisted Dharma Sasthra to benefit a previleged few! The Dharma Sasthra is the Same for all! Those of us who have gone abroad or are staying there have to realise that and at least do Nithya Karmaanushtanas sincerely and we will certainly receive Maha Periyava’s Grace and Blessings! Hara Hara Shankara, Jaya Jaya Shankara! Maha Periyava ThiruvadigaLe charaNam!

  10. RAM RAM. My worry is that the exemptions sought in the name of Maha Periyava. My main worry was this, what was mentioned above three comments. I expected that there will be a quote that Vaideekas travelling abroad and all famous personalities travelling abroad for religious discourses, bhajan, and what not!. Please read deivathin kural on this topic and that is final. Whether it is possible to restrain to be in India is individual response and one’s own wish. It does not have any qualification like loukeeka, vaideeka etc., The rule should not be bent quoting Maha Periyava, which will be an insult to him. I stop here, as it is not the forum to debate one’s own ideas, but again reiterating and requesting everyone, not to spread wrong information / direction, quoting and in the name of Periyava.

    • Ram Ram Shri Sankar Sir – You are spot on. That is the reason I put all those statements at the top of the post. Ram Ram

    • Sri Sankar Garu, Namaskaram! No debates have place here, only sharing the thoughts! As you felt in your above statement, if anyone takes untoward advantages in the name of Maha Periva, Let HIM take care of those people. Who we are to encourage or discourage any? We just follow his footsteps as per HIS instruction, that’s all, I personally feel! Forgive me in case if my comments at any juncture hurt you or any other!

      Jaya Jaya Shankara, Hara Hara Shankara!

  11. You are absolutely correct balaji.
    I consider the essence of all HIS teachings is Bhagawadh-Bhakthi, through firm faith in GOD (Devotion),
    He also stressed Service to all Living Beings, in any form which one is capable of.
    The above two will ensure sublimation of one’s ego and Love for the entire creation of God.
    Last but not the least, HE guided all on the adherence to the teachings of the Vedic Dharma (which includes all the above).
    This is my humble understanding.

  12. Let us see what is in store..


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