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Musings on a Homecoming

From: R.Balaji (
Date: Sat May 02 1998 - 21:40:48 PDT

Dear "bhAgavatOttamA-s",

Here are a few more musings/notings on my "homecoming":

++ It was with a great deal of excitement I met, after a period of more
than 5 years, with my "mAnaseega-AchAryan",SrimAn U.Ve. Sri Mukkur
Lakshminarasimhachariar at his residence in Venkatesan Street, T.Nagar,
Chennai. I prostrated before him. He bade me sit down and proceeded with
his usual kindly "kuchala-prashnam-s".

++ I notice how advanced in years he himself has become. His mien is
still that of a majestic strutting lion... being the inveterate
"nrsimha-upAsaka" that he is ... but his is now essentially the majesty
of grey eminence ...the eminence too of one who has performed more than
a 100 "nrsimha-maha-yagnyA-s".

++ I notice the Swamy's hair has withered, a few of his teeth are
missing, there is a mellowness of light in his warm but glinting eyes
and I can hear a new gravity in the ring of his voice....

++ The conversation invariably veers onto the kind of life I had been
leading these many years in far-off Muslim lands. More than a month ago
there had been a carnage in Coimbatore which had its roots in communal
tensions in the state of Tamilnadu. I gather the incident disturbs and
rankles in ordinary people's minds in many silent and inexplicable ways. 

++ "Contary to popular misconception," I told Mukkur Swamy, "in Muslim
lands it is not as if everyone you meet on the street is bigoted
against Hinduism! There are many wise and pious souls amongst the
Muslims of Arabia too. Some of the mullahs I chanced to encounter did
consider the ancient religions of India as paganistic but I know in the
secrecy of their hearts they respect our faith too as true revelation of
the Almighty."

++ I do not know if my remarks surprise or offend him. He listens but
does not comment.

++  In the 5 years I lived and worked in Bahrain and elsewhere in the
Middle-East (I found myself narrating), I had absolute religious
space and freedom. And more importantly, I had  all the TIME in the
world to truly exercise that sweet freedom.... something, ironically, I
can hardly afford in the hurly-burly rat-race of life in India!!!

++ Again he does not comment. Deep down within myself I was asking
myself awkwardly if it was not the central purpose of our lives to find
the TIME and the SPACE to FREE ourselves from ourselves....!  
++  Is there any rite of "cleansing" I should go through, I ask Mukkur
Swamy, for having lived amidst the "turushkA-s" and "mllecchas" for so
many years abroad? Should I go through some ritual bath or something
before I attempt anything like a pilgrimage to Tirupati or to Atthigiri?

++ THe Swamy smiles.... I have perhaps at last asked him something
pertinent to which he would deign to respond ?  

++ "Do not worry about cleansing rites, Sudarshan," he says,"If you have
lived amongst those you have held are wise men... wherever they are and
of whatever persuasion .... if you have been fortunate enough to live
amongst "knowing souls" ('gnyAni-vargatthai sEndavargal'--- I got a
feeling here the Swamy was clearly referring to the verse in the Gita
where the Lord admits His soul is but constituted by the dear "gnyAni-s"
of the world) ..if you have been fortunate enough to live amongst
"knowing souls" there's little you could have wasted or sullied in your
life..... Still cleanse if you must, then what better way is there than
to do a few score more of the "gAyatri-japa" ?!! If you have been
reciting 10 a day, step it up to 28; if you have been meditating on 28 a
day step it all up to 100 a day now!! The blessed "gAyatri", Our Holy
Mother, She shall surely cleanse you of all that needs to be cleansed!!
Why bother evermore ?"

++ I walk away that evening from Mukkur Swamy's house wondering at the
grand catholicity and universality of his view.... that one ought to
always consider oneself lucky anywhere in the world long as one
resides where the Lord's soul we know resides : amongst the "gnyAni-s"!! 

++ I walk away from Swamy's home that evening re-living too some of the
old lessons that I'd learnt about the "gayatri" many years ago when I'd
myself undergone "upanayanam".

More on that in later postings.