This bit of sad news would definitely have been a shock for all the devotees of Mahaperiyava, coming as it did during Deepavali celebrations. Mettur Swamigal was an ardent follower of MahaPeriyava’s dictum. He avoided any kind of publicity – he took care not to even let his photograph become public. He led a calm, secluded life in Mahaperiyava’s memorial in Govindapuram. He attained Siddhi today morning. It is a huge loss to all of us. This was a body blow to his devotees who were rejoicing after seeing reports that Mettur SWamigal was actually on the road to recovery after having been ill for quite a while. It was my good fortune that I had secured his affection and love.

It was a time when I had started writing a series of articles about Devotees’ experiences with MahaPeriyava in a magazine called ‘ThriShakthi’. Following ‘Shankar Nethralaya’ Sivaraman’s request, I took a detour to Govindapuram during my visit to Kumbakonam and introduced myself to Mettur Swamimgal and handed over a few copies of ‘ThriShakthi’ to him (I did not know about him till then). “I interview people who have interacted closely with MahaPeriya and publish these experiences in a series of articles in this maganize”, I told him. “Please take extreme care when doing this; publish only those experiences which are really true and come from authoritative sources”, he said. His tone seemed to indicate that he thought I was not doing that sincerely. I performed Namaskaram and left the place disappointed inspite of my sincere attempts in publishing the articles based on facts.

2-3 months after this incident, I had gone to the Mahaperiyava memorial at Govindapuram along with my family. When I was looking at the photos of all the Acharyas in the hall, the priest approached me and said ” Aren’t you ThriShakthi Swaminathan ? Whenever you come, I have been instructed to tell you to go and meet him. He keeps asking if you have come. Please do meet him”. I happily went to meet him. He gave me a smiling welcome. “I read the series of articles on MahaPeriyava in the ‘ThriShakthi’ magazines you left with me. It has come out very well. Keep at it.” He spoke with me for around 40 minutes. During my subsequent visits too, he used to talk to me for 40-45 minutes. (When I once told Sivaraman in Govindapuram itself that i spoke to the Swamigal for 45 minutes, he said I was a blessed soul and noted wistfully that the Swamigal does not speak to him for that long a duration). During one of these conversations, the Swamigal gave me a copy of the book ‘Moments of a lifetime’ authored by Rangan Gowda. It was a treasure trove containing several experiences about Maha Periyava. “Do read this’, he said, ‘ you will come to know about many new things’. After coming back to Chennai, I started to read the book. One day, I casually asked Sivaraman “Can I translate this wonderful book to Tamil myself ?”. He replied “Yes, of course, but do keep Mettur swamigal also informed.” I next went to Govindapuram just for this purpose and told Mettur Swamigal about this. He said “Please do go ahead…I have read your article in Thrishakthi and I feel the translation will come out even better if you youself do it” “If i myself publish this, will there be any copyright issues”, I asked Mettur Swamigal – a question typical of a writer . Smilingly, he said ” Just go ahead”. Totally satisfied, i returned to Chennai and started the business of translation.

There were a few pages missing in the book that Swamigal had given me; no continuity in a few pages. I told him about it when i went to Govindapuram in the next 1-2 months. “Yes, many people have told me about this problem existing in the older version. I will give you a newer edition”, he replied and gave me a copy from the newer edition.

The exercise of translation went on speedily. I had made up my mind to release the book in the month of December 2013; in fact, it was my desire to get it done by his holiness at Govindapuram. However, it was not to be; I’m crestfallen. He used to enquire frequently about the newer edition of the book he had given me. I’m disappointed that the book which was supposed to be released by him is now being dedicated to him. Jaya Jaya Shankara Hara Hara Shankara

P Swaminathan 02/Nov/2013 Saturday