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Sunday, July 12, 2009

B.V Narsimha Swami Ji -Chapter 3.

Share Author: Manisha.Rautela.Bisht on 10:35 PM
Dear all ,
In continuation with biography of Pujya Shri B.V Narsimha Swamiji ,today I am uploading the 3rd chapter which gives detail about his childhood days .Readers who have missed earlier parts of biography can read by clicking on the links which are given below here at the end of post .Jai Sai Ram .

CHILDHOOD IN SALEM


The child Narasimha was admitted to a school at Salem. He had already learnt the alphabets and other basics at Bhavani from a teacher who visited his house daily for this purpose.

Narasimha’s mental make-up and inner spirit were vastly different from those of other children of his age. He was highly intelligent and extremely good in his studies. Theories and dogmas did not interest him but he could be convinced only by actual observation and direct experience. He liked to explore the unknown. The accounts of far-off places and countries fascinated him and made him restless.

Ambitious and adventure loving, he had a desire to become a hero. Being, physically and intellectually far more precautious than other boys of his age, he found his schoolmates dull. His impact nature could not tolerate sluggishness or slovenliness of any kind. He feared that he, too, would stagnate in their company, and to him stagnation was like death.

The parents, Venkatagiri Iyer and Angachiammal had brought up the child Narasimha in a suitable religious atmosphere and had inculcated high social responsibility. The parents were large-hearted and known for their generosity. Even at Bhavani, Angachiammal was distributing the first crop of mangoes, coconuts and other fruits grown in their garden and the paddy harvested in their fields to neighbors, friends and their bungalow servants and retain a quantity adequate for their personal use. In his later life, Sri Narasimha Swamiji used to recall this incident and say-“I learnt voluntary social obligation from my mother”.

Narasimha’s father, Venkatagiri Iyer, was a very learned and deeply religious man. At night, he would gather all the family members, friends and neighbours around him and read out portions from epics like Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bhagavatha etc., On festival days, he would invite saints and scholars and arrange their religious discourses at his house. He also used to hold ballets, which depicted the story of the epics like Mahabharatha and Ramayana. Narasimha had many opportunities to witness these mythological shows, in which characteristics of mystic sages and Yogis interested him the most.

The impressionable Narasimha admired their powers, their vision, their wisdom and above all their command even over the rulers and kings who prostrated before them. He desired to be one of them, that is, a “Sadhu’, without knowing the exact meaning of the word.

Venkatagiri Iyer was free from superstition. He did not hesitate to engage even Muslim singers to sing devotional songs in his house. “if there be any element of purity in me, it has been inherited from my father”, in his later life Sri Narasimha Swamiji once confided in his devotees.

His mother’s influence on Narasimha was immense. She regularly used to sing devotional songs to her son in order to nurture his religious sentiments. If any sage or saint visited salem, invariably Venkatagiri Iyer and Angachiammal would be the first to invite him to their house. Sri Narasimha Bharathi Swamiji, Jagadguru Sankarachary of Sringeri and Sorakkai Swamiiji who lived near Kalahasthi are the two great sages who deeply impressed young Narasimha. The Jagadguru Sankarachary of Sringeri, Sri Narasimha Bharathi Swamiji, who was looked upon as Adi Guru Sankarachary re-born, had a large and diverse following and in the very first meeting, he blessed the child Narasimha and gently stroked him on the cheeks. Soon after this, Sri Narasimha Bharathi swamiji walked away from that place.

The child Narasimha looked at him and observed that the Jagadguru was striding fast with his feet hardly touching the ground. The boy felt a strange, magnetic spell, particularly from his powerful eyes, the impact of which remained with him. “This incident,” in his later life Sri Narasimha Swamiji says, “is so vivid that I just cannot forget it. It will ever remain with me as a treasure.

In 1882, eight-year old, Narasimha had his “Brahmopadesham’. Sri Nataraja Vadyar who stayed close by taught the young boy the rituals of ‘Sandhyavandana’. Having been initiated into ‘Gayathri” by his father Venkatagiri Iyer, performing “Sandhyavandana” three times a day and doing Gayathri Japam became a part of life for Narasimha. Soon after this, the boy was enrolled in a Veda Patashala to learn ‘Rudra, Chamaka, Sri Sukta and Purusha Sukta’. A friendly neighbour, Alamelamma trained the young boy to recite Vishnu Sahasaranam, Lalitha Sahasaranama and other divine chanting.

Angachiammal directed Narasimha to water the tulsi plant and feed a cow everyday before taking food. When Narasimha wanted to know the reason, she said.”It is not proper to take food before offering it to others”.

Angachiammal used to give alms to beggars whenever they approached her. One day, seeing her give alms to a well-built beggar, Narasimha protested that she was being kind to a man who did not deserve it. In reply, his mother said,”Narasimha, who are we to judge who is worthy and who is unworthy? All who come to us for help are God in human forms. So we must provide whatever help is within our means”. She was also very considerate towards the so-called untouchables and it was from her that Narasimha learnt that ‘he who gives is a God, but he who withholds is a devil”. Angachiammal’s utterances taught Narasimha that service performed in the right spirit of ‘Karma Yoga’ becomes ‘worship of Shiva in the Jiva’, which is one of the most effective means of self. Purification and God-realization.

Narasimha’s mother used to serve neighbors in times of need. On one occasion when a neighbor was indisposed, she went to cook for them after having finished her own cooking at home. Disapproving of this, Narasimha said,”Mother, you are selfish. Why didn’t you cook for them first and then do our cooking’. His mother replied,” If I cooked their food first, it would get cold by the time they ate it”. The answer went straight into Narasimha’s heart”.

The large hearted Angachiammal was an effective Guru to her son. In his later life, Sri Narsimha Swamiji hardly talked about himself; he occasionally used to speak of his mother’s influences on him.

After finishing schooling at Salem, Narasimha left for Madras for further studies-first intermediate, later for BA and Law degrees. To be continued...

Chapters Posted:
  1. Introduction.
  2. Early Life.
To read in Tamil click here.

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