A chance reply to a tweet by a friend who had tweeted about the Dasavataram (The 10 Avataars of Vishnu)  soon lead to a serious discussion about Saranagadhi. Brought up in an atmosphere where we rarely discussed Philosophy or Religion I was totally out of my depths. But the discussion reminded of two stories / incidents but more importantly the life story of a man – my father.

First the stories – there was this erudite scholar well versed in all religious books. he was so knowledgeable that  God would do any thing for him. But he lived in penury. At the urging of his wife he asked God to give him wealth at least through a lottery. He asked God this boon daily but God who had granted every wish of his failed here. When he died and met his maker, that was the first question he asked him. God answered “I wanted to do that badly, but how could I when you had not even bought a lottery”

That brings me to my late father. Incidentally he died on this day 5 years back – May 1st, 2007. A man affected by polio, having completed his Commerce degree at 18, joined as a clerk in Indian Bank. He paid for his further studies – CAIIB, LLB and AICWA. After a few job shifts, he landed up in a company where he ended up as one of the MDs and retired at the age of 68. A man who had hardly a pie in his pocket when he started his life, by this time he had not only ended up few crores, he had ensured that all his close relatives were equally rich. No one who had come in contact with him failed to gain out of that encounter. But I rarely remember him going to a temple or talk about God.

After his chance meet with the Kanchi Acharya, he started sporting the “thiruman”. The Vanamamalai Jeer had personal affection for him and this made him start working for the Mutt. Still i do not remember him ever talking about God. He was attached to a few things – his cheap specs (without which anyway he could not see), slippers and a Watch my brother had got him. But at the age of 71, when he was finally hospitalised he was in no position to care about them. Hardly a few hours earlier, he had completed the last commitments he had – delivered the shares he had sold, went to his broker, gave him proof of deliveries. A month earlier, he had paid of his tax dues despite getting a stay against a very unfair order. Within 48 hours of hospitalisation, he died. As I went through his cupboard trying to find a good shirt to dress what others called”the body”, i realised he did not have a decent shirt> I took a shirt of mine to the hospital. We enjoy the wealth he left behind hardly care for his values.

But then that brings me to the incident i referred to at the beginning. Those familiar with the Gemini Flyover in Madras would know about a small pass under the fly over in G N Chetty road.  As we were going in an auto i automatically bowed. My friend laughed saying we are going in a covered auto. I replied saying, that bending down was a reflex action. My reflexes would be much faster than my brains. My father had realised God by reflex he hardly had need for brains.


5 thoughts on “Saranagati

  1. Sridhar this proves one thing to all of us. Children learn from their elders, be it parents or teachers, by how they live and by their actions, rather than their preachings/teachings. That’s the reason its extremely important that we as parents should set a fine example to our children. Merely preaching values will not help.

    Your father perhaps wanted you all to learn from his actions rather than preaching any religion to you all.

    You are blessed person to have had a fine father like him.

    • Dear kaushik,

      On the last bit which you said you did not understand, I deliberately did not explain – the difference between shankara and kannapa nayanar – you can discuss for hours about god or foolishly take out your eye and place it in god’s socket.

      In hinduism both are treated equally. The second is easier.



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