Experiences with Maha Periyava: Peacock Feathers
Sri R.K.Rangan of Delhi was greatly devoted to Sri Maha Periyava. He would make an offering of a fan made of peacock-feathers whenever he came for darshan from Delhi. Periyava would now and then use the fan to keep away flies and mosquitoes.
Rangan once bought a dozen peacock-feathers. Sri Maha Periyava put them away in the palanquin. The attendants were puzzled. It was not Periyava’s habit to store things for His use.
One morning when Sri Maha Periyava was doing His japa, seated in the palanquin, a large swarm of flies infested the place. Periyava took one of the fans and used it. Even as He was thus engaged, some Jain ascetics came there. They had a white cloth around their mouth, according to their tradition. Periyava conversed with them on various matters.
The Sanskrit thesaurus Amarakosa was compiled by Amarasinha, a Jain king. Many religious books on Jainism are in Sanskrit”.
The monks were very happy to hear all this.
“Do you chant the ‘vipraksayam’ prayer when you wake up in the morning? Periyava asked them a question.
“No, our guru says it is no longer necessary”.
The attendants who stood nearby understood neither the question posed by Periyava, nor the reply given by the Jain monks.
Sri Maha Periyava gave the explanation Himself. “In the past, when Vedic rituals and fire-sacrifices was widely conducted, there was the practice to sacrifice goats as part of the ritual following the modalities prescribed by the Shastra. When Jainism gained an upper hand – since the basic principle of belief was non-violence, every morning they chanted the ‘vipraksayam’ or “May Brahmins cease to be”, with the intention that the Vedic tradition should come to an end”.
Perhaps the Jain monks understood the import of Sri Maha Periyava’s explanation.
“Yes, Yes. Nowadays fire-sacrifice by Brahmins has more or less stopped altogether. Therefore there is no sacrifice of animals. So our master has instructed us not to say “vipraksayam”.
Sri Maha Periyava gave each one of them a peacock feather. Since the fan is made of feathers that the bird drops on its own accord, and is not forcefully plucked from it, they accepted it very gladly.
Perhaps Periyava had stored the peacock feathers in the mena (palanquin) knowing before-hand that some Jain monks were going to visit Him and that these fans could be given as a befitting gift of honour. Only Swaminatha, the Lord who rides the peacock knows the answer.
Source: Maha Periyava Darisana Anubhavangal