The Sage of Kanchi

There were many men and women gathered around the Sage of Kanchi, and I, too, went closer to him. He waved his hand at me, beckoning me to come closer. As I reached him, I prostrated at his feet, and he gave me a handful of golden coins. He leaned close to my face and said, speaking just above a whisper, “Keep it, for the charity you do.”

Suddenly, I opened my eyes. Slowly, I realized it had all been a dream. I was still home, in my bed, at my house in Chennai. What a wonder! The Sage of Kanchi was in my dream. I took it as a sign that I must visit him, but at the time, even the idea of making the journey made me uneasy. I can’t worship peacefully in a crowd. I never could. And I didn’t like to go to the Kanchi Cottage for Monks for that specific reason. It was always filled to the brim, occupied by the wealthy members of the community. I couldn’t worship for the sake of worship. It is not my way. Therefore, my situation was troublesome.

(44) Sage of Kanchi

I wanted to help people. I saw hundreds of thousands of tribal people all over South India, people the government had failed. Although there were many schemes to help them, the state officials were more of a bother than an aid. I’ve learned over the course of my life that only the saints can shower true grace. And every one I met, I asked them to shed it on those people. 

I visualized the graceful face of the Sage of Kanchi, but I could not bring myself to make the trip to meet him in person. Once, I stayed three nights in the Sri Ekambareswarar Temple and enjoyed the astral presence of the Sage, learning many of his mystic secrets. I learned later that he was none other than Kanchi Siddha Sivasami. To this day, when I pass his cottage, I mentally worship at his sacred feet.

After some time, the Sage of Kanchi once again found his way into my dreams. 

“Will you come?” he asked. “I am going to attain Samadhi.” I thought it was just my mind blabbering, some nonsense concocted by my subconscious. I was by no means significant. The sage would never call on me. So, I ignored the dream.  I soon regretted my ignorance.

The Sage of Kanchi attained Samadhi, and the whole world seemed to storm his cottage to see the saint’s face one final time. In spite of his calling and blessing me with golden coins twice, I did not go to see him. Maybe I should go, I thought to myself, knowing I would indeed never have the chance again. But the cottage would be swarmed with people. I was so reluctant to make the journey.

I decided to meditate on him. 

“Who are you?” I asked. “Why did you call on me? If it is true that you are a siddha, and I am a philanthropist, you must come to me this very minute, even if your physical body no longer can.”

My astral body visited the cottage of the sage, where I found him seated in a chair, asleep. He wore glasses and many garlands around his neck. I looked at him sharply.

 “Open your eyes and look at this sinner who did not honor your invitation,” I thought. “If you are a true siddha, show me your true self.”

Suddenly, his eyes flew open. Then, he did just as I asked-he showed me his true self.

 “You will build my Samadhi shrine with your own hands,” he said in a deep, commanding voice. I was stunned. 

“Swami, are you the one who showered the City of Kanchi with grace?” I asked. He nodded, without a word. I admit I was embarrassed about being ignorant of this fact. After a moment, I found my voice again.

 “Fine,” I said, more to myself than to him. “Let’s finish the work I was supposed to do.”  As I turned to leave the cottage, a great abyss appeared in front of its entrance. There was no one around me except Siddha Boga, who came and stood quietly by my side.

“Oh,” he said, clearly pleased. “You have finally come.”

On that note, I returned from my meditation.