Experiences with Maha Periyava: Values of Punyam and Paapam

It is well known that the MahaSwami, the Paramacharya of Kanchipuram would simply explain complex matters. Once He explained the karma theory to a foreigner.

When his turn came for the darshan of MahaSwami, the foreigner wanted clarification on some of his doubts on Hinduism. He pleaded to MahaSwami:

“Swamiji, I understand most of your concepts and value them. But I am not able to understand this karma theory: (i.e.) the same soul taking various births, paapa, punya being carried forward to the next births …. Can you please enlighten me on this aspect? Because most religions say that we get rewarded for what we do in this birth itself. If we are honest, God is pleased and blesses us with benefits and if we are dishonest, we get punished by Him in this birth itself”.

At this point, MahaSwami asked him if he could do Him a favour by collecting some statistical information within Kanchipuram using his vehicle. The guest readily agreed, at the same time wondering why his question was not answered spontaneously.

“Please, Swamiji”. “Go ahead. What is the service you want me to do now?”

Periyava said, “Please go around 10 maternity centres within Kanchipuram and collect the data of children born within the last 2 days such as the child’s gender, health condition, parent’s name, status, educational qualifications, and time of birth. 

Within a day, he was back with all the statistics in front of MahaSwami. There were 15 children born in 10 hospitals of which 8 were female and 7 male. Three had malnutrition defects, 2 were the first children of rich parents and were born in luxury hospitals while 4 were children of labourers who already had few children.

Sri Maha Periyava now looked at the gentleman and started asking him a few questions:

Do you think any of these children have been honest or dishonest within 2 days of their birth? Probably they could not even recognise their own mother. So, they could neither have earned paapa nor punya in this birth itself.

According to your concepts, all these children should be living identical lives to each other, but not so practically, as some are ill, some are healthy, some are born to rich parents, and some are born to poor parents. Remember all these children are born on the same day, same place with the same longitude and latitude. Their horoscopes will be almost identical. So, you can’t blame their horoscope for the differences in their status!

The gentleman was speechless!  

MahaSwami said “It is here that the concept of previous birth comes! All these children have taken their present birth according to their Karma and the resultant paapa, punya which they have accumulated from their previous births.”

Sanatana Dharma was smiling at the gentleman through Maha Periyava!

Compiled by Jagadguru Sri Maha Periyava – Kanchi Paramacharya (Pendyala Siddharth)