Janardanan Shares Interesting Info On C R Narayanaswamy’s Trip To Kumbh Mela In Late 70s

C.R.Narayanaswamy (CRN) used to live in ‘Thulasi Bhavanam’, Lokamanya Street (East) in R.S.Puram at Coimbatore. He was pretty close to the MCS Transport family. His travel to the Kumbh Mela in the year 1977 has been chronicled in a vivid manner. The gentleman has left behind a detailed note on his travels and also his family. Kudos to Janardanan of the MCS family for preserving these wonderful details.
CRN belongs to the Bharadwaja Gothram and the family hailed from T.Narsipur. He was born to Achuthananda Ramaswamy and Seethammal in 1907 at S.M.Palayam near Somanur in Palladam Taluk. The family was known as the ‘Cheyyur’ family. CRN was a social person and had many social contacts in the city. He was deeply devoted and attached to the Sringeri Mutt and the Acharyas of the Mutt. The Kumbh Mela took place in 1977 and CRN left by the G.T Express from Coimbatore. He had been seen off by his sons Gopalakrishna and Nagarajan on 18/1/1977. On reaching Jabbalpore, he took a bath in River Narmada for it was the custom. CRN was hosted by his relative Mrs.Raju at Jabbalpore She had been the Principal of a college those days.
The trains had been running full and CRN had got a seat with great difficulty. He found his lack of inability to speak Hindi to be an issue. His loud Tamil attracted one Tamil gentleman.
CRN visited his house for rest and took a long walk with the Tamil Mudaliar to the Ganga. The Coimbatorean offered his ‘Pithru Tharpanam’ (prayers and offerings to the ancestors). The Sankaracharyas of Sringeri, Puri and Dwaraka had their holy baths at the same place. Prayag (confluence) was the union of Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswathi. It had become Allahabad during the times of the Sultans. A number of Pandas had been present on the spot and gave prasadams to their devotees. The Municipality had provided timber for burning as the weather had been very cold. Towers had been fixed on the banks of the Ganga and cops were posted. They had known all the languages and a button was placed below the towers. One could press it and seek help. The baths were taken only on a siren call. He had seen all types of Sadhus and had recited the names of Rama and Eswara 108 times. The two of them returned to Naini after falling down several times and getting hurt. It had been really difficult. CRN had written letters to his sons and dropped the letters in the post box. A visit was made to ‘Anand Bhavan’ the family home of the Nehru family. He worshipped at the ‘Bharadwaja Ashram’ too.
CRN moved over to Varanasi by train and reached Radhakrishna Sastriar’s residence near the Hanuman ghat. He had performed a number of religious rites as per his advice in Varanasi and Gaya. The Maharaja of Kasi and Rajeswar Dhravid (a scholar) had accorded a reception to the Acharyas of Sringeri at the time of the Kumbh Mela.
The Acharyas, Abhinava Vidhya Theertha Swamigal and Bharathi Teertha Swamigal had performed the Kumbabishekham to the Annapoorneshwari Temple at Varanasi. CRN had sought their blessings in Varanasi.
He had visited the Kasi Viswanatha, Panchamukha Ganapathy and also attended the night pooja at Sharadha Peetam in the Kasi Maharaja’s Palace. CRN had visited all the ghats in Varanasi and gave ‘Pithru Tharpanam’ to his ancestors in each one of them. He had taken 14 hours to do so. He attended the Annapoorneshwari Temple Kumbabishekham and was moved on seeing the deity decked in gem studded jewellery.
A Shiva linga was seen in a coconut which was broken open by the Sankaracharya. He attended the Chandra Mouleswara Pooja which was performed by the Acharyas.
The Coimbatorean met Rajeswar Dhravid, founder of the Sangalveda Vidyalaya. Later on, he had travelled to Gaya with Rig Veda Ganapaty Subramania Sastry. He had to take a bath in the Phalguni river and also visit the Vishnu Temple in Gaya. CRN paid homage to the 16 Gayavalis. The priest had explained all the rituals in detail. He was happy that he had pleased his forefathers. He had cried while rendering the prayers for his mother and the Gayawalis had consoled him. Thereafter he had done the Athma Pinda ritual too before visiting Rama Mandir, Esanya Peetam, Easanya Vishnu, Kamalasana, Akashaya Vata, Sringeri Sankara Mutt, Mangala Gowri, Brahma Kapalam and other places of importance. Later he came to Varanasi and did the Ganga pooja with 108 Ritwicks. He had met the Acharyas of Sringeri. CRN had got Mantropadesam in Varanasi.
CRN had attended a Vidwat Sadas and about 1001 people had attended the function. He had written detailed letters about his experiences to his sons and purchased Kasi towels, a chain for his grand daughter Sumithra along with sarees for his daughters in law. CRN had taken his food in the residence of Radhakrishna Sastriar itself.
He had also attended the Ardha Jama Pooja while also visiting a number of temples – Kasi Visalakshi, Dondi Vinayagar, Bindu Madhava, Dhandapani, Durga Mandir etc., A visit had been made to Vidya Kasi, Saranath and also the famous Banares Hindu University founded by Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya. He visited the Kumbakonam Mutt at the Hanuman ghat before moving over to Delhi.
The Coimbatorean stayed in the residence of Janakpuri Subramaniam, a classmate of his son Nagarajan at Karol Bagh. The gentleman had been an officer at the Food Corporation of India. CRN visited the Parliament, Supreme Court, India Gate, Gandhi Samadhi, Red Fort at Delhi.
He had also met the Secretary of Tamil Sangam, Ranganathan at Ramakrishnapuram. A meeting took place with H.G.Ramana, the Chief Personnel Executive Officer – Lokh Sabha at his house. CRN made a visit to the Qutab Minar, Birla Mandir, Delhi Market and the Subramania Temple in Ramakrishnapuram. He visited Rishikesh on the 13th of February.
The gentleman had visited the Sivananda Ashram, Sankara Mutt and important places in Rishikesh. He had also taken a bath in the River Ganga and took a bit of it for his home. C.R.Narayanaswamy returned to Delhi, spent a few days in the city before returning to Coimbatore on 18/2/1977.
He was received by his friends S.A.K.Chinnathambi Chettiar (MCS Bus Service), A.M.Sivappa and other friends in the Railway Station at Coimbatore. Both his sons – Gopalakrishnan and Nagarajan had been present.
CRN performed a Ganga Pooja at his house on his return. He mentions that all the learned Pandits were given food and Dakshanai to their satisfaction.
C.R.Narayanaswamy Iyer has also added photocopies of the connected paper clippings to his chronicle. We must understand that he was 70 years of age by the time he took this trip and had chronicled it much later. He states that ‘Middle Age begins at 80 years’.
According to C.R.Narayanaswamy ‘Self Perception causes new energies to be born in the brain and that keeps the mind young’.
—Rajesh Govindarajulu

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