The Literary Relationship of Ku Natesa Gounder And C S Kannayiram Mudaliar

Ku.Natesa Gounder was a wonderful teacher. This learned Tamil scholar had served the City Municipal High School and later the Perur Tamil College. He has contributed much towards Tamil literature. Natesa Gounder was good with Tamil, English and Sanskrit. He believed in loving all languages. He had a number of good friends and students. His son Dr.N.Muthukumarswamy is a well known happy Tamil scholar. He is associated with a number of Tamil projects.
Scholar C.S.Kannayiram Mudaliar happens to be husband of Mangayarkarasi, the foster daughter of Sivakavimani C.K.Subramania Mudaliar. The family continues to live in Vysial Street. The autobiography of C.K.Subramania Mudaliar (1878 – 1961) is available due to the interest and efforts of Mangayarkarasi Kannayiram. It was on the suggestion of his wife that CSK (C.S.Kannayiram Mudaliar) composed Mummanimalai. This Government servant was advised to publish the same by his friends. He decided to publish it, but he wanted a big scholar to go through it before getting it printed. On getting reminded of Ku.Natesa Gounder, CSK decided to approach him for his inputs. He had just seen him a few times and the scholar had been serving in the Thavithiru Santhalinga Adigalar Tamil Kalluri (Perur Tamil College).
The author CSK took the manuscript (Mummanimalai) and approached Natesa Gounder at his residence. He had known C.K.Subramania Mudaliar and therefore it made it convenient to visit him. Natesa Gounder appreciated the work of CSK and this led to its publication. The senior scholar gave two of his books to CSK on that day. CSK was invited to attend classes conducted by Ku.Natesa Gounder. These classes took place in a school and about 20 students attended the class on Meenakshi Amman Pillai Tamil. CSK attended those classes and took down the notes.
The sessions got over and a new subject came up. However none of the students turned up that day. CSK suggested that Ku.Natesa Gounder could teach him from his residence itself. He began visiting Natesa Gounder in his house on successive Sundays. This gave him the oppourtunity to learn a lot over time. The Prabandhams of Kumara Gurupara Munivar were learnt one after the other. CSK began to visit Ku.Natesa Gounder on all the Government holidays too. Natesa Gounder made CSK attend literary events and made him participate in a number of lectures too. He motivated CSK in a big way and was kind enough to also give him some good English books for reading. Both of them went on a number pilgrimages. They covered a number of Thevara Sthalams (Places were the famous devotees of Lord Shiva had composed songs in his praise). A few other students would also join them on those trips. In spite of being a lot older, Natesa Gounder would move along like a close friend. He used to talk about a number of interesting subjects even without a reference book on hand.
At one point Ku.Natesa Gounder advised C.S.Kannayiram to seek a Gnanaguru (Spiritual Mentor). This would lead a person to get ‘Shivadeeksha’ and also ‘Athmartha Pooja’ everyday. CSK got this done with Thavathiru Gnanasambanda Paramachariar. This became a turning point in his life. It had happened due to the influence of Kaviyarasu Ku.Natesa Gounder. CSK started going through a number of big books thereafter. They were connected to the world of Saiva Siddhanta. This led to take a lot of interest in religion and spirituality.
One day Ku.Natesa Gounder remarked that C.S.Kannaiyram had acquired a lot of knowledge and that he could read and assimilate on his own. However he was free to approach if he felt the need to do so. This was with regard to literary works. Ku.Natesa Gounder began Thiruvasagan classes from 4/10/1964. CSK took down a lot of notes and showed it to Natesa Gounder. He glanced through the notes and suggested that CSK leave a bit of space in between the notes in order to put up additional points on a later day.
The Government servant C.S.Kannayiram got transferred and Ku.Natesa Gounder just paused his classes. He told the rest of students to wait until the return of Kannayiram. The protégé began to attend classes on Sundays later. The classes continued until 25/10/1970. C.S.Kannayiram continued to write and this happened during his out of town posting periods too.
It was the 31st of December 1970 and C.S.Kannayiram Mudaliar was working in Dharapuram. He just kept writing late into the night and it became 1:15 AM. The new year 1971 had begun by then ! C.S.Kannayiram Mudaliar felt happy that he had done something good on the New Year and that too at the very beginning. His notes were in ten parts. Kannayiram Mudaliar took it to Ku.Natesa Gounder and placed them in front of him. He put flowers on them in the presence of Ku.Natesa Gounder. The senior scholar got overjoyed and gave them back to C.S.Kannayiram Mudaliar. The families of Ku.Natesa Gounder and C.S.Kannayiram Mudaliar continue to cherish this mentor – protégé relationship. They never get tired of repeating the stories connected with the two of them.
We must remember that Ku.Natesa Gounder had the opportunity to learn under the Kaumara Mutt Swamigal and this had happened because of his involvement with the Suddha Sanmarga Sangam. Ku.Natesa Gounder had trained under his uncle Vellingiri in his tailoring outfit. He would make eyelets (kaja) for the clothes stitched there. A number of people used to discuss subjects with Vellingiri. A moment came when it was felt that Ku.Natesa Gounder, the boy had over stepped while interpreting a work. However Tamil scholar Vaiyapuri Pillai had felt that the boy was right. He took him up and the rest is history. Ku.Natesa Gounder was a great learner and grew up to become a noteworthy scholar. The Perur and Kaumara Mutts in the Coimbatore region had done much for Tamil and they continue to do so. Ku.Natesa Gounder has been presented to the world due to the environment created by these Mutts those days.
Scholars like Ku.Natesa Gounder in turn nurtured a number of people of eminence. Let us celebrate the special literary relationship between Ku.Natesa Gounder and C.S.Kannayiram Mudaliar.
—Rajesh Govindarajulu

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