Major-General V.N.Parameswaran Pillai, O.B.E., retired as G.O.C. of the former Travancore State (Kerala) Forces. Even while in service he had a deeply religious bent of mind. After sannyasa diksha in 1958 he was known as Swami Paresananda.
In 1936, I was a Captain in the Travancore State Forces and an A.D.C. to His Highness the Maharaja. His Highness and the Royal Mother went to Madras from where they paid a visit to Sri Ramanasramam. When the Maharaja returned, I wondered whether it was not my bad luck that I was not taken as A.D.C. on that tour. In the meantime, one morning my friend Narayana Pillai, the Controller of Stationery told me that he was starting for Sri Ramanasramam the next day and asked whether I would like to join him. I was, however, not confident of getting permission from His Highness at such short notice.
A few hours later, when I reported for duty at the palace, His Highness said, ofhis own accord, that ifI wanted to visit Sri Ramanasramam I could go with Narayana. This sudden and unexpected permission made me speechless for a few seconds.
Narayana and I reached the Ashram. He being a frequent visitor, accommodation was no problem. We proceeded to the hall for Bhagavan’s darshan. The hall was almost full with visitors. As we entered, the scene brought to my memory, slokas from Dakshinamurthi Stotra. I felt as if Dakshinamurthi Himself was reclining on the couch.
Bhagavan noticed us, and after a while he sat up and beckoned me. We did not know whom he was summoning. I was a stranger, Narayana thought he was being called and he got up. Bhagavan signalled ‘No’. When I was pointed out and the Maharshi nodded assent, everybody was surprised and became curious about me. I was also surprised. After I postrated he beckoned me to come nearer and gazed at me for a while and smiled. Then he told his attendant, “Bring that book”. It was brought and the Maharshi presented it to me. It was a Malayalam translation of the Maharshi’s Tamil book the Gitasaram. I was overwhelmed with joy and devotion.
Then it was time for the midday meal. In the dining hall the Maharshi asked me to sit in the opposite row, just facing him. While eating, he enquired tenderly, how was the food? and so on. He also said, take enough rice, curry, eat slowly, etc. Throughout he was talking to me only. This made others wonder who this favoured one might be. I felt that it was all due to some merit accumulated in past lives. “Omniscient as he is, the Maharshi understands the heart of every one,” this belief of mine was confirmed.
Narayana was a regular visitor to the Ashram, but the Maharshi had never spoken to him. When I received such favours from him, it was natural for Narayana to feel that there was something lacking in him. The Maharshi could easily understand this. The same day he presented a book to Narayana also and made him feel gratified.