Bharathiayar Stories
Madurai Project. Article in Tamil
Translation: Veeraswamy Krishnaraj
The Peacock tells the Karthapa Swamigal a story.

1. The Peacock: "Dear Rasika Māmā (uncle). Hear my story. A donkey named Bakthivistharan lived in the house of a dhobi (washerman)in the city of Ramanagaram on the banks of the Ganges River. The donkey is a pacific animal, always obedient to its mother and everyone else. When children stone it, it would not run away braying but stay put, being the Avatar of patience.

2. While the donkey was grazing on the grass under a tree on the banks of the Ganges River, it was listening to the conversation attentively between the two crows on the tree.

3. One crow said, "In Prayag, where Ganges and Yamuna join, any person committing suicide will certainly attain in the next birth a life form he thought of at that moment of his death. Did you ever hear of this piece of information?"

4. The second crow answered, "Who told you this?"

5. The first crow said, "I am not allowed to tell you who said this to me. It is a secret but a truth. I know it for sure."

6. The second crow insisted, "Who did tell you this?"

7. The first crow replied, "Hey, you a faithless bird! You will never receive final bliss. You are asking me who told this. My Guru told me. There is no Jñāni like him even in Brahmaloka. Once Brahmadeva had doubts about his creative portfolio. He sent Narada to bring his Guru to him and got his doubt clarified and removed."

8. Hearing this, the second crow laughed and took a flight away from there. Having listened to the conversation, the donkey left the place and walked night and day to reach "Trivoni Sangamam," the site where Ganges and Yamuna join.

9. At the point of confluence, thinking as follows, died of immersion. "I have no happiness in North India. My next birth should be in South India. I must be a happy Sannyasi with no family responsibility, enjoying carefree peregrinations, and eating free food from people. But my donkey persona should not change. By external appearance, I must be a Sannyasi and enjoy all the hospitality, though, in my mind, I should always hold in my memory,' I am a donkey.'

10. The donkey died with these thoughts and took birth in south India in the next birth as a baby boy to a good family. The parents christened him "Muthuswamy." Muthuswamy had in his mind that he was a donkey.

11. There was no memory of the past life. That he was unlike others, and he was a donkey inside, did not leave his mind.

12. He took to the life of a Sannyasi before he turned 16, wore ochre clothes, and went from place to place begging for food. He relinquished his natal name Muthuswamy and christened himself Karthapa Swamigal. Karthapam in Sanskrit means donkey.

13. He knew Tamil and Sanskrit and worshipped Vayiravar. He advanced the theory and wrote a book saying all world languages came from Sanskrit and sprouted from Tamil by giving proof. He wrote in his book that in Baratha country, Jātis counted only 4000 and dwindled down with no justice from a high of 40,000 Jātis and that the old tradition should be revived.

14. He looked at the dictionary, gathered all the deities' names, called them the names of his Ishta Devata Vayirava Mūrthy, and established Nāmavaḷi (a list of deities names).

15. He established a party on the premise that all Brahmin boys are Sudras until they receive the sacred thread, that his relatives should not eat food within the boy's eyesight and that it is improper conduct against established Brahmin tradition. After nursing her infant, a mother should take a cleansing bath (because they are Sudras before Upanayanam. If the mother touches vessels before a bath, she and her family will go to Rauravathi hell.

16. Karthapa Swamigal accumulated money and had a host of devotee-pupils. He built a Matam and named it "Forty-Thousand-Jātibedha-Drāvida-Vaiyirava-Kartthapa-Brahmana-Child- Bahishkāra- Mahā-Matam." A snake girl by the name of Rojapū came to the Matam.