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Finding a soul mate

After wandering for some time he came to live with an old comrade of his called Perunelli Krishnan Vaidyar. This gentleman was a very erudite scholar in Sanskrit. Apart from being a poet of great merit, he was a pioneer in the theatrical art of Kerala and spent most of his time in presenting his own plays on the stage. He attracted a large crowd of literary enthusiasts and art critics around him. Among them there was a great genius that had an insight into the secrets of art and sciences. He was an expert in the rhythmic art of drumming. In addition to this he was conversant with all the rules implied in the rhetorics of the Vedas. He could easily sketch people in their varied moods. He amused himself by giving demonstrations of all the possible variations in drumming. This unusual man is known by different names, but his original name was Ayyappan. Officially he was Shanmughadasan. Afterwards he was known as Kunjan Pillai. He was entrusted with the duty of a monitor by his master and so was called Chattampi. As this gentleman wandered like a recluse and lived a life of piety, he became popularly known as Chattampi Swami.

In many respects Nanu and Chattampi Swami were very different. NanuAsan was a man of restraint. He spoke only scantily. He was both gentle and dignified when he himself related to others. Being supersensitive to the suffering of his fellow men NanuAsan was seen most of the time somewhat in a sad mood like that of Jesus Christ. This is not to suggest that he did not know the uncontaminated bliss of the real self. Chattampi Swami was outgoing and was even provocative in his humor and argumentation. His critical acumen was very sharp and he did not allow pretenders to escape his Scathing criticism.' If NanuAsan abhorred erotics and the erotic company' of women, Chattampi Swami approached erotics with the 'masterly mind of a poetic genius and he made little difference of man and women in sharing his erudition and the wisdom born of his keen observation.

In spite of these differences NanuAsan and Chattampi Swami loved and respected each other as fellow-seekers.

In those days the frontiers of spiritual search were not very clearly defined. Astrology, medicine, alchemy and Yoga were considered as subjects of allied interest. Most Vedantins were also yogins. NanuAsan and Chattampi Swami also wanted to become proficient in Yoga. Chattampi Swami who then was an adept in Yoga gave his friend certain instructions on Yoga and Tantra.

Seeing NanuAsan's interest in Yoga, Chattampi Swami took him to his Yoga teacher who was in the service of the British Resident in Trivandrum. This Yogi was known as ThycattuAyyavu his exact name is not known. The fact that he is remembered today both as a Brahmin as a Pariah shows that he might have lived a life that was beyond the frontiers of caste prejudices. The relation of Chattampi Swami and Narayana Guru with ThycattuAyyavu is known to posterity only from the accounts of their devotees. It seems both of them loved and respected their teacher very much. Some people believed that Chattampi Swami initiated NanuAsan into an esoteric mantra. On that account they insist that Chattampi Swami should be recognized as the spiritual preceptor of Narayana Guru. Narayana Guru did not consider himself to be a disciple of any particular person. He once said that his Guru was God and Man. When the controversy on Narayana Guru's relationship with Chattampi Swami became heated up his own disciple Tampi (afterwards Nataraja Guru) asked him of the rumoredGuruhood of Chattampi Swami. He said' he had no objection to any one thinking of Chattampi Swami as his Guru. Chattampi Swami always looked upon NanuAsan as an equal and made no claim for himself as his Guru. Unfortunately devotees of both masters made an ugly issue of this. NanuAsan always referred to Chattampi Swami intimately as 'Chattampi' and described him to others as a "veritable Vyasa of our time." The Guru even qualified Chattampi Swami as a sat guru. Even though NanuAsan became proficient in Yogic discipline his thirst for illumination was not quenched by what he derived from his experience of Hatha yoga.

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