|The Divine Tests|
|History of Kodaikanal|
Ways of the Lord are inscrutable|
Source courtesy :http://www.guidedones.com/issues/snippets/learned10.htm
There was a great Bhaktha once who failed in the test and so could not get the certificate. Every day at noon, he used to look out for a needy guest whom he could feed lavishly. Thus he spent years, but one day, a frail old figure toddled into the house and sat for the dinner. He had crossed the century mark in years. The host had the steadiness of the vow, but he did not have the discrimination to derive the fruit of that vow. Like water poured on a dry sand bed, it did not add to its fertility. His heart still remained a dry sand-bed, though the waters of charity were poured on it every noon. The Viveka-less heart drank up the charity and he was the same strict ritualist. The decrepit guest was overwhelmed by hunger and so, as soon as the first dish was served, he swallowed a big morsel without reciting the name of God. Annoyed at this atheism, the host cursed the old man and pushed him out of doors to starve or beg in the hot sun.
That night, he had a dream where the Lord chastised him for the cruelty
of his behaviour. The Lord said, "For more than a hundred years, I nourished
that man lovingly as the apply of My eye, though he never once took a single
one of My many names. My dear man, could you not have suffered him for a few
minutes?" Thiruththondar in Tamilnadu showed how to stand up to this kind of
test when the Lord comes as a hungry guest to the house of the Bhaktha. The
feeling of surrender is the best for success in all such instances. Let His
will be done. He is every One. Sharanaagathi (seeking refuge for protection)
is like grass on the ground, unaffected by storms; egoism is the Palmyra
tree that sways in the wind but breaks when it blows suddenly in a gust. The
ways of the Lord are inscrutable; your duty is to submit to them faithfully,
thankfully, and joyfully.
Related Sai link: Kodaikanal ashram Info
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
Tamil Nadu, 624101
There is proof of settlement of prehistoric tribes at Kodaikanal by visible artifacts such as dolmens homes of great stone slabs. After the primitive tribes of Paliyans and Pulyans in 14th century, villagers of Palani foot hills fled into Kodai hills, to escape from the oppressive rule in the plains and also from the invasion of Tippu Sultan.
The first European to visit Kodaikanal was Lt. B.S. Ward a surveyor in the year 1821. His Head Quarters was Vellagavi village. There were many American missions in South Tamil Nadu. The foreigners could not bear the oppressive heat in Tamilnadu and they faced sickness from epidemic diseases and consequential deaths. They wanted neat and healthy natural surroundings near Madurai to rest and improve their health. They were happy to find from the report of Lt. B.S. Ward about the hills with wonderful climate and easy accessibility from Madurai & Periyakulam. Many English and American missionary people visited Kodaikanal through various routes. Notable among them are J C Wroughton -Sub Collector, C R Cotton Judge and Dr. Weight. Dr.Fane built two houses in 1845 in the lake road. More houses were built by British Govt. The American Missionaries moved in and built a lot of dwellings in the southern side which is still there and now called 'Sunny Side' and 'Shelton' . In the year 1860, the first church was built jointly by the Bishop. American Madurai Mission built the union church in 1895. From year 1860, there was all round improvement due to the visit of several dignitaries. Roman Catholics came, purchased a bungalow for Jesuit fathers, as rest house which is now called La Providence in upper shoal road. Governors of Madras Sir Charles Travelyon and Lord Napier visited in the years 1860 and 1871. One major JM Partridge of the army introduced Eucalyptus and wattle trees in the year 1867. Bier Leverage, collector of Madurai lived in Pamhar house after his retirement. Only through his tireless efforts and initiative the man-made Kodaikanal lake, the foremost attraction of the tourists was formed. He arranged boat rides in the lake. He planned and executed several approach roads to Kodaikanal. He introduced several foreign trees and vegetables such as Pine Forms and Pears. In the year 1872 Lt. Coaker cut a path along the ridge of steep south eastern side which commends a magnificant view of the plains below. The path was named after him as Coaker's Walk.
Travel to Hills in the Past
In the very early days, most of the visitors to the hills came from Madurai. They had to walk in the steep grueling way. The popular route was from Periakulam to Kistnamma Naik Tope by road through bullock carts & Rom Tope through the hills. One has to climb 2000 metres height by foot paths. This route was called Coolie Ghat Road.Those who were not able to walk can hire dhoolies (a sort of palanquins) carried by hirers. Some went up by riding ponies. There were many risks. Some dacoits from Kalla tribes came but they soon vanished after seeing the high level of protection. Also there were interruptions by appearance of wild beasts like panthers, elephants, bisons etc. Loud noises were made to chase them away.
In the year 1875 Southern Railways extended train route from Chennai to Madurai and Tuticorin. Due to this facility many tourists from far off places visited. They alight at Kodairoad Station and travel by bullock up to Tope and then ascend the climbs.The government deputed Engineer Major Law to study and submit a plan to build a moterable road to the hills. After a long delay, the road was completed in 1914 and at last allowed for traffic in 1916. Public buses began to ply in the road from 1916.