news Friday, July 11, 2014 - 05:30
Anisha Sheth | The News Minute | July 11, 2014 | 5.04 pm IST After retirement, an IAS officer of the Karnataka cadre has discarded crisply ironed shirts for a saffron garb, rudraksh mala, Shaivite naama, and talks about “continuing the aspirations of his previous birth in his current life”. Former Principal Secretary of Karnataka I R Perumal has now changed his name to Sivayogi Perumal Swami. Perumal is president of the Injimedu Cherai Udaiar Charity Trust, which is constructing a temple dedicated to Shiva atop a hillock in Thiruvannamalai district in Tamil Nadu. Possibly, his story might not have been as remarkable were he not a retired IAS officer. Permual ended his career in the civil services in 2012. “I was a free man on August 1,” he told The News Minute. Now, he is building a temple dedicated to Shiva, to whom, he claims he owes everything in life. In 2011, a Kannada news channel telecast a story on I R Perumal, then Principal Secretary for Sports and Youth Services. In it, the officer said he owed his success as an IAS officer to the Shivalinga atop the Injimedu hillock. Perumal told The News Minute that there was an “ancient” Shivalinga which had existed atop the hillock “since time immemorial”, and that nobody knew who had installed it. Then, he went on to recount the history of the original Injimedu village which had been destroyed in a war and rock edicts supposedly found near the Shivalinga. After this war, the Shivalinga lay abandoned for 500 years, with no one to offer any pooja, Perumal said.  Enter Perumal’s father. Perumal said that his father was a farmer and that he had some land which he lost. They lived near the base of the hillock. One day, his father met a sanyasi who was living near the base of the hillock. The sanyasi told Permual’s father that he would get his land back if he worshipped the Shivalinga. Perumal’s father was also told that if he lit the lamp top the hillock every year on the day of a particular festival, he would be blessed with a son who would one day renovate the old temple and construct a new one. Perumal’s father did get his land back and carried out the sanyasi’s instructions. Perumal says that he believes in the power of the Shivalinga completely. As a child, he saw goddess Parvati with a trishul in her hand and a crown on her head along with seven other goddesses “going round and round” on the hillock. “I told my father about this, and he said that I was the one who was born to renovate the temple.” Perumal said. Asked about his duties as an IAS officer, Permual said: “I served humanity (as an IAS officer). Now I can live for the spiritual side.” He claimed that he had ensured that five lakh people got ration cards because of his efforts. “The rules are such, very rigid, so I got amendments for the poor. The deserving people were ignored. I took strong steps and (they were given ration cards).” He said that everywhere he went, he did good. “God’s gift is with me. Whichever department I worked in, became a profitable department.” Now, in the last two years since he retired, Perumal has collected funds for the temple and says that he has had a gopura built over the idol, steps to the hillock have been laid and 33 other deities had been installed. He said that the trust he is heading has been registered under the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act. He said that currently, 100 people came to the temple everyday and that he eventually planned to construct hotels and dormitories for devotees, and even start an “anna daana” programme. Asked if such extensive infrastructure was needed for just 100 devotees, Perumal said: “When Dharmasthala was started 400 years ago, there was nothing there. Unless you provide facilities, people will not go. See how it is today. People have faith, crowds will start coming.” To a question on whether people were contributing to the construction of the temple, Perumal said: “Hindus and Muslims contribute 3 percent (of their incomes to religious activities) per annum. Hindus give (offerings) to many temples and gods, so it gets divided. For our temple (to receive monetary contributions) it will take time,” he said, but very cheerfully.

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