The Sage Of Kanchi - Sri Chandrasekarendra Saraswathi Swamigal.
The Kanchi Sankaracharya math is one of the principal monastic instituitons founder by Adi Shankaracharya, for the safeguarding of the vedic dharma and propagation of the advaitic discipline.
The 68th Acharya in this line of acharyas is Sri Chandrasekarendra saraswati swamigal, fondly known as 'Periyaval' (the great one). This world renowned Acharya seems to be verily an incarnation of Adi Sankara, according to scholars and thinkers who have analyzed and compared the lives of the two.
The austere and simple life led by the ancient sages of Bharat, particularly the physical endurance displayed by them in the pursuit of Dharma and self-realization, has been a subject of marvel and soubt for those who have read and heard about the sages of yore, but when one behlods the benign and calm countenance of the sage of kanchi, he can easily realise that all he has heard and read about seers of the old is but a true account.
Periyava the 68th Acharya, The sage as is affectionately called by the fortunate millions, Yes, those are forunate people who have had the opportunity to have his loving grace and see him in person. He was a true saint who lived in the 20th century even though he was the head of a great institution he never let go of his sanyasa dharma and was a beacon for the common man to lead a meaningful and dharmic life.
He was a living proof to the fact that dharmic and vedic life can still be practiced in mankind's worst times. He has been a guiding force for the transformation of millions of people.
We are all blessed to live in his era, it is solely due to him that the vedas and dharma are prevalant now, Just as Sri Krishna promised in Gita, that he will arrive when Dharma declines to its sublime low, Our great periyava had taken avatar just when our vedas and Dharma started to die and he has revived the vedas and dharma, we human kind remain ever indebted to him.
The Acharya belongs to the Hoysala Bhramin Sect. The hoysala bhramin sect migration started in the third decade of the 13th century when the hoysala rulers came to maintain a hold on kannanur (near srirangam).
Acharyas purvashrama name was Swaminathan and was the second son to Ganapathy Shastry and Mahalaxmi Ammal. He was born on 20 May 1894, at the age of eigth swaminathan was sent to , then in second form he got admitted to Arcot American Mission School.
In 1905 Upanayanam was performed. Swaminathan from an very age showed great signs of a budding genuis and a compasionate soul.
According to one incident when swaminathan was in 3rd form, one of the classmates had come late to class and the teacher punished him by beating on his legs, then he was asked to stand on the bench, for which swaminathan said "Teacher can i please stand on the bench instead of this boy, he is already suffering from pain in his legs" Such was the love and compassion he possessed even at a early age.
The 66th Acharya of kanchi was touring in the south Arcot district of Tamilnadu, occasionally Swaminathan's brother used to take him to visit the then Acharya. On one such occasion the Acharya noted the radiant brilliance of Swaminathan and thought of selecting the boy as the next head of the Math. The idea got strengthened during some subsequent visits, even swaminathan
was drawn very much towards the ascetic life.
At the Age of 13th swaminathan was appointed the 68th Acharya, before Swaminathan his cousin LakshmiKanthan was appointed 67th Acharya, but he died the 8th day after being appointed as the Acharya.
The acharya had education under various eminent scholars, but every teacher who taught him realized that they were mere instruments and the Acharya was already an embodiment of the great knowledge.
Acharya undertook his first vijaya yathra, it will be surprise to note that he embarked on Kasi yathra and covered every part of the country in the process by foot and preached dharma to the masses. This first Kasi Yathra took 21 Years to complete, yes 21 full years to complete on Kasi yathra. He undertook 3 such vijaya yathras.
This was the main catalyst behind what we now know as the bhakthi movement in our country, this resulted in all temples to be revived and people to follow dharmic life.
There are hundreds and thousands of good things he has performed without any pomp and glory. Every day there would be miracles happening where ever he went but he carefully showcased as if it was not through him but by peoples faith in the gods and goddesses.
He always wanted people to cultivate faith on the gods than any human being since one day all human beings will cease to exist but the temples and gods will always be there.
The Acharya lived a complete 100 Years and finally attained samathi on 8th January 1984. Even though he is not there physically he still radiates his presence through this divine grace on all the blessed people.
There is a fitting memorial built for the Acharya in Orikkai village next to Kanchipuram. Blessed are those who can take a squirrels part in this divine mission, imagine how proud and fortunate our grand children and great children will be when they can take pride in saying that my great ancestors were part of this great temple. Imagine how proud we will be if our ancestors had played a part in building the Great Tanjore temple or the Meenakshi amman temple.
There is a saying in tamil which goes like this "Thread radiates fragrance when a flower is tied with it", similarly in this world if we need to save ourselves from falling into the deep ravines of selfishness and unwanted influence then we all need to hold on the feet of a Guru. This Guru has taken avatar only to save us from the cluthes of the evil influence which Kali purports.
In Bagavath Geeta, Sri Krishna has said that whenever Dharma reaches its low, i will take avatar to restore it. In earlier days (Thretha Yuga etc) there were good people and there was Asuras, it was easy for the lord to destroy the Asuras and uphold Dharma, but in todays world there is no seperate good people and asuras.
The Asura bhuddi is within every human mind, so sometime the person is a very good person and very next moment he behaves like a asura. So the lord thought how to tackle this situation, he cannot kill someone when he behaves like a asura because next moment the same person behaves humanely.
So he threw away all the weapons and came down with a stick as a Guru, because since the demon is within our minds, only a guru can remove the ignorance from our minds and make us humans.
His teachings are compiled into a series of booklets collectively called the Voice of God "Deivathin Kural", the problem with hinduism is that there is no one book which can be said to describe hinduism, this was fulfilled with the compilation of our Acharyas discourses called "Deivathin Kural"
May the guru bestow his grace upon all of us and remove the ignorance from our hearts.
"Hara Hara Sankara, Jaya Jaya Sankara".