Sunday, May 20, 2012

Guru - Jagadguru Chandrashekarendra Saraswati Swamiji

Jagadguru Chandrasekharendra Saraswati Swamigal  (May 20, 1894 – January 8, 1994) or the Sage of Kanchi was the 68th Jagadguru in the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. He is usually referred to as Paramacharya or Mahaswami or Maha Periyavaal.

Jaya Jaya Shankara Hara Hara Shankara - by M.S. Subbalakshmi

 Rare Pictures of Kanchi Kamakoti Pettam Maha Periyavar (in 4 parts)

 Rare pictures of Maha Periyavar - Part 1
Maha Periyavaal was born on 20 May 1894, under Anuradha star according to the Hindu calendar, into a Kannadiga Smartha Hoysala Karnataka Brahmin family in Viluppuram, South Arcot District, Tamil Nadu as Swaminatha. He was the second son of Subramanya Sastri, a District Education Officer. The child was named Swaminatha, after the family deity, Lord Swaminatha of Swamimalai, near Kumbakonam. Swaminatha began his early education at the Arcot American Mission High School at Tindivanam, where his father was working. He was an exceptional student and excelled in several subjects. In 1905, his parents performed his Upanayanam, a Vedic ceremony which qualifies a Brahmin boy to begin his Vedic studies under an accomplished teacher.
Rare pictures of Maha Periyavar - Part 2

During the childhood of the Acharya, his father consulted an astrologer who, upon studying the boy's horoscope, is said to have been so stunned that he prostrated himself before the boy exclaiming that "One day the whole world will fall at his feet".
Indeed the predictions came through and young Swaminathan was installed as the 68th head of the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam on February 13, 1907, the second day of the Tamil month of Masi, Prabhava year. He was given Sanyasa Asramam at the early age of 13 and was named Chandrasekharendra Saraswati. On May 9, 1907 his "Pattabishekam" as the 68th Peetathipathi of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam was performed at the Kumbakonam Math.
Rare pictures of Maha Periyavar part 3
Even though there was not enough property in the mutt to be administered, the court considering the benefit of the mutt, ordered the mutt to be administered under the “Guardian and Wards Act”. Sri C.H.Venkataramana Iyer, an illustrious personality from Kolinjivadi (Colinjivadi) village near Coimbatore was appointed as guardian by the court. The administration of the mutt was under guardianship from 1911 to May,1915.
Rare pictures of Maha Periyavar - Part 4
On the day of Sankara Jayanthi in the year 1915, Swamigal took over the administration of the mutt on the completion of his 21 st year. The administration of the mutt was taken over in name, but the actual work was taken care of by an agent, one Sri Pasupathi Iyer. He was an able administrator who volunteered to do the job without compensation and hailed from Thirupathiripuliyur. Sri Swamigal does not sign any document, instead Sri Mukham stamp is placed on documents.

An excerpt of how he became the 68th pontiff was best told by Acharya himself and published in Bhavan’s Journal, Bombay:
“ In the beginning of the year 1907, when I was studying in a Christian Mission School at Tindivanam, a town in South Arcot District, I heard one day that the Sankaracharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam who was amidst us in our town in the previous year, attained siddhi at Kalavai, a village about 10 miles from Arcot and 25 miles from Kanchipuram. Information was received that a maternal cousin of mine who, after some study in Rig Veda, had joined the camp of the Acharya offering his services to him, was installed on the Peetam.”
“He was the only son of the widowed and destitute sister of my mother and there was not a soul in the camp to console her. At this juncture, my father who was a supervisor of schools in the Tindivanam taluk, planned to proceed with his family to Kalavai, some 60 miles from Tindivanam, in his own bullock cart. But on account of an educational conference at Tiruchirapalli, he cancelled the programme.”
“My mother with myself and other children started to Kalavai to console her sister on her son assuming sannyas ashram. We traveled by rail to Kanchipuram, and halted at Sankaracharya mutt there. I had my ablutions at the Kumara-koshta Tirtha. A carriage of the Mutt had come there from Kalavai with persons to buy articles for the Maha Pooja on the 10th day after the passing away of the late Acharya Paramaguru. But one of them, a hereditary Maistri of the mutt, asked me to accompany him. A separate cart was engaged for the rest of the family to follow me.”
“During our journey, the maistri hinted to me that I might not return home and that the rest of my life might have to be spent in the mutt itself. At first I thought that my elder cousin having become the head of the mutt, it might have been his wish that I was to live with him. I was then only 13 years of age and so I wondered as to what use I might be to him in the institution.”
“But the maistri gradually began to clarify as miles rolled on, that the Acharya, my cousin in the poorvashram had fever which developed into delirium and that was why I was being separated from the family to be quickly taken to Kalavai. He told me that he was commissioned to go to Tindivanam and fetch me, but he was able to meet me at Kanchipuram itself. I was stunned by this unexpected turn of events. I lay in a kneeling posture in the cart itself, shocked as I was, repeating Rama Rama, the only spiritual prayer I knew, during the rest of the journey.”
“My mother and the other children came some time later only to find that instead of her mission of consoling her sister, she herself was placed in the state of having to be consoled by someone else.”
“My robes of sannyas were not the result of any renunciation on my part, nor had I the advantage of living under a Guru for any length of time. I was surrounded from the very first day of sannyas by all the comforts and responsibilities of a gorgeous court.”
Maha Periyavaal was the head of the Mutt for eighty-seven years. During this period, the Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam acquired new strength as an institution that propagated Śankara's teachings. The devotion, fervour, and intensity with which the Paramacharya practiced what Śankara had taught are considered to be unparalleled by his devotees. Throughout his life, the focus of his concern and activities was rejuvenating Veda adhyayana, the Dharma Sasthras, and the age-old tradition, which had suffered decline. "Veda rakshanam" was his very life breath, and he referred to this in most of his talks.
Remaining active throughout his life, the sage of Kanchi twice undertook pilgrimages on foot from Rameshwaram in the far south of the Indian peninsula to Benares in the North.
His long tenure as Pitadhipathi is considered by many to have been the Golden Era of the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham. He attained Mukti (died) on January 8, 1994 at the age of 100 and was succeeded by Jayendra Saraswati Swamigal.
Periyava stressed the importance of a Guru in one's life. He repeatedly preached about the importance of following the Dharmic path. His various discourses are available in a volume of books called 'Deivathin Kural' (Voice of the Divine) which have been compiled by R. Ganapathi, a devotee of Periyava, and published by vaanathi publications. These books are available both in Tamil and English.
Though Periyavaa did not get directly into politics, he was interested in the happenings. At Nellichery in Palakkad (Present Day Kerala), Rajaji and Mahatma Gandhi met the Acharya in a cow shed. It was a practice in the mutt to wear silk clothes. But Acharya was the first one to do away with them and shifted to Khadi robes at Rameshwaram. He requested his devotees to do away with foreign/ non natural clothes some time earlier at Trichy. The day India became free, he gave the Maithreem Bhajata song, which was later to be sung at the UN by M S Subbulakshmi.
Maithreem Bhajatha Akila Hrith Jeththreem
Serve with Friendship and Humility, which will conquer the Hearts of Everyone.
Atmavat Eva Paraan api pashyata
Look upon others similar to yourself.
Yuddham Tyajata
Renounce War
Spardhaam Tyajata
Renounce unnecessary Competition for Power
Tyajata Pareshwa akrama aakramanam
Give up Aggression on others' properties which is wrong
Jananee Prthivee Kaamadughaastey
Mother Earth is wide enough and ready to give us all we desire like a Kaamadenu
JanakO Deva: Sakala Dayaalu
God, Our Father, is very Compassionate to All
So, Restrain yourself
So, Donate your wealth to others
So, Be Kind to others
Oh People of the World
Sreyo Bhooyaath Sakala Janaanaam
May All People of this World be Happy and Prosperous.
The life of Chandrasekara Maha Periyavar

The Sage of Kanchi: Life of Sri Chandrashekarendra Saraswati (Part 1 of 7)

The Sage of Kanchi: Life of Sri Chandrashekarendra Saraswati (Part 2 of 7)

The Sage of Kanchi: Life of Sri Chandrashekarendra Saraswati (Part 3 of 7)

The Sage of Kanchi: Life of Sri Chandrashekarendra Saraswati (Part 4 of 7)

The Sage of Kanchi: Life of Sri Chandrashekarendra Saraswati (Part 5 of 7)

The Sage of Kanchi: Life of Sri Chandrashekarendra Saraswati (Part 6 of 7)

The Sage of Kanchi: Life of Sri Chandrashekarendra Saraswati (Part 7 of 7)

Speech by Maha Periyavar

Maha Periyavar about Lord Ganesha (popularly known as pillayar in the South of India)


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