Monday, September 25, 2006

Brief Life Sketch of Sri Chandrashekara Bharathi Mahasvami - 02

Hare Krishna,

Thanks for the insightful message from Hariram.

In the last posting we have seen in brief about the pre-sanyasa life of His Holiness. As indicated before, Narasimha was not made for worldly entanglements. He had an innate and spontaneous control over his mind and senses. He would be quite oblivious to the numerous distractions around him and never interested himself in anything but his studies and introspection. He was very reserved and loved solitude. He would rarely talk, and when he did, he would say only what was strictly necessary. His Holiness, Sri Sacchidananda Siva Abhinava Narasimha Bharathi Mahasvami (predecessor of Sri Chandrashekara Bharathi Mahasvami) who had been watching with earnest interest Narasimha’s progress in studies, keenness of intellect, simplicity of heart, sincerity of purpose, and nobility of character decided upon nominating him as his successor. He instructed one of his intimate devotees Brahmasri Kunigal Rama Shastri to go to Bangalore and bring Narasimha with him to Sringeri and also inform His Highness the Maharaja of Mysore about his intention to nominate Narasimha as his successor-designate to the Peetham.

Narasimha’s father agreed, though very reluctantly, to accede to the wishes of His Holiness. But the mother flatly declined to part with the only surviving son. Narasimha himself had to plead with his mother to obey His Holiness's behest on the main ground that he himself had no intention at all of becoming a householder and that, if he was a sanyasi staying as the Head of the Mutt at Sringeri, his mother might have the satisfaction of knowing about his welfare and of occasionally seeing him. These advantages could not be had if he was an ordinary sanyasi going about from place to place. Doesn’t this instance remind us of Sri Sankara Bhagavatpada’s pleading (the Crocodile episode) with his mother Aryambal to grant permission to take sanyasa? The mother thereupon had to agree and Brahmasri Rama Shastri started with Narasimha to Sringeri. But just the day previous to their reaching Sringeri, His Holiness Sri Sacchidananda Siva Abhinava Narasimha Bharathi Mahasvami attained Siddhi. After the ceremonies (Guru Aradhana and so forth) were all over, Narasimha was duly given sanyasa on the 7th of April 1912 under the name Sri Chandrashekara Bharathi Svami and installed as the 34th Head of the Sringeri Jagadguru Mutt.

Though his Holiness, the new Acharya, did not have the opportunity of being trained and guided by his predecessor, he had in abundance the blessings of his guru. With the grace of Sri Sharadambal and his guru, His Holiness could follow rigidly the footsteps of the previous Acharya and justify the latter's selection of himself as His successor. In addition to his daily duties (Sri Chandramoulishwara Puja, Sri Sharada Puja, Sri Chakra Aradhana and other Pujas), scriptural studies and spiritual practices, His Holiness directed his mind to the renovation of Sri Sharada Temple which had been commenced by his predecessor and to the erection of a Temple over the Samadhi of his Guru. The Kumbhabhishekams of both the shrines were duly performed with great pomp and splendor in the middle of 1916. After this was over, He set his mind on the practical realization of the Ultimate Reality and began to spend more and more time in contemplation and Tapas. In a very short time he reached such an exalted stage of Self-Realization as could not be reached even in several lives of intense effort.

At the earnest request of His disciples, He undertook early in 1924 a tour of Southern districts. While at Mysore, with the valuable help of the then Maharaja of Mysore, His Holiness had a magnificent stone structure raised at the site where his illustrious Guru was born and consecrated a beautiful marble image of His there. It needs no saying that he had a very hearty and enthusiastic welcome wherever he went.

The following illustration shows the universal love possessed by the Acharya. During the course of the tour, Mahasvami reached the place Devakote in Tamilnadu. The region and people there were suffering from severe drought. The organizers suggested moving further from the place and setting up the camp in the next village. His Holiness understood the plight of the people in Devakote. He immediately arranged for the chanting of Virataparva in Mahabharatha (Vyasa has encoded the Varuna Mantra in the Viratapartva). He himself started chanting the Varuna Mantra. In the same afternoon, dark clouds were seen in the sky and it started raining heavily. By evening, the lakes and ponds were full. The village folks were filled with immense happiness and they expressed there heartfelt thanks and devotion to His Holiness. Many have been the incidents in which the Acharya has playfully shown his yogic and supernormal powers without the least detriment to his Tapas. Being an adept in the Mantra Sastras and in the Agamas, many have been the suggestions and rectifications made by him in the field of individual worship or in the temples which he visited during the course of his tour. His memory was quite phenomenal and at times seemed uncanny. His Holiness’ love was universal and contagious. It disarmed hate of any sort and endeared him to all.

In addition to the Veda Patashala which had been started at his instance at Kaladi in Kerala (birth place of Sankara Bhagavatpada), he also inaugurated in 1927 a Vedanta Patashala for advanced students. Under his orders, a street of houses was also built for the accommodation of the teachers and students and the Temple servants and occasional visitors. On his way back to Sringeri towards the end of 1927, He founded a Patashala at Nanjangud also. During the tour, His Holiness not only showed himself a perfect master of learning and a great spiritual power but endeared himself to all people and they found in him a sincere friend and guide. His method of teaching was unique; from the simplest facts of ordinary life He would draw many a useful lesson. He did not believe in mass propaganda in matters of religion but stressed great emphasis on individual effort. The Jagadguru used to give the right upadesha to sincere devotees who approached him based on the spiritual maturity of the person.

His Holiness returned to Sringeri towards the end of 1927. He was greeted with a magnificent and devoted reception. He showered divine blessings on all those who came in contact with him.

We will see the final few annals of Acharya’s biography in the next posting.

Salutations to All.



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