Thursday, September 28, 2006

Brief Life Sketch of Sri Chandrashekara Bharathi Mahasvami - 03

Hare Krishna,

Today we will see the last few years in the life of the Jivanmukta.

After his return to Sringeri, the Acharya preferred often to retire into himself and was lost in communion with the Absolute. The Acharya gave himself to intense Tapasya, oblivious to his surroundings even giving up food and water for days together. Some devotees of the Mutt could not understand this Samadhi state of His Holiness and thought that his mind was unbalanced and attended to cure him, and finally convinced themselves that the 'malady' was incurable. To the surprise of these people the Jagadguru would suddenly become normal and baffle them all.

When people like us get engrossed in reading a very interesting book or listening to some wonderful music, sometimes we tend to ignore the happenings around. When such can be the state of commoners like us, what would be the state of a person enjoying Brahmic Bliss always? Are we in anyway capable of understanding their exalted stated?

But the affairs of the Mutt required attention. Under inspiration from Sri Sharada, on the 22nd of May 1931, His Holiness installed a young boy by name Srinivasa as the junior Svami under the name Sri Abhinava Vidhyatheertha Svami (In some of our future postings, we will learn more about this Yogaratnam). He was a youth of remarkable intelligence and potential for spiritual eminence. The junior Svami soon became highly proficient in learning and took over the spiritual and secular affairs of the Mutt, giving considerable relief to the senior Acharya.

Seldom did the Acharya receive disciples while in retirement. On the few occasions that he did, for which hundreds would be waiting, a smile or a significant nod proved more efficacious and illuminating than a sermon. It would fill their souls with blessedness. By dint of introspection and tapasya, his body lost all suggestions of being material and appeared sublimated into spirit radiating a halo all around.

In 1938, the Acharya was prevailed upon to undertake an informal tour to Bangalore. While there, he consecrated a fine temple for Sri Sharada in the premises of the Sri Sankar Mutt there (friends in Bangalore, please try to visit the Mutt, if you haven’t gone there before. It is in Basavangudi area. No doubt you will have a divine experience there). From Bangalore, he proceeded to Kaladi where he stayed for about 10 months. Early in 1940 he returned to Sringeri.

Since then his retirement was so complete that it was only very rarely that disciples had the opportunity of seeing him and paying their respects to him in person. Enjoying the Supreme Bliss, he moved sometimes like an ignorant one, sometimes with royal magnificence, sometimes full of auspiciousness, sometimes unmoving like a python, sometimes evoking respect, sometimes getting derided and sometimes unknown to anybody , in short the Avadhutha state.

His innate aptitude for the peace of seclusion was well exemplified and very pronounced at the time of the Sahsra Chandi Homa and Ati Rudra Maha Yajna that were performed in 1953. Tens of thousands of disciples from all parts of our land had gathered at Sringeri to witness that rare event and had hopes of paying their respects to His Holiness in person. His Holiness was kind enough to acquaint himself with the details of the arrangements made but, in spite of the earnest efforts of many a disciples, he did not come out at all and left the junior Svami to attend to everything and preferred to stay in his room. If he had the slightest sense of egoism and had cared the slightest bit for personal fame, he would have come out then and granted at least a formal Darshana for just a few minutes and obtained pleasure from the devout homage of such a large gathering of disciples. But he did not. A few weeks after these functions, His Holiness came out and an ardent disciple found occasion to tell him: “Thousands of people were eagerly waiting for your Holiness’s Darshana. Your Holiness was continuously in their thoughts throughout all the days of the festival. Their disappointment was very keen at not being able to see you even from a distance and they all returned home with this regret rankling in their hearts”. His Holiness with his characteristic smile and in his characteristic way said: “So much the better. If I had but shown myself, their curiosity or longing, whatever it be, will have quite naturally and easily dismissed me from their thoughts from the next moment.”

After this, His Holiness resumed his normal routine and was also pleased to receive and bless the disciples quite freely as he used to do of old. It may be mentioned that Dr.Rajendra Prasad was one of those who were blessed. It would now appear that his return to normal life was deliberate in view of his impending disappearance from our midst. On Sunday the 26th of September 1954, His Holiness got up very early even before the break of the dawn, walked coolly into the stream of the river Tunga and shuffled off his mortal coil. It was reported that His Holinesses body was in an erect sitting posture with legs crossed as at the time of contemplation and was straightened out only in an attempt to restore respiration. There were no signs of drowning or suffocation and this baffled all the doctors. He was an enigma equally in death as in life to all who sought physical explanation for spiritual experiences. God descends on earth for our instruction and emancipation in a manifested form. One such emanation of the divine was His Holiness Jagadguru Sri Chandrasekhara Bharathi Mahasvami. His sacred body was duly interred in a site close to that of his beloved predecessor and an equally beautiful edifice was raised there.

The commentary written by His Holiness in Samskrutam on Bhagavatpada's Vivekachudamani is a monumental work. It is an epitome of His Holiness' erudition, experience, and deep knowledge of Advaita Vedanta. As mentioned by Hariram in one of his email, the commentary was started by Sri Sacchidananda Siva Abhinava Narasimha Bharathi Mahasvami. His Holiness Sri Chandrashekara Bharathi Mahasvami continued with the work. He did not write commentary to last few verses though. When requested by a close disciple to complete it, the Acharya replied that what ever has to be understood has been told and that would suffice.

Paying a glowing tribute to His Holiness, Sri Abhinava Vidyatheertha Mahasvami has said, "My Acharya was an eminent Tapasvin, a scrupulous observer of Shastric injuctions, a knower of the Atman and a rare Jivanmukta". The very remembrance of him will bring all round prosperity and blessedness.

Such is the brief outline of the outward life of the Saint. That His Holiness realized the Truth and lived it is sufficient to endow his sayings and the incidents connected with him with incalculable value to all. We will see in the next few emails the invaluable words which fell from the lips of the great Acharya.

Salutations to All.



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