Monday, October 30, 2006

Introduction to Kanchi Mahasvami

Hare Krishna Dear Friends,

At intervals of few centuries Bharatha Varsha has seen flashes of astounding phenomenon of vision and wisdom guiding people to follow the Vedic Dharma. One such great visionary was Pujyasri Chandrashekara Saraswathi Mahasvami of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham.

The Mahasvami, more popularly known as Kanchi Paramacharya, Maha Periyaval, Periya Periyaval or Sage of Kanchi reminds one of the following verse from Bhagavatpada’s Vivekachudamani:

shanto mahanto nivasanti santo
vasantavat lokahitam charantaha
teernaswayam bhimabhavarnavam
janan ahetunanyapi tarayantaha

“There exist great noble ones who always dwell in calm. Like the spring season (which fills the entire world with happiness), they move about effecting what is beneficial to the world (people). Having themselves crossed the dreadful ocean of samsara, they, without any personal desires (expectation) cause others too to cross over.”

Kanchipuram, one of the seven Mokshapuris (the others are Ayodhya, Mathura, Haridwar, Kashi, Ujjain and Dwaraka) of India has been a great center of learning since time immemorial. Here Sankara installed a Srichakra before the deity Kamakshi, ascended the “Sarvajna Peetha” and established a Mutt, the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham (friends, there can be some arguments against the above mentioned statement. But as seekers, let us never get carried away or dwell in such disputes).

In the lineage of the great luminaries like Sri Abhinava Sankara and Sri Bhodendra Saraswathi (one of the trinities of Dakshina Sampradaya Bhajans, the other two are Sri Sridhara Ayyaval and Sri Marathanallur Sadguru Svami) who adored the Mutt, came Pujyasri Chandrashekara Saraswathi (1894-1994), the 68th Sankaracharya of the ancient and illustrious Mutt.

The Sage of Kanchi radiated divinity in speech, in silence, in his penetrating glance and in his serene smiles. The Acharya spoke not only to the learned but to the innocent with equal kindness. He asked people to adhere to their respective faith and avoid wavering and shifting. This was perhaps his credential for being a Jagadguru.

Mahasvami was spiritually supreme and intellectually preeminent. He was verily an Akshaya Paatra (inexhaustible reservoir) of the spiritual wisdom of India dating back to the beginning of Time and of Vedic Dharma. So was he with regard to modern knowledge, current affairs and contemporary men and matters. His prodigious memory is a matter of great wonder for all. The Jivanmuktha spoke in the accent of the Vedic seers, precise, profound and authentic words - that found a permanent lodgment in the hearts of his listeners. Like Bhagavatpada, Mahasvami has extensively traveled on foot throughout the country. On various occasions, the Acharya addressed the common mass on diverse aspects of our Dharma, on our ancient culture, our arts and on a variety of other subjects. The lectures delivered decades ago in Tamil by His Holiness was compiled and published in Tamil as “Deivattin Kural” (can be translated as Voice of God) by his ardent disciple Ra.Ganapathy. It runs into many volumes covering nearly 10,000 pages!!!

But being in Tamil, these volumes of precious contents remains a closed book for tens of thousands of people like me, who do not know to read Tamil. Thanks to the arduous efforts of few devotees, the first two volumes of the book have been translated into English and published as the book “HINDU DHARMA – The Universal way of Life” thus throwing open a treasure house of the upanyasa of the great Acharya. This being the centenary year of the Acharya’s ascent to the Kamakoti Peetham (the Acharya was installed as the Head of the Mutt in the year 1907), there has been words floating around that the rest of the volumes will be translated to English and published soon (I don’t know if that has been done yet).

The Paramaguru takes all branches of knowledge in his stride, linguistics, astronomy, history, physics…He combines the ancient wisdom with modern concepts like those of time and space and weaves together Karma, Bhakti, Yoga and Jnana. The master of masters was like a lambent light who rekindled the spirit of the nation and brought about a renaissance in many spheres of religion and culture. He was the voice of eternal India and he taught mankind groping in the dark how to journey towards a higher destiny, how to win the higher freedom, Jivanmukti.

In the following email series, I will make an effort to present the life history of this rare phenomenon in brief, present some of his speeches and share some experiences of disciples in his presence. Some of the information that I present can be found in the website Let us all pray Mahasvami to bless us to be successful in this and all our endeavors.

Hari Om,


Blogger vedanta said...


Prostrations to all.

That Chandrasekharedra Saraswathi swamigal (popularly known as Mahaperiyavaal) was humility to the maximum as well as learned/broad enough to accept things is known by two things in his life - when Paul Brunton (who wrote a famous book regarding his spiritual journey through India) was directed by the Swami to meet the Jeevanmuktha of Ramana Maharshi. Rest is history and known well through various life histories of Ramana Maharshi.

Second is the self-respect Mahaperiyaval had towards Ramana Maharshi and vice-versa though Ramana Maharshi did not follow any aachaara (the sankara mutts emphasize on aachaaras on life). This is best known in the account whose link is

:-)Will let Neelakantan put more light on Mahaperiyavaal's life-history and spiritual stories.

Prostrations to all.


Let a moment not pass by without remembering God

7:26 PM  

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