Friday, November 19, 2010

Guru Samarpanam - Issue # 6









Dear Readers!

I am happy to present the Guru Samarpanam – Issue # 6. The article dwells on the Biography, Teachings of Kanchi Paramacharya. The article also has the details of miracles experienced by devotees of Kanchi Paramacharya or often referred as Periyava. Though Periyava never boasted his spiritual power and declared himself an ordinary person. However whoever get in touch with Periyava felt his divine powers.

In this issue in the biographical column we will come to know how by the divine will young Swaminathan of just 13 years old became Sri Chandrasekarendra Saraswati Swamigal, 68th Pontiff (Peetathipathi) of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. You will be thrilled to read Acharya’s own narration about the circumstances that led to his Pontification. In the teachings of Periyava we can see the prescription for removing our sorrow which is aptly titled as antidote to sorrow. In that Periyava clearly says it is by our own deeds alone we experience joy and sorrow and he prescribe the remedies for our sufferings. In the Miracle section we will come to know how Periyava due to his divine power found the Adishtanam of the Sri Atma Bhodendral who was the 58th Peetathipathi of Kanchi Mutt and who was also the Guru to Sri Bhagavan Nama Bhodendral of Govindapuram at Vadavambalam near Vizhuppuram way back in 1926.

The objective of this article is by knowing something about Periyava we will know more about Vedic dharma which will enable us to improve our life. When we learn the values everything else follow suit including material benefits. Kanchi Periyava once told if we tread our path is dharmic way the material benefits will automatically come to us even if we don’t want that. Hence our purpose is only to follow the path laid down by Kanchi Paramacharya. Whoever got in touch with Mahaperiyava have benefited immensely by simply following just taking up one activity prescribed by Periyava like performing nitya karmas like Sandhyavandanam, reading of Vishnu Sahasranamam, performing Kalayana Utsavam at Tirumala etc., based on the request of the devotees and problems faced by them.

Let that divine power Kanchi Acharya guide us in our path also!

Happy Reading!

Warm Regards!

A.V. Devan
Chennai-19.11.2010




1. Biography

Renunciation – Pontification

In the first week of February in 1907, Sri Subramania Shastrigal’s house received a telegram from the Sri Mutt camp. The telegram requested Shastrigal to come to the mutt immediately along with Swaminathan. However Sri Subramania Shastrigal had gone to Tiruchi on official work at that time. Assuming that the Acharya must have summoned him for some important purpose, Sri Subramania Shastrigal’s friends arranged for Swaminathan to travel by steam engine to Kanchipuram along with his Mother. The Acharya was camped at Kalavai, which was 30 miles from Kanchipuram, the mutt officials without divulging any information to Swaminathan’s mother, immediately took Swaminathan in a separate horse cart and headed straight out to Kalavai. When the telegram was sent to Tindivanam, the Acharya Swamiji’s health was in decline. Believing that his time was limited, the Acharya had sent the summons to Tindivanam with the intention of installing Swaminathan as the next Acharya. However the 66th Acharya unexpectedly attained siddhi on Maha Krishna Ashtami in the Prabhava year, well before Swaminathan’s arrival. Before attaining siddhi he initiated an eighteen year old Brahmachari Sri Lakshmikanthan who was well versed in Rig Veda and was staying in the mutt serving him as his sishya. It is the tradition of the Kamakoti Acharya Parampara that they are Rig Vedics who take sannyas from the brahmacharya ashram itself.

The 67th Acharya adorned the Sri Kamakoti Peetam for seven days. Having served his Guru during his illness, he unexpectedly contracted the illness as well and attained siddhi after seven days. Before attaining siddhi, in accordance with his Guru’s wishes he took a mental sankalpa appointing young Swaminathan as the next Peetathipathi. Swaminathan was later formally initiated into the sanyas ashram. This holy event took place on the second Wednesday of the lunar month of Maasi in the Prabhava year (February 13, 1907) when he was just 13 years old. He took the name of Sri Chandrashekarendra Saraswathi and became the 68th Shankaracharya to grace the Sri Kamakoti Peetam. An incident happened before Swamigal took sanyas which was an unforgettable and heart warming in nature. It is not an ordinary task to take upon one self the discipline of an ascetic with restrictions on food, rigors of religious schedule, daily pujas and meditation at such an early age of 13. The mother and father could not bear to let ther most lovable son take up grueling lifestyle of a sannyasi nor could they bear to part him. On the other hand, the mutt’s administrators were persuading them to give their permission saying “When you have three other sons, what is your hesitation to give up one son for the sake of goodness of this world and to bless the devotees and followers of this mutt? They were perturbed and could not come to a conclusion immediately. At this time, Swaminathan prostrated to them and politely said “Please do not hesitate. I have the complete blessing of my Gurunathar and I will preserve this. Please give your permissions wholeheartedly”.

There is no doubt that his words melted his parents hearts and made them give their approval for the change but never saw him again. Swaminathan who was transformed to appear like Adi Sankara with shaved head, kamandalu, saffron robes and staff was never seen by his parents. Traditionally relatives keep their distances from sannyasis as they are required to give up all emotional attachments. We wonder if our Swamigal’s parents were proud of their son for taking up the task of eradicating the sorrows of the people of this world or if they were miserable that they cannot see their own son while the rest of the world praises and adores him. But one thing was certain. In future, whenever somebody came up to them and enquired about Swamigal, both of maintained silence.

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 Kancheepuram. 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 intalled 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 sanyas ashram. We travelled by rail to Kanchipuram and halted at Sankaracharya Mutt there. I had my ablutions at the Kumara-Kosa Thirtha. 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 Nama, the only spiritual prayer I knew, during the rest of the journey. My mother and 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 responsibilites of a gorgeous court.”

2. Voice of the God – Teachings of Mahaperiyava

"The Antidote to Sorrow”

If a person falls sick different persons give different reasons for the same. The Ayurvedha doctor would say it is due to imbalance of the elements in the body. The Allopathic doctor would give another reason. Contrary to all this, the psychologist who is prominent these days, would see some other reason. Those who practice cures through manthra would say that it is because of some offence has been caused to a particular god. The astrologer would say that it is due to a particular position of the planet. Those well versed in Dharma Shastras realize that the disease is on account of deeds of the previous births (Karma).

It is not only in regard to a disease but in regard to all kinds of joy and sorrow several reasons are mentioned. We get confused if several reasons are attributed to a simple thing. Are the planets the cause of our joys and sorrows? Or as the ‘manthra cure’ man says is it due to an offense caused to the family deity or the village deity? Is such a god to be propitiated suitably? When it is a question of sickness and disease are we not to go for medical treatment also? If, as some say, it is all the result of the deeds of the previous birth, is one to keep quiet thinking that it will get cured in its own time? Such confusion arise.


If we think deeply about the several reasons we may find that all of them are true. It is certain that the original cause is only the deeds of our previous birth. That alone brings about several results. Rain is only one but how many things result from it. The earth becomes wet, small insects start flying. The frogs start making noise. Some plants took more green and show fresh life, while some others perish. All these follow from one thing i.e. rain. In the same manner, Karma is the cause for the disease which has to be cured by chanting of manthras or through astrological remedies or through medical science. In life there are several other problems apart from disease. Problems which have to be tackled with money power or official status or physical strength by using intelligence etc., are countless. The cause for these problems and sufferings is only karma. According to science any effect must have a cause.

The entire universe is subject to the law of cause and effect and action and reaction. Entire physics explains only this truth. Because the insentient and sentient world came from the same source, the law applicable to the universe would also be applicable to human beings. Our deeds certainly have reactions. The cause for our joys and sorrows is our good and bad acts in the previous birth or in the past life. Sometimes it used to be said that apart from the effects of our own good and bad deeds, such deeds of particular other persons also affect us. For example, if a child becomes sick, it is said that it is the result of the bad deeds of the parents. When it is seen how they constantly nurse the child and how they undergo mental suffering due to the child, this view seems to have merit. Another thing also comes to my mind – if we meet with something bad it is the result of enemy’s good deeds.

For all the occurrences in the universe the only cause is the Great Power (Parashakthi). It is according to the directions of the Lord that the world operates. He creates a relationship between several things. Nothing occurs in this world which is totally unrelated to something. What appears to us to be unrelated are intrinsically related by the Lord, who then enjoys just looking on. The deed of a person and its effect are the prime reason for the joys and sufferings of human life. The movement of planets, offence to gods, diseases etc., are secondary reasons. One may seek remedy through horoscope or magical chants or through medical treatment. When the effect of the past deeds gets exhausted then these remedies will give the beneficial effect.

If one has attained spiritual maturity and leaves everything to God and dedicates everything to God and keeps quiet, that is more beneficial than other remedies. That is a great remedy, the true remedy. Whatever course the deeds of previous births may take it is important to ensure that we do not further add to the load of Karma. More than seeking remedy for the past, seeking the Lord’s help in avoiding further loads of sins is important. The remedy for the sorrow that has resulted from the past deeds is only meditation on the Lord. The means to avoid sowing the seeds for further sorrow is also meditation on the Lord. The ultimate remedy is the realization of the adhvaithic state in which there is no second thing to cause sorrow. In that state there is neither joy nor sorrow. The truth which is the base for both will be self-effulgent.


3. Mahaperiyava Miracles


Discovery of Atma-bhodendral Adhistanam by Mahaperiyva

Before we read the miracle we should know about who is Atma Bodhendral. The details of which are given below.

Sri Atma Bodhendra Saraswati (1586 – 1638)

Sri Atma Bodhendra Saraswati , the 58th Acharya of Sri Kanchi kamakoti Peetam, was a native of Vruddhachalam, Tamilandu and born in the year 1586. His pre-sanyasa name was Visvesvara. He toured extensively and stayed at Benares for a long time. He wrote a Bhasya on the Sri Rudram. It was Atma Bodha who directed Sadasiva Brahmendra to write the Gururatna Malika. Atma Bodhendra was the Guru of Bhagavan Nama Bhodhendra who instructed Bodendral to spread Bhagavan Namam. Baghavan Nama Bhodendral who later retired to Govindapuram to establish Nama Sidantha and spread bagavan nama. Sri Atma Bodhendra Saraswathi Swamiji attained mukti on the banks of the river South Pinakini, known in Tamil as Then Pennai on Krishna Ashtami in the month of Tula of the cyclic year Eswara (1638 AD). The Adhistanam of Sri Atma Bodhendra Saraswathi Swamiji is located at the place, now known as Vadavambalam, near Panrutti. The Adhistanam was discovered by the directions of His Holiness Pujyasri Sri Chandrasekarendra Saraswati or Mahaperiyava (details of which are painted on the walls of the adhistanam) and was consecrated on 17 January 1927.

Discovery of Atma-bhodendral Adhistanam

In the year 1926 while on padayatra Mahaperiyava was crossing Vizhupuram. Periyava got a divine call and suddenly entered a Village called “Vadavambalam” along with his sishyas. Mahaperiyava then enquired the elderly people in that village whether they know about any Sannyasi who lived in that village? Unfortunately no one was aware of any such sannyasi. However one old person in the crowd came forward and told Periyava that he heard that some few hundred years back there lived a Sannyasi who later attained samadhi in that Village but unfortunately there is no trace available currently about the exact place where the Sannyasi attained Samadhi.

Paramachrya realized that is the place, where the 58th Pontiff of Kanchi Kama Koti Peetam Sri Atma Bodhendra Saraswati who was the Guru of Bhodendra Saraswati Swamigal of Govindapuram, must have attained samadhi. He then wandered the entire village and while crossing a plaintain field He sensed some thing different and told one of his sishya who accompanied him to dig one particular spot.

One Kumaramangalam Sambamoorthy Shastrigal was supervising the activity. When the digging was in progress suddenly there was a huge crying voice from Sambamoorthy Shastrigal “Don’t Dig…. Don’t Dig” and fell unconscious on the filed. The sishya who was was digging shocked and stopped digging. He then gave water to Shastrigal who woke up to reality after a long gap. Shastrigal then told the following which is breathtaking.

“ I saw one Sannyasi in front of me. He was standing from earth to sky wearing rudraksha, having kamandal in his hands, wearing saffron dress, wearing vibhuthi in his forehead and about thousands of vedic brahmins were chanting vedas, then that Sannyasi uttered “Don’t dig, Don’t Dig” and then that big figure reduced to a small size and vanished. Later I heard somebody chanting “Sadasivam! Sadasivam!”. Then I don’t know what happened to me”. Hearing above Mahaperiyva confirmed is guess that is place where Sri Atma Bhodendra Saraswati would have attained Samadhi. Later in the year 1927 on January 17th Periyava conscreated a Shivaling on the Spot and constructed a Brindhavana to Atma Bhodendral. Now the aradhana to atma bhodendral happens every year there in Vadavambalam near Vizhupuram. Let us workship Mahaperiyva and Atmabhodendral who initiated bhodendral to establish nama siddantha!

Bibliography/Reference

· Pujyasri Mahaswamy Divya Charitram – Sri Sambamoorthi Sastrigal, Sri Kuppuswamy Iyer, Sollin Selvan “P.N. Parasuraman”
· Kanchimahanin Karunai Nizhalil – Ananda Vikadan Publications
· Voice of God – Volume – 1 – Kanchi Mahaswami Peetarohana Shatabdi Trust

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very interesting. You are doing a great service A.V. Devan sir. Thank you.