The Saint amongst Saints

Kainkarya Siromani Dr. S.V. Narasimhan, D.Litt.

Our Punya Bhoomi, Bharatha Varsha, has been known for having given birth to scores of saints over centuries, who, by their penance, erudition, eloquence and unfathomable wisdom, have carved and shaped the destiny of India decades after decades. To all these great men, I stand and salute in reverence.

Seldom has the nation, nay the world, witnessed a saint of the order of Pujyasri Jagadguru Sankaracharya, Sri Chandrasekharendra Sarasvathi Mahaswami, reverentially referred to as "the Paramacharya" of the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham, the 68th Pontiff reigning with luster and glory. Seldom has there been a Sankaracharya in our recent memory who had ruled a spiritual ministry continuously for 87 years as the Paramacharya had done and seldom, in our memory, a Sankaracharya ascended to the Peetham at the tender age of 13, completed 87 years of Chaturmasya Vratha and entered the 100th year, the Centenary year.

History tells us that Lord Parameswara reincarnated Himself as Bhagwan Sri Adi Sankara nearly 25 centuries ago in the sacred place called Kaladi in the State of Kerala to quell the warring religious groups, to unite them under the doctrine of Advaitic philosophy and to put Hinduism back once again on its pedestal. Over centuries, vital values, both theological and mundane, have declined to such pathetic depths that Sri Adi Sankara decided to reincarnate Himself once again to restore the balance of order. the life and teachings of our Paramacharya are equal in many respects to that of Bhagawan Sri Adi Sankara Himself. We were privileged to live in an era called "Sri Chandrasekharendra Sarasvathi Mahaswami Sripada Era".

The Paramacharya was living God on earth, a jeevan-Muktha, a saint who saw the future with His divine eyes, a saint who attracted devotees not only from India but the World over, a saint who has been acclaimed as an unparalleled Avathara in this 20th century, an Avathara who came to emancipate mankind from its throes and thraldom.

Scores of volumes have been written on the Paramacharya. They will every remain incomplete because this great saint's works and deeds can never be contained by the mere writing. The 6 volumes thus far published carrying in their pages the preaching of the Paramacharya titled "Deivathin Kural" (Voice of Divinity) in Tamil is an encyclopaedia for mankind for one, finds answers to all that one may call for in these volumes. If we can assimilate a portion of these volumes in our day to day life, that would be the greatest homage we can offer to the Paramacharya. And that exactly is what He wanted from us.

The year 1993-94, being observed as Centenary Year of the Paramacharya, is studded with golden events: Kanakabhishkam, Swarnabhishekam and Swarna Pada Puja to the Mahaswami that were performed on the 27th May and 4th June, 1993 respectively. Throughout the country several project have been initiated to mark the Centenary year-projects to propagate the teachings of the Mahaswami, institutions to house Veda Patasalas, colleges, hospitals, housing scheme for Vedic scholars, organising rituals etc. all adding glory and glamour to the Centenary Year. In the pages of this Souvenir volume there are impressive articles from eminent men recounting their personal experiences with the Paramacharya - all tuned to show that we lived before a Divinity in human form, in flesh and blood.

It is my forefather's great blessings to me. My first contact with the Paramacharya was in the 1954 at a place called Kalavai, close to Kanchipuram. The 40 years since then have been times of education, experience and devotion for me. I have had scores of darshans in these 4 decades and every darshan was an experience by itself. I can recall scores of breathtaking experiences that will prove that this great saint was a saint amongst saints, God on earth and divinity that had descended to bless us the mortals.

I want to narrate just two such instances.

(1) In 1957, His Holiness was camping at a place called Kattupalli, a village close to Ennore, near Madras. I was stationed then a Calcutta and had come to Madras on business, but squeezed some times to visit Kattupalli to pay my obeisance to His Holiness. I had planned to get back to Madras by about 3.p.m. the same day and had reached Kattupalli around 10-30 a.m. His Holiness was then performing the Prathahkala Puja. I was getting restless to get back to Madras. His Holiness soon after the Pujas retired advising His disciples to tell me that I could have my food there and stay behind. Around 5p.m. His Holiness came back to give darshan to the devotees, who were about 150 in number. I thought I could still have the first opportunity to taking leave of His Holiness. Lo! I was the very last one to be called. It was around 6-30p.m. and I was the only one left behind. His holiness called me to His room and made me sit and the first question He shot at me was "Ever since you came this morning you were in great hurry to get back. Aren't you? I was stunned. I could say neither `yes' nor `no'. What a telepathy! His Holiness read my mind texture by texture. His Holiness had purpose in retaining me on that evening. The ways of great men are always followed by constructive action to benefit humanity.

He commanded me to procure a building in the heart of Calcutta and house a Samaveda Patasala there exclusively for Bengali boys. the South India Bhajana Samaj was a rented tenant at no. 50, Lake Avenue, Calcutta. His Holiness commanded "After you buy this building, you allow the Bhajana Samaj to continue there". Politely I told His Holiness that it would cost a lot of money and that I might find it difficult. But pat came the answer. "Take Rs.50,000/- from Annadurai lyengar and go ahead". I humbly replied that those Rs. 50,000/- were equal to Rs. 50 crores for me and that upon making collections, the same would be returned to the Math. I returned to Calcutta by the following morning flight and on reaching there the first thing I did was to contact the landlord Sri Ashutosh Mukherjee. Before I could begin the subject Sri Mukherjee said "I had a dream last night and Mother Kali told me sell the building to you. Let us proceed."

What more does one need to say? His Holiness came in the form of Mother Kali to tell the landlord at Calcutta to put the deal through. In 3 months the building came into commission and it was called "Ved Bhavan" and it continues to resound to this day with the resonant Vedic chanting.

(2) In 1967, His Holiness was observing His Chathurmasaya Vratha at Eluru in Andhra Pradesh. A group of 50 of us had came from Calcutta to offer Biksha to His Holiness. On the day of Biksha in the early morning I had left a word with a disciple of His Holiness that I would like to have tape-recorded message of His Holiness Paramacharya for the benefit of those devotees at Calcutta who could not join the Biksha in the evening to Calcutta for which reservations had already been made. I was asked by His Holiness to come at 3-30 p.m. But it was not before 5-46 p.m. that I was called in Finding that the time was running out I requested the Biksha group to proceed by that evening's train to Calcutta and my wife and I decided to follow the day after. The gracious His Holiness gave a tape-recorded message, enquired about all at Calcutta and around 6-45p.m. queried "When are you returning to Calcutta?" I humbly replied that I was due to go by that evening at 6-30 but it did not matter because the message of His Holiness was worth its weight in diamonds and that I could go a day later.

The smiling His Holiness said "Go and try-May be the train could come today late". Myself and wife rushed to the railway station to find that the train was late by 3 hours. The Jeevan muktha who saw the future knew the train was coming late, but did not tell me and instead said "try, you may get it".

Blessed readers, I wish to conclude by paying my obeisance to this great saint, for His countless mercies to humanly and pray to the Divinities that we steadfastly follow His teachings in order that Dharma will get continuously protected under His all- embracing blessings.