My experiences with His Holiness

Mantri Ratnam A.R.Seshiah Sastrigal

The Jagadguru Sri Paramacharya of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham is an 'Avatara Purusha' descended as a complete person, to save the world, not as a person who developed by stages. He is an incarnation of Sankara.

The Paramacharya leads a very simple life like wearing homespun Khadi only. He believes that poor womenfolk spinning yarn of their own at their leisure hours could earn a fair and decent living conducive to Dharmic way of life. He will never stay in cognito within the four walls of a room. He will never sweat as he never takes salt. He will stand on single tow in kukkutasana posture and converse with the people nearby for hours on end. He is a master of all Yoga asanas. He has completely discarded salt, tamarind and chilies in any form the date of His ascension to the Peetham. His food consists of morsel of fried paddy with some fruits mixed (if they are available) and milk at times and He will quietly avoid any food if he happened to see unworthy and sinful people and observe complete fast for the whole of that day. At night He will never take food. I have found Him living for a month in Calcutta only on Vilva-fruit which will be very sour and most untasteful but medically recommended. He himself observes strictly the Dharna with 'kamandalu'(wooden water pot), a danda (holy-stick) and kashaya-vastra(ochre cloth). His austere celibacy is well-known and he prohibits any womenfolk to see him in private. He won't relish by himself music or fine-arts unless it be as dedication to God Sri Chandramouleeswara or other deities. He won't lay aside 'danda' at any cost unless it be for bath or wash. He will sleep with the 'danda' in his grab. His sleeping time will be very short and however late it be his going to sleep, he wakes up by 4 a.m. always and will be ready for a full time Japa.

He is very proficient in the Vedas and especially in the Rig Veda(Mutt's Veda). He has mastered all the Sastras in Vedantha (Advaita Philosophy) to the end of 'Siddhi Brahmanandeeyam', Tarka, Sahitya, Dharma-sastras, Puranas and itihasas. He is a keen student of English, French, Telugu, Canarese, Latin Literatures besides possessing a masterly knowledge of sacred Tamil literature like Tirukkural, Kamba Ramayanam, Sekkizhar's works and twelve Thiruppavai-Thiruvembavai conferences and also the originator of the singing of Kolaru-Pathigam on Navagraphas by Thirugnana Sambhandar. He organised all India Cultural Programs on Agamas, Bharta Kala, Silpa. His Mudradhikari Scheme is one of the social programs for keeping the temples clean, lighting the lamps with oil and congregation of people on Ekadasi days to prey to God and read Puranic stories. He wants the people of Two or three villages gather once a year and dig tanks of one region or other and take the temple cars around the places in festivals. He is very particular in helping the downtrodden, lone and sick people who are in their deathbed by uttering the name of Sri Rama into their ears, a spoon of Ganges water and Thulasi leaf for them to take in and undertake the cremation of the bodies with due rites. He called for Vedic Sammelans on all-India basis gathering all the Vedic scholars. He has arranged to provide pension for the learned scholars and introduced the scheme of remuneration to Vedic student. Veda-bhashaya (commentary on the Vedas) and Prayoga (conduct of religious rites), study of Dharma-sastras are dear to his heart. He has published Advaita philosophy as found in all literatures and languages. He knows epigraphy and has done some astute and deep researches in that area.

I can draw many instances for his remarkable foresight. Once he suddenly called the agent of the Mutt and ordered him to send by telegraphic money-order a sum of five hundred rupees to one poor man at Calcutta. After some months had elapsed, one fine day a poor fellow rushed to His Holiness sobbing and fell down at his feet saying that Sri Mutt's money order was received in time when his father expired and that he was able to do the last rites for him. his father was once connected with Sri Mutt Camp and he served by sorting Vilva leaves for Pooja.

Another instance is: a man rushed to His Holiness praying that he had settled his daughter's marriage but could not manage to find sovereigns for Thirumangalyam as was demanded by bridegroom's parents. His Holiness told him that as a sanyasi he did not have sovereigns but directed him to the temple of Sri Kamakshi and pray for the same. Meanwhile some gentlemen of High respectability from Bombay arrived to have Darshan of His Holiness and placed before Him some sovereigns as offering along with huge money. After they left, the poor man after praying to Sri Kamakshi came to His Holiness, who said to him that his prayer was heard and that he had the ten sovereigns.

I can quote more instances of this kind. But His act of Siddhi is not relished by Him and it will not be conducive to the elevation of mankind. Further He never desires to exhibit His powers.