From the Hindu

Chandran, Nanda (NBC) Nanda.Chandran at NBC.COM
Tue Jan 13 11:00:19 CST 1998

Compassionate sage

Date: 13-01-1998 :: Pg: 27 :: Col: b

PARAMACHARYA OF KANCHI - A spiritual and human relationship: M. Y. Ghorpade;
Vidyaranya Vidya Peeta Trust, Hospet, Bellary. Rs. 225.

The Paramacharya of Kanchi, Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati, was an
authentic saint and his accession to the Sankara Peeta at Kanchi when he was
just a teenager was something of an uncovenanted blessing conferred on
mankind. The unremitting rigour of his austere asceticism, the abounding
compassion which he showered on all who met him, indeed even on those,
especially from outside India prompted by curiosity rather than real
interest, were unique characteristics of his relationship with all around
him. This rigorous self-discipline showed itself when he traversed the
entire country on foot nearly three times in reverent imitation of the
Digvijayas of Adi Sankara.

Instructing his devoted followers in the spiritual message was the central
mission of the Paramacharya's life, a mission which found fulfilment in the
devotion to the Supreme which he inspired in all those who met him. He
transcended mere human assessment. The author of this inspiring account
about his close association with the Paramacharya is a scion of the Royal
family of Sandur. Destiny brought him into contact with the Paramacharya
when he was traversing Karnataka, passing through village after village and
showering grace and compassion on all those who met him.

The Paramacharya, as the author's account based on a diary maintained by him
meticulously shows, received all those who came to him, whether the
President of the country or a humble villager with an effortless ease and
grace, treating them all alike.

He made no distinction between prince and peasant, and every one felt not
merely remarkably at ease in his presence but was filled with a vivid
consciousness that the Acharya had a special corner in his heart for him.
And this is what a Brahmagnani is and should be, embracing in his innermost
being and identifying his own being with that of his visiting devotee.

Once President Sanjiva Reddy was received in the cattleshed where the
Acharya was staying. So were peasants and ordinary men. And from all of them
he gained knowledge of the local history, tradition and problems, especially
those affected with material and moral problems. If he ever sighted a temple
in some disrepair or requiring some attention, he would ask the villagers to
jointly undertake the necessary renovation or request some devotee of ample
means to take up the job and deal with it in a spirit of devotion. The
author was one of those who had the good fortune to do such service.

The author's boundless devotion to the compassionate sage has resulted in a
record of meetings and events, of sayings and discourses which make
thrilling and edifying study. Not all the sages' devotees would have
maintained the kind of diary which the author has maintained.

He must be congratulated on the inspiration he has drawn from the great sage
and for letting us share the numerous occasions of contact and discourse
that he was fortunate to be blessed with and cherished. The multi-colour
pictures of the Acharya in his various moods and poses offer a visual treat.

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