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VOICE OF KANCHI MATH :
Vol. 11 No. 1 April 2004 (For Private Circulation Only)
A QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER HIGHLIGHTING THE ACTIVITIES OF THE KANCHI MATH
 
Click to see the Latest issue
 
 

My Guru Sri Jayendra Sarasvati, who guides people into dharmic ways by his honey - sweet words, who goes on yatras from one place to another in the whole of India, having discarded silence and the stay-put under banyan tree (as does Sri Dakshinamurti), always resides in my heart.

Brahmavidyaratna Vaidya, Sri S.V. Radhakrishna Sastri, Srirangam

 

 
VOICE OF KANCHI MATH WISHES ITS READERS
A HAPPY TAMIL NEW YEAR
 
Sri Chandramouleeswaraya Namaha
Sri Sankara Bhagavadpadacharya Paramparagatha Moolamnaya
His Holiness Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetadhipathi
JAGADGURU SRI SANKARACHARYA SWAMIGAL SRIMATAM SAMSTHANAM
No.1, Salai Street, Kancheepuram - 631 502. Tamilnadu, India .
SRI JAYENDRA SARASWATHI SWAMIJI PEETAROHANA SWARNA JAYANTI MAHOTSAV YEAR
 
 
 
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Lectures on 'The Three Great Acharyas'

The Adi Sankara Advaita Research Centre in collaboration with Sri Visishtadvaita Research Centre, Chennai and Sriman Madhwa Siddhanta Onnahini Sabha, Tiruchanoor (A.P.) has organised Lectures on "The Three Great Acharyas Sankara, Ramanuja and Madhwa" at 4.00 PM on 25-4-2004 (Sunday) at Srinivasa Sastry Hall, No.99 (Old No.40), Luz Church Road, Chennai - 600 004.

Sri T.S. Raghavendran, Advocate and Scholar in Dvaita Vedanta, Coimbatore, Prof. M. Narasimhachary, Former Professor and Head, Dept. of Vaishnavism, University of Madras and Dr. R. Krishnamurthy Sastrigal, Former Principal, The Madras Sanskrit College will deliver lectures. All are welcome.


 

"That I have been there for 50 years is of no consequence.
What is more important is what has been done for our people."


"When you serve the poor, the destitute, the needy and help them with food, shelter, medicines and education, you serve me."

- Pujyashri Jayendra Saraswati Swamigal on his Peetharohana Swarna Jayanti

ADI SANKARA ADVAITA RESEARCH CENTRE CELEBRATES PEETHAROHANA SWARNA JAYANTI

The Peetharohana Swarna Jayanti of Pujyashri Jayendra Saraswati Swamigal, the Sankaracharya of the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham has been celebrated as a year-long festival from 22-3-2003 onwards. The Adi Sankara Advaita Research Centre organised a function to mark the Golden Jubilee on 17-3-2004 at the TTK Auditorium of the Music Academy, Chennai in the august presence of Jagadguru Pujyashri Jayendra Saraswati Swamigal and Jagadguru Pujyashri Sankara Vijayendra Saraswati Swamigal.

 
Music recital by Ranjani Gayatri Sisters & Party.
Ardent devotees of the Kanchi Math assembled in large numbers to offer their respectful obeisance to the Acharyas. The programme commenced with a music concert consisting of soul-stirring devotional songs rendered by Ranjani Gayatri sisters in their melliflous voice. Sri C.N. Ramachandran, President of the Adi Sankara Advaita Research Centre, welcoming the gathering described Pujyashri Jayendra Saraswati Swamigal as a spiritual dignitary of great eminence who has brought to bear upon the various religious and social activities of the Kanchi Math a spirit of dynamism. Prof. N. Veezhinathan, former Professor of Sanskrit, University of Madras welcomed the Acharyas with a Swagata Patram composed in Sanskrit.
 
Dr. M.S. Swaminathan being garlanded by Prof. N. Veezhinathan.
 
Shri V.M. Rajasekharan, Chief Executive Officer, ITC Ltd. (SBU - Agarbatti Business) in his address mentioned ITC's policy of outsourcing of agarbattis from small and medium scale industries and cottage industries as part of the company's rural development initiatives and sought the blessings of the Acharya for the release of the company's Mangal Deep agarbattis for spreading fragrance and leading to divinity
 
Prof.R. Balasubramanian, Dr. M.S. Swaminathan and Sri V.M. Rajasekharan, CEO, ITC Ltd.
 
Hailing the spiritual renaissance brought about in the country by the Acharyas of the Kanchi Math, Dr. M.S. Swaminathan in his Swarna Jayanti address, lauded the great vision of the Acharya especially in the fields of education and health and his humanism and compassion. "His spiritual leadership is greatly needed at the moment to bring about the spirit of harmony and well-being of everyone in our country. Chennai is the health capital of the country with several eminent doctors and hospitals. Modern medicine can, of course, add years to your life, but who will add life to years? It is only Pujyashri Sankaracharya".
 
The Acharyas perusing the books being released.
Prof. R. Balasubramanian, Editor of the Journal, "The Voice of Sankara" introduced to the audience the book "The Aesthetic Value in Indian Philosophy" by Prof. T.P. Ramachandran and the Special Peetharohana Swarna Jayanti Special Issue of the Journal " The Voice of Sankara".

 

Prof. Balasubramanian receiving a copy of 'The Aesthetic Value in Indian Philosophy' from the Acharya.

 
Pujyashri Jayendra Saraswati Swamigal then released the book "The Aesthetic Value in Indian Philosophy", the special issue of the Voice of Sankara and the Souvenir brought out to commemorate the Peetharohana Swarna Jayanti. The first copies of these issues were received by Princess Irene of Greece and Dr. Prema Krishnaswami and by Dr. M.S. Swaminathan and by Prof. Sudharani Raghupathy respectively. The Acharya also blessed the launch of Mangal Deep Agarbattis of ITC.
 
Dr. M.S. Swaminathan receiving the first copy of Souvenir from the Acharya.
 
Prof. Sudharani Raghupathy receiving the first copy of special issue of "THE VOICE OF SANKARA".
 
In his Anugrahabhashanam Pujyashri Jayendra Saraswati Swamigal said that Adi Sankara had based his Advaita philosophy on the authority of the Upanishads, the Brahma Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita and that his main teaching is that "the Supreme Brahman alone is real, the world is an illusion and that the individual self is nothing else but the Supreme Brahman." Though he propounded Advaita, he propagated sagunopasana and emphasised the path of bhakti or upasana and established the Shanmatas and composed hymns in praise of almost all deities of the Hindu pantheon. Advaitins have no quarrels with others
 
 
At the time of initiation into sanyasa asrama, a salagrama is placed on the head and mantropadesa is given. The sanyasi becomes vishnuswarupi. We also do Narayana japam while blessing. Saivism and Vaishnavism are like our two eyes. Srimad Ramaanuja has done a lot for resuscitating Hinduism." He lauded the efforts of ASARC for the propagation of Advaita philosophy by publication of the Voice of Sankara and other works of Sankara and holding of lectures and seminars. The Acharyas blessed all those assembled at the Auditorium
 

The Secretary gets the memento for Dr. M.S. Swaminathan blessed by the Acharya

 

DEDICATION TO OUR ACHARYA-GURU

Prof. R. Balasubramanian, Editor, THE VOICE OF SANKARA
 
A text of the Katha Upanishad (1.2.7) declares that the expounder of the Brahma-vidya is wonderful and that the receiver of this knowledge is wonderful; and wonderful is he who knows being instructed by a proficient teacher, a guru extra-ordinary. What the Upanishadic text says is true of His Holiness Jagadguru Sri Jayendra Sarasvati Sankaracharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Pitha and his illustrious guru, His Holiness Jagadguru Sri Chandrasekharendra Sarasvati, justly famous as the Sage of Kanchi, who was the sixty-eighth Sankaracharya of the Kanchi Kamakoti-pitha. Of the different kinds of heritage that we speak of, the greatest is the spiritual heritage. Sri Jayendra Sarasvati, the sixty-ninth Sankaracharya of the Kamakoti pitha, is the beneficiary of the spiritual heritage transmitted to him by his acharya-guru, the Sage of Kanchi.
 
The tradition of Adi Sankara which flourishes throughout the length and breadth of India is hoary as well as ancient. Its impact on the philosophy, religion, and culture of India is deep and pervasive. It is respected by both scholars and laymen in and outside India. It is followed by the elite and the commoners, the rich and the poor, the literate and the illiterate in India under the spiritual ministration and guidance of the Sankaracharyas of the different sacred seats (pithas) established by Adi Sankara. The antiquity of this tradition is traced to no less a personage than Narayana himself who is no other than Brahman, the source, support and end of the world. The tradition of Advaita which owes its origin to Narayana has come down to us first through family succession (vamsa-parampara) and then through the teacher disciple succession (sishya-parampara). The family succession proceeds from Narayana, the first teacher, through Brahma, Vasistha, Sakti, Parasara and Vyasa to Suka. From Gaudapada onwards commences the sisya-parampara. Gaudapada was the sannyasin-disciple of Suka; Govinda Bhagavatpada was the disciple of Gaudapada; and Adi Sankara was the disciple of Govinda Bhagavatpada.
 
Among the legendary figures in the religio-philosophical history of the world, Sankara is one. He is unique in the Indian tradition. There is no one to be compared with him before or after his advent. According to tradition, Sankara as a young boy of eight years met Govinda Bhagavatpada on the banks of the river Narmada, accepted him as guru, and was initiated into the sannyasasrama by him. Thereafter, as directed by his guru, Sankara visited several places, held philosophical discussions with many scholars belonging to other traditions during his dig-vijaya, and established monastic institutions in the different places in the country, the most notable of which are the Jyotir-matha at Badarikasrama, the Kalika-pitha at Dvaraka, the Govardhana-pitha at Jagannatha-puri, the Sarada-pitha at Sringeri, and the Kamakoti-pitha at Kanchi. Tradition holds that he attained siddhi after ascending the sarvajna-pitha at Kanchi. Quite a few must have been his followers. However, mention must be made of four of his direct disciples Padmapada, Hastamalaka, Totaka and Suresvara who expounded, elucidated, and amplified the teachings of the master. The preceptors belonging to the Advaita lineage are called creators of the Brahma-vidya tradition.
 
The monastic institutions established by Sankara continue even today, each functioning under the spiritual leadership of a Sankaracharya whose lineage from Adi Sankara is traced through a succession of disciples. Tradition has it that Suresvara, one of the direct disciples of Sankara, was associated with the Kamakotipitha, and that Sankara, after ascending the sarvajna-pitha, spent his last days at Kanchi. To uphold and continue the sacred tradition of Adi Sankara, His Holiness Sri Chandrasekharendra Sarasvati ascended the Kamakoti-pitha at Kanchi as its sixty-eighth Sankaracharya on February 13, 1907.
 
The Sage of Kanchi selected a young disciple of nineteen years by name Subrahmanyam as his successor to the Kamakoti-pitha, initiated him into sannyasasrama giving him the sannyasa name "Jayendra Sarasvati" on March 22, 1954, and trained him for continuing the tradition of Adi Sankara and also for discharging the responsibilities of the Matha. Spending the next sixteen years under the care and guidance of the Sage of Kanchi, Sri Jayendra Sarasvati took the responsibility of the Matha in 1970. He undertook the dig-vijaya in 1972 and visited Delhi, Varanasi, and other important places in the whole of India. He covered a distance of more than 1500 miles on foot. The dig-vijaya helped him to establish contact with scholars and lay people throughout the country. He addressed large gatherings everywhere in Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, and Sanskrit. It must be borne in mind in this connection the significance of the term "Jagadguru" that has been appended to the personal names of the Sankaracharyas. This term means "world-teacher", because their teachings are meant for all sections of society, for the entire mankind. Even when they are addressed to the Hindus, they are applicable, with suitable modifications, to the followers of other faiths.
 

Pujyasri Jayendra Sarasvati is both an acharya and a guru rolled into one. There is a traditional verse which defines an acharya as follows:

acinoti hi sastrarthan, achare sthapayatyapi l

svayam acharate yascha, tam acharyam prachakshate ll

An acharya is one who inquires into the meaning of the scriptural text, lives in accordance with the teachings contained therein, and makes others live according to them through the example of his own life. It may be pointed out in this connection that "acharya", "acharana", "achara", and "chara" are cognate words conveying the sense of walking along a path, a certain order, conduct, and so on. It is also relevant in this context to note the significance of the term "sastra-sampradaya". A sampradaya is tradition which has evolved according to the rules which are codified in scripture (sastra) for the purpose of observance in life (anushthana). While sastra is common to all, a sampradaya is what is practised by the members of a given community including those who are conversant with the scriptural text.

The Acharya blessing the launch of MANGAL DEEP puja agarbattis of ITC Ltd.
 
It follows that sampradayas may differ from community to community, from region to region, even from family to family. That is why we speak of desachara, kulachara, and so on. So an acharya is one who is not only proficient in scripture, but also practises the codes of conduct of the sampradaya he belongs to and disciplines his followers both in theory and practice .
 
The Acharya honouring Prof.R.Balasubramanian, Editor, 'The Voice of Sankara' and Sri R. Kalidasan of Gopali Printers
 
The term "guru" means "weight", "big", "great". A guru is inwardly big or great, i.e. a mahan because of his learning and experience. He need not, like an acharya, be proficient in sastra and do anything outwardly perceptible for the world. He may even spend his time in silence. However, it does not follow from this that a guru does not know sastra and impart its teachings to disciples. There have been gurus who have also functioned as acharyas, e.g. Adi Sankara and his disciples who have adorned the pithas established by him.
 
The Acharya having a word with Sri C.N. Ramachandran, President, ASARC.
 
As the head of the Kamakoti-pitha and follower of the Brahmavidya tradition, Sri Jayendra Sarasvati is a great acharya. He is also at the same time an illustrious jagadguru. He is concerned as much with the improvement of the social life of the people as with their spiritual upliftment and cultural renaissance. Help to the poor and the needy, upliftment of the downtrodden, preservation of the pathasala and the Oriental schools, renovation of temples and revitalization of their activities, health-care of the sick and the aged, promotion of value-sustaining cultural activities all these received and continue to receive the special attention of His Holiness. What a glorious life of spiritual ministration which one notices in him reaffirming the past, reflecting the greatness of the tradition in all the activities of the present, and regulating the present for the fulfilment of the lofty ideas in the future!
 
Pujyashri Bala Periyaval giving Anugrahabhashanam at his 35th Jayanti Celebrations on 19.2.2004 at Chennai.
 
As an exempler of the Advaita tradition, our acharya-guru discharges his functions at two levels, spiritual and empirical. In his discourses, our acharya-guru tells us that we have to perform our activities, both spiritual and secular, according to the principles of dharma, which take care of our total life. Though he has renounced the world, he is watchful of the activities of both individuals and institutions, and responds to their calls. Though a sannyasin of the highest order, he leads an active life without any "involvement" in the worldly affairs; he is in the world, but not of the world. His is actionless activity. His spiritual ministration is available to hundreds and thousands of people who seek his guidance and grace. He showers his blessings on them, but does not lean upon them. He achieves his aim, but does not call attention to what he does. This indeed is the glory and greatness of our acharya-guru.
 
TULABHARAM
 
 

Pujyashri Jayendra Saraswati Swamigal had his "Tulabharam" and was weighed against silver bars at the Kanchi Sankara Math on 22.3.2004. Earlier he worshipped at the Sri Kamakshi Temple and decorated the "Sri Chakram" in the sanctum sanctorum with a golden kavacham studded with navaratna stones. A vast concourse of devotees had darshan of both the Acharyas and witnessed the special homams and pujas performed for the welfare of humanity. A 5-feet tall golden chariot for the deities, Sri Chandramouliswara and Goddess Tripurasundari was presented by the devotees from Mumbai on this occasion.

Karur Sri Kalyana Pasupatiswarar Swamy Temple

Karur, the city of great antiquity, lies about 75 kms to the west of Tiruchirapalli on the banks of river Amaravati. The Temple of Sri Kalyana Pasupatiswarar (Aanilaiyappar) in this town has a hoary history of more than 2000 years with the place name mentioned as Garbhapuri (Karuvoor), Adipuram, Veeracholapuram, Vanji, etc. in inscriptions and Tamil literature. The Lord here is a Swayambhu. He is renowned as the "Lord of all Souls" (Pasupati). The Lord was worshipped by Kamadhenu and by Brahma who did penance here in atonement for his haughtiness as the primordial Creator. The Lord has two consorts, Goddess Kripanayaki (Alankaravalli) the Adinayaki with a Srichakra Pitham at Her feet and Goddess Soundaranayaki (Vadivudaiyal), a great devotee who is believed to have merged with the Lord on the 7th day of the Panguni Uthiram festival.

Saint Tirugnana Sambandar, the great Siddha, Karuvurar and Saint Arunagirinathar have sung in praise of the deities at this Temple.

 
GURUVANDANAM
 

With Pujyashri Sankara Vijayendra Saraswati Swamigal as the Patron, Kanchi Kamakoti Jagadguru Sri Jayendra Saraswati Peetharohana Swarna Jayanti Mahotsav Trust had been formed to celebrate the Golden Jubilee as a year-long festival in various parts of the country. As a grand finale of the holy event, "Jagadguru Vandanam" function was held at 4 PM on 31.3.2004 at the University Centenary Auditorium, Chepauk, Chennai.

There was a large gathering of the devotees of the Kanchi Math including 1008 vedic scholars who had earlier recited Durga Suktam and Shantipatham. A Rigveda Samhita Homam and Veda Parayanam was also performed by the vedic scholars. After Swastivachanam and prayer by Smt. Nityashri Mahadevan, Shri V. Sankar, the General Secretary of the Mahotsav Trust welcomed the gathering and attributed the success of the year-long celebrations to the abounding grace of the Kanchi Acharyas and the deep devotion and abiding Gurubhakti of the devotees of the Kanchi Math and the public at large.

Pujayashri Sankara Vijayendra Saraswati Swamigal in his Anugrahabhashanam referred to the several social service, welfare and religious projects undertaken by the Kanchi Math. He performed "swarna kanakabhishekam" to Pujyashri Jayendra Saraswati Swamigal with 1008 gold coins. The gold offered to the Jagadguru would be utilised for public health projects and for propagation and sustenance of vedas and other social projects. A golden jubilee commemorative volume containing the works and teachings of Pujyashri Acharya-Guru was also released by the Bala Swamigal.

Pujyashri Jayendra Saraswati Swamigal honoured people from various walks of life who had contributed to the betterment of Society like Cartoonist R.K. Laxman, journalist Kuldip Nayar, Jurist L.M. Singhvi, athelete champion Anju George, former Judge M.M. Ismail, theatre artiste R.S. Manohar, Vedic Scholar Mani Dravid Shastry and child prodigy and I.T. wizard Chandra Sekhar.

The Jagadguru in his Anugrahabhashanam appreciated the guru bhakti of the devotees and said that through gurubhakti alone one can receive divine grace. He exhorted the people to adhere to the tenets of sanatana dharma and lead a righteous life and blessed all those assembled at the auditorium.