Mahaswami  towering icon of Dharma

 thehindu.com  01/16/2020 11:41:52 

Embodiment of Truth  Kanchi Mahaswami, His Vision and Mission, the second volume of The Hindus publication on Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati, 68th Pontiff of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Pitam, was released on January 8, the day he attained siddhi 26 years ago. The first volume was released on the same day last year. Filled with news reports and articles on Mahaswami, culled from The Hindu Archives, the sequel traces his life from 1942-1994, the major part of which he spent walking the length and breadth of the country to propagate Sanatana Dharma. The Hindu had covered the movements of the unparalleled service of the sage reporting from various places and paying sumptuous tribute on important occasions  golden jubilee of his ascension, when he completes 60 years and so on.

Born in 1894 and anointed when he was least prepared at age 13, the Acharya found himself facing the unenviable task of boosting the morale of the followers of the Math, which had lost two leaders in quick succession. The country was in the throes of Freedom Struggle and uncertainty prevailed. Resources were meagre and the incumbent had to first complete his education on all fronts. A caretaker administration was in charge until he turned 21. Against all these odds, Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati set out to meet people at the grassroots level and thus began a journey, which took him to cities and villages, palaces and huts. One day he was the guest of a king and the next he rested at a roadside temple in ruins. The sage walked, several km a day, for years in scorching sun and pouring rain.

The first volume stopped as the sage returns to Kumbakonam in 1939, after completing a yatra up to Varanasi, during which he is received with warmth and affection in all the States. In the second part, the Acharya leaves the comfort of the Math in 1942, proceeding on another journey across the country. Sri Jayendra Saraswati is chosen successor and the senior Acharya retires into the calm surroundings of Sivasthanam. He emerges in 1978, at the age of 84, to embark on another marathon Padayatra. His vigour undiminished, he walks 5,000 km across several States and returns in 1984 with Sri Jayendra Saraswati and his disciple Sri Sankara Vijayendra Saraswati. He remains in Kanchipuram until his siddi in 1994. Many are the schemes he initiates to for human welfare, a number of them to protect the Vedas and Vaidikas, cows and heritage.

Special articles

Apart from the pictures and news clippings, which tell the tale of a remarkable saint and a legacy started 2,500 years ago by Adi Sankara, the book contains special articles exclusively sourced. Most poignant among them is the account of Sri Sankara Vijayendra Saraswati, present head of the Pitam, who reminisces about his Paramaguru, a towering icon of Truth and Dharma. His greatness, however, lay in his simplicity and the equality with which he treated his devotees, recalls the 70th Pontiff. Copies of the volume, which is accompanied by two posters, are available at the Chennai book fair and The Hindu office at Kasturi Buildings. For online booking log into https://publications.thehindugroup.com/bookstore/

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