It is 25 years since Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati, 68th Pontiff of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Pitam, attained Mukti in Kanchipuram. A revered religious head, he showed concern for the welfare of humanity and was a crusader for the downtrodden. The Hindu followed the movements of the Acharya during his marathon Yatras and published reports from his camps regularly. His discourses and the tribute showered on him were published too. The 25th Aradhana of Mahaperiyava, as he was called, seemed to be a good occasion to revisit the Archives and publish a compilation of the newspaper’s substantial output on him, The Embodiment of Truth, from The Hindu Group of Publications, is a two-part volume, which traces the Sankaracharya’s birth, succession to the Acharya Pitam, his multiple yatras, his philosophy and so on. Volume 1 deals with the early years of his life as Pitadipati.
Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati, the 68th pontiff of the Kanchi Kamokoti
Pitam was perhaps the most admired and respected saint of the Adi Sankara lineage
in modern times. Referred to with respect and affection as Mahaperiyava, his deep
religious learning, simplicity and eloquent expositions of the most profound ideas
in simple terms drew a wide range of people towards him. He served as counsellor
to the highest in the land to the humblest, to religious heads, political leaders,
industrialists, writers, scientists, artistes and ordinary folk involved' with their
humdrum life. It was the sheer attraction and force of his personality that made the
Kanchi Math one of the leading religious centres to which people from all over the
Whoever met Mahaperiyava was awe struck by his simplicity, learning and
compassion. One of the earliest to don khadi, he lived a life of extreme simplicity,
spending his time in puja, advising people and delivering discourses. Mahatma
Gandhi felt fulfilled after a one-hour meeting with him, the Tamil Savant U. Ve.
Swaminatha Iyer felt mesmerised when watching him perform his puja, Paul-Brunton
felt transformed after a meeting with him, many political-leaders felt drawn
over and over again.
A firm believer in the Vedic dictum that the Truth is one, he was a staunch advocate
of inter-religious solidarity. His strong advocacy of religious life played a part in the
inclusion of right to religion as a fundamental right in the Constitution of India. He
brought to bear the force of his spiritual personality to the service of the people,
taking up welfare activities including health and education under the aegis of the
Math. No wonder he was regarded as the prophet of our age.
The Hindu covered the journeys that Mahaperiyava undertook across the country
as well as his public discourses and his meetings with various leaders and archives
of the newspaper hold extensive material on him. We are most thankful to the Kanchi
Kamakoti Pitam for providing us material on Mahaperiyava for use in this volume.
This is the first volume on Mahaperiyava, and the second will follow fairly soon.
This has been put together with painstaking effort, reverence and dedication
by Geetha Venkataramanan with the help of the staff in the archives, prepress,
circulation and other departments of The Hindu.
We are most thankful to the 70th pontiff of the Kanchi Kamakoti Pitam, Sri Sankara
Vijayendra Saraswati, worthy successor to Mahaperiyava following the 69th pontiff
Sri Jayendra Saraswati, for his encouragement and support.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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