A rare sage, who renounced the world before completing 14 years of age and who attained Nirvikalpa Samadhi, the highest state of Yoga, before He was 20, His Holiness Abhinava Vidyatheertha Mahaswamigal was a renowned Jivanmukta and a scholar par excellence in Tarka and Vedanta. He adorned the sacred Sringeri Sharada Peethan and brought great glory to it during the 35 years of His pontificate as its 35th Jagadguru Shankaracharya. The very embodiment of compassion, the Acharya graced innumerable devotees in myriad ways. His numerous benedictory addresses in Sanskrit, Hindi, Kannada, Telugu and Tamil were characterised by lucidity, cogency, practicality, humour and accurate exposition of the intricacies of the scriptures. This book contains eleven of His gracious talks delivered in the three years preceding His Mahasamadhi on September21, 1989.
I take refuge in that tranquil Vidyatheertha who is the Supreme One, about whom the Veda says, ‘On seeing Him, the knot of the heart (the host of impressions of ignorance in the form of desires that hang on to the intellect) is rent asunder’.
This book contains the English translations of 11 benedictory addresses of our Acharyal, delivered extempore in the period 1986-1989. Nine of these sacred discourses were in Kannada and two in Tamil.
Acharyal graced devotees with hundreds of speeches, long and short, in the 35 years that He adorned the Sringeri Sharada Peetham, from 1954 to 1989. Each is a priceless gem and truly blessed are those who have had the great good fortune of having heard the ambrosial words of our Guru on at least one occasion. It is a truism that no audio recording of a talk of Acharyal can convey the unforgettable impact of his peace-radiating physical presence, captivating smile, riveting facial expressions and significant gesticulations. A printed version suffers from the additional drawback of depriving the devotee access to Acharyal’s irresistibly-infective laughter and His mellifluous voice, with its myriads of expressive, tonal and volume variations and eloquent pauses.
As those who have listened to Acharyal’s benedictory addresses with sincerity, devotion and attentiveness are well aware, our Guru’s talks were ever immensely beneficial, pregnant with import, thoroughly lucid, intensely practical, punctuated with rib-tickling humour, extremely cogent and so smooth-flowing that not a single sentence or phrase was out of place or superfluous. A fully faithful transcript of a sacred speech of Acharyal would necessarily reflect all these seven characteristics.
Since Acharyal’s words are perfectly chosen, some degradation of beauty can be expected in any translation. Nevertheless, if a devotee who carefully goes through this book either fails to apprehend or only partially apprehends the characteristics listed earlier, the blame rests solely on the disciple who translated the 11 speeches included here, after personally selecting them. The cause may be the translator’s inadvertence or inadequacy of understanding. We, however, hope that his efforts to produce a faithful translation have been successful and that the reader is able to get a glimpse of the magnificence of Acharyal’s divine discourses.
A special feature of the contents of this book is the inclusion of the six holy speeches delivered by Acharyal during the Smarana Saptaham’. The Smarana Saptaham was a seven-day function organized at Bangalore in 1987 during which several persons spoke on our Paramacharyal, the great Jivanmukta, and His Holiness Chandrasekhara Bharathi Mahaswamigal. Acharyal’s hexad of holy discourses provides the most authoritative account of Paramacharyal’s life and achievements. It also gives a thorough account of the nature and role of a Guru who is a knower of the Truth; all that a spiritual aspirant needs to know about a Sadguru is contained here.
We are very thankful to Sri. G. Ramasubramanian, General Manager, Numeric Engineers, and to Sri. R. Subramanian for their very great contribution to the publication of this book. They worked day and night, unmindful of strain, to ready the raw manuscript for offset printing. Sri, V. Subrahmanian, Sri. H.N. Shankar and Sri. K. Suresh Chander lent their valuable services; our thanks to them. We are grateful to Sri. K. Srinivasan for penning the introduction about the greatness of Acharyal and for sagacious advices about the translations of the speeches. He has unmatched devotion to Acharyal and is a mine of information about our Guru and so he is very qualified to write about Him.
Sri G. Raghavan of Anugraham Computer Services took personal interest in the publication of this book. We are thankful to him. Our thanks are due to Smt. Sridharan of Sri Maruthy Laser Printers for generating the laser print-out of the contents of this book. The offset printing was undertaken by Sri N. Subramanian at Sudarsan Graphics. Sri. M.J. Krishna designed the cover. Our thanks to them.
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