His Holiness Sri Abhinava Vidyatheertha Mahaswamigal, the 35th pontiff of Sri Sringeri Sharada
Peetam, was a living testimony to the scriptural declarations regarding a Self-realised soul, a
jivanmukta and, above all, an ideal Guru. He was a nonpareil yogin and had, above all, an ideal
Guru. He was a nonpareil yogin and had been frequently abiding in nirvikalpa-samadhi, the pinnacle
of yoga, ever since His teens.
Various classes of people came to Acharyal for guidance and succor. Acharyal graced them in myriad
ways. His numerous benedictory addresses in multiple languages, parables conceived by Him on the
spot, teachings and personal interactions with devotees were all characterized by lucidity,
cogency, practicality, humour and accurate exposition of the intricacies of the Veda-s, Itihasa-s,
Purana-s and other scriptural texts. His very life was a teaching for all. This book, “Exalting
Elucidations” primarily features the dialogues between Acharyal and disciples. Incidents from
Acharyal’s life, His discourses, His parables and experiences of devotees with Him have been
included in the various chapters as supplements to the dialogues.
We at Sri Vidyatheertha Foundation deem it a great privilege, blessing and good fortune to be able
to publish, at regular intervals, books related to our revered Acharyas, the Jagadgurus of
Dakshinamnaya Sri Sringeri Sharada Peetam. Recently, we brought out a book, “Yogamum Jnanamum
Jivanmuktiyum", the Tamil version of "Yoga, Enlightenment and Perfection" of His Holiness Sri
Abhinava Vidyatheertha Mahaswamigal. A fortnight ago, at a function in Sringeri commemorating the
30th year of Sishya Sweekara of H.H.Jagadguru Sri Bharathi Theertha Mahaswamigal, we had the joy
of releasing the Tamil version of "illuminating interactions", a book containing dialogues of
devotees with His Holiness Jagadguru Sri Bharathi Theertha Mahaswamigal.
The book featuring the dialogues with our revered Jagadguru Sri Abhinava Vidyatheertha
Mahaswamigal is currently out of print and there is a persistent demand from devotees for copies.
Therefore, it is extremely gratifying to bring out the cherished dialogues of Acharyal with some
revision in content and rectification of errors which had crept into the previous edition. In this
book titled, "Exalting Elucidati0ns", incidents from Acharyal’s life, parables narrated by Him,
His discourses and experiences of devotees culled from various sources feature as supplements to
the dialogues, making it an unique publication.
We are grateful to the team of devotees who have been instrumental in bringing out this book in a
short time of fifteen days. Sri N.Subramanian, Proprietor, Sudarsan Graphics, has printed this
book neatly and at short notice, with his customary efficiency. Our thanks to him.
We are sure that devotees of our Jagadgurus will gladly welcome the release of this book, find it
extremely enjoyable to read and benefit immensely from it.
The dialogues published here largely consist of the clarifications graced by Acharya! to the
disciple who compiled them, The said disciple had the good fortune of witnessing almost all the
other dialogues and of hearing the remaining few questions and answers from the persons who have
spoken with Acharya]. He first made public a portion of what he has included here in 1977. In the
first volume of Jagadguru of Sringeri’ and then presented almost all of the present material in
1981 in the Tamil book, ‘Jagadguru Bathilalikkirar. An English version of the Tamil book was
included by him in 1984, in Volume II of ‘Crest Jewel of Yogis’. In this book, the disciple has
added more of Acharyal’s replies and rectified a number of errors that had crept into the previous
publication. Since the portions relating to the dialogues were prepared, computer-typed and also
proof-corrected by him, the responsibility for any deficiencies here are just his. He had no role
to play in the rest of the material included in this book.
l. The dialogues have been grouped under 41 heads. Some of the chapters comprise the questions
posed on different days and by different questioners. On the other hand, some, such as the one
titled ‘Maya’ contain the record of what Acharyal taught a disciple in a single session.
2. At times, a portion of an answer in one chapter is similar to that found in another chapter.
However, at no time, has any elucidation given by Acharyal been repeated. What appears similar
pertains to Acharyal’s words on different occasions or to different persons. Notwithstanding the
similarity. The contextual significances are different. Because of this and because the grouping
of questions and answers is such that each chapter can be read independently. The slight overlap
is quite in order.
3. Rarely, in a single chapter, there appear answers with some overlap. This is because of the
difference in the questioners and because what is brought out by Acharyal not identical. For
instance, in the chapter titled ‘Jnanin’, there are three references to an enlightened sage’s
happiness and sorrow. However, in the first instance, Acharyal speaks of how they cannot lead to
rebirth. In the second answer. He presents the reason for their presence. In the third, He talks
of how the sage is not swayed by them. Thus, all the three are important.
A seeker in the path to Self-realisation is often confronted with myriad doubts at different
stages of his spiritual discipline. By what process is he to get his doubts dispelled? Bhagavan
advises, "Know that through prostration. Enquiry and service. The wise ones who have realised the
Truth will impart Knowledge to you." Bhagavatpada expounds the qualification, "who have realised
the Truth", as, "The considered view of the Lord is that Knowledge imparted by only those who have
full enlightenment becomes effective, not any other." Therefore, it behooves a spiritual aspirant
to seek solutions from a Self—realised Sadguru to progress in the path of liberation.
Our Acharyal, His Holiness Sri Abhinava Vidyatheertha Mahaswamigal, the 35th pontiff of Sri
Sringeri Sharada Peetam, was a living testimony to the scriptural declarations regarding a
Self-realised sage and a jivanmukta and, above all, an ideal Gum. He was a nonpareil yogi and had
been frequently abiding in nirvikalpa-samadhi, the pinnacle of yoga, ever since His teens. His own
perfection apart, His compassion, wisdom and complete freedom from egoism, made Him empathies with
His disciples, guide them in sadhana and raise them to the sublime heights of spiritual greatness.
Acharyal always accorded prime importance to spiritual aspirants. Here is an example. On one
brahmacari’s from North India arrived in Sringeri seeking clarifications from Acharyal on
spiritual issues. It was very late in the evening, just minutes before Acharya! Would normally
have proceeded for His evening bath. After giving them a patient hearing, Acharyal began His reply
in earnest. The question and answer session progressed and it was over two hours before Acharya!
finally clarified the celibates’ doubts. Even as the discussion was in progress, Aehr11y/z1/
remarked to one of His close disciples, who was a witness to the discussion, "How sincere they
are! They are leaving shortly and so, I do not mind My evening bath getting late. Their
requirements deserve top priority."
Acharyal’s elucidations to devotees consistently bore the stamp of His direct experience of the
Truth, His complete mastery of yoga, His unparalleled erudition in the sastra-s and His thorough
understanding of the requirements of the aspirants. A collection of such replies in the form of
dialogues between the disciples and Acharyal forms the main chapters of this book. More details
about the dialogues can be had from the "Note to the Readers about the Dialogues” page.
During the 35 years that He adorned the Sringeri Sharada Peetam, from 1954 to 1989, Acharyal
graced devotees with hundreds of speeches in various languages. Each one is a treasure trove of
knowledge. Extremely fortunate are those who have heard the nectar-like words of Acharyal on at
least one occasion. Select excerpts from the published benedictory addresses of the Jagadguru have
been incorporated in the various chapters of this book. They, invariably, shed more light on the
topics discussed in the dialogues.
Acharyal’s very life is a teaching to all of us. Disciples, who had the invaluable privilege of
personal contact, or even a short acquaintance with our Acharyal, could readily comprehend His
easy accessibility, childlike simplicity, universal love. intense devotion and deep erudition.
Without exception, all devotees experienced His unfailing blessings. The supplications and
submissions made to Acharyal by devotees seeking benefits, be they spiritual or material, have
borne fruits by His sagacious advices, blessings or even His mere physical presence. An attempt to
publish a host of such incidents recorded so far would, by itself warrant a voluminous
publication. Hence, a few select instances of devotees’ experiences with Acharyal have been
included in the appropriate chapters of this book.
Acharyal had the innate ability to effortlessly render even highly complex scriptural topics
easily and thoroughly intelligible by means of stories conceived by Him or based on the Vedas and
other works. Several of His edifying parables have been appended to the dialogues.
To sum up’ each chapter in the book features the dialogues as its principal component. The
supplements falling under the classification viz., `Discourses of Acharyal`, “Incidents from
Acharyal’s life’. `Parables of Acharyal’ and `Experiences of Devotees` follow this. Readers are
sure to observe differences in writing styles in the supplements. Especially in the portion
concerning the experiences of devotees. The variation in style is natural since the narrators’
written accounts have been retained, with minimal editing.
I received tremendous co-operation from the team that comprised Sri E.R. Ravikumar, Kum Rathna
Kamakshi, Sri V.Subrahmanian and Dr.V.Jayashankar in the selection, editing and proof-reading of
the portions that supplement the main dialogues. My thanking them for their sincere and tireless
efforts would only be tantamount to insulting their unflinching devotion to our Acharyal. I have
to also acknowledge the assistance rendered by Kum. M.Srividya and Sri Gopalakrishanan in typing
the portions of the book in digital form. I take this opportunity to express my gratitude to Sri
A.Ramaswamy, I.A.S., Sri K.Srinivasan, Sri K.Suresh Chandar, Kum. Meenakshi Lakshmanan and a few
other devotees whose sincere compilation, over the years, of experiences of devotees with Acharyal
has been extensively used in this book. All of us have witnessed the rapturous joy, which suffused
disciples when recollecting and narrating their treasured personal experiences with Acharyal.
The idea of supplementing the dialogues with Acharyal teachings and several of devotees’
experiences was conceived of by me just some ten days ago. I would like to believe that it was
divine grace that was responsible for such a proposition suddenly dawning on me. Once again,
solely by divine grace, the task taken has been completed in such a short span of time. The
treasure of valuable data available with us on our Acharyal is so huge that, at each stage of the
book, I was thoroughly discontented with myself for indiscriminately cutting down information.
Not satiated with the amount of information already packed in the book, each one of our team
members came up suggesting more and more data to be included, as everything appeared highly
pertinent. Ultimately, my decision was by default — I bowed down to time and space!
I own up complete responsibility for the deficiencies in the selection and editing of supplements
to the main chapters, the printing and every possible error in this publication. I may sound
humble, though I really am not.
I pray that, in His infinite compassion, Acharyal accepts this book that contains several flaws,
as a garland of assorted flowers. fresh and faded, offered by one who is bereft of true devotion.
Brahma Sutras (81)
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