“Those who had, like myself, the inestimable privilege of personal contact and acquaintance with Jagadguru Sri Chandrasekhara Bharati Swamigal can alone appreciate how He was the very embodiment of the doctrines that He taught and practiced and how fully He demonstrated the possibility of a person being observant yet detached from everything that appertains to the lesser activities of the world”.
“It is well that the words of such a true Mahatma should be preserved for posterity and Sri R. Krishnaswami Aiyar deserves the thanks of evey oneofr having performed this pious duty with reverence and affection”.
Sri Jnanananda Bharati was well known in his Poorvashrama as Sri R. krishnaswami Aiyar of Tirunelveli. An erudite scholar and a staunch advaitine, he wrote a number of books on Vedanta and Gita and had translated into Tamil the Brahmasutra Bhashya, Panchadasi, Vivekachoodamani and many other Prakarna Granthas of Sri Sankara. His other three famous books on the Jagadguru are “Dialogues with the Guru”, “The Saint of Srinageri” and “The call of the Jagadguru”
With the blessings of H.H. Sri Bharathi Theertha Mahaswamigal, who is now gloriously adorning the Dakshinamnaya Sri Sharada Peetam of Sringeri as its 36th Pontiff, we are bringing out once again this valuable book ‘Sparks from A Divine Anvil’ written by Sri Jnanananda Bharathi. The book has always been the favorite of the discerning reading public ever since it was first published about 46 years ago.
Ardent Gurubhaktas Sri R.R. Venkatramani, a grandson of the great Sanatanist Diwan Bahadur Sri T.R.Ramachandra Iyer, and Sri S. Nataraja Iyer, the Managing Director of Ws Sankar Printers Pvt Ltd., who have been inspired with great devotion to Sri Mahaswamigal after reading this book, have on their own, taken up the responsibility to reprint the hook, so that it would reach a wider circle of seekers of Truth and Knowledge.
We thank both of them with all our hearts for the valuable service they have done to propagate the dharmic ideals and values preached by Sri Mahaswamigal.
At no time as at present has there been so much need for the uplifting presence of great men amongst us and for their guidance in our affairs. While all may not be fortunate enough to be in continual contact with such great souls, nevertheless, a remembered darana or conversation or even a report of their lives and sayings is often enough to lift our thoughts towards the higher verities of life and to restore the scale of values which we have left crumbling in our trivial preoccupations. The continuity of the fundamental values of our civilization has been maintained through the ages because of the presence of such saints in our midst and the
reverence and attention with which they have been received. One such great saint was Sri Candraekhara BharatI Sväminab who adorned the Jagadguru Pitha at Srangeri till September 1954.
I have had the good fortune to know intimately not only that great saint but also his illustrious predecessor Sri Saccidananda Siva Abhinava Nrsimha BhAratj Svãminah. I find it difficult to think of either of them without instantly recalling the other, for,-even though the former became the Pithadipati only after the latter had attained Siddhi in 1912, their ideals and their work fit together so smoothly.
Sri Nrsimha Bharati Svãminah was towering personality. One had only behold his effulgent face and calm, peaceful eyes to know that one was in the presence of a great soul in whom all confects and contradictions had ceased, and who had reached the pinnacle of spiritual development. The Sãstras and the Purãnas speak of the varcas that the 1is of old possessed. What the varcas was—that brilliance of look that words cannot describe—could have been known from a glimpse of His Holiness. The pupil whom he selected and trained and who later became Sri Candraekhara Bharati Svãminah was an eminently worthy successor. I cannot pay my reverence to them both better than by saying that they were in every sense worthy to have been the heads of the great Matha founded by Sri Sathkara Bhagavat-Padacarya.
It is our traditional view that the spiritual perceptiveness of a person and the spiritual eminence that he attains is the result of the accumulated impress of his actions in past lives. Only such a hypothesis—that all our actions bear, apart from their physical fruits, impresses upon us and determine the state of our being—can account for the wide disparity in spiritual evolution we find in this world. The lives of the two Gurus mentioned above, it seems to me, culminate the efforts of many past lives and illustrate the statement of the Lord in the Bhagavad Gita, VI 42-45:
Or, he is born in a family of Yogins rich in wisdom.
But a birth like this is indeed hard to get in this world.
Sri Candraekhara Bharati SvaminaI, known in his Purvärama as Ntsimha Sästri, was born in a very poor family, in an atmosphere of Vedäntic culture. Our tradition asserts that a birth into such circum-forms the ideal ground for the realisation of Vedãntic truths. He grew up amidst the privations of poverty and personal misfortunes. Titikyã and Vairigya seemed to have been born with him. He cared nothing for worldly life but devoted himself to his studies and the service of his parents.
He was among the first batch of students to study at the Geervana Proudha Vidyä Vardhini College founded by His Holiness in 1911 at the ath1cara Matha at Bangalore and carried on his studies in Pürva Mimãmsã under a most eminent professor of the time. This remarkable institution anticipated many of the institutions of advanced Sanskrit research flats came into being later any may well serve as a model for similar institutions that are proposed to be set up. In opening the college His Holiness said,
From the very beginning, the institution became famous as a centre of learning and its students subsequently became scholars of great repute in the Universities and Pathaalãs. But for some years past the time spirit has begun to invade this institution also with the result that it has not been functioning satisfactorily. It seems to me that, if the conditions of study sketched by His Holiness and maintained at the beginning are again restored, the institution would once again command the reputation it once enjoyed.
Nrsimha SãstrI had from the earliest years an innate and spontaneous control over his mind and senses. He would be quite oblivious of the numerous distractions around him and never interested himself in anything but his studies and introspection. He was very reserved and loved solitude. He would rarely talk and, when he did, he would say only what was strictly necessary. He was a ita (well trained) to the core.
He will not be restless with his hands or legs; he will not be restless in his eyes; he will be self-controlled; he will not be restless in his talk—such are the characteristics of a Sita.
When the time came, he was duly selected for the Jagadguru Pitha at Srañgeri in view of his keen intelligence, high character and noble qualities and during his headship of the Matha for over forty years he rigidly followed in the footsteps of his illustrious predecessors and maintained and enhanced the prestige and reputation of that Matha by his unrivalled learning and Atma SakyJtkJra and by his overflowing love and grace towards all who sought him.
Sri R. Krishnaswami Aiyar has sketched with admirable brevity the main events of the life of that saint and has, in the main body ‘‘f this book, collected a number of the Guru’s sayings in his conversations with those who came into contact with him. The author is already well-known for similar works like Dialogues with the Guru, The Call of the Jagadguru and The Saint of Srarngeri and also numerous excellent works on Advaita and Sanãtana Dharma. In writing this book, he has furthered the noble service he has been doing, not only to the devotees of the Srañgeri Maha but to the pious reading public in general to whom the Guru has become almost a legendary figure.
A noteworthy fact about the two Jagadgurus mentioned above was their insistence that none should speak disparagingly of other faiths, other philosophies, other Matbas or even persons. Sometimes over-zealous devotees provoked into an unfriendly attitude towards any of them would approach Their Illnesses, but both the Jagadgurus would make it clear in no uncertain terms that such an attitude was completely contrary to ordinary Dharma and more so to Sathnyasa Dharma.
That such great souls lived in our midst in the flot-toodistant past is enough to hearten us in our darkest days.
I feel keenly the honour done to me by the I author in his asking me to contribute a fore-word to this book.
The several aspects of our religion and practice have been so exhaustively dealt with
by a brilliant succession of saintly authors in our sacred land from time immemorial that it would seem impossible to throw further light upon them. It is only when the aspirant earnestly longs to realize the goal of life and determinedly seeks to place his foot on the path leading to it he comes to know that, however helpful books might be, there is still an imperative need for a competent guide to lead him on. The Guru does not attempt at thrusting ideas into the brain of the pupil but helps him to think for himself. Homely dialogue is found to be more useful and of more permanent effect than printed books, however interestingly written. That is why the Upanishads, the Purifies, the Ithaca’s and other sacred literature are mostly couched in the form of dialogues. Great souls who have lived and are living the true life do not ordinarily care to stoop to the level of authorship. Even if they do, their personal example and their occasional words of guidance will be found more potent to help the world than any book of theirs. Even their stray sayings embodying as they do the highest teachings in the simplest language appeal directly to the heart and the intellect of even the dullest of men.
Born on the morning of Sunday the 16th of October 1892 of Pandit Gopala stri and his devoted wife Lakmi Amba, His Holiness, then known as Narasimha Sastri, very early in life had the gracious blessings of His Holiness ri Saccidãnanda iva Abhinava Narasimha Bhãrati Svaminali who then graced the Sri Srañgeri Jagadguru Pitham. At the instance of His Holiness Himself,. Narasimha .ãstrI had his education in the Sadvidya Safijivini Pãthaãla at Srñgeri and later on joined the Sri athkara Mutt Pãthala at Bangalore for higher studies in Mimãmsä. Under the able guidance of Mahãmahopadhyãya Mimãmsä Kanthirava Vaidyanatha astrigal and Mahamah OPadh Ya Ya Vidyãnidhi Virupãka astragal, he easily mastered the sciences of Mimãmsã and Veclãnta. His Holiness who had been watching with great interest his progress in his studies, keenness of intellect, sincerity of purpose, simplicity of heart and nobility of character decided upon nominating him as His successor.. When His Holiness attained Siddhi, Narasimha Sãstri was duly given Sathnyãsa on the 7th of April 1912 under the name of Sri Candraekbara BhArati Svaminah and installed as the Head of the Sri ñgeri Jagadguru Mutt.
In addition to His daily duties, studies and practices, His Holiness the new Acarya directed His mind to the renovation of Sri Sãrnada Temple which had been commenced by His Predecessor and to the erection of a Temple over His Samadhi. The Kumbhäbhi exams of both the shrines were duly performed in the middle of 1916. After this was over, He set His mind on the practical realization of the ultimate Truth and began to spend more and more time in contemplation and tapas and in a very short time reached such an exalted stage of Self-Realization as could not be reached even in several lives of intense effort.
At the earnest request of His disciples, He undertook early in 1924 a tour of the southern districts. While at Mysore, with the valuable help of His Highness the then Maharaja of Mysore, His Holiness had a magnificent stone structure raised at the site where His illustrious .Acarya was born and consecrated a beautiful marble image of His there. It needs no saying that He had a very hearty and enthusiastic welcome wherever He went. In addition to the Veda Pathaãla which had been started at His instance at Kãladi, He inaugurated in 1927 a Vedanta Pãthaalä also for advanced students. Under His orders, a street of houses was also built for the accommodation of the teachers and students and the Temple servants and of occasional visitors. On His way back to Srañgeri towards the end of 1927, He founded a Pãthaa1ã at Nafljangüd also. During the tour, His Holiness not only showed Himself a perfect master of learning and a great spiritual power but endeared Himself to all people and they found in Him a sincere friend and guide.
His method of teaching was unique; from the simplest facts of ordinary life He would draw many a useful lesson. He did not believe in mass propaganda in matters of religion but stressed great emphasis on mdividual effort.
On the 22nd of May 1931, He installed a. young boy named Srinivãsa as the Junior Svami under the name of Sri Abhinava Vidyatirtha Svaminab. Though He took interest in the education and training of the young Swãmi, He preferred very often to retire into Himself and was lost in communion with the Absolute. All the same He was prevailed upon to undertake an informal tour to Bangalore in 1938; while there, He consecrated a fine temple for Sri ãradA in the premises of the ri athkara Mutt there. From Bangalore, he proceeded to Kãladi where he stayed for about ten months. Early in 1940 he returned to Srañgeri.
Since then His retirement was so complete that it was only very rarely that the discip1es had the opportunity of seeing Him and paying their respects to Him in person. In 1953, however, with His gracious permission a Sahasracandi Home and an Atirudra Mahã Yajfia were performed on a very grand scale at Srangeri under the auspices of the Junior Svãmi. A few weeks after these functions, His Holiness came out and resumed His normal routine and was also pleased to receive and bless the disciples quite freely as He used to do of old. It may be mentioned that Dr. Rajendra Prasad was one of those who were so blessed. It would now appear that His return to normal life was deliberate in view of His impending disappearance from our midst. On Sunday the 26th of September 1954, His Holiness got up very early even before the break of dawn, walked coolly into the stream of the river Tunga and shuffled off His mortal coil. There were no signs of drowning or suffocation and this baffled all doctors and others who sought a physical explanation for spiritual possibilities. His sacred body was duly interred in a site close to that of His beloved predecessor and an equally beautiful edifice is now being raised there.
Such is a brief outline of the outward life of the Saint who is the “Divine Anvil” in this book. Readers desirous of more detailed and interesting particulars are referred to the book, The Saint of Srañgeri.
It is my purpose here to give a free rendering of some of the valuable words which fell from the lips of that saintly Acarya. I have in my earlier publications, The Saint of nageri, Dialogues with the Guru and The Call of the Jagadguru given samples of His method of exposition, conversational and otherwise. I confine myself here to a few scintillating thoughts which found expression when some fortunate disciples casually contacted Him. At the desire of some friends who have heard me speak about His Holiness, .1 have added also some incidents which may interest the general reader and will certainly interest Ills devotees and from which the earnest seeker may gather many a useful lesson to guide him in his daily life. That His Holiness occupied the famous seat of learning founded by the great Sri Sathkarä Carya was the least among His qualifications. That He realized Truth and lived it is sufficient to endow His sayings and the incidents connected with Him with incalculable value to all.
I respectfully record here my grateful thanks to my esteemed friend Sri G. Sreenivasa Ayer who, in his weak health, has out of his deep devotion to His Holiness been kind enough to grace this publication with his valuable Foreword.
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