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Sunday, April 19, 2015

Today is a very special day.- 'Sri Maha Periva's Life History".

 It was on this day, 13th February 1907 that young Swaminathan was initiated into Sanyasa (becoming an ascetic) to take over the reins of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam as the 68th Sankaracharya. He accepted the Deeksha (assigned) name of Sri. Chandrasekerandra Saraswathi, when He was only 13 years old.
An extract from the First Volume of our Ebook - Glimpses from 'Sri Maha Periva's Life History".

In the year 1906, the 66th Sankaracharya of the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam Sri Chandrasekarendra Swamigal was camping at a small village called Perumukkal in South Arcot District. To meet with this Guru, Subramania Sastrigal went with his family to Perumukkal. During the family’s 2-days stay at the village, the Guru had several meetings with young Swaminathan and asked him many questions. Impressed with Swaminathan’s answers, the Guru had instructed Sastrigal to bring him more often to the Guru’s camp.
Later, in compliance with the Guru’s instructions, Swaminathan accompanied his father many times to meet with the Guru. Thus began a fond relationship between the Guru and young Swaminathan. One day, Swaminathan was missing at his home. His parents were worried and searched all around. After spending two sleepless nights, the parents got a message that Swaminathan was safe at the Guru’s camp. Two days later, Swaminathan returned home. It was not clear as to how and why he went to meet the Guru.

Sometime in early February 1907, while Subramania Sastrigal was away at work in Tiruchy, his family received a telegram from the Guru’s camp requesting Sastrigal to bring Swaminathan immediately to Kanchipuram.
Realizing the importance and urgency of the matter, friends of Sastrigal sent the family members by train to Kanchipuram. At that time, the Guru was was camping at a small village called Kalavai – about 30 miles away from Kanchipuram. The officials at the Kanchi Mutt arranged to dispatch Swaminathan to Kalavai leaving the other family members in Kanchipuram. When the telegram was sent to Sastrigal, the Guru was suffering from small pox. Realizing that he may not live long, the Guru desired to appoint Swaminathan as his successor. He had instructed the Kanchi Mutt officials to call Swaminathan and his father Subramania Sastrigal. Accordingly, the mutt officials sent a telegram to Sastrigal asking him to come immediately with Swaminathan.
Unfortunately, before Swaminathan could reach Kalavai, the Guru had attained siddhi (a Sanskrit term to signify the passing away of a Guru). The Guru, in his final moments, had initiated his 18-year old disciple Lakshmikanthan (who was proficient in Rig Veda and was readily available) to succeed him. Therefore, Lakshmikanthan became the 67th Sankaracharya of the Kanchi Peetam. However, the ways of Almighty are strange and unpredictable! It so happened that the 67th Sankaracharya too suffered from an attack of small pox and lived only for 8 days after taking over. the Peetam. However, before attaining siddhi, he approved the appointment of young Swaminathan as his successor to the Kanchi Peetam.
Following the Guru’s desire, on the thirteenth day of February 1907, Swaminathan was initiated into Sanyasa (becoming an ascetic) to take over the reins of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam as the 68th Sankaracharya. He accepted the Deeksha (assigned) name of Sri. Chandrasekerandra Saraswathi.
Swaminathan’s parents were stunned at the unexpected turn of events. Becoming a Sanyasi is not an easy task for anybody, particularly for a 13-year old boy, as it involves a very strong personal discipline, meditation, worship and disconnection of the family members. They were most reluctant to give away their loving son to the Kanchi Peetam. The officials of the Kanchi mutt pleaded with them to spare Swaminathan for the welfare of the world at large and for the sake of other disciples at the mutt who urgently needed a Guru. Perplexed and not knowing what to do, Swaminathan’s parents did not have a ready response to the mutt officials. As if to relieve the great mental torture his parents were going through, the gentle Swaminathan offered salutations to his parents and told them, “Why do you hesitate? I have the fullest blessing of the Guru and I shall fulfill my duties as ordained. Please permit me to accept Sanyasam with your full heart.” Those words were a source of great solace to Swaminathan’s parents and they reconciled and gave permission to their son.
Thus, the bright young boy who was until then Swaminathan suddenly became a Sanyasi (an ascetic) renouncing all bondage with his family and his possessions. With a clean-shaven head and donning ochre robes, he looked magnificently like Adisankara himself. Quite aptly, he acquired the title of Sankaracharya. Later, devotees started addressing him as Periva. (Hereafter in this book, we revere him as Maha Periva to distinguish him from other Kanchi Perivas). After the renunciation event, Swaminathan’s parents returned home and never met him again. Later, if anyone ever asked about their son Swaminathan, the parents would just remain silent"

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