Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal Aradhana Special – The Greatness of HH Pudhu Periyava

Many Jaya Jaya Sankara to Shri Jai Shankar for the share. Pudhu Periyava Thiruvadigale Sharanam. Rama Rama

The Greatness of HH Pudhu Periyava

An era has just ended in the hoary history of the Kanch Kamakoti Math, with the Maha Samadhi of Sri Pudhu Periyavaa… Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal , the 69th Peetadhipathi of the Kamakoti Peetam. There is an overwhelming sense of loss and despair amongst the devotees of the math and the Acharya. It is even more significant if one dispassionately considers the deep impact that Sri Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal had left on every aspect of the math functioning.
He was chosen as the successor to Maha Periyava (as his predecessor Sri Sri Chandrasekarendhra Saraswathi  Swamigal was known to all) at the young age of 20 and for almost four decades lived under shadow of the towering Maha Periyava.

It is a very difficult thing in any human activity to be the second in command, while the number one is in absolute control and is a larger than life kind of personality, which the Maha Periyava was, very deservingly of course. He was a very disciplined deputy and was known for his total devotion to the Maha Periyava, a fact that those closely linked to the Math can vouch for.

The four decades that he was with his senior, were very difficult times for the Sanadhana dharma (Hinduism if one were to use a contemporary terminology), as this state had often had elected governments, where the ruling party was inimical to the faith in general and to the math and its followers in particular. Caste based politics and the resultant bitterness was far too obvious to escape the notice of even a casual traveler to the state. The math had to break out of its traditional moorings and reach out to the people at large, as missionaries of the Abrahamic faiths were creating havoc in the coastal and southern districts of the state of TN, causing great level of anxiety to the people and the government. Unfortunately, the successive state governments did precious little to stem the rot and were almost mute spectators to the gross misuse of religious freedom enshrined in the constitution.

It was in these circumstances that Sri Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal decides to break the perceived shackles of Sanyas and enter the social world to put a brake on the large scale conversions that were taking place resulting in levels of social unrest hitherto unseen and unheard of. He realized at the very beginning that the only way we can stop this was to shed the faith of the caste based discriminations and erase the dividing line between the math and the Hindus of so called lower castes. This strategy, expectedly, met with stiff resistance and derisive comments not only from within the math but also from Hindus outside, especially the upper caste Hindus (more importantly a section of the Brahmin community). What was not observed correctly and appreciated by most commentators was that in braking the caste based discrimination and uniting the Hindus under one identity, he had inevitably invited the wrath of the minority missionaries and the so called secular brigade.

Unmindful of all this, Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal went about his tasks of uniting the Hindus through service, through such organizations like Jan Kalyan, Jan Jagran, etc. He was given unconditional support by the RSS, Hindu Munnani and Viswa Hindu Parishad etc., making it even more uncomfortable for the minority outfits. Given the source of limitless funds and other resources, the minority institutions could play havoc with the hapless math and the Acharya, which they did with aplomb.

Meanwhile, Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal initiated various activities like revival of old dilapidated temples, revision of wages for poojaris/archakas of small village temples, educational institutions for the economically weaker sections, health care through numerous hospitals etc. The last two were going to earn him bigger enemies who were raking in crores through their own private institutions in these fields. Here again the minority community question was inevitably linked, especially the Christian lobby. That’s what finally landed him in the mess that was Sankara Raman murder case. He touched those areas that were invariably linked to the minority-politician nexus which has an unimaginably huge muscle power in our country, especially in states like TN, where anti-Hindu parties have been in power for long.

What am I talking about?? Yes, a Hindu seer dared to stand up to this nexus and refused to budge and paid with his reputation, dignity, health and the overall image of the Math and himself. Here comes the irony. In this hour of despair he didn’t have anyone of substance backing him unconditionally, something unthinkable in other faiths. Those avowed devotees of the Math were more than ready of believe the media’s concocted stories. The political class was seeing what was politically convenient and taking such a stance. BJP and RSS with the other Hindu outfits were the only ones which were even prepared to consider getting to the truth.

The Hindu community in TN should have risen as one and resisted the media’s preplanned character assassination of the seer and forced the powers that be to behave. They failed him collectively. More blatant was the Brahmin community’s response. A whole lot of them were ready to believe the media than see the opposite side’s version. That some of the worst detractors of the Math and Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal, at that time, were people from the community itself, is the most bitted fact. This attitude comes from their appointing themselves judges of how the Acharyas should conduct themselves and how the Math should be administered. This is from a community wherein not even 10% of the people observe their daily chores as stipulated in the shastras (nithyakarma anushtaanam), a good percentage take alcoholic beverages regularly, consume non-vegetarian food, a vast majority skip offerings to their ancestors via tharpanam, shrardham, etc.

The worse is most of them compare Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal with his predecessor the Maha Periyava and make derisive comments against the former. First, the comparison itself is completely unfair to both and is completely lacking in common sense as they both were working on different planes and at different times and very, very different set of circumstances. The efforts of Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal in getting all Hindus (okay, a majority if not all) to identify with the Math as a representative of the Hindu faith, are incomparable. His contribution in getting rid of the Math’s Brahmin Tag, was singularly responsible for people of all communities identifying with the Math. It is the result of his efforts that brought a vast cross section of the Hindu society to oppose the activities of DK, DMK and other Anti-Hindu activists, whenever the latter crossed the boundaries of decent politics and were bordering on selective outrage.

Their animosity towards him multiplied when political leaders and religious scholars from across the nation consulted him on the Ayodya issue which he offered to help resolve. While many Muslim organization from UP as well as TN welcomed his efforts and offered to accept his recommendations, the Anti-Hindu political outfits in TN were systematically instigating an opposition to his effort, with clearly a vote bank mindset.

In a nutshell, one can see clearly, how the forces opposed to national interest could use the media and the powers that be to malign an important religious head of the majority community and thereby weaken the faith’s popular support thereby aiding in conversion. It is an irony that the so called forward castes failed to see this and instead put him on the accused stand and made him stand the trial by media.

Despite my great hesitation, I have to give a piece of my mind to my Brahmin friends, many of whom had declared him guilty even before the case was in court, just going by the media outrage. Many disgruntled elements within this community, who had either disagreement with the Math in general or with the seer in particular, exploited this opportunity and poured venom in the guise of writing commentary. And of late, there are many who go around claiming to be great devotees of the Maha Periyava (the numbers have grown exponentially after his Maha Samadhi), which is good if they restrict to expressing their devotion to him. The unkindest cut of all that Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal had to stomach was that good percentage of these so called devotes of the Maha Periyava were great critics of Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal and were almost dismissive of him.

To them, I ask, “Who are you to judge him? What is your qualification to do so? Do you know the kind of positive transformation he had brought about in the way the Math was perceived by the common Hindu outside the so called devotee crowd that you make up? How many of you live the way the shastras recommend? Have you ever cared to go to the institutions run by the Math and learnt how they are administered and how the funds are made available? Have you ever gone to any of those hospitals run by the Math and found out for yourselves as to how patient care is offered there and how the beneficiaries perceive these?? Many of you may not have any answers to these questions, because, you go by what the media vomits as news and sit in your living room and pass judgements against a man who dared to challenge those very forces and showed he could succeed.

It is the quirk of fate or irony of justice in this country that he had to go through the worst for daring to oppose those forces and his greatest failing was that he thought he had us behind him. For sure, we were behind him, but not to support, but to push him down.

We are ungrateful people who never deserved Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal. We did not respect his sincere efforts at bringing in the changes that were desperately needed. We did not have the guts to stand by him when forces inimical to our national interest were hounding him out. We now shed crocodile tears at his passing away. Shame on us for our hypocrisy.

He must be giving his famous disarming smile looking down at us from wherever he is now. At least from now on, let us carry on the good work started by him and compensate for all the dishonor and insults that we have heaped on him. I would dare say that, no single Acharya from the Sankara lineage could have contributed so extensively in critical social areas as His Holiness Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal had done in the last three decades (or longer). More than ever before, we needed him now as the forces inimical to the nation and Hindu religion are gathering great strength and momentum to give one last shot at denying this nation its Hindu identity. We have to defeat this at all costs and for that we need a few more Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal.

Jaya Jaya Sankara Hara Hara Sankara!

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21 replies

  1. Well,I didn’t even read the article as I am thoroughly convinced on the greatness of Periyava SriSri Jayendra. He had revealed who He is to many and they will not strain to express what they feel on His greatness. Thanks.

  2. Great article, well written and emoted eloquently. Proud of you Sir. Your braveness has to be applauded. I always used to wonder how such a Child Like Smiling Periyava can be even thought in such a manner. Whenever someone talks derogatory about him I would fell so upset and would ask right on their face first we need to think if we are even fit to comment about him, we can’t even forego the morning coffee which Mahaperiyava asked us to but roll up our sleeves to comment on The Periyava Who was chosen by none other than Our Esteemed Mahaperiyava. Can we even dream Mahaperiyava can be wrong in choice of his successor, is he not Sarvanyani as we all adore today? I usually go to Mahaperiyava’s adhistanam behind Kanchi Mutt, this time I prayed at Pudhu Periyava’s Brindhavam and I felt so elated and could feel lot of energy there. He was no simple human while in Life and no lesser Aatma now, I earnestly feel even Ram Janama Bhoomi victory has to be dedicated to his penance and there is lots more to happen with his Sukshma roopam. Feeling blessed to have been alive during his Life. Jaya Jaya Sankara Hara Hara Sankara.

  3. Firstly the word dhandam is wrong it should be referred to as brahma dhandam
    Also we gruhastas have no right to comment about a sanyasi and his tools of sainthood.
    Having said that beyond a point a realised sanyasin does not need brahma dhandam as the powers are embibed within them as is the case with avadhootha ashrama further sringeri periyavas does not carry their brahma dhandam always with them though they are also of the sankara parampara

    • In normal usage, the staff carried by a Shankarite Sanyasi is simply referred to as “Dandam”. though the cloth knot on top of it is known as “Brahma knot”.
      I find that Mahaperiyava himself has used the expression ‘Dandam in two contexts.
      1. Referring to the Brahmacharins, he said: ” If he is a Brahmin, he must keep a staff (danda) of palasa, if he is a Ksatriya a staff of asvattha. The VAisya brahmachari has a staff of udumbara. The staff helps the student to retain his learning.”
      ( Hindu Dharma, translated by RGK, page 537)
      2 About Sanyasis of Shankara parampara, he has said:
      “நமக்கு (சங்கர மரபுத் துறவிகளுக்கு) ஏக தண்டம் என்றால் அவர்கள் ( ஸ்ரீ வைஷ்ணவர்கள்) த்ரிதண்டி ஸன்யாஸிகள் என்பதாக மூன்று தண்டங்களை ஒன்றாகக் கட்டி வைத்துக் கொண்டிருக்கிறார்கள் ” [ தெய்வத்தின் குரல், ஐந்தாம் பகுதி, பக்கம் 668]
      So, our Paramacharya has used the term ‘dandam’.

      Whatever other Sanyasis of other Mutts may do, why should we bother about it?
      About the importance of ‘Dandam’ in Kanchi Mutt, there is a telling incident. Once Mahaperiyava was sitting under a tree, keeping the dandam on the ground, supported by the tree. A strong wind blew and knocked the dandam away. A cowherd boy who was grazing his animals nearby saw it, ran towards it, picked it up and brought it before Mahaperiyava and said “Sami, your dandam fell down and I have brought it”. Paramacharya did not say anything. As only a few pundits knew the technique and rituals of the Brahma Knot, they were sent for . Paramacharya went into Kashta maunam and fasted. It took 30 hours for another dandam to be made ready with the Brahma knot, and the pundits who did it had also refrained from food. Paramacharya broke his maunam after 30 hours and said that the cowherd boy had received all the tapas of that dandam by touching it, and he must have been a high soul in the previous birth.
      The full details of this incident can be seen in a post in this very blog “Sami, I Picked up your Dhandam!” dated 10 September, 2016.

      Sir, it is not a joke to carry or leave the dandam!
      I am sorry for this late response.

  4. Nanjappa – your word is full of vishamam and visham. We are all arm chair experts with not even ounce of knowledge faulting Pudhu Periyava.

    Instead of writing eloquently about Him in negative way you could have done Bhaja Govindam. You are not educated enough to express or even have an opinion about the Periyavas. You probably aren’t qualified to express In your chosen livelihood in which you spent many decades but so easily have an opinion on These Periyavas with May be 100 hours of reading

    We should all refrain from expressing opinion about these Sanyasis. It will not affect them but will definitely affect your sandhadhis

    • This outburst does not deserve a reply, but the correct position should be stated.
      I have not said anything derogatory or disrespectful about Jayendra Periyava personally. He was not only a Sanyasi, but also head of a Mutt. As a mathathipadhi, he was a public figure and naturally his activities attracted public notice and comments. As a follower of the Mutt for 55 years ( and not a late comer to the ranks) I think I can express my opinion., that too in a forum meant for followers. I just mentioned some well known Vishayams.

      I had referred to the socio-political situation of Tamil Nadu which has not been congenial to the Hindu religious activities . The fact is that Kanchi Mutt is one of Shankara Mutts, bound by its hoary tradition, and its limitations.. It is difficult in these times to keep to that tradition- this is well understood by all. This is also admitted in the main article in different words.

      I had not commented on Jayendra Saraswati the Sanyasi, or on his person but only as head of the Mutt. In this connection, the two facts I had mentioned are already well known,though people do not want to talk about them.. One was the false case foisted on him which we all knew was false. The moment Supreme Court granted him bail and made its observations that there was nothing in the case, we knew the outcome, though the formal course took its own time. This was a difficult time for us all. I have not mentioned any reasons, based on rumours, or paper stories ,beyond what is known. How does it become negative?

      The other fact was the incident of his leaving the Mutt in August 1987.. This too is not my imagination or insinuation, but a historical fact. I have merely said that this incident jeopardised the very existence of the Mutt. This is a well known matter in the circle though no one wants to admit it openly. How does writing about this historic fact become negative? I have not attributed any motives or alluded to any rumours. In an interview granted to Frontline magazine, Jayendra Periyava himself had said:

      “It was not sudden, though I did not take leave of anybody. I got the Lord’s message on two things when I meditated at Tirupati in early July. The first was to launch a national movement for spiritual, economic and national awakening of the people and the second was to take a sankalpa (solemn vow). If I had told anybody about my departure, they might have stopped me or persuaded me to put off my departure. That is why I had to go unannounced.”

      Now the question is, was this initiative and the sankalpa to be in his personal capacity or as the official head of the Kanchi Mutt? No one would have objected to the initiative in his personal capacity as a Sanyasi, but the manner of his sudden absence from the Mutt did pose a huge legal challenge. And how could he involve the whole Mutt in this affair, when Paramacharya was still around? This is what the old followers of the Mutt could not stomach. Does stating this fact amount to writing negatively?

      Nobody else could be like Paramacharya. We do not expect successors to be copy cats of the old heads. The differences in personal style and preferences are well known, and are accepted. But when it comes to conflict with the established tradition of an orthodox mutt. that is where the problem arises
      especially for the older followers.
      People with fresh ideas could always start new institutions! Who objects?

      We do admit that others may think differently- that is why we share our views when there is an opportunity. History alone can pronounce the correct verdict. Then, why should differing views cause bitterness among followers? Can we not disagree without being disagreeable?

  5. Agree with whatever Sri Nanjappa has said and he has summed up very nicely.

    MahaPeriyava was clear that the root cause of Hinduism’s decline and the opposition to it by other forces is primarily due to Brahmins abandoning their swadharma. Unfortunately many of today’s brahmins owing allegiance to the various Sankara Maths are trapped between their roots and the pull of the modern materialistic life – they can neither follow their svadharma fully nor abandon it. Maha Periyava himself mentions this and seems to sympathise with their plight. That is why there is no respect for brahmins today – sometimes they claim to be orthodox while at other times they are steeped in material pursuits and pleasures. There was a time when we had Brahmins who were tapasvins , lived by the shastras and their words would come true. They were also much respected by the society. (Sri Kavyakanta Ganapati Muni comes to my mind). Where are such now ?

    To restore the former glory of our religion , it seems that one must either follow (fully) the path shown by Maha Periyava or the paths shown by Sri Ramakrishna and Sri Ramana Maharshi. All of these paths imply leading a very simple , humble and austere life focused on God consciousness and devoid of big materialistic aims. Then leave the rest to God. Instead if we think that we can change society just by our own efforts and propaganda (devoid of spiritual strength) it is mere folly. That is the job of Mahans who are born for a specific purpose (like Maha Periyava did). If we are sincere ours is to follow the path shown by them., Debates and discussions won’t help. Sri Ramana used to say that silent meditation will have more power than several lectures delivered on a platform to thousands. just my humble thoughts.

  6. A good piece and the main message that Pudu Periava made a huge contribution to our Sanadhana Dharma is very well taken.

    Maha Periava, ( as is evident from his discourses in Tamil on “Madham”) was clearly of the view that the mere presence of a true Gnani was enough to counter the negative forces arrayed against our Dharma. In his view, any faith or Madham grew or declined not based upon the strength or the weakness of the teachings but rather on the personal life example and the spiritual strength of the Guru or Prophet. in that sense, Pudu Periava’s approach to fighting conversion etc. was a departure from Maha Periava’s.

    That said, one can easily understand that they were operating at two different philosophical planes, not dissimilar to the duo of Shri Rama Krishna Paramahamsa and his disciple Swami Vivekananda. Ramakrishna was an orthodox Brahmin priest immersed in his Bhakti of Kali and never moved out of Dakshineshwar, while Vivekanada traveled everywhere and took upon himself the task of propagating and establishing our Upanishads and vedantic teachings. While Vivekananda was himself considered a realized soul, his strength and success however came from his devotion to and the spiritual strength of his esteemed Guru.

    In the same manner, Pudu Periava, himself a Gnani, owed his success and strength to his devotion to his revered Guru and his Thapas. Let us take to heart his example of deep Guru Bhakti on this day of his Aradhana.

    • it is pertinent that you have mentioned the relationship between Sri Ramakrishna and Vivekananda. Sri Ramakrishna was solely devoted to God Consciousness . He did not bother about the social or political movements of the times. [ conversion by Christians was a big issue then]. But he did express critical views about the reform movements of the day. like the Brahmo Samaj. He called them modern ‘Brahmajnanis’ ( ie those devoted to pursuit of formless Brahman), but he did tell them that God also had forms and that those who were devoted to worship of God with form were also true devotees. The Brahmo Samaj had copied Christian practices, including aversion to Image worship to attract educated young Bengalees. Vivekananda and many of his Guru bhais were members of Brahmo Samaj when they came to Sri Ramakrishna. However, Sri Ramakrishna gradually changed the mind of their leader Keshab Chandra Sen who came to accept Mother Goddess.The Brahmo Samaj split into factions. This always happens to every reform movement. For, once you start changing the old order, one does not know where it will stop! This is exactly what Mahaperiyava said in respect of making changes in our tradition. ( He also said that he had come in the tradition, and he did not have the authority to change it.)

      Now, was Vivekananda a realised soul? It would appear not, almost till the end. The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna records a remarkable incident. Vivekananda (Narendranath then) was very eager to have Samadhi experience, which he did not have in spite of his learning and leaning towards spirituality. One day during his final illness, Sri Ramakrishna just touched Naren and induced in him the experience of Samadhi. After some time, he brought him back to normalcy and said that the Mother had shown Naren everything but that it would remain under lock and key, himself (Sri RK) keeping the key! Naren would find the treasure again, only after Mother’s work was completed! This clearly shows that all that Vivekananda did was in a state of non-realisation. In fact, in a letter written on 18 April. 1900 to Josephine from California , Vivekananda stated that much of his work was useless and he merely wanted to reach Mother’s feet.

      In founding the RK Math and Mission,( essentially on the Vatican model) Vivekananda went beyond what his Master had taught him. He gave up the sole concern with God-centered life, which was what Sri Ramakrishna taught all his life. Many of his fellow disciples were against taking up social work which was not taught by Sri RK, though he insisted on individual charity and help to the poor. But the other brothers were silenced, mainly due to the stature Vivekananda had acquired.

      But where did this zeal for social work end? It ended in the RK Math claiming that Sri Ramakrishna was NOT a Hindu!

      The Math went to the High Court and Supreme Court claiming that Ramakrishna was not a Hindu, that Vivekananda had abandoned Hinduism, that the Math and its followers were a minority, following RAMAKRISHNAISM! They submitted hundreds of pages to the courts on these lines. All this because they were finding it difficult, as a Hindu organization, to carry on their educational activities in the left-ruled state. Finally the Supreme court told them in 1995 that they were Hindus!

      Sri Ramakrishna also said that cults/religions rose by the will of God and would also disappear by the will of God, But Sanatana Dharma, the eternal religion founded by the Rishis would alone endure. Alas! The RK Math has given up this stand also, and has taken the line that all religions are equally true!

      This is the problem that Hindu Mutts will face in India in taking up social and educational activities. They do not enjoy the rights and privileges which alien religions enjoy on our soil, due to their minority status. Our secular governments openly support the minorities, and any support to HIndu organization would be dubbed communal!

      • Sir , I doubt that Swami Vivekananda did anything not ordained for him by Sri Rama Krishna. The latter himself says that the former came to do “Mother’s work” only.
        Perhaps there is a greater Divine plan in Swamiji going to the west , in his doing other activities and in Sri RK himself proclaiming that all religions lead to the same goal.

      • +Kannan J Sir, you have raised two important points.
        1. It is true that Sri Ramakrishna said that Naren had come to do Mother’s work. But what was that work was not disclosed or indicated by him, except to say that Naren would “teach”. But what would he teach?
        Holy Mother had a vision in which she saw Thakur Sri Ramakrishna crossing the waters and being surrounded by foreigners – white people. She understood this to mean that the message of Sri Ramakrishna would be taken to foreign lands and that there would be many foreign followers.
        The work done by Vivekananda can be assessed from his Complete Works. The material in these nine volumes is not arranged chronologically. But if we study it in a chronological order, we can notice the differences in his approach and opinions between his first and second visits abroad. In the first visit, his main job was to represent Hinduism in the Parliament of Religions. That itself was odd, because he did not belong to any recognised order, and he was not deputed by any order of Hindus, but he went on his own. [ He was writing to his disciples in Madras for some letter of support or approval.] He was eminently successful at the Parliament, just for his personality- the moment he stood up and said Sisters and brothers of America, he drew tremendous applause, even before he could utter any more words! Thereafter, he went on public lectures and conducting classes for close followers. It was noticed by some that on the days he gave his lectures, there would be different voices heard in his room, even though no one else was present! This is taken to mean that Sri Ramakrishna himself was teaching him what to talk.So this was the Mother’s work that Vivekananda was to do- to establish the greatness of Hindu religion in the non-Hindu world. This was during the initial stages of the first visit.
        During the first visit, he was impressed by American prosperity, organization, the education, boldness and independence of women,etc. But during the second visit, he got disillusioned and changed his opinions.

        But what did he do or accomplish in India? If we read the Lectures from Colombo to Almora delivered on his return from the first visit, he touched upon so many social issues bordering on reform which was totally different from the approach of Sri Ramakrishna!, Sri Ramakrishna was establishing the Truth and Relevance of our ancient religion, the truth and relevance of the Veda, Purana and other Hindu lore and practice even in these modern times. But he stressed that the path of Bhakti as shown by Narada was the most suitable path for the Kali Age. Vivekananda strayed away from this path, and made Sri Ramakrishna a cult figure. Is this Mother’s work, too?

        2. Sri Ramakrishna did certainly proclaim that all religions led to the same goal. But does it mean that all religions are equally true?
        Sri Ramakrishna was totally soaked in the spirit of God, entirely immersed in the consciousness of God. He could see God in a prostitute, even in the mating of dogs. Does this apply to others? So his saying that all religions led to the same goal was a reflection of his personal state of exalted divine experience, not an objective truth.This is what we call Mysticism or Perennial Philosophy where the direct Divine experience is of a universal character. But this is at the highest level of spiritual consciousness, characteristic of evolved souls, beyond sectarian divisions. This is the spirit we see in the Veda, which proclaims “EKAM SAT, VIPRAH BAHUDA VADANTI. So this is not something new or peculiar invented by Sri Ramakrishna but the core attitude of Vedic dharma. That is why the ordinary Hindu is imbued with the spirit of respect for all religions.

        But can we make a fetish of this and turn it into a cult doctrine, as the RK Math is doing? Was this the work of Sri Ramakrishna, or his most important teaching? In the entire Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna running into a 1000 pages, we cannot find more than two or three references to this idea, while the rest of the book ( being the chronicle of 4.5 years) is full of the praises of Hindu religion! Once a disciple did remark to Holy Mother that SRi Ramakrishna had shown wonderfully that all religions were paths to the same goal . The Holy Mother told him: .
        “மகனே, நீ சொல்கின்ற சர்வ சமய சமரசக் கருத்து உண்மைதான். ஆனால் இந்த உண்மையைப் போதிப்பதற்காகத்தான் அவர் பல்வேறு மதங்களைப் பின்பற்றினார் என்று எனக்குத் தோன்றவில்லை. இரவு பகலாக அவர் இறை எண்ணங்களில் தோய்ந்து, பரவச நிலைகளில் ஆழ்ந்து கிடந்தார். இந்து மதத்தின் பல நெறிகள் மூலமும் கிறிஸ்தவ மற்றும் இஸ்லாம் சமயங்கள் மூலமும் அவர் பல்வேறு விதங்களீல் அந்த ஒரே பரம்பொருளை உணர்ந்து மகிழ்ந்தார். என்னைப் பொறுத்தவரை குருதேவரின் சிறப்புப் பண்பு துறவுதான். இப்படியோர் இயல்பான துறவை வேறு யாரிடமாவது காணமுடியுமா? துறவே அவரது அணிகலன்.” [ அன்னை ஸ்ரீ சாரதா தேவி- சுவாமி ஆஶுதோஷானந்தர், 2008, பக்கம் 127. The English version can be seen in Swami Gambhirananda’s book on the Holy Mother, page 463]

        We must also remember that Sri Ramakrishna was supposed to have followed these alien religions just for three days! And under Islam, he was taught by a converted Sufi, and Sufism itself is not accepted as the authentic form of Orthodox Islam.
        Sri Ramakrishna also used to say that one could enter a house through the front door or the rear door by a lane, meant for scavengers ( an arrangement of those days). He referred to Tantra as such a back door. So such claims about all religions being equally true should be taken with tremendous caution and due circumspection. This was not the main teaching of Sri Ramakrishna. While it is true at a high intellectual or spiritual level, the different religions differ significantly in various details. One can reach Delhi by train plane car bullock cart or even walking. They all reach Delhi, but are they all equal? Among all the religions of the world, Hinduism alone calls men “amrutasya putra”- children of Immortality. it alone teaches toral , absolute freedom- Mukti, Liberation as the goal of life. To say all religions are equally true is a shibboleth, mere slogan, not a practical path for the serious aspirant.
        [The book ‘God Is Not One’ by Stephen Prothero explains the differences among religions in detail.]

        Sri Ramakrishna was a worshipper of Divine Mother, and thus a true Hindu as Hindu religion alone worships God as Mother.
        Ya devi sarva bhuteshu maatru roopena samsthitha,
        Namasthasiyai, namasthasyai namasthasyai namo nama:

  7. To whom so it may your concern
    I request Mahaperiyava devotiees, Please post your articles in Tamil so that many devotees can read
    the article. Mahaperiyava will speak only in tamil when he was stay in tamilnadu. He will talk local launguge according to the state where he was stay…. Thanks to all

  8. Jaya Jaya Sankara Hara Hara Sankara. Saranam saranam Janakiraman. Nagapattinam

  9. This kind of open discussion is surprising in this form, though it is welcome. There are no doubts about the personal greatness of HH Sri Jayendra Saraswati Swamigal. Just one incident to show this. When he visited Nagpur in April 1973 to lay the foundation stone for the South Indian temple complex. it just rained- which is unusual in that area in summer, as Nagpur receives rains only during the monsoon. We were all standing in that scorching heat on the hot ground, and what a relief it was to get that shower!
    It is true that it is difficult to live under the shadow of a great personalty for so many years, just as it is difficult for children, however gifted, to live and shine under the shadow of illustrious and famous parents.

    But there are other aspects to this issue. The anti-Hindu sentiment in Tamil Nadu branched off from the original anti-Brahmin movement of the Justice Party, which was encouraged by the British. It was mainly for the spoils of office, ( against the perceived domination of Brahmins in government service )and many of the original leaders of this movement were staunch Hindus of various sects. ( it was the same British who encouraged Muslim separatism, resulting in Pakistan.) But later, it morphed into the Dravidian movement, with its virulent anti-Brahmin, anti-Hindu stance, as both were perceived as Aryan. When the so called Dravidian sentiment did not gather support in other Southern states, it further morphed into a chauvinist pro-Tamil, anti- Brahmin, anti-Hindu movement. This continues to this day. As the Aryan -Dravidian theory is still taught through the government-controlled education system,, this sentiment is inculcated in young minds and becomes default position. Anti-Brahminism is the other side of the coin of anti-Hinduism. You can verify this talking to any non-Brahmin Tamil youth of today.

    Can this be changed by any Swami from the orthodox circles? Doubtful. The orthodox circles stand on traditional interpretation of Varnasrama dharma- which is not accepted by the anti-Hindu forces, and even by reformist Hindu movements like RSS. Can Jayendra Saraswati or any other Swami representing a traditional Mutt disown this heritage? If not, any talk of social change is just that-mere talk, or a mere show.

    Conversion has been going on in India for centuries. It was Dr. Ambedkar who pointed out the dirty and despicable ways adopted by the Abrahamic religions in the matter of conversion. He also pointed out how thoroughly anti-national they were. And when he decided to leave the Hindu fold, he embraced Buddhism, which is also an Indian Dharma based religion. But no other national leader-be it Gandhi or Nehru- had the courage to call a spade a spade. The government of free India has looked upon conversion with benign indifference, if not silent encouragement. In the circumstances, it was highly unpolitic for the official Head of an orthodox HIndu Mutt to jump into fray direct. Some other non-Brahmin organizations/personalities are doing it better. No matter how hoarse these orthodox Mutts shout, they will always be identified with Brahmin orthodoxy and would not cut ice with the general public in Tamil Nadu.

    More than this, there was something totally unacceptable in the manner in which Sri Jayendra Saraswati left the Mutt and went away. He left even the Dandam. Since he was the official head of the Mutt at the relevant time, directly responsible for its administration, this act left the Mutt in a dangerously vulnerable situation: apart from his leaving the Mutt, leaving the Dadam meant that he had even discarded Sanyasa and his vows. That meant that the Mutt was literally abandoned- the government could have easily taken it over! Thus, the manner of Sri Jayendra Saraswati leaving the Mutt jeopardised the whole Mutt. Is this justifiable or acceptable? [ I know personally that it was Tiruchi Swamigal, sitting in Bangalore, who sent an emissary with a Dandam to Sri Jayendra Periyava , located at Tala Cauvery, convincing him that it was wrong on his part to have left the Dandam.] It was because the HRCE minister at the time happened to be a devotee of Mahaperiyava that the Mutt was saved or spared.

    This is not the first time a conflict in approach had appeared in the Kanchi Mutt. HH Sri Bodhendra Saraswati ( 1610-1692 ) , the 59th Pontiff of the Mutt, had felt that the orthodox ways would not hold or suffice in the coming years, and he departed from the tradition and initiated and propagated Bhakti through the Nama Sankirtana [Bhajan sampradaya,] thus gaining the name “Bhagavan nama Bodhendra”. He said the orthodox ways were unsuitable for the age. He said:
    Kali kalmasha chittaanaam
    Vidhi karma viheenaanaam
    Papa dravya jeevinaam
    Gati: Govinda Kirtanam.
    But Sri Bodhendra did not endanger the existence of the Mutt.

    It is common for the Hindu Sanyasis of North India to get involved directly in social issues or political questions. It is because they have large open public support, and strong public figures behind them. Just look at the huge crowds that throng the Ramayana or Bhagavatam discourses by Sri Morari Bapu or Bhai Shri Ramesh Bhai Oza.. Does it happen in the South, or Tamil Nadu, especially? North had directly experienced Muslim atrocities and they take a strong stand against conversion. Tamil Nadu is different.

    North India is full of intermediate castes, apart from Brahmins and the fourth order. The situation in Tamil Nadu is different. Here all are united against the Brahmins. Anti–Brahmin sentiment is deep rooted among all sections in Tamil Nadu.

    In view of the socio-economic changes which have occurred in the wake of the British rule and subsequently, the social cohesion of the Hindus has largely disappeared. Along with it has gone the mutual ties and obligations that bound the different communities. So social service has become necessary- be it education,medical relief or others. But an orthodox Hindu Mutt is hardly equipped to undertake this task directly. The missionary religions are oriented towards conversion, and have created specialised agencies and institutions to take up these services. The approach of Hindu institutions is rather amateurish. It is therefore far more effective if this is done through separate institutions, and not by the Mutt directly. The monetary and business interests are bound to conflict with the dharmic foundations of the Mutt. Hindus are lacking in this regard, but direct involvement of the Mutt in such matters is not the way. Corruption goes hand in hand with such activities, and why should the Mutt dirty its hands by direct involvement in such activities?

    Mahaperiyava very clearly understood these basic issues and so wisely refrained from any direct involvement in social, political or political issues during the 80 years of his rule over the Mutt.

    The false case foisted on Sri Jayendra Saraswati saddened us all no end. Unfortunately, many sections of the Hindus and even Brahmins remained indifferent. Leading members of the Brahmin community like Gurumurthy, T.N.Seshan were treated roughly by the state police. Even Muralidhara Swamigal was interrogated. The whole Brahmin community was under terrific fear. Here, the full details are not known,, but suffice it to say that this was a measure taken at the behest of authorities in Delhi. But the moral is, that Hindu orthodox Mutts in Tamil Nadu make themselves vulnerable in the absence of political patronage and open show of public support.

    The greatness of Sri Jayendra Saraswati is not in question. But it is a fact, that some of his actions made the Mutt vulnerable. We are too near the times to develop an objective view.. History is long in making.

  10. Very well written article and very timely on this occasion. It is always a saying “rishi moolam nadhi moolam parka kudathu”. We are all like ignorant poochis in front of a giant elephant.

  11. Well said Sir. Adi Shankarachrya batted against 72 evil forces ( Dvi Sapta Madho Cheetre Namaha), and our HH Pudhu Periyava battled against all these so called ‘Secular’ forces. That is why our guru parampara smaranam describes Periyava as “Mrudhur-Ujjvalaha” . He was soft with devotees, and was a fire to all against Sanathana Dharmam. No words at all. Just tears are flowing down my eyes

  12. Let us try to follow in His footsteps and speak out against social injustice, and call out politicians when necessary, Yes, Sundar, it is indeed a Hindu Renaissance charged by a Vedic Revolution.

  13. Sai, kudos to you for writing this article. As I kept reading, I was thinking that you must be very brave to voice these thoughts that most of us have, but are too scared to articulate. My mother lives in an area full of Brahmins, with some Jayendra Saraswathi dissidents, like the ones you refer to, though they are all MahaPeriyava Bhaktars. Her standard response is to get up and walk away when she hears anything derogatory about Him. I told her last week that she should stay and utter just one line,”MahaPeriyava Himself has called PuduPeriyava as Saraswathi Devi. What more can anyone possibly say after that?”
    End of matter.

  14. It was due to the great efforts of Pudu Periyava that a sort of Hindu Renaissance is happening in Tamilnadu where people from all walks of life have started withdrawing from supporting atheistic parties and garnering for preserving Hindu traditions

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