Chandrashekarendra Saraswati

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Jagadguru Sri Shankaracharya Chandrasekharendra Saraswati VIII
Religion Hinduism
Nationality Indian
Born Swaminathan
(1894-05-20)20 May 1894
Resting place Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam
Religious career
Title Jagadguru
Period in office 9 May 1907 – 8 January 1994
Consecration 13 February 1907
Predecessor Mahadevendra Saraswathi V
Successor Jayendra Saraswathi
Ordination 9 May 1907

Jagadguru Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati Mahaswamiji (20 May 1894 – 8 January 1994) [birth name: Swaminathan], also known as the Sage of Kanchi or Mahaperiyavar (meaning, "A venerable sage") was the 68th Jagadguru of the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham. His brother was Sadasiva Sastrigal, popularly known as Sivan Sir.[1] Sadasiva Sastri was born on 3 October 1903 in Viluppuram, South Arcot District, Tamil Nadu. He has written a magnum opus based on Hindu philosophy in a Tamil book titled- "Yenippadigalil Maanthargal".[2][3][4][5]

In the words of His Holiness:

“I had a bath at the Kumara Koshta Tirtha. A carriage of the Mutt had come there from Kalavai with the people to buy articles for the Maha Puja on the tenth day of the passing of the previous 66th Acharya. One of them, a hereditary maistry (mason) of the Mutt, asked me to accompany him. A separate cart was engaged for the rest of the family to follow me. During the journey the maistry hinted to me that I might not return home and that the rest of my life might be spent in the Mutt itself. At first I thought that my elder cousin having become the Head of the Mutt, it was his wish that I should live with him. But the maistry gradually clarified matters as the cart rolled on. The Acharya had fever which developed into delirium and that was why I was being separated from the family to be taken to Kalavai… I was stunned by this unexpected turn of events. I lay in a kneeling posture in the cart, shocked as I was, repeating “Rama… Rama,” the only prayer I knew. My mother and other children came some time later only to find that instead of her mission of consoling her sister, she herself was placed in the state of having to be consoled”.

—T.M.P. Mahadevan, The Sage of Kanchi[6]

He was popular with dignitaries such as their highness the King and Queen of Nepal, the Queen Mother of Greece, Dalai Lama, Mahatma Gandhi, C. Rajagopalachari, M.S.Subbulakshmi, Indira Gandhi, R. Venkataraman, Subramanian Swamy, Shankar Dayal Sharma, Paul Brunton and Atal Bihari Vajpayee and several others. Many devotees have narrated their divine blissful experiences with Mahaperiyavar which are available in Youtube.[7]


On several occasions, he addressed the common masses on diverse aspects of our Dharma, ancient culture, and a variety of subjects. The discourses delivered decades ago in Tamil by His Holiness are compiled and published in English and Tamil as “Deivathin Kural” (The Voice of God) by his disciple R.Ganapathi.[1] It has been translated to English as well as several Indian languages.

Sivan Sir

His brother was Sadasiva Sastrigal, popularly known as Sivan Sir.[1] Sadasiva Sastri was born on 3 October 1903 in Viluppuram, South Arcot District, Tamil Nadu. He has written a magnum opus based on Hindu philosophy in a Tamil book titled- "Yenippadigalil Maanthargal".[2][3][4][5]

Influence on Indian Freedom Movement

Periyava (the other name of "Periyavar") is credited with reforming the noted Indian National Congress leader F. G. Natesa Iyer from Tiruchirappalli, during the Indian independence movement. 'Periyava' is recorded to have reconverted F.G.Natesa Iyer from the Christian religion back to Hinduism. It is recorded that, F.G. Natesa Iyer, as a young boy of ten years, "took shelter with Englishmen who brought him up and converted him to Christianity. Twenty years later, dissatisfied with the ability of the priests to clarify his doubts, he met the Kanchi Sankaracharya and, getting satisfactory answers from him, reconverted to Hinduism." [8]

The Indian National Congress, in the decade of the 1920s, started organising the Non-Cooperation Movement, which involved getting many people to protest on the streets. F.G.Natesa Iyer, the leading Congress activist of Tiruchirappalli then, as also the elected Mayor, took this opportunity to convert the movement to also show support for the Periyava. He described the occasion, thus: "I was nominated by the public as the chairman of the Reception committee for arranging a reception for the Acharya of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. As the municipal chairman, it was my duty to provide a proper welcome and respect to Swamigal who was visiting after a long time. The opportunity to welcome His Holiness in a manner that was exponentially greater than receptions given to kings and viceroys, was accorded to me, along with my supporters: Sri M.Kandaswamy Servai, Sri. R.Srinivasa Iyengar, the lawyer and the larger public. The procession that was seven miles long, was preceded by seven groups of nadaswaram players, three band groups, four elephants, many horses and camels, instrumental players, Bhajan singers, Seva Samitis. I had the blessing to hold the front side of the ivory palanquin where our guru for the whole world, Sri Sankaracharya Swamigal was seated. He gave darshan to numerous people lined on both sides of the roads, in every floor, irrespective of their religion, caste or creed. There was no count of arathis, Poorna kumbams, garlands, asthika goshams. The procession that started at 6 pm ended at 10 pm in front of the mutt at Thiruvanaikkaval. I was enthralled in my service to Swamigal as service to Lord Shiva himself".[9]

The day India became free, He gave a speech on the significance of the flag and the Dharma chakra in it on that day.[10][better source needed]


  • Svāmī, Candraśekharendra Sarasvatī (2000). Hindu dharma : the universal way of life (4th ed.). Mumbai: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. ISBN 978-8172760557.
  • The Vedas (7th ed.). Mumbai: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. 2006. ISBN 81-7276-401-4. |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  • Voice of the Guru : The Guru tradition (2nd ed.). Mumbai: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. 2008. ISBN 978-8172764159. |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  • Svāmī, Pūjyaśrī Candrasekharendra Sarasvatī (2001). Śri Śaṅkara Bhagavatpādācārya's Saundaryalaharī = Saundaryalaharī An exposition (1st ed.). Mumbai: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. ISBN 978-8172762124.
  • Fitzgerald, edited by Michael Oren (2008). Introduction to Hindu dharma : illustrated. Bloomington, Ind.: World Wisdom. ISBN 978-1933316482. |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  • Voice of God Vol 1 and 2 (2nd ed.). Mumbai: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. 2008. ISBN 978-81-7276-415-9. |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help) [citation needed]

See also


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ a b "Shri Sivan Sir – Sadashiva Sastrigal – Yenippadigalil Maanthargal". Retrieved 2 February 2014.
  3. ^ a b "Smt Kanthi mami recalls Sri Sivan sir | sri sivan sar". 4 June 2013. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
  4. ^ a b "Periyava of Angarai". The Hindu. 30 January 2004. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
  5. ^ a b "What SRI HH SIVAN SIR TELLS ABOUT PERIYAVA | Kanchi Periva Forum". 9 November 2012. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
  6. ^ Mahadevan, T. M. P. (1983). The Sage of Kanchi. Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Sankara Mandir.
  7. ^
  8. ^ T.S.Mani (1–15 April 2012). "FGN – actor and patron of the arts". Madras Musings (Volume XXI, number 24).
  9. ^ T.K.Balasubramaia Iyer (10 May 1923). "Editorial". The Hindu. Never before in the annals of Tiruchirapalli have we witnessed the grandeur and enthusiasm that were displayed at the reception of His Holiness Sri Jagadguru Sri Sankaracharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam who arrived at Tiruchirapali on the 23rd. The mile long procession headed by richly caparisoned elephants and surging crowds with His Holiness seated high on the ivory palanquin in the center, surrounded by large concourse of Brahmins chanting the Vedas, and followed by numerous Bhajan parties and Thevaram parties, the rich and tasteful decorations all along the route which extended to nearly eight miles, the buoyant enthusiasm of the huge crowd that pressed on all sides just to have a glimpse of His Holiness' beaming countenance and that followed the procession right through to the end, the festive appearance of the whole town and the eageress of everyone in that vast concourse of people to do some sort of service to His Holiness were sights for Gods to see and they beggar all description. It showed in a clear and unmistakable way the stronghold of religion and religious ideals still on the people of the country. No Viceroy or even the Emperor himself could have evoked such spontaneous and heartfelt enthusiasm. It took nearly five hours for the procession to reach its destination. His Holiness had a smile or a word of cheer for every one of the assembled people and when he retired into the mutt, His Holiness observed that the weariness of the journey was counteracted by the unprecedented enthusiasm of the people.
  10. ^ From a Calendar Published on Behalf of the Mutt in 1997 – 50th Year of India Independence.

External links

  • Official website of Kanchi Kamakoti peetham
  • Book "Hindu Dharma: The Universal Way of Life" by Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Press.
  • History of Kanchi Mutt [2]
  • Sri Kanchi Mahaswamy Charitram
Preceded by
Mahadevendra Saraswathi V
Kanchi Kāmakoti Pīṭādipati
13 February 1907 – 20 January 1994
Succeeded by
Sri Jayendra Saraswathi
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