About the Book
Saints set standards galore for mankind through their thoughts, words and deeds. They form an inseparable link between the supreme Lord and the suffering souls, aiding the latter with appropriate spiritual means to realize the former.
This book "The Saint of Sringeri" penned in a lucid style by late Krishnaswamy Iyer (jnanananda Bharati) deals with the sacred life and teachings of Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswamiji, the 34th Jagadguru (1912 - 1954) of Sringeri Sri Sharada Peetham.
The great Acharya was a Jeevan Mukta (one liberated while living) renowned for His unparalleled erudition and limitless compassion. Ever radiant with awe inspiring saintliness, the matchless Jagadguru transformed even a casual visitor into a sincere spiritual aspirant!
Besides presenting a wonderful biographical sketch of the supreme saint, the author has also recorded a number of enlightening experiences of several devotees with His Holiness. These amazing accounts of interactions between the holy Master and the fortunate visitors provide rich spiritual information which the readers will find very motivating and helpful in their pursuit of perfection in life.
Foreword to the Second Edition
It will be a truism to state that, if the fundamentals of our religion and way of life have continued to be maintained and preserved down the centuries notwithstanding the batterings of conflicting ideologies and the impact of exotic faiths, it is in a very large measure due to Sri Shankara and the philosophy he preached and propounded in his immortal classics. In order to carry his message to posterity, Sri Adi Shankaracharya also established four Peethams in four principal quarters in India, and of these, the Sharada Peetham that he founded for the South at Sringeri has always remained prominent and far-reaching in influence.
The glory of the Sringeri Peetham can be traced to the fact that, right from the time of Sri Sureshwaracharya its first occupant, the seat has been graced in unbroken succession by a line of Acharyas of exemplary piety, vast learning and dedication to the good of mankind. Many of them were distinguished for their intellectual brilliance, and made invaluable contributions in the realm of religious literature and scholarship. Sri Narasimha Bharati of recent memory (Ugra-Narasimha Bharati as he was popularly known) was an austere Saint of matchless spiritual power who toured the country several times imparting the solace of religion and conferring His blessing on a land torn by internecine feuds and wars. His worthy successor Sri Sacchidananda Shivabhinava Narasimha Bharati was a Rajayogi whose manifold attainments and accomplishments made Him renowned as a reincarnation of the great Sri Adi Shankara Himself. He founded institutions of learning at Sringeri, Bangalore and other places, discovered the birth place of Sri Adi Shankaracharya at Kalady and put it on the spiritual map of India. Above all, He inspired and was instrumental in giving the world the first authentic collection of Sri Adi Shankara's monumental works.
Jagadguru Shankaracharya Sri Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswamiji was cast in the same mould. He carried on the Sringeri tradition and considerably added to its radiance and lustre. The sweep of His mind and massive intellect and his unique capacity for abstraction and powers of introspection took Him to heights transcending human experience. His countenance beamed with compassion, and was at times lit by a smile that seemed to kindle the universe. His austerity and tapas gave Him a divine halo, and thousands flocked if only for a glimpse of Him. On such occasions as He gave darshan, one felt it was God incarnate walking the earth.
Sri R. Krishnaswamy Aiyar has given us peeps into His divine personality in various publications with an authenticity born of long association and contact. It is a rare blessing for me to be associated with him in this, his latest offering.
Preface to the Second Edition
An oft quoted stanza from the Vishnu Purana proclaims that Brahman being the highest good is the most auspicious thing to be ever remembered, for the mere recalling it to our memory dispels immediately everything bad in us and induces in us all that is good.
But it is given to a very few to concentrate even for a moment on Brahman; either in its transcendent aspect as the Formless Absolute Reality or in its relative aspect as God, the ruler of the universe, for either of these aspects is too immense to be grasped by ordinary minds. We have necessarily therefore to content ourselves with having before our mind's eye some formful manifestation of the Brahman. The Upanishad says that the knower of Brahman is verily Brahman itself This statement is a practical hint to us that, when we are unable to contemplate on Brahman, we may contemplate on a knower of Brahman.
The figures of even Sri Rama, Sri Krishna and other Avatars of God have long ago faded from human memory and, if we want to install them in our minds, we have to create Their forms afresh from the descriptions found in the Puranas and our creation will necessarily be faulty and not true to the original, as we are inherently imperfect and have never seen the original. This difficulty is got over by taking for the object of our contemplation an entity who was or is in flesh and blood and yet can be equated with Brahman. Such an entity is a Brahmavit, Knower of Brahman, that is, one who has, as a matter of direct preception, realised his oneness with Brahman. If we have seen any such in human embodiment, it will not be difficult to recall to our memory his sacred form; if we have had the fortune to approach him more closely, it will not only be easy but a real pleasure to recollect the various occasions on which we had such opportunities of approach. Such vivid recollection is by itself a very purifying factor and necessarily dispels all disturbing or harmful thoughts. That is why the Shastras lay great emphasis on Smaranam and Kirtanam, recollecting and recounting the noble qualities and the inspiring activities of God in His several incarnations and of devotees and Seers who have realised the goal of life.
It is in this view and as a sort of healthy exercise for myself that I jotted down a short life sketch of Jagadguru Shankaracharya Sri Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswamiji of Sringeri who demonstrated by His life and attitude the highest ideal preached by our sacred religion. But it must be remembered that, even if a river is in floods, it is not possible for anybody to divert it into his own house much less to retain it there. He must be content to store the water to the extent which he can do. It will be silly to take a pot to the river bank and expect the pot to take in all the water. It may be given to a Sage Jahnu or to a Sri Adi Shankaracharya to perform such feats but ordinary people cannot aspire to imitate either of them; they must be content with what their pots can hold. It is impossible therefore to comprehend by our very limited minds the immense greatness of great souls like His Holiness.
Further, the aspects in which He can be viewed are infinite; His physical "appearance may appeal to some; His being the head of the premier Advaita Math will itself be sufficient for many; the Math paraphernalia may appeal to some; His learning may be admired by some; His power of dialectics may impress others; His loving kindness will endear Him to many; His conversation may be relished by some; His inspiring silence itself will be sufficient for others; and so on. It will be impracticable to enumerate these aspects or to exhaust the instances which will illustrate each one of them. My jottings are necessarily very limited and scrappy and quite out of all proportion to the greatness of His Holiness. I have neither the learning nor the capacity to appreciate and understand His spiritual stature. Nor can I claim to have had any special opportunities of coming into close contact with Him. Even on the few occasions when I approached Him, I have always realised the vast distance that separated me from Him and respected it to my utmost, so that it will be impertinent on my part if I claimed any intimacy with Him. It is therefore not possible for me to recount any incident which may show off the depth of His learning, the clearness of His intellect, His spiritual attainments and such other matters which are all far above my level. I can deal only with some external incidents which even by themselves are quite enough to give an idea, ever so scanty, of His real greatness. I have incorporated some of them here. For some other equally educative incidents, the reader is referred to 'Sparks from a Divine Anvil'.
I am aware that some portion of this book may sound 'Autobiographical' but I see no justification for withholding them when they also reflect the kindness and greatness of His Holiness. I hope that even the most lay reader will find the book on the whole interesting and instructive.
I deem it a great privilege to bring out this edition on the eve of the Kumbhabhisheka of the magnificent shrine erected at the place of Samadhi of the Jagadguru.
I am greatly indebted to my esteemed friend Sri K. Shankaranarayana Aiyar, retired district Judge and President of Sri Shankara Seva Samiti, for his valuable foreword.
The Realised Soul
South India Tour
Power of Mantras
Method of Teaching
Love of Seclusion
My Contact with Sringeri
The Family Deity
A Devoted Servant
Soft and Firm
The World Teacher
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