Pujyasri Chandrasekharendra Sarasvati Svami of the Kanchi Kamakoti Pitha is one most attractive and inspiring figures of our time. Millions if people regard him as a divine presence and look to him for grace. He is the authentic voice of Hinduism, the authentic voice of india, and yet he is a universal guru. In the midst of all our conflicts all our difference and all our petty rivalries, he stands as a gopuram a reminder of all those ideals and values that are etemal.
In his frall person this Great Acharya encompasses an ocean of knowledge. He was installed the Sankaracharya of the Kamakoti Pitha in 1907 when he was not yet 13 years old. It was the moment when the playful child was transformed into a young master. Thereafter for eight decades his has been a long Yatra to awaken the people of India, to bring about a regeneration in his land.
This Svamiji is a master of the philosophical systems of India with a profound understanding of the cultural systems that constitute the Indian heritage. He is a guru of encyclopaedic knowledge. One who reminds us of the polymaths of ancient times. Yes, he was a luminous mind that takes in everything. But what makes him a great teacher is his insight his intuitive grasp of things and his capacity to illumine. There is no aspect of Indian life or thought on which he has not shed light.
There are few godly people so human as this Great Acharya. His abhaya-hasta brings solace to millions of people and his katasha or sidelong glance can be a profound experience. It brings us an awareness of the unity of existence and for a moment we are bathed in the Great Light.
The concept of the guru is central to Hinduism and is at the heart of the continuity of our civilisation, the guru has a greater place in our history then the ruler or the conqueror. The voice of the guru, of the acharya is heard above the din of all the battles fought on our sacred soil. Do not we still hear the voice of Sri Krishna Paramatman, who played many roles during his divine incamation, the foremost of them being that of Jagadguru?
The guru or acharya more to Indian than the teacher of professor to Europe and other parts of the world. Gurukulavasa, with its tradition of selfless preceptors, is unique to this country and is one of its glories. Without any expectation of maternal gain the gurus in the past worked for the uplift of their studies and the spread of knowledge.
Pujyasri Chandrasekharendra Sarasvati Svami, in these discourses dwells with special emphasis on gurukulas under individual acharyas not supported by any institution. With penetrating insight and with the he surveys the entire educational landscape of India through the ages not forgetting the Buddhist hand Jaina contribution to institutional education.
The sage of Kanchi reminds us that the height achieved by us in past in vidya was due to the fact that teaching was not a "business" and was not institutionalized. He speaks eloquently of the true function of a guru, that of making his student know himself ad freeing him from bondage. "There is no one higher than the guru," he says. "If we truly believe that Isvara himself comes to us in the form of our Guru there is no need for us to worship Isvara apart from our guru. It is faith based on such belief, such devotion to the guru, that will deliver us from worldly existence. "And the grace of Isvara is expressed through the grace of the guru.
As one who shows his sishya the path of deliverance the guru combines in himself the roles of these gods-Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesvara. He is indeed the Parabrahman. In these illuminating discourses the Great Acharya if Kanchi gives us the ultimate upadesa of the identity of guru and Isvara.
Guru according to Hindu way of thinking is an incarnation of god in human from for the Shishya God is universal; the Guru us personal in relationship. Education in he true sense enlightens the person undergoing the process. The inner eye does not open and learning does not get transformed into knowledge until the blessings of the Guru are showered.
Shri Jagadguru Chandrasekhrendra Saraswati is accepted by his devotees as a living God. People close to him adore him as a Jiwan-Mukta. The fortunate ones among the people have his darshan. Those who have the privilege of living around Him are blessed.
The Jagadguru has been living all through his life for the benefit of mankind. He takes the load off from everyone who goes with his woes to him.
"Voice of the Guru contains the blissful advice of the great Jagadguru for the people of the world. Liberal and benevolent the Master does not discriminate between religion and religion, himself the greatest to give a taste of good living to mankind.
These parables are very apposite thought provoking and impressive. The message goes direct to the heart and achieves the purpose.
When made available to the reader in the printed from voice the Guru is bound to provide outstanding reading material of loftier quality and enduring value.
This volume of the Voice of the Guru is an excellent translation of the lectures on Guru-tattva-the concept of the Educator- Delivered in Tamil by Pujyasri Chandrasekharendra Sarasvati Svami, acharya of the Kanchi Kamakoti Pitha, popularly known as "Periyaval", during the long sojourn of the Acharya in the metropolitan city of Madras and its suburbs between October 1957 and about the end of the year 1959. The translation into English has been done by R.G.K. formerly assistant editor of the Illustrated Weekly of India.
I feel that I am quite unsuited to the noble task of writing an introduction to this work. It is only the devotion to the sacred feet of the Great Guru of Kanchi implanted in my heart in my boyhood days and nurtured during the past six decades and more combined with the persistent desire of the translator (an esteemed friends), that has emboldened me to pen this short apology for an introduction.
It may not be out of place to state here that my ears have been fortunate to hear some of the discourses that are found translated in this book. it has been a still greater good fortune for me to have listened to the Great Acharya's remarkable lectures on a variety of subjects delivered at the Sanskrit collage, mylapore Madras, during the last three months of 1932. These lectures to with rapt attention and in utter silence by a vast concourse of people comprising leading jurists, erudite scholars, officials and students, not to speak of ordinary men had the opportunity to hear them and are still alive.
The translation of the speeches on the Guru-tattva printed in this volume is elegant. It is so simple as can easily understood. The Gurdeva's discourses on the concept of the Guru covered in this work encompasses the entire ambit of preceptors and teachers from the sage gurus, the preceptors of gurukulas of the distant past and adhyapakas of pathasalas down to the collage professors and schoolteachers of the present time. The patient reader will not fail to note the wide gulf separating the value-based, devoted disciplined and systematic study that prevailed in olden times- with the consequent attainment by the student of good and perfect knowledge for its own sake -and the educational set-up of today which is devoid of any affectionate or intimate contact between teacher and taught and which has for its aim the securing of degrees deservedly or otherwise as passports to mere material prosperity with the resulting decay in human values and the rise of problem like indiscipline in our educational institutions.
The Acharya's radiant face further up with a smile whenever he made a humorous remark. These occasions find mention in this work. While speaking of the Paramaguru's simile, I am reminded of the observations of Arthur Koestler author of Darkness at Noon and other works, who had an interview with our Great Acharya in Madras on January 10 1959. Mr Koestler writes, "
a smile transformed his face into of a child. I had never seen a comparable smile or expression; it had an extraordinary charm and sweetness. Later, on my way back, I wondered why in western painting of saints entranced blessed or martyred, I has never encountered anything like that enchanted smile, "And it is to be noted that the above three sentences are the words of a foreign scholar who spent only about a couple of hours with the sages of Kanchi.
Translating matter spoken or written in one language into another is a hard task. R.G.K. must be congratulant on his having translated the Acharya's discourses into English for the benefit of those who cannot read them in the original Tamil. It is my humble request to teachers and students of collages as well as scholars to get a copy of this valuable work and reap the rich benefit of going through it.
Translating Matter spoken or written in one language into another is a hard task into English for the benefit of those who cannot read them in the original Tamil it is my humble request to teachers and students of collages as well as schools to get a copy of this valuable work and reap the rich benefit of going through it
I would like to conclude by offering prayers to the Divine Mother of the Universe and to the sage of Kanchi to grant my friend a long, healthy and prosperous life for producing further volumes of our Gurudeva's discourse rendered.
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