Imagine an institution that is 2500 years old. Imagine a philosopher genius just 32 years old who set it up 2500 ago. Imagine if you can , an unbroken lineage of 70 heads of the institution, his followers, who have managed it through the years. Imagine an illustrious head of the institution who held the august position for 87 years and lived to be 100 years. Imagine his worthy successor who has been its head , serving the cause of dharma and the people of this country for 55 long years.
The institution is none other than Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. The philosopher genius Adhi Sahankara Bhagavadapa. The centenarian head of the Peetam, our revered Mahaswamigal. The Peetadhipathi who has been at the helm for 55 years is our own PERIYAVAL His Holiness Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal, the 69th Acharya of Sri kanchi Kamakoti Peetam.
Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam is the moolamnaya peetam established by Adi Sankara, to spread the message of dharma.
Jawaharlal Nehru says "Adhi Sankara imbued with compassion which exerted him in the direction of providing enlightnment to the ignorant and suffering humanity. He blossomed into a moral leader, a mentor of mankind and the spiritual ruler of the world. he typefied the triumph of soul-force, which is undying, everlasting. He became the world Teacher the Jagadguru for all time."
He was no escapist retiring into his shell or into a cave in the forest. A man of amazing energy and vast activity, Sankara, was a curious mixture of a philosopher and scholar, an agnostic and a mystic, a poet and a saint, and in addition to all this, a practical reformer and able organizer.
On August 7, 2009, the celebration of the Amritotsavam to mark the begining of 75 years since the advent of His Holiness Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal was commenced in this mother earth of ours.
He was initiated into Sanyasa Dharma as laid out by Adhi Sankara himself. The Guru who initiated him into Sanyasa Dharma was one other His Holiness Sri Chandrsekharendra Saraswathi Swemigal of the Kanchi kamakoti Peetam himself a saint extraordinary, some one worshipped as God by millions of his devotees all over the world.
For 55 years, since his ascension to the pontificate of the Kamakoti Peetam, His Holiness Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal has been following the tents of his Sanyasa Dharma. t the same time he has reached out with compassion, succour and help to the millions of poor and needy. His bold initiatives are built on solid foundations laid out by Adhi Sankara and then strengthened by his venerable Guru. His genius has been in adapting modes of modern technology, travel & communication to reach out to people without diluting the core values.
"That I have been there for 55 years is of no consequence. What is more important is what has been done for our people." - His Holiness Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal.
One can realise the importance of this simple statement, only when one looks at the impact of His untiring work over the last 50 years.
Travel to the nooks and corners of Bharata Varsha and beyond
Sri Periyaval, as His Holiness is fondly called by millions of his devotees, is the first and only Acharya to have travelled across the country 3 times, covering nearly a million kilometers. At his instance and Adhi Sankara Pratishta was done in Manasarovar during his visit. he has travelled to Amarnath, the Sindhu River and to Daka to have darshan of the Godess Dakeswari. he had an Adhi Sankara statue consecreted in all the 12 Jyotir Linga kshetras.
An inspiration behind several social institutions of significance
The Medical Institution at Thiruvanandhapuram, The Sankara Netralaya, Chennai, The Sankara Deva Netralaya, Guwahati, Eye Hospital at Madhubani, Bihar, The Sankara Eye Society, Coimbatore, Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Guntur, the Kanchi Kamakoti Child Trust Hospital, Chennai, The Jain Dharmasala in Chennai for Cancer patients, Kanchi Sankara Medical Centre, Kolkatta, The Hindu Mission Hosputal all over the country are but a few examples of institutions that serve the poor and the needy. These organizations are expression of his infinite campassion for the sufering million of our country.
Empowering education that enlightens
The Deemed University, the Sankara Colleges, the Ghatikasthanam, at Kanchi, the special Girl's hostel in Kanchipuram, The Oarapakkam model Oriental School, innumerable Veda Patasalas including the forthcoming International Veda Patasala near Kanchipuram, Sankara Schools in Chennai and various cities, the Ayurveda Colleges are all testimony to His Holiness commitment to the development of poor.
Caring for the old, the destitute and the physically challenged
While he is keen to invest in resources for the young who are the future of our country, his heart melts for the old and the infirm that have no one look after them.
The Old age home run under the auspices of the Kanchi Mutt, in Kalahasti, Kanchipuram, kasi are but a few of the many facilities created under his guidance for the old people.
In Nazzarethpet, near Chennai, the Mutt has an outstanding institution operating for the physically challenged.
Emphasis on reviving old temples, the veds and the traditions
In these 50 years His Holiness must have performed several thousand kumbabishekams. Many of them have bben for some of the oldest temples in the country. His view is that it is more important to revive and look after existing temples than create new ones. he also points out the role of temple as a centre of economic and social activity in any community. There are several trusts that operate under the direction of the Kaakoti Peetam which focus on spreading Vedic education, supporting and rewarding scholars, encouraging research and scholastic work in relation to Hindu religion philosophy, veda Sastra.
Sastra Pandita Raksha Sabha that gives a monthly pension of Rs.1000 to 250 Vedic Pundits, Veda Pata Nidhi Trust that serves the cause of vedic scholars with humble means, Dharma Paripalana Sabhas that organise seminars, conferences on Vedic studies, Veda Rakshana Nidhi Trust, the foremost institution for the preservation of Vedas are a few examples. These activities initiated by the Kanchi Mahaswami as part of his life mission are sustained and adeveloped by Periyavaa with relentless vigour and Guru Bhakthi.
Vocaitonal Trainig and Self-emplyment support
Jana Kalyan Movement started under his direction and guidance is constantly working towards providing vocational skill development and improving self-employment support for men and women from the economically backward classes,. he has always emphasized the true value of cottage industries.
Reaching out with compassion to those hit by natural disasters and calamities
That His Holiness was one of the earliest to reach disaster hit-sites Latur, Bhujwith tangible help and moral support, personally is little known to people. In Gujarat he travelled nearly 80 kilometers each day for a week, stopping at various places to provide courage and solace to the disaster stricken peolple.
Such a great Saint's Avatharday is to be celebrated on 7th and 8th of Feb, 2010 at Sri Mutt, Kumbakonam with much solemnity and bakthi. Hereby, all devotees are invited to participate in large numbers and get the blessings of the living God, Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal and join hands with his Holiness in all well fare