Paramacharya Chandrashekarendra Saraswati: God, Women and Languages

Late Paramachariya  (Chandrasekaraendra Saraswathi  of Kanchi Mutt) is  considered by the devotees of Kanchi Mutt as the most respected great Hindu saint of the last century.  His devotees belong to all sections of society although mostly the Tamil Brahmins celebrate him . He is said to be respected even by non-believers. His ‘words of wisdom’ are collected in the Tamil  book “Deivaththin kural” (Divine Voice). He is promoted as the unmatched god man of the  people from Tamilnadu and other regions.

But it is interesting to note his view point on languages other than Sanskrit, specifically Tamil.  I read a narration by Agnihothram Ramanuja thathachariyar in his book “Hindu matham enge pokirathu” (Hindu relegion – Where towards?). Thathachariya was once a close aid of Paramachariya. He used to have discussions with Paramacharya only in sanskrit, because Sankarachariya normally spoke in  Sanskrit. I am interested to share my reading with our friends.

One evening  Mr. Arunachalam of Chettinadu visited Kanchi mutt. Mr. Arunachalam was an  industrialist and such rich people normally commanded respect at Kanchi Mutt. He wanted to have the blessings of Paramacharya and he requested Mr. Thathacharia to arrange for a dharshan. By that time Paramacharya had completed his daily dharshan to the public and finished his bath. He was preparing for conducting  the evening rituals. Mr. Thathachriya informed Paramacharya about the visit of Mr. Arunachalam.Paramacharya told Thathachariya that he could not meet Arunchalam because he had taken bath and that he would have to take again if he had to meet Mr. Arunachalam, and therefore instructed Thathachariaya to inform Arunachalam that Swamiji was observing silence (mouna viratha) and hence he could not meet anybody. Paramacharya was strictly following one practice; between each puja, if he happened to talk in Tamil, he  would take bath to wash out the sin.  What was the sin? According to him speaking in Tamil  was a sin because the language was non-divine  (neecha bashai). By this witness Thathacharya we can conclude that Paramacharya resorted to speak a soft lie to avoid speaking in Tamil to stick to his  orthodox practice. The lie may be with an intention of not to offend the feelings of a rich Tamil man who could donate money for the mutt.

There is another interesting anecdote about Paramacharya in the same book. When Jawaharlal Nehru decided to bring a law to grant property rights to Hindu women, Paramacharya  vehemently opposed that idea . The reason told by Acharya was that as per Manu Smiruthi women were barred from holding property. It can also be recalled that the tactics of ‘mouna viratha’ was practiced once by Paramacharya when Indira Gandhi wished to meet him. The venue of the meeting was a “well” on either side of which Paramacharya and Indira Gandhi were present. Paramacharya only listened to Gandhi at that time and did not even see her. Reason? Mrs. Gandhi was a widow! However there were instances when he could say some words to Mrs. Gandhi too. Perhaps it should be time bound poojas of orthodox rituals which prevented to speak in Tamil or to a woman or  a widow!

Kanchi mutt is now led by jeyendra saraswati a supporter of untouchability and alleged in murder case

But we cannot say that Paramacharya followed orthodox ways strictly. For example, when his deputy Jeyendra saraswathi deserted the mutt he initially refused to take him back on his return citing that Jeyendra missed the poojas of  Saturmasya vrata. But he relaxed and accommodated Jeyendra after learning that the Kanch Kamatchi amman temple could be taken over by the Government according to the rules if the trustee was dead without appointing another member or went mad or  missing. Jeyendra was the trustee for that revenue earning temple!

The Hindu religion as constructed in the last century is a conglomeration of innumerable number of ideas, practices and rituals.  The virtue for guiding the life of an individual should be the essence of any religion in practice and philosophy. Many outdated fundamentalist theories such as Manu Dharma and practices are still followed by Hindu Mutts and the godmen. This is regrettable. They are expected to change according to the times in favour of equality of people and their languages. Christianity spreads by serving sermons in Tamil and if Sanskrit is insisted still in Poojas it will not serve the Hindu religion in the long run.

A Christian Father Jagath Kaspar arranged  for releasing Hindu religious book Thiruvasagam audio by Ilayaraja . He organises annual festival Sangamam for Tamil folk and classical performances with music and dance. But our orthodox Hindu brothers seek Sanskrit in Puja, castes among priests, Telugu in music, Hindi in Central jobs, English for software and wish to give the last place to Tamil.  How can we we claim to be an egalitarian and fair society. They/We need to think about this.

19 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. Bullshit article.. should be deleted.. it is giving all fase information and completely against the truth. The aim of this ariticle seems to be targetting the common people to divert from Basic Hinduism and especially Kanchi peetham and convert them as Athests or to other religions.

  2. Dear sir, I think the author is disillusioned and does not get his facts correct. There was no need for paramacharyal to please any one and support any language or degrade any language. His immense contribution to Tamil spiritual literature is known to the entire world, He was instrumental in propagating Tevaram and have it sung in temples! those who start commenting about these are in no way capable in language so that they can sit in judgement. Secondly about Thathacharya who used to be a devotee of the seer, turned to be a person against whom there were many allegations even by people from other community. May be his old age was the reason for the utterances that were in coherent ! This is a mere posturing without any fore thought! Please avoid mud slinging and stop passing disparaging remarks without substance.

  3. sir, this is completely absurd and Mala-fide. I couldn’t hesitate a wrong news like this. There is no citation that these thaathaachaariaar was having sanskrit converstion with periyava. By himself – thathaacaaria a traitor – purchase by some athiest and none of his words are true. Paramaachaariaas, global thinking and liking towards not only hindus and also other religion people is well know.a meeting with kaily manufacturer is an ampoul example. He has greeted one of his sippanthi’s son for getting first mark in Tamil ( I hope his name is ragunaathan)

  4. why all a sudeen u brought jagath gasper in the article??? this article is a pure christian missionary tactic. just to make hindus hate their religion. wow now jagath gasper is allegedly involved in hawala money. i can also write articles that missionary jagath gasper as abusing young gals. in many churches the fathers are pedophiles…. STOP THIS CHRISTIAN MISSIONARY PROPAGANDA IN UR ARTICLES. PURELY CHRISTIAN MISSIONARY ARTICLE,JUST TO BRING DOWN HINDUS FROM THEIR CULTURE. TAMIL NADU IS UNDER THREAT FROM CHRISTIAN MISSIONARY ZEALOTS. ITS TIME FOR HINDUS IN TAMIL NADU TO WAKE UP. THIS ARTICLE U MADE PARAMACHARYA A VILLIAN AND FINALLY SHOWING THE GREATNES OF JAGATH GASPER?????

  5. May the walking God (Paramacharya) forgive you!

  6. I know several people who have interacted with Paramacharya in Tamil at various times. Never ever heard of such a thing as mentioned in this article. Since he is not there today to defend himself, you can write anything about him – in the name of freedom.

  7. REMOVE the pictures it gives a bad vibration ………….
    PUT your pictures and experiences/research
    your achievements and culture…………

    any body can put the pictures ……….

    you cannot put age old people(who are no more) to get a publicity for your baseless argument.

  8. Dear Author,

    what is the basis of this trigger???
    Did you personally had any bad experience with him or its the research you have done with the concept of NOT LIKING this person digging all the bad stuffs or the negative part……..

    GROW UP people we have so much so solve and HINDU culture is just vanishing, these silly arguments would harm more than do any thing good,

    post some thing useful which all the youths can follow………..

    NOTE: its my opinion don’t dare to trigger the argument more……. please also post the greater experiences of living people……. if you dare to do with the concept of liking this person

  9. அன்புள்ள அபிஷேக் அவர்களுக்கு,

    மொழி என்பது நமது எண்ணத்தை மற்றவர்களுக்கு புரியவைப்பது,
    புரியக்கூடிய மொழியுள் அதை கேற்பவர்களுக்கு சொல்வது.

    As we believe god is the creator of all, Hence it includes Tamil also.

    It is unfortunate that this guy (Paramachariya) lacks in understanding the basics.

  10. Dear Kumresh,
    Pls read (understand) my entire post, you will figure of answers for all your questions..I felt this place is only for like minded individuals..which i am not part of..
    hence,
    greetings

    regards,
    ABHISHEK SUBRAMANYA

  11. Abhishek – please answer to the point.

    I believe in god. Also I believe- between me and God – no third person is allowed.

    I believe I can pray to the god in any language – or no language too in some circumstances.

    My concern is Why Sanskrit alone a primary language? Why not others?

    1. Why he (Paramachariya) needed spectacles when he had divine strength?

  12. Its a one’s choice to either to trust a person or not….If a particular aspect is good for someone he accepts,it may not be the same for another. I am not the latter in this case….
    Also i would like to mention Hinduism has had 2 philosophical schools

    ~Nasthika is one who doesn’t accept the authority of vedas…
    ~asthika is one who does..

    Adi Shankara settled in Kanchipuram after establishing four Āmnāya maţhas in the four corners of India and that this gave rise to the Kanchi maţha & is a great development. The followers have kept up the tradition.
    Kanchi mutt follows authority of vedas…so its asthika in nature..Hence Sanskrit becomes primary language..
    If you trying to fight for language,pls do it elsewhere..

    Nasthikas have a large representation today & modern science has added more fuel creating confusion & more doubts among the young.
    Its best to choose ones path but never mislead.Criticizing something above our understandability(beyond our perception) is really not worth it.

    PS: You need not agree to my comments…No worries since you must feel correct from your point of view..& never regret your decisions..
    regards,
    Abhishek Subramanya

  13. -Abhishek Subramanya

    Why he (Paramachariya) needed a spectacle when he had divine strength?

    -Kommu S V Dakshinamurthy

    Stop spreading “worthless Parrot (Bird flu) story”. Instead read and spread the Science and Medicine.

    -Ramki

    Good article. But you made one mistake.

    Please remove the above photo. This man (Paramachariya) is UNFIT to stand in front of the beautiful Tamil sentence “God’s voices”.

  14. Ramki well written article. Excellent. Keep up the good work.

    First I don’t believe in human god or god messenger.

    Since I read this guy name “Paramachariya (Chandrasekaraendra Saraswathi of Kanchi Mutt)” – I am thinking of taking three baths to wash the sin.

    @Kommu

    If Tamil is non-divine language

    Why did he live in Tamil soil and why did he inhale the same air – several thousand Tamils who used it every day?

    Did he put any filter in his nose?

  15. A story will help the Author understand the basics:

    Once Kalidas and his contemporary poets decided to edit the Sastras as they found some grammar mistakes. Once they assembled to do the corrections, a parrot came and said NAVA NAVA PANCHA PANCHA( 9-9-5-5). They took it as a bad omen and reassembled after a few days and the same parrot did the same again. after a couple of times, they did namaskar to the Parrot ( They had the qualities to inquire ) and asked the parrot, why it is saying NAVA NAVA Pancha Pancha.
    Vyasa appeared in place of parrot and told them that when the sastras were made, there are nine (NAVA) grammars and the group was aware of only 5 ( Pancha) grammars. So, they should stop such exercise and should learn the grammars.

    Mr, Author, please focus on understanding the Paramacharya, instead of commenting on what he did, without proper proofs or understanding. That will transform your life. The followers of Paramacharya may not spend their time explaining you basics. They will spend their time in progress.

  16. Abisek

    Half knowledge is dangerous – it is for me or to you?

    Manu smirthi may have some good points, because of it we cannot totally accept it. Bhagavat githa also contains some objectionable slokas wounding the feelings of the majority Hindus. But it is projected as a holy book. Many people like you are quoting the better side of our holy books and criticize others who quote the negative side.

    Abishek why dont you write your divine experince by following manu dharma? I am waiting

    Ramki

  17. Dear Ramki,
    It is very interesting to know that, unfortunately many people could not meet Paramacharya due to stern discipline adopted by him which is very much a minimum requirement for a man being a pontiff.

    Let me give you a general example wherein every policeman irrespective guilty or not guilty sees any suspect in a dubiety because he is trained and serves best in such a behavior. This notion was followed by every law in ancient or medieval or modern, since some things cannot change even society changes. Hence referring to Paramacharya, Sri is doing the same. Although you may call it injustice since he could not meet people, on the other hand he has performed the duty he is supposed to do.

    I wont comment on tamil part,since i have only met “Sri Sankara Vijayendra Saraswati Swamigal” & Sri speaks many Indian Languages.I know this because i was part of a group where people belonged to different states.

    I dont want delve too much & trigger an argument, just want to say 2 things,
    “Every thing depends on how you receive it”. & “Half knowledge is very dangerous”..

    because unless you experience the positive impacts by following “Manu smriti”..i dont think anyone should point a finger on it..

    “TruthDive” is a very nice portal. Why didnt ever one desired to start researching & publishing his/her experiences by following the manu dharma , since if followed only one can experience it. “true/untrue”you can decide later.

    regards,
    Abhishek Subramanya

  18. Oops. I had some respect left for him. Alas!

    Most of the Hindu mutts stopped working for people & Tamil language – they are now being run with the properties they amassed over the centuries. There should be a cap for these properties – when seers become wealth managers, where is spiritualism or humanism there ?

  19. Ramki,

    An eye-opening article..I have read writer Sujatha disappointed with him, because he refused to see his widows mom..There is so much unexplained concepts in eastern philosophies..U of Wisconsin at Madison is opening the science and benefits behind Meditation primarily Tibetian budhists..I think somewhere down the lane we started expecting the practioners to be gods themselves, rather than appreciating the benefits of the practices..

    Look forward to more articles..
    Regards,

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