Vijendra Saraswathi Swamigal was child prodigy

By PTI Published on Mar 02, 2018 11:02 AM IST

Kancheepuram: Decades ago, when a 13-year-old boy stood up boldly at a Vedic meet held at the Kanchi Sankara Mutt here to correct the mistake of a scholar, the gathering was stunned.

Quite naturally, the 69th pontiff, Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal, was deeply impressed by the brilliance and knowledge of the boy of Vedic scriptures. On the occasion, none would have thought that the boy would one day become the head of the institution with a long tradition of disseminating spiritualism and the philosophy of Adi Sankarar.

The boy, from a Telugu-speaking Brahmin family, was later given the name Sankara Vijayendra Saraswathi, when he became the 70th acharya of the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam on 29 May 1983.

"Since 1983 and till 1993 there were three acharyas at the mutt at the same time. Till 1983 there have not been three gurus simultaneously," said T G Ganesan, a spiritual activist and devotee of the Kanchi Mutt.

Vijayendra Saraswathi Swamigal was born the eight child of a Vedic scholar, M Krishnamoorthy, and Ambalakshmi in 1969. Named Sankara Narayanan, he was a native of village Thandalam in Tiruvallur district and was born in Arni in Tiruvannamalai district.

After attending school till class five, he joined a Veda Patashala and soon after displayed a deep understanding and knowledge of the scriptures.

"When Sri Vijayendra pointed out that mistake boldly as a young boy, Sri Jayendra Saraswathi was deeply impressed. He, after taking the advice of Sri Maha Periyavar (Chandrasekarendra Saraswathi) decided to anoint Sankara Narayanan as the 70th pontiff," the devotee told PTI.

Following in the footsteps of his predecessors, Vijayendra Saraswathi has been taking forward the socio-cultural and welfare activities initiated by Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal.

Vijayendra Saraswathi Swamigal is noted for his keen interest in interacting with devotees and has knowledge of Tamil, Telugu and Sanskrit. He was trained in Shastras, Upanishads, mimamsa and other schools of thought.

Vijayendra Saraswathi Swamigal was instrumental in taking forward a number of initiatives for propagation of spiritualism and expansion of on-going service activities. Some of them include 'kendras' for Bhakthi, Dharma and Karma which inculcate values and tradition to the youth, according to another devotee and associate of Jan Kalyan (an initiative of Kanchi Mutt), R V Ramanujan.

The 70th pontiff will from now on fully shoulder the responsibility of steering the Mutt which is involved in a string of spiritual, service and healthcare activities.

The seer courted controversy when he did not stand up during the playing of the Tamil anthem at a function in Chennai in January, this year. Vijayendra Saraswathi Swamigal had remained seated in his chair on the dais with his eyes closed when Tamil Thai Vaazhthu, was played.

The function for release of a Tamil-Sanskrit dictionary was presided by Governor Banwarilal Purohit.

The pontiff had, however, stood up when the national anthem was played on the occasion, leading to a controversy.

Political parties, including the DMK, alleged that it was an act of disrespect to the Tamil language which was, however, denied by the mutt.

The seer was also among those acquitted along with Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal in the Sankararaman murder case of 2004.