Preceptors of Advaita



T. M. P. Mahadevan M.A., Ph. D.


1.  Introduction
                        Any one who has read the works of Sri Sankara would certainly want to know what sort of a person the great Master was.  In all his extensive writings he nowhere makes any reference to himself.  The only isolated passage where one could see an oblique reference relates, not to any detail in personal biography, but to the inwardly felt experience of the Impersonal Absolute.  In this passage which occurs towards the end of the Brahma-sutra-bhashya, he observes:  “How is it possible for another to deny the realization of Brahman-knowledge, experienced in one’s heart, while bearing a body? “1.  The reference here is to the plenary experience of Brahman, even while living in a body (jivan-mukti); and it is evident that the testimony offered here is from Sankara’s own experience.  The outlines of the story of Sankaras life could be gathered only from the Sankara-vijayas and other narratives.  Inspite of varying accounts in regard to some of the details, the image of the Master that one forms from these sources, taking into account also the grand teachings that are to be found in his own works, is that of a great spiritual leader, who renounced all wordly attachments even as a boy, who was a prodigy in scriptural lore and wisdom, who spent every moment of his life in the service of the masses of mankind by placing before them, through precept and practice, the ideal of the life divine and who was a teacher of teachers, the universal guru.  Even as such a magnificent image is being formed, the doubt may arise in the minds of many:  Is it possible that such a great one walked this earth?  Is it possible that in a single ascetic frame was compressed several millennia of the highest spiritual human history?  This doubt is sure to be dispelled in the case of those who have had the good fortune of meeting His Holiness Jagadguru Sri Chandrasekharendra Sarasvati, the Sixty-eighth in the hallowed line of succession of Sankaracharyas to adorn the Kamakoti Pitha of Kanchi.  Anyone who comes into the august presence of His Holiness cannot but recall to his mind the image of Adi Sankara, the immaculate sage who was divine and yet human, whose saving grace was universal in its sweep and whose concern was for all––even for the lowliest and the last.  For sixty years Sri Chandrasekharendra Sarasvati has been fulfilling the noble spiritual mission entrusted by Adi Sankara to his successors bearing his holy name.  Numerous are the ways in which he has given the lead for human upliftment through inner awakening.  When one considers his life of ceaseless and untiring dedication to the task of stabilizing and promoting the renascent spirit of India so that humanity may be benefited thereby, one cannot but conclude that it is the unbounded Grace of Sankara that has assumed this new form in order to move the world one step higher on the ladder to universal perfection.

  1. Brahma-sutra-bhashya, IV, i, 15.

Sage of Kanchi - Other Parts:

Early Life
Ascension to Sri Kamakoti Pitha
The First Tour of Victory (Vijaya-yatra)
Study and Training
All-India Tour (1919-1939)
Consolidation and Furtherance of Our Ancient Dharma
At Kanchi
Since 1957

Sixty-One Of The Many Blessings Conferred By His Holiness On The World


Sage of Kanchi

Preceptors of Advaita