Preceptors of Advaita
THE SAGE OF KANCHI
T. M. P. Mahadevan
M.A., Ph. D.
4. The First Tour of Victory (Vijaya-yatra)
Tours of victory (vijaya-yatra), in the present context, mean the journeys undertaken by the Acharya to the different parts of the country to bless the people by his presence, to give them opportunities for participation in the daily puja performed to Sri Chandramaulisvara and Tripurasundari (Paramesvara and Parvati), the presiding deities of the Matha and to impart to them the light of spiritual knowledge and the guidelines for conduct. Wherever the Acharya goes, the people of that place take the fullest advantage of his presence, celebrate the event as a great festival, listen to his soul-moving discourses in pin-drop silence and find in the very atmosphere a sense of exaltation.
The first tour undertaken by the new Acharya was to Jambukesvaram (Tiruvanaikka) in 1908. It was here that Adi Sankara had adorned the Image of the Goddess Akhilandesvari with ear ornaments (tatanka). In 1908 arrangements were made for the Kumbhabhishekam of the temple there, after it had been renovated. Our Acharya was invited by the temple Sthanikas and the authorities to grace the occasion with his presence. The Kumbhabhishekam was performed with all solemnity and grandeur. Sri Sachchidananda Sivabhinava Narasimha Bharati, Sankaracharya of Sringeri, visited the Temple a day after the Kumbhabhishekam was performed. Sri Subrahmanya Bharati, Sankaracharya of Sivaganga, visited the shrine a few months later.
From Jambukesvaram, our Acharya proceeded to Ilaiyattankudi in Ramanathapuram District, the place where the Sixty-fifth Acharya of the Kamakoti Pitha, Sri Mahadevendra Sarasvati, had attained siddhi. On the way, he visited Pudukkottai and stayed there for some days. At Ilaiyattankudi he offered his homage to his illustrious predecessor at the Adhishthanam. From there he returned to Jambukesvaram for his chaturmasya. At the end of the period, he went back to Kumbhakonam after a brief halt at Tanjavur. 1909 was the Mahamakha year at Kumbhakonam –– an event which occurs every twelfth year. The Matha did its part in playing host to the pilgrims. On the day of the festival, it was a feast for the eyes to see the Acharya go for the ceremonial bath in the Mahamakha tank. In a grand procession he went, seated in an ambari on the back of an elephant.
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Preceptors of Advaita