The Sage of Kanchi

Late N. Chandrasekhara Iyer
(Retired Judge, Supreme Court of India)

His Holiness the Paramacharya is a polymath of learning and his versatility in different fields of knowledge, not necessarily connected with religion, has staggered many a modern thinker or scholar. His exposition of lofty philosophical truths is lucid and can be appreciated even by the common man. He can discourse fluently in many languages. His comprehensive range of knowledge enables him to take a correlated and integrated picture of any situation and illumine it by his remarkable wisdom. Self-imposed discipline, severe penances, fasts and concentrated contemplation of the Divine have imbued him with rare powers and vision.

Stern in his own habit of orthodoxy, and never deviating from prescribed routine and ritual, he is broadminded and catholic in temperament and the people of all sects, classes and communities, flock to him daily by hundreds to have his darshan, advice, guidance. During the last four decades, he has been touring and working steadily for the promotion of peace and amity among different religious faiths and has preached the gospel of the harmony of all religions, despite outward differences in their methods of approach. His synthesis of modern thought with ancient beliefs and usages finds a well-reasoned exposition in an article on "Our Spiritual Crisis" which he has contributed to the latest Bhavans' Journal.

He attracts by his eyes which are large and luminous; he charms by his smiles which endear and bless; he enlivens by his talk which scintillates with sparks of genius. Sages like him who see far and beyond what they see around them, are the very self of the earth. They are the true representatives of Indian culture and religion at their highest. It is such men that we now need in plenty to show us the sure and safe path to human welfare and progress. At present, in this country, there is any amount of false doctrines, cheap political shibboleths and ruinous philosophies. Every man who is fortunate enough to secure some sort of position in public life believes that he is competent to speak on any subject under the sun with the authority of an expert or a prophet. The sooner this delusion is dispelled and people realise that their ignorance is comprehensive and their knowledge infinitesimal, the better for public good. Saviours of humanity like our sages of old of which line the Jagadguru is distinguished representative, are sorely needed to rescue us from the chaos, social, religious and political, which is threatening to overwhelm us.