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A Decade Of Pain Dies With Him

Jayendra was instrumental in the Math’s dir­ect service to people, beyond being a mere spiri­tual fountainhead. Today, it runs dozens of schools and hospitals besides a deemed university.

A Decade Of Pain Dies With Him
Photograph by Alamy
A Decade Of Pain Dies With Him
outlookindia.com
2018-03-10T10:55:48+05:30

If the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham positively deviated from its celebrated traditions during the past quarter cen­tury, the anci­ent Hindu monastic institution owes it to Jayendra Saraswathi’s charting an independent course for it after becoming the 69th Shankaracharya. This, sadly, led to an uncharitable campa­ign against the pontiff but least stopped his spirited efforts in transforming the ritualistic Math into a socia­lly vibrant centre of knowledge and activity.

Back in early 1994, the grammar of the inward-looking Math in northern Tamil Nadu began changing into one of high-pulse activity. Jayendra, who had taken over as the sage of Kanchi five days before the death of Chandrasekhare­ndra Saraswati on January 8 that year, often tested the limits of orthodoxy. The new swami extended the areas of Math’s reach beyond its traditional adherents, exploring areas of social thrust. Jayendra was instrumental in the Math’s dir­ect service to people, beyond being a mere spiri­tual fountainhead. Today, it runs dozens of schools and hospitals besides a deemed university. Jayendra also rea­ched out to untouched bastis, attracting new devotees. His popularity swelled and brought multitudes of social, political and cultural leaders into interaction with him.

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