History of My Sri Guru – The Master of Sri Vidya
Sri Ananthanantha Nathar – Brahmasri C V Swamy Sasthrigal
There is a radiant energy in every life. It is universal. It is not related to or restricted by place or time. This energy powers action, Realization of this energy in a life which makes one a real guru. Pujya Sri Ananthananda Nathar (Sri C.V. Swamy Sastrigal) of Guhananda mandali, the famous Srividhya Mandali, was one such guru who possessed that quality. My attempt in the article is to relate briefly the life he lead which did not deviate, even a bit, into forbidden path; when I say his life did not deviate into forbidden paths, let me discuss also what led one become a real guru. The following is taken from Sootha Samhithai, Chapter on Mukti (Salvation)
A real Guru (Sadhguru) is one–
– Who has realized that the world seen by us all is the creation of Maya (illusion), like the many different ornaments made by a goldsmith out of one real, gold;
– Who has identified his own self with the all-pervading divine radiant energy which is the only real thing and so permanent;
– Who has become one with that divine energy by hearing vedas and vedanthas; and
– Who has realized karmas (religious rites and sacrifices) as prescribed by religion (Dharma) will not lead one to merge with the divine energy; and
– known that all karmas are immersed in the supreme knowledge of the power of divine energy, but manifests itself in the different temporary creations, visible to the naked eyes, which are like shells under water which glitter like silver.
Only he who has reached this understanding of the real divine power is capable of being a guru who can lead one to final realization of God.
There are several such great gurus, even in the present age of economic struggle, in our land. Most of them are,” like the gem of purest ray serene”, unknown. But my Guru was different. He traveled all over the length and breadth of our great country, Himalayas to Kanyakumari. He was well versed in Srividya, mantras,Tantras and Sanky shastras.
His mastery of Sanskrit language and prosody was superb, in fact equal to that of Kalidasa. His compositions were numerous, very captivating and without any grammatical aberrations which, at times, unnoticed, creep in the works of even great scholars.
Now let me go into his life in brief
About 300 years ago, a Tamil Brahmin couple, in Kerala, 45 and 40 years, went on a pilgrimage to all sacred spots in Kerala, praying for a child. They did not have a child till then. Finally, they reached Mangala about 12 miles from Olavakkod. “Bharatapuza” (means River Bharati) flows along “Mangala” and on its bank stands “Pudukkottappan”. They settled at this temple to spend their time in worship and performing daily religious rites.
The Chief Executive of this temple, observing their religious practices, discipline and learning, allowed them to stay as long as they wanted.
Rice cooked in cow’s urine was their principal food. In six months’ time, by the grace of “ Pudukkottappan” the lady became pregnant and gave birth to a male issue. They named him Venkatesan. It is this Sri Venkatesan from whom the family tree of my guru grew up.
In the generations that followed, Shri Venkatesan (grandson of Sri Venkatesan) was born. I am unable to get the name of Shri Venkatesan – (Junior’s Father) and so it has not been given. Venkatesan Junior was known as Ayyakutti. So I will also refer to him as Sri Ayyakutti hereafter. Sri Ayyakutti lost his mother at a young age. His father married a second time, and he also died when Ayyakutti was very young. Ayyakutti’s stepmother ill-treated him. Unable to bear her treatment and behavior he ran away from home and joined the service of the local zamindar. The family of the zaminder were known as “Thousand mile Rulers”. Sri Ayyakutti stayed in the palace. He was devoted to Sun God”
Sri Ayyakutti knew by heart “Mayura Satakam” composed by Mayura Kavi. He performed Suryanamaskaram on a rock at the temple of Bhagavati. The dent created by this by Sri Ayyakkutti on the rock, by this daily ritual, can be seen even today.
Sri Ayyakutti married the daughter of Shri Appu Jyotishar of Kundanur named Shrimati Thailamba. To Thailamba and Ayyukutti were born three children, namely Shrimati Subbalakshmi Ammal, known as Ammani and a son named Shri Krishna Shastri and thirdly a son named Shri Venkateswara Swami later known as “Shri Swami Sastriji”. This article deals with the life of Shri Swami Sastriji, my Guru.
When Sri Swamy was born, his parents and relatives were very happy. His bright eye appeared to foretell his fame in later years; He lost his father at the very early age of four. Sri. Krishna Jyotishar, his maternal uncle and his mother looked after his upbringing. Shri Krishna Jyotishar did not have children. So he performed Shri Swami’s “Upanayanam” (giving of the sared thread)
Shri Swami learned astrology from “Jyotisham Ramayyar” and Kavyas from Shri Venkatesa Sastrigal Dandakam, Aparadha Kshamapana Sthoram, Mantramatruka Pushpamala. He was repeating any one of them always, and even in his sleep.
Later, He was taken care of by his sister and brother-in-law. They had a son named Venkataraman. He was very wise, could sing well and Sri Swami loved hid very much. He died suddenly one day. From then on Sri Swami was grief stricken and lost his power to listen and lost his hearing. His limbs became very weak even to walk and work, and day by day he was loosing his vision also. But Sri Lalitha Sahasranamam, Sri Devi Mahathmiyam, etc. were never forgotten. They still ran in his mind always. Some days passed off like that. One night he had a strange dream. An old man appeared and said “Day after tomorrow at 12 noon, you will die.”
On hearing of the strange dream his uncle and mother were perturbed. His mother sat by his side and repeated Sri Lalitha Sahasranamam continuously even without taking water also day and night. Exactly at 12 noon on the day announced by the old man of the dream, he went into a coma but his mother putting all faith in the Holy Mother Sri Lalitha, went on with her recitation. At 3 O’ clock he woke up without any sign of illness and sat up, and began speaking. He was normal thereafter Sri Lalitha Devi had a role for him to play in this world.
Shri Swami who was devoted to philosophical thinking, was married to Shrimati Mahalakshmi Ammal in 1929. His wife cooperated with him in his rituals and practices in all manner. They were, naturally, devoted to Sri Lalita Devi and always calm.
In 1930, due to necessity to search for economic resources to carry on his house holder’s duties, he shifted to Madras, and took his abode at 313 Mint Street, Sowcarpet. Sri Kanchi Jagathguru Sri Paramacharyal (MahaPeriyava) was well-known this address which mentioned to a devotee. It was from Madras that he became famous and the “gem” gave out its lustre.
4. GURU DEEKSHA
Shri Swami realized that to attain divine knowledge, only Sri vidya upasana was the route. He began his search for a guru him in Sri Vidya he was able to discover Sri Chidanandanatha, known as Shri Sir.
Sri Chidanandanatha was mitiated at Prayaga by Sri Guhananda Natha Avaduta of Badrikasramam on the year 1911 Thai Amavasai. His popularity became wide in the country by his teachings and advaita related Srividya research. He has compiled a Saparya Paddathi for devi upasakas which is extracted from Kalpasutra and other Kalpas. And also he written a lot of books about Srividya and Vedanta. He was established one Sabha named Sri Brahmavidya Vimarsini Sabha, known as Guhananda Mandali. Many sishyas were blessed and initiated by him.
On full moon day on the third month Mithuna (June-July 1936) Shri Lalitha Trisati Yagya was arranged at Kamakoti Matam, Kanchipuram. This was arranged to be directed by Shri Sir, several scholars and Shri Vidya upasakas from different parts of India gathered in Kanchipuram. Shri Sir, instructed his disciple- Shri Swami to conduct the “Kalasapratishta”. Shri Swami was very pleased with opportunity, but Shri Sir had not said anything about giving him initiation in Shri Vidya upasana. This apparent indifference of Shri Sir was present in Shri Swami”s mind always.
Shri Swami began his pujas. On this day, Shri Sir gave Shri Swami “Shakta Diksha”. This is initiation on Shakti Upasana. It removed the thrist for guru’s initiation which was in Shri Swami. Shri Swami was given the Dikshanama as Sri Ananthananda Natha. Hereafter I will refer to Shri Swami as Guruji.
5. GURUJI’S TRAVELS
Sri Guruji did not confine his religious ceremonies only to Madras. His activities and travels spread over Kanyakumari to Himachala. In his travels he initiated so many individuals in Srividya Upasana. He visited Kamakya Temple on 1.4.1958 where he got Yoni Kunda Darshan and did puja with Sapthasati parayana.
Sri Guruji’s principles in life were: –
-There must be a goal for everything one does.
-One should always speak the truth
-He Saw the universe as Sivasakthi Mayam
-He researched and understood that the lord of the universe, as described by Vedas and Upanishads, is the same as retold in Tantra Shastras.
In 1942 due to the evacuation of Madras and other coastal cities, my Guruji shifted to Kanchipuram at Rajaveethi. For two years Kanchipuram kept my Guruji and raised its stature by his presence.
In the middle of his sadhana he stayed at Vidayal Karuppur, one of the ancient villages situated on the bank of the river Kaveri (Kudamurutti) Thanjavur District. In the year of 1974, he showered his blessings on me by doing Saktha Diksha at this village. From that time, I have maintained the Guruji’s sayings and upadesams by doing sadhana, puja, and homa etc.
6. TITLES AND AWARDS
1. Kanchi Jagadguru Shankaracharya, Shri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati Swamigal presented my Guru with a medal in recognition of his learning and devotion to Shakti worship.
2. Jagadguru Shri Shankaracharya of Puri gave him the title of “Shri Vidya Marthanda”.
3. Dwaraka Sharada Peethadhipati Shri Abhinava Sachidananda Theertha Swami gave him the title of “Shri Vidya Vachaspati”.
4. Enamanra Sri Venugopala Sasthri of Andrapradesh gave the title as “Samparadaya Pravarthaka”
Sri Guruji’s Sadabishekam was celebrated at Kanchipuram by his sishyas and bhaktas gathered in large numbers on 11.6.1980. The Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam garlanded him on that day.
7. MAHA NIRVANAM
On 6th September 1980. i.e. Shravana month. Thirteenth day after full moon, year Rowdri according to kali varsha my guru reached the sacred feet of Sri Lalitha Mahatirupurasundari the Holy mother, whom he served all his life and propagated her worship. My guru Sri Ananthananda Natha relinquished his mortal body and became one with the Paramjyothi. I would like to point out to my readers that this the same thithi on which Sri Ramana Maharishi also attained samadhi.
Thus ended the worldly life of
A great Guru,
An illustrious scholar,
A great poet,
A well-known yanthra – prathishtapakacharya,
A Compiler of SriMahaganapathi Saparya Paddhati,
A gem of Guhanandamandali.
A great writer of Thathwas
A numaralagist in Katapayathi Sankya sastra, and also
An ardent Srividya Upasaka,who left behind him many mourning admirers and disciples.
Thus we got a very good Guru by the grace of Maheswari and by his grace we praying the welfare to the mankind in everywhere. He is showering his blessings today itself also.
To propagate the Srividya Tatwas, to adopt his sayings and to publish his articles, we have founded a Sabha named ‘The Rithambhara Jnana Sabha’ on the 89th Birthday of our Sri Guruji, in the year 1998 Sri Guruji’s life history, in the detailed manner named “SriGuru Prakasamalar” was written by me in Tamil language and published by the said Rithambhara Jnana Sabha in his auspicious 98th Jayanthi Day.
Now the Tamil version book, briefly narrated in English published in our website.