Aayiram Graamathu Periyava
“Aayiram Graamathu Periyava” also known as “Kalavai Periyava” is the 66th Sankaracharya of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. He belongs to Hoysala Karnataka Brahmin sect. His Poorvashrama name was “Swaminathan“.
During the late 18th century, when the 65th Sankaracharya of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, Sri Sudarshana Mahadevendra Saraswathi Swamigal (Also known as “Ilayaathangkudi Periyava”) was doing His Vijaya Yatra in Ramanathapuram Jilla, Sri Swaminathan joined the Sri Matam camp. He was serving His Holiness for His Nithya Pooja. Upon closing watch the young Tejasvi Swaminathan, His Holiness initiated him into Sanyasam and named Him “Sri Chandrashekarendra Saraswathi Swamigal“.
In the year 1890, after Ilayaathangkudi Periyava attained Siddhi, Sri Chandrasekarendra Saraswathi Swamigal became the 66th Sankaracharya of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. After His Gurunathar’s Siddhi, Sri Swamigal reached Kumbakonam via Pudukottai, Thanjavur, Thiruvaiyaru and Kapisthalam. He then started His Sastra-Vidhyaabhyasam from Thiruvaiyaru Memaamsa Kuppuswami Sastrigal, Thiruvisainallur Mahalinga Sastrigal, Kumbakonam Iyengar Street Agnihotram Rajagopala Thathacharyar, Mahamahopadhyaya Thiruvisainallur Venkatasubba Sastrigal and few other highly learned vedantic scholars.
Sri Swamigal started “Advaitha Sabha” in the year 1894 in Kumbakonam to propagate “Advaitha Philosophy” and also to support Advaitha Vedantic Scholars. Mahamahopadhyaya Mannargudi Raju Sastrigal (also knowns as “Mannargudi Periyaval”) , Diwan Seshaiah Sastrigal and many stalwarts had been the pillars of “Advaitha Sabha”.
In the year 1896, Sri Swamigal started His Vijaya Yatra in Thanjavur district and visited over 1000 villages and that is why He is fondly known as “Aayiram Graamathu Periyava”. During His Vijaya Yatra, people from many villages donated their cultivable land to Sri Matam.
In the year 1906, Sri Swamigal again started His Vijaya Yatra and reached South Arcot district and stayed in Thirupaadhiripuliyur (Cuddalore) and Pondicherry for few months. The French government gave Military Respect to Sri Swamigal. During His stay in Kalavai, Sri Swamigal got sick and attained Siddhi in the year 1907 (Parabhava Varusham) on Krishna Paksha Ashtami Thithi in the month of Magha. Sri Swamigal was just 35 years when He attained Siddhi.
He was succeeded by Sri Mahadevendra Saraswathi Swamigal – the 67th Sankaracharya of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam who took care of His ailing Guru Sri Kalavai Periyava. Sri Mahadevendra Saraswathi Swamigal occupied the Peetam for only seven days and attained Siddhi at Kalavai on Sukhla Paksha Prathama Thithi in the month of Phalguna in the same year 1907. It was then, the 13 years young boy named “Swaminathan” was initiated as the 68th Sankaracharya of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam on 13th February 1907 and was given the Deeksha Naamam as “Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi Swamigal” who is none other than Sri MahaPeriyava – Nadamaadum Dheivam!
Sri MahaPeriyava recollects an incident that happened when He became the Sankaracharya of Sri Matam. Kuchippalayam Reddiar, a miraasudhar did lot of service to Sri Matam. Reddiar refused to see any other sanyasi by saying “I won’t see anybody after seeing the Chandramouleeswarar Poojai done by my Kalavai Periyava”. Such was his devotion to Kalavai Periyava.
Kalavai Periyava’s Aradhanai is on Saturday, February 18th 2017. And, Sri Mahadevendra Saraswathi Swamigal Aradhanai is on Monday, February 27th 2017.
Video Courtesy: Thanks to Sri Chandramouli Mama (Periyava’s Poorvashrama Brother Sri Ganapathi Sastrigal’s Grandson) for the video