I sought an audience with the Shankaracharya and met him at Kanchi. I saw and heard undiluted truth ringing in the voice of His Holiness – a voice of great wisdom, conviction, constantly smiling and in peace within himself.
The first thing that struck me on arrival was his extreme simplicity, austerity and true renunciation. For a moment I almost felt ashamed that I too call myself a monk – a Buddhist monk.
-The Dalai Lama
The Greatness Of Maha Periyava
Many saints and eminent ones have graced this divine land of the tamils. From Avvaiyar and Agastya during the tamil sangam period, the peerless Nayanmars and Alwars of The Saiva ( Shiva ) and Vaisnava ( Vishnu) bhakti traditions, and the exalted ones like Thirumoolar and Bhogar from the Siddha tradition..
We have been blessed and fortunate that such divine personalities have graced this land with their presence.
In recent times, no Saint had captured the hearts and minds of the tamils like the one they call Maha Periyava , The Sage of Kanchi , The 68th Shankaracharya of the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham.
His adherence to discipline and the sashtras can be summed up by the incident when Swami Chinmayananda of Chinmaya Mission came to visit Maha Periyava once and offered namaskar.
Maha Periyava replied, A Sanyasi should not do namaskar to another Sanyasi isn’t it? For which Swami Chinmayananda replied, “Swami I am not a Sanyasi.”
The Swami later explained to his companion that “compared to what he is (practices) , none of us are worth to be called a sanyasi.”
Once the esteemed sage was performing Shiva Puja ( chandramoulseeswara ) at his Kanchi Peetam. The sage was known to never stop or speak to others during the puja for any reason. A big crowd came in to witness the puja.
An old lady was seated in a corner with her young grand-daughter by her-side, and the young girl could be seen throwing a little bit of a tantrum to her grandmother.
She was asking her grandmother for the same green attire that another young girl was wearing in the puja.
Shockingly, Maha Periyava paused the puja and motioned for both of them to come forward. He blessed them both and motioned to his disciple to get the green attire that had been set aside,
and after getting the little one to put on the attire, the sage performed kanya puja ( puja of a small girl as devi ) to the surprise of everyone.
It was later revealed that when the sage was doing his Shiva Puja, devi in the form of Bala was seated on his lap also doing Shiva Puja along with him.
It was this “girl” in green attire that the girl had seen.
Such was the grace of the Paramacharya, the one they called Nadamadum Deivam ( God in human form).
Hara Hara Shankara Jaya Jaya Shankara, Maha Periyava Sharanam