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hi showering Her blessings on her devotees, is the presiding deity of the city o f Kanchi. The glory of Kamakshi is found described in Devi Mahatmya Adyaya of Ma rkandeya Purana, Lalithopakyanam of Brahmanda Purana, Sanathkumara Samhita of Sk anda Purana and Kanchi Purana. Among the idols of Sakthi, Sri Kanchi Kamakshi al one is believed to be replete with all the characteristic attributes of Sri Lali tha Tripura Sundari, worshipped by Sri Vidya hymns. Among the 64 Sakthi Peetas, Jagannatham is regarded as Odyana or Girdle Peeta. Jwalamuki as Jalandara Peeta and Kancheepuram as Kamaraja Peeta. Even among these three, Kancheepuram, regard ed as the navel of the earth, is considered most sacred. Goddess Kamakshi is so called for two reasons: (1) She fulfils the desires o f the devotees by just a glance of Her gracious eyes. (2) The letters 'Ka' and ' Ma' refer to Goddesses Saraswathi and Laxmi. She graced through her gracious gla nces of her right and left eyes on Brahma and Lord Vishnu respectively and bless ed them with Saraswathi and Lakshmi to become their consorts. As a mark of showi ng their respect and gratitude to the Goddess Sri Kamakshi, Sri Lakshmi and Sara swati, each with a chowrie, stand on her two sides doing the sacred service of f anning. Sri Kamakshi is enthroned in Sri Kamakoti Peetam. This signifies two thi ngs: (1) She fulfills the desires of her devotees who worship her with a view to attain material prosperity by granting wealth and boons in crores or in plenty. (2) The four principal objects of human life, called Purusharthas, are Dharma A rtha, Kama and Moksha. She grants not only the first three needed for life on ea rth but also the ultimate Purushartha Viz., Moksha or liberation leading to eter nal bliss. The explanations follow from the meanings of the words "Kama" and "Ko ti". Kama means desire to object, 'Koti' means a crore or the end denoting the s aturation point or the ultimate. There are a number of temples for Goddess Kamakshi in India. The temples of kamakya in Assam, Kamachcha in Sri Kasikameswara temple in Varanasi, Jonnavada K amakshion the banks of the river Pinakini near Buchireddipalayam in Kovur Taluk, Nellore District of Andhara Pradesh, Kamakshi Amman in Sri Ekambareswarar templ e in the Thanga Salai Street at Madras, Mangadu Kamakshi in penance in Mangadu V illage near Poondamalli, Sri Kamakshi Devi enthroned in Sri Kamakoti Peetam in K anchi and Swarna Kamakshi called Bangaru Kamakshi in Thanjavur are all very famo us. Besides these, there are temples for Kamakshi in Chingleput, Puducherry, Vil lupuram, Vishnampatti, Kallaperambur, Chettikulam, Cuddalore, Karuvazhakkarai ne ar Mayuram, Edayatrumangalam near Pattukottai, Negeswarar Sannidhi in Kumbakonam , Trichy Tuticorin and Rameswaram. But the moment the name of Kamakshi is though t of only Kamakshi of Kanchi comes before our eyes. The glory of Sri Kanchi Kamakshi has been extolled in 2000 slokas by Saint D urvasa in Kritayuga, in 500 slokas by Parasurama in Threthayuga and in 500 sloka s by Mooka Sankara in Kaliyuga. She has been eulogized as the one responsible fo r the creation, protection and destruction of the universe, evincing an innate c ompassion to take care of the welfare or yogakshema of the devotees, confering a ll the purusharthas. She chooses to dwell in the pure hearts of the devotees. Sh e is the underlying theme of the Vedas.Agamas and Puranas helping her Bakthas to cross of the ocean of Samsara. The Trinity of Music, Saint Sri Thyagaraja, Sri Muthuswamy Dikshitar and Sri Syama Sastri have composed krithis in praise of God dess Sri Kamakshi. It is said that Goddess Kamakshi sanctifies the shrine in Kan chi in the form of Cosmic space caned Bilakasa and in the Sri Chakra installed b y Sri Adi Sankara and dwells in the Gayatri Mandapam with 24 pillars representin g the 24 letters of Gayatri Mantra with padmasana, in a sitting posture with fou r arms, adorned with Ankusam and Pushpa Banam in the arms on the right and with
Ankusam and Ikshukodandam or the Sugarcane bow in the arms on the left. Puranic Origin: Once upon a time, an asura called Bandakasura secured several boons from Lo rd Brahma by performing severe penances. Puffed up with pride, he tormented the devas and sages who sought refuge under Lord Siva. Realising that only Goddess P arasakthi could save them by destroying the Rakshasa, Lord Siva advised them to enter a chasm in the shrine Gomukha, situated to the north of Kailas and to come out through another chasm, called Kamakoti Peetam, in Kancheepuram and worship Parasakthi who dwells there in the form of Bilakasa. He further told them that f or the earth, usually visualised as cow, Sripuram is its head, Himalayas its nec k, Kedaram its belly, Benaras its back, Kanchi its hip and the chasm, Kamakoti P eetam, its navel. Learning this from Lord Siva, the Devas came to Kanchi and remained there ta king the form of parrots and prayed to Goddess Kamakshi for the redemption of th eir sufferings at the Hands of Bandakasura. Showing mercy on them, She took the frightful form of Bhairavi, like the fire of Deluge, with 18 arms and 18 celesti al weapons, came out of the chasm, reached Kailas, where the asura was sleeping, kept one foot on his neck and the other on his breast, killed him and returned to Kanchi through Bilakasa with his head, holding his flocks of hair, as a 5 yea r old girl. Seeing her ferocious form, the Devas swooned. To remove their fear, she then assumed a lovely form wearing silk garments and adorned with all orname nts. Recovering their consciousness and seeing her dazzling form, the Devas rema ined spellbound unable to comprehend her amazing powers. She then directed them to bury the body of Bandakasura there and erect a victory-staff, called Jayastha mbam, as a mark of victory. While the Devas were digging the ground to bury his head, they found another Asura called Mallaka, performing penance beneath the earth. Sensing that he was invincible, they prayed to Lord Vishnu to kill him. Lord Vishnu attacked Mallak a but every drop of blood shed from his body was tansformed into a demon in the same form and soon there was an army of demons to fight with Lord Vishnu. Each d emon in the huge army so produced was killed by Vishnu in that battle, only to s ee more and more demons emerge from the spilt blood-drops. Unable to vanquish th em, Lord Vishnu prayed to Lord Siva to come to his rescue. At once, Lord Siva un locked his long matted hair and struck it on the ground to produce two ghosts wh ich drank all the drops of blood preventing the multiplication of demons. Then L ord Vishnu was able to annihilate all the demons with their aid. The ghosts intoxicated by excessive drinking of blood began to attack Lord V ishnu Himself for whose assistance they were created. Lord Vishnu pushed them do wn and stood upon them. Showing resistance, they rose up. Again he pushed them d own and sat upon them. Seeing them still resisting, He lay down upon their bodie s and suppressed their arrogance. Hence his name "Bhootha Bandhana". Coming back to their senses, the ghosts prayed Lord Vishnu, to pardon them. In turn Lord Vishnu also felt sorry for having been forced to inflict pain on th e Bhoothas which were sent by Lord Siva to assist him in battle with Mallaka. At this juncture, Lord Siva appeared on the scene, released Ganges from his matted hair, created a sacred tank called Pancha Theertham and asked Lord Vishnu and the ghosts to have their ablutions in it as atonement for their actions. Lord Vishnu consecrated the male and femal ghosts as guards for the Panch. T heertham and he himself began to dwell in their midst at a higher plane in stand ing, sitting, and reposing postures in commemoration of his fight with them, and proclaimed that those who are desirous of having progency, would cherish their
desire by taking a holy dip in the Pancha Theertham. The Pancha Theertha tank is so counstructed that the Abhishekha Theertham of Goddess Sri Kamakshi falls int o this tank adding sanctity to the holy waters of this sacred tank. In deference to the command of the Goddess Sri Kamakshi the Devas then burie d Bandakasura, installed a Jayasthamba and constructed a passage from there lead ing to Bilakasa. They also constructued a mandapam with 24 pillars symbolising t he 24 letters of the sacred hymn "Gayatri" and named it Gayatri Mandapam. They m ade an idol of the Goddess, resembling the form of which they were fortunate to have darshan and consecrated the same on a gembedecked throne symbolising the Pr anava Mantra and worshipped her with great devotion. Then they closed the door, came out and spent that night chanting mantras in her prayer. The next day, just before dawn, they opened the door in deep reverence to find to their great asto nishment, Goddess Rajarajeswari in her real from instead of that idol. It was on an auspicious Friday in the asterism Pooram in Krishna Pakhsa Prathama thidi in the month of Panguni in Srimukha Varsha in Krithyuga in Savitri Swayambu Manava nthara that Rajarajeswarai Sri Lalitha Thripurasundari manifested herself as God dess Sri Kamakshi in Kamakottam of Kancheepuram. To celebrate the coronation of Goddess Sri Kamakshi, in the Gayatri Mandapam in the Kamakottam of Kanchi, Viswakarma, the Chief architect of the Devas prese nted a palanquin, while Lord Brahma offered a hair clip made of Pearls, Lord Vis hnu a crown studded with the nine gems, and Lord Siva a necklace called Sri Chak ra. They decorated the idol of Sri Kamakshi with all ornaments, worshipped her a nd prayed to her to sanctify this shrine in Kanchi and continue to shower her Gr ace on the devotees for all times to come. Illustrious Recipents of the Lord's Grace: For anihilating Tarakasura, the Devas felt the pressing need for Lord Subra mnya's incarnation as the son of Lord Siva. To distract Prameswara from his pena nce and divert his attention towards Goddess Gowri, the Devas deployed Cupid for the job. When Lord Siva was sturck by his flower arrows, his penance was distur bed. Getting angry, he burnt Cupid to ashes by the fire of the third eye on his forehead. Having lost his physical frame, Cupid not only wanted to regain it but also register a victory over Lord Siva. With these objectives, he prayed to God dess Kamakshi and regained his lovely form. He expressed to her, his desire to s core a victory over Lord Siva. Assuring him of her full support, Sri Kamakshi di rected Cupid to go to Kailash again and shower his flower arrows on Lord Siva. H e did so; but this time, the fire of Lord Siva's third eye, could do no harm to Cupid. Not only was it unable to reduce him to ashes, but it began to shine like a gem on his head as an ornament. Then Lord Siva, infatuated with love, went into the harem to meet Goddess Go wri but she was not found there. This was because Goddess Kamakshi had imbibed t he powers of all manifestations of Sakthi in all the holy places throughout and remained as a single store-house of power in Kanchi to save Cupid. Greatly disap pointed Lord Siva visited all places and sacred shrines for his consort Gowri bu t to no purpose. Finally he came to Kanchi where he saw Goddess Kamakshi, the ve ry personification of grace and expressed his love for her mistaking her to be t he Gowri. But Goddess Kamakshi told him that she was not his consort, Gowri to a ppease his love and asked himto seek the assistance of cupid for the extinction of the fire of love from him. Lord Siva took it as a prestige issue, rejected her suggestion and was about to seize her hand forcibly. But Goddess Kamakshi foiled his attempt by generati ng, just by her looks a crore of cupids for attacking him. Lord Siva in turn gen eratd a crore of Rudras to fight with the cupids, but they were all defeated. Cu pid, who emerged as a victor with the grace of the Goddess, made Lord Siva surre
nder unto her. Goddess Kamakshi then transformed these cupids into stars just ab ove the Kamakoti Peetam and then, to facilitate the various manifestations of pa rasakthi so as to allow them to get back to their respective shrines as the cons orts of Lord Siva in those forms. Goddess Kamakshi in Kanchi is seen bearing a sugarcanebow and five flower-ar rows of red-lotus, Asoska Mango, Jasmine and Blue-lotus in her arms. Jagadguru, His Holiness Sri Chandrasekarendra Saraswathi Swami of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peeta m once pointed out that Goddess Kamakshi seized these weapons of the cupid so th at he might not exercise his influence over Her devotees and the gnanis. Bandakasura and Cupid, endowed with Tamoguna and Rajoguna respectively, are personifications of anger and lust. Unfulfilled lust leads to anger and Desire i s the root cause of misery. One should strive to overcome these two qualities. T hough both anger and desire cannot be completely effacted, they can be kept unde r proper check with out causing any hindrance to the practice of Dharma with the grace of Goddess Sri Kamakshi. The three gunas namely Sathvaguna, Rajoguna and Thamoguna signify judicious action, indiscriminate action, and inaction respectively. By vanquishing Bandaka sura and subduing Cupid, Goddess Sri Kamakshi demonstrated to the entire world t he futility of inaction the need for careful avoidance of indiscretection and th e importance of inculdence in judulgence action. As Sri Lalitha Turipusundari, the Parasakthi herself has sanctified the Kama kottam in Kanchi the presiding Deity of Kancheepuram, and hence there is no sepa rate sannidhi for Gowri the manifestation of Parasakthi in the temples of Siva i n Kanchi. This is because the powers of the various manifestations of Parasakthi , who ought to find a place in these temples, are merged in Goddess Sri Kamakshi alone. Once Lord Brahma desired to perform the Tirukalayananotsavam, of the Goddess Gowri with Sri Ekamreswara. To fulfill his desire, Sri Kamakshi generated from the eye of her forehead a manifestation of Sakthi and directed Brahma to get a g olden idol made in the form of that manifestation and perform the Kalyanotsavam of Sri Ekamreswara with that idol as his consort and Brahma acted accordingly. To make the celebration of Tirukkalyanotsavam a regular feature, He took a l otus used for worshipping Goddess Kamakshi and threw it up in the sky. It blosso med, and came down to the earth taking a human form and stood before him with fo lded hands. Brahma named him "Akasa Bhoopathy" and made him the ruler of Kanchi and directed him to look after the worship of Goddess Kamakshi on the same lines . Akasa Bhoopathi, his son Thundeeran and his descendants continued the traditio n of celebrating daily, fortnightly and monthly festivals and the Brahmotsavam i n the prescribed manner. There is a sanctum of Lord Vishnu called as 'Kalvar' within the inner prakar a of the shrine of Sri Kamakshi in the Gayatri Mandapam. During the churning of the milky-ocean, Lord Vishnu with Svetavarna, bearing mountain the mandara onhis back in the form of tortoise was oppressed by the scorching radiation of Halaha la which darkened his body. The Devas offered the hand of Goddess Lakshmi in mar riage to Lord Vishnu. Goddess Lakshmi, renowned for her shining golden complexio n, scoffed once at Vishnu saying for fun that he was no match for her because of his dark complexion. Irritated by her proud attitude caused by the thought of h er lovely complexion, Lord Vishnu cursed her to lose her beauty forthwith. This is an instance to show to the world that playfulness may turn to misery at times and that one should be cautios while talking to people even if they are very ne ar and dear. Lakshmi was very much distressed at this and prayed to Goddess Sri Kamakshi to grace her with the lost beauty. Sri Kamakshi consoled her and asked her to remain to the left of her sannidhi situated in Gayathri Mandapam of Kamak
ottam in Kancheepuram so that her devotees would receive her kumkuma prasadam an d offer it to her and by its efficacy she would regain her lovely form. She aske d Lakshmi that in return, she would bestow all prosperity on them. Goddess Laksh mi submitted to her will and regained her lovely form. Thus the Aroopa Lakshmi b ecame Soundarya Lakshmi. Lord Vishnu, also realised his mistake in cursing His consort Sri Lakshmi in haste and came to Kanchi to appease her. He was delighted to see her in Gayatri Mandapam in her original beauty. But he wanted to look at Lakshmi without being noticed by her. Though he approached her stealthily, she took notice of him. Bo ld of being under the shelter of Goddess Kamakshi she even ventured to call Vish nu who was stealing a look at her as "Kalva" meaning 'a thief. Hence Lord Vishnu , dwelling adjacent to Soundarya Lakshmi in Gayatri Mandapam, came to be called "Kalvar". Kalvar's sannidhi is one of the 108 Sri Vaishnavite shrines and Tiruma ngai Azhwar has sung in praise of this deity. When Akasa Bhoopathy ruled over Kanchi, the city had once to face a severe d rought and famine. The King under took a fast praying of Goddess Kamakshi to cau se rains, for cultivation, relieve his subjects from hunger and thirst and also blessing him with progeny. With her grace, he got a son named Thundeera, who was Lord Vinayaka incarnate. There were also rains and the city of Kanchi turned pr osperous. Filled with immense joy, the King arranged for mass-feeding. Goddess K amakshi in the guise of a Sumangali - old married lady-sat in the row and began to take food. Immediately there were showers of gold outside the pandal. While a ll were wondering how this happened, they were further amazed to hear the child, Thundeera, coming out with an explanation that while the queen, his mohter, was herself winnowing the grains meant for the mass-feeding, a pearl of gold, getti ng detached from her golden ring got mixed with the food grains. This golden pearl entered into the stomach of Goddess Kamakshi when she cons umed the food in the guise of a sumangali and in token of her gratification caus ed showers of gold in that region, the corns of paddy grown there also assumed a golden lustre. This place is now called "Pon Vilianda Kalathoor", King Thundeer a spent his entire life in the service of Goddess Kamakshi. There is an image of King Thundeera in the temple of Sri Kamakshi seen with folded hands in deep med itation opposite to the sannidhi of the processional deity of Kamakshi. While ci rcumambulating the mantap it is a custom of the devotees to keep silent and rema in with folded hands as they pass by the idol as a mark of respect to King Thund eera. Goddess Sri Kamakshi also blessed many devotees with erudition and poetic-ta lent from time to time, the most promiment among them being Sage Durvasa, Parasu rama Dhowmya, Adi Sankara and Mooka Sankara. Shri Sankara attained Videha Mukthi in the sanctum sanctorium of Goddess Kam akshi. To commenmorate this event, there is a sannidhi built for Sankara in the Kamakshi Temple. The fact that Adi Sankara incorporated the name of Sri Kamakoti Peeta in the name of Sri Kanchi Mutt throws light on the inseparable link betwe en Goddess Sri Kamakshi and Sri Sankara Mutt. Sri Sankara not only consecrated S ri Chakra, but also renovated the Kamakshi temple which iteself is in the form o f Sri Chakra. The ruler of Kanchi, Rajasena, under instructions from Adi Sankara , changed the modalities of town-planning so as to make the city itself resemble the form of Sri Chakra, with Kamakotta Garbagriha as its Bindu or pivotal point . Sankara then established the Sarvagna Peeta there and ascended the same. The 20th Acharya in the Guru Parampara of His Holiness Sri Kanchi Kamakoti P eetadipathy J agadguru Sri Sankaracharya Swami, called Sri Mooka Sankara, compos ed 500 tilting verses in praise of Goddess Kamakshi. The word 'Mooka' in Sankrit means a mute. In his poorvasrama he was a dull mute. He used to come and sit in the sannidhi of Goddess Kamakshi every day. Another devotee, Sri Vidya Upasaka,
also used to come there praying for scholarship and eloquence. One day Goddess Kamakshi intending to bless that devotee, appeared before him in the guise of a damsel and asked him to open his mouth. Not knowing her identity, that devotee u nfortunately drove her away in anger. At that time, by a stroke of good fortune, the dumb bachelor, sitting by his side, opened his mouth fortuitously when Godd ess Kamakshi transferred her Tamboola Rasa into it. Immediately, he was transfor med into a gifted poet who reeled off verses in praise of Goddess Kamakshi ! The 62nd Acharya of Sri Kamakoti Peeta, his Holiness Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswa thi Swamigal, has composed a work called "Siva Geetha Malika" giving an acount o f the devine sports of Goddess Kamakshi and Lord Ekamreswara. Description of the Temple: The Temple has 4 big towers on the four sides, tall walled enclosures and ar tistic sculptures. A peculiarity of this temple is that on crossing the walled-e nclosure and entering the temple we are unable to identify the 4 directions! On crossing the walled enclosure through the Rajagopuram, we see the flag-st aff and an altar. Opposite to the flag staff, there is a stone-window in the san nidhi Parkara. Looking through this, we can have darashan of Goddess Kamakshi in Gayatri Mandapam even from outside. Opposite to the flag-staff there is an idol of Sri Vinayaka renowed as a giver of boons. Crossing the door-way of the tower and going in we come across the Sukravara Mandapam where the processional idol of Goddess Kamakshi is brought every Friday. Sri Anjaneya in a captivating form is portrayed in one of the pillars of this Friday mandapam. When we go in through the main door-way after the Sukaravara mandapam, we se e a victory-staff called Jayasthambam. Going in through the entrance opposite to Jayasthamba and turning to the left we have darshan of Vigna Nivarana Ganapathi . Though the prakara is constructed circumambulating the Utsava Mandapam contain ing the processional-deity of Kamakshi, have dharshan of Saraswathi, Bangaru Kam akshi and Annapoorani and then reach the sannidhi of Goddess Kamakshi. Climbing up the steps leading to the Utsava Mandapam, we have dharshan of sage Durvasa. The sage Atri and his wife Anasuya had three sons, the Moon, sage Dattatreya and sage Durvasa who were glorified with the characteristics of Lord Brahma, Lo rd Vishnu and Lord Siva respectively. All of them were devotees of Parasakthi th e Devine Mother and were recipients of her grace. The Moon got the rare privileg e of adoring her crown. Hence her name Chandramowleeswari. The sage Dattatreya w ho devised a method for his personal worship guided the entire humanity to worsh ip her as the foremost in the Guru Pramapara with a view to attain mental sublim ity essential for an understanding of the doctrine of Advaita. For enabling mank ind to worship her according to Agama Sastras not only in private but in public and outlining the procedure for the same, the sage Durvasa wrote a treatise call ed Sowbagya Chintamani. Even today, the worship of Kamakshi is followed on the l ines laid down by Durvasa. While circumambulating the Utsava Mandapam we see the Palliarai and the idol of Ishtasiddhi Vinayagar. Then we come to the Asthana ma ndapam containing the processional deity of Sri Kamakshi. Goddess Saraswati and Goddess Lakshmi, with chowries in their hands, are seen engaged in rendering her fanning service. Standing in this mandapam, we can also have darshan of the pre siding-deity of Kamakshi and Sri Chakra through a grill gate. After worshiping t he processional deity and continuing through the mandapam, we see Thundeera Maha raja with folded hands in one of the pillars. On the other side of this mandapam , there are sannidhis of Saraswati and Swarna Kamakshi. At the entrance to these sannidhis there are the idols of Sowbagya Ganapati and Lord Subramanya on eithe r side. The Swarnakamakshi, also called Bangaru Kamakshi which was consecrated b y Lord Brahma in Kanchi, was later taken to Thanjavur via Gingee, Udayarpalayam and Tiruvarur by the ancestors of Sri Syamasastri one among the Music Trinity, d uring an invasion by foreigners. This golden idol is now worshipped as Sri Banga
ru Kamakshi at Thanjavur. At the place where she once dwelt here, we now see a pedestal adorned with h er foot prints. Descending down the Utsava Mandapam, we have the sannidhi of Ann apoorani, opposite to the entrance of the Moolasthana. In the Moolasthana, Goddess Kamakshi is sanctifying the Gayatri Mandapam wit h 24 pillars signifying 24 letters of Gayatri Mahamantra. While going to her san nidhi, we see the Kalvar and Soundaryalakshmi. In the Moolasthana Sri Vidya Lali tha Tripurasundari dwells as Goddes Kamakshi in the form of cosmic space and in a penance performing posture. A third form of her in the Moolasthana is seen wit h four hands. The upper left and right hands are emblished by Pasa and Anhusa re spectively. In the lower left and right hands, she has a sugarcane bow and flowe r-arrows respectively. Words will not be adequate to describe the captivating fo rm of Sri Kamakshi. It is something to be experienced in person by every devotee . In front of Goddess Kamakshi, we see Sri Chakra consecrated by Sri Adi Sanka ra. Sri Chakra is the abode of Lalitha Tripurasundari who is also called 'Sri Vi dya Swaroopini;. The word Sri refers to Srividya and the word 'Chakra' refers to a wheel shaped device called yantra. In the word 'Sri Vidya', 'Sri' means Paras akthi and 'Vidya' means knowledge. Hence Sri Chakra is a device to get enlighten ed about Goddess Parasakthi. Worship of Sri Chakra is equivalent to the worship of Parasakthi. In Kamakshi temple, Archanas are performed only to this Sri Chakr a. In the Kavacham surrounding Sri Chakra, Goddess Lakshmi dwells in her eight f orms called the 'Ashta Lakshmis'. It is customary for devotees to receive Kamaks hi's kumkuma prasadam, offer it at the feet of Goddess 'Aroopa Lakshmi' remainin g to the left of Sri Kamakshi in the walls of the Prakara of the Moolasthanam an d then take the kumkumam from there to have it as thilakam on the forehead. Vara hi and Santhana Ganapati are also seen in the Moolasthana Prakara. Coming out of the Gayatri Mandapam, we have darshan of Sri Sastha with his c onsrots Poorna and Pushkala. Adjoining to this sannidhi we have the sannidhi of Sri Adi Sankara. It is said that Adi Sankara ascended the Sarvagana Peeta here. In the mandapam, next to this sannidhi, we see pictures cut on black marble slab s depicting the life-history of Sri Adi Sankara. Coming out we have darshan of V arasiddhi Vinayakar near the Jayasthambam. Then coming out of the temple, we see in the eastern tower, sannidhis of Bairava and Durga. Circumambulating the Prak ara, we come to Kasiviswanatha sannidhi, the sacred tank, Navarathri Mandapam. O n its bank we see the Kanchi Vriksha which is the Sthala Viruksha. The outlet th rough which the sacred Abhisheka theertha of the Goddess falls into this sacred tank is known as "Karumuri Paichal". It is here that we come across the sannidhi of Lord Vishnu in standing, sitting and reposing postures, a Yagna mandapam and yagasala. There is a aslo a separate temple of Sri Adipeeta Parameswari Kali kambal ju st behind the prakaram of Sri Kamakshi Temple. By the side of this temple there is a Separate temple of Sri Kaleshwar, where special poojas are performed for Ra hu preethi. It is worth mentioning that all the temples in Kanchi face the Kamakshi Amma n temple. Whenever any festival is celebrated these deities are taken out inproc ession round the Kamakshi temple. Festivals: The Acharyas of Sri Kamakoti Peetam who are the hereditary trustees of Sri K amakshi Ambal temple have renovated the temple whenever necessary. There are ins criptions which indicate that renovation was undertaken in 1761 at the instance
of His Holiness Sri Chandra Sekharendra Saraswathi Swamigal of Sri Kamakoti Mutt . In 1942, his Holiness Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati Swamigal the 68th Achar ya, performed the Mahakumbabishekam of the temple and also got a silver car manu factured modelled after Sri Chakra and offered to the Goddess a golden Sahasrana ma mala, a garland of golden coins on which the one thousand names of the Goddes s are inscribed. The Rajagopuram, constructed by Sri Krishna Devaraya was develo ped by Pallava Kings. Prakara Gopurams and Vimanas were renovated and Mahakumaba bishekam performed by His Holiness Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam Jagadguru Sri Jaye ndra Saraswati Swami on the 5th April 1976 and in that connection, 75 music conc erts were arranged speread over 48 days and a three-day Hindu Religious conferen ce and a Vidwat sadas were also held. The Vimana of Sri Kamakshi sannidhi was go ld-plated and Kumbabishekam performed on 1st Febraury in 1979 by His Holiness Ja gadguru Sri Sankaracharya Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swami of Sri Kamakoti Peetam. Every Friday, Special Abishekams are performed to Goddess Sri Kamakshi. The devotees throng the temple on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. On every full-moon day, Navarana Pooja is performed. Brahmotsavam and Navarathri Festival are celeb rated in the months of Masi and Purattasi respectively on a very grand scale. Du ring Navarathri festival, the processional deity is brought to Navarathri Mandap am where music concerts are held for 9 days. Kanchi - A Brief Sketch Introduction: Kancheepuram, popularly known as 'Kanchi' is one of the ancient cities of So uth India. This historic city is famous for its lovely temples and prominent for its silk industry. It is one of the important pilgrim centers in the Thondainad u region of Tamilnadu located 65 Kms. southwest of Madras. It is considered to b e one of the seven Mukthi Kshethras, the sacred places of worship where the devo tees are believed to attain salvation. Poet Kalidasa's words 'Nagareshu Kanchi' and the saying 'Mukthi Tharum Nagaramezhul Mukkiyamam Kanchi' of the great Vaish navite Acharya 'Swami Nigamantha Maha Desika' are said in praise of this sacred city. It is described in the puranas as Sathyavratha Kshethra, meaning a holy ce ntre, the residents of which had built up a high reputation for speaking the tru th, as Sathyavachana, speaking truth alone was their varatha or walk of life. It is said that all austerities performed in this city will bear fruits in plenty. A number of religions flourished here at different times. The large number of t emples here stand to show that Saivism and Vaishnavism hold their sway in this s acred city. The city Kanchi is divided into two parts viz. 'Vishnu Kanchi' or 'Little Ka nchi' and 'Siva Kanchi' or 'Big Kanchi'. That part of the town situated on the l eft of the central bus stand of Kanchepuram is called 'Vishnu Kanchi' while that on the right is called 'Siva Kanchi'. The temples of Lord Varadaraja, Yadokthak ari, Deepaprakasar and Ashtabuja Perumal embellish 'Vishnu Kanchi' while the shr ines of Sri Vaikunta Perumal, Sri Ulagalantha Perumal, Sri Ekamreswarar, Sri Kac hapeswarar, Sri Kailasanathar, Goddess Sri Kamakshi, Sri Kumarakottam and Sri Sa nkara Mutt of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam adorn the 'Siva Kanchi'. It is said tha t 108 sanctums of Lord Siva and 18 sanctums of Lord Vishnu are situated in this holy city. The sky scraping towers and huge walled enclosures of the temples on all sides of the city attract pilgrims and immerse them in a sense of deep devot ion. Words are not adequate to describe the artistic beauty of the sculptures on the towers and the pillars of the mandapas in the temples, standing in proof of the high level of advancement of this art in ancient times. Thus, the city of K anchi is a big treasure of art and architecture and is therefore fittingly calle d 'The city of Temples'. Puranic Origin:
Kanchi is described as the naval of our motherland 'Bharath' and the girdle of Mother Goddess Parasakthi manifesting in teh mono-syllable absoluted designa te "Om". It is said that Lord Brahma worshipped Godess Parasakthi who adorns Sri Kamakoti Peetam here. Again, it was here that Lord Vishnu emerged in a resplend ent form with four arms bedecked with the celestial conch, wheel, cub and Abhaya hastha from the ritual fire of Lord Brahma. The city of Kanchi is so called bec uase Brahma performed worship here, - The word 'Ka' denotes 'Brahma' and 'Anchi' denotes worship. It is here Brahma worshipped Lord Varadharaja and Goddess Sri Kamakshi. The five primordial substances, Earth (Prithvi), Water (Aapaha), Light-fire (Thejas), Air (Vayu) and Space (Aakasa) form part of the creations and the exist ence of these five components is exhibited in every creation of this universe. T hey are called the 'Panchabhootas' and reflect the truth that God is ominiscient . Each of these panchabhoothas is associated with one among the five sacred pl aces in our holy country, called Panchabhoothasthalas, of which Kanchi is one an d is associated with Prithivi, the earth. Lord Siva manifests Himself here in th e form of Prithivilinga and is worshipped as Sri Ekamreswara. Similarly, among t he shrines where Satkthi is worshipped as 'Jagathkarani' Goddess Prasakthi is wo rshipped at Kanchi as Kamakshi who is associated with space or Akasa. Here the G oddess is said to have manifested herself in the form of cosmic space Or Akasa. Here the Goddess is said to have manifested herself in the form of cosmic space glorified as Bilakasa. It is here that Lord Vishnu gave dharshan in the form of an Archamoorthi and is worshipped as 'Varadaraja' fulfilling the ambitions of th e devotees. Lord Ekamreswara, Goddess Kamakshi and Lord Varadaraja are said to sanctify the shrines dwelling under Rudrakoti, Kamakoti and Punyakoti Vimanas respectivel y. Another famous temple in this sacred city is "Kumarakottam" the shrine of Siv akumara "Sri Subhrahmanya". It is with the grace of this Lord Sri Kumaraswami th at Sri Kachchiappa Sivacharya, the priest of this temple wrote the famous work i n Tamil 'Kandapurana", which narrates the story and glory of the Sivakumara. The glory of the temples of Kanchi was sung by Nayanmars, Alwars, Acharyas, Saints and spiritual guides. It is here that Sri Adi Sankara installed "Srichakr a" in the shrine of "Sri Kamakshi" and instituted" Sri Kamakoti Peetam". Besides , Kanchi was also described by the famous, Chinese pilgrim â Heiun-Chuwangâ . Kanchi - A MUKTHI KSHETRA: Temples are the sacred spots where we have the privilege of worshipping the Almighty in a form appealing to our thought and heart. The omniscient and omnip otent God descends on to the earth to uphold 'Dharma' and to protect the virtuou s from the wicked whenever excigenicies arise.It is discribed as Avathar or inca rnation. In these incarnations, the Lord performs many a miracle to manifest His greatness and to establish faith in the hearts of His devotees. Our ancestors h ave constructed temples to commemorate these incarnations and also to perpetuate the faith in God. The Deity is installed in the temple to enable devotees to th ink of the greatness of God with undaunted faith that the deity installed there sanctifies the place to shower blessings on the devotees for all times to come. These temples are the sacred spots of worship by means of which our thoughts are purified. Purification of thought is the sure way to get rid of our sins, egois m, and wordly worries. Purity of thought is the path for peace and worship ensur es purity of thought. Prayer protects us from falling a prey to the impluses of 'Maya' and makes us worthy of seeking liberation. Our ancestors, have, therefore
laid stress on the importance of temple worship as a means of mental peace. It is no exaggeration to say that the pilgrims who visit Kanchi will carry the impr ession that those who have a glimpse of the glorious temples of Kanchi and offer prayers in this Mukthi Kshetra are indeed the blessed and are well on their way to reach the goal of life. Sri Adi Sankara and Sri Kamakoti Peetam (Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam) Introduction: Sri Sankaracharya, reverentially called Sri Sankaracharya, Sri Sankara Bhag avathpadacharya, and Sri Adi Sankara is renowned for establishing the doctrine o f Advaita and is considered as a paragon amongst the Spiritual guides of Hinduis m. The recognition that all living beings in the universe are the reflected imag es of the Paramathman the Supreme being and the realisation of the oneness of th e Athman and the Paramathman is the essence of Advaitha Siddhantha.This realisat ion, is called the realisation of the 'soul' or the 'self' or Athmagnana and the person attaining this Athmagnana is called the Athmagnani or the jeevanmuktha. The Athmagnani is the jeevanmuktha who has attained the state of mind which enab les him to extricate himself from the harmful influence of the feeling of 'I' an d 'Mine' and is thus enabled to free himself from egoism and attachment and get released from the net of illusion or Maya. The guidance of a guru or Preceptor, who is in the state of Jeevanmuktha, is essential for a spiritual aspirant to be in the right path. The most important teaching of the Veda is the oneness of th e Supreme-being, called Brahma, whose three characteristics are Sath (eternally existing entity), Chit (True Knowledge) and Ananda (Bliss). Hence the form of Br ahma is aptly described as "Sachithananda". Our scriptures enunciate a number of great propositions called Mahavakyas. O ne of them is "Tat Tvam Asi". The word 'Tat' refers to the immanent Supreme-Bein g without any limiting characteristics such as form, colour etc. Further the ver y definition 'Tat' as an eternal entity leads to the logical conclusion that it should be unique without a second one. In other words 'Tat' refers to Pramatma a lso called Nirguna Brahmam. When we say that the Superme-Being is immanent, it goes without saying that all living-beings, called Jeevatmas are only manifestations of the Pramatma. The word, "Tvam" refers to the Jeevatma. So the import of the Mahavakya is "That Th ou Art" or in other words "You are Thatself-the Paramatman". There is no distinc tion between Jeevatma and Paramatma as between a water bubble and water. The for mer owes its origin to temporary survival, dissolution and final union with wate r itself. In the same way, Jeevatma and Paramatma are inter ralated. The basic p ostulate of Advaita Philosophy is "Brahma satyam Jagath Midya" which means "Brah man alone is real and enternal while the universe is illusory". But the influenc e of Maya or illusion, giving rise to ignorance, creates a misconception that Je evatma is different from Paramatma. As a result, one begins to identify his body and the world as somthing real. This leads to egoism, feelings of 'I' and 'Mine ', indulgence in wordly actions with a view to attain their fruition and get sub jected to bondage which results in a cycle of births and deaths, called "Janana Marana Valaya" with fruits of actions which result in a cycle of births and deat hs without liberation. On the other hand, a person initiated into the right path by a guru, gets th e realisation "Aham Brahmasmi" meaning "I am Paramatma myself". Such an Atmagnan i overcomes the influence of Maya, realises the temporal nature of worldly thing s; controls the mind and sensory organs by spiritual exercises, checks anger and lust, looks upon others as his own self, performs all actions without expecting any fruit, becomes free from bondage of fruits of action and secures liberation .
The spiritual guides preach and practise Dharma and by their righteous condu ct set an example to all generations, to follow their foot-steps. They are thus responsible for the evolution and sustenance of an ordered society. Sri Adi Sank ara is one among such Gurus or Acharyas who stayed in Kancheepuram.
There arose an occasion centuries ago, when there was almost a complete spir itual bankruptcy. People began to forget vedic injuctions. Hindu tenets were att acked and as many as 72 sects raised their banners. It is a matter for concern that in KaIiyuga even learned people who are to i nterpret dharma and who are supposed to tread the path of dharma and lead the po eple the right path unfortunately do not interpret the principals of dharma in t he proper perspection and cause so much of confusion, complicate the issues in s uch a way that at all most becomes impossible to distinguished between the real and the falsehood, good and the bad and thereby leading to the abuse of dharma a nd giving rise to a graves situation of detoriating dharma and the urgency to re store and uphold dharma. Saints and seers appear time to time to corret this dis order and impart true knowledge as Jagadgurus. Guru is an exclusive concept in o ur religion, literally meaning the remove of ignorance, showing the disaples the right path, impart true knowledge, guiding the disciples to the path of realisa tion. Vedas are eternal. They are the truth. The religions based and vedic princ iples or are in confirmity to the realities laid down in vedas and are considere d to advocate the sanathana dharma. The religions that are not in confirmity to vedas are considered to be non v edic, veda bahya or avaidika matas. The world' Matham indicates the perception b y the mind and vaidika matam means disciplinig the mind to on the lines of vedas . It is believed that Lord Siva Himself incarnated as Sri Adi Sankara then to st em the crisis and to restore Hinduism to its high position and established the s anatana dharma. Even before the advant of Sri Sankara, there were many Acharyas who taught t he doctrine of Advaita, notable among them being Brahmanandi, Dravidacharyar, Sa int Patanjali, Gowdapadacharya and Sri Govinda Bhagavatpadacharya. Still it was Adi Sankara who popularised it far and wide so much that the has come to be reck oned as the founder of Advaita Philosophy. Sri Sankara's Life and Achievements: Sri Sankara, was born in the sacred village of 'Kaladi' in Kerala on the va isakha, sukla, panchami in the year Nandana corresponding to the year 509 B.c., the date as well established by the researchers with reference to a number of in sriptions, epigraphs, literature and astrological calculations. His mother was Aryamba and his father Sivaguru. The purpose of his incarnati on was to stabilise the vedic religion. At the tender age of five, he began his vedic studies. Even while young, he had mastered the vedas, vedanta, puranas, ep ics and kavyas to become an eminent scholar. While in his gurukula, according to the custom in vogue, he used to go round seeking biksha. Once on an auspicious Dwadasi day, he went to a house of a poor Brahmin. Seeing the boy Sankara at the door-step and finding nothing available to be given to him, the poor woman sear ched her house thoroughly and found just two amla fruits kept by her husband for breaking the Ekadasi-fast on that day. With tears rolling down her cheeks, she put her share of just one amla fruit into his almsbowl and went inside the house ashamed at her inability to do something more. Sankara, deeply moved by her gen erosity even in abject punury, extolled Goddess Mahalakshmi to shower Her grace
on that poor house. In response to his prayers, there was a heavy shower of gold en berries in their house immediately. The collection of slokas rendered by Sri Sankara then in praise of Goddess Sri Mahalakshmi came to be called as 'Kanakadh ara Sthothram'. On return from the Gurukulam, Sri Sankara managed to get the permission of h is mother to become a sanyasi and left Kaladi. He trod the entire distance from there upto the banks of the river Narmada at Omkarnath where he met Sri Govinda Bhagavatpadacharya doing penance in a cave. Seeing the lad's rare dispassionate nature (Vairagya), Guru Sri Govindabhagavatpadacharya initiated Sri Sankara into sanyasa and taught him the import of the Mahavakyas and the doctrine of Advaita contained in Vedas, Upanishads, Brahmasutra and Bhagavat Gita and expounded the theory of Advaita Adi Sankara travelled the entired country by put and vanquish ed 72 non vedic and irreligious cults. Adi Sankara wrote his elaborate commentaries for Brahma Sutra, Isa, Kena, Ka ta, Munda, Mandookaya, Taithireeya, Chandokya and Brihadaranyaka Upanishads, Bha gavat Gita, Vishnu Sahasranama Stotra and Lalita Trisyathi. To enable readers to follow their import, he wrote 35 explanatory works, called Prakaranas of which Vivekachoodamani, Atmabhodam Praboda Sudhakaram and Satasloki are noteworthy. Re alising that worship of the formless abstract viz., Nirguna Brahmam is difficult for laymen, he also advocated the worship of Saguna Brahman. The regularised th e methods of worship both indivisual and temple worship by streamlining worshipi ng methods and the six major orders known as shanmathas. Thus he came to be know n as shanmatha sthapakacharya - the founder of shan matas, the six schools of re ligion advocating worship of Siva, Vishnu, Sakti, Kumara (Subramanya), Ganapti a nd Soorya. these are called Saivam, Vaishnavam, Saktam, Kaumaram, Ganapatyam and Sowram. He also composed as many as 67 stotras in praise of these dieties to fa cilitate recitation by way of worship by the common man to develop devotion towa rds the Almighty which would kindle the thirst to know the Supreme. Sivanandalah ari, Sowndaryalahari, Anandalahari, Dakshinamoorthy Sthotram, Bhajagovindam etc. , are among them. There were fiftysix kingdoms in our country at that time and y et all people were bound together by sanathana dharam and sanskrit was the commo ng language in usage and were able to presere the unity and integrity of the cou ntry. In Bhajagovindam, he commends the association of fullevolved souls for dev eloping a dispassionate nature and mental equanimity free of tribulations and de sires. It is set there are several episodes to mention about the miracles performed by Sri Adi Sankaracharya. When Sri Adi Sankaracharya was bathing in the Ganges, his disciple was on th e other bank. Sri Adi Sankaracharya called the disciple to bring the clothes. Th e Ganges was in full floods. Unmindful of the ferocious flow of water with curre nts, the disciple walked across the Ganges to handover the clothes to the Guru. Sri Sankara asked disciple as to how he crossed the river. The disciple replied that he didnot notice anything except to fix his dhyan on Gurucharan. Sri Sankar a asked the disciple to look back. To his astonishment, the disciple noticed a s trech of lotus flowers on which he walked over to cross the Ganges. The disciple was named as Sri Padmapada after the incident. When Sri Adi Sankara was camping in Karnataka a couple brought a dumb boy an d pray to Acharya to bless the boy with speaking power. The Acharya made the boy to speak. The boy not only began to speak but also to speak vedanta. After this miracle the boy became his disciple and came to be called as Hasthamalaka. Sri Adi Sankara retrieved the idol of Sri Badrinarayan and reinstalled at Badrin arayan Kshethra. Sri Adi Sankara visited Kedarnath on way to Kailas and had Darshan of Lord S
iva and was blessed with five spatika lingas. These spatika lingas was installed at five kshethras. Mukthi Linga at Kedarnath Vara linga at Neelkanth kshethra i n Nepal, Bhoga Linga at Sarata Peetam, Sringeri, Moksha Linga, Chidambaram and r etained Yoga Linga for his worship at Kanchipuram. This Yoga Linga is being wors hiped even today by the Sankaracharyas of Sri Kanchi Kama Koti Peetam. He travelled throughout India preaching Advaita and came to Kanchipuram, whe re he consecrated Goddess Kamakshi in Sri Chakra Peetam and worshipped her. Of t he five crystal Lingas brought by him from Kailasa, he kept the Yogalingam for h is private worship. He later installed it in Sri Kamakoti Peetam of Kanchi with the name Sri Chandra Mouleeswara. It was in Kanchi that Sri Adi Sankara Bhagavat padacharya celebrated the" Sarvagna Peetarohanam". Sri Adi Sankara Bhagavatpadacharya established four peetams in the four dire ctions headed by is four principal disciples: Sri Padmapada at Sringeri, Sri Has taamalakar at Dwaraka, Sri Totakacharya at Puri and Sri Sureshwaracharya at Badr inath. Sri Adi Sankarabagavatpadcharya established Sri Kanchi Kama koti peetam a t Kanchipuram and the lineage of disciples who took over the reins of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam in succession after him came to be called in general as "His Ho liness Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetadhipathi Jagadguru Sri Shankaracharya Swami". Th eir Sanyasa Asrama names are embellished by the ending "Indra Saraswati". These Acharyas Continue in the tradition of Sri Sankara worshipping Sri Chandra Moulee swara and Goddess Kamakshi for the welfare of mankind. Among the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetadhipathis, who adorned this mutt, Sri Mooka Sankara is well-known as the a uthor of "Mooka Panchasathi", a collection of 500 verses in praise of Goddess Ka makshi, whose grace transformed the author, an innate dumb person, into an illqs trious poet. Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam has reached the heights of glory during the perio d of His Holiness Jagadguru Pujyasri Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi Mahaswami gal the 68th pontiff who was glorified as the incarranation of Sri Dakshinamoort hy, Sri Adi Sankara's reincarrate and a living God moivng amongst us. The Porava shrama name of Sri Mahaswami was Sri Swaminathan. He was born at Villupuram. On 28th May 1894. He came to Kalavai in is 13th year when he was studying at Tindiv anam. Suddenly and to the universal bless Sri Swaminathan was initiated in to sa nyasa by His Holiness Sri Mahadevendra Saraswathi (V) Swamigal in the year 1907 and was given the dikshanamam Sri Chandrashekarendra Saraswathi swamigal. Sri Chandrashekarendra Saraswathi Mahaswamigal adorned Sri Kanchi Kama Koti Peetam on 13th February 1907. His formost concern was preservation of Vedas, tra dition and dharma. He advocated simplicity, and shunned pomp, ostentation and ex travagance. His exposition of Vedanta, sastras and the dharmic duties attracted scholars and laymen alike, from far and wide. Sri Kanchi Kama Koti Peetam has re ached its hights during the period of Sri Mahaswamigal and flourished with inter national reputation. Sri Mahaswamigal was noted for his patriotism and National sentiments. Several sages like Sri Ramanamaharshi were shown the path of realisation by Sri Mahaswamigal and were brought to light by grace of Sri Mahaswamigal. Descipl es from all over the world use to have darshan of Sri Mahaswamigal and Cherised their desires by His graceful sight. Even a common man who had the darshan of Sr i Mahaswamigal use to carry a personal impression of being personally blessed. O ne could only experienced the bliss of the darshan as a personal experience and no words could explain the satisfaction and derival of peace. I take this opportunity to express my heart felt gratefulness for having bee n benifited by the abundance of the kindness and benign blessings and grace of S ri Swamigal. My Second daughter Shanti was not speaking even at the age of Four. I took the baby to His Holiness Sri Mahaswamigal and prayed His blessings. His Holiness showered His grace on the baby and blessed the baby with power of speec
h. The Child started speaking at once to our astonishment and happiness. His Hol iness has also showered His graced on this humble self by ordaining me to render the Kainkaryam of organising cultural programmes at Sri Kamakshi Ambal Temple K anchi and at Sri Bangaru Kamakshi Amman Temple, Thanjavur during the Navarathri Festival, and at Sri Kanchi Sankara Matam from the year 1968. I could have the u nique personal experience of the abundence of the grace and kindness of Sri Maha swamigal on a number of occassions and scrores of devotees will be carrying with them the experience bliss of the grace of His Holiness Sri Mahaswamigal. His Holiness Sri Chandrasekharendra Sarawathi Swamigal who assended as the 6 8th Peetadhipathi in the year 1907 was leading the universe in the Path of Sanat hana Dharma for nearly 87 years and was held in high esteem as Jagadguru Paramac harya by all sections of people throughout the world. The Mahaswamiji attained e xternal Bliss on 8th January 1994. It is our good fortune that the successors of this great Acharya, the 69th a nd 70th Acharyas are of international reputation for Their concern for the human ity and wolrd peace. His Holiness Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal, the 69the Ac harya became the 69th peetadhipathi of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam in the year 19 54 and His Holiness Sri Sankara Vijayendra Saraswathi Swamigal became the 70th p ountiff in the year 1983. The peetam belongs to Rig Veda Shaka. The Porvashrama name of His Holiness Pujya Sri Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swami gal is Sri Subrahmanyam. He was born at lrulneekki In Thanjavur District on 18 J uly 1935. He had is Veda Adyayanam at Kanchi and was initiated in to the Peetam on 22 March, 1954 by Sri Mahaswamigal with the Dikshanamam : Sri Jayendra Sarasw athi Sankaracharya Swamigal. The reputation of Sri Kanchi Kama Koti Peetam has r eached its hights by the abundance of kindness and the concern for the poor and down trodden and several social welfare schemes run by Sri Kanchi Sankar Mutt an d various Social Welfare Organizations and institutions established by Sri Jayen dra Saraswathi Swamigal. He attracted people from every nook and corner and made Kamakoti a household holy name. He intensified the activities of the Matam to c over several social objectives like education, health, employment, rehabilitatio n of he handicapped, uplift the women, along with the traditional temple renewat ion and restoration of daily puja at the temples. His Holiness has travelled the country intensively and also visited Nepal. The only Sankaracharya after Sri Ad i Sankarabhagavatpadcharya to visit the sacred Manasarovar is Sri Jayendra Saras wathi Swamigal in 1999. His Holiness Sri Sankara Vijayendra Saraswathi Swamigal was drafted to Sri K anchi Kama Koti Peetam as 70th Peetadhipathi by His Holiness Sri Jayendra Sarasw athi Swamigal on 29th May 1983 while he was studying Vedas at Polur. His Poorvas hrama name was Sri Sankaranarayan. He had the rare the previlage of having tutel age under is Guru Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal and His Paramaguru His Holine ss Sri Chandra Sekharendra Saraswathi SwamigaI. He has also travelled throughout the country including remote places and also meghalaya. He is deeply concerned about the deteriorating moral ethical values in the youth and has intiated a num ber of measures to draw the youth, train them in all these aspects of our culcur al ethical values along with the modern education including the developments in the field of Information Technology. He also taking keen interest in preserving our hence ancient literature and bringing out a number of publications through t he mutt and other associated organisations. The Acharyas are taking immense interest and or taking untiring efforts to b ring the Kanchi Ghatikasthan to its former ancient glory inspirational learning. The city of Kanchi is renowned for its greatness of ancient culture. The city h as been a centre of literary eminence with its Ghatikas i.e. the eminence as cen tres of educations offering instructions in Vedas, Sastras and Arts since the fo urth century A.D. The literary, religious and cultural advancement of Kanchi has been much enhanced by its close connection with great spiritual preceptors, par
ticularly Sri Adi Sankara. The Acharyas of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam have resol ved to establish a Ghatisthana as an all comprehensive educational centre and ha ve established the Ghatisthanam adjacent to Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi Ma haswamigal Vishwa Mahavidyalaya (Deemed University) at Enathur. The Acharyas have dedicated themselves for the preservation of Vedas, uphold ing Sanathana Dharma. Their contribution towards consoliding Hindu Religion is v ery remarkable evoking the feeling of universal brotherhood amongst us to enable us to live in harmony understanding each other, leading the world towards unive rsal peace. These Acharyas of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti peetam are reputed for their s ocial service and are undertaking a number of social welfare schemes for the upl ift of the poor and the needy. The Acharyas of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti peetam are he ld in high esteem and devotees from all over the world carry the satisfaction of a unique experience of contentment, peace of mind cherishing their desires by t he Benign Blessings of Their Holiness Sri Sankaracharya Swamigal of Sri Kanchi K amakoti Peetam. As always been in the four front in pioneering several social causes, beside s the protection of Vedas, Dharma and Sastras. They have dedicated themselves fo r the proectection of the cow. Besides running Goshalas by the mutt, they are al so advocating and encouraging the establishement of Goshalas by other social org anisations. They are also striving hard in enlightening public about the sacredn ess and importance to proect the cow and to ban the slaughter of the cow. They a re also striving hard in fostering unity among the people by organising various socio - cultural activities even in the rural areas through the Janakalyan Organ isation. They are also encouraging village artists by organising programmes of f olk arts. Their efforts in concentrating for the promotion of community services like health care and education is highly remarkable. They have established innu merable educational institutions, running several Veda Pathsalas Oriental, prima ry, Higher Secondary Schools, Ayurvedic colleges for science and arts for both b oys and girls and engineering courses through Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi Mahaswamigal Mahavidyalaya. The role of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti peetam inconsolidating Hindu Religion is re markable. The Math is running Vedic Patasalas at various places in our country. Veda Dharma Paripalana Sabha, has been established in Kumbakonam. Vedic conferen ces are held throughout the country by Sri Kanchi Kamakoti peetam often. Sri Adi Sankara Advaita Research Institute in Madras has been established to take up th e task of publication of Sri Adi Sankaracharya's works. A Kannikadana trust has been formed to help poor families to celebrate marri ages according to sastric guidelines by providing them new clothes and Tirumanga lyam. They also advise the people to desist from demanding dowry. His Holiness has advised people to save a handful of rice daily and handover the collections to temples needing resources to help them prepare food, offer a s Nivedanam to the dieties and then feed the poor. This scheme has received a gr eat deal of public support. Similarly Kshetra Paripalana Sangam is providing ass istance to temples lacking in resources to meet the expenses for lighting lamps twice a day and preparing Nivedanams. Arrangements have also been made in select ed centres to provide free medical aid through Hindu Mission Hospitals. A number of social welfare schemes are also being implimented through Janakalyan organis ations thourghout the country. To bring about the unification of Hindus the world over and spread the teach ings of the Hindu religion, His Holiness Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal conven ced a World Hindu Conference in 1976. With His blessings, a college for Hindu Dh arma has been started in Gejjal Naickenpatti in Salem under the auspices of Geet a Charitable Trust and an Ayurvedic College in Coimbatore. In Kanchi and Madras, Gosalas have been formed to take care of old and unyielding cows and save them
from being cruelly sent to slaughter houses. In Kalahasti, Poonamalli and Kalava i rehabilitation homes for the old age people have been started. They are provid ed with shelter and free board with facilities for anushtana or prayer. In riviv ing the past glory of Ghatika Sthanams, Their holiness Sri Kanchi Acharyas have established Sri Shakara Arts & Science College, and the Sri Chandrasekharendra S araswathi Vishwa Mahavidyalaya - a Deemed University providing qualitative highe r education to the rural masses along with spiritual background. A number of edu cational institutions, colleges, vedic patashalas and hospital for the poor are run by Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam at number of places in the country. Sri. Kamakshi Ambal Devasthanam in Kanchi, Sri Bangaru Kamakshi Ambal Devasthana m in Tanjore, Sri Panchamukheswarar Temple in Tiruvanaikoil and Sri Viswanatha S wami Devasthanam in Tiruvidaimarudur, are under the direct control of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. The temples of Sri Sankara Matha in Haridwar and Sri Adi Sanka ra, Jayadeva and Chaitanya in Puri and Sri Adi Sankara Mandapam in Nepal, Rishik esh, Kurukshetra, Badrinath and Tirupati, Mandapams containing Adi Sankara's hol y sandals in Kanyakumari and Trivandrum, the house where Thirugnana Sambandar wa s born now serving as his memorial in Sirgazhi and Sri Adi Sankarar's Keerti Sth ambam in his birth-place Kaladi are also maintained by Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peeta m. Thiruppavai - Thiruvempavai conferences and Religious Training classes are al so held under the auspices of the Mutt to foster the Hindu religion. Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam is encouraging Artists in Music, Dance and Drama by counducting cultural programmes at Sri Kanchi Sankara Mutt., Sri Kamakshi Amb al Temple at Kancheepuram, Sri Bangaru Kamakshi Temple, Thanjavur and at Tiravar ur. They are much concrned about the welfare of the poor and backward and are ar ranging financial assistance for the uplift of the Rural Poor masses aiming at t he overall progress of the socity besides leading the world in the path of Sanat hana Dharama for world peace.
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