The Sage of Kanchi
In Vivekachudamani, Sri Adi Sankara says…
दुर्लभं त्रयमेवैतत् दैवानुग्रहहेतुकम्
मनुष्यत्वं मुमुक्षुत्वं महापुरुषसंश्रयः
durlabhaM trayamevaitat daivaanugrahahetukam
manuShyatvaM mumukShutvaM mahaapuruShasaMshrayaH
“Three great and rare boons are obtained only by the grace of the Lord; the first is birth as human; the second is the desire to know the truth; and the third is obtaining a great man, a mahapurusha, as one’s guru.”
The Sage of Kanchi, Jagadguru Sankaracharya Pujyasri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi Swamigal, is a “Mahatma”. The word Mahatma means mahān ātmā yasyasaḥ, one whose antaḥkarana,the mind, is expansive. He was the 68th Peetadhipathi of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam and while he lived he moved from place to place, giving darshan to people, teaching them the values of life as per the tenets of the vaidika dharma, guiding them in their worldly life and inspiring them in matters of spiritual pursuits. We consider him Iswara in human form. His life exemplified a man of extraordinary wisdom and austerity. He practiced what he talked. His immeasurable compassion showed up in his eyes showering his boundless benevolence to all living beings. The Great Acharya, through his teachings, continues to inspire scores of people all over the world. He remains forever the source of strength and the beacon of light to all seekers.
In the ultimate analysis, Guru and Iswara are one and the same. The Guru gives the seeker the wisdom to realize that one is essentially non-different from Iswara . Thus, we look upon the Sage of Kanchi, MahaPeriyava, as an avatar of Lord Shankara Himself and indeed that is the bhavana we all have and cherish.