Discovering my roots..!

I do take great pride in the fact that I belong to the family of a great scholar of the century!!:-)

As a child, I have heard my parents, aunts and uncles mention about him often. I have always been seeing this very prominent photograph of his, in the sitting posture, with a halo around his head. It is either hung in the living room or kept in the puja room in most of his follower’s households.

When I was young, I would look at his photograph and wonder if the halo was real or not.  And thanks to a child’s faith, I always believed that it was real and that the glow came out of his head since he was a great scholar.

Somehow, the last 40 odd years, my thoughts had not gone beyond the photograph. Quite recently, it just struck me that here was a great scholar to whose genre I directly belonged to. He was my mother’s maternal grandpa- my Great Grandpa!  and I had not even bothered to read or learn anything more about him!

The first and the least I could do was to go and visit his ashram at Holenarasipura and check out what a great scholar he was and what his works had to say.

And thus started my journey in the quest of my roots…to Holenarasipura where he lived and preached in the ashram that he created during the final  phase of his life, as a Sanyasi. This is a small town in Hassan district, which is about 100 miles, west of  Bangalore.

After a short break at my Aunt’s place at Hassan, we (my parents and I) reached THE ashram in the morning. The ashram was very serene and we could hear the Vedanta classes going on there. The ashram is called Adhyatma Prakasha Karyalaya. There is also a Sri Rama Temple there. The idols were installed by Swamiji himself. There is a library which preserves all his works. He has written more than 200 books in various languages. Apart from his super proficiency in English, Kannada and Sanskrit, he knew lot of other languages including Hebrew and Persian!. He essentially propagated the Advaitha teachings of Shankaracharya and was himself known as the Shankara of Karnataka.

We visited the place that he used to live in after Sanyasa. It is a small Temple/ cottage, with a Brindavana in the back yard, right at the banks of the river Hemavathi.It felt great to stand in the very place where the Swamiji had lived.

The ashram has about 25 students learning vedanta from the current Acharyas who are there. It was nice to see young kids doing so much of work besides their learning sessions. They help in cooking, washing, serving etc. And with so much of gusto and enthusiasm at that! And of course, they have a huge playground where they play cricket and football in the free time.

And from what I could see, I think I am in no way qualified to write about this honoured person.But you should visit the following site and read the overview about Swami Satchidanandendra Saraswati (1880-1975) and the ashram.

I am overwhelmed…!!Swamiji tujhe salaam !!!

P.S: Wondering what I have inherited from him? May be the halo?!:-)


7 Responses

  1. So, it is the halo and all these days, I was thinking it was the grey hair… 🙂

    • LOL!
      Know what, I think I missed the halo and headed straight for his lotus feet. I got the bunions! Now I am proud of that too!


    I had written a post on his biography sometime back. Check it out.

  3. thanks for taking me to my maternal grandmom’s place in a min. your blog is very interesting to read & it is the very 1st one I have ever read.
    keep blogging & i would love to read and feel connected too (:)
    maybe i have inherited more grey hair like a halo because even i belong to the same place partially.

  4. Seeing some changes in you of late Hema ??? (or is it that communication has just resumed after so many years).

    Looks like Elamparuthi’s email has touched a vital Cord somewhere! May be a new & different beginning (spiritual?) in life!


  5. nice blog on swamiji. going to attend a ‘shibira’ for a week there. looking forward to my first visit to the ashrama. thank you, hema.

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