Kanchipuram is an ancient city located in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. Also known as Kanchi, it is well-known for its temples and is a famous Hindu pilgrimage area. It is also where the great sage Jagadguru Shri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati Swamigal served as the 68th Jagadguru of the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham.Fondly known as Mahaperiyava or as the sage of Kanchi, he was considered as a ‘walking god’ by his millions of followers. This was because he had performed countless miracles to provide relief to his devotees who came to him from far and near. According to his devotees, he had ‘loka kshemam’ or ‘welfare of the world’ at heart; he was also believed to be a ‘Veda rakshanam’ or ‘protector and student of the Vedas’. He was believed to be a ‘gau rakshanam’ or ‘protector of cows’ too. Aside from the scriptures, he was well-versed in temple architecture, archaeology, numismatics, arts and dance forms as well as languages including Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Hindi, Sanskrit, Marathi, English and French. Many great leaders and intellectuals have benefitted from his ‘darshan’. He was the head and Paramcharya of the Kanchi Sankara Mutt for eight productive decades that saw his following grow enormously.
He indulged in the purity of thought and preached religious tolerance and empathy. He was one of those rare seers with extraordinary insight and morality and the mere being in his presence was considered a major blessing. His transcended mind saw him treat everyone with equal love and care and deserving of his respect. During the course of his lifetime, Mahaperiyava renovated a number of old temples across India and even traveled by foot twice to Varanasi. He encouraged increased recitals of Shri Vishnu Saharsanamam and various mantras towards god. He also encouraged greater devotion towards the Sabarimala Ayyappan temple and Tirumala Venkateswara temples. He executed strict implementation of the Agama Shastra rules to fructify devotion in religious places and made changes towards the entry of devotees inside temple premises.
He was also of the opinion that performing miracles by sages was a desirous thing as it encouraged devotees to be more dedicated in their beliefs towards their God. He believed that the miracles performed and the relief attained by the devotees were actually an act of God, but delivered through the holy men. He is also believed to have said that holy men who performed miracles were actually trying to increase the faith of the devotees in God and making them better ‘bhakts’.
Mahaperiyava’s Samadhi is in Kancheepuram and a grand structure has been put up to honor him.