Early evening saw me visit the Kanchi Kamakoti mutt at Kashi…
I sought out and met the manager, who was busy overseeing some maintanence work. I introduced myself in the traditional manner – X son of Y of place Z, which allows the other person to place you in proper, broad, perspective. His face lit up and he said, “Aah. great grandson of Q! Welcome!”. One of my great grandfathers, Sri Ramanatha Aiyar, was a lawyer in Tamil Nad. His seminal contribution to the field of law was the “Advanced Law Lexicon”. a set of books that is the standard reference book till date. I tried a google on ‘Advanced Law Lexicon’ and got straight hits!
He, on the guidance of Kanchi Mahaperiyava, had taken Sanyas later in his life, and had come and settled in this Mutt, here at Kashi. I was pleasantly surprised that he was still remembered… He died five decades ago… Our family lore still has lots of stories about him… Including that about his death… How he foretold the day of his demise, it was to be on holy Ekadashi day…Come the hour, he sat in yogasana, and died…They say he had Kapala bheda… His sanyasa name was Ramabrahmendra Saraswati,,,
Here’s a picture. It was an old black and white, which has been colored by some of his colorful descendents!
It felt very special to be in the very place where he had spent his years as a Sanyasi.
The Mutt is not very big. A temple, a hall, some spartan rooms for pilgrims to stay, some area of performing yajna’s and other rituals… A new dining hall was being constructed.
Young Brahmacharis were sitting in groups in the hall in front of the temple, chanting the Vedas.
I talked to some of these kids later. Found that they were not all local. Some were from UP, some from Bihar, Nepal, Andhra, Tamil Nadu etc…
Kids are kids… They were having fun, while doing the Adhyayana. Laughing at each other, spotting slips in chanting, making faces… But the chanting was earnest, continuous, vibrant….
Here’s another pic of the students doing Adhyayana.
And now, we need to set out for the heart of Kashi… The Kashi Vishwanath mandir…
********** To be continued**********