Sengalipuram Anantharama Deekshitar (1903 – 1969) was one of the finest Pauranikas of the twentieth century. Rooted in Vedic tradition, he was instrumental in spreading Dharma in ever so many ways. His Tamil pravacana of Ramayana, Bhagatavata, Mahabharata, Devi Bhagavata etc, would draw record crowds. His compilation of important Stotras, named Jaya Mangala Stotram, is a well-thumbed book-set in the shelf of many Tamil homes. A great Mantra Jaapaka, he has initiated ever so many people in the way of Dharma.
A few years ago, a book about him was released. Titled “Upanyaasa Chakravarti’, this Tamil book gives his biography in brief, and has tributes and recollections from a cross-section of people. One of the chapters is about Anantharama Deekshitar and Sri Ratnam Iyer of Venus Pictures.
Here’s a brief from that chapter.
S Gopalaratnam Iyer (SG Ratnam Iyer) was a man who came up the hard way. Earlier in his life, he was not in a good condition, financially. Also, some of his detractors went about adopting dark-spirit methods to create problems for Ratnam Iyer. Bad, paranormal events started occurring around Ratnam Iyer, and he was driven to acute despair. It was then that he met Anantharama Deekshitar, who gave him Ramayana Upadesha, as a means of overcoming his dark circumstances. After his initiation into Ramayana, Ratnam Iyer’s life took a good turn. His problems were overcome. He then started a film production company, “Venus Pictures”, which went on to make some of the greatest hits of that time. Sri Ratnam Iyer also created a community-venue called “Aasthika Samaajam” in Venus Colony, Chennai. Ever so many Pravacana (Upanyaasa), classical music concerts, Yajnas and such have been held here. Anantharama Deekshitar’s katha was a regular feature in Aasthika Samaajam”. Till date, the “Aasthika Samaajam” remains a great center of Dharma activities in Chennai.
Once, in 1966, Sri Ratnam Iyer had been to the famous Rama temple at Tirupparaiyaar (Thriprayar) in Kerala. On that occasion, the temple chief-priest had a sudden spiritual experience, when he conveyed a divine communication. He told Sri Ratnam Iyer to arrange for a Ramayana Navaha (nine day Ramayan-Katha) at the temple, to be delivered by Anantharama Deekshitar. The Chief Priest, when he came back to his normal state, had no memory of this proclamation, nor did he have any prior knowledge about Anantharama Deekshitar. Taking this divine communication as a command, Sri Ratnam Iyer organized the Ramayana Navaaha by Anantharama Deekshitar. The Sringeri Acharya, Jagadguru Sri Abhinava Vidyateertha also blessed that Navaaha by his presence.
(Incidentally, the Karkidakam month (July-Aug) is referred to in Kerala as Ramayana month. On all days in the month, Ramayana is read in traditional Hindu homes, and in Vishnu temples. In 2010, the Ramayana Masam begins on July 17 and ends on August 16. Now, therefore, it is Ramayana month).
Coming back to the Tirupparaiyaar Navaaaha –
An interesting episode is related in the book, about this Navaaha. Normally, as per tradition, during Ramayana Navaaha, pure curds are offered as Naivedya. During the Tirupparaiyaar Navaaha, the organizers had completely forgotten to arrange for this. As it happened, two unknown Namboodri boys came, and gave a whole lot of curds to the organizers and went away. After the Naivedya, when Anantarama Deekshitar tasted the curds, he found it so delicious, he enquired about it. The organizers told him the peculiar manner in which they had got the curds. Deekshitar immediately got up and rolled on the ground there (Anga Pradakshina), telling the organizers that the two Namboodri boys could be none other than Rama and Lakshmana, and this place which had been sanctified by the dust of their feet, was most blessed.
Such was the Ramayana Navaaha organized by Sri SG Ratnam Iyer.
And yes, his son too is a very famous film-maker now.
I guess you know who.
He is the maker of Raavan …