The head of Kancheepuram Sankara Mutt, Jayendra Saraswati passed away in Chennai on Wednesday.
Born as Subramaiyam Mahadeva in Irulneeki village in Thiruvarur district on 18 July 1935, he was named the successor to Kanchi Mutt by Sri Chandrasekarendra Saraswathi Swami and was given the title ‘Jayendra Saraswathi’ on 22 March 1954, when he was aged just 19.
He had his spiritual tutelage from ‘Maha Periyava’ and travelled the length and breadth of the country with his guru. He delivered religious discourse besides involving himself in various spiritual and social activities as well. Under his guidance, the mutt started several schools and hospitals.
The 82-year old seer has been ailing for some time. He is the 69th seer of the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham. He was named by Chadrasekharendra Saraswati Swamigal as his successor on March 22, 1954.
The seer succeeded in 1994 as the 69th Shankaracharya of the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. Sri Sankara Vijayendra Saraswathi will be the 70th Jagadguru of Kanchi Peeth.
No sooner had the news spread that a pall of gloom descended the temple town and devotees started to gather at the mutt. Sources said that the mortal remains of Jayendra Saraswathi would be kept at the mutt for devotees to come and offer their prayers. Saraswathi was head of the mutt established by Adi Shankaracharya in the 5th Century AD.
Disciples Visit Kanchi Peeth:
Face in repose, eyes closed and hands folded, the body of Kanchi Shankaracharya Jayendra Saraswathi was brought in a chair to a hall in the southern Indian mutt as grieving devotees began to pay their last respects to the revered Hindu seer.
Followers wept as the body of the Shankaracharya, who died today of a cardiac arrest at the age of 82, was placed at a vantage spot in the Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam so that his legion of followers could bid him goodbye.
“He was the ‘jagatguru’ (guru of the world),” a distraught woman devotee said.
The Shankaracharya’s forehead was smeared with Vibhuti (holy ash) and dotted with red kumkum and strings of garlands were wreathed around his neck.
Many of his followers were seen taking photographs of the seer, as the mutt’s managers appealed to them for calm and restraint.
Police personnel were regulating the crowds which started swelling by the minute, as followers gathered for a last glimpse of the 69th Acharya of the mutt.
Law enforcers, gearing up for the likely arrival of several VIPs as well devotees from the country and elsewhere, were making arrangements for a regulated entry into the mutt.
The last rites of the seer, described as ‘Brindavana Pravesha Karyakramam’ in the Vedic parlance, will start from tomorrow, according to the mutt.
“The Brindavana Pravesha Karyakramam of HH Pujyashri Jayendra Saraswathi Shankaracharya Swamigal will be performed tomorrow from 8 am,” the mutt’s official Twitter handle said.
The religious rituals are expected to last through the day, mutt officials said.
Queries about the last ceremony had come from various quarters, including the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), they said, but could not confirm VIP visits.
The District Collector would coordinate the visits, they said.
According to the mutt website, the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam was established by Sri Adi Shankaracharya in 482 BC and has the “distinction of an unbroken line of 70 acharyas”.
Located about 75km southwest of Chennai, Kancheepuram is considered one of the seven “mokshapuras” (a place for attaining salvation) where the Adi Shankaracharya established a mutt and founded a line of successors after him.
Tributes Pour in From All Quarters:
Expressing his condolences, President Ram Nath Kovind tweeted: “Sad to hear of the passing of Jayendra Saraswatiji, the Shankaracharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. Our country has lost a spiritual leader and social reformer of rare eminence. My condolences to his countless disciples and followers.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also shared on the social media an old picture of his with the seer along with a condolence message. “Deeply anguished by the passing away of Acharya of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam Jagadguru Pujyashri Jayendra Saraswati Shankaracharya. He will live on in the hearts and minds of lakhs of devotees due to his exemplary service and noblest thoughts. Om Shanti to the departed soul,” Modi said.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi said he was “saddened” to hear about the death of the Kanchi seer. “I am saddened to hear about the death of Jagadguru Pujyashri Jayendra Saraswati Shankaracharya of the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham,” Gandhi twitted.
Senior BJP leader and former Union Home Minister L.K. Advani in his condolence message said that he knew the seer closely who played a key role in defusing acrimony between the Hindu and Muslim communities over the Babri Masjid dispute. “I had the privilege of knowing Jayendra Saraswati Swamiji very closely. Our association became closer during the rule of NDA-I when I was the Minister of Home Affairs in the government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayeeji,” Advani said in a written message. “Swamiji proactively initiated a dialogue with various religious and social leaders of the Muslim community to evolve an amicable solution to the Ayodhya dispute. This dialogue helped a lot in promoting mutual trust and goodwill between Hindu and Muslim communities,” he added. The BJP veteran said he joined millions of devotees of the Kanchi Kamakoti Mutt in “offering prayers to the Almighty and in seeking peace to the departed soul”.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said: “Deeply saddened by the demise of Jayendra Saraswatiji, the Shankaracharya of the Kanchipuram Kamakoti Peetam math. With his demise, we have lost a great saint of present times, who has been a guiding force for the millions. My prayers for the liberated soul.”
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted: “Saddened at the Mahasamadhi of Kanchi Acharya Pujya Jayendra Saraswatiji.”
Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit and leaders of political parties on Wednesday expressed their condolences. In a statement, Purohit said: “Yesterday only I have met him and got blessings of Sankaracharyaji.”During his period, Jagadguru Sankaracharya had started many schools, eye clinics and hospital, Childs Trust Hospital, Hindu Mission Hospital, Tamil Nadu Hospital and other public welfare institutions for the welfare of the society. His death is a great loss to the society particularly to his followers,” he added.
Former Union Minister and PMK leader Anbumani Ramadoss said the pontiff had moved well with the people and his death is a great loss to those who are associated with him. DMK leader M.K.Stalin, in his message, condoled the demise of Sankara Mutt pontiff and conveyed his condolences to those who are close to Jayendra Saraswati.
The Tamil Nadu unit Chief of BJP Tamilisai Soundararajan said the nation has lost a spiritual leader with a nationalist outlook. She said the seer got down to the ground and worked against the conversion of downtrodden people. He also set up several educational institutions and hospitals by going beyond the spiritual calling, she said.
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) condoled the seer’s death and said Jayendra Saraswati served for protection of Hindu Dharma, Hindu culture and uplift of Hindu society. It is a great loss not only to Tamil Nadu but also to the entire Hindu society.
India’s NCAA Becomes the World’s First Trusted Digital Repository
IGNCA has been certified as the world’s first Trusted Digital Repository as per ISO 16363:2012 standard, granted by PTAB, United Kingdom.
National Cultural Audiovisual Archives (NCAA) project of the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, implemented by Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) has been certified as the world’s first Trusted Digital Repository as per ISO 16363:2012 standard, granted by Primary Trustworthy Digital Repository Authorisation Body Ltd. (PTAB), United Kingdom.
Leveraging this historic achievement, the plan for the next phase is to integrate about three lakh hours of audiovisuals materials, a corpus estimated based on a scoping survey conducted in 25 cities across the country, on this platform over the next five years.
The Minister of State for Culture (Independent Charge) and Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Dr Mahesh Sharma said, “I congratulate IGNCA for this remarkable achievement. The Digital India initiative of the Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, launched on 1 July 2015, aimed at connecting rural India with high-speed internet networks and improving digital literacy. This will boost the accessibility of the NCAA up to the remotest corner of the country and help preserve India’s rich culture throughout its length and breadth.”
The primary objective of the NCAA is to identify and preserve the cultural heritage of India available in audiovisual form through a process of digitization and making it accessible to the people.
By March 2018, a corpus of 30,000 hours of unpublished, non-commercial audio & video recordings will be made online at http://ncaa.gov.in/repository, out of which approximately 15,000 hours are already hosted online along with contextual metadata, representing the cultural diversity of India in the broadest sense.
Over 23,000 hours of unpublished audiovisual recordings have already been digitized. NCAA pilot digital repository was developed in collaboration with the Centre of Excellence for Digital Preservation by C-DAC, Pune. NCAA digital repository is established with and powered by DIGITĀLAYA (डिजिटालय) which is developed by C-DAC Pune in compliance with Open Archival Information System (OAIS) Reference Model ISO 14721:2012.
At present, NCAA has a total of twenty-one (21) Partnering Institutions from across the country, covering 11 governmental and 10 non-governmental cultural organisations. The digitization and metadata standards followed by the Project are in parity with international standards within the overall framework of the OAIS model.
The digitization standards are in concordance with those prescribed by the International Association of Sound & Audiovisual Archives (IASA) and the metadata schema is extended Dublin Core, followed by galleries, libraries, archives and museums worldwide
Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts has been set up by the Government of India, as a premier research institute dedicated to holistic understanding and expression of Indian arts in their inter and multi-disciplinary nature. One of the principal aims of the centre is to serve as a major national resource centre for the arts.
The IGNCA has been designated by the Government of India as the nodal agency for a data bank on art, humanities and cultural heritage. The Centre has also been identified by UNESCO as the nodal agency for the development of regional databases for South and South East Asian countries on art, cultural heritage and lifestyles through the application of state-of-the-art technologies for standardization, exchange and dissemination of data.
Karnataka’s Cong Government Seeks Separate Religion Status for Lingayats
Karnataka’s Siddaramaiah-led Congress government has decided to recognise Lingayats as an independent religion and seek approval from the Centre for the same.
Karnataka’s Siddaramaiah-led Congress government has decided to recognise Lingayats as an independent religion (from Hinduism) and seek approval from the Centre for the same. The decision was taken after a cabinet meeting and consultation with Lingayat seers.
The Cabinet took the decision to accept recommendations of the Justice Nagamohan Das Committee, which had asked the state to accord a separate religion tag to the Lingayats.
If recognised as a minority religion, the Lingayats will be able to avail of benefits under Section 25, 28, 29 and 30 of the Constitution.
What makes the timing of the move particularly suspicious is that Karnataka is just about two months away from elections and Lingayats, who currently form 17% of Karnataka’s population, is a major vote bank for political parties.
In the recent decades, the Lingayats have emerged as strong supporters of the BJP. Experts suggest that if a separate religious status is granted to the community, the BJP will have a tough time explaining its ideological stance based on Hindu solidarity. Former Chief Minister and current CM candidate of the BJP, BS Yeddyurappa, is also from the Lingayat community.
The Congress, predictably, hopes to gain much from the desired branching.
The agitation is not a new one – and has forever revolved around a single core question viz., who are the Lingayats and what precisely is their religious identity?
Who are the Lingayats:
The tradition of Lingayatism is known to have been founded by social reformer and philosopher Basavanna in 12th century Karnataka. While there exists a debate around whether Basavanna founded the sect or if he merely reformed an existing order, there can be no doubt that under him the community acquired the form of a well-organised, structured mass movement. Followers of the sect continue to revere him as the founder and prime philosopher of their religion.
Basava grew up in a Brahmin family with a tradition of Shaivism. As a leader, he developed and inspired a new devotional movement named Virashaivas, or “ardent, heroic worshippers of Shiva”. This movement shared its roots in the ongoing Tamil Bhakti movement, particularly the Shaiva Nayanars traditions, over the 7th- to 11th-century.
Basavanna’s vision of a societal order was one based on human freedom, equality, rationality, and brotherhood. He and his followers spread their ideas through vachanas (prose-lyrics) and their prime target was the caste hierarchy which they rejected with full force. In one of his vachanas, Basavanna asserts that “the birthless has no caste distinctions, no ritual pollution.”
Lingayat sect first emerged within the larger trend of Bhakti movements that had swept across South India from the 8th century AD onwards.
The Bhakti tradition was a social reform movement that took birth within Hinduism but strove to rectify what the followers saw as the unjust practices within the tradition.
But, historians like K Ishrawaran say that while the conventional Bhakti movements remained adjacent to the Hindu system, Lingayatism challenged the system in its most basic form and became a highly structured movement.
Other historians say that the most striking feature of this institutionalisation was that unlike other Bhakti movements, Lingayat status was hereditary in nature!
The desired differences aside, however, the one aspect that indicates the association of Lingayatism with Hinduism is the former’s relationship with Veerashaivism.
Veerashaivism is also a Shaiva sect within Hinduism and is predominantly located in Karnataka. It’s supporters claim that Basavanna was not the founder of the Lingayat tradition, but rather a reformer of an already existing religious tradition called Veerashaivism.
The Veerashaivas accept the Vedic texts and almost all Hindu practices.
Moreover, despite insisting upon the contrary, Lingayatism, quite like Jainism, does assimilate many aspects of Hinduism that are influenced by or drawn from the Upanishads and the Vedic traditions.
The close associations that the Lingayat followers share with Hinduism, both sociologically and historically, thus make it a complicated case of to be or not be Hindu.
Cute Bengaluru Sisters Wish ‘Happy Ugadi’ (Kannada)
ಹ್ಯಾಪಿ ಉಗಾದಿ – Cute Bengaluru sisters TANMAYEE and HRITIKA RAO wish everyone a Very Happy UGADI. 🙂
ಹ್ಯಾಪಿ ಉಗಾದಿ – Cute Bengaluru sisters TANMAYEE and HRITIKA RAO wish everyone a Very Happy UGADI. 🙂
League of India prays that Ugadi ushers in prosperity and new beginnings. Wishing you lots of love on this happy occasion!
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