Guru – Parama Guru – Parameshti Guru – Parapara Guru

Sri Kanchi Paramacharya (1894 – 1994) on the throne.

Written by London Swaminathan
Post No. 1097; 10th June 2014.

Guru and God are one. Guru is he who satisfies the spiritual hunger of the aspirant. When an aspirant takes Sanyas (entering Ascetic life) from his Guru he respects him more than God. His respect doesn’t stop there. He worships Guru’s Guru (teacher of the teacher) and his Guru and his Guru. To avoid confusion and to decide the hierarchy, they have special titles.

Guru = One’s spiritual teacher who ordains him.
Parama Guru = Guru’s Guru
Parameshti Guru = Parama Guru’s Guru
Paraapara Guru = Parameshti Guru’s Guru

Kanchi Paramacharya who attained Samadhi in 1994 was respected throughout India including the then Prime minister and President of India. He was installed as the 68th Shankaracharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Peedam with the title Sri Chandra Sekarendra Sarasvati. He had his Parapa guru (1814-1857) with the same name Chandra Sekara. He was Chandra Sekara – 5 and Paramacharya was Chadrasekara -6.

Two anecdotes in the life of Sri Parapa Guru were influenced by some mysterious dreams. He was well versed in Mantra Sastras (scriptures) and so he installed some Yantras in Kanchi Kamakshi Temple and Tiruvanaikka (Jambukeswaram) Akilandeswari Temple near Trichy. Since Adi Sankara made two ear rings to Goddess Akilandeswari long ago which were worn out in course of time, Parapa guru was requested by his devotees to install new ear rings. He did that in Jambhukeswaram and celebrated the Kumbhabishekam (consecration) of Kanchi Temple as well.


Dream No.1
When the Parapaguru was camping in Chennai he had a strange dream at the dead of night. Goddess Kamakshi appeared in his dream and asked him to expedite the consecration ceremony. She showed her head where the hair was dry and matted meaning that Parapaguru must do the consecration quickly. When he had this dream his camp was inside the Fort. Normally the fort was locked during sunset and opened only the next day morning. But he informed the authorities about his dream through some influential people. Immediately the East India Company authorities opened the gates of the Fort in the early hours.

Parapaguru reached Kancheepuram the same day which is forty miles away from Chennai. He went to the temple straight and prayed to Goddess Kamakshi with tears in his eyes. All the arrangements were made for the consecration. Donations were pouring in. There were no transport facilities about 150 years ago and yet a galaxy of intellectuals gathered at Kancheepuram. Consecration of the temple took place in the presence of thousands of devotees.

Dream No.2
When the devotees requested Parapaguru to install new ear studs (Thadanga in Sanskrit) he came to Tiruvanaikka from Kumbakonam. But Sringeri Mutt claimed that they have the sole right to do the Thadanga Prathishta. The issue went to three different courts and the judgements came in favour of Kanchi Mutt. The litigations took four long years and wasted lot of resources. Though Parapaguru installed the new ear studs to goddess Akilandeswari, he himself resented the huge expenditure. He even made a remark that they should have left it Sringeri Mutt.

The devotee who helped the Mutt all through the litigations decided to raise funds. He suddenly disappeared leaving lot of his colleagues to worry. But he came back after a few days. When the Parapaguru asked the reason for it he gave him the reason with a sad face that his proposal was turned down by the King of Thanjavur. He said that the King of Thanjavur could not receive Parapaguru or arrange for his stay at the Thanjavur palace for lack of funds. But the king said that it would be possible another time.

After hearing this, Parapaguru made arrangements to go to Kumbakonam via different route. When his paraphernalia of devotees, officials along with the elephants, horses, cows, and camels reached Tiruvaiyaru road, they were forced to travel towards Thanjavur by the soldiers of Thanjavur. When they resisted they were threatened that it would be considered violation of king’s orders.

shanakara face
Picture of Adi Sankara.

While they were involved in an argument, Parapaguru’s palanquin reached the spot. To everyone’s surprise a grand reception was given to Parapaguru with all the traditional music and Purnakumba. Sri Parapahuru was taken in a grand procession through the streets of Thanjavur with the king. Everyone was wondering what made the king to change his mind suddenly who said early that he had not sufficient funds to receive Parapaguru.
The king had a dream of Lord Sri Chandramouleeswarar who told him to receive Parapaguru with all the traditional honours. Parapaguru stayed there for some time and was honoured with Kanakabishekam (literally bathing with gold coins). Parapaguru was given gold, silver and gem studded jewels. It helped the Kanchi Mutt financially to great extent. All ended well due to the two dreams.

Source: History of Sri Parapaguru of Kanchi Paramacharya (in Tamil) by Brindavanam Trust, Kumbakonam, 1981.

Dogs at Sringeri and Kanchi Mutts

sringeri mahasannidhanam

Picture of Sringeri Mahasannnidhanam

A dog used to be roaming about the Mutt (in Sringeri) and any attempt to take it to the other side of the river was not successful as it would swim across the river and come back to the Mutt. A servant who was with His Holiness (Sri Sringeri Shankaracharya) and known to be somewhat dishonest tried to drive it away when it came near His Holiness.

His Holiness, said, ‘’Do not disturb it. It was evidently a servant of the Mutt in its previous birth and still retains affection for it.’’ This seemingly casual remark of the sage made the servant behave better in future—From ‘Golden Sayings’ compiled by Shri Jannanda Bharati Swaminah,Tenkarai,1969

kanchi tapas

Picture of Sri Kanchi Paramacharya

Dog at Kanchi Mutt

From 1927 a dog was following Kanchi Paramacharya. It stayed near the camp wherever he pitched the camp. It wouldn’t touch anything impure. It was taking food that was given by the Mutt workers. It was guarding the property of the Mutt. Paramacharya used to ask every evening whether the dog was fed. Whenever Swamiji was travelling in the palanquin (Pallakku in Tamil) from one town to another town, it was walking under the palanquin. As soon as the palanquin stopped it would run away and stay at a distance like a humble servant. Sometimes it used to walk under the elephant of the Mutt. It never hurt any devotee but wagged its tail to show them its welcome or gratitude. It starved on the day it was not fed by the Mutt workers. One day a boy threw a stone at it and it came rushing towards him to bite. Mutt workers thought it was a danger to the devotees and took it 25 miles away from the camp and tied it to a pole. But it somehow escaped from that village and came running towards Shankaracharya’s camp. Even before the workers who took it to another village arrived at the camp, the dog was already there!! Till it met its death it was with Swamiji. No one hurt it. Devotees who came to see Swamiji were eager to see the dog as well.—From Sri Jagath Guru Divya Charithram in Tamil, 1959)

Who knows the secret behind its previous births?

baba dog

Picture shows Sri Sathya Sai Baba with dogs.

For other Dog stories and animal miracles, please read my earlier posts:

1.Animal Einsteins (Part 1 and Part 2) 2. Can parrots recite Vedas? 3. Why do animals worship Gods? 4. Mysterious Messengers for Ajanta, Angkor Wat and Sringeri 5. Elephant Miracles 6). 45 Words for Elephant 7. Can Birds Predict your Future? 8. Two Little Animals That Inspired Indians 9. Three Wise Monkeys from India 10. Mysterious Tamil Bird Man 11.Vedic Dog and Church Dog 11. Deer Chariot:  Rig Veda to Santa Claus 12. Mysterious Fish Gods around the World 13.  Serpent  (Snake) Queen: Indus Valley to Sabarimalai 14.Who Rides What Vahanas (Animal or Bird)? 15. Vahanas in Kalidasa and Tamil Literature 16. Vahanas on coins and in sculptures 17. Gajendra Moksha in Africa 18. The Tortoise Mystery: Can We live for 300 years? 18.Gods and Birds 19.வேத நாயும் மாதா கோவில் நாயும் 20.கழுதைக்குத் தெரியுமா கற்பூர வாசனை 21.Bird Migration in Kalidasa and Tamil Lterature 22.Double Headed Eagle: Sumerian- Indian Connection 23.Karikal Choza and Eagle Shaped Fire Altar 24.Four Birds in One Sloka 25.Hindu Eagle Mystery Deepen 26.Multi lingual parrot mimics Hindi, Arabic and English Word 27.Indian Crow by Mark Twain 28.அதிசய பறவைத் தமிழன்

Pictures are taken from different sites;thanks