Glory of Guru-Shishya Parampara

Glory of Guru-Shishya Parampara, Tamilnadu Contribution
A Sanskrit sloka reads as follows: 

शशिना च निशानिशया च शशः 
शशिना निशया च विभाति नभः। 
पयसा कमलं कमलेन पयः 
पयसा कमलेन विभाति सरः॥ 

The meaning of the sloka is, ‘Moon beautifies the night, night beautifies the moon. By both the moon and the night, the sky is beautified. Water beautifies the lotus. Lotus beautifies the water. And together, water and the lotus beautify the lake.’ 

In a similar manner : “May the ‘Guru’ (Preceptor) ‘beautify’ the ‘Sishya’ (Disciple)! May the ‘Sishya’ beautify the ‘Guru’. By the efforts of the ‘Guru’ and the ‘Sishya’, may a good Society evolve!” In other words, by the grace of the Guru, the glory of Sishya is known to the world and Sishya in turn brings glory to the Guru and they both in turn brings glory to the Motherland. 

Our Motherland has produced and continues to produce numerous such Guru-Sishyas who enriched our society through their invaluable contributions. This tradition has been adopted in RSS also. The Swayamsevaks are respected in the society due to Sangh Guru ‘Bhagwa Dhwaj’ and Swamyasevaks in turn are spreading the glory of Bhagwa Dhwaj throughout the world. 



C.V.Raman deserves to be remembered not only for his towering scientific accomplishment but also for his love for the students, which was unique. He had produced many outstanding students while he was a guide. Sri K.S.Krishnan, Sri G.N.Ramachandran find place in that list. 

Once the then President Dr. Rajendra Prasad wrote to Raman inviting him to be the personal guest in the Rashtrapati Bhavan, when Raman came to Delhi for the award ceremony. Sir CV Raman wrote a polite letter, regretting his inability to go. Raman had a noble reason for his inability to attend the investiture ceremony. He explained to the President that he was guiding a Ph.D. student and that thesis was positively due by the last day of January. The student was valiantly trying to wrap it all up and Raman felt, he had to be by the side of the research student, see that the thesis was finished, sign the thesis as the guide and then have it submitted. 

Here was a scientist who gave up the pomp of a glittering ceremony associated with the highest honour, because he felt that his duty required him to be by the side of the student. It is this unique trait of giving value to science that builds science. 


Kariamanikkam Srinivasa Krishnan (KSK) is mostly known as co-discoverer of the famous Raman Effect, a discovery which brought the first and till date the only Nobel Prize in Science to India. The Prize was awarded to Krishnan’s mentor and research guide C.V. Raman in 1930. 

KSK was an outstanding physicist of international repute. He made pioneering contributions in a number of fields of physics. He had the ability to recognize and exploit connection between phenomena in different fields of physics. 

KSK played an important role in the development of science and technology in India. He was deeply associated with the premier scientific/educational organizations in the country like the Atomic Energy Commission, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and the University Grants Commission. He was a great teacher, a real guru in the tradition of great ancient sages. Besides being a ‘complete physicist’ he was ‘a whole man with an integrated personality’. He was a staunch nationalist. He forcefully championed the cause of science writing in mother tongue. He himself ably performed the task in Tamil. He was a distinguished writer in Tamil. KSK strongly believed that one can convey even very complicated scientific facts in his mother tongue. His scholarship and appreciation of Tamil literature must have given the gift to perform this task with ease. He had mastery over Sanskrit and Tamil literature. 

He was very sensitive and loved nature very much. When National Physical Laboratory was being built there were two trees in front which were creating problems. The builders decided to cut them down. When the axe was about to fall, Krishnan was just driving in. He stopped, astonished and horrified and then came running up to the tree cutters jabbering in his not too articulate Hindi. Seeing Krishnan’s distress, Kanvinde, the architect, also rushed to the scene. Krishnan asked them, `Why are you cutting down these trees?’ The architect answered ‘Sir, we thought they looked asymmetrical in the landscape’. Krishnan fell silent and then replied, `You can still create symmetry. Not by cutting down a tree but by adding one more.’ 


SWAMI GNANANANDA was a great yogi who was totally immersed in the ocean of `Namarasanubhavam.' According to Krishna Premi Swamigal, a renowned scholar, Gnananda was a `Paramahamsa Bagavatar,' who lived only to guide others into the sacred realms of Bhakti, love and kindness. 

Swamiji was well versed in all the modes of bhajana sampradaya, and it was his firm conviction that the inestimable excellence of Hari Bhajana was the easiest medium to attain `moksha.' He, like Avadhoota Sadasiva Brahmendra, lived in Kolli Malai for a period. The Thapovanam ashram was visited by great exponents of the Bhajana Patthadi like Pudukkottai Gopalakrishna Bagavatar to conduct Nama sankeertanam. 

Swamiji was well acquainted with other great spiritual gurus such as Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Aurobindo, Seshadri Swami and Ramana Maharshi. 

Swamiji later travelled to the Himalayas and performed rigid penance braving the severe cold and icy winds. He is known to have spent some time with Vallalar Ramalinga Swami at Vadaloor and Gopalakrishna Bharatiyar at Chidambaram, after which he visited Arunachala and lived for some time in a cave nearby. He moulded Swami Haridhos Giri to spread the message of Namasankeethanam. 


Swami Haridhos Giri embodiment of Guru Bhakthi and acclaimed as “Nama Sankeerthna Ratham” was the most cherished and the Chief disciple of Swami Gnanananda. Like Thotakacharya to Adi Shankara was Swami Haridhos Giri to Swami Gnanananda Giri. Guruji was his Guru’s precious and blessed gift to this world assigned to spread the cause of Nama Sankeerthanam. 

Swami Haridhos Giri lived his whole life for this cause and to emancipate the human race from the turmoil of this Kali Yuga and to instill in the hearts of millions of his devotees and Bhaghavathas all over the world the universal message of Maharishi Sukha “Kalau Sangeerthaya kesavam”. 

Swami Haridhos Giri became the favourite Chela of Swami Gnanananda Giri the moment he touched Thapovanam. Spontaneous was the surrender too. The dawn of a Guru-Shisya ­Bhava life thus started. After many trials and tests on this selected Chela, Swami Gnanananda Giri appointed Swami Haridhos Giri and told him to spread and sing in the praise of the Lord ­known as Nama Sankirthanam, as the only pathway to salvation. Swami Gnanananda Giri gave Swami Haridhos Giri His Paduka, blessed him with the hidden treasures of our great scriptures and commanded him to undertake a life of renunciation and the mission of spreading the great cult of Nama Sankirthanam with a musical discourses on saints and sages who had tread this soil in a similar manner. 

It was the command of His Master, Swami Haridhos Giri chose Dakshina Halasyam (Thennagur Village) as the abode for spreading the knowledge of Sanathana Dharma through the medium of Nama Sankirthanam. 

Thousands remain pinned to their seats to hear his mellifluous music accompanied by his brilliant eloquence on spiritual lives of yore. In order to propagate this ideal, under command of his Master, he toured many parts of the world, like in Canada, London, Japan, U.S.A., Zambia, Sri Lanka, Australia, Malaysia and Singapore to serve the masses in variation spiritual and material avenues thus establishing a common ground for them to elevate themselves to higher realms of life. 



U. Ve. Swaminatha Iyer (Uttamadhanapuram Venkatasubbaiyer Swaminatha Iyer), 1855–1942 was a Tamizh scholar and researcher who was instrumental in bringing many long-forgotten works of classical Tamil literature to light. His singular effort over five decades brought to light major literary works in Tamil and contributed vastly to the enrichment of its literary heritage. Iyer published over 91 books in his lifetime, on a variety of matters connected to classical Tamil literature, and collected 3,067 paper manuscripts, palm-leaf manuscripts and notes of various kinds. He is affectionately called Tamil Thatha (Grandfather of Tamil). 

Another significant contribution made by Swaminatha Iyer is in the realm of Tamil music. Until Swaminatha Iyer published the Silapathikaram, Pathupattu and Ettuthokai, music was a grey area in Tamil research. During the previous four centuries, Telugu and Sanskrit dominated the music scene in  Tamilnadu in the absence of any valuable information on Tamil music. Swaminatha Iyer's publications threw light on the presence of Tamil music in the earlier centuries and paved the way for serious research on the subject. 

For over forty years Swami­natha Iyer taught college students and created in them a love and respect for Tamil ­literature. Among his students he counts, with legitimate pride, many who are leaders in various walks of life and many who have filled with credit to themselves posts of trust, power and influence. His old students recall with respect and reverence those eventful and happy college days that they spent sitting at the feet of Swaminatha Iyer. One such student was Sri V.Ramanujacharyar who was motivated by Sri U.Ve.Swaminatha Iyer to translate the epic Mahabharat into Tamil. 

The meeting of Rabindranath Thakur from Bengal and the grand old man of Tamil literature in 1926 in Chennai was a historic moment. He penned a poem in praise of Swaminatha Iyer’s efforts to salvage ancient classical Tamil literary works from palm leaf manuscripts. 


Veeravalli Ramanujacharyar who was born in 1866 in a small village known as Manalur near Aduthurai in Thanjavur District had zeal in mastering the languages, grammar, literature etc., right from his school days. He learnt Sanskrit from his maternal uncle Sri U.V.Veeraraghavacharyar who was also his mentor. Sri Ramanujam later went to Kasi to pursue higher learning in Sanskrit, there the principal of that college famous Dr.Tibault who translated Sri Bhashyam into English conferred the Pundit title on him and he stayed at Tirupanandal mutt and pursued his studies, but due to his mother’s bidding he had to discontinue his studies and come back to his home town. 

His extraordinary skill in learning languages prompted Sri Mahamahopadhyaya U.V.Swaminatha Iyer to solicit his services in assisting him in his literary pursuits. He also asked Sri Ramanujam to join the local school as a Tamil teacher and also continue assisting him. Then he joined the Kumbakonam Arts college as a lecturer. It was there he took up the task of translating the epic Mahabharatha into Tamil. Initially it appeared to be a Herculean task but he accepted it with all humility and reverence for Sri U.V.Swaminatha Iyer. It was much time consuming that he found doing it in his part time was difficult, so he quit the job and dedicated himself wholly to this job. He took the help of nearly eight Sanskrit scholars including the Professor of Sanskrit Sri Srinivasachariyar at Kumbakonam college. After twenty five years in 1932, he completed the task much to the amazement of all scholars surmounting all odds. The Hindu the newspaper praised him saying that the author has left the Tamil public and lovers of scholarship everywhere very much in his debt! 

Sri U V Swaminatha Iyer in his autobiography praised Sri Ramanujacharyar for his immense contribution towards his works. Dr.Anne Beasant in her New India praised the contribution of Sri Ramanujacharyar as a monumental work that will help those who do not know Sanskrit or English to understand the great epic in its pristine glory!

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