Sri Gnanananda Teertha Swamigal
by Sri Ramakrishnan Deekshidar
Sri Sundaram Dikshitar (Puravasrama name of Sri Gnanananda Natha) is the illustrious second son and also a very competent disciple of rare talent of our Guru Maharaj Sri Vimarshanandendra Saraswati Maha Swamigal. To put it in a nutshell, he is a practicing Sri Vidyopasaka par excellence and no field or practices in the Great Ocean of Sri Vidya worship is untouched or unvisited by him.
In Vedic Dharma, there are four stages of life (Ashrama) namely Brahmacharya, Grahastha, Vanaprastha and Sanyasa. Of these, the Sanyasa Ashrama, also called Turiyashrama, is the highest Ashrama and is considered to be Sacred and Divine. Traditions and Shastras insist that when you reach the ripe age of 70 after fulfilling your religious and social obligations as ordained in our Scriptures, you enter the last stage called Sanyasa Ashrama, and leave the mortal remains of the physical body in this earth as a Sanyasi at the time of death.
Once you enter Sanyaasa Ashrama, you don’t need to perform religious rites as ordained for a householder; because of this, you have to perform the Ashta Shraddha and Viraja homam before taking Sanyasa in order to fulfill the last ritual obligations to your forefathers and obtain final release from any more obligations in future. This Ashrama is most suited for your Spiritual journey upward in whatever discipline you are interested.
In our Guru Parampara, all of our Illustrious Gurus starting from Sri Kameshwarananda Natha to our Guru Maharaj Shree Vimarshananda Natha took Sanyasa at a later stage after an event filled Grahastashrama where they performed all sacrificial rites as ordained in the Vedas. In fact, Sri Vidya worship as any other tantra worship is non sectarian and is open to all irrespective of caste, gender and religion and place. It does not know any geographical boundaries. This worship is permitted to be practiced by all four Ashramins - Brahmacharya, Grahastha, Vanaprastha and Sanyasa.
It is a hallmark of our great Guru Parampara that there is absolutely neither a conflict nor a contradiction between the Vedic practices and tantric mode of worship. Reconciliation of alleged conflict of Shastras and apparent contradictions require the applicability issue such as the competency and temperament to be clearly defined. They have taken to Sanyasa Ashrama even though they know that this is neither necessary nor is it recommended for a Sri Vidya Upasaka. However, they find it really useful for themselves as well as their wards and disciples because there is no such thing as a 10 day mourning period for Sanyasis. It is like a festival and Utsava to be celebrated and enjoyed. Veda permits Sanyasis to practice Sri Vidya Worship. This Sanyasa Ashrama is most suitable for attaining highest level of Atma Gyana through constant Self Inquiry as enunciated in the transcendental form of Sri Vidya Upasti (Bhavana) by inner Consciousness.
Sri Sundaram Dikshithar (Sundara Chithappa as he is affectionately called by all of our family members) took Sanyasa Ashram on 1st January, 2017 on the banks of river Thamrabarani in Suttha Malli Village, Tamil Nadu. Suttha Malli is the birthplace of our Moola Guru Sri Kameshwarananda Naatha, wherein he built the famous Lalithambika Mutt and installed Sri Lalithambika Vigraha in the Mutt temple.
Please click here to view the photos from the Sanyasa Ashrama Sweekaram ceremony. Thanks to Sri R. Subramanian and Sri K.S. Lakshmanan for the photography.
We would also like to share with you a Tamil translation of the Sanyasa Shlokas by Sri K Kalyanaraman Iyer. Sri Kalyanaraman is a great friend of our families. He belongs to our Siddhamalli Parampara and he is the son and disciple of Sri Vidya Guru Kalyana Sundaram Iyer of Madurai.