Malliyoor Sankaran Namboothiri devoted his life to rendering and exposition of Bhagavatham

Noted Sanskrit scholar and Bhagavatham exponent Malliyoor Sankaran Namboothiri (90) died at his residence in Kuruppanthara, near here, by 6:50 a.m. on Tuesday. He was keeping indifferent health for the past few months.

Sankaran Namboothiri, who devoted his life to rendering and exposition of Bhagavatham, was born as the first child of Parameswaran Namboothiri and Arya Antharjanam on February 2, 1921. Once wealthy, his family had fallen on lean days by the time he was born. Unlike many of his contemporaries, he was not sent to school, but was trained to take the spiritual path by his father. However, his spiritual quest was marked by long years of illness and suffering.

After the ‘Upanayanam' and ‘Samavartham' ceremonies in the traditional manner, Sankaran Namboothiri helped his father in his poojas for a short while at the Narasimhaswamy temple at Kurumapuram. He took to serious Sanskrit studies only after he turned 14. By this time he had lost his mother and he was plagued by a host of health problems, which affected his studies.

The turning point came when Sankaran Namboothiri met eminent Sanskrit scholar Padappa Neelakantan Namboothiri at Guruvayoor and became his ‘shishya.' On the advice of the ‘guru,' he took up rendering of Bhagavatham in total surrender to Guruvayoorappan. Things started to turn for the better and Sankaran Namboothiri never left the path shown by his guru.

His Bhagavatham rendition, known for its lucidity and erudition, attracted devotees from across the country. He was awarded the title ‘Bhagavathahamsom' by Guruvayoor Bhagavatha Vijnana Samithy after his successful completion of 2,500 ‘Bhagavatha Sapthaham.' He was bestowed with ‘Poonthanam Puraskaram' by Akhila Bharatheeya Guruvayoorappan Bhaktha Samithy.

Sankaran Namboothiri also received the Njananppana Puraskaram from the Guruvayoor Devaswom and the Bhagavatha Sevaaratna Puraskaram from the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam.

He focused his activities in the last few years at the Malliyoor Mahaganapathy temple, the name that became synonymous with him. His ‘Navathy' (completing 90 years) was celebrated during January-February. The celebrations were inaugurated by External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna.

Sankaran Namboothiri wife Subhadra Antharjanam, who died in 2004, was the daughter of Mezhathur Arappanattu Bhattathiri. Sankaran Namboothiri leaves behind two sons and two daughters.

The mortal remains of Sankaran Namboothiri was cremated later on Tuesday with State honours.