This is with reference to the write-up, ‘Consecration of Siva Vishnu Temple,’ (Friday Review, June 11). I wish to point out a significant omission – the name of Kadalangudi Natesa Sastriar. Even before the formation of Mambalam Sanmarga Samvardhini Sabha, Natesa Sastriar and Loganatha Iyer had built a temple for Lord Ganesa at the very spot where the Siva Vishnu temple stands.
The local people of T.Nagar referred to Sastriar as Natesa Iyer and the street adjacent to the temple came to be called after him (Natesan Street). He celebrated Sri Sankara Jayanthi and Sri Geeta Jayanthi with annadhanam.
When Sri Ramakrishna Mission wished to open educational institutions in the area, Sastriar was consulted, and the first to come up was Sri Ramakrishna Mission High School, near Panagal Park (main school), following which several other RK Mission schools came up.
Natesa Sastriar was instrumental in the establishment of a few other landmarks too. Along with his son-in-law, S.R. Ramadasa Iyer, he opened the Thyagaraya Nagar Fund and later formed the T.Nagar Co-operative Society. His daughter, Dr. K. N. Saraswathy, handed over the premises for the setting up of the Government Girls’ High School, and a classroom in the school was dedicated to the memory of Sastriar.
Sengalipuram Anantharama Dikshitar, Sastriar’s foremost disciple, was also his first son-in-law. In 1957, when Paramacharya visited Mambalam, he was accorded a warm welcome at Siva-Vishnu Temple. Paramacharya himself invited Sastriar to deliver his address first.
It will be a fitting tribute to Sastriar if the authorities of Siva-Vishnu Temple erect a stone in the precincts of the temple stating that the place first housed a Ganesa temple, built by Natesa Sastriar and Loganatha Iyer.
In the context of the article on Siva-Vishnu Temple, the part played by office bearers of the Mambalam Sanmarga Samvardhini Sabha, Chinnaswamy Iyer (officer, Southern Railway), Raval Krishna Iyer (engineer and contractor), and Ramachandra Iyer (proprietor, Gold and Silver company), in the devotional activities of the temple deserves mention.
In 1952, Anantharama Dikshitar’s discourses on ‘Bharatham’ and ‘Ramayanam’ drew crowds from all parts of T.Nagar and surrounding areas. Notable exponents such as T. S. Balakrishna Sastrigal, Kirupananda Variar, Amrithananda Yogi and Mayavaram Sivaramakrishna Sastrigal took pride in presenting harikatha and discourses at Siva-Vishnu temple.
Keywords: Kadalangudi Natesa Sastriar