Anusha Jayanti falls on Monday next.

“One day, my young friends, you will meet a man who cares nothing for wealth or

comfort or fame or glory and then you will know how poor you are,” - Rudyard

Kipling said this to some students. Kipling went to Kanchipuram seeking the blessings of Paramacharya before proceeding to Washington on his mission as Indian Ambassador. He found Mahaswami huddled inside a small hut. The food he ate was “very ordinary.” Nani Palkiwala was stunned by “the emergence of a spiritual force that readily found harmony with nature and the surroundings!”

The Sage of Kanchi urged people to emulate the established values of our ancient land. Sharing with Acharya Vinoba Bhave the conviction that walking was least harmful to insects and other beings on the road, he chose to undertake nationwide yatras on foot, a practice he continued even in his advanced years.

During the nation’s attainment of freedom in 1947, refraining from empty rhetoric, the sage appealed to the country to pray for mental strength and spiritual progress. Again when people were disenchanted with things going awry, he reassured that everything would be fine on analysing the causes and making amends. According to him, “The path of ancient wisdom never misleads. East or West, one turns divine when one lives in harmony with the higher purpose as his goal.”

A ruler, when confronted with contradictions between dharma sastra and the Constitution, is expected to uphold the latter. The Constitution is the supreme dharma sastra of our age; though under normal circumstances, he should follow dharmic obligations.

Just before her son left for the forests, Kausalya advised Rama to stick to dharma at all costs, which helped him to surmount formidable obstacles. In his war against Ravana, Rama stuck to the dharmic path, whereas Vibishana parted ways with his elder brother, who had thrown dharma to the winds.

Paramacharya prescribes individual inner transformation as a precondition for a better world. Disarmament cannot ensure amity among people; spiritual understanding between nations and the rich and the poor alone can ensure global peace and prosperity, he believed.

It is apt to quote Kripananda Variar here: “Just as those who lived in the age of Rama and Krishna were blessed, doubtless that those we who live as a contemporary of Kamakoti [Periyava] are thrice blessed.”

Gist of his Dasopadesam

Love and respect, humility and spiritual wisdom alone will keep us in good stead.

Life sans love towards fellow beings, birds and beasts is incomplete.

Realise that we cannot create even a blade of grass; offer the choicest of what one eats or wears first to the Almighty.

Do good to others through social service. The rich should use their wealth to help the poor.

Akin to a solvent, wisdom (jnana) is certain to dissolve sufferings.

The riches of those who do not share their wealth will be wasted by the inheritors. Expect praise for a good deed, it loses its value. Grieving over what has happened will do no good.

Let’s utilise our lives to contribute to the welfare of others.