C. L. RAMAKRISHNAN

KARUNAI DEIVAM KANCHI MAMUNIVAR: S. Ganesa Sarma; Vikatan Publications, 757, Anna salai, Chennai-600002. Rs. 50.

THIS SLIM volume on the Sage of Kanchi, is rendered in eight sections, dealing with the sage’s early life, his tours across the country, exhilarating experiences of his devotees, and his words of wisdom and advice.

The Vedic significance of the birth star and the tithi of the saint has been brought out well. Several incidents and episodes in his life , probably not known to many, have been narrated. The Jivan Mukta lakshana mentioned in the Sastras, have been illustrated in a few incidents relating to the sage. The descriptions of the compassion of Periyaval allegorically referring to the akshaya patra of Draupadi, the Muka Pancasati episode, the discomfiture of the legendary M. S. Subbulakshmi before her scintillating performance in the United Nations as also the embarrassment of Vinayak Ram and how they got out of the predicaments are all quite thrilling and testify to his spiritual pre-eminence

There are some printing errors in the Sanskrit quotations incorporated in the text. The title for the second and the last sections are identical. In one place there is a mention that Adi Sankara established the Advaita system of philosophy. Perhaps, the author means that the acharya expounded the terse precepts of Advaita for the layman’s benefit. Appropriate corrections of these would add value to the next edition.

The publication contains a number of photographs of the saint, some of them rare. An extremely readable and absorbing book.