Honour for Harikatha exponent

IN CONTINUATION of its commitment to promote the time-honoured tradition of expounding the scriptures through Harikatha and Upanyasa, Sri V. Narayana Iyer Memorial Trust conferred the title, Vidya Vachaspati, on Sri Goda Venkateswara Sastrigal this year at its annual function held recently.

Eminent Harikatha exponents T. S. Balakrishna Sastrigal and Kalayanapuram R. Aravamudan, and traditional scholars, the late Mukkur Laksminarasimhachariar, B. Sundar Kumar and Srivatsa Jayarama Sarma have been honoured with this title since its inception in 1996.

In his welcome address Mr. Narayana Vishwanath, founder-trustee, said the Trust was instituted in memory of the late V. Narayana Iyer, a doyen of the Madurai Bar and that he belonged to the lineage of Appayya Dikshitar.

By honouring traditional scholars the Trust has been contributing its mite to preserving and propagating the Vedic tradition and culture.

Conferring the title on Sri Goda Venkateswara Sastrigal, Mr. Justice K. Sampath, said that he was eminently qualified for being hailed as ``Vidya Vachaspati'' as he had distinguished himself over the years in lecturing on the Upanishads which has now become his forte.

Hailing from a family of traditional scholars, Goda Venkateswara Sastrigal, studied the Rig Veda and Sahitya under his father and learnt Nyaya, Samkhya, Yoga, Purva-Mimamsa and Advaita under Injikkollai V. Jagadeeswara Sastrigal.

A linguist well-versed in Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu and English, he was awarded the degree of doctor of philosophy by the Rashtriya Sanskrit Samsthan, New Delhi, for his research in Advaita Vedanta.

Distinctions galore in the form of prizes and titles have come to him over the years and notable among them are the title ``Vedanta Pracharakamani'' given by the Kanchi Paramacharya and the Tamrapatra awarded by the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Bombay, for his dedicated work towards propagation of Indian culture and Hindu religion.

Though he is a banker by profession his interest in upholding the Vedic tradition has committed him to several engagements like discoursing in the traditional style on Advaita treatises, participating in Vidwat Sadas and writing in periodicals.

He has authored many books on classical texts. His uniqueness as a scholar lies in his ability to expound abstract philosophical concepts even to lay people.

Mr. N. R. Chandran, Advocate General, Tamil Nadu, Dr. S. Ramaratnam, Principal, Vivekananda College and Mr. V. Narayanan, Secretary, R. R. Sabha, felicitated the scholar on the occasion.