With jubilations all around, Jagadguru “Maha Periyava’s”, 123rd Jayanthi Utsava was celebrated with reverence at the Sri VD Swami Auditorium, Sankara Nethralaya main campus on 26th May 2016.
Sri N Vijay Siva, the seasoned vocalist of the DKJ music lineage, in his mellifluous rendition, invoked the blessings of Lord Shiva, through the composition of Manikavasagar.
Introducing the Chief Guest of the day, Col Raghavan, Advisor – Projects, remarked that he felt proud to have Brahmasri B Sundar Kumar, an erudite scholar on Advaita philosophy and scriptures, exponent of Srimad Ramayanam and the first doctorate awardee from Sastras to be addressing the gathering.
Humbly offering his salutations to the Saint of the Era, Sri Maha Periyava, Sri Sundar Kumar started his presidential address as a torrential downpour, eloquently quoting verses from the Ramayana whose essence was reflected in Maha Periyava’s spiritual life.
He spoke of the greatness of Aadhi Kavya Srimad Ramayana stating that all scholarly wisdom brewed with it and hence it was a repository of knowledge that needed to be studied with all humility.
Sri Maha Periyava had a subtle way of pointing to errors said he, when a historian who had chanted Ramayana 107 times and sought blessings for the 108th Chanting from Periyava, with a grandly printed invite that had a larger font for the “Printer’s address”, Maha Periyava, glancing this, queried if the historian had a faint idea about the spokes on Sri Rama’s umbrella, to which Sri Periyava himself answered quoting Ayodhya Kanda, that spoke of Sri Rama’s radiant face under the umbrella with 100 ribs that glittered like the rain water froth.
न ते शत शलाकेन जल फेन निभेन च |
आवृतम् वदनम् वल्गु चत्रेण अभिविराजते || २-२६-१०
This downsized the historian’s pride after which he prostrated before Maha Periyava seeking pardon.
Maha Periyava was the very epitome of compassion, said Sri Sundar Kumar, quoting an instance when a scholar who was in distress and penury was advised to chant Ramayana to his Mother, “नूनम् नन्दति ते माता”, to be blessed by her.
Sri Sundar Kumar indicated that Maha Periyava emphatically reiterated that भारत was कर्म भूमि and all our rituals/ offerings to Devatas or ancestors bore fruit in this divine land while living in foreign lands only helped in enjoying material comforts and luxury. Justice Ismail, former Chief Justice of the Madras High Court, was an authority on Kamba Ramayana, whose verstality, Maha Periyava admired and discussed elaborately about the “Illusions” of the materialistic world, remarked Sri Sundar Kumar.
Sanskrit knowledge would fortify reading Ramayana, remarked Periyava in a sadhas when he spoke of the आनन्द शब्द grammar as quoted in Ramayana in the verse
कल्याणि बत गातेयम् लौकीकि प्रतिभति मा
एति जीवन्तम् आनन्दो वषर्म् शतदपि
In his concluding remarks, Sri Sundar Kumar quoting Saint Composer Sadasiva Brahmendrar,
खेलति मम हृदये श्रीरामः
Chanting Rama Nama, one would easily cross the ocean of passion and suffering that would make one detach oneself from desire and hatred and lead into the path of salvation.
Sri Sundar Kumar highlighted that Paramacharya in his Shookshma shareera was the phenomenal guiding light to one and all.
The next agenda on the day’s function was the “Honouring of Dr. T S Surendran, Vice Chairman, Sankara Nethralaya for his glorious achievement of being conferred the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS), by the Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh, UK, earlier this year.
Sharing their experiences with the ever smiling and unassuming Dr. TSS as he is fondly referred to, Senior Consultant Dr. Smita Praveen, Dr. Rajeshwari Mahadevan, Head, Contact Lens Department and Smt Latha Suresh hailed encomiums on the veteran paediatric ophthalmologist and deft surgeon, cherished by all for his mammoth contribution in the making of Elite School of Optometry, to what it stands today.
In his acceptance speech, Dr T S Surendran, expressed his deep gratitude to the institution and its ‘Periyava’, in a reverential reference to Dr. SS Badrinath, Chairman Emeritus, for the golden opportunity to serve.
What followed was a most absorbing presentation of the community eye care services dispensed by the Kolkata Sankara Nethralaya through a poignant short film titled ‘Sankara Nethralaya – The Kolkata Chapter’ highlighting the need for continuing the institution’s’ Mission for Vision’ and the state of art facilities offering tertiary ophthalmic care at Kolkata, serving millions in the neighbourhood, shot by Shri Badri Surendran and team. The film was released by long time friend and supporter of Sankara Nethralaya Lion Shri M V Raghunathan.
The grand function concluded with “Aarthi” to Maha Periyava and floral tributes by devotees.