[Advaita-l] Sringeri and Kanchi - same incident?

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Fri Jun 16 20:52:06 CDT 2006

I came across two anecdotes in the lives of the past Pontiffs of
Sringeri and Kanchi. The two stories are almost identical, here are
the striking similarities:

1) Both instances happened during a Puja.
2) In both cases, a necklace was stolen.
3) Both the times, the thief was revealed while requesting holy water
from the respective Pontiffs.

I suspect that the Kanchi story is not genuine, because it begins
with, "The incident narrated below is SAID TO HAVE OCCURRED...", thus
making it evident this incident was not witnessed by the narrator,
and is only hearsay.


Book: "The Saint of Sringeri"
(Biography of H.H. Chandrasekhara Bharati)
Chapter: Intuitive Perception
Pages 51-52

Once when His Holiness was dispensing holy water to the disciples
assembled, a young woman who had brought her daughter with her
suddenly missed a gold chain put on the nect of the latter and was
creating some slight disturbance. Her friends hushed her up and asked
her to coolly receive the holy water from His Holiness and then go
home to give vent to her grief. She accordingly came before His
Holiness and spread out her right palm to receive the holy water but
His Holiness signed to her to step aside. This increased her grief
and she did not know what to do. His Holiness continued to give holy
water to several others and when an old woman spread out her hand to
receive it, His Holiness said in a very low tone "Give it up".

"What" cried the woman.

"What was taken" was the cool reply of His Holiness.

"I have not taken anything" she persisted.

"Don't add to your sins" was the admonition of His Holiness. As soon
as this was said, the ladies who were standing near her caught her up
and recovered the chain from the folds of her sari and placed it
before His Holiness. He then called the other woman before him, gave
her the holy water and said "Take the chain but don't do hereafter
what you are asked not to do."

She replied in penitent tones "I have learnt the lesson I shall obey.
I shall obey."

Later it transpired that her husband was a clerk in some office and
had wanted his wife to serve his breakfast before going to His
Holiness' camp for attending the Puja and that for fear of losing the
Puja she hastened the preparation of the meals and asked her husband
to serve his breakfast himself and came away to attend the Puja. His
Holiness evidently pointed out by this incident that true piety was
incompatible with a breach of duty.


My experience with Paramacharya of Kanchi
G. Subramanya Shastri

"The incident narrated below is said to have occurred in one of those
days in which His Holiness Himself performed the daily pooja (worship
of deities). Whenever His Holiness performed the worship there was o
stipulated time for ending the ritual. He used to be immersed in the
act for a very long time. All the while the devotees thronged around
the place of worship and waited patiently till the end of the pooja
in order to partake "teertha" (holy water sprinkled over the deities)
from His Holiness. On that eventful day, while the pooja was in
progress, suddenly a woman cried "Alas! My necklace is stolen!" His
Holiness heard the cries but calmly went through the proceedings. At
the end of the pooja , the giving away of the holy water commenced.
The devotees queuing up a line partook the holy water one by one. A
woman, too, came along the line near the alter to receive the water.
Then His Holiness ordered her "You are in possession of a necklace of
another woman. Give it back and take the teertha". Hearing it the
woman turned pale and returned the jewel to its owner."


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