Sengalipuram Anantharama Deekshithar lived during the twentieth century. He was a great scholar and pravachana kartha. The people of Salem cherished his presence. His family elder, Sri. Mutthannavaal (Vaidyanatha Deekshithar), was a trikala nyaani. The Paramacharya of Kanchi had once visited the residence of the Deekshithars of Sengalipuram (Near Kumbakonam) and glanced through the old palm leaf manuscripts connected with the family. He had stated that one of their ancestors, Vaikuntanatha Deekshithar, was perhaps an aspect of Sriman Naaraayana himself. It was due to the reason that the family was good in the study of Veda-s and Shashtra-s. Nithya Agnihotra (Daily fire worship) was part of their tradition.
Anantharama Deekshithar was born to Subbulakshmiammal and Subramania Deekshithar on 2/7/1903. He moved over to Salem due to the efforts of Sri Swayamprakasha Brahmendra Saraswathi Avadootha Swamigal. The famous Homeopathy Practitioner, Subramania Iyer, had organized the lecture of Deekshithar for over 50 days at Maravaneri. Deekshithar also stayed in the residence of Dr. P. S. Ramaswamy and eventually settled down in Salem.
Anantharama Deekshithar believed in conducting sacred yaaga-s and several of them had taken place under his tutelage. The great scholar had visited many temples and sacred waters. While he collected several prayers, he also had composing many of them. ‘Sri Mahalakshmi Sthuti’ was composed during his visit to the Mahalakshmi Temple at Mumbai.
His encyclopaedia of prayers is known as ‘Sri Jayamangala Stotram.’ This is found in two volumes, and it addresses every other problem under the sun. For example, this includes prayers that will endow good progeny, release from pain, erasing the effect of bad dreams, fear of death, prayers for coming out of death traps, etc. The prayer that must be recited while climbing the Thirumala hills is also included in this compilation. Thousands of people have been buying these books and are being benefitted due to the same. These books contain incantations like ‘Narayana Hrdayam,’ and ‘Lakshminarayana Hrdayam.’
The Great Deekshithar has also shared the meaning of each of the prayers. This book is a veritable treasure. The ‘Sri Jayamangala Stotram’ continues to be a ready reckoner for people looking for solutions. Besides all this, he used to deliver Sapthaham-s (Divine lectures which happen for a week) on several subjects connected with the Hindu way of life. He is very popular for his treatise on the ‘Naaraayaneeyam’ which was composed by Melpatthoor Narayana Battathri (1560 – 1666 A. D.). This text is based on the ‘Bhagavata Purana,’ and it was due to the efforts of Anantharama Deekshithar that it became extremely popular. He had written the meaning of each one of the thousand-plus verses of the ‘Narayaneeyam,’ that had been eventually serialized.
Several miracles were also associated with his rendering and Deekshithar had documented them. In fact, he would state that he used to be conscious not to miss a story, or a miracle connected with Guruvayoor Appan while writing a chapter. But a story would suddenly appear, therefore he would suggest that people read the ‘Naaraayaneeyam’ regularly.
The ‘Naaraayaneeyam’ consisted of everything found in the ‘Bhagavata Puraana’ and the only exception was the ‘Jatabharata Charitram.’ No one has understood the cause for this omission and Deekshithar decided to address the same by composing the ‘Jatabharata Charitram.’ He presented the same at the Sri Krishna Temple in Guruvayoor on a holy day. Deekshithar requested Guruvayoor Appan to accept it whole-heartedly in the way he had accepted the ‘Naaraayaneeyam’ offered by Sri Narayana Bhattathri. Everyone present in the vicinity experienced horripilation, and this was taken as the acceptance of the text, ‘Jatabharatha Charitram,’ by Lord Guruvayoor Appan. The portrait of Sengalipuram Anantharama Deekshithar finds a place at the Sri Krishna Temple at Guruvayoor. The Blessed Deekshithar was cured of a major ailment due to the grace of Lord Guruvayoor Appan.
My great grandfather, S. N. Padmanabha Chetty, was quite close to Deekshithar and he would visit him often. My paternal grandmother, Lalithabai used to accompany him during those trips. Both, the father and the daughter, would savour the wisdom of Deekshithar. My paternal grandfather, R. Krishnan, was suffering from severe stomach pain those days. It appeared to be incurable and therefore my grandmother sought the advice of Deekshithar. The great man meditated for a while and suggested that my grandmother light a ghee lamp in the presence of a portrait of Sri Lalitha Tripura Sundari. My grandmother followed his advice and lo! My grandfather’s stomach pain vanished instantly.
Years passed and one day Deekshithar was delivering lectures as usual and was keen to meet people connected with Guruvayoor. Ration shortage had been creating chaos and the sufferers included Lord Guruvayoor Appan. In fact, the Melshanthi (The High-order priests) at Guruvayoor was also advised to reach out to Deekshithar through a dream. Deekshithar too was telling his assistants to usher in people from Guruvayoor. He suddenly blurted out by stating that an offering had been stopped at the Guruvayoor Appan Temple in Kerala. He made phone calls and finally reached out to the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, C. N. Annadurai. The CM had in fact responded positively based on the goodwill and reputation of Anantharama Deekshithar. The intervention caused due to the efforts of Deekshithar ensured the continuance of the offering.
People consider him to be an incarnation of Sri Narayana Bhattathri. Several miracles are associated with Deekshithar that reveal his hidden treasures. Sengalipuram Anantharama Deekshithar was not just a devout scholar, but he was a messenger of Kaliyuga Varadhan Lord Guruvayoor Appan. Anantharama Deekshithar, wife Shaaradhambal and family continue to add lustre to Salem by residing at Maravaneri.
Mr. Rajesh Govindarajulu is one of the founding members of the Verandah Club Pvt. Ltd. He is a leading columnist, historian, jeweler, entrepreneur, and a heritage enthusiast who is earnestly working to revive the past in the light of the present. Experiential learning about the history of Coimbatore is his main course of interest and he is also a panel member of many colleges in the city.
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