Who is

Swami chandrasekharendra Saraswati or Mahaperiyava, also known as His Holiness Jagadguru Bharathi Teertha Mahaswamigal and popularly as "Sri Sri" by his followers, is the 69th JagadGuru of the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham. He was born in 1894 at Ekasila Nagaram near Kumbhakonam in Tamil Nadu to Viswanatha Iyer and Narayani Amma. After completing his school education he left for Varanasi where he joined the Government Sanskrit College and studied Vedanta with a focus on Nyaya-Vaisheshika under such scholars as Pandit Raghunath Shastri Joshi , Ras Vishnupad Shastri, Pandit Yogeshwaranand Saraswati and others. He graduated in 1918 with a master's degree in the subject under the Vedanta Siromani title.

After returning to South India he joined as a lecturer at Pachaiyappa College, Chennai where he taught both Sanskrit and Mathematics for over twenty years. The period was one of intense activity during which time he travelled all over India giving discourses on various topics such as Bhagavat Gita, Ramayana, Mahabharata and Brahma Sutras. He fought against superstitious practices such as animal sacrifice prevalent then in many temples before taking his seat (1936 as the Head of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham). He was a regular speaker at the World Symposium on Humanity and also contributed to various journals such as The Quest, Philosophical Quarterly and other publications during this period.

In 1951 he moved to Jiyaguda near Hyderabad as per instruction from his guru Chandrasekharendra Saraswati of Kanchi Mutt. He used to hold discourses every morning and evening those days apart from giving classes to students in the afternoon. It is reported that many people were influenced by His Holiness' lectures and vedantic wisdom and used to flock around him for darshan (sight) whenever they could even sit outside the room through which he walked up and down; it should be noted here that His Holiness was a bachelor all his life. He accepted two of his disciples, Chandrasekharendra Saraswati Swamigal and Vidyadheesha Teertha, as Preceptors in 1954 to assist him after the demise of Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati Swamigal in February 1954.

In 1958 he delivered a series of eight lectures at Madras University covering the Vedas, Upanishads and the Brahma Sutras under the title "The Message of the Seers". In 1959 he led an Indian delegation to USSR on an invitation from Premier Nikita Khrushchev . In 1962 when China attacked India he could not be present in Varanasi for want of permission from the then UP Chief Minister who was his disciple. Around that time the State Governments of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh appointed special committees to study the Advaita Vedanta propounded by Sri Ramanuja and His Holiness, respectively.

The Kanchi Mutt published a journal dedicated to religious interfaith efforts called "Dialogue" during this period while he toured extensively in India delivering lectures on Bhagavat Gita, Upanishads and Brahma Sutras.

He has so far authored some 50 works in English and over 100 works in Sanskrit covering various aspects of Indian philosophy like Bhagavat Gita, Upanishads, Yoga Vasishtha (Loga), Vishnu Sahasranama (Stotra) etc . His books have been translated in many languages including Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and Urdu.

Within the Mutt he is known as "Poojya Gurudev" while outside it he is affectionately called "Sri Sri". He was honoured with the Rashtrapathi Award in 1991 by the Government of India.

He passed away in 1994 at Kanchipuram after a brief illness leaving behind his disciple Sri Jayendra Saraswati Swamigal to succeed him ceremonially though in reality he had already done so much earlier when in 1954 he was entrusted with its management by His Holiness.

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