KOCHI: Mahamandaleshwar Swami Kashikananda Giri Maharaj, the saint who enriched the spiritual treasure of the land with his verses and preachings attained samadhi in Haridwar in Uttarakhand on Friday morning. The mahasamadhi will be held in Holy Ganga at 10 am on Saturday.
Described as the erudite among monks and the monk among erudites, he was the Mahamandaleshwar,the top most layer of the spiritual community, a rare feat among the monks from the state. The 91-year-old was heading two monasteries, one in Mumbai and other in Haridwar.
Often hailed as one who penned the maximum number of verses in Sanskrit in modern times, according to his disciples, his works, published and unpublished would come to thousands.
Born in Karalmanna near Cherplasseri in Palakkad in 1924 to Punnasheri Pothuvattil Karunakaran and Lakshmikkutty, he used to participate in the spiritual gatherings of temples in Thootha and Anthimahalan Kavu during his school days at Government school at his native place.
He set off in search of the eternal truth at the age of 15. He travelled to Varanasi and received the diksha from the head of the Ranjani aghada.
During the pilgrimage, he travelled to Badrinath, Haridwar and Rishikesh and got an opportunity to pursue his studies. He joined the Punjabi Maha Vidyalaya at Rishikesh.
After visiting Vaishnodevi temple of Jammu and then Mookambika in south Canara, Kasikananda joined Ramnivas ashram and Dakshinamurthy Mutt to continue his Sanskrit studies. He later joined the Mutt as a teacher after completing his education in Sanskrit and Nyaya Sastra.
Kasikanandagiri joined as a degree student at the first Sanskrit University in Varanasi.
His achievements in the field of Sanskrit scholarship are legendary. One of the anecdotes is about an examination paper on Adwaitha which he answered in verse. It is treated as a miraculous piece of literature written in two hours when he was a student of Varanasi Viswa Vidyalaya. He was awarded the Best Student title in the first batch and won the ‘Sarva Prathama Suvarna prize’ from the then President of India.
A scholar par excellence in Sanskrit, his discourses were mainly in Sanskrit, Hindi and Gujarati as he preferred to speak only in the languages which came to him with gait at ease.
The discourses in these languages were light, deep and poignant to the thousands who listened to him. His commentaries on Katopanishad and Easavasyopanishad are rated as the classics of all times.
The discourses on Bhagavat Gita and Brahma Sutra too were treated as the gems of wisdom in its content and presentation. He was the first monk from the Shankara Tradition to do Bhagavatha Pravachan.