EVEN IN this age of very advanced technology, there are certain superhuman instances in the field of spiritualism. How else can one explain this? An extremely obese person had performed the feat of standing waist-deep in the rapidly flowing waters of a river for nearly 60 hours, meditating on God, even without sipping a glass of water, as part of his commitment to carry out a penance. This happened about a year ago in Mattapalli, a village about 150 km from Vijayawada, where the on the banks of the Krishna (in a crevice) the idol of Narasimha is installed. And the incredible act was performed by a well-known Vedic scholar, Sri Mukkur Lakshmi Narasimhachariar, whom God took away to his abode, at the age of 56, just a fortnight ago.
The Pandit had gone round entire India organising 107 Vedic Yagnams over a period of two decades, to highlight the glory of Hindu traditions and to enable men to face problems. Thousands had listened to his discourses on a variety of subjects (the epics, the Puranas, the Upanishads and the Gita) for months, each lecture spreading over even three hours, with Vedic recitations preceding them. His aim was to spread Hinduism and make people understand how they can get over their anxieties by following the teachings in these works.
Inheriting knowledge from his father, who was connected with the Madurantakam Sanskrit College of Ahobila Math, Sri Lakshmi Narasimhachariar had education in Kanchipuram up to PUC and then mastered the Vedas and the Vedanta from his brother who was himself a distinguished preacher of Vedic study. Sri Lakshmi Narasimhachariar also came under the spell of the 44th Jeeyar Swami of Ahobila Math and mastered Sanskrit, Telugu and Tamil, had thorough training in Naalayira Divya Prabhandam and had assimilated all the works of Vedanta Desika and other illustrious leaders. The profundity of his erudition used to astound listeners as he quoted from various sources and works not only of Vaishnavism but also of Adi Sankara, Madhusudana Saraswathi and several other religious heads. The fact that he had been expounding the term ``Vishnu'' in the Sahasranamam for 10 days in a year for three years in succession, at the Asthika Samajam, Alwarpet (Chennai) will reveal how he covered various aspects of religion and philosophy. He also dwelt on steps of atonement for certain acts done violating the scriptural codes.
Sri Lakshmi Narasimhachariar's lecture at the Asthika Samajam were taped, transcribed and published in Kalki. These were later compiled and brought out in book form by Vanathi Pathippagam entitled ``Kurai Ondrum Illai'', the first and second volumes of which have gone to more than one edition and sold all over the world by Tamil people. The third volume has come out recently.
The late scholar had conducted 107 yagams in different parts of India from Rishikesh to Tuticorin. The first was inaugurated in the Asthika Samajam about 20 years ago. His 108th (end the last) is due at Ahobilam. A few persons were prepared to contribute the entire sum required for each yagam but Lakshmi Narasimhachariar was keen that every Asthika should participate in them. He never prescribed any remedy for problems as, in his opinion, that would amount to a commercial proposition and he, a mercenary. In one case, taking permission from the Lord during his prayer he got a girl cured of a serious malady and as a result, she is now well- settled in life. Recently he suggested that a famous Sanskrit hymn, ``Lakshmi Sahasram,'' be recited for 48 days when a miracle did happen as he expected and a couple got back their vision. ``I am a tool in helping these devout devotees.'' Never was he anxious to suggest any miraculous prescription.
It was Sri Mukkur Swami who preached that the ``Leonine form of God'' was not ``fierce'' as some imagined and popularised Narasimha's worship. After a brief period of employment in Vijayawada, at his brother's command he took up the discourse- assignment full-time and made ``Mattappali Narasimha'' a household name. Tragedy struck when his elder brother who was his teacher in the Vedas and Sastras, was killed in a road accident near Vijayawada. Sri Mukkur Swami's daily puja (Aradhana) at his residence in T. Nagar used to take four to five hours and on and off, he went into a trance. Many of his programmes fixed in advance were cancelled as he remarked that ``Narasimha'' had not given him permission.
After conducting a Yagam in Mumbai, he came to Chennai and then proceeded to Kakinada (where he owns a house) where he suffered a massive heart attack and passed away within an hour. His father- in-law, Sri Thirukkallam Narasimha Raghavachariar, was also a reputed scholar who too died when he was 58. The world of religion and Hinduism mourns the loss of a Vedic authority and a spiritual guide in Sri Mukkur Swami's death.