Aid to Students
Swamigal conducted an essay competition in the English language in order to encourage students to take an interest in our religion. “Ways to practice and protect Sanathana Dharma keeping with the changes in time” was the topic for the essay. Students from schools in big cities like Chennai,Madurai and Tiruchi participated in this competition. The top three finalists in this competition were awarded with monetary prizes and books. The top finalist in this competition, V.R.Ramachandra Dikshithar grew to become History teacher at Chennai Sarvakalasalai. Swamigal had instituted scholarships and assistance to college students and schools, that year and in the years to follow. He also established grants to schools that taught religious education.
Medical Aid to the Poor
An Ayurvedic dispensary was started by Swamigal in those days with the aim of providing free health care to the poor and needy. He had appointed Vaidya Visharath Jagadrakshaka Shastrigal and Vaidya Visharath Thiruvannamalai Krishna Shastrigal who had both graduated from Venkataramana Ayurvedic college in Mylapore.
Patron of Arts During the years 1914 through 1918, when Swamigal was staying in Kumbakonam, various musicians, artists and linguists from all across the country visited the mutt to get his dharshan. Almost every evening, the scholars would get together and passionate debates would take place. Swamigal would patiently listen to all arguments.
He would then elaborate and explain each point of view and fact behind the opinion and finally render an opinion that would amazingly be acceptable to all. It was a sight to see Ashatawadhanis and Sathavadanis come to the mutt and showed their capabilities in the sadas in the august presence of Acharya. Sathawadhanis
are poets and scholars who can grasp a hundred facts and questions at the same time and answer the questions without any hesitation or mistake. Ashatawadhanis are similar that they grasp eight different things at the same time. They are also well known for their scholarship in language arts and poetry, mathematics, Astrology, science of logic, Vedanta, Meemamsa and Vyakarana. To test their brilliance, scholars are seated around them. One scholar would start with the verse of a poetry and leave it to him to continue.
Another scholar would ask a complex question in Mathematics; the third might be an astrologer who would recite an horoscope and ask questions about its calculations and predictions; a musical scholar might sing a rare raga and ask him to identify the raga; another scholar would quiz him on the flora; someone would ask him to identify the rakshasa by quoting Ramayana. After hearing all these questions, it is a remarkable sight to see the scholar go to each of the questioner and answer their specific questions correctly and without any hesitation.
Swamigal and Multi-Processing
Once, an old Sathawadhani, also a Vaishnavite, had come to the mutt to obtain the darshan of Swamigal. As usual, the scholars gathered there were eager to quiz this Vidwan. While the pundits were asking the questions, Swamigal instructed a person to note down his own answers to each of them. After the end of the question session, the old man replied to all of them and every one of his answers matched that of Swamigals’.
This episode demonstrated the knowledge of our Swamigal too. The old scholar was honored by Swamigal with Kashmiri shawl and other gifts. He returned to the mutt several times in the following years to repeat his performance. Professors, scientists, engineers and administrators, went to Acharya for guidance and encouragement. Among them was one Professor Ramamurthy, owner of a circus company, who came to address questions to Acharya and clarify doubts on the practice of Yoga. He obtained clear answers to all his doubts and was later heard commenting to a friend that “ the power of Brahmacharyam (chastity) can be found fully in Acharya and with this power anything and everything in the world can be achieved”.
In the year 1917, the king of Dharbanga came to Kumbakonam during his pilgrimage to the south. He stayed in town for three days, had darshan of Acharya and discussed the temples and practices that united south and north. Engrossed in the spiritual power of Swamigal, he requested Acharya to travel and visit the northern part of the