I have been seeing some very odd things in a section of the Iyer community these days. And what I am saying here would surely stir a hornet’s nest, if not understood properly.
The Kanchi mutt has a significant following… and some families are ‘fanatic’ followers… and I don’t mean that in a bad way. The late pontiff, HH Chandrashekarendra Saraswati, the 68th head of the mutt, is revered as a Jagadguru even among non brahmins as Paramacharyal or Periyavaa. There are so many blogs, articles, books etc. on the life of Paramacharya and the list of ‘miracles’ attributed to him keeep growing.
The odd thing I mentioned is this: nowadays, there seems to be a growing (or becoming more vocal) group of people who claim to be devotees of Paramacharya, and worship him as a god. They hold namasankeertanams in his name, compose various slokas and songs on him… all that can be explained away, but now some even have begun claiming him as an incarnation and propagating the idea that he is God himself. I won’t be surprised if in a few years time, someone comes up with some pramanas from the vedic scriptures purporting their claim to be right!
Worship of Guru is pretty standard in Sanatana Dharma. There are numerous instances where importance of Guru has been indicated in our scriptures. But all those are done only with Guru in the status of the Lord’s representative.
Paramcharyal can be revered as a Guru (by those who accept him as such), as a Saint (by the masses, no need for any papal seal on this one!!)… and even as a powerful yogi endowed with mystical potency (by all the anecdotes). But to claim him to be God is completely ridiculous. In doing this, this group of ‘devotees’ are setting the stage to legitimizing the claims of people like Nithyananda, Kalki, the various babas etc.
When Sanatana dharma and it’s traditions are facing the onslaught from other forces, this type of new fangled practices will only weaken it.