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Upanishadic Quote:

Om. All this, whatsoever moves on the earth should be covered by the Lord, Īśvara... (Īśāvāsya-upaniṣad I.i)

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Brahmaśrī Dr. Mani Dravid Sastrigal

Sri Mani Dravid Sastrigal (43) is the grandson of the very widely known Sri Rajeswara Sastrigal of Varanasi, a pundit of great repute and Āstāna Vidvān of the King of Kasi. Sri Sastrigal studied under late Śāstraratnākara, Vedamūrti Brahmaśri Pranthiangarai Sri S. Subramania Sastrigal, Director of the Mahesh Research Institute, Varanasi and Editor of many standard Advaitic works. He also studied under Śāstraratnākara Sri S.R Krishnamurthy Sastrigal, Vedānta Professor of Madras Sanskrit College, Chennai.

Sri Mani Dravid Sastrigal, an erudite vidvan in Advaita Vedanta, has mastered Vyākaraṇa, Pūrva-mīmāṁsa and Nyāya(Tarka) also. He holds a Doctorate Degree in Indian Philosophy from Banaras Hindu University. He is presently a Professor at the Madras Sanskrit College. He is a regular participant in seminars and debates convened by various organisations throughout the country. He is held in high honour by the Maths of all the schools of Vedānta. It is no wonder that he is a never-to-be-missed invitee by the organizers of seminars of the different schools of Vedānta.

The traditional study in the Śāstras undertaken by Sri Sastrigal is supremely impressive. He trained in Vyākaraṇa-śāstra under Brahmaśrī Hosmane Ramachandra Sastri in Varanasi from 1980-1983. His Pūrva-mīmāṁsa and Vedānta studies blossomed under the expert tutelage of the late Paṇḍitarāja Brahmaśrī S.Subrahmanya Sastri at Varanasi from 1984-1992. The training in Nyāya took place under the guidance of the late Śāstraratnākara Brahmaśrī S.R. Krishnamurthy Sastri from 1993-1996.

Sri Mani Dravid Sastrigal’s record of his scholastic achievements is marked by his securing distinction throughout his academic career. He passed the Siromani exam from the Madras University with a first class. His next goal was to become a Doctorate in Philosophy which he accomplished in 1997 at the Banaras Hindu University. He then went on to bag the title of ‘Acharya’ in Pūrva-mīmāṁsa from the Sampurnanand University, Varanasi, in 1999, with a first class. Earlier, He had earned the ‘Vedanta Acharya’ title from the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Mumbai, in 1990, with a First Class.

For an accomplished scholar such as Sri Mani Dravid Sastrigal, it is natural that recognition by various institutions keeps pouring in. Here is a partial list of the Awards, citations, etc. that he was honoured with over the years:

  • Award for Meritorious performance in the examinations conducted by Advaita-sabha, Kumbakonam in the year 1993 with a purse of Rs.1,00,000/- This is a unique achievement by Sastrigal.
  • Madhusudana Sarasvati Puraskar (Title of Advaita-siddhi-ratnākara) awarded by Sudharma-rakshana-parishad, Tenali in 1996.
  • Title of ‘Vedānta-śāstra-viṣārada’ conferred by Sringeri Sharada Peetham Jagadguru Sri Shankaracharya with a Cash Award of Rs.50,000/-
  • Certificate for proficiency in Mīmāṁsa with a gold medal given by Sringeri Sharada Peetham in 2002
  • Certificate for proficiency in Advaita Vedānta with a gold medal given by Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham in 2003
  • Title of ‘Desikottama’ awarded by Sudharma-rakshana parishad, Tenali, 2003
  • President’s Award :- ‘Maharishi Badarayana Vyasa Samman’ by the President of India, 2003
  • ‘Ubhayamīmāṁsāratnam’ – Sanskrita Sahitya Parishat, Tiruchirapalli, 2006.
  • ‘Advaita-vāda-diggaja’ – Bhandarikeri Mutt, Bangalore 2006.
  • Sri Kaliyat Paramesware Bharathi Puraskaar, Tekke Matham, Trichur, Kerala 2006

Sri Mani Dravid Sastrigal’s wide and deep knowledge-base found expression in not only the oratorical medium but also in the form of writing a number of Papers for seminars. He has edited many works in the Vedānta-śāstra. The following are the books edited by him:

  1. Brahma-sūtra-śaṁkara-bhāṣya with the commentaries Prakaṭārtha- vivaraṇa of Anubhūtisvarūpa, Bhaṣya-bhāva-prakāśikā of Citsukha, Nyaya-nirṇaya of Ānandagiri and Sārīraka-nyāya-saṅgraha of Prakāśātman.
  2. Śataśloki of Śaṁkara with the commentary of Ānandagiri.
  3. Eight Upaniṣads – Īśa, Kena, Kaṭha, Praśna, Muṇḍaka, Māṇdūkya, Aitareya and Taittirīya with the commentary of Bhagavatpāda thereon. This work includes the sub-commentaries of Śrī Ānandagiri, ‘Vanamāla’, Narendrapuri, etc. These works have been published by Mahesh Anusandhan Samsthan, Varanasi.

Sri Sastrigal’s talks on Advaita Vedanta, be they in Sanskrit or Tamil or Hindi, are a veritable treat to the intellect of the audience. While his expositions are in strict conformity with the texts, one can experience the clarity and ease with which he expounds them. His pace of delivery is soothing to the ear and fulfilling to the heart.