A tribute to V.Siddharthacharry, an IFS officer and a teacher but most of all the revered Thatha, who left us all a few days ago. This is both an offering to his genius and a reminder to my memory.
I had the privilege of listening to Thatha when he graced as the Chief Guest to the valedictory of the Catch Them Young programme at Infosys four years ago. It is not unusual for boys and girls of my age to want to not sit through the speeches, but that day was a day we all sat in silence, in curiosity, in interest at Thatha’s marvel. He spoke every word from his heart, with a tremendous belief, and with a childlike yearning in his eyes. Here was a 92 year old young man, standing on the stage, who invoked resonance inside the hall, starting from the power of youth, to Bhajagovindam (one of his favourite hymns), to medicine, to Sanskrit, to Acharya Vidya Kulam (the wonderful school he founded) , to Rio de Janeiro’s discovery, to his love for languages, to the concept of oikonomia – varied subjects with a seamless passion. We were at once starstruck, inspired and blessed.
I imagined then how lucky the students of Acharya Vidya Kulam were, having Siddharthacharry Thatha guide their every movement! Every time I went there for competitions, I made sure I took his blessings. It was invaluable to me.
Everybody loved and respected him. It wasn’t just his knowledge and his erudition, but also that ripe wisdom, that uninhibited gentleness, a spiritual magnetism and a patient ear that made him a beloved Thatha.
And his abode – Acharyashrama – I have seen so many students sitting in the porch discussing endlessly with Thatha. I have had two such opportunities. One of them was about a script I had written, about spiritual values and the phenomenon of light. He opened our eyes to so many different things we had in front of us but had never seen. His explanation of ‘Om Tat Sat’ and ‘Tat Tvam Asi’ are something every Indian student must listen to. It was not a discourse. It was a discovery. To our awe, he also illustrated Vedic thought in Shakespeare’s plays. How effortlessly he recited poetry and described each line in all its significance. In all this, his eyes radiated happiness – around him, we were all in bliss.
I will ever be inspired by him. He is our teacher, he is our Thatha.
In his book he quotes Khalil Gibran’s lines – ‘A teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind.’ He did that. He was the siddha-artha-acharya.
Picture Courtesy: Yadu Supreeth
This article was published in the ‘Star of Mysore.’ It can be accessed here