The Chitrāpur Sunbeam (Chitrāpur Ravikiraṇ) was begun as a quarterly with the Blessings of H.H. Shrīmad Ānandāshram Swāmījī in January 1954. In earlier times (1933 to 1953), "Mat͟h News and Notes" were circulated as a supplement to the monthly Kanarā Sāraswat Magazine. In 1976, The Ravikiraṇ went monthly under the guidance of H.H. Shrīmat Parijn͂ānāshram Swāmījī III.
Today, The Chitrāpur Sunbeam continues to be the mouthpiece of the Mat͟h and plays an important role in keeping the community in constant touch with the happenings at the Mat͟h, and provides interesting, and enlightening reading for its dedicated readers. A children's section, "My First Little Sunbeam” was added in 2002 and has quizzes, poems and many interesting stories which familiarise children with our culture, traditions and values.
As a tribute to this iconic Institution of The Chitrāpur Sāraswat-s, we bring you the very first editorial penned by its founder Editor, Shrī H. Shaṅkar Rāu, as published in January 1954.
The Chitrapur Sunbeam is emerging with the blessings of His Holiness. It is an organ of the Shri Chitrapur Math. Its objects are the propagation of Dharma and the publication of Math accounts, news and notes. It will be a means of periodical contact between the Math and the little Community which created the Math. The Community is more scattered now than ever before in its chequered history : nearly 17,000 souls spread over some 350 places. Hitherto the Math and its line of Gurus were the great unifying influences. To these, is now added the Sunbeam. Its light should be welcome in every Chitrapur Saraswat home. It will give its light without any heat. It will keep in view the Light of all lights, the common Source of all. And it will not engage in controversies of any kind.
With the limited finance available, the Sunbeam will be only a quarterly for the present. For good reasons, it will not go in for advertisements or publish photographs. The matter for the year will be of the order of 120 pages. The January issue, which embodies the accounts, will naturally be the biggest one. In future years, this will include a useful Directory of all sisters and brethren who have paid vantiga or vantiga capital. The remaining issues, though smaller in size, will provide larger scope for propagation of Dharma.
In 1708, the Community was blessed with its first Guru. In 1915, the eighth Guru entered Mahasamadhi. In the two centuries which intervened, propagation of Dharma could not possibly take place on any considerable or organised scale. The eighth Guru published books on Devatarchana Vidhi and Sandhyavandana, and a book entitled Balabodha was also prepared by Shastri Kaikini Subraya Bhat and published by the Math in his regime. Occasional discourses and kirtans by the Math’s Shastri and others were arranged during his tours and the Car Festival. But all these activities were confined to Kanara where most of our people lived in those days.
It was in the time of the present Guru that movements of population from Kanara took place on a large scale, and he personally undertook the work of delivering discourses. He has already delivered literally hundreds of them, mainly in Konkani, but occasionally in Kannada, Marathi and Hindi. English summaries of 31 of these were published at different times in Math Supplements to the Kanara Saraswat and later brought together and republished in book form in the Shrimat Anandashram Ordination Jubilee Souvenir published in 1941. The Sunbeam will hereafter play its part in the broadcasting of such discourses. There will be other useful matter as well to the extent which space permits. And brethren, sisters and children alike will find something of interest to them.
In this work, both language and script present difficulties without number. A large section of the Community cannot read the Nagari script, another cannot read Kannada, and yet another English. To add to the trouble, the spelling of Konkani, which has been mostly spoken and seldom written so far, is anything but settled. But what are difficulties for if they are not to be surmounted ? Experience will guide.
Lastly, a word about this editor. He is a singular person. And, being singular, he cannot be plural. So the editorial “we” is out of the question for him. Secondly, though he may be somewhat keen on serving the Math and the Guru, he has not, of late, been growing exactly younger with the years. And thirdly, from the point of view of true knowledge and experience, he is a poojya—not a worshipful figure by any means, but a complete cipher. So, with folded hands as ever, he bows down to one and all and craves their blessings.
(From The Chitrapur Sunbeam, Vol I, No I of January 1954)
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