( Sri. N. Wijayaharan )
The ninth and last child of Sri. Chinnayya Pillai Navaratnam and Srimathi.Kamalambal, Sri Wijayaharan ( Aiya ) was born into a family of Devi upasakas. Worship of the Mother had been continuing in his father's family for more than six generations, but was abruptly halted in 1918 after the sudden demise of Sri Wijayaharan's paternal aunt. Sri Haran learnt of the tradition at the tender age of ten, from his father. The young Haran wanted to revive the rich tradition of Devi worship in his family. The Devi's Blessings were with him the moment the desire to worship the Mother took form in his young heart.
After having graduated from the famous Jaffna College, Sri Haran received Shadakshara mantra dhiksha from the late Srilasri Sivasachithananda Mathaji, a paramahamsa sanyasini, the disciple of Srilasri Sivananda Saraswathi. He imbibed knowledge of the ritualistic practices under the tutelage of Sri Mataji and her disciple Srimati Selvanayaki Kalyanasundaram at the Sivananda Tapovanam in Thirukoneswaram.
Aiya emigrated to Zambia to work as an architect for the Government in Lusaka. In this small town, he met a few South Indian families and was touched by the true devotion for the divine that he found in them. The families assembled regularly for Satya Sai bhajans and friday bhajans and the Haran family decided to commence regular puja with the ever growing circle of devotees and so, in 1976, regular chanting of the Lalitha Sahasranamam was started.
It was in Lusaka that Aiya met his present Guru, Srilasri Amritananda Saraswathi (Dr.N.P.Sastry) from Andhra Pradesh. He was overwhelmed by the compassionate eyes and depth of feeling he felt when he was first introduced to Sri Amritananda. He noticed Sri Amritananda performing the dashamudras during the recitation of the Lalitha Sahasranamam and decided to ask him for initiation into Sri Vidya. Sri Wijayaharan was showered with the grace and the priceless mantra on the Poornima day, Friday, Oct. 5, 1979. Sri Amritananda performed an 8 hour Navavarana puja at Aiya's house and initiated Aiya and his wife Srimati Sakuntala with the mantras. Aiya was then taught the intricacies of performing the various aspects of the mahayagna called the Navavarana puja.
Aiya moved to the United States in 1980. Named the "Kanchi Peetham" initially, the Peetham now known as the Sri Rajarajeswari Peetham was established in his own house. Worship of the Devi has been continuing at the Peetham and waves of devotees started to flock to their Home. In the early part of 1981, during the morning puja, Aiya experienced Poornabhishekam by the Devi Herself and was given the dhiksha name of Sri Chaitanyananda. His wife Srimati Sakuntala was named Gnanamba. In that same year, during the Navaratri celebrations on the seventh evening, the Devi left an impression of a conch in Sri Chaitanyananda's right palm. And in 1984, Sri Chaitanyananda received the call to compile a comprehensive text on the intricacies of the Navavarana puja. Having tirelessly worked on this book for an entire year, the first edition was offered to Her lotus feet during the Sharada Navaratri.
Amma is the eldest daughter of Chattanathar Kumarasamy and Rajammah. Born in the village of Thambachettyponpeedro in Eezham, she is the eldest of nine children. She was initiated into the Shiva Panchaksharam by Sri Shiva Sachidananda Mataji in 1963 when she was studying in Ramanathan College, Chunnakam. She married Aiya in 1970 at Kadhirgamam, Sri Lanka and accompanied Aiya to Zambia in 1971. Amma was initiated into Sri Vidya by Guruji on October 5nd, 1979. She received Purna Diksha along with Aiya and was named Gnanamba by the Devi. In Amma's ancestry comes Kadhirvel Pillai - "Sadhaa-vadhani" one of the greatest Tamil luminaries', a person who could concentrate on one hundred different things at the same instant. He is well known for his literary works, and especially his commentary on Thiruvachagam, which is unparalled to date. Amma plays the supporting role of a upasaka to the hilt and she teaches by example.
Sri Chaitanyananda and Gnanamba have opened their hearts, home and the Peetham to all devotees who hail from every part of the world. Aiya's love for Tamil literature, Carnatic music and vedic incantations flows out through the unique style of worship that he has developed. By Sri.Aiya's and Amma's kind loving grace, the Sri Rajarajeswari Peetham has mothered more than 400 affiliated Peethams all over the world. Each Peetham graces a Sri.Chakra or Sri.Meru personally given to the initiated devotees by Sri.Aiya.