20 April 1897?
27 February 2020
122 years, 313 days?
Sudhakar Chaturvedi (Kannada: ಸುಧಾಕರ್ ಚತುರ್ವೇದಿ) (20 April 1897? – 27 February 2020) was an Indian Vedic scholar, Indologist, and alleged supercentenarian. Chaturvedi claimed to have been born on 20 April 1897 in Bangalore, Karnataka, India (or in Kyatsandra in Tumkur district, Karnataka state according to one report). One report also claims an age of 121 in 2011, which would put his birth in 1890.
Chaturvedi was given his title "Chaturvedi", which literally means "master of the four Vedas," for his knowledge of the Vedas. He is a disciple of Swami Shraddhanand at Gurukul Kangri in Haridwar, where he got his Veda Vachaspati degree (equivalent to a postgraduate degree).
Chaturvedi was a contemporary of Mahatma Gandhi, whom he first met when studying the Vedas in a gurukula in northern India. Subsequently, he became an ardent follower of Gandhian methods. He was a witness to many events in the Indian independence movement, including being an eyewitness to the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre. He was known as Gandhiji's Postman, as he took down and delivered letters dictated by Gandhi addressed to the Viceroys or Governors-General. Gandhi called him 'Karnataki'. He lost the use of his right arm in 1938 while travelling with Gandhi, when the railwayman detached the last three compartments of the train as it was struggling to climb uphill. He took part in the freedom struggle and was arrested at least 31 times during the freedom struggle, landing in prisons all over the country from Peshawar to Vellore.
He was offered the post of minister in the old Mysore state by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, which he turned down. He also campaigned for the unification of the state.
In his later life, he became a follower of Dayanand Saraswati of the Arya Samaj. He adopted a man named Arya Mitra as his son, and has three grandchildren. He has never married.
Chaturvedi was the first teacher of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. In 2011 he took part in the India Against Corruption campaign. He lives in Jayanagar, Bangalore, Karnataka, India, and in 2010 stated he was still working for eight hours every day. This includes an hour-long lecture he gives on the Vedas every Saturday. He wakes up at 3 am or 3:30, going to bed by 7 pm. He advises people to "follow the instructions in the Vedas and a happy life awaits you." He practices a strict vegetarian diet. He says he wants to live to 300.
He was honoured by Motilal Banarsidass for his contributions to Indology, when it celebrated its centenary in 2003. The Karnataka Sahitya Anuvada Academy gave him an honorary award for 2007–08. In 2009 he was given a "Socio Economic Development Teacher Award", by the Sri Kashi Sesha Sastri Charitable Trust. He was honoured by his alma mater, Gurukul Kangri university, in 2010. In 2010 he was given a "Living Legend" Award by IDL Foundation at a public function where he pledged to donate his eyes. In March 2011 he was gifted a wheelchair by the IDL Foundation, sponsored by Lokayukta Santosh Hegde and began to use it. On Republic Day in 2010, he was felicitated by the Governor of Karnataka.
Chaturvedi has written over 40 books in the Kannada language and, as of 2008, is working on the publication of Vedic texts in 20 volumes. He was also announced in 2002 to be heading a project of the Arya Samaj to publish a 30000-page treatise in Kannada on Veda Bhashya, and by 2009, three of the four Vedas and six volumes of the Rg Veda were released.
He was the moving spirit behind the Bangalore Arya Samaj, which published the Kannada monthly magazine Veda Taranga.
- Upakarmada Bhavya Sandesha
- Halavu Nenapugalu (2007)
- Murtipooje Jignyaase
Chartuvedi was reported to be alive in 23 April 2016. Later he was reported to be alive in 14 April 2019. Sudhakar Chaturvedi died on 27 February 2020 at the claimed age of 122 years, 313 days.
J. F. Seunarine (1977). "A Biographical Sketch of Paṇḍit Sudhākar Chaturvedi". Reconversion to Hinduism through śuddhi. Bangalore: Christian Institute for the Study of Religion and Society. pp. 96–97.
- Many recent newspaper accounts are consistent with an 1897 date, but the biographical sketch in Seunarine's book mentioned below gives a date of 4 April 1901
- Centenarian scholar Sudhakar Chaturvedi passes away