Friday, November 9, 2018

Sanskrit College Mylapore


Sanskrit college at Mylapore in Chennai is a Landmark. Have passed this illustrious institution many times but never had an opportunity to visit. It was accomplished on Saturday, 3rd November when I was invited by Sri P.R. Kannan an erudite scholar from Mumbai who is closely associated with Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. He had instituted an annual endowment lecture in memory of his late father Sri D. Ramakrishna Iyer at the prestigious Sri Kuppuswamy Sastri Research Institute which functions from the Sanskrit College at Myalpore.
The inaugural lecture was given by Dr. K. Srinivasn, former Principal and Head-Department of Sanskrit, R.K.M. Vivekananda College, Chennai on the topic an overview of Vedic Literature. The speech was flowing like Thaila Dhara and it was a feast to hear about our great glories of Vedas, Yagas and Yagnas and I couldn’t believe ninety minutes have gone past when the lecture was ended. Sri Krishnamurthi Sastrigal who was present on the occasion heaped his praise on Sri Srinivasan for going into minute details.

I wish to bring to your attention that this Sanskrit college was founded by Sriman V. Krishnaswami Iyer way back in the year 1906. He was a brilliant lawyer, became a Judge of Madras High Court in 1909. Though he lived a short span of life he was known for his greatness and philanthropy. Mahatma Gandhi who visited the college in 1915 called him a “Mahapurusha”.

Sri Kanchi Mahaperiyava had praised him stating that Sri Krishnaswami Iyer had invested as capital not only his savings but also his body and soul on three institutions he had found. The first one for treatment of ailments in the name of Venkataramana Vaidya Shala, the second for upliftment of Atmajnana by establishing the Sanskrit college and the third one to take care of financial needs through establishment of Indian Bank. There is a beautiful picture of Mahaperiyava inside the Sri Kuppuswamy Sastri Research Institute which is kept in decorated wooden frame.
Thanks to Sri P.R. Kannan for inviting to this event which made me to visit this holy place visited by many Mahans.
Those who come to Chennai do make a visit and feel our great heritage.
Anand Vasudevan

Monday, November 5, 2012

Hi Readers

Dear Readers

I am very glad to receive your valuable feedback on comments.

The eMagazine which i have started is going great by the grace of Parents, Guru and God and the support of all my Readers.

Those who find interesting this blog i am sure they will find even more interesting.

To receive a sample copy of the magazine please mail to

Wishing all readers a very happy and prosperous dheepavali.


Anand Vasudevan
Editor - Amritha Varshini (eMagazine)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Launch of e-Magazine

Dear Readers

I am launching a new e-Magazine titled "Amritha Varshini".

The magazine will cover a wide range of topics on religion.

The cover price is just Rs.20 per issue.  The annual subscription of the magazine is priced at Rs. 240/-

Those interested can send me a mail request to my email ids

Wishing you all a very happy new year 2012.

Warm Regards

Anand Vasudevan

Friday, December 2, 2011

Tennangur Panduranga Rukmayee Temple

Dear Readers,

From Editors Desk

I recently was travelling with my brother to Melmaruvathur. After finishing the darshan we thought of visiting few more temples on our way back to Chennai. We finally but fortunately landed in a small village known as Tennangur.

Tennangur hosts the divine Gnanandagiri Peetam established by Sri Haridas Giri Swamigal, known as Guruji to all his devotees, dedicated his life toward spreading Nama Sankirtanam just a decade before. One will be taken aback by the beautiful and divine archa Vigrahas of Pandurangan and Rukmayee (Rukmini) in the divine temple complex.

I used to hear the Music of Sri Haridas Giri and his discourse on the significance of “Radha Kalyanam” is still lingering in my ears! I want all my readers to buy at least one Musical CD of Sri Haridas Giri and hear his divine resonant voice. I am sure you will feel the divine vibration. Guruji has been blessed by his Guru Sri Gnanananda Giri Swamigal after severe tests and has been commanded to take up the service of spreading Bhakti among the people all over the world. His Guru Bhakti i.e. devotion to the Guru is unique and he swears that whatever he says is only because of the Mercy of the Guru who inspires him then and there to even utter and sing the divine names. Such is the greatness of his Guru Bhakti.

I hereby humbly request all those who read this article to visit this holy place without fail and seek the blessings of Swami Haridas Giri and the Gods Panduranga Rukumayee. Whenever Guruji greets his devotees he shows his two fingers and greet as “Radhe Krishna” representing the Jivatma and Paramatma and the path he shown to us was Namasankirthanam.

Radhe Krishna!

AV Devan / Chennai / December 1st 2011.

“Dakshina Halasyam” Tennangur

Thennangur is a small but beautiful village located roughly about 108 Kms from Chennai. You can reach Thennangur either via Kanchipuram or Chengalpattu. Tennangur hosts the holy Gnanananda Giri Peetam established by Sri Haridas Giri in the name of his Guru. The Peetam along with its temple complex attracts devotees from far and wide. The main temple is dedicated to the Sri Rukmayee (Rukmini) along with her consort Pandurangan (Vital). Thennangur is located about 6 Kms from Vandavasi. It can also be reached via Chengalpat and Uthiramerur.
(See the Route Map below - Tennangur is marked as ‘A’).

Legend of Thennangur

Thennangur’s ancient name is known as “Dakshina Halasyam” meaning the place where the wise drink the nectar. It was also known as “Shadaranya Kshetra” as it was covered by six forests. Pandya King, desiring to have a child, was exhorted to have a yagna done with the help of Sapta Rishis. It was here, in Shadaranya this yagna was said to have been done and a girl child appeared in this yagna. The king took the child to Madurai, and named her Sri Meenakshi. Therefore Dakshina Halasyam is the birth place of Goddess Meenakshi. As told by Kanchi Paramacharya in this episodical background a temple was also built for Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareswarar at Tennangur.

Sadguru Sri Gnanananda Giri

Gnananandagiri Swamigal was born at Mangalapuri near Gokarna on the west coast in Karnataka to an orthodox Brahmin couple. At his young age, he was driven to Pandharpur with an urge to know the self. It is in this historic place, that Swami was guided to meet his Guru, Swami Sivaratna Giri of Jyotirmutt, one of the four mutts established by His Holiness Sri Adisanakaracharya himself. Swami Sivaratna Giri accepted this young boy as his disciple and swami then followed his Guru like a shadow and derived great delight in serving him. After Swami attained proficiency in Ashtanga Yoga, Hindu Scriptures, Upanishadic truths etc., Swami was given holy order of Sanyasa by his Guru and was named ‘Sri Gnanananda Giri’ into the ‘Giri’ order of Jyotir Mutt.

Later, after Mahasamadhi of his Guru, Swami adorned the Peetam of Jyotir Mutt for some time before relinquishing the same for undertaking intense penance at Himalayas. After long period of seclusion, swami travelled extensively on foot, spanning the whole of India, Tibet, Nepal, Burma and Srilanka. Finally swami is believed to have returned to Southern India and from around 1966, Swami permanently stayed at Thapovanam at Tirukkovilur, near Tiruvannamalai.

"Guruji” Sri Haridas Giri

The chief disciple of Sri Gnanananda Giri Swamigal was Swami Haridas Giri known familiarly as “Guruji”. Swami Haridhas Giri (Guruji) was born in the sacred month of Margazhi under the auspicious star of Utharattathi. He was born in the sacred land of Arunchala Shetram (Tiruvannamalai). His father, Sri Nott Annaji Rao, was an ardent Bhagavatha and a devotee of Swami Gnanananda Giri. Sri Nott Annaji Rao who was a doyen in the field of Sampradaya Bhajan. His mother was very pious soul. Haridas Giri even while he was youth was attracted to Namasankirthanam, the inspiration emanating from his father. Every Bhajan held in any part of the town he happened to live in, found him with eager eyes and throbbing enthusiasm. He gradually experienced in his own self a desire overflowing in his heart to take up this as his walk of life. Thus, the seed for a change in him was sown early in his teens. In 1954, One day when Guruji was sitting on top of a hill enjoying the nature around him, Guruji saw a small fire about 200 yards away, he asked some of his workers at the tea plantation, where Guruji was working at that time to check it out. The workers went down the hill to check and told Guruji that they could not see any fire around that area.

For one week Guruji saw that fire. Then one night Guruji heard a knocking at his door, as Guruji opened the door, Guruji again saw the fire there and suddenly it disappeared and His Master appeared before him. The Master told Guruji that his place is not here and that Guruji is for the world. The next day Guruji told his boss about the fire and the appearance of His Master. His boss said that it is only an illusion and gave him 15 days leave. Guruji went back to Madras see his father Sri Nott Annaji Rao, who took him to see a saint in a temple outside the city. When Guruji saw him again, Guruji burst out crying. He was the Master that appeared from the fire.
After many trials and tests on Haridas Giri, Swami Gnanananda Giri appointed Swami Haridas Giri (Guruji) and told him to spread and sing in the praise of the Lord ­known as Nama Sankirthanam, as the only pathway to salvation. Swami Gnanananda Giri gave Guruji His Paduka, blessed him with the hidden treasures of our great scriptures and commanded him to undertake a life of renunciation and the mission of spreading the great cult of Namasankirthanam with a musical discourses on saints and sages who had tread this soil in a similar manner. In the course of His mission, Guruji established many Mandalis, Seva Samajams and other Philanthropic institutions throughout the world. Sri Swami Haridhas Giri shed his mortal coil on 4th September 1994 at Koteeswar near Rudraprayag in the Himalayas by entering into Jalasamadhi but spiritually showering His Bountiful Blessings to all. The Namasankirthana mission started by Guruji is now being carried forward by his close disciple Sri Namananda Giri Swamigal.

Panduranga Rukmayee (Rukmini) Temple

Several God men descended this earth to propagate the ideals of Namasankeerthanam; the celebrated Maharashtra Saints, Sankeerthana Mummurthigal, Meera, Chaithanya Maha Prabhu, Badrachala Ramadas & others.- the line continues. The crest jewel of Sankeerthana Tradition of this century is swami Haridas Giri, affectionately called 'Guruji' who lived for establishing Namasankeerthanam and made people realise the words of Sage Suka. Touring the world to spread the gospel of Swami Gnanananda Giri, Guruji emphasised the need for a permanent establishment to propagate Namasankeerthanam. It was the command of His Master, Guruji chose Dakshina Halasyam [Thennangur village] as the abode for spreading the knowledge of Sanathana Dharma through the medium of Namasankeerthanam and at the same time imparting education on ancient texts, such as vedas, puranas etc. There is a saying in Tamil ‘kovil illatha ooril kudiyirukkathe’ i.e. ‘one should not live in a place where there is no temple'. Sri Guruji, in order to blend the styles of North and South in Architecture has built a temple for Pandurangan and Rukmayee (Rukmini) in the style and form a Puri Jagannath temple with front Gopurams on Pallava style of Architecture. "Dakshina Halasyam" has a divine tale behind it. It is the place where Goddess Meenakshi was found as a small child by the Pandyan king. Hence it is called 'Dakshina Halasyam'. The temple with the main deities in the Garbagraham has the Pancholoka Dwara Palaks at the entrance. The temple was constructed by Sri Muthiah Sthapathi, a pioneer in temple Architecture.

Uniqueness / Specialty of the temple

The uniqueness of this temple is reflected in the following.

The Garba-Griha, Gopuram (sanctum-sanctorum) on the model of puri jagannath; the Chola type of Rajagopuram in its artistry and the presiding deities from Maharashtra. The tiny idols of Panduranga-Rukmayee manifested to a big-size (viswarupam). The specialty of the temple being the daily alankarams and Panduranga-Rukmayee appears in different adornments every day. On Saturdays, they are dressed up like Tirupathi Venkatesa Perumal, on Thursdays it is Nijapadha Dharisanam, on Fridays it is Velli Kavasa Alangaram, on Sundays it is Rajagopalan alankaram with a Rajasthan type of turban and on other days they are in their own attire.

Another specialty of this temple is the divine marriage i.e. Nitya Kalyana Utsavam is being performed daily between10 to 12 on the weekdays and between 2 to 4 on Sundays. This temple has an unique Art decoration, first of its kind in India, where mural forms are embedded on the walls and ceiling of Ardha Mantapam and Maha Mantapam specially conceived and erected by Sri Natanam, the renowned Mural Architect. A huge Namasankeerthanam Hall with all the Baghavatha Saints with their images have been decorated beautifully and it is unique. It carries the message of Sage 'Suka' in its physical form. An auditorium to accommodate more than 1000 persons with a huge stage and attendant implements in completed to conduct external events, discourses and other like gatherings.

Sri Gnanananda Giri Peetam

Guruji Haridas Giri to spread the cult of Nama Sankirthanam established the Gnanananda Giri Peetam in the name of his Guru. The peetam opposite to the temple complex hosts the deities of Maha Shodasi and Sathgurunathar. In addition to the Pandurangan temple complex, there are temples dedicated to Sri Meenakshi Sundareswarar, Sri Lakshmi Narayanan. The Peetam also has the Annadhana Mandapam, Nama Sankirthana Mandapam, Veda Patasala, Gosala, Home for the aged all at Tennangur. The Namasankirthana mission started by Guruji is now being carried forward by his close disciple Sri Namananda Giri Swamigal.

This complex is an abode for spiritual upliftment to the entire humanity.

A mere glance at the colossal way Sri Guruji has set His Mission for the sake of humanity resounds the words of Guru Maharaj.

Please don’t miss to visit this Unique temple and seek the blessings of Rukmini and Panduranga who are ever standing on the bricks awaiting our visit!


Raghumayi sametha Pandurangan Temple at Thennangur –
Temples of Thennangur -
Swami Haridhos –
Life history of swamiji coming to life -
Pandurangan Temple, Tennangur –
About Great Masters –
Thennangur – Wikipedia

“Eppo Varuvaro” – Book on Panduranga Rukmayee Temple – Published by Ananda Vikadan

Monday, October 17, 2011


Dear Readers,

I am delighted to present the article Guru Samarpanam [Issue # 10].

The issue contains the excerpts from the biography, teachings and miracles of Pujyashri Sri Sri Chandrasekarendhra Sarasvati Swamigal fondly revered as “Nadamadum Theivam” [Walking God], Mahaperiyaval, Paramacharya etc.

In the Biography section we are going to see an incident at Mahendramangalam when Periyava was studying Vedas taught by Painganadu Sri Ganapathi Shastrigal. We can also read an interesting episode as told by Pujyasri Sri Sankara Vijayendra Sarasvati Swamigal (Bala Periyava) which reveal the greatness of Paramacharya in explaining intricate Vedantic philosophy in an easily understanding manner to everyone including the learned pundits.

In the section Teachings of Mahaperiyava talks upon “Man and Beast”. Here the Acharya talks about the significance of human birth and how one through knowledge should elevate oneself towards attaining the supreme knowledge which enables a person to attain liberation.

In the Miracles of Mahaperiyava we are going to read “Kaveri Snanam” which unravel the experience of devotee who hails from Maruthuvakudi.

I hope you will cherish reading this!

Please give your valuable feedback.

Happy reading! Warm Regards,

A.V. Devan
15.10.2011 /Chennai

GURU SAMARPANAM – [Issue # 10]

Excerpts from the Biography

Educational Techniques (Continuation..)

Swamigal stayed in Mahendramangalam from 1911 to 1914 and then returned to Kumbakonam. There is a Sankaralayam established in Mahendramangalam at the place where Swamigal had his Vidyabhyasam. Swamigal was twenty years old when he left Mahendramangalam after completing his studies. Within this short period, he turned out to be extraordinarily brilliant in all lines of studies, starting with puranas and the history of each sthalam. Once Swamigal grasped something, he never forgot it. He absorbed all knowledge from scholars and subject matter experts who visited him and also applied that knowledge to investigate and analyze the basis of such subject matter. There are very few who can be compared to our Swamigal in the way he interacted with people, analyzing the capabilities of the folks that he met.

When Swamigal was camped at Kumbakonam, he used to visit Gangai Konda Chozapuram, situated 30 miles away, atleast once every year. He visited the Shiva temple that was built in the same design as Tanjore Periya Temple and research the artifacts found there. P.V. Jagadeesa Iyer from the archeological department and Engineer Ananthazhvar helped Swamigal with this research. Finally, it can be said that our Swamigal after his education, by the young age of 20, obtained all the knowledge required for this position as Peetathipathi.

An episode during study (excerpt from “A succinct Biography” – by Sri A. Kuppuswamy)

One of those who taught the Acharya during this period was Sri Ganapathi Shastrigal of Painganadu near Mannargudi. He was a versatile scholar. Before he was forty years of age, he had written about a hundred works, in Sanskrit – short and long. He was awarded the title of ‘Mahamahopadhyaya’, by the Government of India posthumously just ten days after his demise. Ganapathi Shastrigal was residing in a house opposite to the Sankara Mutt, Kumbakonam. He would go to the Math early in the forenoon and teach the teen-aged Acharya for about an hour.

In the evenings, lessons in Sastras, Sanskrit, prosody etc. were imparted to the Acharya. In the spring season, the teacher and the student would sit for an hour or more on the sands of the dry bed of the Cauvery, near the mutt and there the lessons used to be carried out.

One evening the tutor was teaching. The Acharya was frequently thrusting the fingers of his left hand in the sand. Ganapathi Shastrigal observed this. The next morning he went to the mutt as usual. After prostrating to the Acharya, he said “Please permit me to leave Kumbakonam and go to my village”. The young Acharya was much surprised and he asked the teacher, “What is the reason for this sudden request of yours?” Shastrigal’s reply was a bit stern. He replied, “A student, desiring to acquire knowledge, should be quite attentive when lessons are going on. Concentration of the mind is essential. My guru used to tell his pupils that one sitting on sand but not touching it and one having a knife on his hand, but not doing anything with it and one having his mind fixed in something worthy, as examples for a “Sthita-Prajna” (one with a steadfast mind). Yesterday evening your Holiness was a bit inattentive to what was being taught yesterday evening.”

The Acharya quickly interposed and said, “I was attending although I was thrusting my hand into the sand off and on. I shall now repeat all of what was taught yesterday evening”. Ganapathi Shastrigal who was struck with wonder at the amazing memory and precociousness of the young Acharya, said, “I feel that I am not necessary hereafter. Your Holiness can learn everything without the aid of a tutor and I can go”. The Acharya was loath to part with such an erudite teacher and Ganapathi Shastrigal continued as teacher for about 10 more months.

Sri Sankara Vijayendra Saraswathi Swamigal – A Hundred Years of Light – III Volume

“During the few years when our Paramaguru imparted lessons to me in the Bhagavatpada’s Sutrabhashya, on my repeated request, the Mahaswami revealed a few interesting episodes pertaining to his youthful years. One of the episode is as follows” :

When the Acharya was in his late teens, during the Chaturmasys period, gathering of scholars were held in the Mutt off and on. Erudite scholars, well versed in two or three sastras participated in these gatherings. Devotees with a quantum of sastraic knowledge belonging to neighboring places would also attend the Vidvat Sadas to hear the Vakyartha-vichara (discussion cum short discourse) of the pundits. The great Acharya would grace the sadas with his presence and attend the discussion. On one such occasion, after the discussion had been over, some of the lay devotees placed a request before the scholars, praying for a clarification of a particular point touched upon by some of the scholars during the discussion.

Mahamahopadhyaya Harihara Shastrigal (who lived in the first half of the current century), who had been a teacher for many a pupil and who had been instrumental in printing and publishing many rare Sanskrit works which had until then remained as manuscripts, came forward to explain. The great Acharya, the assembled scholars and devotees listened with rapt attention to the hour-long elucidation of the famous pundit. But even after this, some of the devotees entreated for a more easily comprehensible explanation. None of the scholars dared to do so. Silence prevailed for some minutes. The Great Acharya, himself, told the assembly that he would clarify the issue. His Holiness spoke in simple Sanskrit and explained the touchy point in a lucid manner. All the scholars including Harihara Shastrigal were struck with wonder and they paid glowing tributes to the Mahaswamigal.

Deivathin Kural – Teachings of Mahaperiyava

Man and Beast

Animals grow transversely. That is why they are called "tiryak" in Sanskrit. Man who grows upright ought to have, unlike beasts, a high ideal before him. He will then obtain more happiness than all other creatures. But what do we see in reality? Man experiences greater sorrow than all other creatures. Animals do not know so much desire, so much sorrow and so much humiliation, as do humans. More important, they are innocent of sin. It is we humans who keep sinning and suffering as a consequence. In one sense it seems to me that Isvara has not endowed us with the same advantages that he has endowed animals with. We are not fitted with weapons of defense.

If a cow feels threatened it has horns to defend itself. The tiger has its claws. We have neither horns nor claws. Sheep have hair to protect them from the cold of winter, so too other animals. But man is not similarly equipped. So he cannot repulse an attack; nor can he run fast like the horse, which has no horns but is fleet-footed. Against all these handicaps, man has the advantage of being more intelligent than all other creatures. In order to protect himself from the cold of winter, man removes the hair (fur) of animals and weaves it into rugs. When he wants to travel fast he yokes a horse to his cart.

God has furnished man with this kind of skill; though he has neither claws nor horns to defend himself, a human being can forge weapons on his own. With the strength of his intelligence he remains the master of all other creatures and also rules over the entire world of inert matter.

All species of animals have their own habitats. Some types of bear that are native to the cold climes do not thrive in our country. The elephant is a denizen of the forests of India and some other countries of South-East Asia and Africa, but it does not flourish in a cold climate. But man inhabits the entire earth. He uses his brains to make any part of this planet fit for him to live. But, even with his superior intelligence, man suffers. All hardships stem from the fact of birth. How can one save oneself from being born again? But, then, what is the cause of our birth?

The wrongs committed by us are the cause of our birth and we have taken this body of flesh and blood to suffer punishment for the same. Suppose a certain number of whiplashes are to be administered according to the law. If the body perishes after ten lashes, we take another birth to suffer the remaining strokes. The sins we commit in satisfying our desires are the cause of our being born again and again. If there is no "doing", there will be no birth also. Anger is responsible for much of the evil we do and desire is at the root of it. It is of the utmost importance that we banish desire from our hearts. But it is not possible to remain without any action after having cultivated so many attachments. If the attachments were done away with we would cease to sin.

What is the cause of desire? Desire arises from the belief that there is something other than ourselves and our being attached to it. In truth it is the one Sivam that manifests itself as everything. The cow sees its reflection in the mirror and charges it imagining it to be another cow. If a man sees his own image thus, does he think that there is another person in the mirror? He is not perturbed by his image because he knows that it is himself. Similarly, all that we see is one and the same thing. Desire springs from our belief in the existence of a second entity, and it causes anger, which, in turn, plunges us in sin. A new birth becomes inevitable now. If we are enlightened enough to perceive that all objects are one, there will be no ground for desire. There must be an object other than ourselves, a second entity, to be desired. No desire means no anger and no sin. In this state there will be neither any "doing" nor any birth. And, finally, there will be no sorrow.

How do we obtain such enlightenment or jnana? Our body is sustained by our mother's milk. It is Ambal who nourishes us with the milk of jnana. She is indeed the personification of jnana. We will be rewarded with the light of wisdom if we firmly hold her lotus feet and dissolve ourselves in her. One who does so becomes God. The first step in this process of enlightenment is to make a man truly a man, by ensuring that he does not live on an animal level. The second step is to raise him to the heights of divinity. All religions have this goal. They may represent different systems of thought and philosophy. But their concern ought to be that man is not condemned as he is today to a life of desire and anger. All religions speak in one voice that man must be rendered good and that he must be invested with the qualities of love, humility, serenity and the spirit of sacrifice.

Mahaperiyava Miracles

Kaveri Snanam (As narrated by a devotee who hails from Maruthuvakudi)

Several years ago Sri Kanchi Maha Swamigal along with his parivaram (entourage) did vijayam (visit) of the Thanjai (Thanjavur) district areas. It was the month of Ani (jyaishtha). People from the villages of the surrounding taluks kept coming to have darshan of Maha Periyavaal who was camping in a large dharma chatram (free choultry) at Aduturai.

The pramukhas (notables) of the villages Natarajapuram, Govindapuram, Thyagarajapuram, Sattanur, and Tirumangalakkudi surrounding Aduturai, had arranged on behalf of their places, for a Samashti Bhiksha Vandanam (collective feeding of a sage and his retinue). At a distance of only one k.m. from Aduturai is my native place Marutthuvakkudi village located. My father BrahmaSri Santhana Vadhyar was then the Mudradhikari of Sri Kanchi Matham of that area. On behalf of our village too he wanted a Samashti Bhiksha Vandanam to be held. The local pramukhas had agreed for this. On the morning next day, my father started for the choultry where Swamigal was camping. He took me also with him.

On seeing him, the Matha Karyasta (secretary) said, "Shastrigal aren't you the Mudradhikari of Marutthuvakkudi? Shouldn't you have the Bhiksha in your place one day? You have it on the coming Sunday possibly?". My father said forthwith, "I too came over here to have it fixed. We shall have it on the Sunday." He asked the Karyasta, "Approximately what will it our expenses?"

The Karyasta said with a smile, "Shall tell you. Should remit two hundred and fifty rupees as the kanikkai (offering) to the Matham. Then your expenses of buying coconuts, fruits, vegetables and so on. After everything is over, when receiving prasadam from Acharyal, pada samarpanai (offering at feet) as convenient to your village. All told it might take rupees five or six hundred for your expenses." And he asked, "Won't there be enough collection at your place?"
With no hesitation my father said, "Besha Ayidum (will be accomplished well)". He continued with eagerness, "That's alright, but how much do the people of other places offer as Pada samarpanai?" "From five hundred to a thousand they do it", said the Karyasta. My father lapsed into deep consideration.

When we had darshan of Acharyal within a short while, we prostrated to him and got up. My father informed Swamigal about the Bhiksha Vandanam. "Besha Nadakkattume (may it take place well)", Swamigal gave anugraha. "Are there tanikal (rich men) in our place who can do it Ekadesham (alone)?" he asked.Lowering his tone, my father said, "Three or four persons are there. Among them two or three had now gone to Madras. The uddeshah (thinking) is that we all get together in the village and do Bhiksha Vandanam for Periyavaal." He prayed, "Acharyal should give anugraha." Smiling, Swamigal raised both his hands and blessed him.

There were only four days for the coming Sunday. My father started the collection. In the three Agraharams together, there will be about 30 houses. The collection was over by Thursday evening. 400 rupees had been collected. My father and the other Vaidikas in the village submitted another hundred rupees. Thus the total collection amounted to rupees 500! It was just enough for the Bhiksha Vandanam.

Only for Periyavaals pada samarpanai, money was required. It was my father's wish that at least five hundred rupees must be offered. He did not sleep well that night.Friday! We went to have darshan of Acharyal. Sitting in a thatched shed in the choultry, Swamigal was giving darshan. The crowd surged like a wave. At a distance, in a corner, joining our palms, we prostrated towards the direction Swamigal was seated. I looked at my father. His face was soaked in worry. His worry was whatever can be done for the pada samarpanai.

Suddenly a voice full of compassion: "Santhanam! Come near. Why are you standing there?" Laughing and gesturing, Acharyal beckoned him near. We both went near him, prostrated in shastaangam and got up. "What Santhanam, yesterday you were not seen here at all! any joli (work) in your place?" Swamigal inquired.

"Nothing of that sort Periyavaa. Aren't we doing Biksha Vandanam on behalf of our place this Sunday. On that account I was making some arrangements, that's all." Before my father could finish, Swamigal interrupted and asked, "That's alright Santhanam, the laukikams (collection) were completed as expected?" with a laugh. My father hesitated to reply to this.

Before he could open his mouth to say something, as if Swamigal had understood something, "Worry about nothing! By the krupa (compassion) of ChandraMauleesvara, things will happen as you have thought about them", Swamigal fondled him with words.

Suddenly, "Why Santhanam in the Kaveri river in this place, are there plenty of waters flowing

now, you know about it?" he asked. Everyone was confused as to why Periyavaa should inquire about the Kaveri waters.

"It is flowing in plenty Periyavaa", said my father. Periyavaa did not leave him at that. "Alright, when did you last go for your Kaveri snanam (bath)?"

"A week ago Periyavaa!", my father replied.

"Let it be. Is there much water flowing now, you know about it?" This is Periyavaa.

A local Anbar (devotee) present there said with humility, "I had gone for the Kaveri snanam this morning. A fair amount of water is flowing Periyavaa."

Swamigal was not at samadhana (reconciled) at that. "Flowing fairly means... not understandable! Does it flow so one can immerse and do snanam, I should know about it", he said.

Looking at my father, he continued, "Santhanam, you do one karyam. Go for Kaveri snanam at dawn tomorrow morning. Have a look and tell me if enough tirtham (water) flows for bathing with good immersion." Saying this, he suddenly got up and went inside!We returned to our place thinking that Periyavaal was asking all these details for his own immersed bath in Kaveri.

Saturday! It dawned. There was a slight drizzle. In accordance with Periyavaal's orders, we went for the Kaveri snanam. It was then seven o' clock in the morning. Apart from me and my father on the banks, there was nobody not a single fly or crow. Taking bath my father said, "Waters are flowing enough for taking a good, immersed bath! Should go and tell Periyavaa."

Then he started saying the Kaveri snana sankalpam in a loud tone. Suddenly, from the banks was heard a clear and loud voice: "Sastrigal! please stay awhile. I too shall join you. For me too kindly do the snana sankalpam. There will be punyam for you!" We both turned and looked. A man who could be estimated to be of 55 years of age was descending into the waters. A face that was not familiar at all! Finishing the sankalpa snanam we climbed up to the banks. Changing his clothes, that man gave my father five rupees towards snana sankalpa dakshina (ritual gift). My father inquired about him.

He started saying: "For me too our purvikam (ancestry) is only Marutthuvakkudi. My maternal grandfather too is from the same place. For my paternal grandfather Venkatachalam Aiyar, there was an own house in Marutthuvakkudi. After my grandfather, none of us remained here. We went to Bombay. Melur Chandramauleesvara Swami near Tiruneelakkudi is our kula deivam. 'Whenever you went by the side of our place, have a snanam in Aduturai Kaveri', my mother often used to say. I got that bhagyam only today. I am going to Thanjavur in connection with a family legal case. Now having got Kaveri snanam with sankalpam, much trupti (satisfaction)!"Then he asked, "Sastrigal I witnessed as I climbed down from the train. Many people in madisar and pancha kaccham are moving in throngs. What is the vishesham here?"My father elaborated to him about Acharyal's vijayam and the grama bhiksha vandanam. He was very happy to hear about it. "Even to listen to it is happiness. There is this nirbandham (constraint) for me not to participate in the Bhiksha Vandanam for the loka guru done on behalf of our place. Still, as an offer from our family, please include this amount too in the Bhiksha Vandanam." Saying this, he prostrated to my father, and handed over an envelope to him. My father could understand nothing. He opened the envelope and looked. 500 rupees inside it!"I shall take leave Sastrigal", my father stopped the man who was just leaving. "Your namadeyam (name)?", he asked the man. The answer he gave: "Chandramauli". We both stood amazed. Then we went straight to the choultry. Periyavaa was not there. They said he had gone to Govindapuram Sri Bodhendraal Matham. As my father went to the Matham Karyasta and said, "Periyavaa asked me to check if enough water is flowing in Kaveri for an immersed bath." Before he could finish, the secretary said, "Periyavaa returned at four dawn time this morning finishing his Kaveri snanam", giving it a grand finale. Our amazement grew!

Sunday. The Bhiksha Vandanam was over. All of us in the village prostrated to Periyavaal. My father submitted that 500 rupees as pada samarpanai in a plate full of fruits. Looking keenly at that fruit place for a while, Swamigal said laughing, "What Santhanam! Isn't your wish fulfilled by the krpa of Chandramauleeswara?"

All of us stood amazed and fell shastaangam before Periyavaal.


Pujyasri Mahaswamy Divya Charitram – Sri Sambamoorthi Sastrigal, Sri Kuppuswamy Iyer, Sollin Selvan “P.N. Parasuraman”
Kanchimahanin Karunai Nizhalil – Ananda Vikadan Publications
Voice of God – Volume – 1 – Kanchi Mahaswami Peetarohana Shatabdi Trust
Mahaperiyava Manimozhigal – By Sri Swami – Alliance Publications – Ellum Punnakkum – [Charukesi]
Anubhavam Ayiram – Ramani Anna – Sakthi Vikatan (Aug 30, 2008) []

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

“Musical Mantra” Of Muthuswami Dikshita

Dear Readers,

I am very glad to present the article “Musical Mantra of Muthuswami Dikshita”, which covers the biography of one of the Carnatic Music Trinity Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar.

I first heard the compositions of Muthuswami Dikshitar through the music album titled “Guruguha Vani” sung by Smt. M. S. Subbulakshmi Ammal. Both the compositions and the voice are divine unparallel. Dikshitar’s songs bring in a mood of meditative devotion which transcends words and feelings. Dikshitar Kritis are fraught with details of mantras, tantras, chakras, description of the deities, details of the temple, specialties of the place and the list is huge. Dikshitar in his compositions have kept the Mudra “Guruguha” and also woven the name of the raga ingeniously in his compositions.

Dikshitar was a very learned and versatile. He had travelled wide to many temples and composed kritis on the deities. The devotion and bhakti is ever charged in his Kritis. The contribution of Dikshitar to the Carnatic music is immense.

The biography of Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar which is presented in this article helps us to know better about the period in which he lived.

Let us travel with Dikshitar to know his music!

Happy reading !

Warm Regards

AV Devan
4rd Oct 2011

MUSICAL MANTRA of Muthuswami Dikshita – Biography of Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar


The ancient Tiruvarur town which is located near Thanjavur in Tamilnadu is so sacred that there is a saying i.e. “Jananat Kamalalaye Mukti” meaning any one who takes birth in Tiruvarur will obtain salvation. Tiruvarur was a Chola heartland and was the cultural head quarters for many centuries. Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar was born on March 24, 1775 A.D. to Sri Ramaswami Dikshitar and Smt Subbammal as the eldest son in Tiruvarur. Tiruvarur attained a special place in the annals of Carnatic Music by being the birth place of the all the three music trinity, the other two being Sri Tyagaraja and Sri Syama Sastri. The town hosts one of ancient temple dedicated to Lord Shiva known as Tyagaraja and is famous for the temple car festival celebrated in the Tamil month of Chitirai. Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar’s ancestors hailed from Virinchipuram near Vellore in the North Arcot District. The ancestors of Dikshitar were engaged in performing yagna and were also worshippers and followers of Devi Upasana. Muthuswami Dikshitar’s father Sri Ramaswami Dikshitar was a Brahmin born in the year 1735 AD belonged to Kashyapa Gotra and Apastambha Sutra. His father was Venkateshwara Dikshitar and mother was Bhagirathi.

When Ramaswami Dikshitar was seven years old i.e. in the year 1742, there was a political upheaval in the region. This incident refers to the murder of the Nawab of the Subedar Ali at Vellore by Murtaza Ali which resulted in a rebellion and the entire area was thrown into turmoil. The Kaveri delta which was under the administration of the enlightened Maratha Kings of Tanjore was comparatively peaceful and prosperous. As per the divine will of Ambal, the family of Dikshitar moved to Govindapuram near Thiruvidaimarudur.

By about 1753, Ramaswami Dikshitar lost both his parents leaving him to carve out his own future. Ramaswami Dikshitar had by then received extensive training in the Vedas and could able to sing very melodiously. Once Ramaswami Dikshitar was giving a discourse about the greatness of Mahalingaswami at Tiruvidaimarudur Shetra which is capable of redeeming the “Brahmahathi Dosha”, also performed the raga alapana on few slokas. The uncle of Veerabadrayya happened to listen this and took him to Veerabadrayya who was an eminent musician and also belongs to the sishya parampara of Venkatamakhin. Ramaswami Dikshitar accordingly went to Tanjore and stayed with Virabahadrayya an eminent musician who enjoyed royal patronage for two years and learnt kritis composed by him in Rakti and Desiya ragas. He also learnt to sing with knowledge of svaras, alapana, pallavi and svarakalpana and went to Mayavaram. Later he met Sri Venkata Vaidyanatha Dikshitar, who was the maternal grandson of the minister Venkatamakhin, at Thiruvidaimaruthur known as Madhyarjuna Shetra and learnt Veena and mastered Chaturdandi Prakasika, theory of music as Dikshitar believed that no music could be perfect unless it was based on a firm foundation of theory. Later he travelled to Tanjavur where he was respected and felicitated at the King’s court.

Ramaswami Dikshitar then went to Chidambaram and had darshan of Nataraja and played Veena in front of the Lord. At that time one Chidambaranatha Yati happened to listen to his music and took Ramaswami Dikshitar to his ashram and gave Srividya and Mahashodasakshari Mahamantra Deeksha and asked Dikshitr to go to Tiruvarur. Ramaswami Dikshitar then went to Tiruvarur when the celebration of Sri Tyagaraja’s festival was in progress and had the darshan of Lord Tyagaraja and his consort Kamalamba stayed there and worshipped them.

Once Lord Tyagaraja appeared in Ramaswami Dikshitar’s dream and instructed him regarding the sequence and order to be followed when the procession of the Lord is happening. The Lord instructed about when the deity is taken through the streets beginning with the dvaja mantapa and returned back there and details like on where, how and when Nagasvara vidvans should play. The same instructions are being followed even today, through the generations.

Ramaswami Dikshitar was childless till his 40th year. He and his wife Subbammal performed rigorous tapas known as ‘Bajanam’ at the Vaideswaran Kovil. They offerd ‘avarana’ poojas to ‘Sri Muthukumaraswami’ (Lord Skanda) for 45 days. Dikshitar’s wife had a dream wherein somebody tying coconut, banana and turmeric in her waist.

It is said that on the last day of the pooja the Devi appeared to Ramaswami Dikshitar in his dream and presented him with a Muktaharam (Pearl Necklace). He related the dream to the elders of the place who assured him that he will be blessed with children similar to Pearls. The year was ‘Manmatha’ and the star was ‘Krithika’ (Karthigai) and the month was Phalguna (Panguni). The annual Vasantotsava was being celebrated in the temple of Sri Tyagaraja Swami with great eclat. The entire town was resounding to the Vedic chanting and the music of the nagaswaram. It was in this divine atmosphere that Ramaswami Dikshitar was blessed with a baby boy whom he named as ‘Muthuswami’ named after the Lord Skanda of Vaitheeswaran Koil whose is known as “Muthukumaraswami”. The couple were later blessed with twins Chinnaswami and Balambal and finally Balaswami.


Muthuswami before he was sixteen years old , learnt the Vedas, intricacies of kavyas and natakas, alankara, vyakarna and mastered in playing Veena. He also obtained his preliminary musical education from his father Sri Ramaswami Dikshitar. Muthuswami also got married at a very early age. At that point in time one Sri Muthukrishna Mudaliar of Manali near Chennai visited Tiruvarur. Mudaliar was a Zamindar and a Dubash (Translator and Interpreter) to Governors Saunders and Pigot and was well connected with the East India Company. He was also a patron of art. He happened to listen to Sri Ramaswami Dikshitar singing at Tiruvarur and was so captivated that he invited him to Manali. Ramaswami Dikshitar accepted his invitation and went along with his family from Tiruvarur to Manali. Muthukrishna Mudliar died in 1792 and his son Venkatakrishna Mudaliar also known as Chinnayya Mudaliar, who succeeded his father was even more liberal in his patronage. He was also Dubash of the East India Company at Madras and in that capacity used to visit Fort Saint George quite often. He often took with him Muthuswami and his younger brothers to listen to the ‘Airs’ i.e. Western music played by Irish men in the British Band. The Bands played simple Celtic marching tunes, lilting melodies, easy on the violin, drums, bagpipes and flutes.

On the suggestion of Col Browne who was in the service of the East India Company, Dikshitar composed the text in Sanskrit for English tunes. Muthuswami and his younger brother Baluswami watched and listened and took it all in. They were not yet bound by the strictures of temple music and were for that period affected by melody, rhythm of these alien sounds. Since Muthuswami had already taken to the Veena, it was decided that Baluswami should learn playing on the Violin. By listening to Baluswami practice these basic tunes coupled with the band performances provided Muthuswami the base to set his earliest compositions. Baluswami’s experiments with the Violin on the other hand were even more pleasing and soon the Violin became a permanent feature of Carnatic music concerts. Thus the Celtic tunes were to affect Muthuswami prodding him to create a new genre called “Nottuswara” (Nottu being the tamil slang for notes) with Sanskrit Sahitya in the raga Sankarabharanam based on these British tunes. About 37 such compositions were considered to have been completed by Muthuswami Dikshitar. These were played by Baluswami Dikshitar on the Violin and was gradually introduced as an accompanying instrument in Kutcheris. Muthuswami’s parents after seeing somewhat Dikshitar detached attitude performed second marriage to him. Even after the second marriage also the attitude didn’t changed and his parents were very much worried at this juncture.


Chidambaranatha Yogi who had earlier initiated Ramaswami Dikshitar into the Sri Vidya Cult and taught him the tantric mode of worship was on a pilgrimage to Benares. On his way from the south he made a brief halt at Madras. Ramaswami Dikshitar invited the Guru for a biksha and Chidambaranatha yogi went to his house in Manali. Muthuswami and his brothers sang while the yogi performed the pooja. The yogi who visualised the eventful future ahead of Muthuswami asked Ramaswami Dikshitar to send Muthuswami along with him to Kasi. Ramaswami agreed though reluctantly to send Muthuswami with Chidambaranatha Yogi to Kasi. Muthuswami lived with the yogi for about six years in Kasi. This is the period that must be regarded as the most significant in moulding the personality of Muthuswami Dikshitar. The yogi gave him the upadesa of Shodashakshari Mantra and trained him further in the tantric form of worship. He taught him Yoga and Vedanta as propounded by Sri Adisankaracharya. This is the reason we find in Muthuswami Dikshitar a synthesis of Veda, Purana, Alankara, Jyotisha, Agama, Yoga, Mantra and Tantra which is abundantly reflected in his compositions. During his stay in Kasi Muthuswami had splendid opportunities of listening to Hindustani Music in all its purity. This had a profound influence on his creative genius which becomes apparent not only in his handling of Hindustani ragas but in the portrayal of ragas in general as well. Muthuswami was to leave for his home town and Chidambaranatha Yogi was offering worship to Goddess Annapoorneswari and Muthuswami was beside him.

The yogi told him that Annapoorneswari would not only grant his desires in this life but moksha thereafter and that he should worship her all his life he also instructed Muthuswami to visit Tiruttani one of the six abodes of Lord Skanda. The next day, while going to the Ganga for bathing, the Yogi said to Dikshitar “go down three steps in the Ganga and tell me what takes place”. Dikshitar stepped down the Ganga and to his great amazement a Veena with the sacred name of ‘Rama’ inscribed on it drifted into his arms. “This is the prasada of Ganga Devi. May you grow to become a great Vainika and celebrated Vaggeyakara” blessed the Guru. Later Chidambarana Yogi attained siddhi. Muthuswami then performed all the final rites for his Guru. The samadhi of Chidambaranatha Yogi is there at Hanumanghat at Kasi. Dikshitar then proceeded towards Manali.

While at Manali Muthuswami’s younger brother Chinnaswami lost his vision. Hence father Ramaswami Dikshitar took Chinnaswami to Tirupathi and observed vrata for one mandala. Ramaswami composed daily one song in one raga and composed about 48 songs in 48 ragas which start with “Manasa Vethi Tharulathalasaka”. Finally he sang a piece “Ingathaya Rakunnanu” in that he mentions that whether his son gets the vision or not I am moving to Kalahasthi and while he came out of the sannidhi and in the prakara two vaishnavas were conversing and in their conversation they said “everything will be visible”. While thinking about the same he reached his home and found Chinnaswami was restored vision by the divine grace of Lord Venktesa.


Muthuswami Dikshitar was born by the grace of Lord Muthukumaraswami of Vaitheeswaran Koil. Later when Muthuswami went to Tiruttani as per the advice of his Guru, the grace of the Lord continued. After having darshan at Muthuswami sat in the temple steps when suddenly appeared an old man from nowhere and asked him to open his mouth. Muthuswami felt that someone placing a sugar candy in his mouth. On opening his eyes, Dikshitar had a vision of Lord Subrahmanya, on his peacock, in the company of his two consorts. As the syrup trickled down his throat something stirred within him. The next moment Muthuswami Dishitar spontaneously and emotionally sang his maiden composition “Shri Naathaadi Guru Guho Jayati Jayati” in the raga Mayamalavagowla. Subsequently, he composed seven more Kritis. The eight kritis are in the eight vibhaktis or modes of address and are called the “Guruguha Vibhakti Kritis”. Each one of them is a gem in advaitic philosophy. While they are ostensibly in praise of Lord Subrahmanya, they in reality describe a great preceptor, who ever with his disciple’s well being at heart, goads them on the track of development, where Truth is the ultimate goal. As if acknowledging the grace of Lord Guha who had manifested as his Guru, Muthuswami Dikshitar wrote in all his compositions with the epithet “GURUGUHA”. This unique term, which was not ever used in any text or treatise previously, is of enormous significance. The word Guha means a cave and in philosophy connotes the mind, which is dark in ignorance, awaiting the realisation to illumine it. This realisation cannot come on its own except in the case of highly evolved souls. The process requires a Guru or preceptor, who shows the right path. The Guruguha’s grace is flowing even now to everyone who hears the compositions of Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar.

Muthuswami then went to Kanchipuram and stayed there with his brothers for four years. In the presence of Kamakshi, he practiced the Srividya Upasana and composed many kirtanas such as “Ekambranatham Bajeham”, “Neerajakshi Kamakshi”, “Kanjadalayatakshi”, “Kamakshi Varalakshmi” etc., adored with poetic words and popularized them through his younger brothers. He conducted philosophical dialogues with Upanishad Brahmam who lived there, and set ‘Rama Ashtapadis’ written by him to music including the Tala and Notation. He then went on a pilgrimage visiting and composing on temples at Arunachalam (Tiruvannamalai), Chidambaram, Tirupathi and Kalahasthi and then returned back to Tiruvarur. Muthuswami’s father Ramaswami Dikshitar used to observe Ekadasi by reciting the 12 cantos of Gitagovinda “Ashthapathi” with devotion and reverence. He also coined the raga “Hamsadhvani” and authored a prabandha in that raga. When Muthuswami Dikshitar was 42 he lost his mother and then after two months on a Maha Sivarathri day, lost his father Ramaswami Dikshitar who obtained the heavenly abode in the year 1817. When his younger brothers Chinnaswami and Balaswami who were learning Music from him, were invited by the patron kings, they went to Madurai and stayed there for some years.


Under the new Ryotwari System of the British those who have the lands must cultivate and pay the tax to them. Muthuswami and his brothers could not cultivate and hence could not able to pay tax decided to gift the lands. They lost their properties and poverty touch them. Once the situation went to such a stage wherein they could not afford to offer neivedya to the Goddess. At that point in time one Kamalam in the dasi community decided to offer all her Gold however Dikshitar did not accepted it by asking whether you have money to offer neivedhya for the entire life and started singing “Tyagarajam Bhajare Thapathryam Tyajare”. Within few minutes someone came and offered few cart loads of things which can be used for years.

Muthuswami Dikshitar composed on every deity in the Tiruvarur temple complex including Tyagaraja the presiding deity known as Tyagaraja Vibhakti Kritis and Tiruvarur Panchalinga Kritis. On Nilothpalambal his consort he composed Nilotpalambal Vibhakti Kritis. Goddess Kamalambal an independent deity of high tantric significance in the same temple complex and Dikshitar composed the famous “Kamalamba Nava Varnams” filled with exemplary sahityams which proved to be the showcase of his compositions. These Navavarnams were in all the eight Vibhaktis and are being sung as a highlight of the Guruguha Jayanthi which is celebrated every year. He then went to Mayavaram and composed “Abayamba Navavarnam”, and on the Goddess Balambal composed “Bajare Rechitha’.

When he came back to Tiruvarur he came to know that his younger brother Chinnaswami Dikshitar attained the heavenly abode. He then went to Nagapatinnam and there he composed “Amba Neelayadakshi” in the Raga Nilambari, “Soundara Rajam Ashraye” in Brindavana Saranga. He then reached Kuzhikarai and composed “Annapoorne Vishalakshi”. Subsequently he proceeded to Mannargudi and composed “Sri Rajagopala” in Saveri, “Bala Gopala” in Bairavi, “Chetha Sri” in Dwijavanti.


Muthuswami Dikshitar then reached Kevalur. He had a desire to compose and sing in front of “Akshaya Linga” and walked fast to reach the temple which was about to close. While he entered the temple the temple Gurukkal closed the door of the sanctum sanctorum. Dikshitar requested the Gurukkal whether he can delay going with the desire to see the Lord the Gurukkul replied sarcastically, “that the Lord will allow the delay till tomorrow and hence go and come tomorrow”. Dikshitar then composed “Akshaya Linga Vibo” in Sankarabaranam upon hearing the song the Lord by his divine will opened the door which was closed and gave the divine darshan to Dikshitar. The Gurukkal who returned with a suspicion saw the miracle and fell at the feet of the Dikshitar requesting for pardon. Dikshitar then reached Tiruvarur and composed kritis on “Shodasa Ganapathi”. Then upon request from his sishyas Ponnayya, Vadivelu, Sivanantham reached Tanjore and composed several kritis on Lord Brahadeeswara.

One of his disciple was Tambiappa Pillai who suffered from stomach ailment. The reason for the suffering were traced to the bad influence of the planet Jupiter in his horoscope. Dikshitar composed the song “Brhaspate” in praise of Jupiter and taught it to his disciple who sang it every day and was subsequently cured of his illness. Subsequent to this, Dikshitar embarked on creating songs on six other principal celestial beings. As each of the seven songs composed by Dikshitar was for the presiding deity of one day of the week they came to be called as the “Vara Kritis”. Two other Kritis i.e. “Smaramyaham” and “Mahasuram” were added to the Vara Kritis and is now called as “Navagraha Kritis”.

He also composed “Pancha Linga Kshetra Kritis”, “Rama Vibhakti Kritis”, “Tiruvarur Panchalinga Kritis”, “Abhayamba Vibhakti Kritis”, “Madhuramba Vibhakti Kritis” etc. Muthuswami Dikshitar had composed about close to 480 Kritis which are very widely sung by musicians today in Carnatic Music concerts. Most of his compositions are in Sanskrit and in the Krithi form i.e. poetry set to music. Muthuswami Dikshitar traveled to many holy shrines throughout his life and composed krithis on the deities and temples he visited. Dikshitar is considered to have composed on the widest range of deities for any composer. Each of his compositions is unique and brilliantly crafted. The compositions are known for the depth and soulfulness of the melody. His visions of some of the ragas are still the final word on their structure. His Sanskrit lyrics are in praise of the temple deity but Muthuswami introduces the Advaita thought seamlessly into his songs resolving the inherent relationship between Advaita philosophy and worship of Gods. His songs contains much information about the history of the temple and its background thus preserving many customs followed in these old shrines.

Muthuswami also undertook the project of composing in all the 72 Melakartha ragas thereby providing a musical example for many rare and lost ragas. He is also a master of Tala and is the only composer to have kritis in all the seven basic talas of the Carnatic scheme. Dikshitar shows his skill in Sanskrit by composing in all the eight declensions. For richness of ragha bhava, sublimity of their philosophic contents and for the grandeur of the sahitya, the songs of Dikshitar stand unsurpassed. He was a pioneer in introducing the concept of Samashti Charanams (fusion of Anupallavi and Charana) in his Kritis.


The adroitness with which he wove the Raga name into his compositions is astonishing. It is very difficult to use a Raga Mudra in a composition in such a way that it fits in properly in terms of the meaning, the flow of the song etc. Dikshitar has achieved a commendable feat by using Raga Mudras in almost all of his compositions. The way he has derived Raga Mudras out of multiple words is testimony to his vidwat. Please see below how he has woven the raga in his compositions :

“Samsara Bhityapahe” in the composition Shri Sarasvati Namostute (Raga - Arabhi)
“Pranamaya Koshanilakasha” in Shri Kalahastisha (Raga Huseni older name Oshani)
“Ati samipa Ruju marga darshitam” in Cintaye Mahalinga Murtim (Raga – paruju/paras)
“Mahakavya Natakadi priyam” in MahAgaNapatim (Raga - Nattai or Nata)
“Murddhanya shiva nigrahaya” in Mangaladevataya (Raga - dhanyashi)

His raga mudras had a meaning and were not just fit arbitrarily into the song. For example, in the case of “Kamakoti bilaharinuta kamale” in kamakshi varalakshmi (bilahari), bilam means a small pit which is there in all Kamakshi temples and Puja is done for the hari inside in the bilam.
Ironically for all the richness of his music he himself voluntarily lead a simple life. He was egalitarin in his outlook. This was reflected in the fat that he had disciples from all walks of life. Among them were the famous Tanjore Quartette whom he graciously referred to as Bharata Sreshtas in recognition of their ingenious musical skills. The disciples in turn venerated him and it is noteworthy that Ponniah (one among the Quartette) composed nine Kritis in praise of Dikshitar called the Navaratna Mala.

When his younger brothers Chinnaswami and Balaswami who were learning Music from him, were invited by the patron kings, they went to Madurai and stayed for some years. During that time Chinnaswami passed away.


Balaswami was dejected and was affected by the sudden death of his brother. So along with a disciple he went to Setu (Ramesvaram) and from there went to Ettayapuram, where he was taken care by the Maharaja there. Muthuswami Dikshitar thought of his brother’s demise to be natural occurrence but as he considered his younger brother Balasvami as his own child, he was worried about his whereabouts and his dejection. Hence he along with his two wives and a disciple went to Sattur via Madurai. Dikshitar while he was on his way in search of his brother saw the dry condition of the land and fervently sang “Anandamritakarshini” in the raga “Amritavarshini”. By the sheer devotion of Dikshitar there was heavy downpour and the area received good spell thereafter. There at a Mantapa while he was performing prayers he heard a few vaishnava brahmins talking about the marriage that was to be celebrated the next day by the Maharaja of Ettayapuram for a musician called Balasvami of Tiruvarur. As soon as he heard this Muthuswami was overwhelmed and in the presence of the Lord composed “Venkatesvara Ettappa Bhupatimashrayeham” in the raga “Megharanji”. Later he reached Ettayapuram and met his brother and he felt happy and stayed there.


One day, one of the Elephant belonging to the King’s cavalry got wild and went havoc. It entered the town and then reached the cremation ground and finally lied there. The King called Dikshitar and asked the implication of this behaviour for his State and Dikshitar assured, “Nothing will happen to you, the public and for the Kingdom and not to worry over the incident”. The next day was Naraka Chaturdasi day (i.e. Deepavali) and the day was October 21, 1835. Muthuswami Dikshitar woke up in the early hours as was his practice and after yogic practices went to take his bath. He had a vision of Kasi Annapoorneswari. Even as he was gazing on it the vision vanished. Dikshitar remembered what Chidambayara Yogi his Guru had told him at Kasi “She will give you not merely feed in this life but moksha thereafter”. Dikshitar felt his end was nearing. He performed Navavarna pooja to the Devi and sang the Kriti “Ehi Annapoorne”. After the pooja, Dikshitar moved on to the drawing room where his disciples had assembled. “Today is Chaturdasi day sacred to the Devi. May you all sing Kirtana in her praise” said Dikshitar to his disciples. They began singing “Meenakshi Me Mudam Dehi” in raga “Gamakakriya”. “It looks as though the Devi is liberating me from the bonds of this world. Sing the Kirtana again” said Dikshitar. They did so. Even as they were singing the Sahitya of the Anupallavi “Meena Lochani Pasa Mochani” he cast off his mortal coil. A memorial was erected over the spot where he was cremated at Ettayapuram. The annual jayanti and aradhana are being celebrated at Ettayapuram at his memorial.

All those who reads or hears the divine life history of Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar no doubt will certainly obtain bountiful blessings of Goddess Kamalaambal.

  • Bibliography/Reference

    Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar Keerthanigal – Kallidaikurichi Vinika Vidvan – Sri A. Sundaram Iyer & Sri S. Venkatesan – Music Book Publishers, Mylapore, Chennai.

  • Sangita Sampradaya Pradarshini (Vaggeyakara Charitram) – Brahmashri Subbrama Dikshitar

  • Muthuswami Dikshitar – A creative genius – Chitravina N Ravikiran

  • Songs of Divine Splendor – Lakshmi Devanath – The Hindu 30th March 2001

  • Nottuswara – Muthuswami Dikshitar’s European Airs –

  • Biography of Muthuswami Dikshitar –

  • On what Distinguishes Dikshitar – T.K. Govinda Rao – The Hindu

  • Muttuswami Dikshitar and the British Raj – V. Sriram – The Hindu Oct 23, 2010



Monday, September 12, 2011


Dear Readers,

I recently visited one of the oldest temple in Chennai. The temple is believed to be atleast 1300 years old. Lord Shiva is the principal deity worshipped as Adipureeswarar and Tyagarajar. The Goddess Tripura Sundari or Vadivudai Amman is popular than the Lord of Thiruvotriyur. Thiruvotriyur is also happened to be the birth place of Kalia Nayanar who is one of the Sixty Three Nayanmar. Hence I thought of sharing the details of both i.e. Thiruvotriyur Temple and also about Kalia Nayanar in this article. The article is being published as part of both the “Temple Visit” and “Sacred Sixty Three” series of articles.

The temple is fraught with many legends and a visit to this temple make you travel centuries back. The temple was visited by many saints right from Adisankara, Thirugnana Sambandar, Thirunavaukkarasar, Sundarar, Arunagirinathar, Pattinathar, Saint Tyagaraja to name a few. The 27 Stars are believed to have worshipped the Lord and assumed the form of Linga by the grace of the Lord in this temple. The Mulavar Adipureeswarar is in the form of a mud mound which cannot be seen as it is covered by a Kavacham. Only on the day of full moon in the Tamil month of Karthigai the Kavacham is removed.

The life history of Kalia Nayanar will tell us the dedication towards serving the Lord. Here Kalia Nayanar took only one service of lighting the lamps in the temple. The Kalia Nayanar episode will help us understand that we should not leave the services which we have taken even in adversity.

Please read on to know more about Tiru-Otrriyur and Kalia Nayanar.

Happy Reading

Warm Regards

AV Devan


Thiruvotriyur is located about 10 KMS from Chennai Central. The town hosts one of the famous temple which is more than 1000 years old. Lord Shiva is the principal deity worshipped as Tyagarajar and Adipureeswarar. The Lord here is also known as Padampakka Nathar, Ezhutariyum Peruman, Otriyur Nathar etc. The Lord in archa form blesses all as Tyagaraja. The Thiruvotriyur temple is the 20th of the 32 Thevara Padal Petra Sthalam in the Thondai Region. The Goddess here is known as Tripura Sundari and Vadivudai Amman. All the 27 stars worshipped the Lord Adipureeswarar hence the Lord converted them into Linga forms. The bad effects are removed in one offer worship to them in this temple, which is another specialty of the temple. The moolavar is Swayambu and the both Shiva Linga and the Avudayar are in Square shape. Square shaped Kavacha or covering is applied on the Lord. Every year on Karthigai Pournami i.e. New Moon Day in the Tamil month of Karthigai the covering is removed and Punuku, Javvadu and Sambrani Thailam is applied.

From the new moon day and the next two days i.e. only for these three days we can see the Moolavar without Kavacham and on all other days the Moolavar is covered with the Kavacha. We can witness the Lord here as also as Tyagaraja who dances in sitting position. The Tyagaraja’s dance here is known as “Sundara Nadanam”. The Lords in Sapta Vitanga Sthalams are all called as “Tyagaraja”. But Tiruvotriyur is not one of the Sapta Vitanga Sthalam. The snake god, ‘Vasuki’ got the siva deeksha from Sage Upamanyu and worshipped Lord Shiva who absorbed Vasuki in his body and hence the Lord here is also known as “Padam Pakka Nathar”. The impression of the snake is visible in the Shiva Linga here. Apart from the earthen Lingam an image of the Tripada Trimurthy is seen in the outer prakara combining the images of Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. The temple is believed to be atleast 1300 years old making it roughly contemporary with the Pallava Dynasty. The contribution of the Pallava Dynasty to the ancient architecture of Chennai is undeniable, especially in the construction of several temples at Mamallapuram.

The Tyagaraja temple also bears ancient Pallava inscriptions. Inscriptions from the period of Parantaka Chola I and Uttama Chola are found in the pillars of the mandapams. The central shrine was rebuilt later during the days of Rajendra Chola, who errected with black stone, the vimanam of Adipureeswarar.

This temple was visited by many Saints. This temple was visited by Adisankara. The Vattapparai Amman Sanidhi here once was very ferocious and Adisankara reduced the same and made the deity very composed. The temple was sung as Thevaram by poets Thirugnana Sambandar, Appar and Sundarar.

Thiruvotriyur is also the birth place of Kalia Nayanar who is one the 63 Nayanmar. This is the place where one of the Shaivaite Saint Sundarar married Sangiliyar under the Magizha tree in the temple premises. Thiruvotriyur is the place where Saint Pattinathar attained liberation. The samadhi and temple of Pattinathar is located in Thiruvotriyur. This temple was also visited by Saint Arunagirinathar who has sung Thirupugazh. Saint Ramalinga Vallalar used to visit this temple when he was in Chennai and Saint Tyagaraja while on his visit to Chennai visited Thiruvotriyur and composed five songs on Goodess Tirupursa Sundari known as Thiruvotriyur Pancharatnam.

Sthalapurana or the Legend of the Temple

The sthalapurana holds that during Padmagarba there ensued a great deluge that threatened to submerge the whole world. Lord Brahma, the God of creation undertook an austere penance to appease Shiva. He wanted the power to create the world once again. Pleased with his sincerity and effort, Shiva rose from the Yoga Agni in a strange and indecipherable form. Flames of fire crackled and blazed from which emerged a Chittirappalakai a flat square drawing board like shape that formed a Shiva linga. Brahma prayed for the great waters to subside. Shiva ordained that this town be exempted from destruction. The Agni Kunta became the temple and Shiva resides here as agni or fire with his consort Darbanayagi Ammal who embodied Chit Shakti. Tiruvotriyur i.e. the town exempted from the deluge was thus created. The town was thus known earlier as Adipuri and the Lord as Adipureeshwarar.

Another legend holds that the Ayodhya king Mandata levied taxes on all townships including Shivastalams. Surprisingly, when his orders inscribed in Palm manuscripts arrived at Tiruvotriyur an additional line appeared on them, apparently from nowhere. This line decreed that this township be exempted from the orders. The King enquired as to who had interpolated those words. No one seemed to have done it.

The King after examination decided that it was not one of his own men who did it. He rubbed and removed away the words from the palm script that sanctioned exemption and kept it locked. The next day on examining the manuscripts the same words had reappeared. King Mandata felt that Lord Shiva himself had chose ‘Otriyur’ as ‘His Own Land’. The King exempted the township from tax payment. Tiruvotriyur i.e. ‘the town exempted’ from tax payment was thus created. In consonance with this episode, the moolavar in this temple is also called “Ezhuthariyum Peruman” i.e. Lord who knows to write.

Kaliya Nayanar

The Thiruvotriyur was covered by one side by the Sea. The sea roars like the relentless devotee chanting Pranavam. In that sacred town of Thiruvotriyur there was the street by the name of “Chakkarapaadi Street” with full of Oil making professionals. Kalia Nayanar was born in one such family where making and selling oil was their main business. Kalia Nayanar was very rich and also very much devoted to the Lord of Thiruvotriyur who is also called as Adipureeswarar. Kalia Nayanar makes a daily visit to the temple and lit the oil lamps all around i.e. both inside and outside the temple. His devotion was very staunch and firm that not even a single day will get passed without lighting lamps in the temple. Lord Shiva was illuminated in his heart and in turn Kalia Nayanar illuminated the temple. Like the bliss he had in his heart the lamps beamed the light everyday in the temple.

It is said one of the pastime (Thiruvilayadal) of the Lord is to test how firm the devotee in his devotion. In Kalia Nayanar’s life also the Lord decided to test how firm the devotion of Nayanar. As fate would be, the Oil business run by the Kalia Nayanar started suffering loss which forced him to sell his business.

However even now He never stopped the service of lighting the lamps at the temple. Thus all the money he had accumulated got finished over a period and poverty touched him. Unperturbed, he started working as a laborer for others as a daily worker and he yoked (in place of bulls) to the oil press (Chekku Izuthal). Relentless, He however continued to lit the lamps at the temple without fail with whatever money he earned through that. With the number of people who can do that job also grown and the oil business saw a major fall he could not even get the daily wage worker job. Untroubled, he started selling one by one all his properties available in his house only to ensure that he lit the lamp for the Lord at Thiruvotriyur. By now he sold all his properties and only left with his himself and his beloved wife. His extreme devotion pushed him to sell even his wife however there was nobody to buy her.

Kalia Nayanar who never allowed anything to interrupt his illuminating service so far was highly concerned now about the situation of not getting anything to purchase oil to lit the lamps for the Lord. Kalia Nayanar thought for a while and took his wife inside the temple and uttered in front of the Lord “as I am unable to lit the lamp I don’t want to live any further and would like to offer his blood instead of the Oil” saying so he started cutting his throat so that he can offer the blood for lighting the lamps.

And lo! the Blue Throated Lord known as “Asuthoshi” i.e. one who is easily pleased with small prayers and grants boon and who himself is light personified seeing his devotee’s extreme action appeared in front of him, caught his hands and stopped him. The Lord then appeared with his consort on the Holy Bull in the Horizon amidst the chanting of the Vedas and blessed Kalia Nayanar for his devotion. Kalia Nayanar stuck with horripilation with tears rolling from his eyes had the great vision of the Lord whom the Vedas propitiate. Kalia Nayanar after living happily for long later entered the abode of the Lord.

Let us hail the devotion of and worship Kalia Nayanar so that we get atleast a miniscule portion of his bhakti which will make all our life meaningful.


Thiruvotiyur –

Kalia Nayanar – Shaivam.Org

Kalia Nayanar –

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Saturday, September 3, 2011


Dear Readers,

I am glad to present the second article under the title “Ramanarpanam”.

The article dwells on the biography, teachings and miracles of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi.
In the Biography section we can read about Bhagavan’s Childhood, schooling at Dindigul, an interesting incident occurred at Dindigul where Bhagavan had slept like a Kumbakarnan, may be an early indication of his deep meditative powers?

In the teachings we can hear the discussion transpired between Maharshi and Mrs. M.A. Piggot. Their conversation will help us to understand a little of Maharshi’s philosophy.

In the Miracles we share the experience of Bhagavan’s devotee Sri P.V. Sastri and how his deep sorrow was removed by visiting Ramanasramam.

I hope you will cherish reading this!

Please give your valuable feedback.

Happy reading!

Warm Regards,
A.V. Devan

RAMANARPANAM – [Issue # 2]

Ramana Leela (Excerpts from the Biography)


The child Venkateswara (the name given to Ramana at birth) was unique. He seldom spoke or quarreled. There was a close relative, Meenakshi of his age. He would not suckle his mother’s breast if Meenakshi did not also suckle milk; he was so indifferent about his feeding. He had a sweet and gentle smile but behind it was a determined nature. While admitting him in school in due course, his name was noted as Venkataraman. This name stuck. Lakshmana Iyer a close relative of the family was well versed in Telugu. He used to address the child as Ramana or on occasion as “Nayana Ramani”. “Nayana” in Telugu literally means father but is also used as an expression of endearment. The child adopted the Telugu tradition and addressed his father as Nayana, unlike the rest. In course of time the other members also adopted this mode of addressing. This extended to outsiders as well, all of whom began addressing Sundaram Iyer as “Nayana”. Venkataraman always had his way. One day, Sundaram Iyer set out from his house on business. He placed two pillows in a cart. The child remarked, “Nayana, the first pillow will drop off”. The father ignored this and went away. In a little while, the child’s prophecy came true. Sundaram Iyer was astonished – how could the boy know beforehand?. In his eighth year Venkataraman had his Upanayana. He learnt to say in the ancient traditional way, “I Venkateswara Sarma pay obeisance”.

The school in which Venkataraman was admitted was run in a mantapa. The head master was one Madhura Nayagam Pillai. Only Tamil was taught there up to the fifth standard. Sundaram Iyer wanted his sons to be educated in English so that they could get into government service. But at Tiruchuzhi nobody taught English. Sundaram Iyer had two younger brothers – the elder one among them, Subbu Iyer, was a clerk in the Sub-Registrar’s Office at Dindigul. There was a Hindu School at Dindigul where English was taught. Nagaswami was put in that school. Venkataraman also was sent there in 1891 to join the sixth standard.

The brothers were like Rama and Lakshmana (who had the support of the monkeys). These brothers had the support of a group of young boys! They were friendly and healthy. The elder one was an adept at jumping on the tree branches, and was nicknamed “monkey”. The younger one was always a winner and came to be known as one with a golden touch or with a golden hand (thanga-kai) reminding us of one of the several names of Siva, “Hiranyabahu” (Golden armed). The brothers were interested in gymnastics, wrestling and football. The younger one simply followed his brother – he had no particular preferences. If provoked to a fight, he was unsparing which was why even those older than him left him alone. Venkataraman was never afraid of being beaten up either. Venkataraman was a sound sleeper. At Dindigul, their house was in Abhirami Amman Kovil Street. On a birthday of Srinivas, son of Subbu Iyer, after the evening meal was got ready, the rest of the family went to the temple leaving Venkataraman to look after the house. A litter later, he bolted the door and fell asleep. The family returned late in the night and knocked at the door but there was no response. They pounded on the door and made a lot of noise which brought forth several neighbors on the scene but all of this was of no avail. Everyone was wondering as to what happened to Venkataraman. After several attempts they succeeded in opening the door. Thereafter they gathered round Venkataraman and tried various means to wake him up. They wondered at his sound sleep and likened him to the legendary Kumbhakarna. Getting to know about this quality of his, some schoolmates who were earlier beaten by Venkataraman but were afraid to retaliate, would take him while asleep to a lonely spot, thrash him and bring him back to his bed. By their words and hints on the following day, Venkataraman would guess what had transpired the previous night. As mistaken by some, that movement of Venkataraman during sleep was but due to somnambulism.

Sakti (power) is of two types – one is mental, the other practical. During deep sleep these lie dormant in the body and do not get dissipated as in the waking state. That is the reason why the body becomes energetic as soon as it awakens. Owing to the Sadhaka’s will Sakti does not get wasted externally through the sense organs; it becomes turned inward towards the Self. Deep sleep is involuntary, hence it is a state of ignorance. On the other hand, Samadhi is voluntary and is a state of knowledge. For Raman, the body was able, through this deep sleep state to sustain a state of tapas in later years. Neither of the brothers was particularly interested in studies. Maybe, the elder one was a little better. The younger one, on the other hand, remembered that there was such a thing as education only upon seeing the teacher’s face!. However, he had the faculty of committing to memory anything he heard once. But he took particular care to memorize Tamil poems. He never aspired to become a scholar nor did anyone expect him to become one.

Subbu Iyer was transferred to Madurai in 1891. The brothers also moved with him. They were admitted in the Scott Middle School in the North Avani Street. Their residence was in North Chithirai Street.

Talks with Bhagavan

Conversation between Sri Ramana Maharshi and Mrs. M.A. Piggot, an English Lady, who had read “Search in Secret India” came to see the Maharshi. The following conversation happened on 7th January, 1935.

Mrs. Piggot :

Is a Master necessary for realisation?.

Ramana Maharshi :

The realisation is the result of the Master’s grace more than teachings, lectures, meditation, etc. They are only secondary aids, whereas the former is the primary and the essential cause.

Mrs. Piggot :

What are the obstacles which hinder realisation of the Self?

Ramana Maharshi :

They are habits of mind (Vasanas).

Mrs. Piggot :

How to overcome the mental habits (Vasanas)?

Ramana Maharshi :

By realizing the Self.

Mrs. Piggot :

This is a vicious circle.

Ramana Maharshi :

It is the ego which raises such difficulties, creating obstacles and then suffers from the perplexity of apparent paradoxes. Find out who makes the enquiries and the Self will be found.

Mrs. Piggot :

What are the aids for realization?.

Ramana Maharshi :

The teachings of the scriptures and of realized souls.

Mrs. Piggot :

Can such teachings be discussions, lectures and meditations?.

Ramana Maharshi :

Yes, all these are only secondary aids, whereas the essential is the Master’s Grace.

Mrs. Piggot :

How long will it take for one to get that?.

Ramana Maharshi :

Why do you desire to know?.

Mrs. Piggot :

How long will it take for one to get that?.

Ramana Maharshi :

Why do you desire to know?.

Mrs. Piggot :

To give me Hope.

Ramana Maharshi :

Even such a desire is an obstacle. The Self is ever there, there is nothing without it. Be the self and the desires and doubts will disappear. Such Self is the witness in sleep, dream and waking states of existence. These states belong to the ego. The Self transcends even the ego. Did you not exist in sleep? Did you know then that you were asleep or unaware of the world?. It is only in the waking state that you describe the experience of sleep as being unawareness; therefore the consciousness when asleep is the same as that when awake. If you know what this waking consciousness is, you will know the consciousness which witnesses all the three states. Such consciousness could be found by seeking the consciousness as it was in sleep.

Mrs. Piggot :

In that case, I fall asleep.

Ramana Maharshi :

No harm!.

Mrs. Piggot :

It is a blank.

Ramana Maharshi :

For whom is the blank? Find out. You cannot deny yourself at any time. The Self is ever there and continues in all states.

Mrs. Piggot :

Should I remain as if in sleep and be watchful at the same time?

Ramana Maharshi :

Yes. Watchfulness is the waking state. Therefore the state will not be one of sleep, but sleepless sleep. If you go the way of your thoughts you will be carried away by them and you will find yourself in an endless maze.

Mrs. Piggot :

So, then, I must go back tracing the source of the thoughts.

Ramana Maharshi :

Quite so ; in that way the thoughts will disappear and the Self alone will remain. In fact there is no inside or outside for the Self. They are also projections of the ego. The Self is pure and absolute.

Mrs. Piggot :

It is understood, intellectually only. Is not intellect a help for realization?.

Ramana Maharshi :

Yes, certainly. It is the best help possible. But there are no others to be helped. For a realized being sees the Self, just like a goldsmith estimating the gold in various jewels. When you identify yourself with the body then only the forms and shapes are there. But when you transcend your body the others disappear along with your body- consciousness.

Mrs. Piggot :

Is it so with plant, trees etc.,

Ramana Maharshi :

Do they exist at all apart from the Self? Find it out. You think that you see them. The thought is projected out from your Self. Find out where from it rises. Thoughts will cease to rise and the self alone will remain.

Mrs. Piggot :

I understand theoretically. But they are still there.

Ramana Maharshi :

Yes. It is like a Cinema show. There is the light on the screen and the shadows flitting across impress the audience as the enactment of some piece. Similarly also will it be, if in the same play an audience also is shown. The seer, the seen, will then only be the screen. Apply it to yourself. You are the screen, the Self has created the ego, the ego has its accretions of thoughts which are displayed as the world, the trees, plants etc., of which you are asking. In reality, all these are nothing but the Self. If you see the Self, the same will be found to be all, everywhere and always. Nothing but the Self exists.

Mrs. Piggot :

Yes, I still understand only theoretically. Yet the answers are simple and beautiful and convincing.

Ramana Maharshi :

Even the thought, “I do not realize” is a hindrance. In fact, the Self alone is.

Miracles of Maharshi

How I came to the Maharshi By Sri P.V. Sastri

In May 1945 my eldest son, who was 23 years old, married, devout and a very promising young man, passed away. The event was so terrible and caused such grief that it was thought I would not survive it. I neglected practically all my worldly duties for some time. Later I was somehow attracted to Sri Ramanasramam and went there with the whole of my family. Ordinary people, under such circumstances, would go to obtain peace and get rid of their sorrow. But that was not the idea of my wife and myself. Having read about Sri Krishna’s bringing Sandipani’s son back to life, we were so mad as to think of getting our son restored to life by the grace of Bhagavan Sri Ramana. We were prepared to sacrifice our all for that.

We left for Tiruvannamalai and reaching the Ashram at 11 a.m. entered the hall where Bhagavan used to sit. Our one idea was to beseech him to bring our son back to life; but despite our intense desire we found that we could not open our mouths to speak. We simply sat silent till Bhagavan rose of lunch and everyone went out.

Then we too went back to where we lodged. We went again in the afternoon, when devotees assembled in the hall, with the same purpose but with the same result. In that way, eight days passed.

Each morning and afternoon we wanted to implore Bhagavan to bring our son back to life but we could not utter a word in his presence. On the eighth evening we talked it over together on coming out of the hall and decided that it was no use staying any longer since our purpose had not been fulfilled. So we decided to leave next morning.

At that moment a gentleman of the name of Subbarao met us. He was formerly a pleader, think at Nellore and had come to Tiruvannamalai and settled down as one of the resident devotees. We had made friends, perhaps because I also am a pleader. He asked me what we were talking about, so I told him our whole story. I admitted that we felt peace in Bhagavan’s presence, but the moment we left the hall our grief burst out again like a volcanic eruption and yet we were unable to speak out and put our desire before Bhagavan.

Mr. Subbarao promised to take us to Sri Bhagavan next day and introduce to him. We agreed and next day, on being introduced, told Bhagavan about our grief and in a general way asked for his help. Sri Bhagavan nodded, his head and said, “Seri, Seri” (All right, All right). But we still found ourselves unable to talk any more, still less to tell him what it was that we really wanted. Again we felt constrained to sit there speechless. That evening we decided to leave, since even the intervention of Mr. Subbarao had not helped us.

But Ramana would not let us go. The thought ocurred to me that I should buy some books published by the Ashram, so I went to the book stall. The gentleman in charge was in meditation, but he opened his eyes immediately and asked us to come in. On being questioned by him I repeated our whole story. He said that the Maharshi was capable of bringing the boy back to life, but since the boy was a highly religious and really devout young man he would have gone to better regions and would not like to come back to us. I assured him that he loved so much and we loved him so much that he would really come back if it were possible.
The gentlemen then put me another question. Suppose Bhagavan brings him back to you then both of you die, what will the position be then? This question dispelled the thick cloud of illusion that had enveloped us and at last we saw our attempt to get our son back was sheer madness. I felt at the time and still feel now that it was not the bookseller that was talking to me like that but really Bhagavan speaking through him.

We abandoned the hope of getting our son back to life and also our plan of leaving immediately. We stayed for about twelve more days, until our monetary resources were exhausted. The rest of our stay at the Ashram was only for the purpose of obtaining peace. Sri Ramana’s “All Right” had been meant to help us in the only way in which a realized Guru will help. His grace was bestowed on us and he began to work silently in our hearts to remove the thick clouds of sorrow and end the volcanic outbursts of grief. He began to instill peace and develop real knowledge in us. Silently and slowly the grace is still working in that direction. What we wanted to have we were actually prevented from asking for. We were also not allowed to go away in a mood of despair. We were blessed with his grace and uplifted in the right way. Because this is an experience of an extraordinary type I feel that it is appropriate to make it known to all the devotees of Bhagavan.


Sri Ramana Leela – Telugu Original by Sri Krishna Bhikshu. Edited and Translated by Pingali Surya Sundaram published by Sri Ramanasramam.

Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi – Sri Ramanasramam, Tiruvannamalai.

Face to Face with Sri Ramana Maharshi – (Enchanting and Uplifting Reminiscences of 202 persons) – Compiled and Edited by Professor Laxmi Narain.

How I came to the Maharshi – By P.V. Sastri – Saranagathi – Jan 2010 (Published in The Mountain Path, July 1964)