Wednesday, August 24, 2011

GURU SAMARPANAM - Issue # 9



















Dear Readers,






I am delighted to present the article Guru Samarpanam [Issue # 9].



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.



Under the biography we can see how Mahaperiyava was engaged in Vedic Studies at Mahendramangalam. Since our Acharya became the head of Kamakoti Peeta at a very young age and under the circumstances where the Peeta was handed over to him due to sudden demise of the earlier two Pontiffs of the Mutt, it was necessitated to give proper training in Vedas to our Acharya. Even though our Acharya studied Veda Shastras for a very little period of five years, his understanding and knowledge of the subject was vast and depth which the great stalwarts in the field had vouchsafed. Such was the mastery of the Acharya on the subjects.



In the section Teachings of Mahaperiyava talks upon “The Sins and The Punya”. Here he seamlessly talks how the desire leads a person to commit sins and gives a solution as to how to avoid sinful acts, which will help us to cross the mighty ocean and enjoy the eternal bliss.



Under the Mircales of Mahaperiyava we are going to unravel the experience of devotee who had gone abroad and reveals Acharyas’ affection towards his devotees and firm faith on the Dharma Shastras.



I hope you will cherish reading this!



Please give your valuable feedback.



Happy reading!Warm Regards,



A.V. Devan
25.8.2011 /Chennai



GURU SAMARPANAM – [Issue # 9]



Excerpts from the Biography



Return to Kumbakonam for Mahamagam



Every twelve years, the day when constellation Magha rises in the lunar month of Masi is celebrated in grandeur at Kumbakonam as Mahamagam. Completing his above mentioned travels, Swamigal returned to Kumbakonam in March 1909. The government and local businesses had made special arrangements for the Mahamagam that year. Special arrangements for staying and food were made at the mutt also for devotees and pilgrims. One of the key sights of that year’s Mahamagam was the sight of the Tanjore royalty in procession, followed by our Swamigal on the elephant, on their way to the tank for holy dip.



Studies



In the year 1909 and 1910, the mutt’s aasthana scholars were engaged to teach and train Swamigal in Sanskrit works and Vedic studies. The learned and the academicians of the day were surprised at the brilliance and sharpness of Swamiji’s intellect. Moreover, the devotees and followers of the mutt were visiting Kumbakonam mutt in great numbers to obtain darshan of Swamigal. It became essential to find a quiet place to continue studies effectively. The mutt officials chose the beautiful and picturesque village of Mahendramangalam, situated on the northern shores of Cauveri, about five miles west of Musiri. The last Nayaka King from Madurai, Vijayaranga Chokkanada Nayakar had donated lands in this village to the mutt in the year of Salivagana Sakam (1708). Mahendramangalam was beyond Thottiyam in Tiruchi-Namakkal route and was not easily accessible. To reach this village one has to take the local train and get down at Lalapettai and then get the canoe across Cauveri to reach the Village. Very few would take all this trouble to come to this place in order to get darshan of Swamigal. Considering all these variables, Mahendramangalam was chosen to be suitable place for Swamigal’s vidhyabhyasam (schooling). The Mutt’s administrative office, puja were located in the agraharam at the local rich man – Singam Iyengar’s house. Near the Cauveri shore, a small parnasalai was established. Swamigal left for this village from Kumbakonam in the year 1911 and stopped at Lalgudi on the way. He established a Sankaralayam and Gurukulam at Lalgudi. It is to be noted that many notable scholars hailed from this Gurukulam.



Educational Techniques



The method of schooling given to the Swamigal was very unique. Ordinary folks treat their teachers with respect and devotion and learn from them. However, the scholars who taught Swamigal would pay their respects and devotion to him before and after their lessons. In spite of this, Swamigal paid full attention and learnt from the scholars with utmost respect and concentration in order to grasp all knowledge. Some of the subjects learnt by our Swamigal included arts, Vyakaranam, Tharka Sastra (Science of Logic), Vedantha, Meemamsa etc., The teachers, who were learned scholars, found it very easy to teach our Swamigal due to his sparkling brilliance. This village became the favorite pilgrimage spot of our country’s most famous scholars and leaders in the years 1911 through 1913.



Among our Swamigal’s teachers, some of the renowned ones were Painganadu Panjapakesa Sastrigal, Mahamahopadhyay Shastra Ratnakara D. Venkatasubba Shastrigal, Shastra Ratnakara Vishnupuram Swamy Shastrigal and Thiruvisainallur V. Venkatarama Shastrigal. There were others who stayed in the mutt as aasthana vidwans and dedicated their time educating Swamigal. Some of them are Mahamahopadhyay Painganadu Ganapathy Shastrigal, Mahamahopadhyay Karungulam Krishna Shastrigal and Kodi Kannikadhanam Ubhaya Vedantha Rajagopala Thathachariar. It shouldn’t surprise anyone to know that Swamigal, on top of learning all these arts, also learnt the French language. Late Keerthanacharya C.R. Srinivasa Iyengar used to visit and stay with Acharya often.



As Swamigal showed interest in learning Marathi and in Marathi works, the mutt officials engaged a Marathi Pundit to stay at the Mutt for three years. Swamigal had engaged him in researching a lot of Marathi literary works. Swamigal’s interest in Tamil was unique by itself. During what little free time he had, he got Tamil scholars to train him in Tamil grammar and literature. He continued to research into Thevaram, Thiruvachakam, Periya Puranam, Thiruvilayadal Puranam and Thirukkural. He did not allocate any time to learn fine arts. During his interaction with artists excelling in fine arts, during his free time, he absorbed the intricacies of all fine arts. Amongst the different component of arts, it was music (sangeetham) that was most liked by Swamigal. Swamigal used to take walks in the sand dunes in the middle of Cauveri and enjoy the natural beauty and sometimes get absorbed in meditating in solitude in the beautiful surroundings.



Swamigal like to take photographs of picturesque sceneries. In those days, there used to be a person who would follow swamigal with a camera. Swamigal would order him randomly to take pictures of certain scenes. As he was familiar with the intricacies of photography he would give suggestions and tips to photographers while taking pictures. Moreover, he would advise them on techniques to employ while developing the films, negatives etc. Swamigal also became well versed in Mathematics, Astrology and Astronomy. In order to obtain training in these subjects, Swamigal had requested Marur Ramaswami Shastrigal (who was the student of Thiruvaiyaru Surendra Shrowdhrigal) to stay in the mutt for a number of years and had supported his family also. Swamigal loved to hear Thevaram being sung. Especially when people who had set it to good music visited the mutt, he would sit with them for hours together and make them sing different Thevarams and also sing with them. Swamigal was also attracted to learn Vaishnavite Scriptures including Thiruvaimozhi.



Deivathin Kural – Teachings of Mahaperiyava



The Sins and the Punya



Nobody in this world desires to be a sinner. But we commit more of sinful acts only. All of us desire to have the fruits of virtuous deeds. But we do not engage ourselves in virtuous deeds. Arjuna asked the Lord ‘No one wants to commit a sin. But, Krishna, something prods him towards sin. What is that? Bhagavan tells him “That exactly is desire, my dear, desire’. We try to acquire it somehow or the other, we ignore considerations of Dharma and Adharma. If that desire is fulfilled do we get satisfied? No. When we pour ghee on fire, does the fire get extinguished? It grows into a bigger fire. In the same way when a desire is fulfilled another bigger desire comes up in the mind.



If that be so, can it be said that it is better if the desire is not fulfilled? That is not so either. If the desire is not fulfilled we get impatient. Just as a rubber ball that is thrown against a wall rebounds, the unfulfilled desire rebounds on us as anger and prods us into further sins. Next to desire it is anger that has been mentioned by the Lord in the Gita. This is also the result of desire. So the only way to avoid sinful acts is to destroy desire. How to do this? We cannot remain without indulging in activities. Even when the body is not engaged in work the mind is working. It is the nature of the mind to keep thinking about something or the other. All our activities of the body and mind are centered around our selfish desires. Due to this only they drive us more and more into sins. If that be so and if we consider whether we can remain inactive and keep quiet, human nature does not allow that. Thayumanavar Swamigal said, ‘Rare is the ability to still the mind and be in a state of inaction’. Even if the bodily activities are stopped a bit, the mental activity does not stop. In addition to being active itself, the mind prods the body also into action. It is not possible to stop the desires by any direct means. Activities too cannot be stopped. If so, is there no solution to this problem? Solution is there. In the state in which we are, it is not necessary to stop all activities. But the situation that we are acting for selfish ends should be changed and we should engage ourselves in activities that do not benefit us but are of benefit to the larger society and the world and for our spiritual elevation. If we develop a taste for such activities and engage in them more and more desires will keep decreasing, sins will decrease and virtue will grow. That is to say we should practice to engage ourselves in activities without desires. The activity that is performed without desire is a virtuous deed.



We commit sins in four different ways. Bad deeds indulged in by the body, speaking untruth, bad thoughts of the mind, not to speak of the sins committed with money. We should get into the habit of virtuous deeds with the same four agents with which we commit sins. We should gain merit by rendering bodily help to others, circumambulating the Lord and worshipping him. By chanting the Lord’s names, we should gain merit. You may say “The entire time is taken for earning money. There is no time for this’. Earning money is necessary for the householder but if we think of it, we will see that not all the time is spent for earning money. How much time is wasted on useless talk, ridiculing others, idle gazing, newspaper comments! All that can be spent in meditating on the Lord’s name. Even if a separate time cannot be set apart for this, it does not matter. While journeying to the office by bus or rail, we can mentally chant the Lord’s name. Not a paisa of what is earned by a lot of running about will go with the body. In the other world it is only the Lord’s name that is legal tender.



Mind is the Lord’s resting place. We have made it a dustbin. After cleaning it and installing the Lord in it we should sit in peace. Daily we should meditate like this at least for five minutes. This is a routine that should go on without interruption even if there is deluge, because this is the only thing that will come to our rescue when the world is deluged. Money must be used in the service of the poor and the Lord and merit gained. Sin has two powers. One is that it drives us into wrongs here and now. The result is that it prods us to commit the same wrong again tomorrow. For example the use of snuff has a bad effect at the time it is used and it also prods us to use it again. This is the effect of habit. This should be dimmed and by virtuous deeds we should add Punya.



It is Vasana (impressions of our mind) that draws us into sin again and again. But, it need not be feared. Those who were like us and even greater sinners than ourselves have become great devotees and Jnanis. What is great about the Lord if the sinner is not redeemed? It is because we are sinners that He has got the title ‘Pathitha Pavana’. We only give Him that greatness!. “Surrender unto me, I will release you from all sins” (Sarva Papebyo Mokshayishyami Ma Sucha) says Lord Krishna as a firm commitment to protect. Therefore, let us be courageous. If something is wound over something else, only by unwinding it fully it will become free. For the expiration of all the sin as much virtuous deeds need to be performed. In between, there should be no impatience and hurry. If we show hurry, the thing will get tied up in difficult knots. If, with faith in God, we patiently act by the ways of Dharma, He will definitely extend his helping hand.



All these religions have come up only for turning the mind, body and the tongue away from enjoyment with senses and get into the habit of turning of all these to Bhagavan. Every great person who came into this world and gave a religion did so only to redeem the jivas from the sins committed by them for sensual pleasures. The pleasure got through the sense organs as a result of sins, is only very temporary. The object of every religion is to release it from worldly bonds, saying, “Look, to be with the Paramathma is Permanent bliss’.

Mahaperiyava Miracles



Ellu Punnakkum Thaiyal Ilayum



As per the Hindu Dharma Shastras taking a voyage by sea or visiting the lands beyond India were prohibited. The reason being that the travelers could not maintain their daily ritual worship while traveling and would be polluted by the influence of foreign religion and culture upon arrival at their destination. There was a staunch devotee of Kanchi Mahaperiyava who had high respect on our dharma shastras. He got an offer in overseas and considering his family conditions and for his future career he accepted the offer. Even though the environment and job were satisfactory he used to always ponder whether he had done any mistake by working in a foreign nation. Hence he used to pray Mahaperiyava always to ward off his worries.



Once he planned a vacation to India and he felt very happy not for meeting his family but more for visiting Kanchipuram and to have darshan of Kanchi Mahaperiyava. He finally landed in Chennai and immediately took a taxi and proceeded straight to Kanchipuram.



That day in Kanchipuram Mahaperiyava was discussing with the Mutt officials about what are the items which are getting cooked and was even instructing them about how should be the food etc., which everyone was wondering why Periyava is taking such great care today as Periyava normally does not get involve in these trivial matters.



The devotee who was travelling from Airport to Kanchipuram reached the Mutt and offered his obeisance to Paramacharya. Mahaperiyava then blessed the devotee and asked his Mutt officials to told them, “Ok please take the devotee inside and offer him the prasadam immediately.” The devotees who assembled there were wondering why periayava instructed them to offer the food immediately upon his arrival. The devotee then had sumptuous prasadam from the Mutt and again came to have darshan of Periyava. Periyava then kindly asked him, “Has your Vratha (vow) is now completed?”. The devotee had no words to reply only he could able to mutter “Periyava…Periyava” and tears were rolling down his cheeks.



Periyava then told everyone assembled there that “Naane Sollideren” i.e. I myself will tell the details and then told everyone that “He is coming from a foreign country and had not taken any food since he started travelling. He is having a vow that he will not have anything till he see me and reached here”. He then asked the devotee whether whatever he told was correct?. Everyone was astonished to hear the vow taken by the devotee and what to say of the devotee who was personally taken care by Mahaperiyava himself. While the devotee was having in food , Mahaperiyava had asked the crowd gathered there “What can ask from the devotee who had come from a foreign nation”. It is of customary practice that not to receive anything directly from a person who had gone abroad. Keeping that in mind Periyava had asked this question to everyone who assembled there. Everyone kept mum. When the devotee returned back Mahaperiyava again told them that nobody had suggested anything as to what he should get from the devotee.



Later, Periyava himself broke the silence and told one of the Mutt official to take this devotee out to the market so that he can buy for him “Ellu Punnakku and Thaiyal Elai”. [Ellu Punnakku is Sesame Oil Cake used for feeding live stocks. Thaiyal Elai is made of Stitching Parasu Leaves (Butea Monosperma)].



The devotee was very happy that Periyava himself is requesting something from him. However the Mutt officials were rather confused and were reluctant to ask why periyava was asking Ellu Punnakku and Thaiyal Elai. Periyava after reading their minds started speaking, “The devotee is showering his devotion on me and wants to give some thing to me. However I cannot accept from him since the dharma shastra doesn’t permit me to accept anything from a person who had gone abroad. However I cannot also upset the devotees intention of giving something to me. He stopped for a while and then continued, the Ellu Punnaakku which he is going to buy offer it to the Cows and give me the milk. Since the dosha on the Punnakku is removed after it got consumed by the Cow and giving the same in the form of Milk. The doshas i.e. bad effects are removed if we receive it through the Cow. Similarly The Thaiyal Elai I will use the same in the backyard (toilet) so that I can remember my bhakta immediately after waking up.



The above incident clearly depicts how much affection Periyava had towards his devotees and the importance given by Mahaperiyava in not deviating from the Dharma Shastra.


Bibliography/Reference

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
Mahaperiyavaa.wordpress.com – Ellum Punnakkum – [Charukesi]


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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Monk with a Midas Touch


















Dear Readers,



I am glad to present the article “Monk with a Midas Touch” as part of the Endaro Mahanubavulu Series. The article dwells on Mahan Sri Seshadri Swamigal who was the contemporary of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharishi who lived during the period 1870 – 1929 A.D.
Thiruvannamalai is a holy abode wherein many yogis and siddhas have lived since ancient times. Saints like Arunagirinathar, Guhai Namashivaya, Guru Namashivaya, Isanya Desikar were lived in ancient times in Thiruvannamalai. In the 20th Century there were three great saints who lived in Thiruvannamalai i.e. Sri Seshadri Swamigal, Bagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi and Sri Yogi Ramsuratkumar.



I have heard of Sri Seshadri Swamigal on many occasions but didn’t know about the mahan. Recently while I was reading “Anbe Arule” book on Kanchi Mahaperiyava written by Baraneetharan in one of the episode Mahaperiyava asks Baraneetharan “Will I become like Seshadri Swamigal?”. This statement of Mahaperiyava kindled the interest in me to know about Sri Seshadri Swamigal.



The devotees of Sri Ramana Maharishi are indebted to Sri Seshadri Swamigal since he was instrumental in revealing the greatness of Sri Ramana Maharishi to the whole world. When young Ramana moved to Patalalinga to avoid the harassment of the urchins at Thiruvannamalai he was on continuous meditation without bodily consciousness at the Patala Linga. His body was bitten by ants, bees, wasps and other vermin. It was Sri Seshadri Swamigal who instructed one Venkatachala Mudali ‘to rescue Chinnaswami’ i.e. Ramana from the Patala Linga. People use to quote that there were three lingas in Thiruvannamalai One Lord Arunachaleshwara, another Sri Ramana Maharishi and the third Sri Seshadri Swamigal.

Sri Seshadri Swamigal was a Tapasvi of a very high order. He blessed his devotees and helped them cure their illnesses with his wonderful touch. He was considered having a Golden Hand i.e. "Thangak Kai" as whatever he touches it was destined to flourish.



Please read on the article to know more about Sri Seshadri Swamigal.



Happy reading!
Warm Regards,

AV Devan
7-Aug-2011
Chennai

Monk with a Midas Touch – Biography of Sri Seshadri Swamigal



Family & Childhood



Thondai Nadu is the region located north of Kaveri Basin. The region consists of the present day Kanchipuram, Tiruvallur, Vellore, Chengalpet, Tiruvannamalai, Vizhupuram, Cuddalore, Pondicherry and Chennai Districts of Tamilnadu and also includes the Chitoor and Nellore districts of Andhrapradesh. Thondai region was ruled by Chola and Pallava Kings with Kanchipuram as its Capital. It is said,



“Ayodhya Madhura Maya Kasi Kanchi Avantika!Puri Dwarakavathi Saiva Sapthaithate Mokshadaiyeka!”



The above poem reveals that the Holy India consists of Seven Mokshapuri i.e. “Ayodhya, Mathura, Maya, Kasi, Kanchi, Avantika, Dwaraka” and the only place which is located in South India is Kanchipuram. In this holy city the Goddess Kamakshi prevails in the form of Shakti. There are 51 Shakti Peetas across India and this one such Shakti Peeta. The great Saint Adi Sankarachyara when he visited Kanchipuram he felt the Goddess is in a ferocious mode that the entire Sanctorum was very hot. So to personify her and accomplish to the normal state the Saint sung in the praise of the Goddess named “Soundarya Lahari” and established Sri Chakra in front of her idol to keep her cool and personified. This Sri Chakram is visible to all and all the poojas are done to the Sri Chakram too. Sri Adi Sankaracharya established the cult of Sri Vidya for the welfare of the world. In this connection he went to Central India and brought about 30 families of Devi Upasakas to Kanchipuram. These families were called Kamakoti Vamsa and spread the Sri Vidya cult across the country and everyone of the Kamakoti family was like a Rishi. In 1790, Kamakoti Sastri was born into one of these families. Even though he had a daughter he also adopted one of his brother daughter a girl named Maragatham. At the appropriate time Kamkoti Sastri started to search for a husband for this beautiful and learned girl and selected Varadarajan one of his own students. The Couples were later blessed with a Son by the grace of Goddess Kamakshi who was born on 22nd January, 1870 on the Hastha Star. Since he was born on a Saturday, He was given the name of Seshadri in honor of Lord Srinivasa. Even from his earliest years the child Seshadri would perform pujas, sing prayers with concentrated devotion, sit in meditation and go off into spontaneous trances. He was neither interested in games nor displayed negative characteristics. Everyone regarded the boy as a Divine child.



Midas Touch!



A strange incident took place and the young Seshadri got the nickname ‘Golden Hand’ (Thangak Kai) . Every day Seshadri mother Maragatham took the young child to the temple. On their way one shopkeeper used to sell Lord Sri Krishna idols. One day the child got down on seeing the beautiful idols of Lord Krishna and told his mother that he would perform pooja to Lord Krishna. The shopkeeper was so happy and taking the radiant Child himself resembled the Lord Krishna gave the idol and refused to accept the payment. The next day when Margathammal went with the child to the temple, the shop keeper prostrated at her feet and took the child’s hand and saluted it saying “Golden Hand…Golden Hand” (Thangak Kai). All the bystanders were surprised at the attitude of the shop keeper. The shop keeper then told that his entire consignment of idols were sold out yesterday which never happened earlier and attributed the luck due to the Midas Touch of the young Seshadri and started addressing Seshadri as “Thangak Kai” Seshadri which means Seshadri with a Golden Hand. We can presume this is the beginning of the many miracles which Seshadri Swamigal performed later and even continues to do so even now.



At the age of five young Seshadri was initiated with scared thread (Upanayanam) at an auspicious ceremony attended by many scholars and on the same day started to attend Patasala in Kanchipuram. Quickly he showed an almost superhuman intellect and memory and exhibited extraordinary debating skills. In this way years went until the time Sri Seshadri reached his fourteenth year and his father Sri Varadarajan died unexpectedly. His grandfather Sri Kamakoti Sastrigal arrived to pacify the bereaved family and took them to live at Vazhur. It was here Seshadri Swamigal completed his education and mastered various texts in Sanskrit and Tamil.



He mastered the whole Vedanta with three primary texts i.e. Gita, Upanishads and Brahma Sutras besides Vedas, Nyaya and Vyakarana. He had also mastered music and astrology. With his education now complete Seshadri’s mother tried to arrange a marriage between her 17 year old son and the daughter of a relative but when it was discovered by examining Seshadri’s horoscope that he was destined to become a Sannyasi and Yogi the marriage plans were swiftly cancelled. His mother becoming more self absorbed started to lose interest in worldly affairs and became increasingly weak ignoring food and medical treatment. One day she called her son to her and predicted her death the next day. The next day at her bed she called her child to her and repeated a sloka from Adi Sankara’s Baja Govindam then together they sang the song ‘Ambasive’ after which keeping her hand on his chest she called out “Arunachala.. Arunachala…Arunachala……” and laid herself on his lap and died. Later Seshadri drew a picture of Arunachala by instinct and worshipped this picture.



Austerities as a young man



After both his parents had passed away Seshadri’s uncle gladly took charge of Seshadri and the younger brother Narasimha Josiar. In his room Seshadri did numerous pujas and continuous japa to pictures of Goddess Kamakshi, Lord Ram and to one of his own drawings of Arunachala Hill. He would lock himself up in his room at five in the morning and refuse to come out before noon. He regularly fasted and could often be heard shouting Arunachala, Shonadrinatha or reciting Vedic hymns late at night. His uncle and aunt were frightened by his strange worship and begged him to stop. But Seshadri would not listen.



He was seen in Chakrath-Azhwar and Kamakshi temples for several hours chanting mantras, slokas, etc. His rigorous and exacting religious practices were viewed with concern by his foster-parents who were taking care of him. He got immersed in Sri Kamakshi's divine form and regarded himself as Goddess Parvathi (Sakthi aspect of Brahmam). He began doing his meditations in Rudrabhoomi (cremation ground) which was resented and questioned by his people. He was wandering in the streets of Kanchipuram, when he met a Gouda Sanyasi, Sri Balaji Paramahamsa, who finding him worthy and fit, gave him sanyasa (the fourth stage of asrama in one's life).



On the due date, S├ęshadri's father's annual ceremony was performed. To give him his father's blessings, he was brought home forcibly and kept locked in a room. At a stage, when the room was opened his relatives noticed that S├ęshadri had disappeared from the locked room and then only realized his greatness and attainment. He was 19 years of age then.



After sometime he was noticed in the temple precincts of Sri Mukteswara at Kaveripakkam, 20 miles away from Kanchipuram. One day, in the temple, a big serpent came out; Seshadri beckoned it and it came and coiled over his body and held its hood over his head. Those who witnessed were awe-struck. Seshadri now "Seshadri Swami" was unperturbed. His act showed that all creations of Almighty are alike and is all pervasive. Shortly after Seshadri started to travel to various spots in Tamil Nadu eventually ending up at Tiruvannamalai. Seshadri Swamigal reached Tiruvannamalai in the year 1889 AD at the age of 19 and stayed there for next 40 years till he dropped his mortal coil.



Miracles of Seshadri Swamigal.



Many devotees have experienced miracles through Mahan Seshadri Swamigal. Here we can see few of them :



One Vitoba Swamigal was at Polur which is about 10 miles away from Thiruvannamalai. One day Sesahdri Swamigal was running in the streets of Thiruvannamalai shouting that Vitoba Swamigal was ascending to Heaven. Later the news about Vitoba Swamigal attained Mukti on that day reached Tiruvannamalai and every one were astonished to note the siddhi or the spiritual power of Sri Seshadri Swamigal.

The Post Master General, Mr. F.T. Peters' brother-in-law, an English man, was a Station Master in M.S.M. Railways. He and his sister (wife of P.M.G) were great devotees of Sri Seshadri Swamigal. There was a complaint against him. A wealthy Gujarathi had filed a lawsuit against the railways, claiming damages to an amount of nearly a lakh. It looked like Mr. Peters’ brother-in-law, would lose his job and would have to pay a penalty of Rs.10,000. To protect himself from such an eventuality he had submitted the relevant records of accounts to the court. Due to unforeseen circumstances, those records did not reach the court on time. This increased the suspicion against him, and threatened his career. He immediately sent a telegram to his brother-in-law to seek Swami’s blessings. The PMG sent Postmaster Shri Govinda Swamy Iyer to meet Sri Seshadri Swamigal in Thiruvannamalai. The whole day he could not locate Swami. At 8 pm in the evening, he met the Swami. Swami looked at him saying, “Bus, bus, bus, gup, gup, Ooh! Ooh! It went that way and came this way.” Shri Govinda Swamy inferred that Swami referred to the Railway by His initial words and from the subsequent words that the records have been found and sent a message accordingly to the PMG. When the later received the telegram, there came another telegram to the effect that the records had been located. He was happy with that and the danger to his brother-in-law was averted.



All merchants, traders and workers of Thiruvannamalai look forward to the arrival of Swami in bazaar streets. His arrival was considered the visitation of Gods! On most of the days, Swami used to make a trip to the shopping street. Even when Swami was at a distance every shop-keeper used to get down from his shop and stand with folded hands and entreat Him to come to his shop; because Swami’s visit would mean enormous boosting of business. The one shop where Swami would drop in even without being so invited, was that of Muthiyalu Chettiar. It was no wonder then that his shop was frequently visited by Swami, who would scatter and play with rice, sugar and candy etc. He would open the cash box and throw the coins around. Chettiar would be quietly watching such pranks (Leelas) and worshipping Him.



Siva Prakasa Mudaliar was an ardent devotee of Sri Seshadri Swamigal. His salary was Rs.70/- per month. One day he was proceeding to his senior officer’s house. On the way he encountered Swami who asked, if he was willing to accept Rs.10/- if He gave him. Mudaliar replied that his boss was angry with him and, therefore, would not give him promotion. Swami said, “Never mind if your boss will not give you promotion; I am offering you promotion and you accept it.” Swami removed Mudaliar’s headgear and put it on His head and garlanded him with His shoulder cloth. Both of them proceeded to the Circe Inspector’s house. The Inspector’s wife told Mudaliar, “From today your good days have come. Your salary will be raised.” Avathar Sri Seshadri Swamigal laughed. Mudaliar got his increment of Rs.10/- over his salary of Rs.70.Later on it came to light that even though Mudaliar’s DSP had vehemently argued against his promotion, the ASP had strongly supported his promotion and this argument had taken place on the same day that Swami had asked him if he was willing to accept Rs.10.



Ramana Maharshi and Seshadri Swamigal



Ramana Maharshi came to Thiruvannamalai seven years after Seshadri Swamigal’s arrival. Seshadri Swamigal was immediately aware of the young Swami’s state of Self-abidance and he felt a motherly love for him. Sri Ramana spent his time then immersed in the bliss of the Self in the Thousand Pillared hall of Arunachaleswara Temple. Urchins not understanding his state pelted him with stones. Sri Seshadri Swamigal tried to protect the young Ramana who seemed quite unaware of his body and surroundings. To avoid this unwanted attention Sri Ramana then moved into the Patala Lingam an underground vault in the temple. He remained there in deep meditation for many days oblivious to the ants, vermin and mosquitoes who were feasting on him. Sri Seshadri Swamigal found him there and asked his devotee Venkatachala Mudaliar to lift his child out. Later when Ramana was lifted from Patala Linga his body was affected with wounds caused due to insect bites and it was Sri Seshadri Swamigal who instructed his disciple to clean the Ramana’s blood oozing wounds and later revealed the Greatness of the Ramana as a Saint to the whole world. Locals used to call Sri Seshadri as Mother Parvathi and Sri Ramana as Skanda.



Sometimes people used to Call Seshadri as Anna i.e. Elder Seshadri and Sri Ramana as Thambi i.e. Younger Seshadri. Once a devotee of Ramana told Sri Ramana that everyone called Seshadri a mad man. Ramana smilingly replied that there were three mad men in Arunachala. One was Seshadri, the second was Arunachaleswarar and the third was himself.



Sri Ramana said of Seshadri Swamigal that ‘Seshadri Swamigal does not allow people to come near him here all are coming’. There were instances when devotees have experienced that Seshadri was Ramana and Ramana was Seshadri. They were contemporaries and each knew the greatness of the other. Sri Ramana's presence, when Sri Seshadri's body was interred and Sri Ramana's personal reading and approval of script of Seshadri's Biography showed Ramana's reverence for this great Mahaan.



Siddha Purusha Sri Seshadri Swamigal



He was an ascetic with a total disregard for either name or form. He had no home, dependents, property or any fixed habit or system. His acts were dramatic and deeply impressive. He would avoid rich food from wealthy persons but beg for cold gruel at a poor man’s house. Sometimes he would take no food at all and on other occasions consume enough for ten people. He would eat and drink like one swallowing medicine or one being forcibly fed. Although he did not accept money he would sometimes receive expensive clothes but immediately transfer them to a poor person or tear the clothes into pieces and garland the tail and horns of a calf. He will enter any shop on the roads and pull out anything from them. The shopkeepers at Thiruvannamalai revered him and considered his visit and touch as a great blessing. If he was given plain new clothes, within a couple of hours, they would reach the state of his original clothes. He wore only a dhoti which would cover his toes and another piece of cloth swathed over his back and shoulders. He would squat anywhere regardless whether it was slush, dirt or refuse. When sitting, it was always in his favorite swastika asana.



Swamiji was handsome of medium height and fair countenance. His hair hung in short ringlets to the nape of his neck. His voice was soft and his smile was as sweet and sunny as a child. His body would not be at rest for a moment. He walked fast and those following had to run to keep up with him. He loved music, delighting his devotees with songs. If one asked, he would break forth into melodious song often drumming rhythms on nearby surfaces. Sometimes he would place his hands on his hips and dance.



He was a tapasvi of a very high order. One result of the mantras and sadhanas he practiced from his earliest years was the development of various siddhis and psychic powers. He could tell about the past and the future and read minds with ease. With this power, he fulfilled the desires of people by showing visions they wanted to see, both in dreams and while being awake. His miraculous touch is said to have cured many of those who came to him with devotion. Often when people saw him in the streets they would prostrate before him and he would get near to enable them to touch his feet.



Sri Seshadri Swamigal had deep devotion to God especially in the form of the Goddess Kamakshi, Lord Ram and Arunachala. In the practice of concentration (for days in his boyhood at Tindivanam and at Tiruvannamalai), he sat steeped in samadhi, oblivious of his body. He loved service and by his own example showed it as a noble ideal to live up to. People would say, ‘He is a talking God,’ ‘A divine incarnation, a great yogi, a great siddha’. Others would say there were three lingas in Tiruvannamalai: One, Lord Arunachala, another Ramana Maharshi and the third Seshadri Swamigal. Speaking and walking among People, he was Sanchara-Dakshinamurthi (God as man on the move).



His biography vividly shows that he was a Jivan-mukta (a realized soul while in body). He did not have body-consciousness and was in ever communion with his Atman (Soul). He saw atman in everything-animate and inanimate. He was seen going round and round a stone pillar and doing pranams (offering his worship) and saying that he was seeing God in it. Similarly he used to worship animals-buffalo, donkeys seeing God in them.



Last Days



Having lived at Arunachala continuously for forty years and helping all kinds of people Sri Seshadri decided to finally shed his body. One day in 1928 during the month of Karthigai, he asked a devotee, ‘Shall I build a new house and go away?’ Meaning, ‘I have completed my task, shall I now depart?’ At first the devotee thought the question a prank but finally after many days and constant repetition of the question, she answered, that, ‘He should construct a new house and practise yoga’. Sri Seshadri accepted Subbalakshmi’s words as representative of Parasakthi’s approval and satisfied he replied, ‘Yes, yes, it shall be done!’. Some days later his devotees, who wanted to photograph him, gave him an oil bath and then bathed, dressed, scented, garlanded and photographed him. Immediately Seshadri caught a fever. For forty days his condition worsened and on the forty-first day he found the strength to visit Arunachaleswara one last time. On returning from the temple he sat down in a puddle of water and refused to change his wet clothes when he got back to the house. Within days, on January 4, 1929, Sri Seshadri Swamigal left his body and Tiruvannamalai was engulfed in sorrow. After preparation his body was brought out in procession which is said to have been so splendid that the entire stock of camphor in the shops of Tiruvannamalai was exhausted and all incoming buses were full and over crowded. The streets were jammed with devotees and the night seemed like bright day as it was so brilliantly illuminated by the burning camphor.

The air was filled with group-singing, devotional songs and the music of instrument players. It was at Agni Theertham that Sri Ramana Maharshi joined the procession.



Further on a samadhi was constructed and Sri Swamigal’s body interred. That samadhi tomb is now enshrined within the grounds of Sri Seshadri Ashram on Chengam Road, Tiruvannamalai. The Seshadri Swamigal Ashram is located next to Sri Ramanasramam between the Second and Third Lingam on the Circumabulation route. Regular pujas are performed at the Samadhi of Sri Seshadri Swamigal.



Although Sri Seshadri Swamigal has shed his mortal coil, He is ever present helping, blessing and guiding his devotees to everlasting bliss. His own search brought him to Arunachala and it is to the sacred Hill that Swamigal tells all to look to, to fulfill life’s highest goal.


Bibliography/Reference

Sri Seshadri Swamigal – SSSS-Sangam.Org
Sri Seshadri Swamigal – http://www.swamigal.com/
Sri Seshadri Swamigal – wikipedia


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