Saturday, July 18, 2009

Principles, Teachings, Notable Happenings, Rules, Comments

"Service to mankind is path of moksha"

The ArutperunJothi Ramalinga Adigalar, popularly known as VALLALAR, the Great Munificient, may be regarded as the foremost of the saints and ages of the nineteenth century, considering the heights, widths, depths and intimacies of his integral realisation of the Divine in all the "inmost, inner, outer, and the outermost parts of his being".

The VALLALAR was the one who affirmed openly and clearly in an unmistakable language the deathlessness of his body which he attained by the power of what he called "Arut Perum Joti", the Vast Grace-Light of the Divine which he identified as the Truth-Light of Knowledge, Satya Jnana Joti. HE who put before the people DEATHLESSNESS of body as an essential part of the realisation of the One blissful Divine. A saint whose very soul-stuff was made of infinite love and compassion, a sage of Truth - consciousness who possessed the divine knowledge and science of deathlessness of body and attained its deathless transformation along with the self creative power of creating all substances of whatever kind including bodily substances.

Of HIS six volumes of "Arutpa" , the poems of divine inspiration, the last volume is unparalleled in spiritual history as it gives expression to his realisation of the vast world of Truth-knowledge and the Beyond, and touches on subjects like transformation and deathlessness of body .

Besides, he was a critic, writer, publisher and commentator and also had knowledge in occultism, alchemy, astrology, and medicine particularly in the nutritional and medical values of herbs and leaves. He was a musician too with a keen musical taste for lyrical songs and he composed lyrics to express, in an easier and popular style, his highest and sublime realisations of the Divine, particularly that of Truth-consciousness (Satya Jnana).

Vallalar Principles
Universal brotherhoodness
Treating all souls are equal.
Creating awareness to individual's self diciplines
The God is one for all and worshipping Him as Vast Grace Light or ArutperunJothi
No killing of animals
No eating of flesh
Jeeva Karunaya ; Showing mercy to hungry and feeding them.

Arutprakasa Vallalar Chidambaram Ramalinga Swamigal (Tamil: அருட்பிரகாச வள்ளலார் சிதம்பரம் இராமலிங்க சுவாமிகள்), (5 October 1823 – 30 January 1874), whose pre-monastic name was Ramalingam. He is commonly known in India and across the world[1] as Vallalar (Tamil: வள்ளலார்). He was one of the most famous Tamil Saints and also one of the greatest Tamil poets of the 19th century[2] and belongs to a line of Tamil saints known as "gnana siddhars" (gnana means higher wisdom). The Suddha Sanmarga Sangam[3] was spread and passed on by him not only in theory but mainly in practice by his own way of living which was itself inspiration for his followers. Through the notion of Suddha Sanmarga Sangam, the saint endeavored to eliminate the menace of caste.[4] According to Suddha Sanmarga, the prime aspects of human life should be love connected with charity and divine practice leading to achievement of pure knowledge.

Early life

Ramalinga Swamigal was born to Ramayyah Pillai and his sixth wife Chinnamaiar, who lived in Marudur in South Arcot district, a village 15 km north-west of Chidambaram. By a quirk of fate Ramayyah Pillai's first five wives had died childless and in quick succession. Chinnamaiar however, was blessed with five children, two sons, Sabapathi, Parasuraman and two daughters, Sundarammal and Unnamali. They named their youngest child as Ramalingam.

Notable happenings during childhood

When Ramalinga Swamigal was an infant (five months old), his parents took him to the Chidambaram Temple. It is said that this infant laughed aloud when the priest offered the traditional Deepa aradhana to the Lord. This apparently routine visit to the temple thus offered him his first spiritual experience as well. later years he said of the experience as:

"No sooner the Light was perceived, happiness prevailed on me" "The sweet nectar was tasted by me as soon as the Arutperunjothi (Supreme Grace Of Light) became visible"[5]

In 1824, the very next month, his father Ramiah Pillai passed away. His sudden death forced a helpless Chinnamaiar to shift to the residence of her eldest son Sabhapati and his wife Parvathi at Chennai. When Ramalingam was five years old, Sabhapati, decided to formally educate his youngest sibling Ramalingam but the young child however showed a deep disinclination towards formal education but on the other hand preferring trips to the local Kandasamy temple. Sabhapati was convinced that the child was on a self- destructive path. As a punitive measure, he forbade his wife from giving Ramalingam his daily meal. His compassionate sister-in-law, however, surreptitiously fed him food and gently prevailed upon him to pursue his studies seriously at home. Ramalingam relented on the condition that he be given a separate room of his own. Now, in the solitary confines of this room, he set up a mirror and in front of it a small, lighted lamp. With these as aids he relentlessly meditated and this was the beginning of the spiritual journey of the young boy. The first reward came in the form of a vision of Lord Muruga. In the saint's own words:

"The beauty endowed divine faces six, the illustrious shoulders twelve"[6]

His elder brother Sabhapati was a learned scholar and upanyasaka (one who tells religious stories). It so happened that once Ramalingam had to substitute for his brother at an upanyasam session. His brilliant exposition and uninterrupted flow of words while enunciating a verse from the `Periyapuranam' by Shaivism an epic poem by Sekkizhar narrating the episodes connected with the 63 Nayanars amazed the onlookers. Later his brother also graciously acknowledged the mental and spiritual superiority of his brother. Ramalingam himself expresses his gratitude to the Divine when he says:

"Effulgent flame of grace that lit in me intelligence to know untaught"[7]

As he made quantum leaps in his spiritual journey he progressed from being a devout Lord Saiva to worshiping the formless. Totally averse to money, he was later on to shun food and even sleep. He renounced the world at the age of thirteen. Surprisingly he remained fit in form. A hurdle on his chosen path came in the form of a forced marriage to his sister's daughter. It is said that the bridegroom spent the nuptial night reading the Tiruvasakam.

His Teachings

He made an indelible mark in the religious history of India when he came out openly against its caste system and the negative impact it had on society. In an attempt to redress the situation he established the `Samarasa Suddha Sanmarga Satya Sangam'[8] in 1865, which means `Society for pure truth in universal self-hood'. He had also by this time shifted to a place called Karunguzhi from Chennai. His next step in establishing a practical approach to religion was the setting up of a free eating house called The Sathya Dharma Salai[9] in a place called Vadalur in 1867, where all could eat without any distinctions whatsoever. Ramalinga Vallalar abhorred non-vegetarianism. In one of his poems he says:

When I see men feeding on the coarse and vicious food of meat, it is ever-recurring grief to me.[10]

It is significant that the land on which this eating house was built was donated by a few landowners. The registered document is available for inspection even today and the service of providing free food also continues to this day.

Ramalinga Swamigal opened a temple at Vadalur on January 25, 1872, called the "Sathya Gnana Sabha" (Hall of True Knowledge), - One of the primary teaching of valallar is "Service to mankind is path of moksha". He declared that death is not natural that our life's first priority should be fight death. He declared religion in itself is a darkness. He laid a very great emphasis on being vegetarian. We said God is "Arut Perum Jothi" who is personification of mercy and knowledge. He said the path of compassion and mercy are only path to God.

In 1865 he established a poor feeding center. On the inaugural day he lit the fire of the stone stove, with a declaration that the fire be ever alive and the needy shall be fed forever. Around 1870 he established the Sathaya Gyana Sabai, hall of True Wisdom Forum and ensuring it was entirely secular . This place is not a temple as no offerings of fruits or flowers could be made, and no blessings were given. It was open to people of all castes except those who ate meat, who were only allowed to worship from the outside. The oil lamp lit by him is kept perpetually burning. He said that our soul is blinded by 7 seven veils.[11] There are seven cotton fabric screens, representing the seven factors that prevent a soul from realizing its true nature.

The entire complex is bound by a chain with 21,600 links, said to represent 21,600 inhalations[12] by a normal human being.

He said intelligence we possess is Maya intelligence which is not true and final intelligence. Path of final intelligence is "Jeeva Karunyam".

He advocated a casteless society. Vallalar was opposed to superstitions and rituals. He forbade killing animals for the sake of food. He advocated feeding the poor as the highest form of worship. He condemned inequality based on birth.

Chennai Kandha kottam

Kandha kottam Kandaswami Temple[13] is located at Parrys Corner in Chennai. At the entrance of the temple, there is a hall called Parivedan mandapam. Sculptured image of Vezhmugathu Vinayakar in sitting and standing positions are kept on either side of the mandapam. To the front of the Artha mandapam, there is a dwajasthambam (Flag Staff). The Mukha mandapam is where the idols of Sarva Siddhi Vinayakar, Meenakshi Sundareswarar, Idumban, Sri Ramalinga Swamigal, and Pamban Swamigal are found.

Ramalinga Swamigal's Literary works

As a musician and poet, he composed 5818 poems breathing universal love and peace, compiled into 6 TirumuraigaL, which are all available today as a single book called Tiruarutpa[14] (tiru-arut-pa, holy book of grace). Another work of his is the Manumurai Kanda Vaasagam[15] describing the life of Manu Needhi Cholan. Jeeva Karunya Ozhukkam[16]

Ramalinga Swamigal's disappearance on January 30, 1874

Ramalingar raised the flag of Brotherhood on his one room residence Siddhi Vilakam[17] in Mettukuppam on October 22. He gave his last and most famous lecture, entreating his audience to undertake a spiritual quest and look into the "nature of the powers that lie beyond us and move us," and asking them to meditate on the lighted lamp from his room, which he placed outside.

Swamigal on January 30, 1874, entered the room and locked himself and told his followers not to open it. He said that even if they did open it they would find nothing. His seclusion spurred many rumors, and the Government finally forced the doors open in May. The room was empty, with no clues. The Madras District Gazetteer published by the South Arcot District in 1906 records his disappearance.[18]

VALLALAR ---- Tamil Holyman.

Vallalar (also known as Ramalinga) was instrumental in propogating the Sudha Sanmarga (Pure Gathering) School in the Tamil region of southern India, during the 19th Century. Vallalar belonged to a line of Tamil saints known as "gnana siddhars" ("gnana" means higher wisdom). The Suddha Sanmarga was spread and passed on by him not only in theory but mainly in practice by his own way of living which was itself inspiration for his followers. According to Suddha Sanmarga, the prime aspects of human life should be love connected with charity and spritual practice leading to achievement of pure knowledge. He recommended a rather spartan approach to obtaining Enlightenment -- complete abstinence from sex and the pleasures of the table. In his book Head Itself A Temple, Malaysian-based Tamil Brahmasri Gailasasaamy wrote: "The inner meaning of Sanmarga is Brahma Gnana. One who practices Brahma Gnana can only "Go up"." Let us assume that most people reading this article want to go up -- they want to move up into a higher dimension. Perhaps Vallalar can offer us some insight, perhaps even "The Way". Even though abstaining from sex and even basic human company might be a little too much for most modern Seekers of the Truth!

UNIVERSAL JUSTICE ---- In the Gandhi Tradition.

There have been many books written in Tamil and English about Vallalar. In one of them, The Universal Wisdom of Saint Ramalinga by Dr M.P. Sivagnanam, Vallalar is described thus: "Saint Ramalinga was not only a saint of divine grace but also a reformer who wished for revolutionary changes in society. The socio-religios-economic changes that are taking places in the today's world are the dream of Saint Ramalinga a century ago. Saint Ramalinga was an even greater reformer than his contemporaries, Raja Mohan Roy, Dhayanandha Saraswathy, and Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. He toiled to find a world of Spiritual Love and Universal Brotherhood, which would be free from the differences of castes and creeds, and such class distinctions as rich and poor, and which will show equal love to all living beings."
Sivagnanam went on to write: "I desired inwardly that the reformistic ideas of Saint Ramalinga should be propogated in the country, on the basis of piety and patriotism. I also thought of creating a milieu for the birth of a reformistic movement for freeing society from communal and religious fanaticism, transcending hatred towards castes, religion and God." Hence Sivagnanam's efforts to publish a book, to bring the Hindu world back together, under the shadow of Vallalar!


Abstinence, Abstinence and Severe Absistence.
Vallalar had many teachings which would be considered obscure today, even anti-social: physical hardship seemed to be high on his agenda! For example, Vallalar belived that initiates should refrain from eating as much as possible, and try to remain perpetually hungry. In fact, Vallalar's great recipe for spiritual enlightenment was thus:

1. Remain hungry.
2. Remain alone.
3. Remain awake

On the issue of sleeping, one of Vallalar's many teachings was that sleeping in the dark causes a loss of Prana (life force, called Chi or Qi in China, Ki in Japan, and "The Force" in Star Wars!) Vallalar wrote: "We should not be in the dark during night. It will cause loss of prana. Therefore, at home, we should sleep having a light, thus removing darkness. This will increase life span. Where there is good lighting, darkness is sucked by such light. If there is no brightness, then such darkness befalls on us and causes losses."


Vallalar enters the 5th Dimension.
Certainly a strange teaching, but maybe the Illumined Tamil was on to something. According to popular belief, Saint Vallalar finally overcome the restraints of physicality, and entered the 5th Dimension. He did not die as such, but simply vanished from the world. Some believers claim he may be alive today (at least in spiritual form), wandering the expanses of Tamil India. Where is Vallalar claims that the Tamil saint had spent his whole life preparing to convert himself into thin air. "The day was January 30, 1874 and places the courtyard of an old monastery in the quiet village of Village of Mettukuppan near Vadular, Tamil Nadu. A frail looking man with gentle eyes was talking to small gathering of disciples. He was clad in a white place of cloth which covered his head and body together. His face emitted an aura of compassion and humility. Ending the discourse he rose from his from his seat and started walked into the building. The disciples followed him in silence. He walked towards a small room in the back of the building. As he reached the door, he turned and looked at his disciples. Raising his arms in farewell and blessing, he entered the room, closed the door and told them to lock it from the outside. The door was locked with a big padlock. There was no other opening.

"Earlier the saint had told his disciples that he was in the last days of his physical existence and that he would soon pass into the astral world. Now he had secluded himself in final preparation.
"The news that the saint had locked himself up in a room slowly leaked out. There was much excitement because the saint had earlier been talking about the possibility of the living dissolution of his physical body.

"It was already three months when the news reached the government at Madras. Some officials came to investigate. They ordered the door to be opened. To the great wonder and amazement of all that stood around, they found no one inside the room. A thorough inspection of the whole building was made and nothing suspicious could be found. Now it was clear that as proclaimed, the saint had achieved the unachievable. Without discarding his physical body, he had dematerialized."

AGAVAL ---- The Call Divine.

Thiru Arutprakasa Vallalar wrote back in 1974: "This Agaval or Call Divine is the longest poem in Tamil containing 1,596 lines. This outpouring was composed by Vallalar in a single night and at one stretch. This stupendous effort was not due to his material learning or scholarship but through the grace of the Lord. There are many great works in Tamil but none can equal this divine poem in its sublimity.

"Compassion occupies the core place of the Lord. The universe is enlightened by this compassion. Similarly if man aspires for illumination, he must start his quest from within. This practical way called (Anaga neri), is the way of Suddha Sanmarga which leads to Sachidananda. He, who makes his life anew by following this way, finds Arutperunjothi in one and all and paves the way to Universal Brotherhood.
"Any work of divine inspiration needs divine guidance for its interpretation. Mere scholarship and a great knowledge of lexicon are of no use in the interpretation of such esoteric works. One has to reach the ninth plane (the plane of the soul) to find out the true significance of such works.

"The inner guiding Light commanded me on the eve of first of January 1960 to begin this interpretation. A couple of lines were taken every morning for interpretation. The work went on without any break and was finished in 798 days (l596/2) i.e. from 1st January, 1960 to 8th March, 1962. The much feared conjunction of eight planets in Capricorn (makam) took place on February 4th and 5th of 1962, February 4th was a Sunday and also a new moon day.

(Tamil) "Thiraiyelan dhavirthuch chevviyut rangea
(Tamil) Varaiyelam vilanga vayangu sen judarea"

"The above two lines were taken on that day for annotation. It means that all the obstructing veils were removed and the sun rose splendidly on the mountain tops. This has rather a special significance. We can observe the dawn of the divine Effulgence from the position of the middle star poosam in Cancer. We are safe in the hands of the divine light, which guides all the planets, seen in the opposite sign Capricorn, the sea-monster. Westerners were not able to realize this significance because western hemisphere experienced solar eclipse on that day. These are only examples to show how the inner reflects in the outer World.
"The concept of Siva found in the work is refreshingly different from concepts prevalent during the middle ages. It goes back to pre-historical time. Infinite Divine Light was called Siva by the ancient Tamils They also called it as Kandazhi (Tamil). They came to known of it with their mind's eye or third eye. The last level of grace is only revealed now through Saint Ramalinga. Since Tamil language is based on Siva Tatva, it has become a proper medium of expression for divine light. But we must remember that Sivam mentioned here can no religion connotation in it. Arutsivam means Arutperunjothi, Sivam contains three letters. The letter (Si) is the light (va) is the power of grace or compassion and (m) is the life experienced in man. So Sivam means the divine light not only converging into the soul of man but also diverging from there, completely transmuting him into an immortal one in the process.

"In this Agaval, the evolution of the Universe, through the grace of the Lord, is vividly described. Arutperunjothi is evoked in five hundred alternate lines of the couplets. By going through these lines patiently, we will be able to draw inspiration, realize our own identity with the Lord and live in Him..."



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