Sunday, April 4, 2010

Ramalinga Swamigal

Soruba samadhi has been attained by a few great souls in modern times. Ramalinga Swamigal, the Saint of Vadalur, Tamil Nadu, southern India is one amongst them. He experienced various stages of Divine transformation, and left forty thousand verses describing his experiences. Ramalinga Swamigal has become one of South India's most celebrated saints, revered universally for his great sanctity, conquest of death and inspiring songs in praise of Shiva. Such verses are sung today by millions of school children in praise of the "Arul Perun Jyoti", the "Supreme Grace Light", Ramalinga's favorite name for God. Not only children, but even such spiritual giants as Sri Aurobindo and Madame Blavatsky, recognized Ramalinga as their forerunner.

A Sketch of Ramalinga’s life story

Ramalinga was born on October 5, 1823 in the village of Marudur, about ton miles north of Chidambaram, the site of the great temple of Dancing Shiva, "Nataraja" . When he was five months old, his father, Hamiah Pillai, and his mother Chinnammai, brought him to this temple to be sanctified. As recorded later in his Divine Song of Grace or Thiruvarulpa as it is known in Tamil, when the curtain in front of the idol of Nataraja was lifted and the camphor flame waved in front of it, Ramalinga laughed aloud and an unusually great atmosphere of sanctity prevailed. Seeing the communion of the child and the idol of the Supreme Lord, the chief priest ran forward, embraced the child, and declared that it was the child of God. In another verse, of the same work (Canto 6, chapter 38, verse 44) Ramalinga declared that God was so benevolent as to reveal to him everything without reservation even in his childhood.

His father passed away about a month later. The family moved to Madras, where it was supported by Ramalinga's elder brother. When Ramalinga was five years old, his brother arranged for his schooling with a famous tutor. Ramalinga, after a few lessons, began composing ecstatic verses of poetry in praise of God and in one of these he sang as follows:
"What wonder it is, O God, you have educated me in all knowledge; you have inculcated in me an ardent love for you; you have persuasively taught me that the whole world is nothing but a mirage,. O My benevolent Being! You are in me and are showering your Grace; you have condescended to be my spiritual Master and blessed me, the insignificant creature with a status above wants without being driven to the necessity of begging others" (Canto V, chapter 40, verse 4).

Seeing the wonderful spiritual development of the child, the tutor refrained from giving him any more lessons. His elder brother, to make Ramalinga realize the importance of education, turned him out of the household. However. the elder brother's wife continued secretly to feed him, until after one such occasion, he was moved by her pleas to return to the household and take up his studies. At this time he was nine years old. After requesting materials for writing and study, he immediately shut himself up in his room at the family's house at no. 9 Veeraswami Pillai Street, Madras, India. A torrent of psalms and hymns poured through him in inspiration as the "Supreme Grace Light" reflected in him like a mirror and Omniscience descended into him and he sang as follows:
“You have infused all knowledge in me without my undergoing the ordeal of learning to such an extent that the most learned come to me to learn more. O God! my stabilizer! You have endowed that Light with which I could realize all knowledge and all wisdom and everything else without being taught" (Canto 6, chapter 1, verse 23 to 24).

During an illness, when Ramalinga was twelve years old, his elder brother, asked Ramalinga to replace him in his duties as a religious teacher. The congregation was so impressed with his skill in commenting on the verse of one of the medieval Saivite saints, Thirugnanasambandar, that they insisted that he finish the series of scheduled lectures. Taking it as the will of the Supreme Lord to initiate his mission in the world, Ramalinga accepted the invitation of the devotees.
Little has been recorded with regards to the next twelve years of his life. However, it appears that it was a period of intense aspiration and an ordeal of yearning for the descent of the Divine grace. He wrote about this period:
"Why should I narrate the painful yearnings when You are the witness of all my sufferings all along and when You are pervading within and outside my mind both internally and externally?" (Canto 6. chapter 139, verse 78)

In 1849, Velayutha Mudaher of Thuzhuvoor, a reputed Tamil and Sanskrit scholar and poet, became his principle disciple. Over the next twenty five years Velayutha authored many books including treatises on Ramalinga Swamigal.

It was about this time, that Ramalinga was compelled to marry Thanammal, daughter of one of his sisters. But all attempts by the family to persuade him to a worldly life were in vain. His wife remained a virgin throughout her life.

During the next decade, at Thiruvothiyur and Chidambaram, he composed many inspired passionate verses expressing his aspiration for the Lord's light of grace. About 1860 Ramalinga moved to the village of Vadalur which is almost at the center of an equilateral triangle formed by the three great temples of Chidambaram in the south, Vridachalam in the west and Thiruppathirupoliyur in the north east. Here, in 1867, he founded a house of charity to feed the poor and extend hospitality to travelers and indigent old persons. About 10,000 persons were fed at the inauguration ceremony which lasted for three days. The first part of his treatise, Jeevakarunya Ozhukkam, on compassion to all living things a key principle in his teachings was released at that time. He ordained a path of righteousness, "Sanmargam", whose life breath was compassion to all living beings. He taught that kindness is inherent in human beings. As God is manifest in all living beings, kindness and compassion shown to living beings is kindness and love shown to God. He taught that the love of God or God's grace shall now into the very form of the compassionate being. To receive God's grace, one should become kindness incarnate and firmly establish in oneself feelings of unity and fellowship. The best form of compassion is giving food to persons who are unable to work and earn their food, without questioning as to their caste, community, creed, color, conduct or country; and to relieve the hunger of animals, birds, insects and plants, realizing that God is present in every being. He condemned the killing of animals and converted many to vegetarianism.

At Vadalur, Ramalinga discoursed extensively with his disciples and he received many visitors who came especially to witness his miracles. Those who were hungry were fed and the sick were cured. Some scholars of various philosophical schools visited him and had their doubts clarified.

He founded a society under the name of "Sanmarasa Veda Sanmarga Sangam", later renamed by him as "Sanmarasa Suddha Sanmarga Sathya Sangam". He borrowed the name for his philosophy "Sanmarga", "the good path", from Thirumoolar's Thirumandiram.

source: Babaji and the 18 Siddha Kriya Yoga Tradition


Sunil said...

Oneness is the only reality.....

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