Wednesday, 10 October 2012

LIFE OF SRI MAHAN ODUKATHUR SWAMIGAL

        Our ancient land is called Punya Bhumi as it is the abode of saints. Sages and siddha purashas. In every part of our land you will come across numerous saints who have trailed the religious path and are source of inspiration and devotion. One of such sants is the subject of this booklet popularly called Sri Odukathur Swamigal. We have very little information about his bolyhood and other relavant materials. This little information that we have about his life is only from here say evidence and from early devotees who became greatly attached to him and some of whom appear to have followed him from place to place. One such is Sri Chellappa Swamigal is another and who at our request took the trouble of collecting information regarding Swamigal’s latter life which was mostly spent in the Odukathur forests near Madanapalli and round about villages. On the notes furnished by Sri Naidu garu from his personal knowledge and from information gathered from other friends who had known, revered and served the Swamigal in other places, the present tamil version is based. The facts are vouched for by persons of unquestionable intergrity and proved bonafide.
 
With a view to acquaint non Tamil knowing devotees and others, an attempt has made here to give, a glimpse into the Swamigal’s life in English, based on the Tamil version which details some of the many miracles attributed to the Swamigal and his spiritual attainments and how this illuminated soul radiated spiritual light all round him and who continues to shower his blessings to various kanikes dropped into the Hundi near the Smadhi temple of the Swamigal.
 
The Swamigal came of a Telugu family of Naidu’s in the North Arcot District. His father, Likiah Naidu was in the Military Service and rose from the ranks to that of a Sebedar. His mother Balamba, a pious lay who having had issues. Pined for one observed many a Vrata to achieve her cherished object and after long years of devout fasting and prayer, she gave birth to a son who was later destined to become a Sivaganani. The parents called the child Seshiah.
 
Seshiah, even during his days of schooling, was found too precocious and appears to have longed for solitude and took little or no interest in his surroundings and later developed a mental attitude of detachment. The parents noticing this introspective mood of their only son, got alarmed and thought that marriage would wean him from his attitude of detachment and hastened to look for a bride for their son. They went in search of bride to Hydrabad and our hero took that opportunity and slipped away from home, never more to return, bidding goodbye to all that was considered dear to man. He sought solitude and endeavoured to seek peace in Gnana Marga, like great Rishis of Old, in forests away from the din of the world.
 
In the beginning, he wandered from place to place in search  of God: to Kalahasti, Kanchi, Tiruvanikkaval, Chidambaram, Madurai, Rameshwaram and finally reaching Vellore, sought asylum in an inaccesable forest near Odukathur, a village in the Madanapalli Taluk. As he spent a large part of his life in the Odukathur, forest, where he seemed to have attained Siddhi, he came to be later called Odukathur Swamigal. He was a Mouni and rarely spoke. His fame spread far and wide and people from all parts came to the forest in search of him to pay their respects Many miracles are attributed to him. He was once found missing for several days after a heavy flood and some cowherd youth who used to see him often in the forests missed this ‘Pichavadu’ (madman) as they called him, for a long time but later, an anxious search they found him fully with sand mound in the river bed, in deep Yoga Samadhi and extricated him.
 
It is within the knowledge of many, some of whom are alive, that this great Yoga-Pursha lived only an air for months on end, absolutely unconscious of the world around him. He rarely spoke and still more rarely ate or drank. He did not seem to have answered even calls of nature nor covered himself whatever the season. His was a rugged personality, coarse in a appearance, tall of stature, with well cut features and disheveled hair. The far away introspective look in his brilliant eyes was suggestive of the communion with divine within in supreme Advaitic bliss.
 
He was a –lofty spiritual personality, who exercised great spiritual influence on all those that came with him. He is still adored and worshipped by those who have seen and served him. It is difficult to evaluate his invaluable contribution to the spiritual advancement of his devotees whose number is innumerable. He has rescued many alive still to bear witness to his apritual greatness and the many miracle that he performed. He was finally brough to Bangalore after considerable efforts from Madanapalli in the year 1914 and he stayed. In Ulsoor for about a year which became a centre of pilgrimage. The Swamigal entered Mahasamadhi in the year 1915. The Mutt called after him is the place sanctified by his holy Samadhi to which hundreds come for worship from far and near. It is said that God’s ways are strange and inscrutable and more so are those of his saints. The earnest prayers of devotees never go unfulfilled.
 
The Trustees of the Mutt are thankful to Vidwan Sri.K.Natesa Mudaliar for the trouble he has taken, as a Labour of love, in preparing the life history of the  Swamigal, prefacing it with an enlightened reference to the spiritual hierarchy of Siddha Purushas whose illustrious line the Swamigal followed.
 
The Trustees are also thankful to Sri.Muniswarny Naidu of Gudyattam and Challappa Swamigal and other devotees and friends who have helped to obtain information about the Swamigal’s life.

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