SADGURU SHRI SIVAN SIR

Yenippadigalil Maanthargal - YPM

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YPM-II Page - 4

 

Chandeshwarar

 

Vicharasharmar (Chandeshwarar ) who was imbued with divine love for Lord Siva made Sivalingam on the banks of Manni river and performed libation with pots of milk. The cows came to Vicharasharmar uninvited and doled out the required milk. The elders in the village who came to know about Vicharasharmar's such whimsical worship of Siva at odd places against the rules in scriptures and the consequent waste of milk complained to his father. His father reached the spot at Manni river and started beating his son black and blue with a stick. Vicharasharmar ignored his father completely, immersed as he was in the worship of Siva. But when his father touched the milk pot with his feet in the melee and caused it to spill, Vicharasharmar's attention was drawn to him. Knowing that it is his father who committed this facinerous deed, he lifted a stick that was lying in front of him and aimed it at his father's feet. Lo! The stick turned into an axe (Mazhu) and severed his father's leg.

 

Lord Siva appeared on the scene with his consort Uma immediately. He touched his devotee with his divine hands and smelt his head. He put on Vicharasharmar the Kondrai Garland which He was wearing on His hair besides making him Siva conscious. Since his devotee cut his own father's leg for the sake of Siva, the Lord conferred the state of Chandeshwarar on him and promoted him to the status of a deity. His father was also blessed by Siva.

 

In Siva temples in South India, Chandeshwarar can be found on the northern side facing south. Most of us think that Chandeshwarar is deaf and clap our hands during our worship. It is not like that. Since Chandeshwarar is always immersed in Siva consciousness, we clap our hands to divert his attention and get his blessings. Only by seeing Chandeshwarar, we get the benefit of seeing all other Gods.

 

You know that Chandeshwarar is one of the five deities (Pancha Murthis) in Siva temples. Thirugnana Sambandar has visited Chenganur to have darshan of Chandeshwarar and has composed a hymn on him. When Sambandar went to Chenganur, he left his palanquin at the border against his usual practice and walked all the way to the temple to have darshan of Chandeshwarar. The village of Chenganur is situated more or less 8 kms northeast of Kumbakonam.

 

 

Narayana Theertha Swamigal

Narayana Theertha Swamigal was born at the village of Vellathur in Andra. After completion of Vedadhyayana, his parents got him married. Being a virtuous person, he took up the study of scriptures. Being a wise person from young age, in course of time he became vested with all qualities of a pristine Brahmin.

His wife was a noble soul who deified her husband. One day when he was returning to his village after a visit to a neighboring village which involved crossing of a river, the water level in the river increased suddenly. Feeling the depth, Narayana Theertha got stuck in the river. At this critical juncture he remembered the rules laid down for Sanyasa in the scriptures for Brahmins.

He was convinced that he could definitely come out of the river safely, since scriptures guaranteed a new birth in the same body for those who undertook sanyasa. This made him swear by sanyasa from that moment. All these thoughts passed through him in a second. The water level in the river came down miraculously. The Daiva Sadhu who reached the other end of the river easily became turbulent thinking of the arduous task of convincing his wife about his decision to embrace sanyasa. Finally the householder decided to break the news to his wife seeing no other alternative.

However Bhagavan came to the rescue of the householder through a miracle. The wife was startled on seeing her husband pulled herself together and asked him in a wailing tone, "What is this? Why have you adopted the saffron cloth, staff and shaven your head?" shedding copious tears. Wondering what could have made his wife perceive with her own eyes his mental resolve the husband  replied coolly "I have still not put on the appearance that is appropriate to a sanyasi ".

As soon as he said this, his wife saw him as the same old householder. This miraculous event only made the wife more turbulent who wanted to know the meaning of "still"!

Explaining in detail what happened when he crossed the river, the Daiva Sadhu explained to his wife that he would have drowned had he not taken up the sanyasa resolve mentally at that critical moment and convinced her.

"Only to strengthen your mangalyam our Sri Krishna not only reminded me about sanyasa resolve but also made it apparent only to your eyes. Therefore you should bid farewell to me with delight". Thus the Daiva Sadhu consoled his wife.

Regaining her composure to some extent, the noble wife acquiesced silently and spent the rest of her life in worshipping her husband in the place of Sri Krishna.

Narayana Theertha who quit home approached an elderly saint, took sanyasa and prayed to his guru for the blessings of Sri Krishna. Sensing the fact that his disciple was well suited for the path of devotion his guru asked him to approach Bodendra Swamigal who was living in the banks of Kaveri.

Narayana Theertha who left his guru reached Tirupathi after visiting several places of pilgrimage. Desirous of staying in Tirupathi for a few days, he went round the temple besides having darshan of the lord from a distance.

One day when he was so having darshan of the Lord from quite a distance with humility, uttering hymns in praise of Him, he espied a boy about eleven years in age with sweets and vadai in his hand. The boy positioned himself in such a manner that Narayana Theertha could not miss him and started to gobble the edible items in his hand. Within a few seconds he finished eating them all, ran away somewhere, brought replenishments and started his work again. Seeing in him, the natural desire of children for snacks, Narayana Theertha looked at him intently in sheer delight.

The lad who was focused in his job realising that Narayana Theertha was watching him said, "What are you looking at? Don't you recognize me? ". Deiva Sadhu replied in the negative. The boy shot back, "I am Gopalan. I was your school mate. Have you forgotten? ". He also recalled a few incidents that happened in the school life of Narayana Theertha who was surprised and responded, "Whatever you said is true. But Gopalan should be an aged person. You are just a boy". The boy replied, "You are right. But I am only like this and have not grown up."

During the conversation, the boy continued to devour eatables which made the Deiva Sadhu feel that he may develop stomach ache. So he affectionately admonished the boy thus: "Child, you may suffer stomach ache". Hardly had he finished speaking thus, the boy responded, "What, are you having stomach ache? ". That was all. A severe stomach ache descended upon Narayana Theertha making him writhe in pain. However his intellect attained clarity and he felt that Sri Krishna Himself has come forward to bless him.

Gopalan came towards the Mahan saying, "I will place my hand on your belly and the pain will disappear". Narayana Theertha prayed to Sri Krishna, "Krishna, don't place your hands on my stomach. Let the stomach ache remain. I am only waiting for your grace. Please place your hands on my head." Gopalan granted Mahan's request and vanished. The stomach ache of course remained. Narayana Theertha had already completed the stage of Deiva sadhu once in his previous birth.

For a few days he continued to have darshan of Lord Venkateshwara at Tirupathi before leaving for Govindapuram to meet Bodendra in the land of Cholas, visiting many Kshetras on his way. When he reached Govindapuram, he came to know Bodendra had attained Siddhi many months ago. However he desired to stay in Bodendra's Adhishtanam for a few months. Everyday he lay down near Bodendra's samadhi and meditated on him. Hearing the sound of Ram Naam emanating from Adhishtanam every night he so lay down, Narayana Theertha was convinced about the greatness of the path of bhakthi.

Though the stomach ache troubled Narayana Theertha now and then, he not only ignored it but refrained from praying to Bhagavan for its cure. He left Govindapuram, had darshan of temples on the banks of river Kaveri and reached Thiruvayaru. He made Thiruvayaru his residence and visited the places nearby for a few months.

One day thus when he was walking along Kandiyur Thrukkatupalli road at dusk, the stomach ache which he took upon voluntarily from Bhagavan intensified so much that he was obliged to sit at a Pillayar temple nearby. Immediately Srikrishna put him to sleep, appeared in his dream and blessed Narayana Theertha thus: "When you wake up tomorrow morning follow the first person you see and your stomach ache will be cured".

When the Mahan rose at sunrise, he saw a pig. When he hesitated about following a pig, it is said that the Pillayar idol pointed at the pig with its index finger suggesting that Narayana Theertha should follow the pig. The pug ran slowly and the Mahan followed it diligently. The pig ran across several fields,hither and thither making him very tired and finally entered the temple of Venkateshwara in a village nearby. Narayana Theertha too entered the temple but could not find the pig there. The Mahan became exhilarated when an incorporeal voice announced, "I only brought you here. Don't search anymore. "

After this incident the village was called Varagur. Knowing the divine background of Narayana Theertha, the villagers accommodated him in Varagur. The Venkateshwara in the temple appeared as Srikrishna to Narayana Theertha.

After receiving the blessings of Sri Krishna, Narayana Theertha developed a desire to compose hymns on Srikrishna. He completed this assignment in Varagur within a few years of taking residence there. His Krishna Leela Tharangini expounds the playful acts of Srikrishna as a child and can be compared to Ashtapathi of Sri Jayadeva. Narayana Theertha has composed hymns on Siva, Durga and Vigneshwara besides another ballad on Rukmini Kalyanam.

After his daily puja to the idol of Srikrishna, he will draw a screen and cover the place of puja. Whenever he had time, he used to recite his Tharangini there. On such occasions, Srikrishna made him hear the sound that emanated from behind the screen caused by His dancing, His legs tied with Gajjai according to the tune sung by the Mahan. Srikrishna took Narayana Theertha away from this world during one such blissful occasion. His samadhi in Varagur vanished shortly. Srikrishna has given him darshan in several forms. Narayana Theertha did not attain samadhi in Thirupunduruthi. It is very important to establish a memorial for Narayana Theertha in Varagur near the Perumal temple. 

 

Diogenes

Diogenes who was born in Sinope, capital of Pontus in 412 BC, was ostracized from his country for living a whimsical life. But Diagones's quirk proceeded from a detached mind which he was aware of. He approached Antisthenes to understand the secrets of Vedanta. When he found that his Guru could not unravel the mysteries of spirituality (Athmikam), Diogenes left him and took to wandering.

In a few months his intellect (Chitham) attained clarity. Finally he reached the temple of Cybele at Athens and took his seat in a water tank nearby for a few years. The people of Athens regarded him as a Mahan. He wore only a loin cloth. Sometimes he used to go around during day time with a lamp in his hand. Observing this strange act of Diogenes some of his devotees humbly requested him to explain his queer deed! Diogenes replied that he is trying to find a highly virtuous person. From this it is clear that it is rare to be born as a virtuous person. The act of keeping a lamp during day time indicates that people turn a blind eye to the light of purity while they live.

When Diogenes was wandering in Attica, he was once kidnapped by pirates. Diogenes who was a Thuravi decided to partake of the fun. Thinking of this incident I am reminded of Sri Sadasiva Bramham who was made to carry firewood by Palayapattu sepoys.  When the pirates sold Diogenes as a slave in the island of Crete, a wealthy person by name Kshanayathas bought him seizing up his greatness which act I deem surprising indeed!

This wealthy man from Corinth requested Diogenes to be the Guru for his sons. Kshanayathas who could appreciate the exalted spiritual status of Diogenes implored him to stay with him. The Thuravi agreed to his request and delighted the Corinthians with his miracles. However the mercurial Diogenes left Corinth all of a sudden, visited many places at lightening speed and reached Macidon finally.

A few persons who were witness to his miracles were amazed and these reached the ears of emperor. Alexander the Great, who by nature was conceited wanted to meet Diogenes and asked his officials to locate him. Alexander was fortunate enough to meet Diogenes. He treated Diogenes with respect instead of reverence and asked him in his royal fashion whether he can be of any help to Diogenes! Diogenes appreciated the gesture of Alexander and responded "Yes, stand out of my sunshine".

The Thuravi has said "Yes" initially implying that if Alexander dropped his idea of helping him, that itself would be help enough. The later part of his response meant that he is shining like sun and a mere human being could hardly interfere. Or it may taken as an admonition to the emperor to the effect, "Don't try to illuminate my glowing self ". The emperor could make out that Diogenes did not think much of him but nevertheless was impressed by his response. Therefore, the emperor who was hardly sagacious, told Diagones, "Were I not Alexander, I would wish to be Diogenes".

Diogenes performed his super human deeds in a few more countries before attaining Jeeva Samadhi at Corinth in 323 BC. 

 

Democritus

Democritus, a celebrated philosopher born at Abdera - (460-361), a disciple of Leucippus, studied Natural Sciences, Mathematics, Mechanics, Grammar, Music, Philosophy etc; he expanded and developed his master's Atomic theory that the universe ( material and mental) consisted of minute indivisible and impenetrable atoms. He had intellectual disciples from various cities.

The versatile scholar who was an adept in many worldly disciplines finally understood that they can't help him in any way to attain the highest goal of human birth. Hence in order to quaff the rays of enlightenment, he undertook a pilgrimage to far off places and returned to his native place Abdera (In modern Bulgaria).

When he was on his way back to Abdera, he went through an intellectual transformation and also grew up in yogic stature. After he reached Abdera, he perceived whatever he saw around him like dream objects and hence kept roaming in the streets. Besides Democritus started laughing at people who were involved in meaningless temporal activities. When any prominent citizen of Abdera tried to communicate with him, Democritus responded with laughter.

A person who was formerly a scholar, highly respectable and wealthy, Democritus became the butt of sympathy of his fellow citizens. The entire Abdera considered Democritus an insane person. If a common and unpopular person had a similar transformation, no one would have taken notice. But if a great personality transformed into an insane person in his native town, how could kinsman ignore?

Democritus who had attained a divine status, adopted an absurd laughter to keep off his fellow citizens who misread his act and decided to give him medical treatment. Accordingly the divine Hippocrates (460-357) who was considered the Dhanvantri of Greece and who lived for more than hundred years was called in. (Hippocrates of Cos, one of the Grecian islands).

The Europeans regarded Hippocrates as the father of medicine who was kind enough to visit Abdera to examine Democritus who surprisingly submitted himself to the investigation. Hippocrates who checked Democritus thoroughly confirmed that he has been overcome by divine love and was rooted in pure soberness.

A few months passed. Democritus realised that he was getting involved with the world and pierced both his eyes to avoid  unnecessary thoughts. But the Gods restored his eye sight to the Daiva Sadhu! European historians have referred to Democritus as the Laughing Philosopher. 

Punida Kalavu (Sacred misappropriation)

If a Pamaran steals a coconut and offers it to a roadside Pillayar, it is a fault. Though outwardly it may appear to be an act of devotion, he is guilty of stealing since the offering is prompted by a selfish prayer. In  similar circumstances a Viveki too will be held  guilty though he may be prompted by a public cause. But a Daiva Sadhu who dedicates everything to God and thinks that everything belongs to Him, is exempted from consequences of any crime committed in the service of the Almighty.

Though this person may be considered a lawbreaker in the world, his act is approved by Gods and also demonstrates thus to the world. Further those who lose money or life by the seemingly improper act of Daiva Sadhu will miraculously get back whatever  they lost by divine intervention.

The Nawab of Golkonda who awarded capital punishment to two of his high level employees viz, Akkanna and Madanna, did not hesitate in the least in appointing their nephew Gopanna as his Tasildar. The Nawab also appreciated Gopanna's intelligence and competence who was also a Daiva Viveki. Gopanna indeed  worked with faith and loyalty. For caging a parrot for twelve years in one of his previous births, God has destined punishment to Gopanna in this birth.

When he was about to attain the level of Daiva Sadhu, an intense desire in his heart prompted Gopanna to construct a temple for Sri Rama. Though holding a high post, Gopanna was a poor man since he was functioning as a Daiva Viveki. Had the Nawab been a Hindu king, he would have made his desire plain to the king. Islam's intolerance as dictated by the Koran  towards idol worshippers is history and was widely practised by Muslim kings throughout the world. The Nawab of Golkonda was an exception though.

In general even a noble Muslim thinks that it is his basic duty to condemn Gods. All non Hindu religions, especially Islam, had this iconoclastic attitude as their foundation. Gopanna despite being aware of all this, was not willing to abandon his idea of constructing a temple for Sri Rama. The heart of Daiva Sadhu which was brimming with devotion for Sri Rama, did not even consider the consequences of laying his hands on the treasury. The sacred work started and within a few years even progressed a little bit. In due course, the news about the new temple in his regime with active involvement of his Tasildar reached the ears of Nawab.

The Nawab caused the Tasildar to appear in front of him. The king who trusted his Tasildar completely till then, now  asked him for the income and expenditure account, which the Daiva Sadhu tendered, including the amount that was spent for temple construction. The furious Nawab asked his Tasildar to be imprisoned for life.

Though a Daiva Sadhu is put to divine trial,Bhagavan does not test him very long since He awards the fruits of destiny normally in the course of an earlier birth. As far as Gopanna was concerned, since Bhagavan wanted to elevate him fast and did not want give him one more birth, he arranged the fruits of destiny to be gone through in this birth of Daiva Sadhu itself.

Hence it was not possible for even Bhagavan to free Gopanna immediately. Bhagavan had to wait till the destined period of imprisonment for caging a bird which would have otherwise  roamed happily was over. However after the expiry of twelve years, Gopanna freed himself through his favourite deities of Rama and Lakshmana.

In other words, Bhagavan brought down the life imprisonment awarded by Nawab to twelve years. No sooner  Rama and Lakshmana appeared incognito in front of Nawab and paid the amount misappropriated by Ramadas with interest, then the locks of Ramdas's prison gave way miraculously throwing its door open. When the Nawab was standing overwhelmed by the divine majesty, speech and charm of Rama and Lakshmana, the prison officials came there and informed him about the miracle in jail.

As soon as he heard it, the king's doubts vanished to some extent. So he rushed to the prison immediately, solicited the pardon of Ramadas who was sitting there meditating on Rama and told him that he is awaiting his instructions. Daiva Sadhu reciprocated the sentiments of Nawab and regretted that he was not fortunate enough to be favored with the darshan of Rama and Lakshmana like him. 

Nawab not only gave  permission to Ramdas to go ahead with the temple project, but also gifted ornaments and lands to Sri Rama with pleasure and enthusiasm. The temple constructed by Ramdas is situated at Badrachalam. Sri Rama favoured Ramdas who dedicated his life to Rama's service, with many visions including his original form  (Svayarupam) once. Ramdas has composed many stotras on Sri Rama.