About Avathar Sri Seshadri

Om Sathguru Sri Seshadri Swamigal Thiruvadikkae

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF

MAHAAN AND AVATHAR SRI SESHADRI SWAMIGAL

From the noble lineage of the Kamakoti Parampara, in the reputed family of the devout and erudite scholar, Sri Kamakoti Shastrigal, was born Avathar Sri Seshadri Swamigal, as the incarnation of Lord Shiva/Devi.

After several years of penance, Goddess Sri Kamakshi Devi was very pleased with the Kamakoti Sastrigal family, and she blessed the family saying an effulgent and resplendant child would incarnate.

In the early hours of aSaturday, on 22nd.January, 1870, to the blessed divine couple,MaragathamandVaradarajar.

Since the child was born on a Saturday, the baby was named “SESHADRI”, in obeisance to the Lord Srinivasaof Tirupati and which also happened to be the name of their ancestor.

The baby was like a golden doll full of radiance on his face. He looked like the full moon. It felt like divine nectar flowed from the baby’s beautiful countenance. His lotus eyes were alchemy to remove the sins of mankind. His lips and tongue are the lions on which Goddess Saraswathi would sit.

The common folks, the learned and Crowns of Kings ,would rest seeing those beautiful feet of Seshadri and used to kiss His lotus feet.

Seshadri would be deeply immersed in meditation at the age of two!

The child Seshadri used to play with a cow’s young one, while the cow licked its calf. Rejoicing at this beautiful scene, they affectionately called him Gokula Krishna.The child offered obeisance with flowers to the deity Sri Kamakshi Devi when his father worshiped Devi Kamakshi. He would sit in meditation, like his father, at the tender age of two!

Once baby Seshadri pleaded with His mother for an idol of Lord Krishna from a trader in Kancheepuram. Very happily,the Divine child Seshadri had His idol. The very next day, the trader suddenly prostrated himself before the young boy Seshadri, much to everyone’s surprise!

He held child Seshadri’s hands to his eyes, and cried in elation, “My Golden Hand! My Golden Hand!”

He continued, “Amma, this godly baby Krishna was the first to touch my idols and one thousand idols were sold in no time. Never have I been able sell more than a hundred idols a day. This lad is my Krishnamurthy with a golden hand!”Saying this, he shook Seshadri’s hands again and again with love, devotion and ecstasy.

Seshadri was given the title by the people of the Kanchipuram, “The One with the Golden Hand.”

This is one instance ofAvathar Sri Seshadri Swamigal’s Bala Lila.

In due course his intellect, speech and grasping power began to shine in a super human manner. Many declared him a godly person! At a very tender age he could expound with clarity and courage many subjects before august audiences.

In a conclave of scholars in colleges and in public meetings, he was the one selected to initiate the lectures. Apart from illustrations fromslokas,he could render in sonorous music, concepts, which would hover in the listener’s mind forever. Seshadri could render in poetry, his praise ofVaradaraja PerumalandDevi Sri Kamakshi.

Sri Kamakoti Sastrigal trained Seshadri on the Sastras. Seshadri mastered the entire Vedantha Sastras within a year. Sastrigal also taught him the secret lore of Mantra Sastras inherited from the ancestors in accordance with the code of Sage Agasthya.

Seshadri delivered discourses on Sri Ramayana and Bhagavatham for one whole year.

At the age of 14, His father attained MahaSamaadhi. When He was 17, His mother left the mortal world.

In her final moments, she asked Seshadri to sing the song “Ambasive” and sang with him. Finally, three times, she called out:

Arunachala! Arunachala! Arunachala!”

His mother’s parting words increased Seshadri’s devotion to the Holy Arunachala.

From 5 in the morning to 12 noon, he would lock himself in a room in his uncle’s house and meditate. He would often shout“Arunachalesa! Sonadrinatha!”

Because of the disturbance from the common folks and relatives, Seshadri, the young Yogi would head for the burial ground, near the banks of the river Vegawathi, in the evenings, to do meditation and continue throughout the night and return home in the mornings.

After he left home, five months had elapsed. He continued his ascetic way of life. One fine morning Seshadri had gone to the temple. On the banks of the SarvaTheertham (holy water tank), Seshadri saw a Sanyasi. His eyes overflowed with grace. Four of his disciples escorted him. To Sesha, they appeared to beGuru Dakshinamurthi and his disciples (Four Sanakathi Disciples).

Seshadri was overwhelmed by emotions. Tears welled up in his eyes and with his hands raised in obeisance over his head, he chanted theDakshinamuthi Ashtakam.

Observing the devotion of Yogi Seshadri,Sri Paramahamsa Balaji Swamigal,bestowed his visual-blessing saying,“Maa Suchah! Maa Suchah!”(don’t be sad), and with his hand symbolizing the removal of fear, said: “Upavisa”(sit down). Yogi Seshadri obeyed and sat down. This was Seshadri’s receiving“Nayana Diksha”(visual grace).

I wandered in search of a lover, but I found none.

When lover meets lover, then,

the devotion to the teacher strengthened.”

(-Kabir)

The sageParamahamsa Sri Balaji Swamigal was on his way on a pilgrimage from Haridwar to Ramashwaram. He discussed a number of matters relating to Sastras with Seshadri. Seshadri started serving his master as his fifth disciple. He brought milk and fruits for the master. He massaged his master’s legs, he stood by his side and fanned with the palm leaf fan. In fine, he served him day and night in wholehearted manner. A week passed.

Seeing the tremendous determination of Seshadri, he considered him fit forSanyasa.He gave Seshadrisanyasaand pronounced appropriate instructions. The Paramahamsa Swamigal who was an incarnation of Lord of Universe, having accomplished his mission, vanished with his four disciples.

Seshadri became aJeevanmuktha.

He became immersed in the immense bliss ofBrahmananda.

A few days laterAvathar Sri Seshadri Swamigalwas found inKaveripakkam (30kms from Kanchipuram). There was aLord Mukteeshwara,Shiva temple Our Swamigal found his abode there!

One-morning young boy Sesha (cousin of Swamigal) was perambulating with our Swami at 6 a.m. in the inner compound (Prakaram). At that time from a‘Punna’ tree bottom near the northern wall, a big snake emerged. Sesha cautioned our Swami about the snake.Swami looked at the snake and invited it. It immediately responded, and crept up his hand, curled itself thrice around his neck and spread its hood over his head like an umbrella.Sesha mistook it and ran into the street; crying that his brother had been bitten by a snake. A few seconds later, the snake left Swami and vanished.The people were surprised and deemed it to be a manifestation of Lord Mukteeswara.

Swami’s uncle and aunt arrived fromKanchi to Kaveripakkam.At that moment, Swami was in a state ofSamadhi. They, along with several others witnessed the absolutely motionless state of Swamigal, with the belief that Lord Mukteeswara Himself had assumed this human form! With devotion, they shed tears, and prostrated before him spontaneously. The crowd also raised the prayer:

Namah Parvathi Pathaye! Hara Hara Mahadev!”

Our Swamigal awoke. Having blessed the gathering, Swamigal left.

From Athwambadi, Swamigal reached Thiruvannamalai and fulfilled his mother’s last wish.One has to remember what Swami’s mother declared before her passing:

She called Swami close to her and sat up and patting him on his chest repeated thrice the following slokas:

Sathsangathve Nissangathvam,

Nissangathve Nirmohathwam,

Nirmohathve Nicchala thathwam,

Nicchala thathve Jeevan Mukthi”

Swami was thrilled to arrive at the Holy place. Swami was 19 years old then. He left Kanchipuram in the year 1889 and reached Thiruvannamalai (Kanchipuram-Thiruvannamalai 120kms) in the same year.For 40 years till he attained Maha Samadhi in the year 1929, Swami did not leave Thiruvannamalai.

HE WAS THE GOD WHO WALKED THE EARTH!”

Swami did not have any place of his own to stay, at Thiruvannamalai. He never slept the nights. The residents of the town held him in great respect. Watching his ways, his habits, many realized He was a great saint. The awe and respect for him increased. Scholars, illiterates, the young and the old, men, women and children, and people from all walks of life, regarded Swamigal as a divine incarnation.

Many consider that there are twoLingasinThiruvannamalai:

One wasLord Arunachala,and the otherAvathar Shri Seshadri Swamigal.

Swamigal was an Avathara Purushawith immense powers.

Seshadri Swamigal was a God who walked the Earth!

His personality was a unique one – a blend of magnetic charisma, and ethereal mercy. He was awe-inspiring!

Swamigal’s Persona

Avathar Sri Seshadri Swamigal was neither very tall nor short in build. His forehead was broad. His eyes evinced kindness. Broad chested, with long hands and legs, slim-waisted, and delicate tender lotus-like feet, – His attractive physique – stole the heart of His devotees! His eyes resembled the full moon. He exuded love and compassion. His devotees would prostrate before him and sit by his side. Swamigal would not see them then. He would watch them when their eyes were focussed elsewhere! That was when, His “Nayana Diksha” (imparting instructions by a mere glance, or vision), was at play! His eyes resembled those of Lord Krishna. His matted hair was a thin bunch and short and adorned the back of his head. His neck was like a valampuri shell (Conch) and was round and sturdy.

Swamigal’s Clothing

There was a golden aura about Him! The unkempt clothes he wore, hid the aura. It felt, as if dark clouds eclipsed the full moon. He was clad only in a dhothi, which would cover his back and chest. If any one were to give him new clothes, it would reach the state of his original clothes, in a couple of hours! Sometimes, he would give away his new clothes in exchange for their rags, when street beggars begged him. One who had had lost perception of his body would never be attached to the clothes he wore! He never cared about dirt soiling His clothes, since He had already transcended His physical frame!

Swamigal’s Pace

Swami always walked very fast, never at a slow pace. His strides were such that one had to run, to keep pace with him. He was like a straw in the wind! He was so light-footed! -when He tread, there was no sound! He would never stay at any one place for more than a while! He was Omniscient! – He would literally be seen in several places, in a matter of a short while!

In a matter of seconds Swami would be seen in fifty places.”

If one were to be asked, if they had seen Swami, there was always a plethora of replies:

I have seen Swami near the temple chariot,” “I saw swami at the Sadaichi Mutt,” “I had just seen Him near the temple gates,” “I just saw Swami at the steps of the Sivaganga tank,” “Swami is in the choultry with the Sadhus,” “Swami is just heading towards the temple,” were the various replies! In fine, in a matter of seconds he would be seen in fifty places.

Swamigal’s Mudra (posture)

Swami would always sit in a unique posture, – a posture we could not sit in, easily! It felt as if he was sitting with his body not touching the floor but supported on his heels. It would appear like he was seated on the floor, and at the same time, not really touching the floor! He assumed this posture without any special effort. In the Yoga Sastras this posture, considered very auspicious, is called the “Swasthik Asana.”

Swamigal’s Voice

If Swami started to speak, it would be like the cooing of the cuckoos or the strumming of the veena! Such was his sonorous and gentle voice. If any one were to ask him anything, he would reply in a very gentle, soft and sweet voice, and his reply would be in a few words.

If any ardent devotee requested him to sing, he would, without any hesitation, sing the pallavi of “Ramapathe Sathanathe” or “Ambasive” and stop at that. He would say that these were compositions of Kamakoti Sastrigal (his grandfather). Those who had heard him sing would catagorise his music as that of theGandharvas(celestial beings)! Swami had the knowledge of the appropriate rhythm for the compositions. When he sang with the correct rhythm, it appeared as if Nandi himself was playing the Mridangam!

Swami utilised a strange manner of speech to ward off crowds from unnecessarily thronging and disturbing him. Such a manner of speech, was one of the several tools adopted by him to prevent Himself from worldly attachment!

Even the moon or the sun could fall into slumber but our Swami never!

Our Swami, was an Avathar who had totally conquered sleep. He had won over nature. He shone like a sun to dispel the darkness of disease. He was an embodiment of the sloka “Yaanicha” in the Gita (Ch.2:v.69), in that he was immersed in the happiness of sleep in sleeplessness! Sleep is considered an inborn darkness of every creature. It is induced by tiredness or by excessive eating. It is obvious that excessive sleep causes lack of wisdom and ailments. This is the reason why the Upanishads urge one not to give into sleep.

Swamigal’s Darshan

The extent of Swami’s benign grace was unique, boundless!

Swami was not bound by anything and He was free! It was God Almighty who had manifested Himself in the form of Swami. Anyone, who had a darshan of Swamigal or had the benefit of His visual grace, was cleansed of all impurities.

For the benefit of mankind, Swamigal was a living example of every aspect of spiritual significance!

Om Sathguru Sri Seshadri Swamigal Thiruvadikkae

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