16 March 2007

Sri Seshadri Swamigal

Seshadri Swamigal lived January 22, 1870 to January 4, 1929 and spent the last 40 years of his life wandering the streets of Tiruvannamlai. Seshadri Swamigal and Ramana Maharshi (Ramana arrived at Arunachala six years later than Seshadri) were contemporaries. It was Seshadri who found Ramana in the Patala Linga at Arunachala Temple, protecting him from urchins and bringing him to the notice of the world.

Locals used to call Sri Seshadri, Mother Parvathi and Sri Ramana, Skanda (Lord Subramanya). Sometimes Sri Seshadri Swamigal, the older by ten years would be called 'elder Seshadri' (anna) and Sri Ramana 'younger Seshadri' (thambi). One time a devotee told Sri Ramana that everyone called Seshadri a mad man. Ramana smilingly replied that there were three mad men in Arunachala. One was Seshadri, the second was Arunachaleswarar and the third was himself. Sri Ramana said of Swamji, 'Sri Seshadri does not allow people to come near him. Here all are coming'.

Throughout his life and teachings Sri Seshadri continuously emphasised the glory of Arunachala talking often about the unique aspects of Arunachala kshetra:

'This is the place where Swamy and Ambal invite all and confer liberation', and 'Lord Krishna leaving aside his sudarshana chakra (wheel) is playing on his flute. On hearing it Lord Siva who is inside the mountain comes out and dances'. And,'This is Siva Lingam. It is enough to worship this. One can become spiritually enlightened and attain liberation'.

Ilustrating the similarity of the Arunachaleswarar Temple to Arunachala Hill, Sri Seshadri said to those wasting their time discussing worldly affairs and neglecting God: 'He spreads his shop in the morning. Closes it at night. He does not see Lord Arunachaleswara. What is the use? Visit the temple. Visit the temple. Visit the temple'.

He was ever emphasising the inestimable value of giripradakshina instructing:'One should pray to Lord Arunachaleswara all the time. In particular perambulation of the hills should be done on Tuesdays. Deep devotion will arise'.

Sri Seshadri Swamigal's samadhi tomb is enshrined within the grounds of Sri Seshadri Ashram on Chengam Road, Tiruvannamalai. Although Sri Seshadri Swamigal has shed his mortal coil, He is ever present helping, blessing and guiding his devotees to everlasting bliss. His own search brought him to Arunachala and it is to the sacred Hill that Swamigal tells all to look to, to fulfil life's highest goal. Visit this link to read a short, excellent biography of this great saint.

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