7 December 2007

Muniraja Uncle

Talk to just about anyone who has relocated to Tiruvannamalai and you will find an interesting story of what attracted them to Arunachala and what made them stay. When I used to live in an area called Rajiv Gandhi Nagar (a mile west of Ramana Ashram in Ramana Nagar) I used to notice around Full Moon each month, bustling activity around a small shed on the side of the road.

Om Namah Shivaya

After observing the activity over the course of some months, one day I stopped by and started to chat with the man in charge. The shed belongs to a man called Muniraja who each month arranges prasadam (food offerings) to be given to pilgrims performing giripradakshina during Full Moon.

Brahma Kumari (from Rajasthan)

Muniraja was born in 1945 in a place in Tamil Nadu called Dharmapuri and worked for 30 years in Chennai for Hercules Cycles. Between the years of 1991-1998 Muniraja travelled by bus each weekend from Chennai to Tiruvannamalai and returned in time to resume his duties at work each Monday morning. It wasn’t until 1998 that he retired from his work and moved permanently to Tiruvannamalai.

Saint Vallalar

In 1999 he started his service of feeding pilgrims on the day of Full Moon each month. Since that time each month he spends Rs.4,000 per month to feed about 700 people performing giripradkashina and this Deepam 2007, he spent Rs.15,000 to feed 2,000 pilgrims dishes of both savoury and sweet rice.

Vasiyogam Shivananda Vadigri

Muniraja, who asked I not take a photograph of him, told me that he has been studying breath control and yoga throughout his life and as part of his sadhana he was instructed to perform feeding of pilgrims each month whilst living at Arunachala. As well as giving free food, Muniraja also arranges clean drinking water to be always freely available at the site of where he gives out the food each month.

Tent for Pilgrims for Prasadam

While speaking to him he told me that during his spiritual life he has had four gurus; Om Namah Shivaya, Vasiyogam Shivananda Vadigri (a Yogi from Kerala who has been dead for 90 years), Brahma Kumari (from Rajasthan) and Saint Vallalar (famous throughout Tamil Nadu).

So you see an ordinary person walking down the street and suddenly you find a fellow sadhaka who has been on their own pursuit of Truth for most of their life. Interesting place this Tiruvannamalai.


ramanamayi said...

Beautiful and inspiring account!

Eileen said...

Agreed, it is so inspiring and sweet that he is doing this selfless service while following his own dedicated and intense sadhana.

RK said...

Awesome ...
My name is Radhakrishnan I'm interested to get in touch with him. Appreciate if you can post me his contact details...my id is rada_rav@hotmail.com..

Thanks fora nice blog

Arunachala Living said...

Thanks for getting in touch. When I next meet up with Muniraja Uncle, I will get you some contact information. Best Wishes