Maharishi and Swamigal

Mahaan Sri Seshadri Swamigal and Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharishi were contemporaries. Mahaan was ten years elder to Bhagavan and arrived Tiruvannamalai six years before him. Mahaan was the one who had shown to the world about the Bhagavan. The following anecdote explains the mother-child relationship of two great Saints:

In the early days, young boy named Venkataramana came to Tiruvannamalai and was meditating in the Pathala Linga of Sri Arunachaleswar temple.

As part of his usual routine, Sri Venkatachala Mudaliar, a devotee of Sri Seshadri Swamigal, went to take bath in Shivaganga in the temple around noon. He heard a noise from the nearby hall of Thousand Pillars. On investigation he found some rowdies were pelting stones into the Pathala Linga Temple (basement of Thousand Pillars hall) . When he approached near Pathala Linga temple, he saw Mahaan Sri Seshadri Swamigal coming out with a loud laughter. Mudaliar was quite surprised by seeing the sudden appearance of Swamigal. Mahaan asked him not to be afraid of and took a banyan stick lying there and drove the rowdies away.

Mahaan came back to Mudaliar and told him, “See my child is doing penance inside.” Mudaliar got surprised again and asked him how that young boy was his child. Mahaan immediately responded, “you already know that I am amsa (embodiment) of Goddess Parvathy Devi and the boy who is meditating is the amsa of Lord Muruga.”

Those days, there was no electric lights like nowadays and hence it was pitch dark inside the Pathala Linga temple. There was an oil lamp. Hence, Mudaliar was bit afraid of going alone inside the temple. He went inside along with few people and saw a young boy sitting in Samadhi. He, along with others, lifted Sri Ramana and brought him out. Both of his thighs had wounds oozing blood resulting from the onslaughts of insect bites. Mahaan patted Mudaliar’s back and told him, “Now do you see my child Skanda?”

On many instances, Mahaan and Bhagavan revealed that they were one and the same. Here are some of the anecdotes:

People in Tiruvannamalai always call Mahaan as Anna (elder Seshadri) and Bhagavan as Thambi (younger Seshadri). Once a devotee told Bhagavan that people in the city was calling Mahaan as a madman. Bhagavan replied smilingly that there were three mad men in the city: One was Sri Seshadri Swamigal, the second was Sri Arunachaleswarar and the third one was himself. Ramana Maharishi also added that Swamigal did not allow people to go near him whereas everyone were allowed here (pointing to him). He symbolically said that there was no difference among himself, Mahaan and Annamalaiyar. All are one and the same.

Similarly, on a different occasion, Sri Seshadri Swamigal was telling T.V.Subramanya Iyer that there were three lingas in Arunachala. Subramanya Iyer replied he knows only one i.e. Sri Arunachaleswarar. Swamigal told him that the second and third were himself and Sri Ramana Maharishi.

There was one Lakshmi Ammal who came to Arunachala to serve Bhagavan and stayed with Echammal (another devotee of Ramana Maharishi). One day, she was going to Maharishi’s ashram and she saw Swamigal on the way. She regretfully thought that she was not able to serve Mahaan. Immediately Mahaan read her unspoken thought and told her there was no difference if the service was rendered to Ramana Maharishi or himself.

M. K. Subramanya Sastry was a staunch believer in God. He had a desire to do meditation. One day he approached Sri Ramana and asked him “Is it true that, as some people claim, taking Purna Lehyam (an Ayurvedic medicine) facilitates meditation?” Sri Ramana Bhagavan replied “Never, never, never. That thought should never occur”. Sastry accepted and departed. But subsequently three days later, either on his own or due to prompting by others, he tried an experiment on himself by swallowing Purna Lehyam. His experiment was an utter failure, it did not facilitate meditation. On the contrary his mind went into a spin and the whole sky and earth appeared to be revolving. He stood up, sat down, lay down, walked. Later by God’s grace, at 9 p.m. it occurred to him to have darshan of Swamiji. Immediately he rushed to the temple of Lord Muruga. The Swamiji with four others was indulging in the usual peculiar talk. He did obeisance and sat down. Then Swamiji looking at Sastry, said “I had told you not to take, never, never, never. Why did you take it?” Sastry hung his head in shame. It was Sri Ramana Bhagavan who had said “Never, never, never”, but Swamiji said “I told you so” – what a surprise! He admired Mahaan’s grace and concluded that both were one.

Once, devotees presented a sofa to Sri Seshadri Swamigal. Mahaan sat on it for while and immediately jumped off from the sofa saying that nothing belonged to him. Disappointingly, devotees took the sofa to Ramana Maharishi and requested him to use it. Bhagavan sat on it and told the devotees with a smile to reveal the greatness of Mahaan, “I am not like Seshadri Swamigal who had forgotten his body”.

When Sri Seshadri Swamigal attained Maha Samadhi, Bhagavan Ramana Maharishi was sitting at the feet of Swamigal during the funeral procession and laid down the Samadhi in Chengam Road where current Sri Seshadri Swamigal Ashram is.