Mahaan Sri Seshadri Swamigal

Sri Seshadri Swamigal
Sri Seshadri Swamigal

Whenever someone hears the name Thiruvannamalai, it invokes the memory of the famous Sri Arunachala temple and Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi. But, there was a Jivanmukta (one who was liberated while living in the body) called Mahaan Sri Seshadri Swamigal who revealed Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi to the world.

Mahaan Sri Seshadri Swamigal was born on 22nd January 1870 under the auspices of Hastham star and Dhanur Lagna in Vazhur Agraharam near Vandavasi (now Tiruvannamalai District). His parents were Sri Varadharaja Jodithar and Sri Maragathammal. He belonged to Kaamakotiyaar lineage, who worshipped Goddess Kamakshi Devi and spread Sri Vidya Upasana. Swamigal exhibited divinity from the very young age. He was called Thankakai Seshadri meaning Golden Hand Seshadri when all toys brought by the vendor were sold out the same day after Swamigal got one from him.

At a very young age, Swamigal was able to chant all difficult slokas. He was properly initiated by his grandfather Sri Kaamakoti Sastrigal. Swamigal learnt Puranas, Ithihasas, Carnatic music and veda shastras. He was a shining beacon.

When he was twelve, his father Sri Varadaraja Jodithar passed away. That made the little boy in extreme grief and his life suddenly seemed empty.

When Swamigal was fourteen, Sri Kaamakoti Sastrigal transferred all the knowledge and taught him Upanishads, Brahmasutras and Bhagavad Gita.

Sri Maragathammal wanted his son to get married and settle in life. When Swamigal’s aunt brought the proposal to marry her daughter to him, his uncle Sri Ramaswamy Jodithar said that Swamigal had sanyasa yoga and he would become a great yogi. This brought more shock to Sri Maragathammal. Her health was also going down and she was getting weaker day by day. She passed away when Swamigal was nineteen. At the time of her death, she mentioned about Arunachala which made Swamigal attracted to Tiruvannamalai.

Swamigal did intense sadhana such as meditation, japa in the temple and finally in the burial grounds. During that time, a yogishwar by the name Sri Balaji Swamigal from Haridwar visited Kanchipuram. On seeing Sri Balaji Swamigal, Seshadri had tears in his eyes with emotion and fell at his feet and sought his blessings. Seshadri was given jnana sanyasa by Sri Balaji Swamigal based on seeing his intense vairagya.

Once, during the annual ceremony of Swamigal’s father, he was brought forcibly and locked inside the room to perform the rituals. When the door was opened, Swamigal disappeared without breaking anything inside the room. Everyone realised Swamigal had become brahma jnani and were in search of him. Swamigal travelled to Tiruvannamalai through many villages and cities from Kanchipuram.

Swamigal lived in Tiruvannamalai for about 40 years doing miracles and giving upadesas to spiritual seekers. He was the contemporary of Bhagavan Ramana Maharishi. Swamigal never owned anything for himself, not even a place to stay. He was usually seen in Sri Kambathu Ilayanaar Sannidhi in Sri Arunachaleswar temple.

Swamigal’s attained maha samadhi on 04th January 1929.