Once when Venkata Subba Iyer visited the cave in Podhigai hills, he was looking at a medicine that was kept inside the box. Yogeeswarar called his son and asked him to bring an iron piece that was near by him. Yogeeswarar sprinkled the medicine powder that Venkata Subba Iyer picked from the box on the iron piece. The iron piece immediately turned to gold. On seeing this, Venkata Subba Iyer thought in his mind that, his financial difficulties will go away, if he learn this technique from his father. Yogeeswarar at once told to his son, “You should never come back to this place. Go to your home immediately”. Venkata Subba Iyer realizing his mistake prostrated to Yogeeswarar and begged for forgiveness. For that Yogeeswarar said, even though I can forgive you, i am not going to let you come to this place again. Instead, Yogeeswara will come in direct or indirect form to help his son when he is in trouble. From then, Venkata Subba Iyer never visited the cave where Yogeeswara was staying in Podhigai hills.
After some time, Venkata Subba Iyer went to Aththi Thirtham on a Sunday in Tamil month Avani. He went along with his Mudaliar friend to that place.They took bath in the Theertham around afternoon time and then came close to a big rock near theertham. Yogeeswarar appeared before them in full physical form and asked them to wait at the same place to have food which will come shortly. After that Yogeeswarar disappeared and food was ready in 2 banana leaf near by that place. They were thrilled seeing that and had the food. The food was having divine taste and they never had such a delicious food before or after in their life time. Venkata Subba Iyer has told this story to his son RamaKrishna Iyer. Rama Krishna Iyer inturn told this story to Venkata Subba Iyer who wrote this biography. Also, Mudaliar friend has shared this story to his wife which was then shared to his son Sachchidananda Mudaliar. Venkata Subba Iyer had the opportunity to listen to this story many times when Sachchidananda Mudaliar shared this story to RamaKrishna Iyer.
Thereafter Venkata Subba Iyer went to podhigai hills many times to visit Ramakrishna Yogeeswarar. He will stay with his father along with his father’s disciples for few days every time he visited there. If his father is not present while he visited, he stays in the place for few days along with his father’s disciples awaiting his arrival and comes back after he meets Yogeeswara. While talking to his disciples, he got to know that Yogeeswara gives them strict instructions on what should be accomplished by the time he visits back to his cave in Podhigai hills. All this disciples will accomplish those and will wait for his arrival. The disciples usually never know when Yogeeswara will come back and where he goes. Few years went by and Venkata Subba Iyer was visiting his father every now and then. Venkata Subba Iyer turned 45 and he was not blessed with children until then. Venkata Subba Iyer was famous as an astrologer and provides remedies to many people who visit him with their problems. But he was sad that, he himself was not blessed with children until then. He prostrated before Yogeeswara and prayed towards him to beget children when he visited Ramakrishna Yogeeswara. On hearing his prayers, Yogeeswarar asked him to stop practicing Gowli Shastra Jyotish (Astrology based on the sound that home lizard makes) and blessed him to beget children. Venkata Subba Iyer was very happy listening to Yogeeswara’s kind words and he shared the delightful news with everyone at his home.
On the same year, Venkata Subba Iyer was blessed with a girl child. After that, he was blessed with 3 boy child and again with one more girl child. For Venkata Subba Iyer and Gowri Parvathi couple, following children were born in the following order
- Ramakrishna Iyer
- Sundara Iyer
Kulathu died before he reached 5 years among these 5 children.
The auspicious day on which Yogeeswarar said that he will give darshan in Alwai temple has finally arrived. Everyone on that day woke up early and finished their daily rituals and getting ready to come to the Alwai Temple. The priest who performs the pooja in the Sivan temple came in the morning and opened the door of the temple on that auspicious day. He saw a person was sitting in the padmasana position doing meditation and sitting on the direction facing Kasi Visalakshi Ambal temple. He immediately informed the temple authorities. Hearing this news everyone came to the temple to take blessings from Yogeeswarar and with them they brought offerings to him.
This is the place Yogeeswarar was sitting inside the temple when the temple door was opened
(Kasi Visalakshi Ambal and Kasi Viswanathar in Alwai Temple)
After people came to temple for his darshan, Yogeeswarar opened his eyes and gave Vibhooti prasadam to every one. He sat in the same posture until the next day evening without moving from that place. In the mean time, people offered lots of milk and it was poured in a very big utensil (Kopparai in tamil) as offering to him.People prayed to him to partake some milk from the offerings. Yogeeswarar accepted their prayers and said in tamil “சங்கரா சாப்பிடு” (Sankara, drink the milk). The moment he said that, all the milk vanished from the utensil. Everyone prayed to him to stay in the same place and continue to bless them always. Yogeeswarar withspoke and told he has to leave (“சங்கரன் போகவேண்டும்” in tamil) and disappeared immediately. Everyone was flabbergasted and they were talking among themselves about the miracle that they saw.
Yogeeswarar gave heavenly blessings (அருள்வாக்கு) to everyone whilst he was there. Yogeeswarar’s co-brother (sister inlaw’s husband) prostrated to Yogeeswarar and prayed to him to forgive his mistakes. Yogeeswarar provided prasadam to him and said everyone has to go through their karmic debts that comes in their life because of their actions. Needless to say that Yogeeswarar’s co-brother went through sufferings during his last stage of the life.
The day after Yogeeswarar disappeared from the temple, one person mentioned himself as his disciple and came to Venkata Subbaiyer house. He gave a small wooden box that contained palm leaves (ஓலைச்சுவடி) to Venkata Subbaiyer. The author (great grandson of Yogeeswarar) who wrote this autobiography has personally heard this experience from Neelakandaiyar who was very young boy them and lived in the West Mada street in Alwarkurichi.
Let us see what happened next after a short break…
(KozhundhuMaMalai Temple Photo courtesy from https://siththanarul.blogspot.in/2014/11/04112014-1.html)
The next day, cowherd took them to the big tree under which he met Yogeeswarar on previous day. But he wasn’t there to be seen. Cowherd was very much disappointed as he couldn’t see Yogeeswarar there. He suddenly thought of another tree similar to this one in another place. He told everyone that he will there go and take a look and come back. Venkata Subbaiyer told that he will also accompany Cowherd with him and he went along with him. When they went to the other side that had similar place, they both saw Yogeeswarar doing penance under the big tree. They both prostrated to Yogeeswarar and stood before him with great devotion. After sometime, Yogeeswarar opened his eyes and looked at his son with divine love. He enquired about his well being and then provided vibhoothi to his son and to cowherd as his blessings. Venkata subbaiyer asked Yogeeswarar to come back to home. For which Yogeeswarar replied, “there are no bondings applicable for a person who renounced everything and I am now one with Eswara himself and hence I cannot accompany with you to your home. Also, I attained Immortality and hence there is no need to perform Shrardham (rituals performed for dead people) anytime in future by your family lineage“. Yogeeswarar told his son to bring all the relatives who accompanied with his son but not his mother-in-law to receive his blessings. Further, Yogeeswarar told that he is not giving darshan to mother-in-law at this moment as she brought up Venkata Subbaiyer like his own son and if she comes and visits Yogeeswara, his Tapas shakthi will go down. So, he will give darshan to her in another occasion by visiting her. Every body came to the other side of the hill where Yogeeswara was seated and got his Vibhoothi prasadam and blessings.
Yogeeswarar then told his son that he can see him anytime in Podhihai hills where he is living and disappeared after that. After that, Venkata Subbaiyer frequently visited Yogeeswara in Podhihai hills. When he visited once in Yogeeswara, he requested Yogeeswara to visit the Siva Temple in Alwarkurichi that his in-laws forefathers has constructed. (This is the same temple that you see in the Alwai Temple section in this blogsite).Yogeeswarar agreed to come and visit the temple and specified a date on which he will visit the temple.
What happened next? Wait until my next post…
The day before Aadi Amavasya, a cowherd was gracing his cattle in the foot hills of Kozhundhumaamalai near Cheranmahadevi. This cowherd was a servant in the yogeeswarar’s house in Adhaalikulam during early days of Yogeeswarar. After Yogeeswarar left Adhaalikulam giving up all his properties and belongings, his relatives too over his belongings and split those among themselves. The cowherd didnt find any job in Adhaalikulam after that and hence he moved to Cheranmahadevi where his daughter house was present. He was assisting them by gracing the cattle in the Kozhundhumaamalai. He noticed a person sitting on a big rock under a big tree with long beard and moustach. When he approached near to him, he observed that the person was facing west direction while seated and in deep meditation. The cowherd was very old at that time and he approached the person meditating under the tree and looked at him very keenly. He quickly realized that the person meditating was none other than Ramakrishna yogeeswarar and became very happy. His joy found no bounds immediately after that. He prostrated to Yogeeswarar and stood before him with great servitude.
After a while, yogeeswarar opened his eyes and looked at the cowherd. Cowherd became very happy and immediately started telling about the properties and belongings that yogeeswarar had and how they were taken by his relatives. Yogeeswarar replied to cowherd that he didnt come there to hear these details and told him that, his son is preparing to perform shrardham for him tomorrow in Papanasam. He asked the cowherd to depart immediately and inform his son that he is very much alive and his son shouldn’t perform shrardham. Cowherd immediately acknowledged yogeeswarar’s words and immediately ran towards Alwarkurichi to inform Venkata subbaiyer. He reached Venkata subbaiyer’s house and informed all the details.
After hearing cowherd’s words, Venkata subbaiyer and all his relatives were awestruck. They asked cowherd, whether he can show him the location where he met Yogeeswarar. Cowherd agreed immediately to take them to the place where he met Yogeeswarar. Venkata subbaiyer started immediately cowherd and along with his mother-in-law and few relatives. They reached Cheranmahadevi that evening. It was dark by the time they reached Cheranmahadevi and hence they decided to go the very next day morning to Kozhundhumaamalai. The next day morning came and they all started along with Cowherd and went to Kozhnudhumaamalai.
What happened next? Let us see that in my next post.
Google map location of Kozhudhumaamalai is shown below. There is a beautiful murugan temple located here. Priest lives in cheranmahadevi and we have to inform him to have darshan in the temple.
Yogeeswarar revealed how he attained Jeevan Muktha to Narasimha Iyer (we will see about him in future posts). Also, Yogeeswarar revealed himself either in physical presence in complete silence to the Sankara Mahadevan who wrote this biograhy in Tamil in August 1967 or when yogeeswarar talked to Sankara Mahadevan, he was not seen infront his eyes. Sankara Mahadevan’s was great grandson of Yogeeswarar and he had a sarma name same as his grand father i.e. Venkata Subramanyam. He hand drew the picture of Yogeeswarar based on the vision he got infront of him and you would have seen them in my first post in this blog.
Now let us go back to what happened after Venkata Subbaiyer came back from Sringeri. Venkata Subbaiyer became a very famous astrologer due to his mastery over jyotisha (astrology) shastra. Chief and other dignitaries from neighboring village Ambur came and met Venkata Subbaiyer and asked him to take over the position of head astrologer for the people of Ambur. Venkata Subbaiyer fame was spreading across all sides and there was no one in any near by town and village who had command an astrology as that of Venkata Subbaiyer. Venkata Subbaiyer had mastery over Mandrikam (black magic) and he was well regarded by people for that. He also had command over Gowli shastra (predictions based on sound made by Lizard)
One day, Venkata subbaiyer had a debate with another astrologer from Kallidaikurichi on a matter related to Jatakam/Kundali (astrology chart based on the birth time of a person) in Ambur and Venkata subbaiyer won the debate. Kallidaikurichi astrologer who lost the debate was a learned man on Tarka and Vyakarana shastras. Kallidaikurichi astrologer told Venkata subbaiyer that he cannot accept his defeat happily even though Venkata subbaiyer won the debate. When further enquired, Kallidaikurichi astrologer told Venkata subbaiyer that Venkata subbiayer doesnt whereabouts of his father and what happened to him. Venkata subbaiyer got shell shocked after hearing these words and he immediately prostrated to Kallidaikurichi astrologer and told that his father-in-law died without telling what happened to Yogeeswarar and what he should do for that. Venkata subbaiyer further asked Kallidaikurichi astrologer to advice him on what he should do and he will carry over them as per his instructions.
If a person’s fathers whereabouts is not known for more than 35 years, the son should perform Thila homam and shrardham (offering to died one as per vedic procedures) in punya theerham (water flowing in holy place) like Papanasam on the eve of Aadi amavasya (no moon day in the Tamil month Aadi). Venkata subbaiyer at once agreed to make arrangements to perform them on Aadi amavasya day. Venkata subbaiyer started making preparations to perform Thila homam and Shrardham in Papanasam, Tirunelveli. The day before Aadi amavaysa has arrived and Venkata subbaiyer was making preparations to goto Papanasam, Tirunelvei the very day.
What happened next? Please wait for my future post..
Picture of Yogeeswarar pancha loka vigraham present in my dad’s place is provided below.
At this point, the author who wrote the life history of Yogeeswarar gives us a brief note on how Yogeeswarar attained Jeevan Muktha state after he left Alwarkurichi at the age of 32. He has mentioned this to his son Venkata Subramanyam, when Venkata Subramanyam met Yogeeswarar at later part of his years. How Venkata Subramyam met Yogeeswarar will be covered later on?
In short, Yogeeswarar became siddha purusha with the help of kalpa (rejunevation). After that, he has followed strict yogic practices that eventually led him to Jeevan Muktha (immortal state without body aging).
When Yogeeswarar left Vellanguli village after he went to his brother-in-law’s house, he went straight to Sorimuthaiyan Kovil (temple) near baanatheertham in the papanasam hills of Tirunelveli. He was spending his days without any involvement in worldly affairs, but unable to find the right way to make spiritual progress to attain higher consciousness. He eventually got frustrated and tried to give up his life by committing suicide in the baanatheertham falls near upper dam. When he was about to jump from the falls, a great mahaan appeared infront of him. His name was Krishna Yogi. He consoled Yogeeswarar amd then took him deep inside the forest and directly took him to Sage Agastya. Then Sage Agastya gave instructions for how to make different kayakalpa (body rejunevation that frees the vital energy by purifying and nurturing the body) and instructions for becoming siddha purusha. Step by step he made progress using kayakalpa and yogic postures, Yogeeswarar attained Atma Gnana (realization of higher truth and understanding the true essesnce of Advaita ) and completely merged his consciousness with higher consciousness.
Yogeeswarar went on pilgrimage after he left Alwarkurichi for a period of 12 years and returned to Vellanguli village, Tirunelveli. He directly went to his brother in law’s (siva subramanyam) wife house who is a widower in the afernoon time. The front door was closed when he went there and he knocked the door. Women in the house thought that some one who is a begger might be knocking the door and didnt answer the door knock. Yogeeswarar then called the people at home by name and people in the house bounded by fate thought it was the begger again and scolded the person who is calling them by name without opening the door. Hearing that, Yogeeswarar left the kaavadi and Gangasthali that he had with him at the door step of the house and started walking towards to west direction. Little later the women in the house realized that the voice belongs to some one whom she knows and then at once came running towards the front door and opened it to see who it was. She realized the person who is walking away with beard and mustache is Yogeeswarar and asked her son to go and fetch him to house. Her son, ran towards Yogeeswarar and asked to come back to home. But yogeeswarar asked him to take care of the house and started walking away. When the soon looked back, he suddenly saw the house was engulfing with fire and he ran back to put off the fire. While everybody was busy putting off the fire, they didnt pay attention to where yogeeswarar left. But, they communicated the news about Yogeeswara to relatives in Alwarkurichi.
As time progressed, Yogeeswarar’s son venkata subbaiyer has reached 18 years and was brought up by his uncle with great love and affection. He was married to Gowri parvathi as per the previous arrangements and was living in his father-in-law’s house. One day, his father-in-law asked him to take care of accounting crops that were grown in the field. When his father-in-law went to the field, he didnt fine his son-in-law and also heard that he didnt fulfill the task given to him. Father-in-law scolded Venkata Subbaiyer for his carelessness after he came to home. Hearing that, Venkata Subbaiyer left the home without telling anyone. He went straight to sringeri and joined the sringeri paata shala. There he acquired education along with jyotisha shastra and maandrika shastra. He returned after 5 years to Alwarkurichi after he completed his education and his father-in-law was very happy about the development made by Venkata Subbaiyer. His father-in-law built a separate house for him in the neighboring open land and helped Venkata subbaiyer to start the family with Gowri parvathi on that house.
What happened next? Let us wait until my next post.