Hindu Bhakti (Devotional) Stories Index
Sada Siva Brahmendra Swami
Stories of Devotees, Stories from Puranas, Stories from Hindu Mythology, Stories of Bhakthas, Stories of Alwars, Stories of Nayanars, Stories of Hindu Saints, Biographies of Hindu Philosophers, Stories of Hindu Sages, Stories of Hindu Gods and Goddesses,
Vivekananda said, ‘I challenge anybody to show one single period of her national life when India was lacking in spiritual giants.’ India went on producing sages with positive outlook, sublime thoughts. Such spiritual gems of India silently contributed to the well being of the whole world.’
Saints and their like have to be believed and belief is a matter of heart, faith, As God cannot be forced into a narrow definition, saints too cannot be circumscribed in the confines of words and a definition.
One such saint is Sada Siva Brahmendra, on the banks of Kaveri river in a village called Nerur, in Karur district in Tamil Nadu, India. There is a siva temple and ‘Bilva Vruksham’ on the banks of Kaveri river. In the temple lies the samadhi of the great saint. Pilgrims flock together to have his darshan.
This Sada Siva Brahmendra was born to a great pandit named Moksha Somasundara Avadhani. He prayed to Rama and Krishna while his wife Parvathi prayed to Shiva. As a result their son was named Siva Rama Krishna.
He proved himself different from birth. He had vairagya which reached its zenith in his youth but as typical parents, his parents assumed that he would behave perfectly normal after he was united in wedlock. He tried to oppose, but he had to yield ultimately to their persuations, being a dutiful son. He was married at the age of seventeen.
Siva Rama Krishna could not change after his marriage as his parents assumed. The vairagya and a quest for knowledge continued to be deep rooted in him. In the mean while his wife matured and their first night was arranged on a grand scale in his in-law’s house. Siva Rama Krishna was very hungry. He stood at the door step of kitchen and pleaded. ‘I am hungry. Will you serve me food ?’ He was asked to wait for some time. He insisted I am terribly hungry. I don’t require delicious meal. Serve me a simple meal. That’s enough!’ ‘Oh! just wait. You don’t have to wait too long. Don’t step in, stand there.’ ‘These words were spoken by his own mother-in-law.
A turning point in life comes in a split second and quite unexpectedly. ‘Don’t step in, stand there, ‘The innocent casual words of mother-in-law conveyed a deeper message.’ Don’t step, into Gruhastasram. Stand outside and seek knowledge was the implied message. The human beings who could not satiate his hunger, how will they quench his thirst for knowledge? That decided his fate. The next minute he shot out of the house like an arrow. His relatives couldn’t trace him. How can they when he is in search of the infinite knowledge?
He lived a nomadic life near forest and river beds, begging alms whenever he was hungry. When he had no place to live, where will he provide a place to God ? So he placed God within his heart and prayed to him. He described this ‘manasika pooja’ in his keerthana ‘Sivamanasika Pooja’.
‘Hey Mahadev! when you are all pervading, where do I pray to you ? When your hands and feet are spread all over how can I wash your feet ? When the sky is your dress, how can I provide you a dress ? When you are a great dancer how can I dance infront you? It thus.
Lord Siva was touched by the sincere prayer of Siva Rama Krishna. The God provided him a Guru in the form of Parama Sivendra Saraswathi Swami of Kamakoti Pitam. The Guru was impressed by the Chaitanya in him and addressed him ‘Sada Siva’! This Sada Siva served ardently the guru and composed many kirtanas, displayed his knowledge before many pandits and wrote a commentary on Brahma Sutras and Patanjali Yoga Sutras. He dedicated all his verses to his Guru. The insignia of his kirtanas was paramahamsa guru.
Great pandits too couldnot withstand his immense knowledge. One pandit who was defeated in a vedantic debate was unable to bear the insult and complained against ‘Sada Siva’. The guru asked him When will you become silent ?’ Sadasiva took it as an order and said ‘Guruji! I have been waiting for a sign from you. I will remain silent from this very moment.’ He did remain silent and composed many kirtanas describing his feelings.
He left the guru, left the formalities of the material life and started moving around stark naked. He was enjoying the bliss of Aatma Jnana. He ate what came to him. One who sleeps on the river bed in a shanty He is a true saint who knows the real meaning of Sat.Chit.Ananda He himself described it.
One afternoon Sada Siva Brahmendra Swami was relaxing beside a heap of grains. He was lost in his meditation unmindful of the passing on of time. In the evening, the farmer came there. Seeing the swami these, he mistook him as a thief and raised his stick to hit him. Lo! He remained as a statue with a raised hand for the whole night. The next morning, the Swami came to his senses and smiled at the farmer. He came back to life. Realizing the greatness of the swami, he fell to his feet and asked him to forgive him. Such saints are beyond the petty feelings of human beings. So he walked away silently.
Once he was sitting on the banks of Kaveri River and was lost in Samadhi. He was cut off from the world outside. Suddenly it started reining cats and dogs. People advised him to move but their words did not reach his ears. When his indriyas and mind have turned inward, how will he perceive the outside world ? Finally he was washed away into the river. The people felt sorry for his sudden demise.
Three months passed. A farmer was loading his cart with sand beside the river. How astonishing ? Suddenly his spade was smeared with blood stains. When he carefully examined the sand, what did he see ? Sada Siva Brahmendra Swami in the same meditating pose as he was three months before. The people felt him to be an incarnation of Lord Siva and prayed to him.
A Jnani may have a body but he is not confined to the body. He smiled at the people, gave out a Kirtana and walked past them.’ I am brahman. I am all pervading Sat. I am devoid of fear etc. was the meaning of that keertana.
Once Swami was proceeding towards Tirunalveli from Kurtalam. On the way some people were loading a bundle of sticks. They called him to carry the sticks since he too looked like a stick. He mutely obeyed them and was about to leave them, when they ridiculed him, ‘Oh log of wood! Where are you going ?’ Is it courteous on their part to extract work from him and laugh at him ? God burnt those sticks and they had no chance to plead guilty too since he disappeared from the scene.
The great Jnanis cannot be appreciated by Ajnanis. Shakespeare said ‘poets, lovers and madmen are alike’ we can add to this list Jnanis. They are lost in the eternal bliss, keep smiling to themselves, are cut off from the world. When Sada Siva’s guru was told that Sada Siva was moving around like a madman , he exclaimed, ‘I wonder when I can reach his state’. Only Jnanis can understand other Jnanis. This cannot be understood by people engulfed by maya. So they ridicule such saints.
On one such occasion an onthodox brahmin criticised his silent habits as a pretext and his avadhoota’s life as a drama. Sada Siva swami silently moved to a dhobi beside him and inscribed a few letters on his tongue. Wow! the illiterate dhobi chanted veda mantras. Those mantras supported the life style of a Jnani with illustrations and arguments.
What an irony ! An illiterate became a pandit by his gentle touch whereas a pandit remained an Ajnani. When he pleaded for forgiveness the Swami blessed him.
There were many instances which speak of his miraculous powers. Once a bride was stung by a poisonous snake on the marriage pandal. She was dead. The joyous occasion turned out to be a sorrowful scene. Luckily, the swami appeared on the scene and brought her back to life.
On a different occasion, a few muslims came across the naked saint. They were surprised at his appearance and asked a passerby , a Hindu, the reason. The Hindu explained that he was an avadhoota and that such people learn that the body is only a shelter but he is not the body. It all sounded incorrigible for them. One of the muslims ruthlessly cut of his hand. It was hanging loose from his shoulder, the blood was flowing down like a stream but the swami was walking along as if nothing happened. The muslim couldn’t believe his eyes. He ran to him and said, ‘Your hand is cut,’ The swami coolly touched his hand with the other and lo! it became normal. That miracle brought a change in the muslim and he fell prostrate before him. He wrote a sloka them which conveyed the deathlessness of atma.
He performed miracles thus not as a sign of exhibition but when the occasion arose. He was seen in many places at the same time. He never longed for a chain of devotees. He liked children more for their innocent behaviour.
During his last days he was settled in Neruru. Once children longed to see the fair in Madurai. He asked them to close their eyes. He took them to Madhurai, showed the fair, bought them eatables and asked them to close their eyes again. They were back to Neruru.
The parents were aghast at the thrilling experience of their children. The swami was also seen at Kasi, Neruru, Kanchi, Poori etc at the same time.
He lived the life of a Sanyasi, a detached man, who lived for the welfare of others. Finally he had reached his last stage. He then sent for his devotees and wrote his last message thus. ‘I am leaving this physical body of mine. You arrange a ‘samadhi’ for my body here and plant a ‘Bilva’ plant over it. Just at that time, a brahmin will reach here with a white Siva Linga in his hand. He is coming from Kasi Instal that Siva Linga before my ‘samadhi’ and pray to it regularly. Have faith in God. Try to seek the eternal. Learn to control the indriyas and the mind.’
The devotees couldnot bear their grief. One of them cried out. ‘Oh God! If you leave us, who will take care of us ? We can’t live without you. Show us the path to reach God.! Sada Siva Swami, who was about to leave the world, opened his eyes with great difficulty and wrote his last message through the last kirthana.
‘Sarvam Brahmamayam – Re Re
God is everywhere ? When he is everywhere, where should you seek him ? We are all in Brahmam.
Everything went on strictly as the swami envisaged and instructed.
Even today navarathi and the ‘samadhi’ day are celebrated on a grand scale there. Pudukkota Maharaj has donated a village to meet the expenses of the rituals in the temple. The celebrations are conducted by Pudukkota estate. When he was a human being, he walked like a stick and helped the humanity. When he left the physical body, he remained as a tree to help the humanity. That’s the greatness of great people. Dead or alive they are forever for the welfare of humanity.