Nerur Sri Sadasiva Brahmendral Adhishtanam
This post is offered humbly at the feet of Satguru Sadasiva Bramendrar of Nerur and my Gurudeva Sri Paramahamsa Yogananda.
Some holy places are capable of bestowing immense peace on all who visit. One such place is the Adishtanam of Satguru Sri Sadasiva Brahmendra in Nerur, near Karur in Tamil Nadu. Set amidst paddy fields and mango and coconut groves, the river Kaveri flows closeby. To many many Indians all over the world, Sadasiva Brahmendra is their maanasika Guru, the ever present guiding spiritual force in their lives.
Sadasiva Brahmendra was a saint who lived in the eighteenth century in Tamil Nadu. Gurudeva Sri Paramahansa Yogananda, during his year-long visit to India from America in 1935, sought out and visited many holy men and holy places which are recorded in his book, ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’. He gives a brief account of Sadasiva Brahmendra and says he was, ‘a lovable and fully illumined Master’.
Sadasiva Brahmendra was born to deeply religious parents Moksha Somasundara Avadhani and Parvati in Madurai. It is said that his mother Parvati was initiated into Rama japa and advised to chant it crores of times so that every cell in her body was charged with the nama. A child born to her in this state would become an exalted mahaan or saint. The couple prayed for a child to Ramanathaswamy in the famous temple in Rameshwaram and the son born as an answer to their prayers was named Sivaramakrishnan.
Somasundara Avadhani took his family to Tiruvisainallur near Kumbakonam, which was then the hub of learned masters of Vedanta. As a young boy Sadasiva studied under Ramabhadra Dikshitar and was a gifted student. At the age of 17, he was married but left home soon after to pursue his true calling. He went to Tiruvenkadu to meet his guru Paramasivendra Saraswati under whose tutelage he became a brilliant scholar well versed in the Vedas. He authored several Sanskrit works which include commentaries on the Brahma Sutras and Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.
Sadasiva delighted in engaging in religious debates with Vedanta scholars. Invariably he defeated them. One such defeated scholar went and complained to Guru Paramasivendra about this behavior of Sadasiva. Paramasivendra summoned Sadasiva and said “What is the use of these intellectual debates? When will you learn to be silent?” “From this moment”, replied Sadasiva and became a non-speaking ascetic. He took to sanyasa and was given the formal monastic title of Sadasivendra Saraswati. Taking leave from his guru, he roamed the forests and unfrequented river banks, going deep in meditation for long periods of time. It is believed he spent many months in meditation in Nerur.
Among the disciples of Guru Paramasivendra, three attained the highest spiritual wisdom called gnana – (1) Sri Sadasiva Brahmendra (2) Sri Bodhendra (3) Sri Sridara Ayyaval. Of these three disciples Sadasiva Brahmendra went on to attain the highest spiritual state of Avadhoota.
In the higher stages of spirituality, he rejected all accepted norms. He wore no cloth and roamed everywhere in a state of enlightened bliss.
After he became an Avadhuta he once visited his childhood friend and fellow pupil Sridara Ayyaval of Tiruvisainallur who said that he accepted his vow of silence but what stopped him from singing songs on the Lord. Sadasiva then wrote several Carnatic kritis (musical compositions) some of which are mainstays in kacheris (concerts) today. A few of the more popular ones are Maanasa Sanjara Re in which he urges the human mind to always linger in the Supreme Brahman, Sarvam Brahmamayam in which he says that everything in Creation is purely the essence of Brahman, Pibare Rama Rasam in which he extolls the wondrous benefits of chanting Rama nama. He dedicated all his musical compositions to his guru. The insignia of his keertans was Paramahamsa guru and Paramasivendra sriguru.
Vijaya Raghunatha Thondaiman, the Raja of Pudukottai, learnt about this great master and went in search of him. He met the saint in the forests near Pudukottai and implored him to return to the palace with him. The saint did not reply. He merely walked into a thicket of thorn trees and sat down to meditate. The raja set up camp near the saint and served the master for many years, attending to his royal duties at the same time. He asked for and received religious instruction which Sadasiva wrote on sand and which the successive rulers of Pudukottai hold as sacred to this day. Sadasiva Brahmanendra instructed the king to appoint Gopalakrishna sastri of Pitchandar koil as the royal guru. His descendants served as guru to the subsequent rulers of Pudukottai.
Many are the miracles that are told of this exalted master. One day, villagers saw the saint who was immersed in deep meditation on a bank of the Kaveri river being carried away by a sudden flood. They searched for him everywhere, in vain. Weeks later, near Kodumudi near Erode, when villagers dug a mound of earth near the river for sand to use in construction, they were shocked to see blood on their shovels. They found Sadasiva buried in the sand and freed him. The saint, in a trance, stood up and quietly walked away.
Once Sadasiva brahman was walking across some fields. It was harvest time and the saint stumbled on a stone and fell between stacks of hay. The farm workers, not noticing him continued to pile hay high on the stack. A year later when the hay was used up, Sadasiva Brahman picked himself up and walked away, to the shock of the workers.
Sadasiva Brahmendra adored children. Children from the village of Mahadanapuram on the banks of the Kaveri, who were fond of him, once expressed a desire to attend the festival in Madurai, a 100 miles away. In an instant he had transported them to the festival and back. Their parents were awestruck when the children told them about the wonderful time they had in Madurai at the festival. They even had bags of Madurai sweets.
Another time the saint was immersed in meditation near a heap of grains in a field. The farmer thought he was a thief and raised his staff to strike him. Lo! He became frozen like a statue. When Sadasiva came out of his trance his gaze brought the farmer out of his frozen state. He hastened to ask for the saint’s forgiveness.
Another incident describes how some soldiers made him carry firewood on his head when he was roaming the forests near Pudukottai. Sadasiva happily carried the load. When it was put down on a larger stack of firewood, the entire lot burst into flames and was reduced to ashes. Only then the soldiers realized that this was no ordinary person but an exalted master.
An illiterate man who was born dumb was a great devotee of Sadasiva. One day the saint placed his hand on the man’s head and prayed to God that He may bestow the gifts of speech and knowledge on him. By the grace of the Guru, he was able to speak and went on to become a famous scholar, Akasha Purana Ramalinga Sastry.
The saint once walked into the tent of a moslem chieftain in a trance. The ladies were alarmed on seeing the nude saint. In a fit of anger the chieftain slashed the arm of Sadasiva. Unconcerned, Sadasiva walked away. The stunned chieftain realized that he was a saint. Filled with remorse he picked up the arm and fell at the feet of the master begging forgiveness. Sadasiva Brahman came out of his trance, inserted the arm into the bleeding stump which instantly healed and went on his way.
Sadasiva Brahmendra consecrated deities in many temples. He also installed yantras in many of them.
Sadasiva Brahmendra attained Jeeva Samadhi in 1750 A.D. in Nerur. He fulfilled the wish of his ardent disciple Raja Vijaya Raghunatha Thondaiman that he should settle down in land that belonged to the king. Here the river Kaveri flows south (dakshina) which adds to the sanctity of the place. Before he was immersed in Jeeva Samadhi, Sadasiva Brahman had clearly stated that on the nineth day following his Jeeva Samadhi, a holy bilva tree (bael tree) would grow above his head. On the tenth day a Brahmachari would bring a sivalingam from Kasi (Varanasi) which should be consecrated 12 feet in front of the bilva tree. All the incidents came to pass exactly as predicted. The Raja of Pudukottai built a temple in which the lingam was consecrated and arranged for regular pujas to be done at the temple and at the Jeeva Samadhi of the Guru.
He is said to have attained Samadhi at three places simultaneously – at Nerur and Manamadurai in Tamil Nadu and Karachi in Pakistan.
The younger brother of Kanchi Maha Periyava, Sri Sadasiva Sastrigal popularly known as Sivan Sir gives a detailed account of Sri Sadasiva Brahmendra in his monumental work titled ‘Yenipadigalil Maandhargal’(Tamil).In this book Sivan Sar says that Sadasiva Brahmendra attained Mahasamadhi at five places corresponding to the five elements – Panchabhootas.
He also mentions that Sri Brahmendral blessed two Muslim brothers (Irratai Mastan) with knowledge of the Divine. Their Samadhi (dargah) is located in Tanjavur.
Since his Jeeva Samadhi, the miracles continue. One incident stands out like a beacon and is connected with the 33rd Shankaracharya of Srigeri Sarada Peedam.
Sri Sachidananda Shivabhinava Narasimhabarathi Swami was the 33rd pontiff of Srigeri Sarada Peetam. In the 1902 he visited Karur district and was pulled mysteriously by the adishtanam of Sri Sadasiva Brahmendra in Nerur. To know more about the adishtanam, the seer sat fasting for three days in front of the adishtanam and finally had a dialogue with Sri Brahmendra on a subtle plane. Overcome with divine bliss he instantly composed 45 stanzas called Sri Sadasivendra Sthava and another hymn called Sri Sadasivendra Pancharatna. In his final years, Sri Shivabinava Narasimhabarathi swamy was greatly influenced by a masterpiece of Sadasiva Brahman titled Atma Vidya Vilasam. His successor, the 34th pontiff of Sringeri peetam Sri Chandrashekara Bharathi Swamy lived his life in the true spirit of this classic.
Visit to Sadasiva Brahmendral Adishtanam
The adishtanam is located in Nerur, a village 10km from Karur in Tamil Nadu.
The bustle of the city gives way to the charm of a rural countryside, lush and beautiful which makes the drive to the adishtanam along winding roads and tiny villages a memorable experience.
The arch at the entrance has the words Sri Satguru Sadasiva Brahmendral Mahasannidhi written on it in Tamil. It leads to the small beautiful temple of Kasi Viswanathar – Visalakshi Ambal. A passage to the left leads to the adishtanam of Guru Sadasiva Brahmendrar. It is the ideal place for meditation. Straw mats are placed here for those who wish to meditate. There is a small lingam on the adishanam. Archanai to the Guru is done here. Behind it is the holy bilva tree which appeared miraculously as promised by the Guru. Saffron Vastra is wrapped around it. Behind the samadhi Sri Sadasivendra Sthava and Sri Sadasivendra Pancharatna are inscribed on granite slabs.
Devotees light lamps, give offerings and pray quietly. Silence prevails. It is a soothing, healing silence that seeps to the depths of our beings, purifying, and cleansing, bestowing peace. The only sounds are the sound of the wind in the maghizham and mango trees overhead, the chirping of the birds and the occasional muted sounds of puja bells, melodious intonation of mantras as aarti is performed and the hushed voices of visitors.
Silence was the language of Sri Sadasiva Brahmendra and it is this silence that can be experienced here.
The grace of Guru Sadasiva Brahmendra continues to pour on all who seek him.
‘Autobiography of a Yogi’ by Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda
A compilation of the life of Sri Sadasiva Brahmendra drawn from the book by Sivan Sir, ‘Yenipadigalil Manthargal’
Literature on Sadsiva Brahman made available at the Adhistanam, Nerur, by Dr. A. Rajasimha, Simha Heart Foundation, Mysore.
The Adishtanam is located in Nerur, 10 km from Karur in Tamil Nadu.
It is called Sadasivam koil locally.
There are regular buses from Karur to Tirumukkoodalur that stop at Sadasivam koil, Nerur. The shrine is just a stone’s throw away from this village bus-stop which has a couple of tiny shops.
Good hotels are available in Karur which is the nearest rail- head.There are no hotels or eateries in Nerur, so plan your visit accordingly.
Sri Sadasiva Brahmendral Adishtana Archaka,
Mobile No: 94886 27839, 94880 58741