Kaala Bhairavar Temple – Adiyamaan Kottai

The village called Adiyamaan Kottai (அதியமான் கோட்டை) is located eight kms from Dharmapuri in Dharmapuri district of Tamil Nadu. It was once the historic fortress of the Adiyamaan kings – a line of Tamil Velir(வேளிர்) kings who ruled over Dharmapuri, Salem and surrounding regions.

Some ancient temples are located within this area. One of them is the temple of Lord Kaala Bhairavar, the God of Time. It is a small and beautiful temple with only one shrine –the shrine of Kaala Bhairavar. There are no shrines for other deities not even for Lord Vinayaga. It is thought to be as important as the Kaala Bhairav temple in Varanasi, one of the holiest cities in India.

Kaala Bhairava swamy temple, Dharmapuri, TN

History

Originally believed to have been built in the Sangam era(4th century BC to 2nd century CE) by Adhiyaman Neduman Anji,( அதியமான் நெடுமான் அஞ்சி) the most famous king of the Adhiyaman dynasty, this famous king was also one of the seven great donor kings of ancient tamilagam –the kadai ezhu vallalgal(கடையேழு வள்ளல்கள்).

It is said that holy men and sages were sent to Kasi/Varanasi by King Adiyamaan to bring the idol of Kaala Bhairavar which was duly consecrated in a temple in his fort. The reign of King Adiyaman Neduman Anji  spans a turbulent period in the history of Tamilagam which was rife with wars between the kings known as kuru nila mannargal(குருநில மன்னர்கள்). The temple was built by Adiyaman Anji to ensure victory in the many battles he fought.

It is believed that when King Adiyamaan was killed in battle by his foe – the Chera king Peruncheral Irumporai, the royal ladies and children used a secret underground path from this temple to escape from the enemy.

These stories belong to a genre known as karna- parambarai (கர்ண பரம்பரை) which means they have come down to us by word of mouth. Often happenings that span a couple of thousand years are told as stories from generation to generation. These stories are a unique way of remembering history and are as good as the written word.

The present temple was constructed in the 9th century CE.

Importance of Kaala Bhairavar

Kaala Bhairavar is a form of Lord Siva.

Worship of Lord Bhairavar is common to Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.

The Sanskrit word kaala denotes time.There are good times and bad, moments, hours, the daytime and night-time, sunrise, sunset, years, lifetimes, yugas and so on, all of which are a part of the great circle of time, the Kaala chakra. A Sanskrit verse from the epic Mahabharata quotes Vidura as saying,

kālaḥ pachati bhūtāni, kālaḥ saṃharate prajāḥ |
kālaḥ supteṣhu jāgarti, kālo hi duratikramaḥ ||

Time devours all things, Time kills all that are born.
Time is awake while all else sleeps, Time is insurmountable.

– Vidura in Mahabharata

It is this unseen reality of the universe -Time, that Siva as Lord Kaala Bhairav rules.

Kshetra paalaka

Lord Bhairava is also known as kshetra paalaka and is worshipped as a protective guardian deity. Shrines for Kaala Bhairav can be seen in all Siva temples. It is a temple ritual to submit the temple keys at closing time  to KaalaBhairav who guards the temple at night.

He is the custodian and protector of the 52 shakti peetas all of which have a shrine for Bhairava.

He is also the protector of pilgrims and travellers.

It is believed that he liberates us from the influences of the navagrahas, cures chronic diseases and fulfills wishes in no time.

The Temple

Kaala bhairava temple,Dharmapuri
Temple entrance,Kaala Bhairavar swamy temple,Adiyaman kottai

This temple has a pillared maha mandapa, an artha mandapa and the Garba griha.

Mahamandapam

The Mahamandapam of this temple is unique. The ceiling is divided into nine sections – each is designed as a diamond shaped recess called a chakra. Thus each is a chakra for each of the nine planets. The chakras representing the planets are designed around the central Surya chakram. Devotees are asked to walk under the chakras and then offer prayers to Kaala bhairavar.

The idol of Kaala Bhairava is seen with his vahana, the dog, on a Padma peedam, the lotus pedestal. It is about three feet tall and faces south. Although the deity holds a trisul, a kabalam and has a halo of flames around its head, it is a very peaceful, benevolent form.

An ancient idol of Nandi is seen facing Kaala Bhairavar in the maha mandapam .Behind the image of Nandi is a stone pedestal that is used for lighting a lamp. There is a carving of Vinayaga at the base of the pedestal and one of Nandi at the top. The images are typical of a Siva temple, though this is not one in the traditional sense. They are probably there because kaala bhairav is worshipped as an avatar of lord Siva.

There are running reliefs of sculptures that go all around the outer walls of the temple. Take time to look at these sculptures that depict war scenes, gods, and armed soldiers and so on.

Kaala bhairava temple, Dharmapuri

Kaala bhairava temple, Dharmapuri (5)

Kaala bhairava temple, Dharmapuri (6)

 

Kaala bhairavar temple Adiyamaan kottai
Weathered engravings of lord Muruga seated on a peacock and of lord Vinayaka

Kaala bhairava temple, Dharmapuri (3)

Kaala bhairava temple, Dharmapuri (4)
This panel shows warriors on elephants and horses.

In the outer courtyard there is a statue of Parshvanatha Tirthankara on a raised pedestal. Called as Mahavirar by the local people, not much is known about it though it is generally thought that the saint supported the king when the temple was built. In any case it is a classic example of religious harmony of the age.

ParashwanathThirthangara
Idol of Parashwanath Thirthangara seen outside the Kaala Bhairavar temple in Adiyaman kottai

In fact the temple itself was lost to time until over a decade ago when a swami from Karnataka visited the temple and explained its importance. The area around the temple was covered in vegetation so much so that it was almost impossible to go near the premises. On the sanyasin’s advice,it was cleared, a kumbabishekam was done and worship was resumed. Devotees from the state of Karnataka were the first to visit, followed by people from Tamil Nadu. 

The temple did not have a gopuram until the present gopuram and other mandaps were added around three years ago. Although the extensions are necessary considering the enormous crowds that this temple attracts, it is a fact that they detract a little from the beauty of the temple and its location in an idyllic rural setting.

Unusual Customs

Some customs are unique to this temple and perhaps to the worship of lord Kaala bhairava.

Palm leaf plates with unusual diyas made out of white pumpkin halves, coconut diyas, and diyas made of lemon halves are sold for Rs.50 a plate. Lighting these deepams/diyas is said to ward of the evil- eye, bring success in business and relief from all kinds of problems in life.

Lamps of a different kind
Cast away the evil eye- Villaku- diyas fashioned out of coconut halves,white pumpkin halves and inverted lemon halves. Ghee, neem oil and sesame oil are used separately to burn these unusual deepams.

Another unusual custom is to circle the temple 18 times on ashtami – the eighth day of the lunar fortnight and on Sundays. Given the big crowds that come to the temple on ashtami days every month, it is an unusual  sight to see so many people circling the temple at the same time.

Why this temple is unique

Temples dedicated solely to lord Kaala Bhairavar are rare and this temple is one of them.

It is a 1200 years old temple and the deity belongs to a much earlier period in time – the Sangam Age of 2000 years ago.

It is one of the temples situated within the historic area known as Adhiyamaan kottai, which is the Tamil word for fortress of Adhiyamaan.

Note:Adiyamaan was the name of the one of the dynasties that ruled ancient Tamilagam which was as powerful  as the better known Chera, Chola and Pandya dynasties of the time.

Best time to visit

Although it is considered auspicious to visit the temple on Thei-pirai ashtami days, Sundays and new moon days if you hope for a peaceful visit sans crowds avoid visiting at these times. Weekdays are usually quiet. The temple is a great favorite with astrologers.Special homam and poojas are conducted on certain days. Priests urge you to take part in these, temple shop-keepers urge you to buy the deepams unique to this temple… but even without all this it is a fact that this is a temple where prayers are answered.

Location

The temple is located just off the Salem-Dharmapuri road, 6 kms from Dharmapuri in Tamil nadu.

Temple timings

7 a.m to 12 noon

4 p.m to 8 p.m.

Address

Sri Kaala Bhairavar Swamy temple

Adiyamaan Kottai,

Dharmapuri district

Tamil Nadu – 636 807

External links:

http://www.thehindu.com/features/magazine/tamil-jain/article5504164.ece

http://www.jainsamaj.org/rpg_site/literature2.php?id=850&cat=42

 

 

 

 

Dravidian Temple Architecture

What strikes one first on a visit to a Hindu temple in Tamil Nadu, India are the towering Gopurams (pyramidal gateway towers)with their hundreds of colorful stucco figures, the beauty of the many pillared halls, the intricacy of the sculptures of a bygone era, the many temple tanks, and pillared corridors and circumambulatory pathways of stone. A seemingly chaotic array,though on closer observation, one finds that there is order and an underlying pattern in the design and construction of the temples and temple complexes.

Architecture of a Tamil Nadu temple
Architecture of a Tamil Nadu temple
A pillared hallway serves as a classroom
A Thevaram recital in progress in a pillared hallway in the Ardhanareeswara temple, TN,India

Temples were built with strict adherence to the rules laid down in the Agamas and the Silpa sastras. While the Agamas are non-vedic traditional manuals on a vast range of subjects including Temple architecture, Silpa sastra literally means the Science of arts and crafts of which we find the finest specimens in the temples. This style of architecture is known as the Dravidian style of architecture.

 

 

 

Kolli Hills – Pristine and Pure

KOLLI HILLS

Kolli Hills is a beautiful mountain range located in Namakkal district of Tamil Nadu in South India. Its altitude ranges from 1000 to 1300 meters above mean sea level and enjoys a pleasant, healthful climate round the year. The hills are spread over an area of 440 sq. kilometers. When viewed from National Highway 44 on the Rasipuram-Namakkal stretch, it appears as a flat-topped mountain range.

Remote, untouched by commercialization and retaining its historical charm Kolli Malai as it is called locally seems frozen in time.

History

  • Kolli Malai is said to be the exquisite Madhuvanam (the forest of honey) zealously maintained by vaanara king Sugreeva that is mentioned in the Sundara kandam of the Ramayana. The Madhuvanam was a protected grove where there was plenty of honey. Even today, this is a land of tropical fruits, honey and medicinal herbs just as it would have been in the Ramayana period.
  • It was a land favoured by siddars, the ancient medicine men of Tamil Nadu.

Kolli hills in the songs of the bards

In a distant past dating more than 2000 years ago, there lived wandering bards who travelled across ancient Tamil Nadu and were much respected by kings. They had the freedom to visit any kingdom and write songs on all they saw and observed. Tamil Sangam literature hence comes across as a treatise of gross truth told in a style that is at once blunt and poetical. The Kolli hills have been eulogized and glorified by many of these poets. It has a rich history as the kingdom of Mazhavar and Chera kings, It was a coveted kingdom and wars were fought and kings died trying to defend the kingdom.

Kolli hills are mentioned in these books of sangam literature:

  1. Purananooru
  2. Agananooru
  3. Natrinai
  4. Kurunthogai
  5. Pathitrupathu

Beautiful And Magical                  

Named after Kolli Paavai, the maiden goddess who guards these hills, Kolli hills still casts its spell on visitors. Much of the area is relatively unexplored and inaccessible, Myths abound and stories are told that are bizarre and spooky. Yes, it is true that a Kolli hills has a reputation. It is the favored destination of astrologers and practitioners of witchcraft and tantric practices. Scattered over the hills are small shrines where the priests will promise to remove all obstacles in your life and solve all your problems for a fee!

But there is much in the Kolli hills that is sacred and beautiful. The people who live here are tribals and are called as Malayalees – people of the mountains. They are a hard-working self- sufficient community with a unique culture that is their own. Aadi Padhinettu in July is the most important festival in the Kolli hills when people from the 16 naadus and from other places come together for week long celebrations.

A Holiday in Kolli Hills

Kolli hills is the place to go for a quiet peaceful holiday sans crowds of tourists.

On visiting the hills you realize that you have just stepped into an amazing world and first visits are always memorable. This is hill country like no other. Thick forests are interspersed with pastoral landscapes, and cosy mountain villages. The altitude and the rivers Aiyaru and Varattaru flowing across the hills, massive jackfruit trees everywhere you go, terraced fields, yes, Kolli hills is beautiful.

How to reach

Kolli hills is accessible from Salem (64 kms) and from Namakkal(24 kms) both major cities on National Highway 44(NH44). Buses ply from Salem, Namakkal and Rasipuram to important villages in the Kolli hills. It is a better idea to rent a car because many of the places to visit in the hills are not on the regular bus routes.

Hill road - Kolli malai

The drive to the hills is lovely, the roads are good. If you are travelling from Salem it is a  11/2 hour drive through a very scenic route.

Route from Salem

Take the NH 44 from Salem. Near Rasipuram, turn left onto the Rasipuram bye-pass which will take you to State Highway SH 95. Turn right on to SH 95 and drive through beautiful farming villages along the Kolli range. Turn left once more at Kaalappa-naickenpatti to go to the kolli foothills village of Karavalli. The 28 kms Ghat Road begins at Karavalli. and the most amazing drive up the mountains with  stunning views and 70 sharp hair-pin bends, a real challenge for drivers and biking enthusiasts. Enjoy the paintings of the Sendhamangalam Highways department along the way depicting stories of famous kings of ancient Tamil Nadu.

A hair pin bend in Kolli hills
A hair-pin bend in the Kolli Hills

Kolli Hills

Solakadu is your first stop and also one of the highest points in the hills. Stop for a steaming cup of the locally grown Arapalli coffee. The tribal shandy is right by the roadside and is a must visit place for buying exotic fruits and spices and other mountain produce. Just opposite the shandy, within the premises of the Highways Bungalow is a viewpoint with breathtaking views.

At Solakadu you can choose the places you want to visit from the prominently placed signpost. There are a lot of places to visit in the Kolli hills.

A word of caution – Once you exit Solakadu, there are very few signposts along the way so ask the locals for directions when in doubt to avoid going around in circles! Many roads seem the same on the hills and can get quite confusing.

Where to stay

There are very few resorts in the Kolli hills. The oldest is the Nallathambi resort. You can book cottages of the Kolli malai Panchayat in advance. These are located in Semmedu. Another place to stay is the youth hostel near the Arapaleeswarar temple.Alternately, you can stay in Salem or Namakkal and visit the hills.

Bring packed meals and snacks when you come because there are very few good hotels or eateries. If you plan to stay longer than a day the best thing would be to ask the locals to prepare food for you.

Gently Down The Lake In Yercaud

Dappled sunlight by the lake
Dappled sunlight by the lake, Yercaud

6th April 2017

Which Tamil Nadu hill-station gets its name from the lake at the centre of town? Yercaud, of course! This little hill town was called Eri-Kadu because of the forests around the lake. Eri-lake and kadu-forest. We locals still say Yerkadu when we speak of this laid- back hill town near Salem.

Yercaud Lake (2)

  • The lake is the first sight that greets you once you have negotiated 20 hair-pin bends on the lovely drive on the oh-so-beautiful hill roads and enter the hill town.
  • Once you have arrived in Yercaud, the lakeside is a good place to spend time.
  • Go boating on the lake, relax on the lawns by the lakeside, enjoy the cool breeze and the beautiful scenery, and try out the tasty street food in the many eateries near the boat-house.
  • TTDC run boat-house opens at  nine in the morning and closes at five- thirty in the evening. It is the most popular place for tourists coming to Yercaud and can be quite crowded in summer.
  • You have a choice of pedal-boats, motor- boats and row-boats.
Boat-house, Yercaud
Boat-house, Yercaud

Boat-house, Yercaud

Safety Rules for boating enthusiasts outside the boat-house in Yercaud
Safety Rules for boating enthusiasts outside the boat-house in Yercaud

Yercaud lake is the only natural lake where you can go boating among all the lakes found in hill-stations in Tamil Nadu.

Dappled sunlight by the lake in Yercaud
Morning sunlight brightens up a placid lake scene in Yercaud

Gently down the lake!

A word of caution- the lake is really deep, so just sit back in your boat and enjoy yourself (let life pass by, literally)!

The row- boats come with the mandatory boatman which is good from the safety perspective. Personally I prefer the row- boat even if there is some waiting for the allotted boat. There is something very therapeutic about the splash of oars striking water, trailing your hand in the cool lake , taking in the panoramic views as the boat moves down the lake and a chat with a friendly boatman!

Late in the evening, when the boat-house has closed and the crowds have left, take a walk on the road by the lake. It’s very peaceful and across the lake, big stars hang low in the black sky over the dark silhouette of a hill. See the stars reflected in the mirror-like water. Feel the cool pure mountain-air, breathe deeply and watch your cares fall away.

The healing beauty of nature is part of the magic that is Yercaud.

RED BERRIES, POINSETTIAS AND more…

20th December,2016

Making B(m)erry!

Nature’s palette this December in Yercaud is light and dark shades of green and vivid splashes of red and orange.

This is a busy time in the coffee plantations in Yercaud. The coffee plants are full of red berries. Plantation workers pick the ripe berries by hand leaving the green unripe ones on the plants.

Ruby red coffee berries
Ruby red coffee berries

afternoon-sun-on-coffee-berries-yercaud

The coffee berries are a beautiful shade of red and shine like rubies amidst the shiny dark green leaves of the coffee plant. Myself, I love coffee and can’t do without my morning cuppa and another in the evening. Filter coffee is always a treat, and Kumbakonam degree kaapi makes one drool. But it all starts here in the hills from the coffee berries that ripen in December. In Salem, we are proud of our very own Narasu’s coffee..who can forget the famous ad?!!

coffee-berries-ripen-on-bushes-in-yercaud

Marigolds and red coffee berries add beauty to the fencing
Marigolds and red coffee berries add beauty to the fencing

Plantation yards are a hive of activity, as the picked berries are weighed, the seeds separated from the berries in machines and then sun-dried. For many days, as the berries ripen slowly on the plants this process continues. From berry to brew is a lengthy process which starts with the picking.

Workers in a plantation,Yercaud
Workers in a plantation,Yercaud
Weighing the berries, a December plantation scene, Yercaud
Weighing the berries, a December plantation scene, Yercaud
Weighing the coffee berries in Yercaud
Weighing the coffee berries in Yercaud

a-coffee-plantationyercaud

coffee-seeds-are-sun-dried-in-a-platation-yard-yercaud
Coffee seed are sun-dried in heaps on a row

busy-scene-on-a-platation-yercaud

Christmas Cheer

Elsewhere in the hills, bright red Poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima) bring Christmas cheer.

poinsettia

Cheery reds of Poinsettias in winter
Cheery reds of Poinsettias in winter
Red Poinsettias brighten up a grey cement wall
Red Poinsettias brighten up a grey cement wall

The little ‘crown of thorns’ plants are not to be outdone. They are full of little red flowers making lovely thorny borders on roadsides and estates.

Crown of thorns flowers
Crown of thorns flowers

a-border-of-crown-of-thorns-by-the-roadsideyercaud

A Merry Christmas to all my readers!

Sri Rama Temple at Pagoda Point

Sri Rama temple,Pagoda point

Sri Rama Temple, Stone Cairns and a View-point

Up in the hills, temples are sturdy landmarks in the lush surroundings, quite often built in chosen locations.

Sri Rama temple at Pagoda Point in Thalai cholai village is just such a place.

Pagoda point, Yercaud
Sri Rama Temple, Pagoda Point 
Sri rama temple -Pagoda point
Sri Rama and Sita, Pagoda point

 

Hanuman at Sri rama temple -Pagoda point
Hanuman

At four in the afternoon, it is cold up here. The temple is open, the oil lamps are lit but there is no priest. The idols of Rama and Sita are beautiful. There is a small idol of Hanuman in front facing the sanctum. The outer structure is modern and very clean.

The woman in the shop next to the temple says the temple is quite old, no one knows how old. It is one of many Rama temples in the Shevaroy hills. Her kula-deivam on her father’s side is Sri Rama she says, waving a hand in the direction of the temple.

Stone Cairns

Pagoda point is a view-point in the hills, a short distance from Yercaud Lake. Named after the stone cairns that are found here which are built in the shape of a pyramid or a pagoda, it is sometimes mispronounced as pakoda point! It is these stone cairns and the view-point that are the main tourist attractions. These cairns are 5 to 7 feet high. The lady shop-keeper says they are used to light the ceremonial lamps during the festival in the month of Karthigai.“Karthigai Maasam vaanga. Romba nalla irrukum,” she invites in Tamil, meaning, ‘You should come here in the month of Karthigai(for the festival). It is very nice then’. Her husband is also the caretaker of the temple. “We come here around 12 noon,” she says, “There are crowds of tourists on week-ends and holidays. On other days we just sit here”, she smiles.

Pagoda point,Yercaud
One of the stone cairns near the temple

 

A stone cairn, Pagoda point, Yercaud
Stone cairn,Pagoda point
Pagoda point, Yercaud (3)
View from Pagoda point, Yercaud

The view-point overlooks the valley. Wispy clouds float across the valley at eye-level! Fog surrounds you and moves away minutes later! Down below you can see a tribal village and another temple. It is a lovely place for a visit.

View from Pagoda point, yercaud
Clear view of the valley,Pagoda point
Clouds descend over the valley
This photo showing mist descending on the valley,was taken about 30 minutes after the first photo

The pictures below show how the fog brought road-visibility to near zero on our way back from the temple.Signpost in the fog

schoolboy in the mist
Fog is thicker. You can see a school boy making his way home.

Thick fog obscures the signpost

Thick fog obscures the signpost

Location

Pagoda point is roughly 4 km from Yercaud Lake in Thalai cholai village.

 

Nerur- Sri Sadasiva Brahmendral Adishtanam

Nerur Sri Sadasiva Brahmendral Adhishtanam

Sadasiva Brahmendral Adishtanam (2)
Sadasiva Brahmendral Adishtanam, Nerur,TN

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’.

Early Life

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.

Miracles

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.

Temples

Sadasiva Brahmendra consecrated deities in many temples. He also installed yantras in many of them.

Jeeva Samadhi

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.

  1. Nerur,
  2. Manamadurai
  3. Karachi
  4. Kasi
  5. Puri

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 arch at the entrance to the Adhistanam of Sadasiva Brahmendrar
The arch at the entrance to the Adhistanam of Sadasiva Brahmendrar

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.

The Kasi Visvanathar shrine, Nerur
The Kasi Visvanathar shrine, Nerur
Kasi viswanathar shrine, Nerur
Kasi viswanathar shrine, Nerur
Passage leading to the Adishtanam , Nerur
Passage leading to the Adishtanam , Nerur

 

Nerur photos

A  prayer  in Sanskrit and Tamil to Sadasiva brahmendrar
A prayer in Sanskrit and Tamil to Sadasiva brahmendrar
The Adhishtanam at Nerur
The Adhishtanam at Nerur

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.

Pooja at Sadasiva Brahmendral Adishtanam in Nerur
Pooja at Sadasiva Brahmendral Adishtanam in Nerur
The Adhishtanam of Guru Sadasiva Brahmendra, another view
The Adhishtanam of Guru Sadasiva Brahmendra, another view

Nerur Sadasiva Bramendrar Adhistanam (7)

Nerur Sadasiva Bramendrar Adhistanam (6)

Nerur Sadasiva Bramendrar Adhistanam (5)

 

Nerur Sadasiva Bramendrar Adhistanam (3)

Inside Sadasiva Bramendral Adhishtanam, Nerur

The outer courtyard of Sadasiva Brahmendra's Adhishtanam
The outer courtyard of Sadasiva Brahmendra’s Adhishtanam
Cows look on in the Adhistanam campus
Cows look on in the Adhistanam campus

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.

References

‘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.

http://www.columbuslost.com/Temples/Nerur-Sadasiva-Brahmendra-Swami-Biography-Miracles-and-Samadhi/info

LOCATION

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.

Contact:

Sri Narayana Upadyaya, the priest at Sri Sadasiva Brahmendral's AdishtanamJ. Narayana Upadhyaya

 Sri Sadasiva Brahmendral Adishtana Archaka,

Agraharam, Nerur

Mobile No:  94886 27839,  94880 58741