Author Topic: Sri Achuthanantha Adigal:  (Read 1759 times)

Subramanian.R

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Sri Achuthanantha Adigal:
« on: January 04, 2016, 12:58:53 PM »
(An article by K.Achudananda and translated by S.V. Venkataraman, in Mountain Path,  July-Sept.  2015.)

Sri Achuthanantha Adigal, the noted musician saint visited Bhagavan, or Brahmana Swamigal, as he
was then known, while Bhagavan was in Gurumoortham.  He was a well known spiritual teacher at the     
time and it was said that he had more than a thousand disciples in the Polur area, just north of Tiruvannamalai, when he came to offer his respects to Bhagavan.  Though an important and respected swami, he personally massaged Bhagavan's legs.  When the disciples accompanying him attempted to touch Bhagavan, he warned them not to: 'Beware this is a Hill of Fire (the fire of eternal wisdom)'.

Sampath Giri Brahma Peedam Saint Achuthanantha Adigal was born in a Balija Naidu family in Polur in
North Arcot District.  Abbaju Naidu was his childhood name. Although details of his birth or his parent's
name could not be traced, at the time of the Nirvana or Videha Kaivalyam of Swamigal in 1903, one of
his relatives reported his age to be 53.  We may therefore conclude that he was born around 1850.

Abbaju lost his revered father during his boyhood, and was brought up by his mother. When he was
put to school, he was older than the other boys in the class. He was a bright child and surprised his
teachers by learning two languages, Tamizh and Telugu, exceptionally well to the level of an expert.
He grew to be a young man of good conduct, upright behavior and uninterrupted devotion to Lord Rama.
On seeing the qualities of her son, his mother was very pleased but did not live to see him flower into
a blissful Saint.  She died when he was still fairly young.  Being deeply attached to his mother, Abbaju
found her loss unbearable.  However, time healed this loss, and he eventually became a school teacher
in Polur, living a frugal life on a meagre salary.

During this period he reached out to various poets and pundits learned about literature and grammar
and developed his poetic skills.  He also acquired some knowledge of Sanskrit.  He became an expert
in music too, and left his position as a school teacher to start a Bhajan Mandir where he installed a small
idol of Lord Rama, and started to worship the Lord. He wrote hundreds of keerthanas  and stotras on
Lord Rama.  He also wrote Prahladha Charithram, Dhruva Charithram, and Sakkubai Charithram;
and gave musical discourses that won the hearts of his listeners.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.             

 
« Last Edit: January 06, 2016, 11:30:21 AM by Subramanian.R »

Subramanian.R

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Re: Sri Achuthanantha Adogal:
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2016, 12:29:14 PM »
In those days, at Kaspa near Vellore, there lived a learned Vaishnavite Saint called Venkatakrishna
Dasar, who was poetically skilled and blessed, through his deep devotion, with the grace of the Lord.
Abbaju, who was eager to have darshan of Sri Venkatakrishna Dasar,  went to see him.  Dasar was
very pleased to see Abbaju and welcomed him warmly with a pleasant face. Abbaju spent a few days
with him.

During their discussions, Dasar was impressed by Abbaju's pure heart, bright appearance, clear knowledge,
poetic gifts, refined intellect, and also his expertise in music and devotion to Lord Rama.  Dasar told him,
'Dear Sir, the Lord of Sri Lakshmi, always residing in my heart, gracefully commands that from today you
shall be called by the wonderful name, 'Achutha Dasar'.  Having received that graceful name, Abbaju
reluctantly left Venkatakrishna Dasar with his blessings  and returned to Polur to continue his normal
life as a school teacher. 

After a few years, at the request of some of his respectable relatives, he married Thayammal of Kasthampadi,
a virtuous and beautiful young girl belonging to a good family of the same caste and started living in her
family house.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.           

Subramanian.R

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Re: Sri Achuthanantha Adigal:
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2016, 11:48:05 AM »
One day, having heard of Vengamaiyar, a reputed saint in the nearby village of Poththarai, in  Polur
district, Achutha Dasar went to see her.  The distinguished Ammaiyar welcomed Dasar with a motherly
affection and delighted in their discussions about spiritual matters.  Dasar stayed with Ammaiyar for
little over a year, and was thoroughly instructed in great yoga practices before he returned to the house
of his in-laws.  He stayed in a separate room and continued his yoga practices. It was said that after
continuing these yogic practices without interruption he gained several siddhis (powers) notably the
power of levitation. 

During this period of intense practice Achutha Dasar's young wife reached puberty.  Her parents performed
all the obligatory social and religious ceremonies every day, and on the ninth day, the Manjal Neerattu,
a special purificatory bathing ceremony was performed and that evening further ceremonies were
performed preparatory to the nuptial night.  Meanwhile Dasar went into his room bolting it from the
inside and did his usual yogic practices. When all the ceremonies were completed, in order to leave his
young bride with Achuyta Dasar, they went to his room to leave his young bride with Achyutha Dasar,
they went his room and asked him to open the door.       

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.

Subramanian.R

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Re: Sri Achuthanantha Adigal:
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2016, 11:05:06 AM »
But Dasar had levitated and was slowly coming down,  doing his yogic practice, and hence could not
respond to their calls.  Getting no response after repeated knocking and shouting, his worried in laws
and others broke down the wall near the door.  This commotion unsettled the single pointed mind of
Achutha Dasar who at that moment was still descending to the ground, causing him to fall with a thud
instead of landing smoothly.  Due to this, the breath, which he had held while doing the exercise and which
should have been exhaled, settled in his system and became too heavy for him to bear.   His suffering
was colorfully described by his biographer as lie that of a worm in the hot sun.  In unbearable pain he cried
loudly.

His relatives were at a total loss, not knowing to help Adigal in his predicament. Dasar told them unless
someone rushed to Pottharai and brought his yoga guru Ammaiyar, he would get no relief.  A suitable
person,'who went like the wind', found Ammaiyar and reported the situation.  Ammaiyar immediately
came to Kasthampadi and ordered everyone out of Dasar's room.  She commanded Dasar to re-start
his yogic exercise and to levitate as usual and then come down.  When Dasar did so, all the breath,
which had been locked in a tight knot, got released and he was relieved us of all discomfort.  Dasar
prostrated at Ammaiyar's feet in gratitude.  She advised him, 'Dear son!  May you live long!  Henceforth
be alert and don't let us such distrubance happen again.', and then left for her village immediately.
So the day ended without planned conclusion of the Shanthi muhurtham (nuptial night) ceremony .
On the same day, Dasar completely gave up the yogic levitation practice.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                       

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Re: Sri Achuthanantha Adigal:
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2016, 11:38:11 AM »
After a few days, when alone, as a result of his association with saints and the good deeds done selflessly
in the past, he started inquiring thus, 'Who am I?'  Who is my Lord?  Why does one got entangled with the
chain of births and deaths?  How can one get released?  From the study of scriptures, he realized that the
karmic actions are the seeds of birth and that the karmic cycle can end only with Self Knowledge, and not
by any other means.  He also realized that this Self Knowledge can come only through the grace of a Sadguru,
and he then approached several teachers, but was turned down by them all.  He became sad and despondent.

He then heard of a saint on a hillock called Kailasagiri near the village of Kadaamoor, near Polur. The Kailasagiri Swami was very ascetic in appearance, full of compassion and firm in Self abidance. On hearing about the qualities of this saint, Dasar, immediately went to Kadaamoor and saw the saint surrounded by a number of disciples.  Filled with joy he prostrated at his feet. Then rising, he pleaded, 'My father!  Give refuge
to this poor one and uplift him.'  On seeing his dispassion and spiritual ripeness, the saint gave him a
gracious look and asked him to be seated.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.   

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Re: Sri Achuthanantha Adigal:
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2016, 01:13:23 PM »
It was the full moon day on which Dasar came to see the Sadguru.  The disciples who had gathered there
for prayer, on seeing the Sri Vaishnava markings on Dasar's forehead, were annoyed. Sensing that the
Sadguru wanted him to leave, he walked down from the Kailasagiri hill and waited.  Within a short while,
the Sadguru came to him and took him to a hidden Vinayaka Temple at the foot of the hill. Then he asked,
'My child, who are you?  Where are you from?  What brought you here?'  Dasar replied, 'Dear father,
I am near Polur. My name is Achuthan.  Desirous of  Self Knowledge, I have approached fifteen teachers,
but no one accepted me. I was perplexed and did not know what to do.  So when I came to know of
you, I came immediately and when I saw how happy you are,  I was relieved of all my worries.' 

He stood with his palms joined and prayed, 'Please disclose my true Self to me and ferry me across the
ocean of rebirth.'

His words melted the heart of the gracious Sadguru, who spoke lovingly to Dasar.  He then made him
sit before him, gave the requisite deeksha (initiation) by means of one of the four great statements of
Vedanta (Mahavakyas). He also explained the real nature of the Self as being beyond all qualities and as
therefore not one of the five types of sheaths (Panchakoshas), but that which witnesses the three states
of awareness, namely waking, dream and deep sleep, and as of the nature of Existence, Consciousness
and Bliss. On receiving this initiation from the Sadguru, it is said that Dasar, being blessed with a pure
heart and with intense longing for the Self, instantly attained the state of Nirvikalpa Nishta (total absorption
without any mental focus) and was anchored fast on the path towards Self Knowledge.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                 
   

Subramanian.R

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Re: Sri Achuthanantha Adigal:
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2016, 12:51:57 PM »
The astonished Sadguru also went into Nirvikalpa Nishta. Both slowly came out of that inner absorption
the next day, one after another.  Adigalar, who had direct experience of the Self which had immersed
him in the ocean of Bliss, exclaimed, 'Oh, Father, I have attained it; I have reached life's goal.  You
have revealed to my real Self, so easily, like a gooseberry in the palm of my hand, as no one else has
done till now. So, from this date, you shall be called 'Nijanandar'  (one who revels in the Bliss of Self)."
Swamigal then composed a Padigam (decade) incorporating that name in it, placed it at the feet of the
Sadguru Nijanandar and stood with clasped hands.

Nijanandar, the Sadguru, on seeing Swamigal's overwhelming love and his ability to spontaneously compose
a poem, was extremely pleased and said, 'Illumined son!  Nirvikalpa Nishta, which cannot be attained except
by long, rigorous practice, has been attained by you so easily, and you are also abiding firmly in that state,
focused on attaining Selfhood. Henceforth you shall be called 'Achuthanandan'  (one who revels in joy without swerving). He blessed Adigalar saying, 'The state of Nirvikalpa will become steady and you will delight
in Self Realization.'

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.           

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Re: Sri Achuthanantha Adigal:
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2016, 09:48:46 AM »
Achuthananda took his leave from Nijanandar with a heavy heart and returned to Sampathgiri.  It is
said that he remained in the state of Nirvikalpa Nishta for six months.  Then he went to Kasthambadi and
stayed in a beautiful garden where for six months he continued to be in this nishta (state).  Nijanandar,
the Sadguru would join him at times and clear his doubts. He declared to Achuthanandar, 'Oh, gem of a
student!  You have crossed the ocean of samsara.  You now shine as a Jivan Mukta having nothing more to
attain.'  Saying this Nijanandar returned to Kailasagiri.

Having attained the substratum, namely the Akhandakara Siva Swaroopam (the infinite form of Lord Siva),
Adigalar stayed in a forest in the vicinity of Padaiveedu for some time.  (It was at  Padaiveedu that Ganapati
Muni performed penance in the vicinity of the Renuka Devi Temple).  Then he traveled through North Arcot
and South Arcot, Salem, Chittoor and Chengalpet, expounding the incomparable Advaitic truth to seekers.
During this period he offered spiritual knowledge to more than two thousand students.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.           

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Re: Sri Achuthanantha Adigal:
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2016, 11:41:26 AM »
Achyuta Dasar composed more than three hundred songs set to the ragas (musical meters) of
Carnatic music.  He was not only a composer but also was an exceptionally gifted singer.  Once when
he sat on a hill in a village called Chatrawadi and sang one of his compositions, the cows that were
scattered on the grassy slopes of the hill gathered together and listened spell bound to his singing.
While all songs are available to us, there is no recording of his mesmerizing voice. 

Achyuta Dasar's songs, which are marked by literary charm, written in the style and language of that time,
and full of devotional fervor, bear witness to his profound spiritual maturity.  In his songs, he pleads for
the mercy and grace of infinite, non dual bliss to redeem him who is perplexed and agitated in the darkness
of samsara. In many songs, he asks for the joy of inwardness.  He asks for the end of the triputis (triad)
of the knower, the object and the act of knowing so that he can focus inwardly and revel in the transcendental
turiyatita (the Forth.) state beyond wakefulness, dream and deep sleep.  He exhorts his mind to ardently
worship the feet of the Lord who dispels the darkness of constant toil for worldly pleasure and gives inner bliss.  He says he is rid of the delusion of religious creeds and their differences and incessantly worships
the Self, the inner seer.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.             

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Re: Sri Achuthanantha Adigal:
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2016, 11:04:56 AM »
In one song he warns against the trouble which would follow if one delights in the company of unawakened
tamasic people but reassures us that the suffering will be over if one listens to the words of the awakened
ones.  He seeks refuge in the Lord so that the mind's mischief may end.  He laments that he has not yet
attained the ability to see the Light which manifests as the phenomenal world.  He asks if it is due his
past misdeeds that the free state of inner silence is yet denied to him.  He sings about the state of sleeping
without sleep. Elsewhere he asks the Lord:  'Is there any support except You to cause the play of ignorance
to cease, and to cause me to fade away little by little and abide in Siva Yoga Samadhi, obtain Your Grace
and reach the goal of life?'

Achuthananda, in yet another of his songs, asks the Lord if he can only see Him through His strength
and if this means that he can never see Him by his own ability.  He sings the praise of all pervasive
Perfect One, Who is the Sound of Pure Space, in the Vedic mantras, in the great Advaitic teaching
and in the transcendental turiya state and Who is the First Cause of everything?  He wonders when he
will receive in solitude the darshan (vision) of the all pervasive, blissful Lord and bathe in the surging
flood of transcendental, supreme silence of Jnana.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                 

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Re: Sri Achuthanantha Adigal:
« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2016, 01:01:22 PM »
Achutahananda's book of songs is aptly titled Advaita Kirtana Ananda Lahari (The Blissful Wave of
Advaitic Songs).  His songs are well known even today among Tamizh bhaktas.

He spent several years traveling and giving lectures until 1902.  In that year, the year called Subhakrithu,
from the Tamizh month of Aavani until the month of Aippasi, he visited his disciples and advised them,
'Oh, the most loved sons!  Don't waste precious time. Seek Atamanubhava (direct experience of the Self)
and attain eternal bliss.' He also added, 'This is my final visit.'

In the second day, of Karthika month, he came to the house of his disciple Sri Arangasami Mudaliar,
in Vallam village in Vellore district and started writing a book on Jnana Sastra titled Sanmarga
Darpanam (The Mirror Revealing the Direct Methods of Attaining the Eternal Self.)

(It was at Bhagavan's explicit command that the book was published with a commentary by Swamigal's
disciple, Sadhanapani Ramachandra Guruswamigal. The book was published in 1926.  A copy was kept
in Bhagavan's revolving book case in the Old Hall..  Now it is in Asramam archives. 

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.             

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Re: Sri Achuthanantha Adigal:
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2016, 12:09:29 PM »
On the eleventh day, a Wednesday afternoon at three O'clock, he called another disciple, Sri
Mandiramoorthy Pillai, a Siddha doctor, and told him about some rare medicinal systems.  He
completed the Sanmarkka Darpanam that the same day late in the night, at three a.m. and
commanded his disciple, Sri Vaithilingam Pillai, 'Sir!  Print this book and distribute it.'  Soon after
4 am.  he felt unwell and Sri Mandiramoorthi Pillai, who was among those nearby, said that he
would provide the necessary treatment.  Achuthananda Swamigal smiled and said, 'Dhanvantri!
My time is up.  The body is waiting to fall off.  What can you do?'  Then he went to the nearby river
Naganadhi and took his bath.  On his way back he stopped for a while at an open space near where
he was staying and told himself, 'It seems, all that is to happen further will happen here', and returned
home.

Later, Achutananda Swamigal drank some liquid food, made all his disciples sit before him and
explained clearly to them the ephemeral nature of the body, advising them not to waste life but
to utilize it for practicing samadhi.  At that time, one of his very close disciples and his sister-in-law's
son, named Muthukrishna Naidu, came, prostrated and requested him to come back to Kasthambadi.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.               

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Re: Sri Achuthanantha Adigal:
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2016, 10:45:22 AM »
The Swamigal replied, 'The condition of this body is not good; all will be well  soon and travel can be
considered.'  On hearing this Muthukrishna Naidu stepped outside wondering what could be the meaning
of Swamigal's cryptic words.  Sometime after, in Karthikai month, on the twelfth day, a Thursday, under
the auspicious date of Swathi star, at ten a.m., Achuthanandar, sitting in the padmasana posture, asked
all his disciples to keep looking at him.  He then left the mortal coil and attained Videha Kaivalya, the state
of total freedom.

On seeing this all his disciples were shocked and stunned, but they soon recovered and thought about
further action. They could not see any change in the condition of Swamigal's body and were unable to
decide whether Adigalar was still alive in Nirvikalpa Samadhi or had attained Videha Kaivalyam, (had left
the physical body).

In the meantime, on hearing of Achutanandar's Videha Kaivalyam many people started arriving to pay
homage to this Mahatma.  Messages were sent to Kasthambadi and to all his disciples.  The same evening,
Swamigal's wife, many disciples from nearby places, and the relatives of Swamigal gathered in huge numbers
to pay homage with a heavy heart.  A few experienced disciples assured them that Swamigal had indeed
entered Videha Kaivalyam.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.       

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Re: Sri Achuthanantha Adigal:
« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2016, 11:58:12 AM »
The next day before noon a Samadhi pit was dug in the same open place where same open place
where Swamigal had stood and spoken to himself earlier in the morning. Swamigal had stood and spoken
to himself earlier in the morning.  Swamigal's body was given a Thirumanjanam bath, with water from
holy Ganga which someone  has brought by chance, it was decorated, worshipped, and was placed 
on pearl plank.  To the accompaniment of auspicious music, surrounded by thousands of people,
Swamigal's body was taken to the site of the samadhi pit and was placed in it at 5.00 p.m.

All that had to be done was done properly and everyday prayer was also done according to traditions
for a Jeevanmukta. Before the first anniversary function, many of the disciples were very eager to see
Swamigal's gracious form. Some nine devotees opened the samadhi pit one day and saw the divine form.
To their surprise Swamigal's body had not undergone any change and, not only that, there were sweat
drops oozing out from the forehead.  One of the disciples wiped off some sweat from the body and to the
bafflement of everyone it kept oozing out!  The action was repeated several times with the same effect.
This extraordinary sight was witnessed by some twenty one blessed ones including the nine referred
to above. Having performed the decoration and prayers for that day, the Samadhi pit was closed.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2016, 09:25:47 AM by Subramanian.R »

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Re: Sri Achuthanantha Adigal:
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2016, 09:45:13 AM »
When the erection of "panchakshara medai" (the platform on which the chanting of Na-ma-si-va-ya is done)
began, people who had heard of the state of the gracious form and the sweat on the forehead of Swamigal's
body, came in large numbers, requesting ardently that the samadhi pit be opened again for their darshan and
prayer. When the disciples gently refused to open it as it was late in the evening and the construction activity
had to be completed, the crowd which had gathered became agitated and tried to force open the samadhi
pit.  The disciples were stunned and did not know what to do, when suddenly there was a heavy downpour
and the crowd dispersed as there was no shelter from the rain.  The construction was thus completed in the
prescribed time period.       

Though the reason for the condition of Swamigal's physical form was discussed among the wise ones no one
could explain it.  Later on, at one of the aradhana festivals of Swamigal, K.Dadivelu Chettiyar, a Vedanta
guru who had the darshan of Bhagavan, was the guest of honor.  When he was informed of the condition of
Swamigal's body, he explained that one who is well versed in yogic practices, can hold the breath and stay in
the akanda samadhi, that is, stay for a very long time in a thoughtless breathless state. Adigal being a Jnana
siddha, one who has reached the summit of Jnana, as well as yoga siddha, one who has reached the summit
of yogic practices, is in the state of jeeva samadhi and hence there is no change in condition of the body.

Later, two brothers who were disciples of Swamigal, Sri Mandiramoorthy Pillai and Sri Vaithyalingam Pillai,
took great pains and at great expense built a temple and Mutt, and arranged for the kumbhabishekam and
oversaw the general activities of the new temple and the Mutt.  In time, the Mutt was rebuilt and renamed
Achyuta Nilayam.  The Mutt is still active today and may be visited on the Tiruvannamalai -Polur -Vellore
highway (National Highway 234).  It is some 30 kms from Polur or some 67 kms from Tiruvannamalai on the
road to Vellore.  It is located at Kizhvallam which is about a km. before Kannamangalam.  There is a bridge
there and one immediately turns left.

concluded.

Arunachala Siva.