Saturday, October 15, 2005

Yoga Swami - The greatest Saint of Jaffna

The fundamental aim of all religions is the realization of Truth. This is a matter of direct experience in which neither the mind nor the intellect nor any human faculty is involved. It is a question of being. There is only one reality, which is God or 'That' (tat) so that realization of truth means being aware that you are one with God or that you are "that' (Tat tvam asi). This is the meaning of 'know thyself'. He who knows himself knows everything and is one who has attained liberation while in the human body (jivanmukta). There is nothing left for him to do but to help others to come to the same realization. Such a person is the true master (sat-guru).

Those who have attained this state are exceedingly rare. But one such 'realized soul' lived in the North of Sri Lanka for over ninety years and left his body only in March 1964. He was known as Yoga Swami and took birth a hundred and twenty-one years ago. He received his early education in a Christian missionary school and after leaving school, he was employed for some years as a storekeeper in the Irrigation Department at a place about forty miles south of Jaffna. During this time, in his early manhood, he met his guru -- Chellappa Swami. Soon afterwards he gave up his job -- and everything else -- in order to follow him.

Thirst for truth

Chellappa Swami was usually to be found in the neighborhood of Nallur, now a suburb of Jaffna town, but once the capital of the Tamil kings of the place. Situated here is the most important temple in Jaffna, dedicated to Kandaswami or Murugan. Close to the temple itself is a large building used to house the massive wooden chariot in which the image of Murugan is drawn round the temple on the occasion of the yearly festival.

This was Chellappa Swami's favourite haunt and the place where he imparted most of his teaching to his disciples. He did not do anything but wandered about as he pleased, clothed in rags and begging for food for his sustenance. Most people thought that he was mad, for he would often throw stones at those who tried to approach him and abuse them in language.

Only very few had the purity of mind and heart and understanding to perceive his true greatness and to detect the unlimited wealth that he had in his power to bestow. Yoga Swami was one of the lucky few. Even he was chastened and driven out many a time, but Yoga Swami withstood all these because of his thirst for realizing the Truth.

Driven out

It would appear that Yoga Swami was with his guru only for a few years. At a certain point of time he was driven out and told to "Stand on your own legs!". There is also a story that when he came to visit Chellappa Swami in the final stages of his last illness, the latter would not allow him to enter the hut in which he was lying, but shouted from within, "Stand outside and see!"

During the years immediately before and after Chellappa Swami's Mahasamadhi, Yoga Swami was living under a tree at Columbuthurai on the outskirts of Jaffna town. At this time he appears to have been practising severe austerities and in his outward behaviour to have followed the example of his master, for he would drive away those who tried to approach him.

But gradually, as more and more devotees gathered round him, his austere demeanour seems to have been relaxed, and he was eventually persuaded to occupy a small hut in the garden of a house near the tree under which he had been living. This remained his 'base' for the rest of his life. There devotees would come to him for help in all their problems, usually in the early mornings and in the evenings.

Teachings of Yoga Swami - to be continued..


Blogger krishna said...

Dear Arjuna

Thanks 4 da info abt the great Yogi, which made me to read this

5:40 PM  
Blogger Swahilya said...

Reading about enlightened beings is being in the same light.

8:36 AM  
Blogger kitchenette soul said...

Good post. Waiting to read more

4:48 PM  
Blogger VeeKay said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:17 AM  
Blogger Ganesh said...

My guess is right, the moment someone rights bout Yoga Swami they are usually lankan tamils. Many people dont know about this great man.
I came to know him through Late Sri Sivvaya Subramanya Swami of Kauii adheenam and founder of Hinduism Today magazine


10:27 AM  
Blogger Swahilya said...

It's a great magazine Ganesh. Have you met Sivaya Subramanya Swamy? I saw his picture in Ganapathy Sthapathy's house. I interviewed Sthapathy for a Meet column. Observing him while speaking (Sthapathy) I felt it was none other than Vishwakarma, the Universal Builder, speaking! He too cherished the interaction with me!

11:34 AM  
Blogger Ganesh said...

Swahilya unfortunately I havent met him, but used have virtual darshan through web.
Kauii adheenanams sanyasins are really high tech, they used to broadcast streaming audio and video much before ipodcasting era ;)
Even Apple featured them in one of their magazine article.

9:35 AM  

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