SRI TRAILANGASWAMI MAHARAJ
Born : 1607 AD in Telengana region of Andhra Pradesh , India.
Mahasamadhi : Swamiji attained mahasamadhi on Monday evening of 26.12.1887 (source:An Autobiography of Yogi - by Swami Yogananda )
This is the story of the life of Trailinga Swami, an Indian Saint who did tremendous sadhana for over 250 years and attained to the heights of spiritual knowledge. Even during his life, many realized him to be an incarnation of Shiva. Shree Maa has had an intuitive sense of him for many years of her life, and would like to share this life with all of us as a source of inspiration for perseverance in our sadhana.
Trailinga Swami's father, Narasingh Rao, was a leader of his village in Andra Pradesh, and being a virtuous and truthful man, he was respected by all his community. His mother, Bidayabati, faithfully supported her husband, performed service to others, and did her own sadhana along with him. The couple remained childless for many years, but desired a son to carry on the family's lineage.
One day Bidayabati, in her most sincere desire to fulfill her husband's wishes for a son, asked him to take a second wife, by whom he may have a child. Eventually he accepted her suggestion and married again, while she increased her devotion and sadhana to Lord Shiva. At one point during her sadhana, she dreamed of Shiva's arrival with a son. The dream soon came to fruition, when she became pregnant. At an auspicious astrological configuration, she gave birth to a beautiful son, whom they called Shivaram, later known as Trailinga Swami.
After one year had passed following Shivaram's birth, Narsingh's second wife gave birth to a son whose name as given as Shridhar. The two sons were raised together in a very happy and harmonious household.
One day during Bidayabati's meditation on Lord Shiva, the young Shivaram fell asleep in front of the Shiva Lingam. Upon rising from her meditation, Bidayabati saw a light emanating from the Shiva Lingam she had been worshiping, and moving directly in front of her son, Shivaram.
Shivaram was always a profound and seriously introspective child. For the most part he avoided regular childhood past times, preferring instead to spend his time in solitude. He was quite indifferent to the demands of the society around him. Rather his great joy was to listen to religious stories told by his mother.
His father wanted him to marry of course, because without marriage he would not be entitle to participate in Vedic rites of worship or in community affairs, but Shivaram adamantly refused. He viewed it as an impediment to his spiritual growth. Ultimately the father became resigned to his son's tenacity of purpose, and Narasingh instructed his younger son, Shridhar, instead to marry and carry on the family name.
When Shivaram was 40 years old, his father died. He had a great desire to leave the world and take up the life of a religious mendicant, but his Mother requested him to remain with her so long as she maintained her body. She promised him that if he would stay with her until her death, he would find the highest blessings and the ultimate liberation. He agreed, and remained in the family home.
When his mother died twelve years later, he was freed from the debts of family karma, and being accountable to no one, he moved off to live the life of a wandering sadhu. He started his sadhana in the local cremation grounds, where he remained seeking wisdom for 20 years.
An order from God led him on a search for his Guru, Yogi Rattananda Saraswati. Together they made a spiritual pilgrimage on foot across the North and South of India, and ultimately came to Pushkar Lake. It was here that the yogi initiated Shivaram into sannyas dharma, and gave him the name Ganapati Saraswati. Shortly after the initiation, his guru left his body and Ganapati remained there and performed spiritual practices for 10 years more.
After the completion of this sadhana, he walked to Rameshwaram in South India. It is here that the first of a number of powerful miracles certified the depth of his yogic powers.
The story is told that he stopped and blessed the corpse of a young child amidst a large funeral procession. Much to the surprise of all the thousand or so mourners, the boy suddenly came to life. Without a word the saint disappeared.
Ganapati continued his pilgrimages throughout India and came to practice sadhana in Nepal's deep forests. A Nepalese story tells of a King who was on a hunting safari in that region, and how, although a gifted marksman, could not seem to shoot a tiger. Despite repeated misses, the King insisted on getting the tiger and pursued it with all his might. The tiger chase brought the King to a yogi sitting amiably with the roaring beast. The yogi gently stroked the frightened animal, while the King looked on in amazement. Yogi Ganapati beckoned the King closer to give him this marvelous advice, "Give up your fear, Oh King, for the tiger will not harm you. God has created everything. Give love, and He will give you love. Always remember this."
Ganapati revealed the power of love in his simple yet heroic gesture. Later, the King returned to Kathmandu spreading news of the Saint and the tiger. Many people aroused with devotion traveled to the jungle for his blessings and Ganapati's fame began to spread. One weeping widow dropped her dead child at the feet of the saint. Moved by compassion, Ganapati touched the corpse and revived it. Again, Ganapati disappeared without a trace.
One day Trailinga Swami was sitting outside the Pashupatinath Temple of Lord Shiva in Kathmandu, Nepal. The King's daughter had prepared a special garden of flowers with which to worship Shiva in a special puja for her marriage. With great devotion she performed the puja and put the garland on the Shiva lingam.
When she came out from the temple, she saw a naked sadhu wearing the same flower mala. "You should marry me!" he called to her, showing that he was wearing her mala.
She was abashed. "That crazy sadhu has stolen the flowers from my puja!" she called.
"Go in and see for yourself," replied the Swami.
She went into the temple only to find the offered garland was still draped over the Shiva lingam. Coming outside again, she saw that it was around the sadhu's neck. It was in two places at the same time! Both on the Shiva lingam and on the sadhu's neck! How could that be?
"Go, go," he said in benediction. "I accept your offering of worship. You'll find a good husband."
Returning to her home at the palace, she told her father of the extraordinary experience she had at the temple. "It must have been Trailinga Swami," replied the King. "Just while you were praying in the temple, we received a proposal for your marriage from a most worthy prince."
The princess was married and enjoyed a most blessed life.
At the Markendeya Ashram in Northern India, Ganapati did his sadhana along the banks of the Narmada River. There he encountered a powerful Saint of the region, known as Kaki Baba.
One day Kaki Baba saw a beautiful scene:
All the river's water was milk, and the newly arrived Swami was drinking it.
Kaki Baba understood the vision meant that Ganapati, now known as Trailinga Swami, had the power to drink the milk of the river, and that Mother Narmada provided this milk for Trailinga Swami. Also wishing to partake of the prasad, Kaki Baba went to the riverbank to drink, only to find the milk was just plain water.
The beloved Trailinga Swami stayed there for 8 years performing his sadhana in the area. Trailinga Swami used to sit outside during the worst storms, despite persistent pleas from his disciples. Continually he would tell them, "Don't worry about me."
One day he went out into the river to rescue a sinking boat single-handedly. Trailinga Swami knew that every one had the same potential to do anything, but sadhana enlivened that potential. He said: "Those who forget their own nature, their Godly essence, forget the power within themselves. Our real nature most often is mistaken by others. They prefer to believe in a miracle of the supernatural, rather than the inner strength of the powers that all of us possess." For him, the boat rescue was merely another proof of the power of the God within.
Trailinga Swami's next move was to Kashi in Benaras, where he stayed for more than 150 years. From Kashi come many wonderful accounts of Trailing Swami's compassionate and truthful character. One such story is about a leper for whom Trailinga sang stutis (Sanskrit hymns of Praise) and offered Bilvapatra, a leaf associated with the worship of Lord Shiva. After his worship of this man, Trailinga Swami requested him to shower at the Lolark Kund, always keeping the bilvapatra on his head. Now the Lolark Kund is special for its auspicious waters, and when the leper washed as per the instructions of the Swami, his leprosy was cured.
Another story took place at the Hanuman Ghat. A local woman performed Shiva Puja there every day. One time, seeing a naked man there, she cursed his nudity and asked him why he didn't live in the jungle with the other animals. The man simply ignored her and continued peacefully on his path. That night, Shiva revealed in a dream that because of her insults to him earlier in the day, her worship would not bear any fruit.
Furthermore, only that naked man, Trailinga Swami, would be the one who granted her the fruit for which she was worshipping. Her purpose for doing the puja was to find a cure for her husband's stomach ulcers. In the morning she searched and searched for the Saint, and when she finally found him, she asked for his forgiveness. Trailing Swami happily blessed her, and gave her some ashes for her husband's cure. Applying the ashes to her bewildered husband, she found that he was cured immediately.
The story is told of an angry ticket collector who told the naked sadhu to get down from the train. "You can't avail the train service without a ticket!" He was told. The train was stopped between two stations waiting for a clearance from a crossing guard, when the Swami got down. He stomped off in agitated mood in the direction of the next train.
One crippled man called to him from the next compartment, "Hey, Babaji! Take me with you!"
With seemingly great anger, Swami kicked the lame man, and continued on towards the next station, a few miles from there. When the lame man got up from the ground, much to his amazement, he was able to walk. He threw down his crutch with a shout of triumph and ran after the Swami, shouting with joy at his recovery.
The Swami reached the station, and took his seat underneath a large tree. Meanwhile the crossing guard gave the signal, but the train refused to move. People started to walk to the station, rather than sit in the hot sun waiting for the train. When they reached the station, they saw the Swami comfortably reposed under a tree, and they all wondered how he knew the train wouldn't be able to move, and that everyone would have to walk to the station.
The engineers worked on the train all afternoon, but they couldn't find out any difficulty. The mechanics came from the station, but they, too, were mystified by the train's failure. Even when the master mechanics and engineers arrived from the nearest city, all of them were bewildered with the train's inability to move. No one could even offer an explanation.
Then the crippled man, who had been cured from the swift kick of Trailinga Swami, told everyone that the train won't run because of the insult shown to that great saint. After he was thrown off the train, the machine refused to run. "Just ask the Swami to come again on board, and you'll see if the train won't go."
"Well," reasoned all the officials, "We've tried everything else. No one has a better explanation. Go, call him to come."
No sooner did Trailinga Swami board the train, than the engine started up, and the train moved off swiftly towards the station.
At a certain King's palace on the Ganges, a Queen was bathing in the Ganges River, when she saw the naked Trailinga Swami. She screamed in alarm. The King ordered the soldiers to capture the sadhu so he could punish him appropriately. When Trailinga Swami was caught, the towns-people, knowing of his spiritual powers, warned the King, but the warnings went unheeded. The King's decision was that the whole town would curse the man repeatedly. That night the King had a dream of Lord Shiva. Shiva complained of the King's abuse and demanded that he leave Kashi and never return again. In the morning an agitated and fearful King looked for the abused Saint and begged for forgiveness, which the Saint readily gave without condition.
In many stories of Trailinga Swami, it was not usual for him to float atop the waters of the Ganges, and then suddenly disappear, avoiding the overzealous crowds, only to resurface at some other location downstream. Once the King of Ujain visited Benares, and when leaving by boat, he noticed a naked man floating on the top of the water. The man floated towards the boat and was brought on board. The naked man was none other than Trailinga Swami. Trailinga Swami asked to see the king's sword and after admiring it, he simply threw it in the Ganges with the levity of a small child. The King became very angry and decided to punish this crazy man.
Then Trailinga Swami jumped in the waters, and pulling out two identical swords from the water asked the king, "Oh King, which one is yours?"
The King stood there meekly unable to see any difference between the two swords, to which Trailinga Swami retorted, "Foolish King, you thought your sword was so important, but still you can't tell the difference from another one. You are a container full of delusion and ego. That sword is not yours forever; you cannot take it with you. But your karma will go with you everywhere. Then why are you so angry about this sword? Why bother yourself with anger?"
Trailing Swami gave the King his sword and threw the other one back into the water. The upset King asked forgiveness from Trailinga Swami, and without a second's hesitation, Trailinga Swami granted it, and then he again jumped into the river.
Once at Asi Ghat, Trailinga Swami saw a woman weeping for her husband who had died of snakebite. As was the tradition for death from snakebites, the funeral group attempted to throw the whole body into the Ganges, rather than to cremate it. Trailinga Swami approached the body, applied some clay to the wound, and quickly jumped into the Ganges. The dead man slowly came to life and the talk at the Ghat for weeks was strictly about Swamiji's miracles.
The British officers saw Trailinga Swami's nudity as a social disgrace, and frequently complained to the magistrate, who finally arrested him. The policemen, who tried to bring him before the magistrate, told a tale that seemed highly impossible. Trailing Swami simply disappeared before their very eyes! A huge search party was summoned to search for him, but while they were out looking, he returned alone. He was laughing hilariously. Someone informed the magistrate that Trailing Swami was no ordinary human, and that in his spiritual greatness, he saw everything as equal.
Apprised of this information that the Swami regarded everything as equal, the clever magistrate asked if the Swami would eat his food. He knew fully well that meat was forbidden to a Hindu Saint. The Saint without any hesitation, responded affirmatively and added that the magistrate should eat his food also. Agreeing to the exchange, the magistrate served a plate of meat, which the Swami ate with gusto.
After eating his meat, Trailing Swami squatted and defecated into the palm of his hand: the "food" for the magistrate. The magistrate began to swear and curse in offensive tones, when he observed that the offering had totally become sandal paste. Convinced of Trailinga's spiritual power, the magistrate protected him from that time onwards, and is reported to have given him protection throughout the district.
When the magistrate was transferred to another district, a new magistrate came, who also reacted to Trailinga Swami's nakedness by arresting and jailing him. The following day, the magistrate visited the prisoner. Much to his surprise, the magistrate found the prisoner outside the jail. He could not find out who let this man out of the cell. Angered, the magistrate demanded that Trailing Swami tell him how he had escaped. In a simple, effortless way, Trailinga Swami said, "Early in the morning, I had the desire to urinate." This infuriated the magistrate and he locked Trailinga Swami up again, but this time even more securely. Trailinga Swami managed to follow the magistrate outside, even despite extra security attempts. Trailinga Swami told the magistrate, "Sir, you are quite guilty of ignorance. This world has infinite possibilities and all-pervasive consciousness, things about which you know nothing. You can't bind anyone who has reached the heights of yoga. Why do you disturb me, if you can't do anything to me? Where is your power now?"
Enlightened by the prisoner's words, the magistrate recognized the power and depth of this man, and ordered that all the officials of the town respect Trailinga Swami wherever he goes, and to leave him alon
Trailinga Swami spent the last of his life at Pancha Ganga Ghat in Kashi, now called Benares. His caretaker was Mangal Bhatt. Trailinga Swami spent his last years in silence next to Kali and Shiva deities carved from stone with his own hands. He sat at his altar writing Sanskrit shlokas and giving advice to others. When Saints visited him, he often spoke in his own version of sign language.
The famous Bengali Saint, Ramakrishna, visited Trailinga Swami and said that although he had taken a body, Trailinga Swami was truly Lord Shiva and the embodiment of Wisdom. Both of them were so happy to be with one another, and yet few words were exchanged. They communicated at the level of the heart. Ramakrishna recognized all of the signs that indicated Trailinga Swami's saintliness. Trailinga Swami also was most respectful.
One question that Ramakrishna asked was whether God was one or many? Trailinga Swami answered in sign language. "In samadhi, you will know that God is one. And when you have a taste for the world, God is many."
One day Ramakrishna wished to feed Trailinga Swami pudding and gave him 25 pounds of sweet rice boiled in milk. Trailinga Swami ate the entire offering in one sitting.
Trailinga Swami was known to eat very little, often observing long fasts. A group of wicked men wanted to test his truthfulness and poisoned him with lime water, a concoction that looks like milk. The wicked men followed him to find out his reaction, which was not as they had expected. He urinated.
Rich visitors liked to decorate him with gold and gems. Attired like this he would lose consciousness and thieves would remove the jewels. For him, it was as if someone was giving and someone was taking. An incident occurred in which a King had beckoned him with beautiful jewels and robbers took away everything. When the robbers were brought to Trailinga Swami, he dismissed the whole incident saying, "I am still the same with or without the jewels."
Many Saints met him in his lifetime. One day he announced to his disciples that he would like to leave this world. The distressed disciples cried that they had no statue of him. He promised his disciples a memoir, a statue of himself prior to his departure, which they made. Then before leaving, he advised his devotees to make a sandalwood coffin and to put his body within, and then to throw it into the Ganges. He entered in to meditative samadhi and consciously exited from the body on the 11th day of the full moon.
Following his directions, they placed his body in the sandalwood coffin, circumambulated Kashi, and then lowered the coffin into the Ganges, beside which he had resided for so many years. The coffin sank to the bottom, but after some time floated to the surface. When the disciples opened the lid, they found that the box was filled with flowers, and there was no sign of the body.
Those are some of the details of the life of Trailinga Swami, who continues to remain an inspiration to saints and sadhus of all walks of life.
Source : http://www.shreemaa.org/drupal/node/353
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