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Sri Poondi Swamigal


    Name      Unknown
    Parent's Name      Unknown
    Birth Place      Unknown
    Birth Time      Unknown    
    Religion      Unknown    


According to the Hindu Scriptures, the last and the best state in the spiritual development is the "Brahmisthith” state. Adi Sankara says, in that state, the seeker who is known as “Brahmavarishtan” emerges like a child or a madman or sometimes a man possessed by an evil spirit. It is very rare to find an Avadootha in the form containing all the characteristics mentioned in the scriptures. Moreover it is even rare to see a saint like “Poondi Swamigal” whom all his contemporary saints and jnanis praised as Samraat’.


“We are all like bulbs but Poondi Swamigal is like a transmitter.  Unless the switch is on there, the bulbs will not burn giving light”.  These words were uttered not less a person than the Kanchi Periawal Sri Chandrasekara Saraswathi Swamigal who has been revered and worshipped by thousands of his devotees as God incarnation.  The Periawal usually felt very happy if someone mentioned the name of ‘Poondi Swami’.  Not only that, he once said, he himself often sought the darshan of Sri Poondi Swamigal.  Sri Gnanananda Swami, when asked his opinion about Poondi Swami said, “He is the top of all tops.”  Manymore enlightened people like Sri Sankarananda Swami, Sri  Poornananda Swami (Salem), Sri Pada Swami(Brindavan) had the darshan of Sri Poondi Swamigal.


Sri Poondi Swami was seen wandering like a mad man in 1955 in the village called Kalasapakkam some 20 Kms away from Tiruvannamalai , His gigantic figure and his majestic walk gave him the appearance of an army man.  In the beginning he was seen near Kakkankarai Pillaiyar Temple in Kalasapakkkam, sometimes in a ruined mosque, or in the Drowpathiamman temple, under the shadow of a tree and along the roadside.


Sri Swami used to wear a long thick woolen shirt down to his knees.  Never did he remove it. If the shirt got worn out or torn, he would not remove it but he wore a new shirt on it if anyone gave a new one.  The shirt pocket was always filled with cigarette covers, dust papers, cigarette bits etc.  He did not demand anything from anyone, food and water too!  If offered by somebody he did never touch them but the people would try to open his mouth to feed them. He would not do anything himself using his hands.  If anyone put cigarette into his mouth and lit it, he would smoke cigarette, otherwise not.  He would not talk to anyone voluntarily.  As he did not take bath for several days, his hair was found plighted.  His body became dirty with flies sitting on it always.


He did not mind anything.  If he started moving, he would walk several miles continuously without stopping anywhere.  If he sat somewhere, he would not get up from that place for days together.  When would he move or sit ?  Nobody knew anything. Nobody knew his original name and address. Nothing about his parentage or profession was known. Why was he wandering?  Noone knew answers to such queries.  No one saw him chanting mantras or doing pooja or giving upadesa.


At first, the villagers thought of him as a madman. A strange incident revealed his greatness and they began to respect him as a saint.  Near Kalasapakkam, a river called Seyyaru is flowing.  The swami was seen often sitting on the riverbed for weeks together without moving.  Even the scorching sun did not trouble him.  It is very difficult to walk on the sands during midday.  But, he enjoyed sitting there in the hot sun as if he were seated on some cushion in the cool moonlit night.  Once the river was flooded with sudden rainwater, it is quite normal to see the river with floods and the next moment it becomes dry.  During one such occasion the swami was sitting there fully immersed in the sand heaps.  The villagers saw a part of his tuft on the sands.  They began to dig him out of the sand. He walked out as if nothing had happened.  This incident revealed his greatness as a great siddha purusha or saint like person.  Soon, the news about his greatness started spreading everywhere.  This incident gave the swamy, the nick name “Attru Swamigal” or river swamy.


After this miraculous happening, the villagers built a thatched shed for the swami near the cremation ground.  The swami was staying there mostly during the next three years.


In 1959, he moved out and started sitting on the pouch of a house in Poondi. Until his ‘Samadhi’in 1978 he never moved out of this pouch.  The swami is a typical example of what ‘sastras’ call the Ajakaravastha’ state.


If some offering of food put into his mouth, he ate or drank them gladly. If the offering was placed on his palms, he would never eat it. Never did he give such offerings to others.  All offerings piled up occupying the major portion of the pail. Therefore, he was lifted and kept on the opposite pail in the same house.


Later the owner of the house vacated the house and allowed the swami to stay there permanently.  The swami never stepped into the house or out of the house.  The adjoining room, soon filled with offerings.  No foul odour came out of the room.  The fruits became dry.


If anyone requested the swami to go to bed and kept him in the lying position saying, “Swami, it is time to go to bed,” he would gladly do so, so also his waking condition!  Moreover, the morning ablutions like answering the nature’s call were all done by the devotees as if they were taking care of a child. If anyone spoke to him, he would respond.  His response was usually short.  His response was usually in the same manner by which the questioner spoke.  If the question was asked in a humble way, he would give his reply in a  kind way. If the question was asked with great reverence and devotion, he would reply to them majestically in a few words.  The mind of a jeevanmukta is like a mirror reflecting the thoughts of those who approach him.  The sastras say so.  The swami behaved like a typical example of what Ramana Maharashi said about the condition of a Jnani.  Moreover, what ‘Avadootha Gita’ and ‘Ashtavakra Gita’, describe the characteristic condition of the ‘Ajakaravasta’ state could be directly noticed in the form of Poondi Swami.  One who is always remaining in the  brahman, finds himself in all the existing things both animate and inanimate things.   There is nothing apart from him.  He dwells in every existing thing.  This condition is called the perfect saithanya state. There is yet another state of seeing everything as void.  What else can be said about Poondi Swami?


His appearance and his physical form looked like a jnani who was ready to give’ jnana prasadam’ to his devotees.  He was ready to share what he had stored up as jnana.  His court was kept open always.  Anyone could approach him at anytime for anything. There was no need for any intermediary between the swami and the devotee. Directly anyone could approach him.  No recommendation was necessary.  No hurdles or barricade were kept separating the swami form the devotees.


It is not possible to collect the data regarding the number of devotees who approached him and the experiences of those who were fortunate to receive his grace.


Once, Sri Sai Baba was talking about his guru:  “I have rendered my service heartily to my guru for more than 12 years. I have formed strict rules and conditions to myself as my duty, which was normally difficult to adopt. My guru never moved out of his sitting position for any need, to clear his bowels also!  In that state, he did not know whether he had a mind and a body.  He ate his food there and cleared his bowels there itself. In the same posture he answered all natures’ call.  I did everything for him; feeding, bathing and cleaning his body and changing his clothes!  All  I did gladly.


Sri Poondi Swami’s childlike behavior reminds us of the unmindful characteristic state of Sri Sai Baba’s guru. Poondi Swami had great reverence for Sai Baba.  When a Sai devotee showed the Swami a photo of Sai Baba, Poondi Swami expressed his love for him: “Oh! Sai Baba! A kind-hearted soul !  Worship him!”.


Three days before attaining his Samadhi, Sri Poondi Swami said to his ardent devotee Sri Subramaniam that he had done everything, completed all his work in the north, and informed everybody about his decision to stay permanently in Poondi itself.  After two days Sri Swami said again to Subramaniam that he had informed all the 18 Siddha Purushas about his end.


The next day on 3rd  November 1978, till 9 a.m the swami looked normal but suddenly his breathing slowed down.  In another 15 minutes, the swami shed his body peacefully.  Till then there was no sign of showers but suddenly the clouds gathered from all directions and there was a heavy downpour of rains continuously for three days.  His body could not be interred because of heavy rains.  But the news spread and the devotees from far and near came there to offer their final obeisance to their sadguru.


Sri Swami’s body was interred next to the pail where he used to stay for years together till his Samadhi.  The body was kept there for 3days for darshan.  There was no sign of decaying in the body or any four odour.  There was no sign of stiffening in his body. There was some divine peace emanating from it.


In 1974, I had an opportunity (the writer of this article) to get Dhiksha for a month in his presence.  Even after that I had his darshans on several occasions, 30 miles area around Tiruvannamalai is described as the Arunachala Dejomandala where a jeevan-muktha is found always in physical form according to puranas. Sri Ramana Maharashi quoted this statement from some ancient scriptures who is he present jeevanmuktha today in physical form in Arunachala Dejomandala?