Sunday, August 23, 2015

SREE SIVANESAN SWAMIJI - the best apostle of Sai Baba.

(He introduced Nama Japa by chanting "Om Sai Sri Sai Jaya Jaya Sai" by groups. He advised the devotees about 'Pradakshina' (circumambulation) around the Gurusthan, Nanda Deep and Dutta Mandir for their good. During the four and a half decades, approximately that Swamiji spent in Shirdi, he became the best apostle of Sai Baba). 

Sree Sivanesan Swamiji was  born  as  the third and last child  of Smt. Alamelu and Shri. Muthaiah on  12th  April 1927 on  the  holy  day of Sree Ramnavami in Nayakkan  Palayam  in  Coimbatore   District   in Tamilnadu.  He was perhaps born with the blessings of Lord Ram.  At the  time of  his  birth, the child had  already  two  front  teeth   and  a 'jata'  (a small tuft of hair at the  back of the head) and  the astrologers foretold   that  he  would  not  lead  the  life  of  a householder  but  would  become  an   ascetic  or sanyasi.   From   his  early childhood, he started withdrawing  from   the  worldly matters and  used to be alone, calm and meditative and some  times used to forget  about his  food.  He  was fond  of loneliness. He had very fond memories  of his maternal grandmother at whose home he spent lot of time happily and was also liking his paternal uncle  who  had  a  good  collection of books which he greatly loved. He had formal  education  only  up  to  the  eighth  standard  but  did  not  like further studies, even though he  belonged  to a  family  of  good  standing  with  comfortable means.   He  had  a  wonderful  memory.  He  was  originally  an  atheist  and later became a devotee of Baba.

Later on, he worked as a Record Room Assistant in the High Court in Madras on a temporary basis for a short time. He also worked as a helper in the Electricity Department on daily wages in Coimbatore for some time at a very young age and actually he was not eligible to work based on his age and used to hide himself in the nearby fields when the Inspecting officials were visiting the Department. He also worked as a sales assistant in a bookshop which he liked very much because he loved reading books. But as he showed more interest in reading the books than in selling them, he was removed from the job.

After the death of his mother, he left his home and did not return to his native place. He had developed lot of interest towards spiritual learning. He reached Bombay in his wanderings during 1944 at 17 years of age. He did many sundry jobs for his livelihood. He also worked as a railway porter at a railway station. He was fond of meditating and was also meditating in the seashore area.

Later he met Muthaiah Swamiji, who also hailed from Coimbatore District, though he was a householder, he considered Swamiji as his GURU and achieved some spiritual progress from his guidance and learnt about meditation and vedanta. For some time, he stayed in Bombay and then moved to the 'math' of Sree Nityanand Swamiji at Vajreshwari where he had achieved much spiritual progress. Then he moved to Tryambakeshwar, in Nasik District and was with Mauni Baba in that place. And then he finally left for Shirdi in 1953.

Finally he made Shirdi his home. But in Shirdi, there was no place for him to stay and sleep and no scope for him to get food. He was sleeping here and there, living on a cup of tea and some times was eating some flowers and many times starved himself. With Baba's Grace, he got some shelter and was getting some food daily. When he arrived at Shirdi, he brought with him some books which he considered as his treasure as he liked the books and was interested in reading them. He was spending his time in Shirdi by doing seve-services to all the temples in Shirdi, including at Dwarakamai, Chavadi and Lendibagh. He was utilising other time in deep meditation.

During that time, Shirdi Sai Baba Sansthan was under the control of the Court Receiver who observed keenly his sincere and selfless services and felt happy and then entrusted some duties to him such as the work of lighting all the lamps in all the places, including Dwarakamai, Lendibagh and Chavadi and the number of such lamps were 13 in number. In those days, Chavadi was kept open for devotees only on Thursdays. In Dwarakamai, he meticulously cared for the Dhuni with great devotion and in the process his clothes got dirty due to soot, but he was not caring for his appearance. He became an adept in applying the sandalwood tilak on Baba's photos and similarly for many deities before the commencement of aratis and in the evenings also he was doing the work of lighting the lamps at various places. On being pleased with his dedicated services, the Court Receiver allowed him to sleep in a room adjoining the Dwarakamai. As he knew several languages, including English, Marathi and many South Indian languages, he was entrusted with the work of writing names and addresses on the envelopes used for sending udi as 'prasad' to the devotees who sent money orders to Shirdi. In return for these services, the Sansthan started paying him Rs.15/- per month as honorarium. The honorarium money was utilized by him for the needs of the devotees and others. After some time, the Sansthan was also providing food for him. When the number of visiting devotees became more, then the Chavadi was kept open on all the days for the visit of the devotees and then he was concentrating more on decorating the Chavadi especially for the 'Palki' procession from Dwarakamai to Chavadi on Thursdays.

The compiler of this article was fortunate enough to have a glimpse of Sree Sivanesan Swamiji in two of his visits to Shirdi along with his family members who also had the glimpse of the Swamiji. At our request, Swamiji also permitted us to take his photo at which all of us felt that we were blessed by Swamiji. All of us are really fortunate for this pious and spiritual occasion. 

He was keen in helping the devotees in the spiritual path and bought some books in different languages and presented them to the devotees. He taught by his example the importance of service to all - especially to the sick, the lepers and the needy. He encouraged devotees to set up Sai Baba temples in their own towns and villages in India and abroad with dhuni with perpetual light and fire. He began to have a vast following because of his innate urge to serve people. He read the Sai Leela Magazines, in Marathi in the Sansthan library. Acharya Bharatwaja and others were also helped by him in writing their books on Sai Baba. He also encouraged devotees to undertake translations from Marathi into English, Hindi, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and other languages so that Sai Baba' life, mission and the miracles would be known in every nook and corner of India and abroad. 'Satsang' was also conducted with various devotees in different languages at all hours, including night. Like this and in different ways, he spread Saibaba's messages to all the places. He was always distributing Udi and Tirth, to all the visiting devotees. When the devotees were about to leave Shirdi, he used to offer to them some spiritual/bhajan books with Baba's photo. The practice of performing Akand Nama Japa by chanting "Om Sai Sri Sai Jaya Jaya Sai", by groups of devotees was started by him. Thus he was also instrumental for spreading the messages of Baba to all the places.  

His life was simple. His clothes consisted of cotton towel wrapped round his waist, a  Maharastrian vestment with a pocket and half sleeves and a small towel wrapped round his head to cover his long hair as a turban as shown in his picture above. All items of dress, dhotis, shawls and sweaters presented to him were not at all used by him, but distributed to the poor and needy. Even three days before his Mahasamadhi, he arranged distribution of the blankets and bed sheets, received during his short period of illness. He always slept on the floor, spreading a blanket and thick bedspread on the floor; his seat was a gunnysack, with a paper stuffed pillowcase as a bolster. He did not care for the scorching sun and the rain, and distributed the umbrellas he received. He did not wear any footwear during his entire stay in Shirdi and moved always with bare feet.  

He ate less and was distributing to the devotees any fruits offered to him. He was singing in sweet voice several bhajans which he knew by heart, some of which he himself had composed and the devotees got some of these bhajans printed in booklets. He always led such bhajans and this practice was carried on for more than twenty years till his Mahasamadhi. He led the bhajans with correct words from memory.  

He encouraged 'Pradakshina' (circumambulation) around the Gurusthan, Nanda Deep and Dutta Mandir in the Lendi Baugh. He advised the devotees to do pradakshina for their benefit and health.  He was well versed in herbal medication and would promptly suggest to the afflicted devotees a course to follow, which would invariably cure them completely or at least give some immediate relief.

He believed and advised the devotees in Dhuni Puja and participation in Satyanarayana Puja for their good. His method of teaching was simple and it was through allegoric stories and parables. He strongly advocated 'Anna-dana' (food distribution) as the best charitable deed. 

He also advised the devotees about the greatness of saints like Devi Mayi Amma of Salem, Videhi Annusaya Mata of Padasinga, Ram Reddy Tatha of Kurnool, Nayampalli Baba of Hyderablad and others. Those who expressed desires to have ''darshan'' of such saints were encouraged to do so.

He advised the devotees with an urge to write about Baba to first go to Baser for the darshan of Goddess Saraswati and then take up composing about Baba.

During the four and a half decades, approximately that Swamiji spent in Shirdi, he became the best apostle of Sai Baba. His 'seva' to Baba and Baba's devotees was sincere, whole-hearted and selfless. 

He breathed his last at 00.10 hrs on Monday, 12th February 1996, at Shirdi and merged with Saibaba; Many believe that the swinging of the lantern in the Dwarakamai indicated this merger. Sivanesan Swamiji's Mahasamadhi was built in Shirdi, off Pimpalwadi Road, two and a half kilometers away from the Sansthan's Prasadalaya, by his devotees. He was a great ankita bhakta who devoted his life in the propagation of Baba's messages and advised all the visiting devotees to build Saibaba temples, do service to Baba and propagate Baba's messages. He was one of the greatest devotees in having propagated about Baba for the welfare of one and all. His life was a blessed one.

Swamiji often sang: "Haridwar, Mathura, Kashi Shirdi mein saba thirtha samaye hai Sai Baba ke charano mein Charo dhama hamare hai." conveying the meaning that Shirdi is a pilgrimage place in which Haridwar, Madhura and Kashi are all embraced and encompassed. All the four great places of worship are found at Sai Baba's Holy Feet.

The compiler has written the article under Saibaba's afflatus-divine inspiration after referring to the universally available material traceable to several common sources existing everywhere containing facts, ideas and incidents about Saibaba and the compiler expresses thanks to the writers concerned in this regard. An attempt has been made in this article to collect the information about the years of happening of certain important events and  of miracles, in a chronological order but it is really difficult to know these details precisely for want of historical details in certain instances despite a serious attempt to collect them. The information compiled in this article is based on the compiler's best knowledge gathered from several sources and the compiler has brought out the article with expressions of his own. The readers can use the material for their information/welfare at their discretion and the compiler is not responsible in any manner whatsoever in this regard. While every attempt has been made to collect the details accurately, the compiler is not responsible for the correctness of the details. The compiler also appreciates his children who have helped him in the compilation / sequencing and the chronological arrangements of the incidents. The article is not meant for any commercial use. There is no copy right for this article and this article is placed in the public domain for wider publicity. Any review/comments/suggestions to improve the contents in the article are welcome for initiating any suitable rectification/modification/addition.

Compiler's name, Bondada Janardhana Rao, BANGALORE-560068, India.

The Samadhi of Sivanesan Swamy is approximately 2 ½ kilometers from the Shirdi Saibaba Samadhi Mandir. It is situated in the Pimpalwadi Road. There are autos from the main gate of Saibaba Samadhi Mandir and you need to ask for Shivanesan Swamy's Samadhi mandir . They will charge roughly Rs.60/- to and fro.