Vallalar - Ramalinga

For more images of Vallalar click on the picture above.

"We all come from the same Light source (Arut Perum Jothi, also called clear light). During the process of creation through the elements the physical body is formed. It is possible for us to reverse the process and make this physical body pure light, here and now, in this plane. We come from the source so we can be the source.
When we express Love, Compassion, and Bliss we are all connected. We are One because those qualities are the qualities of all souls and also the qualities of the Absolute Eternal Grace Light.
There is only one God which is the Absolute Eternal Light, no other form should be worshipped.
There are no castes, no differences of sex...we are all equal.
One should treat all life as he would treat his own life.
One should not believe in scripture but gain his own understanding and knowledge.
All religions, philosophies, and organizations are false, they are only hiding the truth.
One should ask, “Do I accept death and aging?” If you do not accept this, then do something about it and follow my example.

Vallalar is one of the greatest examples in history of what is possible in the field of meditation and kundalini evolution. It is well documented and not ancient knowledge as is the case with Jains and Buddhism where fact and fiction become blurry. However only a few were ready to receive this gift if any at all. In Vallalar's words: "Not even my closest devotees have understood what I am talking about". But history repeats itself as this has been the case with almost all the great spiritual masters in history - for example Jesus and Mahavatar Babaji. If the message and teachings were really understood then there would be many more saints and masters reaching those high states of meditaion. It is also said that Vallalar closed the Gnana Sabai temple in his last days and stopped the so called Suddha Sanmarga movement because of the same reasons.
Let it also be clear that he was certainly not the only one who reached the state of Gnana Deham otherwise called the rainbow body or simply the light body. In history there are many examples of people dissolving into light, however these are mostly known among practitioners of Longde and Managede of Dzogchen Buddhism and Jains. The great thing about Vallalar is that it is relatively recent and well documented and there is even a real picture available from him as shown below.

Now the story goes that in his last days he locked himself up in a room with the instruction never to open up the door. However after the police did open the door eventually, there was nobody there. One could argue that he simply dematerialized and rematerialised somewhere else in solitude or even more sinister that he simply walked away while the people around him were asleep. Why do I not belief this is the case is because of the incredible energy around the room where he attained the state of Gnana deham. The vibration and power is unlike anything I have ever experienced and keep in mind I have been visiting many jeeva samadhi's and saints over the past years to compare. This is also one of the main reasons why I do not belief that the nayanmars came even close to this state as the places where they supposedly dissolved into light have no energy whatsoever and the pictures indicate that they were burned alive instead of dissolved as light otherwise known as Spontaneous Human Combustion - SHC. The exception being Manickavasagar, but he was officially no nayanmar.

So instead of looking into history for his teachings it would be more beneficial to look at how he did it himself and what methods he used. As you will find out below it was not mere compassion and vegetarianism that did the trick. In Vallalar's words:

"One should ask, “Do I accept death and aging?” If you do not accept this, then do something about it and follow my example."

So lets start with his birthplace - Maruthur, south Arcot district, located near Chidambaram. (Vallalar Thiru Avatara Maruthur Vawri)

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Here his father Ramaiah Pillai was a village Munsif, and his mother was Chinnamayar. He was born on 5th october 1823 as a 5th child to this noble couple.
The story goes that once a great Saint came to Chinnamayar for some food. She served him with a great respect! Pleased with the service of Chinnamayar, the saint offered her vibuthi as Prasadam and blessed her saying "You shall very soon have a son like me born onto you". It is said that the saint was Lord Siva himself. After receiving the vibhuti, Chinnamayar had Vallalar as her 5th child!
They named him after Lord Siva as Ramalingam.

Below a picture of what is now a temple where Ramalingam was born. The exact location was a basement under the temple (stair entrance to the left and right of the picture below) where he was born.

When he was a 5 months old baby, his parents took him to Lord Nataraja's temple in Chidambaram. The 5 month old Ramalingam laughed towards Lord Siva and waved his hands towards the deity. The temple priest assured the parents that the baby was a sacred child of Lord Nataraja.

When Ramalingam was a 6 months old baby, his father passed away! His brothers Sabapathy and Parasuraman took charge of running the family. They settled in Madras after the demise of their father. Ramalingam, at the age of 5, was put into school. The elder brother Sabapathy kept teaching him tamil verses too. Instead of attending to the school however, Vallalar passed the time reciting in ecstasy poems written by himself in the temple of Kanthakottam (Madras). Sabhapati was convinced that the child was on a self-destructive path. As a punitive measure, he forbade his wife from giving Ramalingam his daily meal.

His compassionate sister-in-law, however, secretly fed him food out of compassion.

Upon the arrived of the anniversary of their father's death, Sabapathi prepared a meal and invited all of his friends and relatives. Ramalingam, that had not dared to attend there, found his sister-in-law waiting for him in the rear door of the house where he arrived secretly late in the night. She invited him kindly to take the leftovers of the feast, but seeing how he swallowed the cold and half eaten food, she started to cry. He asked her the reason of her crying and she begged him to go to school and study as were the wishes of her brother. Ramalingam agreed only if he would be given a separate room of his own. This was agreed upon and he was given a small room under the stairs where he placed a mirror with a lighted lamp. With these as aids he relentlessly meditated and this was the beginning of the young boy's spiritual journey. The first reward came in the form of a vision of Lord Muruga. In the saint's own words:

"The beauty endowed divine faces six, the illustrious shoulders twelve"

Vallalar's old home

(It is my firm belief that Vallalar was using the mirror in combination with self-inquiry for over 15 years in Chennai, one of the most powerful methods available to kill the ego. I have been doing this type of meditation for over 5 years now and can only say that there are very few things in life that are so direct and powerful to kill the ego as this type of meditation does. That Ramalingam was doing this meditation was also confirmed to me by standing in front of this mirror and recognizing the extreme high energy in the reflection)

After that happy event, Vallalar was regularly seen in the temple of Thiruvotriur (Madras) where he recited many hymns before the deity with absolute spontaneity. His own teacher would listen to him and admire his talent and informed his older brother about his wisdom. Sabapathi, who used to give speeches in the house of a philanthropist to gain his living, considered that the time was right for his brother to be his assistant in reading the Scriptures. One day in which Sabapathi felt sick, Ramalinga came alone to the customary place to explain to the people assembled that the study on the Scriptures had to be postponed, but then all those present asked him to substitute his brother and he started to speak according to his own knowledge. Then he felt that God's wish was to start his mission in the world and he did it with a comment about the life of one of the four great tamil saints (Thirugnana sambandar).

“O Jnana Sambandar, my noble Sat Guru! You has told me (by inspiration) what, if one gets the experience of the self (uyir anubhavam), will form the basis in which the higher experience of Grace (Arul anubhavam) will come and in that defectless and noble experience will arise in turn the experience fo Suddha Siva anubhavam. O Jnana Sambandar, who as a child of tender age of three years took in happily the milk of Knowledge given by the supreme Shakti, and fostered and developed the path of Truth”.

“O my Sat Guru! O Siddha Purusha! O Treasure! O Jnana Sambandar of the famous place Sirkali. You had instructed me thus: 'Transcend each of the states of tatvas (principles of lower manifestation) and reach the unique Paranada state where you will realize the Self (which is the same in all) without your being (the individuality)' . This is called Uyir anubhavam. O Guru! You has made me realized the Self in myself, in the said plane of consciousness”.

“O my Sat Guru! O Jnana Sambandar! You has revealed to me by words thus: 'In the realm beyond the unique Paranada (the highest level), it is the experience of Grace (Arul anubhavam) which makes your being (true individual self) become the fearless eternal and infinite Self-existence and also one with Parampara, the global universe within and without, and gives a blissful state beyond description of words”.

All people were amazed with his eloquence and declared their interest in completing the series of readings. Ramalinga was in agreement with them and people were learning by merely listening to him. This happened around 1835, at the age of twelve. One day a devotee asked Sabapathi to listen to Ramalinga's poems and evaluate for himself how his brother had spiritually progressed. So his brother did secretively and by listening to his small brother he couldn't do anything but consider him like the incarnation of Divine wisdom. From that time Ramalinga was treated with special reverence. To the age of 21 he accustomed to speak freely in the streets, without anything in return for it.

He was obliged to get married despite of his resistance to the idea but never the less accepted a normal married life along with his meditation and speaches.
Not that long after his marriage he moved back to his birthplace near Vadalur where he joined the Tattuvaraya swamigal jeeva samadhi temple where he was made familiar with all the advaita metarials available in Tamil at the time by the swami who was attending the temple. He meditated there for many years and it was this place where the siddhis (perfections) started to show and miracles started to happen.

Above a statue of Tattuvaraya swamigal. Tattuvaraya was a Tamil saint and poet whom scholars believe flourished in the late 15th century. He was a prolific author who wrote thousands of verses on a wide variety of spiritual topics. He was ‘the first to pour forth advaita philosophy in Tamil’. Prior to his arrival on the Tamil literary scene, advaita texts in Tamil seem to have been translations of, or expositions on, texts composed in Sanskrit.

Below the jeeva samadhi of Tattuvaraya swamigal in the same temple near Chidambaram.

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Vallalar visited and received the teachings of Tattuvaraya swamigal around the time when he moved to Vadalur.

He founded the Dharma Salai in May 23, 1867, a center destined to give hospitality to the fatigued traveler, food to the indigent elders and medical aid to the patients without resources. Ramalinga was accustomed to give oral Teachings to his disciples.

Above and below pictures of the Darma Salai.

Many visitors crowded in Vadalur, not only to listen to him but also to be witnesses of his miracles, which he didn't realize for his own convenience but only when they were necessary. Ramalingam also founded a Movement around the same time giving it the name of Samarasa Suddha Sanmarga Sathya Sangam.

He detested how wide acceptance has to eat meat, to the extent of a simple look of him was enough to turn various thousands of persons into vegetarianism. With vehemence he condemned the sacrifice of animals to eat their meat, saying that although one who had notable powers he could not be called saint if he has propensity for eating meat.

Along the night he meditated and composed hymns and poems. In 1867 his first disciple (Velayutha Mudaliar) published, with his permission, a collection of all of them with the title of Thiru Arutpa (Divine Song of Grace). It was divided into various chants, which are an exposition of the celestial God's secrets for universal benefit of all the souls.

English rendering of Thiru Arutpa

The following is a summory of Thiru Arutpa:

To know God’s truth “SUTHA SANMARGAM”

I Discipline by fulfilling:
  a) Good character in your relations (nar kunam)

- Good knowledge (nalla arivu)
- Worship the divine (katavul pakthi)
- Respect and grace for all life (uyir irakkam)
- Indifferent look (pothu nokam)
- Controlling mind, speech and consciousness (tiri karana adakam)

  b) Good action in your relations (nar ceykai)
    - Speak truly
- Speak pleasantly
- Be kind
  c) Good qualities in your relations (cupa kunam)
    - True knowledge
- True love
- True mercy / pity
II Compassion (visara sangalpam) by inquiring:
  1 Kalpa - proper practice
  2 Vikalpa - distinction of knower, knowing and known
  3 Sankalpa - to gain experience within
  4 Savikalpa -  the attention and the life force are switched off from the senses and are consciously kept identified with the ever joyous Spirit.
  5 Nirvikalpa - a mergence of the mental activity (cittavṛtti) in the Self, to such a degree, or in such a way, that the distinction (vikalpa) of knower, act of knowing, and object known becomes dissolved — as waves vanish in water, and as foam vanishes into the sea.
III To become a simple man

He did long fasts, eating little once every two or three days. He had extraordinary capacities and was accustomed to disappear for some days and nobody was capable of knowing his whereabouts. Was kind, simple and sincere. Not being satisfied on having attained the divine state described in his poems, he begged in delirious ecstacy to the divine so that the Grace may flow even more and more. He asked the divine to help him with the state of Gathi, a state of permanent non breathing with full body function. His aspiration to be melted with the Self turned out to be fulfilled at last. He said: "My entire body emanates a fragrance of camphor like testimony of my Union with the Beloved, the Omnipotent". (A similar story goes around with Vishudhananda who also attained the non breathing state after which his whole body started to smell like flowers and that also became the starting point of the Pranava Deham state as Vallalar called it)

In 1870 finally he was settled in the village of Mettukuppam, three miles to the south from Vadalur, living in a hut known as Siddhi Valaga Thirumaliga (Sacred Mansion of Miracle).

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Siddhi Valaga Thirumaliga.

When entering the village of Mettukuppan you have an option of going to the left where Vallalar made water appear in dry land (Tinjsuvai Thannir Odaiku Chellum Vawri) and to the right the place where he attained the state of rainbow body of great transference - Gnana Deham on January 30, 1874 (Sidhivalaku Tirumanikaikku Sellum Vewri).

Vallalar temple next to the water.

Nevertheless he continued going to Vadalur to meet his disciples. One day he declared his wish to build a temple, requesting his devouts to raise it in six months, according to a design made by himself. That place, called Gnana Sabai, was inaugurated January 25, 1872. In its interior there are seven curtains (representing the veils of the ignorance) that hide a showcase (the pure soul) in whose interior burns a flame - kundalini - (the eternal splendor of the soul melted with the Supreme Grace Light -Arut Perun Jothi-). There should not be any type of rituals practiced inside this temple except the simple burning of camphor. From the time in which the foundation stone of Gnana Sabai was placed, Ramalinga took for custom to stay isolated in his hermitage (the hut) along several days in a row.

Gnana Sabai

In the second half of 1873 he started up the Movement Samarasa Suddha Sanmarga Sathya Sangam, giving collectively to those present the Mahamantra "Arut Perun Jothi" (according to God himself had been given it to him). He exhorted his disciples to pray God begging for the Eternal Bliss and meditate in the God of the Light settled in their hearts. Before the end of that year he removed the lamp that he had been using and asked his devouts for maintaining it and always keep the light burning, worshipping it as the same God's Form. But he was saddened because his spiritual Mission had not taken root as it should.

Thursday January 30th, 1874 was a very auspicious day because Poosam star would be found ascending at midnight. Having completed already 50 years of his lifetime, Ramalinga sat down on a wood platform speaking to his devouts: "My beloved, I am going to be away for a time. Don't worry. Maintain always this burning lamp, considering it as the same God. You'll be extensively rewarded. Now I'm in this body but soon I'll enter all the bodies of Creation. Close the door and shut it with the padlock outside. When you open it again, the room will be found entirely empty". He said goodbye to those present and was locked in his room. Some time later, on having opened the door, there was not any trace of Ramalinga in the room, he had disappeared dematerializing his body.

It caused a great commotion. The police investigated exhaustively, registering to the utmost the hut without finding anything that lead them to have the smallest suspicion. It was concluded that truelly he was a Saint, considering his disciples that his Total Union with God was realized. According to previous Ramalinga's declarations, this should have signified that he has assumed the dematerialization as the sacrifice of his immortal body, for the disintegration and dispersion of the substances and elements that composed it like seed sown on the field, to make accessible to the human the realization of immortal body and also bring the Universal Manifestation of the Divine.

So from understanding Vallalar's life history and visiting all the places where he has been it became clear to me that he was very much accustomed to advaita (self-inquiry style) and kundalini (as depicted by the ever burning flame of light in all the Vallalar temples) and these were the tools that brought him to the point of non breathing (nirvikalpa samadhi but then fully functional) and these techniques are interestingly enough the exact same techniques that the Dzogchen Buddhists are using to attain the rainbow body states called Ati Yoga and Togal.