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Archive for the ‘Sri Sadashiva Brahmendra – the Avadhuta’ Category

ஓம் ஸத்குரு ஸ்ரீ சேஷாத்ரி ஸ்வாமிகள் திருவடிக்கே

Sri Sadashiva Brahmendra — the Avadhuta



This saint attained Jeeva samadhi at Nerur, a small village near Karur Tamil Nadu under the bilva Tree.

அவதார் ஸ்ரீ சதாசிவ ப்ரம்மேந்திராள் ஜீவா சமாதி வில்வ மரத்தின் (சிவப்பு பட்டு துணியால் சுற்றப்பட்டுள்ளது) அடியில் உள்ளது. வில்வ மரத்தின் முன்னே மண்ணால் உருவம் செய்து தலைக்கு கிரீடம் அலங்காரம்.
உடம்பு பகுதியில் பூ மாலை சாற்றப்பட்டுள்ளது. அதற்கு அபிஷேகம், அலங்காரம்,நெய்வேத்தியம், ஆரத்தி அனுதினமும் காலை 8  to 9 க்குள்.
மாலை 5 to 6 க்குள்.

The Southern India recognizes and adores Sadashiva Brahmendra as the celebrated composer of divine kirthanas; but not many may be aware he in his later years was an Avadhutha, a jeevan muktha who lonely wandered the hills and dales, ran along the river banks, naked or semi naked, in a state of divine bliss. He unmindful of the scorching sun, pouring rain, blowing chill winds roamed in wilderness without ever uttering a word, slept under starry sky, shunned all human contact and was ever in a supreme intoxicated state. Today he is revered not merely for his musical compositions but also for his sublime Advaita text “Atma Vidya Vilasa” the most favorite spiritual text of Sri Chandrasekhara Bharathi Swami the 34th Jagadguru of Sringeri Peetha. The swami , himself an Avadhuta, a week before his passing away, parted with all his meager passions but retained, on second thought, a copy of Atma Vidya Vilasa till the day prior to his departure.

Not many facts are known about his life. It is believed Sadashiva Brahmendra lived in the time of Sharabhoji, ruler of Tanjore (1712 -1728). This is based on the oral tradition that Sadashiva Brahmendra presented a copy of his work Atma Vidya Vilasa to King Sharbhoji when the king called on the Avadhuta to pay his respects.

His childhood name was Shivarama krishna .He was the son of Somasundaram Avadhani, a Vedic scholar of Telugu Niyogi origin who lived in Madurai in Tamil Nadu.It is said Shivarama’s family name was ‘Moksham’ and his mother was Parvathy. He was born in Nerur situated by the quiet flowing Cauvery, near Karur. He had his early education in traditional subjects under Ramabhadra Dikshitar who lived in Tiruvisainallur a.k.a.hahajipuram There the young Shivarama came under the influence of what were renowned as the triumvirate of Bhajana tradition viz.  Sridhar Venkatesha Iyer(Sridhara IyyavazhL),Sri Bhodendra Sarasathi and Bashyam Gopala_krishna Sastry.

On his return, Shivarama still in his early teens was promptly married. He however, soon thereafter ran away from home never to return. He went to Tihiruvisai nallur and while wandering aimlessly in the woods nearby, he met his Guru Sri Paramashivendra Sarasvati who initiated Shivarama into sanyasa and named him Sadashiva Brahmendra.

The identity of Sri Paramashivendra Saraswati is a matter of debate. Some say he may have been an Acharya of the Kanchi peetham , guided by the suffix ”Indra Saraswathi” to his name.But an Acharya  of that name appears in the annals  of the Kanchi tradition as the 45th Jagadguru  who presided over the mutt for 27 years from 1061 AD , that is about seven hundred years before the time of Sadashiva Brahmendra.  The 57th(?) Jagadguru Sri Paramasivendra Saraswathi II recognized as the author of the treatise Dahara Vidya Prakashika [Dahara Vidya is an ancient form of meditation on Self dwelling in the small ethereal space within the heart-Chandogya Upanishad –VIII.  presided over the mutt from 1539 to 1586; that is about a hundred years before Sadashiva Brahmendra.

In any case Sadashiva Brahmendra considered Sri Paramashivendra Saraswati as his Guru , named him as such in all his works and composed poetic works Navamani mala , Guru rathna maalika and Dakshina murthi dhyana in tribute to the Guru.

Sadashiva Brahmendra was an active young man , talkative and always chirping away. On one occasion his incessant talk so annoyed his Guru  that he in despair  called out “Sadashiva! When will you learn to be quiet?”. The disciple promptly replied, “Right now, Master”. He fell into silence and never talked again the rest of his life. He gradually withdrew from the world, introspected and plunged into intense penance. He discarded all norms of accepted behavior, wandered naked aimlessly in the hills and along the Cauvery. He looked wild and insane. When some one reported to Sri Paramashivendra that his disciple had gone insane, the Guru was delighted and exclaimed “Will I ever be so fortunate!” He realized that his disciple was now  an Avadhuta.

Sadashiva Brahmendra remained in that state; beyond body consciousness, not bound by ordinary social conventions and worldly concerns for a long period. A number of stories and myths grew around his mystical powers.

On one occasion when he met his past associate Sridhar Venkatesha Iyer, the later remarked that it was laudable to be a mauni in worldly matters; and questioned what prevented him from singing the praise of the Almighty. Sadashiva Brahmendra saw reason in the argument.

He thereafter created a series of musical compositions in praise of Sri Rama (Pibare Rama rasam, Khelathi mama hridaye, Bhajare Raghuveeram, Cheta Sriramam, Prathi varam varam manasa etc.); of Sri Krishna ( Smara nandakumaram , Gayathi vanamali, Bhajare Gopalam maanasa , Bhajare Yadu natham maanasa , Kridathi vanamali , Bruhi mukundethi etc.); and on Brahman (Sarvam Brahma maya re , Khelathi Brahmande Bhagavan , Manasa sanchara re , Tadvad jeevanam Brahmani etc.).

His poetic signature was “parama hamsa” .About twenty-two of his compositions have been recovered.

He also wrote a number of philosophical works of high quality such as Brahma sutra Vrithi, Yoga_sudhakara, Kaivalya_amrutha _bindu (based on Upanishads); Siddantha_kalpa_valli (a poetic treatise on Appaiah Dikshitar’s work), Advaita rasa manjari, Brahma tattva prakaashikaa and Mano_niyamana. His Navamani_mala, Guru_rathna_malika and Dakshina_murthi_dhyana are in praise of the Guru.

But his Atma_vidya_vilasa a true classic is the best known.

Atma_vidya_vilasa is a poetic work running into 62 verses in simple, lucid Sanskrit. Its subject is renunciation. It describes the ways of the Avadhuta, one who is beyond the pale of social norms , beyond Dharma , beyond good and evil; one who has discarded scriptures, shastras , rituals or even the disciplines prescribed for sanyasins;one who has gone beyond the bodily awareness , one who realized the Self and one immersed in the bliss of self-realization. He is absolutely free and liberated in every sense – one who “passed away from” or “shaken off” all worldly attachments and cares, and realized his identity with God. The text describes the characteristics of an Avadhuta, his state of mind, his attitude and behavior. The text undoubtedly is a product of Sadashiva Brahmendra’s experience. It is a highly revered book among the Yogis and Sadhakas.

Sadashiva Brahmendra lived in that exalted state on the banks of the Cauvery until he discarded his mortal body at its age of one hundred years or a little more, some time between 1750 and 1753. His Samadhi in Nerur, Karur district is now a shrine to a large number of devotees. His Aaradhana is celebrated annually on the tenth day of dark half of the month of Jeshta (some time during May each year).

The entrance Arch of Sri Sadashiva Bremendraal Jeeva Samadhi


Nerur 14 kms from the Textile city KARUR (100kms from Salem) Tamil Nadu.

Thank You
Yours Guruji
Thiruvannamalai.
26th May 2010.

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