Mahan Seshadri

Bhagavan Seshadri Swamigal’s ways and means of conveying the quintessence of our philosophy and shedding light on the ultimate reality of existence have been as profoundly simple as they have been unique. “When the physical frame withers away”, according to his cryptocrystalline tattva nirupana, “The sesha or what remains following the fall of the body is the Atman – indistinguishable from the Brahman. The ‘Adri’ or mountain forming part of his name is a pointer to Arunadri of Thiruvannamalai, the celebrated jyotirlinga kshetra on which a whole volume is written in Skandapurana.

The great one who first beckoned me through the emerald route leading to the sacred sanndhi of Arunachaleswara in the form of a mountain in Thiruvannamalai was none other than Sri Seshadri Sawmigal himself.  Early in the 1970’s, I had not even heard of his meaningful name. But one day, as I was meditating in Bangalore in the early hours of the morning, his effulgent figure appeared before me. The thejasic vision with the golden face and form was such that I had no two opinions about his being a great one. I was only keen on knowing the identity of the central figure of my visionary experience. It was only when I saw his portrait on the same evening in a great devotee’s place that I came to know about his kindness of the type that has no parallel in this world.

As I learned that his samadhi and abode of tranquillity in Thiruvannamalai enhanced the glory of Arunachala, I embarked on a pilgrimage to the Ashram shortly thereafter. It was past midnight when my friends and I reached the samadhi. After about two hours of rest, I got up early and found that the whole landscape around was plunged in total darkness, as it was a new moon day (Amavasya); the electrical lights were not to be seen but lo! It was not dark in one spot behind the ashram at the foot of the mountain of Arunachala ! A huge elliptical ball of brilliant light stood from the ground to a gigantic height. The sight of what I would like to call Aruna jyoti was also shared by another who came out with me at the same time. The jyoti vanished after two minutes.

Perhaps the most spectacular jyoti phenomenon is the aurora of Arunachala emerging from the top of the mountain in a fantastic cluster of the rays beaming to great heights in all directions. This was visible once on the eve of our pradakshina from Sree Seshadri Swamigal’s Ashram which is the starting point of pradakshina to many. What is significant is that the same aurora in miniature form is sometimes also visible from top of the jyotirlinga in Arunachaleswara temple!

Sree Seshadri Swamigal has been blessing the devotees in a variety ways both on the material and spiritual planes.

When Divinity descended to Earth:

“Where women are worshipped, there divinity dances” declares a Vedic commentary. Devotees who worship Devi know the dual significance of the famous passage, ”Suvaasinee Suvasinyarchana-preetaa…..” sung in a praise of the non dual Mother Divine. A true life experience early in the last decade illustrates the sunny side of the great exponent of dancing, namely, Parvathi.

The incident narrated below is extracted from the manuscripts of the great devotee referred to earlier of Sree Seshadri Swamigal and the devotee wrote them under command from the Swamigal in immortal frame in the year 1971 shortly after Aswayuja Shuddha Pournami following Navarathri Puja.

“On that memorable night”, according to Sree Seshadri Swamigal, when the moon was full and when even the elements of which this universe is composed appeared to be in a state of harmony and ecstasy, all the members of the celestial hierarchy, including Vinayaka, Subramanya, Shiva, Nandi, the Saptha Rishis and their entourage, Indra and his troupe besides a host of others assembled in a heavenly place to witness what turned out to be a demonstration of concerted dedication to Vedic dance. The star performer who had volunteered to take the lead in the mass entertainment of a tall order was none other than Parvathi or “Shivagama Sundari.”

She gracefully went round in rhythmic postures to the music of the divine, rent the air through the ripples of sound and sent the audience to raptures and obliviousness. But as she was veering round the divine platform in enthralling style in exquisite foot work engendering rare effects of onomatopoeia that captivated the heart and soul of all those who had gathered there, she allowed herself and her expressive face to be arrested by a sudden pause and an indefinable lull; the evolving pattern was a board smile of approval immediately followed by a brief fit of laughter in approbation – a momentary interval that appeared for all practical purposes as a parenthesis in the performance of the divine danseuse- a parenthesis for which the august assembly was keen on seeking an explanation after the dance.

“Pray! Divine Mother”, asked some of the great ones who were present, “what is it that made you so suddenly more ecstatic as to give vent to your feelings that seemed to break the continuity of a performance which had otherwise no parallel? What made you so happy?”

“Oh! That is the one” said the arch exponent of dancing ,”what look me away from that continuity was the one down below in Bhu-loka and his devotion, prayers and offerings to me! During the pause and lull at the same time, it transpired that she had danced down to earth to bless someone you can guess!

It is no wonder, therefore, that she is spoken of not only as an inimitable patron of Vedic Science and all branches of knowledge, as enshrined in the Upanishads but also as a repository of unlimited kindness – “Avyaaja-karunamurthy”.

Mahan Seshadri who revealed the above has also been referred to as a “karuna-saagaram....” (Ocean of Kindness) and the beneficiaries of his blessings are drawn from all corners of the world. The tribe of his devout disciples is ever growing. It is a tribute a Sadguru sui generis.

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