Sri Sadasiva was born to a Velanadu Telugu couple Moksha Somasundara Avadhaani and Parvati in Madurai in Srivatsa Gotra. He was named was Sivaramakrishna, since his parents had prayed to Lord Ramanthaswamy of Rameswaram for a child. Her mother was initiated into Rama Japa and advised her to to chant it crores of times, so that every cell in her body would be charged with divinity and she would be purified in body, mind and spirit. A child born of her then would be an extraordinary child and grow up to be a savior of the world.
His family were based in Madurai and later on moved to Tiruvisainallur near Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu. Sri Sridhara Ayyaval of Tiruvisainallur was his classsmate in the vedapatashala.He had his early education in traditional subjects under Ramabhadra Dikshitar who lived in Tiruvisainallur (Shahajipuram).
He was married at the age of 17. He however, soon ran away from home never to return. He went to Tiruvengadu to meet his Guru Paramasivendra Saraswathi.Sadashiva Brahmendra named his Guru in all his works and composed poetic works Navamani mala and Guru rathna maalika in tribute to the Guru. He took to sanyasa and was given the monastic name "Sadasivendra Sarasvati".
The Jeeva Samadhi of Sri Paramashivendra Saraswati Guru of Sri Sadasiva Brahmendral, is located in Tiruvengadu ( Near the famous Budhan temple).Sri Swedaranyeswarar temple is situated at Thiruvenkadu, in Nagapattinam District, 59 Kms away from kumbakonam.
Maha Samadhi of Sri Brahmendra's Guru TN
|Sadashiva Brahmendra due to intense knowledge and intellect would argue with scholars on various topics vedanta. Invariably, he would defeat the scholar. One of the defeated scholars went and complained to his Guru about Sri Brahmendra's behavior. His Guru called him and asked a simple question "You are shutting down the mouth of others. But when will you shut your mouth?"|
This simple question brought about a sea change in his attitude. He took to life long Mouna Vrata or Silence.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. 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 a liberated one.
Later, after taking sannyasa, he is said to have wandered around, naked or semi-naked, and often in a trance-like state. He was reclusive and often meditated, and was described as being in a "supremely intoxicated state". Sadasiva Brahmendra met the Tamil scholar-poet-devotee-philosopher Tayumanavar (1705 – 1742) in 1738 A.D. Raghunatha Raya Tondaiman (Rajah of Pudukkottai) (1730-1769) subscribes to this meeting.
A letter is preserved in “Saraswati mahal library” in Tanjavur, as the evidence of Sada Shiva Brahmendra’s blessing power. This letter was written by AsthanaVidwan Mallari Pandit from Deepambapuri, to the King Sarabhoji.
He wrote a number of books on Advaita Vedanta. When he visited Sridhara Ayyaval, Ayyaval said he was happy with his silence, but what stopped him from singing songs on Lord. From that time, he started writing several compositions out which only 33 are available today with us.
He is said to have performed many miracles whilst alive, some of the most prominent are provided below.
1) On the river banks of Cauvery in Mahadhanapuram, he was asked by some children to be taken to Madurai, more than 100 miles away, for an annual festival. The saint asked them to close their eyes, and a few seconds later they reopened their eyes and found they were in Madurai.
2) While relaxing near a heap of grains, he began meditating. The farmer who owned the land mistook Sadasiva for a thief, and confronted him. The farmer raised his stick to hit the saint, but became a statue. He remained in this state until the morning, when Sadasiva finished meditating and smiled at the farmer. The farmer was restored to his normal state, and asked the saint for forgiveness.
3) At another time, while meditating on the banks of the Cauvery river, he was carried away by a sudden flood. Weeks later, when some villagers were digging near a mound of earth, their shovels struck his body. He woke up and walked away.
4) Maharaja Vijaya Ragunatha Thondaiman, the then ruler (1730-68) hearing about the greatness of the saint , rushed to bring Sri Brahmendra to the palace to be honoured. Brahmendra did not break his silence.The ruler pitched a camp in Tiruvarankulam and served the sage. Brahmendra answered his prayer by writing Sri Dakshinamoorthi Mantra on sand(1738 AD). He also instructed the king to appoint Sri Gopalakrishna Shastri of Bhikshandar Koil as a minister in his palace. Ragunatha Thondaiman gathered the sand in his angavastram and took it to his palace. The place where this happened is called Sivagnanapuram, which still exists near Avudayar Koil in Pudukottai district.This sand was picked up by the king and it is in the worship of the royal family till now in the Dakshinamoorthy temple inside the Pudukottai palace in Pudukottai.This temple is opened to Public only on Thursdays.
Sand Casket blessed by Brahmendra TN
Gopalakrishna Sastri was a great scholar in Sanskrit grammar and became the palace guru at Pudukkottai due to Sadasiva?s wishes. Sastri descendants continued to be the Palace Gurus until 1947.Sastri himself became a recluse in his old age and his body after death is buried in a Samadhi in Namanasamudram near Pudukkottai.Sastri is well-known for his work called Sabthika Chinthamani , a commentary on Panini's Ashtadhyai.
5) Long after all these happened when almost people had forgotten the memories of his wandering in their lands, once the naked sannyasi was seen walking right through a Muslim harem of a Nawab. As a brahma-jnani who sees nothing but brahman everywhere, he would not distinguish between the different human figures which cross his path nor would he be distracted by the sights or noises that his environment may present to him. It was in this state of trance that he was walking along. He, the naked sannyasi, walked straight into the harem, entering it at one end and walking out at the other all the while walking through a maze of inmates of the Nawab’s harem. The news reached the nawab, he had his men chase him, they cut off both his hands as he was walking along, the hands fell off and still he was walking along silently as if nothing had happened. The Nawab got scared, picked up the hands that had been severed, ran to the Sage and offered them in total remorse. The sage stopped his walking, the severed hands were restored to their place, the hands became normal and the sage walked away! There was no conversation.
6) In 1732, While SadaShiva Brahmendra was roaming near Pudukottai forests some soldiers saw him & mistakenly asked him to carry some sticks on his head. SadaShiva Brahmendra carried happily & when he kept that sticks in kitchen ground, it burnt. Then those soldiers understood that he was an great Saint.
7) There was a uneducated & born dumb man who was a devotee of SadaShiva Brahmendra. He served the Guru immensely. One day, SadaShiva Brahmendra kept their hand on his head & prayed to Lord to give him speech and knowledge. By the grace of SadaShiva Brahmendra that dumb man became educated & he started to talk. He started giving speeches & he was famous as “Akasha Purana Ramalinga Shastry”. Up to this 20th century, Ramalinga Shastry’s relatives were staying in Nerur. This incident is also mentioned in the Sri SadaShivendra Sthava ( Verses 22 & 26).
1) He used to frequently meditate in the Tirugokarnar Shiva temple in Pudukottai near the Goddess Brahadambal shrine. The place he used meditate can be still seen today.
Devadanapatti Kamakshi temple TN
2) He was responsible for installing the deity Punnainallur Mariamman near Thanjavur
3) He guided the installation at Devadanapatti Kamakshi temple, near Theni, TamilNadu.
The above two incidents are depicted in a Tamil movie by name "Maha Shakti Mariamman"
4)He also installed the Hanuman Murthi in the Prasanna Venkateswara temple at Nalu Kal Mandapam in Thanjavur.
5) He also installed Lord Ganesh and a powerful Ganesh Yantra at the Thirunageshwaram Rahu Stalam temple at Kumbakonam.An inscription in the temple bears testimony to this fact. The shrine can still be seen at the entrance to the temple.
6) He installed the Jana Akarshana Yantra at Tantondrimalai Srinivasa Perumal temple, near Karur. This shrine is visited by all devotees in this area who are not able to a pay a pilgrimage to Tirupathi.
7) He also installed the Sri Chakra in the shrine of Siruvachoor Madurakali temple near Perambalur.
8) The holy padukas of Sri Sadasiva Brahmendral at the Mohanur Achala Deepeswarar Shiva temple which is around 18 kms from Karur (Nerur).
Mohanur Achala Deepeswar Shiva Temple TN
Agneeswarar Temple Tamil Nadu
9) His most recent miracle(2004) is about the temple of Ageeswarar near Tiruvallur. You can read more about it in the below
Incidentally, the Shiva temple in Nerur is also called Agnineeshwarar. Nerur itself derives its name from Neruppur (City of Fire).
Later he left Tiruvisanallur and reached Nerur, the surroundings of which were conducive and ideal for stay and penance with the river flowing southwards. A place where river flows southwards, is considered equal to Kashi ( Banaras).
Sri Sadasiva Brahmendra attained Maha Samaadhi on the Vaisakha Sukla Dasami with Makha star in the year 1755 A.D. Before his Samadhi,he mentioned that a Bilva tree would come over his Samadhi. He also mentioned that after 10 days, someone would bring a Shiva Linga and it has to be installed at a particular distance from his samadhi. Needless to say, it happened the same way.
He is said to have attained samadhi at 3 places:
His Jiva samadhi site is briefly mentioned in 'Autobiography of a Yogi' by Paramahamsa Yogananda.Every year in Nerur and Manamadurai, music festivals are conducted in his honor. In Manamadurai, his samadhi is located at the Sri Somanathar temple, which was identified by the Paramacharya of Kanchi. In the year 1912, a sanyasin "Laksharchanai Swamigal" started the Aradhana for Sri Brahmendral at Nerur and it has been continuing since then.
|Sri Sadashiva Brahmendra's Samadhi Manamadurai|
Sivan Sir or Sri Sadasiva Shastrigal was the younger brother of the Kanchi Paramacharya Sri Chandrasekarendra Sarawathi Swamigal. He has written a magnum opus on Hindu Dharma by name "Yenipadigalil Manthargal" (Tamil).
In this book, Sivan Sar has devoted several pages to Sri Sadasiva Brahmendral. He mentions that Sri Sadasiva Brahmendra attained Mahasamadhi at 5 places corresponding each of the 5 elements - Panchabhutas.
He also mentions that Sri Brahmendral blessed two Muslim brothers(Irratai Mastan) with divine knowledge. Their Samadhi (Dhargah) is located in Gandhiji Road in Thanjavur.
Slokas on Sadasiva Brahmendra
Sri Sri Sacchidananda Shivabhinava Nrusimha Bharati, pontiff of the Sringeri Saradha Peetham had visited Nerur and composed two slokas in praise of Sri Sadasiva Bramhendra - Sadasivendra Stava and Sadasivendra Pancharatna. Another Saint, Balasubramanya Yatindra has written Sadasiva Stotra.
It is interesting to note how the Sringeri Acharya came to Nerur. When the acharya was travelling somewhere near Trichy( sometime during 1890-1910), the palanquin bearers had a difficulty in carrying him. When he enquired with them, they told that they were pushed by an invisible force. The acharyal then got down and meditated for sometime.Then he started walking in the direction of the force, with his hands stretched. He ended up in the Adhistanam of Sri Brahmendral.
The acharyal then stayed there for 3 days, did intense penance without food or water. At the end of 3 days, people could hear someone talking to the acharyal but were unable to see the person. Acaryal was having the physical darshan of Sri Sadasiva Brahmendral. He then spontaneously composed the two hymns on Sri Brahmendral.
The guidance given to Pinnavasal Swamigal is described in another post.
Spiritual Works He is the author of several Sanskrit works.
Contribution to Carnatic Music
He also wrote several Carnatic compositions to spread the advaita philosophy among common people. His compositions are quite popular and can be heard frequently in Carnatic concerts. Some of these are
Nerur is 30 minutes travel or 10 Kms from Karur District in TamilNadu. There are good lodges in Karur for stay.
Nerur Sri Sadashiva Brahmendra Sabha
Sri N.S. Narasimhan, Secretary, - mobile No.95439 89593.
Sri H.Ravi - mobile 98423 51430
There is a Srividya Narasimha Ashram where there is an young ascetic Sri Vidyashankara Saraswathi. Contact Nos: 04324-282263/ 9597362233
• Main source of information for this post is the chapter on Sri Brahmendral by Sri Sivan Sir in his book "Yenipadigalil Manthargal"
• Tamil writer Balakumaran has written a novel Thozhan based on the life of Sri Sadasiva Brahmendrar.
• Nerur Sadasiva Brahmendra Sabha has published a book "Sri Sadasiva Brahmendra: His Life, Extracted Teaching and Reflections" by Sri T.P. Vinayaka Rao
Below are the videos availabe on Sadasiva Brahmendral Charitram and Gyan yoga along with a song composed and sung by Misu Krishna Iyer on Sri Brahmendral. It is in the form a CD which contains 14 carnatic songs on Sri Brahmendral, produced by AtmArpaNam Trust.