Ramalinga Swamigal – Arutprakasa Vallalar the Greatest of the Modern Sages

In Yogic tradition, especially in the south India Shiva is not just a God, but he is the Adi Yogi, or the first yogi who taught yoga to his first seven followers (the Sapta Rishis). He explained four ways for dissolution, they are Gnana yoga, Karma Yoga, Bhakthi Yoga and Kriya Yoga. The people who followed one of these yoga and attain divinity/dissolution is called as Siddhar. These people start their journey by consecrating a linga and start their yogic practices in front of it as taught by Shiva. Once they attain all the 8 siddhis they don’t worship any form. The eighth siddhi is Isatva, which means becoming a God/Isha/Shiva. Arutprakasa Vallalar (Ramalinga Swamigal) is one such, he started his yogic life through Bakthi Yoga worshipping Shiva and Murugan. He lived in the 19th century and belongs to a line of Tamil saints known as “gnana siddhars” (gnana means higher wisdom). The Suddha Sanmarga Sangam was established by him. Through the notion of Suddha Sanmarga Sangam, vallalar tried to eliminate the menace of caste. According to Suddha Sanmarga, the prime aspects of human life should be love connected with charity and divine yogic practice leading to achievement of pure knowledge.

In India people taking the spiritual path will be taught about the 4 kind of bodies that we posses and how everyone can achieve the realisation of each kind of bodies by sadhana. When I was 21 I got a job and hence secured the three basic needs. The moment we do it we will start thinking about the things beyond the basic needs, and generally this will be women and power. However we are from a different culture and in our DNA the very next thing is spirituality. So I started looking for a Guru who can guide me in my spirituality. No matter what books you read or what Sadhana you were taught, no one could demonstrate things. That is when I came across a spiritual seeker named Muruganandan. He was the one who taught me everything about Vallalar; his life and his practices.

Vallalar’s physical transformation:

Perhaps one of the most notable factors of Arutprakasa Vallalar is that he attained a divinization of his physical body. He attained a total of 3 transformation. His first transformation was the transformation of his normal human body into the Perfect Body,  He became totaly invulnerable to everything thus rendering him effectively immortal and impervious to any kind of damage.

He then transformed from the Perfect Body into the Grace Body, thereby having an young appearance like that of a kid, can be seen but cant be touched, and has complete and absolute dominion over all the 8 Siddhis. Only in this stage he was thronged by followers all around the country.

Then beyond the Grace Body he got himself transformed into the Bliss Body. At this stage there is no difference between a Yogi and the Cosmos. At this stage a receptive person can feel his presence but cannot be seen.

He demonstrated this and proved to the world that the ultimate states of spirituality can in fact be attained in this physical world with the physical body and that you need not experience death at all.

Vallalar’s dissolution on January 30, 1874.

Vallalar lived in a single room. One day after a Satsang he asked is followers to meditate and then went inside his room and told the followers not to open the room. He said that even if they did open it they would find nothing. It is then people realised that Vallalar not just left his body like other yogis, but he dissolved in the air. The British Government then broke the door open and conducted an indepth inquiry on the vanishing of Vallalar. They could find nothing. They recorded the case as “Vallalar disappeared in a locked room on January 30, 1874. The Madras District Gazetteer published by the South Arcot District in 1906 officially published the happenings of that day and also records his disappearance.

In our yogic lore we have great sages and saints who enlightened 1000s of pupils during their lifetime. However the yogic tradition and the Guru-Sishya Parampara were destroyed by the invasion of foreigners. The foreigners feared everything that is mystical and hence  destroyed those arts. Even the rope snake charmers were feared and they destroyed that art. They feared Varmam/kalari and they banned the use of these arts (However Kalari survived). They banned siddha medicine and yogic curing of ailments. (They reasoned out the only Gods/Angels can perform miracles).

Vallalar’s life is very significant to us in many ways, he revived our way of life and fought against caste system, when it was most needed. Today is his birthday and Tamil Nadu Government has barred everyone from buying and selling meat on his Birthday. In our culture we say that we have 300 million Gods. This was said when the human population was 300 million, as every human being is born with the potential to experience that the individual and the Divine are one and same and the creator and the creation is not different. Everyone might have the potential but only very few seek and experience the divine.  Vallalar is one such modern Yogi. On his birthday I remember him and remind myself about the teachings of the greatest sage of modern times.