………….Rumination on past
Once while I was travelling in a train, I came to know of this Mahan from a co- passenger who was reading a book on Vidayapuram Mahan. The book was very old, may be from a second hand book shop. I vaguely remember the publisher to be Prema Prasuram from Royapettah, Chennai, Tamilnadu. On way he narrated me the story of Vidayapuram Mahan in brief and I went through the book shortly. I remember that in the year 2005 or so I had sent this story to some of the Tamil monthlies, but nobody published it, not aware of the reason.
Later when I started writing on spiritual masters and temples I had an urge to write on the Swamigal. With the story still fresh in my mind then I penned the article in the year 2010. Even after search in different places and websites I could not either get photo of this great Mahan or the life story whom the passenger claimed was one of the Siddah Purush. I have heard of many stories on Siddah Purush, but not on him. During one of my visits to Tiruvarur, I wished to go to Vidayapuram to see the Samadhi sthal before rewriting the article, but unfortunately the driver could not find its location. We were bit confused on the place since everyone gave a different version on the name of the Village where the Samadhi of the Swamigal lay. Some mentioned it was Vidayapuram, some said as Vijayapuram and some others mentioned it as Visayapuram which were all villages surrounding Tiruvarur only. We abandoned the plan to visit the site and came back to Mayavaram. Two years have passed and with great difficulty I managed to get the correct name of the Village as Vidayapuram. Vidayapuram is one of the villages in Kudavasal taluk and Vijayapuram is a village in Tiruvarur Taluk. Therefore I decided to republish the story with additional information both in English and in Tamil now.
Generally it is said that the Siddhas will not reveal themselves unless they themselves desire so. May be Vidayapuram Mahan wanted me to pen an article on him, and the urge arose in me. The Siddah Purush are supposed to be demi God or agents of divine sent to universe for some specific cause or to get rid of their past sins. Once they attain the status of Siddha Purush, their souls do not get rebirth, nor will their souls get destroyed in a cycle of complete yuga till fresh cycle of yuga begins. They wander in the same place where their mortal body is buried or cremated and staying there they continue to bless their devotees.
Every soul created by Brahman reportedly takes seven births spanning to several thousand years, gap between previous birth to next birth in some cases may even be yugas with spans of resting (period of undergoing punishment or penance) between each birth. In between as and when a soul attains the status of Siddah, their souls will remain eternal, but without rebirth and spend rest of the birth cycle in invisible form by which time the universe completes their cycle of Yugas and gets destroyed. The cycle of birth of the particular soul re- surfaces by again in new cycle of yugas in which they born as human or animal or other creatures and if destined again attain the status of a Siddah Purush.
Therefore the departed souls of the Siddah Purush still stay meditating and penancing, invisible to human eyes in their Samadhi sthals. The rays and energy emanated by their chant in silence fills the air around the Samadhi sthal to give peace and enhance ones’ internal energy. Since the samadhi of every great Siddah Purush still hold the spiritual energy and power of divine whom they worship even staying in invisible form, one feel the comfort of spiritual calmness and mental peace engulfing them when they go and stand there praying.
Therefore the spiritual masters always advise that when we go to the Samadhi sthal one has to carry a bunch of flowers, fruits and other items like Agarbathi etc, light up an oil lamp and agarbathi, show camphor lit lamp (arthi) and pray in the Samadhi sthal for few minutes in silence to beget the blessings of divine through the souls of the masters wandering above in the Samadhi sthal in invisible form. May be Vidayapuram Shri Chattampillai Swamigal is one amongst them.
The main story
Shri Chattampillai Swamigal alias Ramaswami later known as Vidayapuram Shri Chattampillai Swamigal or Vidayapuram Mahan was born in the year 1880 to one Shri Chinnasawami Agamudaiyar of Vidayapuram in Tamilnadu, a farmer by profession. He was held in high esteem in his Village. The initial name of Vidayapuram Mahan was Shri Ramaswami who became an ardent devotee of Goddess Mariamman in later period of his life. There is a very interesting story behind it.
Shri Chattampillai’s grandfather was a hunter. Once while hunting, Shri Chattampillai Swamigal’s grandfather fired an arrow on a Guano ( Big Lizard used by armed forces to climb the wall since it is specialized in holding any surface so firm that it cannot be separated unless she herself desired to get released) which ran and hid her inside a bush. When he went near the bush and cleared it to take the animal, instead of Guano an idol of a female deity bleeding with blood was only found there. Scarred grandfather prayed Goddess Mariamman to pardon him for the unintentional act of harming a female deity. He took the bleeding deity home. The moment he entered his house he was again surprised to see that bleeding had disappeared leaving no trace of blood stains anywhere. From then on the family members began to worship the same deity as their tutelary Goddess Mariamman.
When Shri Chattampillai attained middle age, he joined service in a farm house owned by Shri Appaswami Naidu. Shri Chattampillai’s duty was to carry the harvested paddy to the town and bring it back after getting the husk removed in a rice mill. Since the transport facilities were very poor in those period of time, one has to only travel by a cart driven by animals. Therefore Shri Chattampillai used to take the load on a cart driven by bullocks and as usual one day he carried a load of paddy to the town for dehusking. On way, the cart overturned and Shri Chattampillai was thrown out of the cart and fell on ground, but he was not hurt. When he got up, he saw a giant lady standing before him laughing profusely which was very scary. Those days fear of ghosts and spirits taking away humans were very common and therefore people would avoid travelling alone in isolated and barren places. Scared Shri Chattampillai began loudly calling the name of Goddess Mariamman and praying her to save him from the ghost. As Shri Chattampillai closed his eyes and continued the prayer, the sound of laughing stopped and he heard the gentle voice of a lady instead. the lady asked him to open his eyes to see her as she was none other, but the same Goddess Mariamman whom he was praying and that from then on, she said she would remain in his body and he has to act to her dictum. Shri Chattampillai lost his senses and fainted.
Since Shri Chattampillai did not return till late night, worried family members began searching for him and finally found him lying unconscious in an isolated place and brought him home. They called a pundit and gave mystic treatment thinking that he would have been attached by spirits or ghosts. Next day when Shri Chattampillai woke up, he behaved as if nothing had happened the previous day and continued to carry on with his normal work.
As Shri Chattampillai attained the marriageable age, his parents began searching for suitable bride and one day when everyone had gone out for some function, Shri Chattampillai was left alone at home along with another virgin girl in the same house. She too did not go due to certain personal problem. In the night, mind and thoughts overpowered by lust, Shri Chattampillai desired to have sex with her and rushed to her room as she was alone. Since she refused to open the door to his repeated knocks he broke open the door and jumped on her. Unprotected and helpless, the girl screamed ‘Please do not behave like deluge that pollute clean water in a well, kindly leave me unharmed’. Her scream shocked Shri Chattampillai who stopped advancing as though something hit him hard over his head. Yes, what the girl said was true, in deluge the dirty water from the river in rage pollute even the still water in a well. Can he allow his lust to ruin the virgin ? Had he spoiled her in a moment of lust, life would have been hell for the virgin girl forever. Ashamed of his act Shri Chattampillai instantly apologized for the shameful act and returned back to his room. That was the turning point in his life.
From then on there was drastic change in his life and attitude. Instead of diverting his mind and thoughts on non value issues, he concentrated his energies on work and relentlessly worked in the farm for which he received appreciation and award from the land lord. Time slowly moved and one day Goddess Mariamman appeared in his dream and told him to construct an temple along with a temple water tank, install her in the temple and then worship her regularly. He was confused. He was an ordinary worker and how could he manage funds for constructing a temple with a water tank? Where to go for fund ? His only concern was who would believe him and donate such an amount of huge money required for the cause? Determined and firm in mind, next day he straight went to the landlord and without mincing words narrated him the entire dream in which Goddess Mariamman directed him to built a temple for her. He sought his co operation to raise some fund for the cause. What a wonder, the landlord did not ask him a word and in turn promised that he would bear the entire expense for the temple construction. Next began the plan of action and the temple came up and established with full rituals in few months with the fund provided by the landlord without anyone’s help.
People began to see Shri Chattampillai to be divine element and held him in high esteem as he sat in the temple managing the temple affairs. From then on Shri Chattampillai came to be called as Shri Chattampillai Swamigal and Vidayapuram Mahan. Goddess Mariamman frequently overpowered him and issued instructions on and often. The fame of the temple slowly began to spread around the neighboring village too. People flocked the temple on Sundays when gruel prepared out of rice and millet began to be distributed to the devotees as temple Prasad. Those in hardship approached Swamigal seeking divine grace. He simply gave ash as HER (Goddess Mariamman) Prasad (offering) which miraculously cured the hardship of many devotees like waxing moon.
As fame of Swamigal spread far and wide, devotees thronged the temple seeking his blessings. One of the ardent devotees of the Swamigal was the famous Carnatic musician Shri Rajam Iyer from Mayavaram in Tamilnadu. His lifestyle was very simple and difficult to believe that he remained on penance only by drinking plain water from the temple tank for twelve full years, taking no other food during rest of the day or night. He was highly disciplined in funds management, would not allow it be misused even by a pie for anyone’s personal use. Never even once he took a pie or a penny from anyone to meet his personal needs. That was his strength. With enormous spiritual energy that he had gained over years of tapas, those who were bitten by poisonous creatures were treated in seconds by the touch of this Mahan.
One sorcerer from the village used to harass every one who refused to part with money or food whenever he demanded them. Once in the midst of a rituals underway for a demised, he went and sought alms and they could not give him till the ritual was over. In anger the sorcerer spoiled the entire food meant for the the function by mixing animal dung misusing his mystic powers. People went to Swamigal and complained of the sorcerer. In the meanwhile in another act of arrogance, the sorcerer tried to harm someone else too with his power of sorcery. His family too complained to Swamigal on the increasing menace of the sorcerer. This angered otherwise peaceful Swamigal who went to the sorcerer and scolded him in many ways and warned that if he failed to run away from the village within the next twenty four hours, his head would explode to pieces and he would die. Before evening the sorcerer lost all his mystic power, turned insane and ran away from the village without leaving a trace. Never was he seen visiting the village thereafter.
In another incident, once a lady devotee of Swamigal came to the temple, took blessings and was returning home. On way the robbers waylaid her and tried to snatch all her ornaments. She screamed aloud seeking help of Swamigal who was far away from there. Alas, when they came near her, neither could they move from their place, nor could they move their hands an inch and lay glued to the ground. The lady returned home profusely thanking the grace of the Swamigal. Several such acts were enacted by the mystic powers of Swamigal.
A lady who became deaf and dumb due to severe tonsils was cured of her disease in few seconds when she prostrated before the Swamigal. One of the ardent devotees of Swamigal who was returning home after meeting Swamigal was to die in an accident but miraculously escaped from being hit by a speeding Lorry. Swamigal in invisible form reached there from the Yagya which he was attending, pulled him up from the spot to push to safety. None present were able to even guess how did such an miracle occur. In another case, he extended the life of a dying devotee by five years donating five years from his own life. Devotees claim that Swamigal would have lived five more years longer had he not donated his life. This fact came to light through one of the pundits who used keep dossiers on the life and death of important personalities after analyzing their horoscopes by his accurate calculations.
Thus attaining fame day by day, the great Mahan passed away in the year 1941 in the month of April. The Jeeva samadhi of Shri Chattampillai Swamigal is in Muthuswami Pillai garden, behind Pidariyamman temple in Vidayapuram village in Tamilnadu, a Kilometer away from Musiriyam, a small village. Village Musiriyam is three Kilometers away from Vennavasal near Korattachery Railway station.