Sri Sivaratnapuri Swamiji, popularly known as Sri Thiruchi Swamiji, was born on the 20th of March 1929 in vickramasingapuram adjoining Papanasam on bank of the river Tamrapami in the district of Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu to devout parents, Adi Narayana Swami and Ranganayaki. He grew up in the noble company of religious mendicants and ascetics who from time to time visited his village.
Guided by The Divine Mother Rajarajeshwari in several divine instances, he travelled north and accepted Sri Shivapkuri Baba, a Great ascetic and contemporary of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. Who lived in a hermitage in Dhruvasthali in Khatmandu, Nepal, as his Guru.
The sings of his greatness started manifesting at a very early age and devotees began to invite him to their villages from far and wide. He had a natural disposition to resolve. Social controversies both of householders and scholars. Thereby, he was instrumental in renovating a number of temples in tamil Nadu which were in dilapidated conditions and where scriptural worship was deteriorating due to disorganization.
His life mission of establishing an ashram for wonks and a temple for the worship of Divine Mother Sri Jnanakshi Pajarajeshwari manifested in Bangalore, the capital of Kamataka. His phenomenal memory. Highly subtle understanding of Indian scriptures and his extremely affectionate attitude towards one and all, attracted countless devotees from all walks of life and all communities. Pontiffs of many renowned mutts of life and all communities. Pontiffs of many renowned mutts in the south, especially Karnataka, have been groomed under his meticulous care and acknowledge it even to this day.
Swamiji's doors were always open to all devotees, dignitaries and caste, creed or race. The simple and practical solutions he effortlessly offered to their varied problems through his phenomenal memory and the success which they experienced after following his advice, made him very dear to all. The very Darshan of Swamiji had the unique benefit of soothing the troubled feelings of any visitor.
This wonderful Treatise is authored by Sri S.Y.Krishnaswamy, a Former member of Indian Civil Service as an offering of devotion. It contains the life and teachings of not only Sri Sri Sri Shivapuri Baba. The significance of the worship of divine Mother in the context of the Vedas and Agamas has also been dealt with here in great detail.
A thought-provoking invocation by Parama Pujya Acharya Mahamandaleshwar Jagadguru Sri Jayendra Puri Mahaswamiji successor pontiff of Sri Thiruchi Mhaswamiji dealing with the glory of Guru, is a significant addition to this revised edition.
It is difficult for a person who has lived all his life by the canon of reason to write a book which seeks to assess and tell about the life and work of a saint whom his devotees look upon as a man of miracles. The difficulty is all the more when the author has made a mark in public life as a brilliant thinker, a pragmatic philosopher, a keen critic and connoisseur of art. Thus one can readily appreciate the difficult nature of what Sri S.Y. Krishaswamy, I. C.S. has undertake to do here. And this is the first book of its kind from his pen, his earlier writings being all on economics, agriculture, art and philosophy.
This book has been occasioned by his discoveries and convictions about the celebrated Tiruchi Swamigal of Kenchenahalli, Bangalore, in close proximity to whose Ashram Sri S.Y. Krishnaswamy has chosen to live after his wife passed away over a year ago. Having known Sri S.K. Krishnaswamy for several years and being acquainted with his life and activities in recent years, I can vouchsafe that he has found a great sense of fulfilment after he moved into the vicinity of the Tiruchi Swamigal's Ashram. He has also made me meet the Swamigal and I should concede that I, who am generally apathetic to contemporary Swamis, found him a quiet but remarkable soul. I was impressed by the meticulous manner in which the Swamigal is conducting his establishment which includes a fine temple, a Vedic School, scholarships for students of Agama and a general school for the children of the locality. I could understand readily the reason for Sri S.Y. Krishnaswami's preference to spend the evening of his life in close contact with the Swamigal.
So I was not surprised when I learnt that he was writing this book. I knew that the subject of this book was a worthy man and the author, an honest admire of his. However, I was rather intrigued as to how Sri S.Y. Krishnaswami, whom I knew to be thoroughly rational and practical, would handle I knew to be thoroughly rational and practical, would handle the detail of numerous miracles ascribed to the Swamigal. I find that he has handled it with care and circumspection. He has related to me a number of incidents involving the Swamigal for which no rational explanation appears readily available. He is inclined to believe them as illustrative of the supernormal abilities of the Swamigal. I feel that I or the any other person has no right to dispute this belief, which according to him, rests on sound judgment. One who meets him can at once be convinced that eighty years have by no means enfeebled his intellectual powers; he is as mentally alert as he always was. The matter should rest at that.
The book is not only informatice about the live, spiritual pursuits and attainments of the Swamigal, but also gives an account of his manifold services to the cause of religious revival in this part of the country. And the book is replete with valuable details concerning many aspects of Hinduism in practice. It is almost in almost in the nature of a circumstantial catechism of our religion. The devotee of the Mother – goddess will find here many helpful proposals and suggestions. The book is eminently readable.
It is natural therefore that I feel flattered when the author of this book asked me to write this brief foreword. He is a senior for whom I have always entertained respect and admiration. From what title I have seen and known about the Swamigal, I feel humble and embarrassed that I was called upon to add this note to the book concerning him. However, I am aware that what I write will in no way add to the merit of the book, which is already abundantly there. It is my words that may gather some merit for being included in the book.
The idea of writing a book about Sri Shivaratnapuri Swamiji, more popularly known as Trichy Swamigal, was suggested to me by Sri Shivapuri Swamiji of the Kailasa Ashrama. I hesitated for long time before undertaking this onerous task. I was getting on in years, and I was not sure if I would be able to stand up to the strain. Besides, there were several details in Swamiji's life and work about which I was ignorant. I was living in Jayanagar, and the Ashram where Swamiji was staying was more than five miles distant. My meetings with him were infrequent, and they were formal. Nothing transpired then which could be used as material for a biography. So I requested Swamiji to give me a few special interviews, which he kindly did. During these interviews he gave me a great deal of information about his early life and later decision to become a sanyasi These, however were relevant, but not sufficient.
On can write a political biography without much personal knowledge of the subject, from material collected from letters, speeches, newspaper reports, parliamentary proceedings and the like. Not so in writing the biography of a saint. One has to know him well. One has to match him at work. One has to meet persons who knew him during his early years and those who are well acquainted with him now. More than anything else, one has to have almost daily contact with him, so that every remark of his, every administrative move, religious reform and innovation may be fitted into a biographical scheme.
Fortunately, this opportunity was afforded to me. Last year, I sold my house in Jayanagar and moved to a house very near the Kailasa Ashram. This enabled me to meet the Swamiji almost every day, and closely observe the working of the institutions started by him i.e. the temple, the ashram, the farm, the school, the patasala and the like. Swamiji himself extended his full co-operation by filling in details and clarifying points. I was anxious to present a portrait of him as a great human being, and not merely write about his work. I am happy to say that, whatever be the shortcomings of the book, they are due to my own inadequate equipment as a writer, but not for want of material. I must specially thank Sri Shivapuri Swamigal for his unremitting help and encouragement. He has been a friendly guide to me all the time.
I have tried to make the book more informative than a bare skeletal account of Swamiji's life. This is not due to any desire to pad the book with much alien material. It has been done deliberately so that every important highlight in the biography may be seen in the relevant background of tradition and purpose. The impotance of ssanyasa and the way in which it represents the crowning finale of one's life, and extracts from the sacred texts which relate to it; the trends in modern Hinduism which call for an intelligent reform which does not snap the links with the past, but moves one step forward at a time which makes it a sober advance from within and not angry revulsion from without; the important steps in the consecration of the temple; the puranic accounts, steps in the consecration of the Navaratri and the Chandihoma to both of which Swamiji attaches the utmost importance amongst the religious festivals conducted by the math; the introductory paragraphs about the various kinds of miracles that are current in india and their rationale; the appendix about the worship of the Divine Mother; all of them are, in my view, relevant to illustrate the work that Swamiji has undertaken for the benefit of mankind.
So also some of the facts mentioned in one part of the book, are repeated in another part. This also is a piece of deliberate 'write – manship' intended to make a particular narration self – contained and cogent.
There are many Sanskrit quotations in the body of the book. I have invariably given the English translations but where long Sanskrit passages are involved, I have give only the English version and have given the references to the original Sanskrit passage.
The short chapter which gave me the most trouble in writing is the one relating to Swamiji's message to mankind. A great person to be seen and heard, and no amount of descriptive or interpretative writing is sufficient to convey the substance of his teaching. All the more so with respect to one who rarely travels within the city, except for a kumbhabhishekam or a padapuja. Then he returns back to the Ashram as quickly as possible. Even in the Ashram, except for a short walk in the garden when time permits, he is either in the solitude of his room or in the hall where he sees visitors. And as I have mentioned more than once in the body of the book, his prescriptions, both physical and spiritual, are mostly individual, and do not admit of classification.
Swamiji is very shy of all publicity. Even in regard to be written. Neither his life nor his work has been completed. He is in his mission for many more years to come. Let me hope that mine is the first of many future biographies of Swamiji.
The writing of this book has given me great joy, and a peace of mind arising out of my great joy, and a peace of mind arising out of my constant concentration on Swamiji and the Divine Mother. Indeed, in a sense, I am sad that the writing of the book is over.
I have no purpose in writing this book except to make those who read it become eager to have darshan of the Devi and audience with the Swamiji, so that they may obtain the immense benefits of the grace of the one and the spiritual guidance of the other. The qualities of the book itself are of scant importance. If I succeed even in a small way in achieving this end, my efforts will stand fructified.
I thank professor S.K. Ramachandra Rao for his flattering foreword. He is a scholar of deserved renown and his remarks are entitled to great weigh.
I also thank Sri. S.V.Chari for his continued help from the commencement of the book to the conclusion of the printing. My thanks are further due to Sri Prakash. And finally Sri V. Sethuram of Hoe & Co. For having done the printing with care, accuracy and promptness.
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