In this nook are the stories of six extraordinary persons — Raghavendra Swami of Mantralaya, Saibaba of Shirdi, Seshadri Swami of Thiruvannamalai, Bala Yogi of Murnmidi-varam, Jillellamudi Amma and Poondi Swamiyar. The first was a yogi who attained Jeeva Samadhi, the second a rare mystic, the third a Brahma Jnani, the fourth was immersed in life-long tapasya, the fifth embodied universal love as tapas and the sixth was an enigmatic Siddha.
Bharanidharan narrates their life stories, describes their ashrams, and talks of the miracles they performed, providing a wealth of hitherto unknown detail. What he tells is extraordinarily absorbing and profoundly moving, as he brings out the great compassion of these mystics.
Yet these are no conventional biographies. Bharanidharan goes to the very roots of these mystics, in a physical sense — travelling to the places where they were born, lived and attained self-realisation, visiting the spots associated with them, and meeting and talking to people who knew them. He searches for the sources of their respective uniqueness and details graphically the environment, the circumstances, and the manner in which they became transformed into persons revered by tens of thousands. Drawing attention to every detail connected with their lives and often pinpointing the moment of their transformation, he maps out vividly the road each took on his or her spiritual journey.
Six Mystics of India is a travelogue of the spirit. It is also a travelogue which takes you on a vicarious pilgrimage to the places sanctified by these six mystics; in a sense, to the holy India which remains still hidden to most of us. Don't be surprised if, after reading the book, you set out on this pilgrimage yourself. When you do, Bharanidharan's book will be a useful guide and companion.
In this book are the stories of six extra-ordinary persons — Raghavendra Swami of Mantralaya, Saibaba of Shirdi, Seshadri Swami of Thiruvannamalai, Bala Yogi of Mummidi-varam, Jillellamudi Amma and Poondi Swamiyar. The first was a yogi who attained Jeeva Samadhi, the second a rare mystic, the third a Brahma Jnani, the fourth was engaged in permanent tapasya, the fifth embodied universal love as tapas and the sixth was an enigmatic Siddha.
Six Mystics of India is a travelogue of the spirit. It is also a travelogue which takes you on a vicarious pilgrimage to the places sanctified by these six mystics; in a sense, to the holy India which remains still hidden to most of us.
My acquaintance with the English language can be traced back to my schooldays. While at college, I developed a fascination and admiration for it, listening to my professors. I frequented the library to enjoy the engaging and ennobling company of authors of repute. Very often, I took them home as my honoured guests and they became my best friends and most reliable guides, nurturing in me a taste for this beautiful, rich and expressive language. When I left the portals of the college, I had fallen irreversibly in love with English! But I chose to express myself in Tamil for over four decades, while always dreaming of the day I'd write in English.
An obsessional urge to express myself in English took hold of me in 1975 and I even started mentally planning a book! But I resisted the temptation as I was convinced that my knowledge of the language was insufficient to cope with my ambition. Then, one day, responding to my inner prompting, I sought the blessings of the Sage of Kanchi, fully confident of the unfailing efficacy of his unbounded grace. Since 1957, when I had my first darshan of this rare embodiment of our ancient wisdom and spiritual eminence, he has been the light that showed me the way in all my endeavours. It was no different this time.
His soothing smile and approving nod were the green signal I needed and I stated writing the same night. The manuscript was ready in six month. I gave it to a few friends who went through it with great commitment, made necessary corrections and improved on it.
Subsequently, I contacted a few publishers. One after another, they made encouraging promises , but put the project in cold storage for reasons best known to them! Every time, it was only after strenuous effort and laborious Persuasion that I was able to retrieve my script and , finally, I deposited it safely in the loft!
After several years of hibernation in that dark cave aloft, I noted the glimmer of a ray of hope when I met Sri K Srinivasamurthy of Ganesh & Co last year. He enthusiastically agreed to publish the book and has kept his word. The result is Six Mystics of India that is now in your hands.
My thanks are also due in no small measure to Sri S Muthiah for going through the script with rare patience and committed sincerity, editing pruning, polishing an embellishing it. I am beholden to him for his invaluable suggestions and help in getting the book ready for the press.
I place my first book in English at the sacred feet of the sage of kanchi, the fountainhead of my inspiration ,and invoke his benign blessings for my future efforts .
S. Sridhar, who writes under the widely known pseudonym 13haranidharan', was born on December 25, 1925, in a cultured South Indian Brahmin family, the third son of the late T.N. Seshachalam, a lawyer-turned-literary critic, a scholar in English and Tamil, a prolific writer and editor of the Tamil literary weekly Kalanilayam pub lished during the period 1928-1935.
Though a graduate in Commerce from the Madras University, Sridhar did not evince any interest in meddling with numbers. He had developed a flair for caricaturing and cartooning from early school-days and, while in college, started contributing illustrated jokes and political cartoons to various magazines. This paved the way for a journalistic career soon after graduation in the late Forties. After an initial spell of freelancing as a cartoonist with the Ananda Vikatan, the premier and popular Tamil weekly, he joined its editorial staff in 1956 and retired as its Joint Editor in 1985.
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