Saints/Monks




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Mouna swamy (Est. 1916 to 28 Dec, 1943)
His Holiness Jagadguru Sri Sri Sivachitanand Saraswathi Swami known as Mouna swami established Sri Siddheswari peetham in the year 1916.
Mouna Swami before establishing Sri Siddheswari Peetham has extensively toured all over India. Swami had meditated in Himalayas & had spent his valuable time with great sidha purushas spread from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. Swami finally came down to Courtallam where he had established the Peetham in the year 1916.
Mouna Swami took silence as a vow. Swami took this vow that he will not speak after this incident narrated here. Swami attended all India Vedic conference held in Kashmir, where scholars from all over India were debating. A question was raised and was unable to arrive at a solution. Sri Mouna Swami who was not conversant about Veda answered the question, which was accepted by one and all. His guru who was also present cautioned him not to transgress ethi dharma by displaying knowledge unasked by the participants. Sri Mouna Swami received this caution from his Guru there it may develop ego in ones own mind. Swami who took this in the right perspective took a vow that he will not speak and observe silence (Mouna) for life as a direct consequence of wastefully using his tongue. That is how Swami was known as Mouna Swami. By observing Silence his yogic power increased multifold.
Mouna swami during his lifetime exhibited yogic powers by bringing dead person to life, converting kerosene to ghee, khandayogam (detaching organs like limbs, arms from the body during the night time and reassembling before sunrise), Dhoutiyogam (drawing once large intestine and small intestine outside and washing them at the well in open space swallowing after wash) etc…. These were some of the yogic powers shown by swami.
Anekatrastithi: Appearing in different and distant places in the same time. Swami during his lifetime has reached places, which is impossible even to reach by a jet plane.
Sankalpa (thought force): During construction of the mutt, Swami never operated from personnel cash or from bank account. For paying the weekend bills incurred during construction he used to make a gesture to dig at the foot of a tree or foundation of a structure. To the surprise of all exact amounts will be found i.e. no pie extra or short to make the payment.
Shishyas believed that Mouna Swami knows alchemy and makes gold out of raw metal. Shishyas asked swami for presenting gold idols for their worship. Swami instantly produced two gold idols to two of his prominent devotees. These idols are there in the Mutt, since devotees could not retain them.
Swami knows his Samadhi day several years ahead of the event. Even after his samadhi there is authenticated evidence with record that he rose from samadhi, assumed human body appeared in Santhome of Madras and had a dialogue physically with S.A.A.Ramaiah, 2nd Son of Annamalai Chettiar a wealthy person of chettinadu village in Tamilnadu. He was suffering with bone TB and was bed ridden over a period of six years. He was unfit for mundane life. Mouna swami gave an herb to him, which he consumed on 7/3/1952. This incident took place ten years after swami’s Samadhi. He was cured of the disease within one month. He not only became hale and healthy but also became an international figure known as “Yogi Ramaiah”. Yogi Ramaiah had established innumerable yoga centers all over the world. He is aged 78 years and is still alive. This episode was published in Montreal, Canada in a book titled (Babaji & Eighteen Sidha Kriya Yogas). Devotees still believe that Mouna Swami Speaks & Blesses from his Samadhi in Courttalam.
Composite Madras British Governor from Britain Lord Pentland & J.C. Meloni I.C.S who was member in governor’s council were devotees of Mouna Swami. Mr. Meloni & Lord Pentland though Christian by birth used to send money from London. Nearly forty visitors visited peetham from London. They came to meet Mouna Swami every month for pujas and to offer their Pranams. Food of south Indian Style was under preparation to feed about 2000 people in connection with a religious function. Swami directed his organizers to provide lunch for the foreign visitors. The organizers were on a dilemma, as the visitors cannot relish south Indian food. They were on a puzzle as to what to do how to arrange western style lunch. Organizers were looking to infinity exhibiting their inability to arrange western style of lunch. Swami suddenly got up from his seat and welcomed all foreign visitors to a four-room tenement, which was lying vacant. Swami touched the door and the doors were open where to the astonishment of all western style of lunch was ready, Served on tables with tablecloth, Crockery, Cutlery, bread and toast.
Jamindar of Sethu village was suffering with dreaded incorrigible disease, which disfigured him. He was brought before Mouna swami. Swami plucked a leaf from a plant nearby and directed jamindar to swallow the leaf. The disease was miraculously cured and he got back his natural figure.
Leelas exhibited by Swami are innumerable and any number of volumes can be written. Such was the yogic Power of Mouna Swami.
Founder Jagadguru Sri Sivachitanand Saraswathi swami and Mouna swami attained Siddhi (Samadhi) on 28 Dec, 1943








Sri Sivachidananda Bharathi Swami (23 July, 1991 to 17 Dec, 2002)


After assuming the charge of the Peetham took up the task of Spreading the message of Mouna Swami and Improving the Peetham’s activities to spread all over the world. He has estabilised the Mutt and improved the mutt’s activities to a great extent. This had happened only due to Swamijis Efforts and by the voluntary contributions of Devotees. He has toured extensively all over India to spread and propagate arsha which Dharma and Religious way of life. He leads a very Simple life. His sense of time is Unparallel. Swami Splits a second and attends to all possible activities of the mutt. He interprets every Ritual scientifically and shows how it benefits individually and collectively.

Swamiji is very good in astrology and devotees are benefited by swami’s timely advice after seeing horoscope. Swami has the Power to read the Character and life of an Individual. Swami immediately gives timely advice to the devotees and they are saved from danger in various ways due to the timely advice of Swami. Some of the incidents are narrated here.
Swamiji is believed to be possessing Mounaswamy a great yogi and sidha Purusha. Swamiji by giving Akshatha (turmeric mixed with rice) is able to read the whole life. He reads and knows even the secrets, which are even unknown to the life partner who shares the bed.
Sri Kumaraiah was not blessed with any child. Doctors pronounced that it was an impossibility to have a child for the couple. The couple approached Swamiji and sought blessings to have a child. Swamiji who understood their pain blessed them and fixed up a date before which they are sure to have a child. Swamijis words came true and Mrs. Kumaraiah gave birth to a male child 48hours before the said date. There joy had no bounds.
Sri Ragavaiah a big sweet merchant came to see Swamiji when Swamijis was in Vijayawada. Ragavaiah is a well-known communist leader and as we all know they neither believe in god or godly persons. While the dialogue was going on with Swamiji Ragavaiah suddenly collapsed in front of Swami. The other person accompanied him proclaimed that he is dead. Swamiji went close to him touched his forehead shouted loudly calling with his name asking him to come back to his life. Within five minutes he came back to normal life. He is now hale and healthy. He became a great devotee of Swamiji.
Such instances are several where Couples are blessed with child. Several girls and boys whose marriages are in ordinarily delayed they were blessed and marriages were celebrated during the specified dates. Several unemployed boys and girls with Divine blessings of His Holiness got employed to their satisfaction. Swamiji prescribes easy pariharams (Remedy) to those who are passing through evil transit of planets. In all such cases the remedial measures prescribed by Swamiji if observed with letter and spirit have returned back to there good days. Leelas exhibited by Swami are innumerable and any number of volumes can be written. Such is his yogic Power.
Swamiji worked in a big way to extend mutts activities by constructing Educational Institutions, Kidapathasalas, Cow protection and rearing, Annadanam (free feeding of food) etc. Swamiji was interested in renovating historically prominent religious institutions.
Swamiji Attained Maha Samadhi on December 17th 2002 in Vishakapattinam. The function was held in Courtallam on December 19/11/2002.




Sri Siddheswarananda Bharathi Swami (19 Dec, 2002 to Present)



Courtalam Sankaracharya, Parama Hamsa, Jagadguru, his holiness Sri Sri Sri Siddheswarananda Bharati Swami took over the charge as the Peedathipathi of Sri Siddheswari Peetham on 19 Dec, 2002 in Courtallam. He is a renowned poet and scholar, respected educator, revered spiritual leader, and author of many religious books. Sri Swamiji has attained several siddhis, been blessed with Divine Visions, and realized the highest spiritual states. Sri Swamiji has enjoyed fruitful spiritual relationships with such renowned masters as Jillellamoodi Amma, Rasa Yogi Sri Radhika Prasad Maharaj and His Holiness Mouna Swami of Courtalam. Hundreds and thousands of people have successfully overcome their many problems through mantra upadesam from his holiness Sri Swamiji. Several disciples of Sri Swamiji practice mantra, tantra and homa disciplines and have achieved great spiritual advances under his guidance.

Poet and Scholar

Sri Siddheswarananda Bharati Swami, formerly known as Dr. Prasadaraya Kulapati, was born on 23rd Jan. 1937 at Elchur, Prakasam Dt., Andhra Pradesh into the Potaraju family – a family with a rich literary tradition of four generations of poets and scholars. Swamiji learned Sanskrit and Telugu traditionally and by age nineteen he had already gained wide fame for his asu-kavitvam, and avadhanam skills. Having secured a B.A. from Guntur Hindu College, M.A. and Ph.D from Sree Venkateswara University, Swamiji returned to Guntur Hindu College in 1956 and worked over the next 40 years as a Lecturer, Professor, Head of Dept. and retired as its Principal in 1998.

During his gloried literary career Sri Swamiji was honored by various organizations with titles such as “Avadhani Saraswati”, “Sahiti Sarvabhouma”, “Saraswati Kanthabharana”, “Rupaka Samrat”, “Kavita Sudhakara” etc. He has authored several poetic works such as “Rasa vahini”, “Ananda Yogini”, “Rasa Ganga”, “Gandharva Geeti”, stuti kavyas “Siva Sahasri”, “Ambika Sahasri” – an ode to Jillellamoodi Amma, “Aindree Sahasri” – an ode to goddess Vajra Vairochani, dramas “Kavi Brahma”, “Kavya Kantha”, novels “Ramani Priya Dootika”, research works “Andhra Bhagavata Vimarsa” (his Ph.D dissertation), “Tantrika Prapancham”, “Kavita Mahendra Jalamu”, and innumerable essays and articles published in various magazines. Swamiji was famous for conducting literary sabhas such as “Indra Sabha”, “Vaikuntha Sahiti Sabha”, “Srinatha Vijaya Sabha”. He has traveled with troupes of poets and scholars all over India and in several American cities and enthralled audiences with his oratory, scholarship, wit and spontaneous poetry recitals.

Yogi, Mantra Sadhaka, Tantrik Scholar

From a young age Swamiji had been an avid weight lifter and wrestler. The physical strength gained as a result of these activities was a great source of self-confidence for him throughout his life. He traveled the state giving exhibitions of his physical prowess and also officiated at several wrestling events.

The physical studies inevitably led to meta-physical studies. He was an upasaka of Lord Hanuman and recited the Hanuman mantra a few million times. Over time he was drawn more and more to deeper spiritual matters. He applied himself to the practice of Dhyana, Mantra sadhana in the path of Raja Yoga. He advanced rapidly in the attainment of siddhis. He sought out advanced practitioners of Tantra and under the guidance of one great guru learned many advanced mantras and practiced relentlessly. By his master’s grace, Swamiji was blessed with experience of Divinity.

Divine Visions

Swamiji was blessed with a close association with Jillellamoodi Amma. She continues to guide him in deep meditative trances. Swamiji wrote the thousand poem ode “Ambika Sahasri” in her honor. Rasa Yogi Sri Radhika Prasad Maharaj guided Swamiji to the worship of the goddess of Brindavan, Sri Radha Devi. After years of rigorous penance, Sri Radha Devi blessed Swamiji with Her divine vision and initiated him in Her six syllable (shadakshari) mantra. More over She also arranged for the split headed goddess Vajra Vairochani in the form of Bhadra to be Swamiji’s perpetual guardian angel. “Aindree Sahasri” is a thousand poem ode to praise this goddess.

Blessed with Her divine grace, through relentless practice of meditation, Swamiji had begun visualizing details of his many prior births. In one such trance Swamiji saw the idol of goddess Kali he had worshipped in the Himalayas some six hundred years ago. Heeding Swamiji’s prayer this idol descended from thin air before the eyes of several devotees in Swamiji’s Guntur ashram. This idol has miraculously grown in size to its current state and is being worshipped as “Swayamsidhha Kali” at the Guntur Kali Peetham. The sacrificial fire (“homa gundam”) in this temple burns incessantly. The poojas performed at this sacred altar have helped thousands of devotees realize their wishes.

Courtallam Peethadhipati

Having established the “Swayamsiddha Kalee Peetham” Swamiji was contemplating monkhood (“sanyasam”), retiring to Brindavan and spending the rest of his life in Radha Sadhana. The siddha yogis and gods too willed that Swamiji undertake Sanyasam and conveyed to him through the astral body of Swami Sraddhananda.

Guided by the wishes of His Holiness Mouna Swami, the founding saint of Sri Siddheswari Peetham at Courtallam, the then current head of the Peetham Sri Sri Sri Sivachidananda Bharati Swami, initiated Swamiji into monkhood under the moniker Sri Siddheswarananda Bharati Swami and also anointed Swamiji to be his successor. Soon after Sri Sivachidananda Swami attained Siddhi and on Datta Jayanti day 19th Dec. 2002, Swamiji was appointed the Peethadhipati. Ever since, the Courallam Peetham has been an active center for Japa, Homa, Dhyana sadhakas with facility for several parallel homas to be conducted by various practitioners. Swamiji points out that while the Vedic tradition restricts the practice of Veda mantras to Brahmins, Tantric tradition invites every one – men and women of all races and faiths – with open arms to the practice of mantra.

In his role as a Peethadhipati, Sri Siddeswarananda Bharati Swami, has traveled extensively, mesmerizing audiences everywhere with his lectures on Hindu dharma, philosophy, spirituality, establishing and inaugurating temples, performing yagnas for Peace for the Human Kind and, gracing devotees with mantra siddhi to solve their personal problems.



Shri Trailanga Swami






Trailinga Swami born to Narasingh Rao and Bidayabati in 1601, was a great 
Indian Saint who did tremendous sadhana for over 250 years and attained 
to the heights of spiritual knowledge.
Swami is said to be the incarnation of Lord Shiva. His initial name was 
Shivaram.Shivaram was always a profound and seriously introspective child. 
For the most part he avoided regular childhood past times, preferring 
instead to spend his time in solitude.He was quite indifferent to the 
demands of the society around him. Rather his great
joy was to listen to religious stories told by his mother. He spent 52 years
 of his life serving his parents and at the age of 52 when his mother
 left her earthly body,Shivram moved out of his house and started his search
 for the guru. He started hissadhana in the local cremation grounds, where
 he remained seeking wisdom for 20 years. After that he went to many
 places including Nepal and finally settled in Banaras (Kashi) where he 
stayed for about 150 years.
The Swami, rarely eating earthly foods, was said to have gained a pound of
 body weight for each of his earthly years and finally reaching over 300 pounds.
The Swami was consistently seen to drink deadly poisons and remain
 unaffected by it. Thousands of people have seen Trailanga floating on 
the Ganges for days on end. Many who witnessed this are still living today.
 Swami was seen sitting on the top of the water and other times remaining
 hidden under the waves for hours and days. Frequently the Swami was
 seen on the extremely hot stone slabs at Manikarnika Ghat under the 
blistering heat of the Indian sun,yet no ill affect resulted to his body.
Trailanga Swami took samadhi on the ekadashi (11th lunar day) of the
bright lunar of the month of Pousha (December) 1881.




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Mahavatar Babaji, a Himalayan mahayogi said to be about 1,800 years old, is the founder
 of kriya yoga.

There are no historical records relating to the birth and life of Mahavatar Babaji. 
Paramahansa Yogananda has written in Autobiography of a Yogithat the deathless
 avatar has resided for untold years in the remote Himalayan regions of India,
 revealing himself only rarely to a blessed few.

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Lahiri Mahasaya was born on September 30, 1828, in the village of Ghurni in Bengal, India. 
At the age of thirty-three, while walking one day on Drongiri mountain, in the Himalayan 
foothills near Ranikhet, he met his guru, Mahavatar Babaji. It was a divine reunion of two 
who had been together in many lives past; at an awakening touch of blessing, Lahiri 
Mahasaya became engulfed in a spiritual aura of divine realization that was never to 
leave him. Mahavatar Babaji initiated him in the science of Kriya Yoga and instructed 
him to teach the sacred technique to sincere seekers. Lahiri Mahasaya returned to 
his home in Banaras to fulfil this mission. [Mahasaya, a Sanskrit religious title, 
means "large-minded."]
Paramahansa Yogananda wrote in Autobiography of a Yogi: "As the fragrance of flowers 
cannot be suppressed, so Lahiri Mahasaya, quietly living as an ideal householder, could 
not hide his innate glory. Devotee-bees from every part of India began to seek the divine 
nectar of the liberated master... The harmoniously balanced life of the great 
householder-guru became the inspiration of thousands of men and women." As Lahiri 
Mahasaya exemplified the highest ideals of Yoga, union of the little self with God, he 
is revered as a Yogavatar, or incarnation of Yoga.



Paramahansa Yogananda




Paramahansa Yogananda was born Mukunda Lal Ghosh on January 5, 1893, in Gorakhpur, India, into a devout and well-to-do Bengali family. From his earliest years, it was evident to those around him that the depth of his awareness and experience of the spiritual was far beyond the ordinary. In his youth he sought out many of India's sages and saints, hoping to find an illumined teacher to guide him in his spiritual quest.

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Ramana Maharshi
Ramana Maharhshi was a guru of international renown from southern India who taught during the first half of the twentieth century. He was born in 1879 near Madurai, Tamilnadu. His father was a farmer. He was the second of three sons. The family was religious, giving ritual offerings to the family deity and visiting temples. One unusual aspect of his family history was a curse that was put on the family by a wandering monk who was refused food by a family member. The monk decreed that in every generation, one child in the family would renounce the world to lead a religious life.
Ramana was largely disinterested in school and absent-minded during work. He had a marked inclination towards introspection and self-analysis. He used to ask fundamental questions about identity, such as the question "who am I?". He was always seeking to find the answer to the mystery of his own identity and origins.
One peculiar aspect of Ramana's personality was his ability to sleep soundly. He could be beaten or carried from one place to another while asleep, and would not wake up. He was sometimes jokingly called "Kumbhakarna" after a figure in the Ramayana who slept soundly for months.
In the summer of 1896, Ramana went into an altered state of consciousness which had a profound effect on him. He experienced what he understood to be his own death, and later returned to life.
He also had spontaneous flashes of insight where he perceived himself as an essence independent of the body. During these events, he felt himself to be an eternal entity, existing without reliance on the physical body or material world.
Along with these intuitions came a fascination with the word "Arunachala" which carried associations of deep reverence and a sense that his destiny was closely intertwined with this unique sound. At the age of sixteen, Ramana heard that a place called Arunachala actually existed (the modern town's name is Tiruvannamalai) and this brought him great happiness.
Ramana was nearing the end of high school when a careless criticism describing him as a person not fit to be a student jarred him into making a final decision to leave school. He had been reading a book on famous Tamil saints and resolved to leave home and lead the life of a religious seeker. Naturally, he planned to go to Arunachala, the place which was the focal point of all his religious ideals.
When he was seventeen years old, Ramama left for Arunachala, arriving after four days of mostly train travel. He went directly to the central shrine at the temple and addressed the Shiva symbol (linga) stating he had given up everything and come to Arunachala in response to the god's call.
Ramana spent ten years living in temples and caves meditating, and pursuing spiritual purification, keeping the disciplines of silence and non-attachment. At this point, his reputation as a serious teacher (he was called Brahma Swami) began to grow and other seekers began to visit him. His disciples, some of whom were learned individuals, began to bring him sacred books. He became conversant with the religious traditions of South India written in the different regional languages.
Early disciples had a difficult time learning about Ramana's background and even his native language because he was silent and refused to speak. As time passed he ceased his ascetic phase and began to live a more normal life in an ashram setting. Many people came to visit him with a variety of problems, from both India and abroad.
Ramana's disciples constructed an ashram and temple, and space the accommodate the many visitors. All ate the same food and Ramana sat with the rest of the people during meals and did not expect special treatment. The ashram was a sanctuary for animals and Ramana had great fondness for the cows, monkeys, birds, and squirrels that inhabited the grounds.
Ramana continued to practice the method of inquiry into the nature of the self best expressed by the question "who am I?".
Ramana was not a guru in the classic sense of a teacher who gives instruction on a regular basis or gives mantras during initiation. In fact, if the seeker wanted to practice repetition of a mantra rather than the "who am I?" method of self inquiry, he recommended repeating the pronoun "I" or the phrase "I am" rather than repeating sacred Sanskrit words or the names of gods. This focused the person's mind on "being itself" or the mystery of their own awareness rather than an external object or word.



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Jillellamudi Amma ( Matrusri Anasuya Devi)


Jillellamudi is a pilgrimage village in Andhra Pradesh, Situated Near 13km away from Bapatla,Guntur District, The place from where amma popularly known as Mathrusri Anasuyadevi spread the spiritual rays of love to the people. 


Amma was born on March 28,1923 at Mannava, a small village in Guntur District of Andhra Pradesh, to a pious couple late Seethapathi Rao, the Village Officer of Mannava and his wife Rangamma . On 5th May 1936, Amma's wedding took place at Bapatla with Brahmandam Nageswara Rao and laid down the body on June 12, 1985 at Jillellamudi
The child was born amidst miraculous experiences that every one present there had. Strangely enough, the exact moment of her birth coincided with a ceremonial function at the village temple. Flags were hoisted and bells, conches and other musical instruments were being sounded.

The child was named on the twenty-seventh day as Anasuya (one without envy). Amma exhibited the state of Perfection right from the birth. As a child barely four years old, she became stiff with suspended breath and stayed in that condition for as long as four days. And all this happened without any apparent crisis in the child's health. (Much later, in her married life, the most mysterious and lengthy of Amma's trances, apparently premeditated happened. Amma called Dr Seethachalam of Kommur village to Jillellamudi and told him that she was about to embark on an eleven days journey of sorts. During the interim, he was to look after the body. Thus charged, the doctor watched Amma lie down on her cot and lose consciousness. When he examined her, he found that her breath and heartbeat had ceased. Gradually Amma's joints stiffened and her complexion took on a blue-gray pallor. When Amma's husband and other relatives wanted to cremate the body, Dr.Seethachalam was placed in the rather curious position for one in his profession of insisting that, though clinically dead, the body would come back to life. The physician's faith was vindicated on the eleventh day of his vigil, when Amma awakened slowly and heavily,as if from a prolonged sleep. This is probably the longest*Near-Death*experience on record).

When Anasuya was completing her second year, she once sat under a pomegranate tree in "padmasana" (Lotus Posture) and attained a transcendental state of meditation, with her eyes half closed. Every one mistook it as a fit of epilepsy and not noticing the 'Yogasana' she had assumed. She returned to her normal consciousness in an hour. On yet another occasion, she was seen sitting in a strange posture with her breath suspended and the eyes turned completely inside. When someone asked her later as to what she was doing, she replied she was in 'Shambhavi Mudra'. Everyone was astounded at these words and deeds from a two yearold child.

As a little girl, she never asked for food just as she never cried for milk as an infant. She accepted food if it was given, only to give to somebody else who was in need of it. She was treated by several doctors to no avail. In later life, Amma would frequently go for long periods without eating, even abandoning all liquids usually considered as essential for survival. It is a curious paradox of Amma's life that one who is indifferent to eating herself , spends a large portion of her time and energy in feeding others. And once Amma commented humorously "You grow weak if you don't eat, but I grow weak if I don't feed".

Since childhood, Amma always wanted to feed others and a number of 'miracles' such as multiplication of food were associated with this behavior. Some elders of the house used to reprimand her for giving food to the destitute and stray animals, feeding them with her own hands.

Mother never showed any distinction based on caste whatsoever once claiming " My caste is that of the sperm and the ovum". When young Amma once ran and rescued a child belonging to the scavenging community by lifting up and holding the child in her arms, the elders rebuked her. Amma declared " When I don't discriminate between qualities, where is the question of discrimination between castes?"

After Rangamma's death, little Amma was given almost unlimited freedom. She was kept in several towns like Bapatla, Guntur for different periods of stay with different relatives. She imparted experiences of various sorts to those she met in accordance with their diverse nature and spiritual tendency. She discarded no one. Even hard core criminals were won over by her transparent purity and a number of people completely transformed by their contact with Amma.

On 5th May 1936, Amma's wedding took place at Bapatla with Brahmandam Nageswara Rao who became later the village officer of Jillellamudi. When one of the few people who recognized her perfection and divinity asked her why she needs to get married, she told him that it was only to show that marriage need not be feared as an obstacle to one's spiritual progress. It is also to set an example of an ideal housewife by practice that she has married - to be able to look upon one's life partner as the embodiment of the Lord and thereby realize the ultimate reality - without having to suppress any of the material aspects of personal life. Just as a woman should worship her husband as God's manifestation, he should endeavor to see God in his wife. Amma says "God alone is the "Purusha" or Lord and that all Creation is "Prakriti" or his consort.

At Jillelamudi, as a young housewife, Amma seems to have hidden her spiritual grandeur. Instead, she looked after the needs of her family which came to include another son and a daughter. In addition to performing her household duties, Amma devised and organized a grain bank to help the poor and needy. Amma was often persecuted and harassed by the ignorant and jealous villagers who probably resented the only high-caste brahmin family in the village. A villager by name Subbaiah joined the house as a servant with sinister designs but was transformed. Another farm hand Mantrayi could see the form of Amma clearly wherever he might be.

The transformation of these individuals marked a change in the attitude of the other inhabitants of the village. Amma used to give food to every visitor to the village. Thus she came to be known as Mother and the number of visitors from the nearby villages and towns steadily increased.

The common dining hall "Annapurnalayam" came to be founded on 15th August, 1958. This place serves simple vegetarian food day and night to all who came. Two years later, the "House of All" was founded to provide lodging to the residents and visitors.

Amma established a Sanskrit school in 1966 (now the Matrusri Oriental College and High School) and within a relatively short time, one could hear the inmates speaking this ancient "Language of the Gods" fluently.

Though Amma always humbly maintained that she was not different from anyone else, several people coming to see her experienced visions of Gods and Goddesses in her presence. A number of people experienced Amma in visions, dreams and bi-locations, even when they have not met her before. In many cases, it happened that when a distressed person was crying out in need, Amma would suddenly appear out of nowhere and grant him/her relief. Once having met someone, Amma never forgot that person even if he or she didn't return for years.

Amma shunned miracles. Once Amma made an interesting distinction between the Siddha and Jnani. The Siddha attracts people to himself and the spiritual path by the conscious application of powers, while people are drawn to the Jnani by his/her natural radiation. (Amma also stated that an 'Avatar' is one who is a Jnani from the birth).
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Ramakrishna Paramhamsa
Ramakrishna in meditation



Ramakrishna Parmahamsa is perhaps the best known saint of nineteenth century India. He was born in a poor Brahmin family in 1836, in a small town near Calcutta, West Bengal. As a young man, he was artistic and a popular storyteller and actor. His parents were religious, and prone to visions and spiritual dreams. Ramakrishna's father had a vision of the god Gadadhara (Vishnu) while on a religious pilgrimage. In the vision, the god told him that he would be born into the family as a son.

Young Ramakrishna was prone to experiences of spiritual reverie and temporary loss of consciousness. His early spiritual experiences included going into a state of rapture while watching the flight of a cranes, and loosing consciousness of the outer world while playing the role of the god Shiva in a school play.
Ramakrishna had little interest in school or practical things of the world. In 1866, he became a priest at a recently dedicated temple to the Goddess Kali located near Calcutta on the Ganges River. It was built by a pious widow, Rani Rasmani. Ramakrishna became a full-time devotee to the goddess spending increasing amounts of time giving offerings and meditating on her. He meditated in a sacred grove of five trees on the edge of the temple grounds seeking a vision of the goddess Kali.
At one point he became frustrated, feeling he could not live any longer without seeing Kali. He demanded that the goddess appear to him. He threatened to take his own life with a ritual dagger (normally held in the hand of the Kali statue). At this point, he explained how the goddess appeared to him as an ocean of light:
When I jumped up like a madman and seized [a sword], suddenly the blessed Mother revealed herself. The buildings with their different parts, the temple, and everything vanished from my sight, leaving no trace whatsoever, and in their stead I saw a limitless, infinite, effulgent Ocean of Consciousness. As far as the eye could see, the shining billows were madly rushing at me from all sides with a terrific noise, to swallow me up. I was caught in the rush and collapsed, unconscious … within me there was a steady flow of undiluted bliss, altogether new, and I felt the presence of the Divine Mother.
Mahendranath Gupta, Ramakrsna Kathamrta translated by Swami Nikhilananda as The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna (Mylapore: Sri Ramakrsna Math, 1952), Book 1, p. 15
Ramakrishna's behavior became more erratic as time passed and began to worry his family and employer. He would take on ritual and mythical roles identifying with figures from the Puranas (medieval Indian holy books describing the adventures of gods). His parents found him a wife hoping his mental instability was a result of his celibacy.
About this time, an elderly holy woman named Bhairavi Brahmani appeared and determined that Ramakrishna's madness was "spiritual madness" rather than ordinary madness. He was literally mad for the vision of God. She convened a group of respected religious leaders who examined Ramakrishna's symptoms. They concluded that this was a case of divine madness similar in nature to that of other famous saints such as Caitanya (a fifteenth century Bengali saint). From this point on, people began to treat Ramakrishna with more respect though his unusual behavior in worship and meditation continued. The holy women stayed with Ramakrishna for some time teaching him yogic and tantric meditation techniques.
A yogin named Totapuri then became Ramakrishna's mentor. Ramakrishna adopted the role of renunciant and learned a nondualist form of Vedanta philosophy from him. In this system, God is understood to be the formless unmanifest energy that supports the cosmos. Ramakrishna experienced a deep form of trance (nirvilkalpa samadhi) under the guidance of this teacher. This state can be described as complete absorption of the soul into the divine ocean of consciousness.
Disciples began to appear at this point in Ramakrishna's life. He embarked on a long period of teaching where he gathered a group of disciples around him. This period of his life is well documented by two sets of books written by his disciples. These references are listed below.
Ramakrishna explained on different occasions that god is both formed and formless and can appear to the devotee either way. He often asked visitors whether they conceived of god as having qualities or as being beyond qualities. He then proceeded to teach the devotee according to the way he or she viewed the divine. His acceptance of different approaches to the worship of God and the validity of different religious paths, such as Christianity and Islam, is in the best tradition of the universalist approach to religion common throughout India today.
One extraordinary quality of Ramakrishna's message was its universal appeal to a broad cross section of Indian society. In the West, religions like Christianity and Judaism tend to be exclusive, and find the contradictions that arise from a religion that is too broad to be objectionable. If one religious approach is right, the others must be wrong.
However, the Indian mind tends to more readily accept someone like Ramakrishna who preaches universality of religion and accepts and even promotes individuality in the seeker's approach to God. This is illustrated by Ramakrishna describing God as a mother who cooks fish differently for her children according to their tastes, temperaments, and their ability to digest different types of dishes. For Ramakrishna, God is both the mother of the universe and of individual souls who are her children. In India, a mother is often idealized as one who sacrifices herself for her children and goes to great lengths to satisfy them, and bring them happiness. God, as a Mother, therefore makes different religions and belief systems according to each person's needs and tastes.
In terms of mass appeal to different classes of society, Ramakrishna's message appealed to the upper classes who are likely to follow a Vedantist or philosophical approach to religion by sometimes describing God as a non-dual formless essence.
His description of Kali as an ocean of light had much in common with the ocean of Brahman that the Brahmins (the traditional priest caste) seek to encounter when they are initiated into the Gayatri mantra, or the mantra of the sun. One divine ocean of consciousness may be difficult to distinguish from another.
Ramakrishna also appealed to those with an interest in yoga and esoteric practices by practicing a non-dual form of meditation prescribed by Totapuri which seeks samadhi.
The most popular religious practice by far in India is bhakti, or devotion to a deity. Ramakrishna's message was welcomed by both the rural and urban religious people who did puja to different deities. As an example, Ramakrishna worshipped the divine mother Kali as a protective and benevolent deity (Kali also has a fierce and destructive side which she generally does not show to those who worship her). These devotees saw him as a great teacher and bhakta who sang the names of God and talked incessantly about God. They too did puja and sang the names of their chosen deities in hopes of having healthy children, getting good jobs or marriages, producing a plentiful harvest, or entering into the deity's paradise after death. Ramakrishna believed the sincere devotee could even hope for a vision or dream of the divine mother or other deity. Though Ramakrishna was devoted to Kali, he showed respect and gave guidance to many visitors who worshiped other gods and spoke highly of the past Indian saints who were devoted to other deities.
Those who followed the Vedic prescription of religious universalism summed up in the phrase "There is but one Truth, but sages call it by different names" noted that Ramakrishna practiced the rituals of many religions, and found that they all brought him to the same divine reality in the end. For those who worshiped many different saints and deities throughout India, this universal approach echoed their own multi-faceted religious practices.
Finally, for those with a strong sense of Hindu nationalism, Ramakrishna's chief disciple, Swami Vivekananda, entered onto the world stage by doing a keynote address at the World Parliament of Religions meeting in Chicago in 1893, and he electrified his audience. Hindus for generations could point to their indigenous traditions with pride after his exemplary speech.
Vivekananda also promoted a more activist form of Hinduism, which focused on education, feeding the poor, and developing libraries and other institutions. His works were a way of showing Hindus that it was not only the Christian missionaries that could benefit society, but that Hindu religion was also valuable with respect to improving society and combating social ills.
Ramakrishna died of cancer of the throat in 1886, leaving his wife Sarada Devi who was considered a saint in her own right to take charge of his disciples and carry on his message.
Ramakrishna and Psychological Reductionism
An unusual development in modern attempts to understand Ramakrishna’s life has been the recent application of psychoanalytic theory to his experience. While a large majority of psychologists consider psychoanalytic theory to be discredited, historians of religion have resuscitated this moribund methodology in an attempt to explain the existence of Ramakrishna’s mystical experience. Though numerous psychologists and writers have been doing this kind of psychological reductionism over the years, it has recently been done with a major focus on sexual abuse. One author has claimed that Ramakrishna's mystical states (and through generalization all mystical states) are a pathological response to alleged childhood sexual trauma.
There are, however, some serious problems with the attempt to apply this form of psychological reductionism to Ramakrishna. First, the most recent proponent and popularizer of this theory is not a psychologist and has no formal training in psychoanalytic (or any clinical) theory. Second, he is doing his analysis based on a set of biographical texts rather than direct contact with an individual patient in a clinical environment. Psychoanalysis is a highly interactive process, and analysis of textual data cannot begin to approximate the complex and detailed information provided by the one-on-one relationship that develops between patient and analyst. Applying the psychoanalytic method to one or more texts about a person is therefore likely to result in a failure to understand the patient. Third, the author is working in a thoroughly non-western culture where is it highly questionable whether Western psychoanalytic theory even applies. Fourth, the author has been shown to have difficulty understanding the nuances of the Bengali culture in general as well as the Bengali language in which Ramakrishna's biographical texts are written. He spent a mere eight months in West Bengal most of it apparently in libraries and on this basis makes grandiose claims about understanding both the mind and cultural environment of the renowned saint.
Also the Bengali language is rich with meaning and many words and idioms have literally dozens of definitions and interpretations. So a scholar doing translation can easily intentionally distort meanings by looking at a long list of possible definitions and choose the most lurid and sexually-oriented interpretation. But even if we assume good faith on the part of scholars, this limited exposure to the language makes them subject to serious errors in translation and to misinterpretation of both historical and textual data.
These would be serious problems even if psychoanalysis was supported by a great deal of experimental data and was a widely accepted and respected theory in psychology. Combining them with the fact that psychoanalytic theory is disrespected and ignored by most of today’s psychologists seems to call the whole reductionist enterprise into question.
This work is a recent addition to a long series of psycho-biographies in which the biographer sees every virtue in their subject as a secret vice or weakness. Thus the great people of history become either traumatized victims, or master manipulators and con men.
The fact that some respected historians of religion have eagerly embraced this antiquated Freudian methodology in an attempt to understand Ramakrishna and mystical phenomena in general is an indication that the field may be in trouble. Historians of religion and those in the field of religious studies who grant awards to books based on cultural and psychoanalytic illiteracy seem to be at a loss to find a better methodology by which to understand saints and their religious experience.

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Swami Vivekananda is one of the most eminent personalities of our country. He was born in Kolkata on 12th of January 1863. His father was Visvanatha Datta and his mother was Bhubaneshwari. His original name was Narendranath.
He studied Sanskrit, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, the Puranas etc. he learnt things very quickly. He had an aptitude for music. He had a good voice. He joined the school of Sri Eswar Chandra Vidya Sagar and completed primary education. He completed his secondary education, a course of three years, in one year, and passed with distinction. He joined the college in his 16th year and studied logic and philosophy. He was handsome and bold. He gained mastery over English language and proved to be an eloquent orator.
He was however not interested in worldly affairs. He was drawn towards spiritualism. He made his mind known to his parents and went to see Swami Ramakrishna Paramahamsa at Dakshineswar. On the request of Swami Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Narendranath sang some devotional songs. Swami Paramahansa went into trance listening to his songs.
Later he informed Narendranath that he wad able to see god in his trance. He added that if one prayed to God in all perfection, one could see god, Narendranath became a disciple of Swami Ramakrishna Parmahamsa. Later Narendranth’s father died and Narendranath was forced to take up a teacher’s job for some time to meet his family’s needs.
Swami Ramakrishbna endowed Narendranath with all his spiritual powers and made him his heir. With this Narendranath assumed the name of Swami Bibekananda and a Sanyasi in true sense. After the demise of Swami Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Swami Vivekananda started a mutt named after his Guru, at Belur. Swami Vivekananda implored the youth to develop the spirit of adventure. He travelled all over India and reached Kanya Kumari. There he swam the ocean, reached to rock nearby and meditated there. During his travel he found poverty all over India and was moved by the sufferings of the poor. He felt that serving mankind is serving God. He felt there was need for a tremendous effort in this direction. He loved the motherland and was a great patriot.
In 1893, Parliament of the world was convened at Chicago. With the financial assistance from Maharaja of Khetri, Vivekananda went to Chicago and addressed the audience on the greatness of Hindu religion. His address began with the words “My dear Sisters and Brothers of America”. This thrilled the audience, as this greeting contained the spirit of universal brotherhood. On return, he addressed meetings at London. One young lady by name Margaret became his disciple and later became Sister Nivedita to carry on his mission.
Swami Vivekananda said that the youth of the day were moving without any aim. There was no correct spiritual guidance. He felt that religion can lead a man on the moral and righteous path. He believed and propagated that all men of the world are one. Color, caste and creed had no meaning. He felt that there is a lot to be achieved. He advised the youth to move forward. His words were: “arise, Awake and stop not till the goal is reached”. Swami Vivekananda started many institutions under the Ramakrishna Mission to carry on his message of service. He passed away that at an early age on 4th of July, 1902

 

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