Valli Malai, Tamil Nadu, home of Pongi Amman, a.k.a Valli Amman

Life Sketch of Sri Vallimalai Tiruppugazh Swamigal

known as Swami Satchidānanda and as Tiruppugazh Adiyar Tiruvadi Chenniar

Vallimalai Satchidananda Swamigal
Sri Vallimalai Tiruppugazh Swamigal

Part One: Early Life

The life of every great soul is an eloquent reminder of the essential unfailing beauty and divinity of human life. This fact is abundantly evident by a study of the life of Sri Vallimalai Tiruppugazh Swamigal -- our Swami Satchidananda.

Our Swami’s parents came from a highly religious Brahmin family. They were well-versed in Vedas, mantras and sastras. They lived in a small village, Poonachi near Bhavani in Coimbatore District. Swamiji’s great grand­father, Sri Ganapati Swamigal, had not only a thorough mastery of Vedas and sastras but also was reputed to be a highly evolved soul. This saint went to Benares and the Himalayas in his sixtieth year, never to return. It is believed that he is a jivan-mukta, still giving darshan to people. This fact was suggestively corroborated by Saint Sri Seshadri at a very distant later date when his grandson -- our Swami -- approached him. Coming from this family, our Swami’s father, Chidambara Josiar, was not only an eloquent exponent of sastras and Vedas, but was also well-versed in astrology, mantrikam and medicine. Besides, he was the karnam of the village. He had but one want in life and that was a child. His prayers were many to gods to bless him with a child, but in vain. At last, as a result of visiting Tiruchengode for twelve amāvāsyas consecutively, our Swami was born on 25.11.1870 (Kārttikai Mulam). Great was the delight of the family on beholding this veritable cherub with glorious light shining in its face. The baby (later our Swami) was named as “Ardanari”, the name of the Lord of Tiruchengode.

Our Swami lost his father in his early age of five and was thus denied the benefit of the hereditary culture of Vedas and other sciences which his father treasured, obviously for the fact that the Lord wished to bestow on him on a suitable later date the entire culture of the universe, a culture not taught.

Thus during his boyhood our Swami had absolutely no inclination to go to school or to study, or to learn the “three R’s” and was completely ignorant of even the alphabets till his fortieth year. But he was highly intelligent, shrewd; he had abundant tact, and had precocious abilities and skill in mastering difficult situations; e.g., when he was in his teens a villager was bitten by a venomous snake; our Swami removed his body to the street, brought some fishes, etc., and placed them all over and around his body as a result of which garudans in large numbers flocked over him and their contact brought the erstwhile almost lost body back to life. By a high degree of ingenuity he managed to drive away evil spirits and cured chronic complaints. He was an athlete, well-versed in wrestling, fencing, etc., and was able to beat all his opponents with his strength and ability. He had two wives, and his domestic life was peaceful and happy. He was a head cook in Mysore durbar and was highly appreciated by the Maharaja of Mysore.