Valli Malai, Tamil Nadu, home of Pongi Amman, a.k.a Valli Amman
Sri Vallimalai Tiruppugazh Swamigal
Sri Vallimalai Tiruppugazh Swamigal

Life Sketch of Sri Vallimalai Tiruppugazh Swamigal

Part Two: Change of Heart at Palani

In his 37th year Swami was seriously afflicted with appendicitis (gunmam) and was suffering much. Therefore resigning his job in the palace he set out on a pilgrimage in 1907 for his bodily ailment, only to find at a later date that he had not only attained a cure for this ailment but also attained all spiritual and all worldly and all ethereal possessions. He reached Palani in January 1908 and the moment he reached there, he found himself completely cured of his dire disease, which was the first steppingstone to convert the erstwhile atheist into a staunch devotee.

Swami dedicated himself completely to serve the Lord of Palani. He would bring water for abhishekam from distant sacred places, and do all services in the shrine. He lived in Palani for four years till 1912, and during this period he was doing wonderful penance. He attained Gayatri Siddhi and had a mastery of all yogas, as a result of which he attained siddhis. Psychic powers did not detract him. He diverted his aim solely on truth and liberation and discarded these superficial siddhis. Only some fruits and a little milk, and that too when available, were his diet.

Almighty’s divine gift takes peculiar and different form and shape with such chosen few in different circumstances. Thus Kalidasa, Valmiki, Kambar, Sambhandar, et al., had their share by His own inimitable ways. Similarly our Swamigal also who was destined to propagate Dharma, Artha, Kāma and Moksha through Tiruppugazh was dragged to it as though by a mighty force under following circumstances. When Swami was carrying the Lords idol in the temple procession, the temple devadasi who was preceding the deity with abhinayams was singing the Tiruppugazh ‘Vangara Marbilani’. The words “Singara Rupa Mayil Vahana” occurring in this poem melted his heart and soul and this moment was the turning point in his life for taking an abiding interest in, and dedicating himself solely to the cause of Tiruppugazh.

Being totally ignorant of the alphabets, he faced many difficulties in learning Tiruppugazh. His abundant enthusiasm was enough to obtain a mastery after learning Tamil alphabets at this rather advanced age.

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