Life Sketch of Sri Vallimalai Tiruppugazh Swamigal
After doing Skanda Shashti celebrations and giving wonderful discourses from 10.11.1950 to 15.11.1950 at Thambu Chetty Street, (where he was found even dancing as a result of over enthusiasm and joy) he fell ill. He had high blood-pressure and doctors diagnosed his case as cerebral hemorrhage. He was admitted to the General Hospital only at 11.40 a.m. on 19.11.1950. He did not stay there even for three full days in spite of the best medical aid. On Wednesday, 22.11.1950 at 7.30 a.m., devotees who were close by found that a jyoti of the size of a copper coin passed from his forehead. At 8.15 a.m. his physical body breathed its last. Vikkuruthi kārttikaiyil veeRucukal pakka puthan okka varum acvinitra yothasiyiR-pukkanare ettum Tiruppukazh sol enkal cacci Thānanthar kāttarulun kanthar kazhul.
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti
What a wonder! Obviously he did not choose to shake his mortal coils in anybody’s house. He preferred to die in a public hospital. Another significance that cannot be overlooked in this connection was, that it was here in this hospital near a tree, our Swami performed puja (Pongi Puja) a year back. His body was then removed to the mortuary and preserved in ice until 5 p.m. when his mortal remains were placed in a van. Just at this moment a missionary (reverend father) belonging to some mission in Madura accidentally happened to be there, with a camera and took the last snap of his body. This coincidence was suggestive of his conviction that he was above any caste, creed or colour prejudices.
The van which carried his body left the hospital at 5 p.m. and reached Vallimalai (a distance of about 85 miles at about 9 pm. News went round rapidly and people from all the villages round about flocked to have a last darsan of his body. Throughout the night there was Tiruppugazh bhajana round his body. The next morning at 5:30 am his body was taken to his own Ashramam at the top of the hill and his sacred remains interred in Mahā Samādhi within the cave at 1 p.m. on 23.11.1950, after performing from 12 noon several abhishekams to his body including Ganges water. Hundreds of devotees participated in the celebrations. The attachment which his devotees had to our Swami is illimitable. Devotees from Madras, Bangalore and other places flocked to Vallimalai and performed Mandalābhishekam for His Mahā Samādhi.
Several of his devotees had the benefit of having their past rectified, pāpa vimosanam, their present bettered and future impending calamities averted. With the remarkable development of psychic powers, e.g., knowing the past, present, and future in places near as well as remote, and in the external world also as in the minds of persons, our Swamiji made people see visions in the dreams of his devotees and even in their waking state. His touch and blessings cured diseases in several cases.
Asceticism, tapas and siddhis, however admirable in their way, are still considered rather superficial, and if our saint’s attainments went no further, many would not care for him and his biography. But closer examination of his life would lead to the irresistible conviction that beyond all these lay the precious ore of his inner life, the sublime reaches of God-realisation and self-realisation that constitute his real greatness. He often expounded the mahā vakyas with wondrous richness in detail and fullness of illustration which exhibited the clear grasp he had of the essential truths of Vedanta. Tiruppugazh was generally believed to be only auxiliary verses of secondary importance, commonly called thukkadā sung at random in lighter vein, at the conclusion of musical or other entertainments. It was our Swami who was instrumental in eradicating this misconception, and in bringing home to the masses that Tiruppugazh is nothing but mahā mantras appearing in the Upanishads of yore. He would explain the identity of every syllable in exact similarity of order and rhyme of the various mantras Panchākshara, Sadākshara, Dwadasākshara, Sodasākshari, etc., from the relevant stanzas of Tiruppugazh, wherefrom he would also expound Madhu , Madhiyam, Sri Vidyā and precious culture of ancient sages of vedic period. In short he used to inculcate all that is highest and sublime in the fourfold paths (karma, bhakti, yoga and jnāna) only from Tiruppugazh and copiously illustrate that Arunagirinathar has brought out all the Sapta Koti Mahā Mantras in this epic. Verily this could be seen only by a seer.
He was a father, a friend, a guru and a savior, all in one. He was doubtless an awakener of many and inspirer of multitudes. The everlasting service which he has done to the cause of Tiruppugazh is significant; and it is fervently hoped that his devotees will continue to carry his mission and banner aloft.
A Tiruppugazh Kubera, a sage, a saint, a siddha, a mahā yogi, a mahā jnāni. He is gone but yet he lives; and lives in the minds of all Tiruppugazh devotees and guides them in the path of virtue and devotion to the Lord.
He is gone Who seem’d so great
Om Tat Sat