The answers of Agastya Muni to the generic questions posted by devotees can be found here.
The readers are requested to send their spiritual experiences related to the Siddhas to GnanaBoomi at Gmail dot com. Though the experiences are unique and personal to them, it can shower some light or guidance to those who read them. Thanks!
[From the 195th & 196th episodes of the Tamil series]
The Siddhas live in solitude and on hilltops. Hence we visit the mountains to have their darshan. But is this the only way? Can’t we have their darshan in our own house, in our own city after pulling them through our devotion? Such a genuine question rises naturally. Let us see what Agastya says about a Siddha.
A small town near Chennai. It is apt to call it a village without any facilities. The people there were villagers, doesn’t appear to have literacy or wealth. Sivadasan was born in that town. He was rearing the cattle and sheep in the nearby farms. Due to poverty, the seven-year-old Sivadasa did not get adequate food.
The only food he has seen is the rice cooked the previous day (which is usually soaked in the water the previous night – the water is consumed by many villagers in empty stomach, supposed to be rich in nutrition when soaked with rice cultivated without any pesticide or contamination). He did not have proper clothes to wear. His hair must have seen oil many years back. He wore a kaubeenam in his loin and was rearing the cattle.
One afternoon! An aluminium vessel that carried Sivadasan’s food was kept under a tree. He came to have his lunch, he slipped and the force toppled the vessel. All the food fell in the muddy ground. Alas, he could get a little food only around 9 in the night. He was already very hungry. He even thought of eating the food which fell in the ground at least from the surface which didn’t touch the soil, but somehow he didn’t feel like doing so.
The hunger transformed to wailing. He cried aloud to his heart’s content which echoed in that dry land. Then it happened…
“Crying for food right? Here, there’s all the food you wanted. Have as much as you want.” – said an aged Sannyasin handing over a big bundle to him. Sivadasan was so hungry that he swallowed the food, without even thinking who that person was, why he is offering it. He just could’nt wait.
Only after finishing the food did he care to look around, but that person was nowhere to be seen. He thought, “He must have been a traveller who had some mercy on my situation.” He could not think anything beyond.
The next day he went to the same dry land with his cattle. His mother was down with fever and so could not prepare any food for him. He somehow thought that the same Sannyasin will feed him today too and he waited.
The same person came to Sivadasan’s place in the afternoon but he did not have any bundle, which disappointed Sivadasan. He saw that in his face, smiled at him and tapped his face slightly.
“We’re hungry and he hasn’t brought any food. On top of that, what’s the use of smiling?” – he thought and turned his face away
“O Sivadasa! Are you angry at me?” – the Sannyasin asked.
He nodded, just like his cattle does.
“Why? Is’nt it because I did not bring you food like yesterday?” – he asked like an innocent child.
He nodded heavily.
“Ok, don’t get angry. You just want food right?” – he waved his hands here and there. Did some Japa. He kept the bowl he had in the ground. He picked up a couple of dry leaves. Then he sat down and began to meditate. His mouth was murmering something. Sivadasan was curious on these and he forgot his hunger momentarily. He sat in front of the Sannyasin.
He opened his eyes after a while to see Sivadasan sitting in front.
“Wait for a minute. You will get a feast.”
Sivadasan nodded his head, but he seldom had faith in that Sannyasin who now sprinkled a drop of water on the dry leaves. The dry leaves fired up! He placed the bowl he had kept on that fire and prayed something. The bowl transformed in to a huge cooking clay utensil. It appeared as if someone poured rice and water in to that pot. It was brought down in the tenth minute.
The Sannyasin raised his hands again, another vessel appeared followed by green lush vegetables. He placed the vessel with vegetables in the fire. It cooked the vegetables. Within half an hour’s time, delicious food was ready. He brought a banana leaf placing it before Sivadasan saying, “Here, everything is for you. Have as much as you want.” and disappeared!
Sivadasan has never tasted such a food in his life time. He had heard that such a feast is fed in marriage halls but no one has ever invited him for a wedding, so he left that desire. But now, under the shade of a tree, the villagers saw Sivadasan having a feast in the afternoon. Within an hour, the news spread where many of the villagers came there wondering how did he get such a food, is this an act of a ghost or so. When he said that he had similar food the day before, they were surprised. They wanted to taste the food themselves and in that hurry, they even grabbed the food from Sivadasan by force.
But every time when they grabbed the food by force, delicious food kept appearing from Sivadasan’s hands. The villagers were so surprised and they began to look at Sivadasan as some incarnation. Even he wasn’t sure as to why such things are happening and how! Who was that Sannyasin, why should he hand over food to me, he didn’t know. When asked, he just said that a Sannyasin came and he gave him the food. People began to disperse with a few of them staying back with Sivadasan, thinking of finishing their dinner too. The Sannyasin did not return. Sivadasan began to walk towards his house.
When he returned in the morning, there were hundreds of people waiting to taste that delicious food already, even people from the nearby villages. He was thrilled. He waited with the others for the afternoon and for the mysterious Sannyasin. The time passed but he didn’t come. The people got frustrated as they were hungry right from the morning. Out of their blind-folded frustration, they even began to beat Sivadasan who fell down unconscious eventually. They all ran away thinking that he had died. Later on, the Sannyasin came to him.
He got him up, took him along as though in a magical spell, embracing him. His parents came to the dry land screaming and crying that their son is no more. There they didn’t find Sivadasan. They began to search for him, and sat down in the local temple. The priest came in the evening assuring them all that Lord Vaideeshwara will cure the child and took them in to the temple.
When he opened the sanctum sactorum of the Vaideeshwara temple, there came from inside Sivadasan, looking healthy and glowing, wearing a turban, saffron robe and with a dhandam (the stick that holy men carry), smiling. They could not identify if it was him. They were confused as to how he came here, was he dead back then, has he turned alive and so on. Then the wise men thought that it was Lord Vaideeshwara who took him here, gave him the Gnana and so he is a blessed one. They all paid their respect to Sivadasa whose eyes were glowing.
Sivadasa said, “It was indeed Vaideeshwara who fed me that day. He woke me up from unconsciousness, placed me in His sanctum sanctorum, gave Gnana, gave Siddhi, all is done by Him. This temple is going to be very famous in about 300 years. I will go around the country and will return. There are 9 different Siddhas who are in their Jeeva Samadhi state here in this temple, who can come out at any time.
This temple will be called as Siddha Temple and this place will be referred to as ‘Siddhar Kadu (jungle).” He walked out and no body could see him thereafter.
A few “highly intellectuals” shouted that the sanctity of the temple is disturbed because Sivadasa was actually dead, who went inside, and somehow came out alive. It must have been Sivadasan’s ghost that they all saw, anyhow, the temple’s sanity is now compromised. The villagers were confused. That night, the temple bell began to sound by itself vigorously which made the villagers run towards the temple with all sorts of weapons they could find.
What they witnessed was an abisheka being performed to Vaideeshwara with milk, rosewater in an excellent manner. The fragrance of the flowers mesmerised everyone. The people were carried away by what they saw, they worshipped the Lord when that voice was heard:
“Sivadasan had attained the Siddhi in his previous birth itself, who served this Vaideeshwara. He wanted to serve the Lord in this birth as well. He is going to perform many a miracle and through him, this Siddhar Temple is going to become famous. Though he is gone north, he will come here in the form of a bird to shower flowers on the Lord. He may appear as a crow and taste the ghee in the lamp which is lit.
He will solve the genuine queries of people through his Siddhis. We wanted to show you all about his true nature and so we brought you all here, we the four Siddhas who live here.” – said that voice.
The villagers believed what they heard, a few miracles began to happen as well. Two owls appear during Pradosha time during the Lord’s procession and they fly away when Swamy is taken inside again. They say that it happens to this date. During Thiruvadhirai star, a crow comes and sits near the ghee lamp lit. Without worrying about the fire, it eats the ghee lit there, doesn’t disturb the lamp and flies away. The birds that settle down in the evening and this crow, they say it is Sivadasa Siddha.
To prevent anyone entering the temple in the midnight, they say that the Siddhas circumambulate the temple with Veda-Kosha in turn. There seems to be a snake for hundreds of years on the left side of the temple garden (Nandavana) and doesn’t harm anyone, they say it is a Siddha too.
They say that even to this date, if someone prays to the Siddha-pillars, Sivadasa Siddha himself will point the solution through someone, somehow. This is a repetitive incident that strengthens the presence of divinity in this Kali Yuga through the incidents happening there.
Now where is this holy place is the question that arises naturally. Here it is:
Sri Thatheeswarar Temple, (Chithukadu), South Mada Street, 1/144, Thirumanam Village, Via Pattabhiram, Vayalanallur Post, Chennai – 600072.
8.00 AM to 10.30 AM
5.30 PM to 6.30 PM
Contact: Shri Kumaran Sivachariyar (+91 94447 93942)
Those who can, please visit this temple and get the Siddha’s blessings!
Request to the readers:
If you happen to visit this temple or any other places that we write about, please send us the pictures of the pillars and any details you may get. Thank you!
Featured image courtesy and for a wonderful write up on this temple – http://aalayamkanden.blogspot.com.au/2011/11/sithukadu-holy-land-of-siddhars.html
~ to be continued…!