Thursday, January 17, 2008

Sivanesan Swami

Sivanesan Swami is well known to all Sai devotees visiting Shirdi.He stayed in shirdi for more than 50 years serving Saibaba.On 12/02/1996 he merged into sai baba.Swamijis samadhi has been built in Shirdi,off pimplewadi road,two and half kms away from shirdi.
Parma Pujya Sree Sivanesan Swamiji was born as the third and last child of Smt. Alamelu and Shri. Muthaiah on 12th April 1927. It was the holy day of Sree Ramnavami.
It is said that the babe already had two front teeth and a ‘jata’ (small tuft of hair at the back of the head) when he was born. Astrologers foretold that he would not lead the life of householder but would become an ascetic or sanyasi.

During his childhood, he showed early signs of withdrawing from mundane world. He was aloof, quiet, calm and meditative, retreating into solitary places – often forgetting about his food, which he ate alone, as he often not present at mealtimes, to join the family. He had very fond memories of his maternal grandmother at whose home he spent some happy times; and also of his paternal uncle who had a good collection of books, which greatly interested young Sivanesan.

After the death of his mother, he left his home never to return due to his spiritual leaning. He reached Bombay.

Bombay was not to be Sivanesan Swamiji’s home for a long time. Again he wandered, spending some time in the ‘math’ of Sree Nityanand Swamiji at Vajreshwari. He deeply venerated Nityanand Swamiji and had the good fortune of being in His Divine Presence, drinking deeply of the Knowledge he imparted.

The desire to find and meet the Divinity he saw in his meditation again uprooted him. There was a Divine Call, which he could not deny. So, he moved on Tryambakeshwar, in Nasik District, became his next halting place. He grew very close to Mauni Baba there, who was not observing ‘moun’ or silence, then. After a very congenial stay, he left for Shirdi, with a great wrench for both of them. He put his feet on the sacred soil of Shirdi in 1953, around Sree Ramnavami time, to be with the Jagathguru Sainath Maharaj, the Divinity since his early years and his Master.

After reaching Shirdi, he never crossed the borders of Shirdi, except on some special occasions. In fact, in his latter years, he did not even leave the temple complex. He was hospitalized once a private clinic; and on one occasion he crossed the main road to go to the Sainath Hospital to meet a patient. There was a panic among those who beheld that scene, as they feared that he was leaving Shirdi. In the early years, his Guru came to Shirdi to tend him through a severe illness. And in his last days, he refused to be treated at Bombay for cancer, as he could not think of leaving Shirdi.

In Shirdi, at the outset, there was no place for him to lay his head, not any sustenance for him. He learnt to live with nature, eating a variety of ‘Jaswanti flowers and living on the rare cup of tea that was offered to him. His Guru had impose a rule on him, never to beg. So, he starved, rather than breaks the rule

At last, a certain Chandbhai gave him refuge in the Kanifnath Mandir near Post Office. Also, Sai Baba responded his prayer to somehow provide him with the wherewithal for one square meal daily. The few books that he had brought with him were his most precious belongings, and he keenly felt their loss if they were stolen or borrowed and not returned. He always treasured books and reading.

Once he was in Shirdi, the abode of the Divinity appearing in his meditation from an early age, he abided at His Feet. He spent his time in ‘seva’ or selfless service, wherever or whenever he could be it in the Kanifnath Mandir, or the Maruti Mandir, the Ganapati – Shani – Shankar temples, the Ashta Mahalaxmi Temple, or at the Dwarakamayi, Chavadi and Lendi Baugh. The rest of his time he spent in long and austere meditation, from which it was difficult to arouse him, even by mischievous children’s pranks. He had visions; but it was very difficult to make him speak about them. It is however known that he once saw Sai Baba and Nityanand Swamiji together at Lendi Baugh.

Shirdi Sai Baba Sansthan was under the control of the Court Receiver for some years. When the incumbent Court receiver observed the sincere and selfless services of Swamiji for some time, he entrusted some duties to him, such as lighting the evening lamps in various places. Swamiji recalled that there were thirteen in all. More particularly, Swamiji as asked to look after the Chavadi on Thursdays. (In those days the Chavadi was kept open for devotees, only on Thursdays) Of course, Dwarakamayee was also a scene of his activity and he tended the Dhuni with great love. His clothes became full of soot, but he did not care for his appearance.

It was second nature to him to serve Baba, through His devotee. As the surge of devotees increased, Swamiji fulfilled their needs and guided them so that they could take full spiritual advantage of their visit to Shirdi. He bought books in different languages and presented them to the devotees.
By setting an example himself, he taught the importance of ‘seva’ to all – especially to the sick, the lepers and the needy. He encouraged devotees to set up Sai Baba temples in their own towns and villages in India and abroad. A sine qua of Sai Baba Temples had to be ‘Akhand Deep’ and ‘Akhand Dhuni’ – perpetual light and fire.

When devotees left Shirdi, Swamiji invariably presented them with some spiritual book, or book of bhajans or photos of Baba. There were no empty hands and no empty hearts. Just a sense of fulfillment and ecstasy!

The practice of doing Akand Nama Japa of Tarak Mantra “Om Sai Sri Sai Jaya Jaya Sai”, by groups of devotees started with his benediction.

Pradakshina’ was favourite activity of his – round the Gurusthan, and round the Nanda Deep and the Dutta Mandir in the Lendi Baugh. The speed with which he did the ‘Pradakshina’ (circumambulation) was phenomenal and dizzying. He urged many devotees to follow suit, with many beneficial efforts, especially vis-a-vis their health.

He believed in Dhuni Puja, participation in Satyanarayana Puja and skillfully advised devotees about them. His teaching method was simple, through allegoric stories and parables. He strongly advocated ‘Anna-dana’ (food distribution)as a good charitable deed. He jokingly said that he was only a kindergarten teacher. Even a question posed by him was, in fact, a lesson in discrimination.

However, Swamiji never discriminated between the devotees – the rich and the poor, the educated and the illiterate, men and women, young and old were part of his fold. Nor did he think about the caste, creed or religion of the devotees. He was very humane and guided the devotees in their worldly and spiritual matters. Though those who had the privilege of being taught by him considered him as their Guru, and he was fondly and reverentially addressed as ‘Gurudev’, ‘Swamiji’ or even ‘Baba’, he always said that he was a Sai Sevak and never thought of himself as Guru. He did not generally permit his devotees to worship him or do ‘puja’ to him. Even if he allowed it for sometime, so as not to hurt the sentiments of the devotees, he put a gentle stop and advised the devotee to do whatever he/she desired, in the privacy of the home. His birthday also was not allowed to be observed – there was one exception in the year 1993, due to exceptional circumstances, when forty years of his stay in Shirdi were commemorated.

His life was simple. His clothes consisted of cotton towel wrapped round his waist (like mundu); a ‘kopri’ or Maharashrian vest, with a pocket and half sleeves; and an uparna or smaller towel wrapped round his head to cover his long hair, in an unique turban. In the cold weather, an old, grey, v-neck sweater was added, as he was always susceptible to chills and wracking coughs. All items of clothing presented to him, including expensive shawls and sweaters, dothis etc. Were distributed by him to the poor and needy. Even three days before he took Mahasamadhi, he ordered such distribution of extra blankets and bed clothes that had been brought during his short period of illness, which restricted him to his pallet. He always slept on the floor, spreading a blanket and thick bedspread on the floor; his ‘asan’ was a gunnysack, with a paper stuffed pillowcase as a bolster.

During the four and a half decades, approximately, that Swamiji spent in Shirdi, he became the best apostle of Sai Baba. His ‘seva’ to Baba and Baba’s devotees was sincere, whole-hearted and selfless. He served ‘Baba Malik’ and his life was an example to all.
He breathed his last at 0.10 hrs on Monday, 12th February 1996, at Shirdi and merged in to the Divine Light of Sai Baba. Sivanesan, the Jnanadeepam of Shirdi, was no more in body. Many believe that the swinging of the ‘kandil’ in Dwarakamayi portended this event. Swamiji’s Mahasamadhi has been built in Shirdi, off Pimpalwadi Road, two and a half kilometers away from the Sansthan’s Prasadalaya, by his devotees on the land of Meher Dhun Endowment.


ram said...

Ver good info. I will visit swami's samadi when I visit shirdi.
Thanks for sharing this.

ravi dhurandhar said...