Monday, July 11, 2011

It was natural and defitting that the Lord chose Kaiwara as the place of birth and the center of the activities of NAREYANA YATHINDRA. For, that holy place has a very long, ancient and hoary history. It was once upon a time a powerful, highly-respected and widely-praised KAIWARA NADU(NADU means "a state" or "province"). In those days it was called a "native state"(daesheeya Samsthana"). It attracted the attention of the historically famous Ganga, Bana, Nolamba and other ruling dynasties.


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The great seer, visionary, mystic saint and celebrated poet called "NARANAPPA"(SHRI YOGI NAREYANA YATHINDRA or he is famously called as "KAIWARA THATHAIAH") was born in 1726 A.D. at Kaiwara, Chintamani taluk, Chikkaballapur District  in the state of Karnataka. His father was bangale seller by profession  and what he earned probably was just enough to keep body and soul  together. His mother was of a very religious disposition. Both the parents did exercise considerable influence over the growing boy. His ascetic habits, his depth faith in God and his longing for adhyathmic knowledge and experience were in all probability inspired by the pure and pious life of his parents.

Not much is known about the early life of SHRI NAREYANA YATHINDRA. He attended the local primary school where he learn the smatterings of Kannada, Telugu and Sanskrit languages. The normal, elementary course of lessons could not satisfy the boy. His desire was to know the nature of supreme reality.

Shri Nareyana Yathindra married at an early age as was the wont in those days. 
  Within a couple of years he lost both his parents, Kondappa and Muddamma. That meant that the sole responsibility of the family fell on his young shoulders. He took to bangle selling which was the family profession. But to one who was interested in beatific vision, bangle selling proved to be pedestrian and uninspiring. He did not have also the acumen to be a good salesman nor did he have the ability to dodge and deceive in order to make a comfortable profit out of it. As a consequence his wife who was by nature termagant, turned nagging and nasty as she could not make both ends meet. That was the beginning of the cracks in Yathindra's domestic peace and connubial felicity.

Bangle selling took the ingenuous Naranappa to many a strange place and brought him many a memorable experience. In the villages he visited he sat in a central place, usually the village chavadi, with his fragile load of bangles. Scores of woman came there to wear bangles. The God-fearing seller's behavior was impeccable. He fixed the bangles on the extended wrists of women without so much as looking at them and is vouchsafed a vision of Goddess Mahalakshmi. His eyes were on the bangles and fixing them only. He accepted money if it offered, but never demanded if. If some woman pleaded their inability to pay, he muttered, "SRI KRISHNARPANAMASTHU", he closed his eyes in pious prayer.

His piety, purity and impeccable ways earned for him the veneration of all the village folk, no doubt. But it won also the wrath of his cantankerous wife. The relationship between husband and wife soured progressively. However nothing could arrest his progress towards God-Head. He spent almost all his time (even while on duty) in Manasika pooja and Deva Nama Smarana. This way of idling his time angered his wife still more.

On one of his professional trips he went to Chittoor in Andra Pradesh. The sun was about to set when he decided to return home. The sky was heavily overcast and a storm was brewing. He quickened his pace and started even running. But it was all in vain. There was a cloud burst and the poor and famished bangle seller was cought in the thick of storm. Defending thunder, blinding lightening and lashing rain left him completely helpless and dazed in the Mogili Venkatagiri valley. Drenched like a cat and shivering with cold the benighted bangle seller began to wonder whether he would ever be able to escape the fury of nature. As was his wont in such trying situations he closed his eyes in reverent prayer and surrendered himself to the will of the Almighty. A little while later when he opened his eyes he discovered that the storm had abated; and in the distance he be held a faint light of hope. The light seemed to be beckoning him. Thither he dragged his weary steps. When he reached the spot he was beside himself with wonder to discover a hermitage, inside which sat an old Rishi in meditation in the lotus-posture called "SHRI PARADESHA SWAMIJI". Naranappa prostrated himself before the Rishi and begged for his blessings. There was a benevolent smile on the lips of the Rishi as he opened his bright and beautiful eyes. He divined the thoughts and feelings of the supplicant. He blessed Naranappa and gave him the "ASTAKSHAREE UPADESHA". The benighted traveller was perfectly satisfied. However with tear-leaven eyes he prayerfully questioned Shri Paradesha Swamiji when the Maha Manthra would yield siddhi. The Thrilokalajnani told Narayanappa that when a pebble popped into his mouth transformed itself int a sugar candy the mantra siddhi would be reached.

The blessed bangle-seller once again prostrated himself before the Rishi in respectful veneration. When he got up the day had dawned, the storm had completely ceased. But neither the hermitage nor the hermit was anywhere to be seen. The young man was seized with wonder. He wended his way home contemplating the mysterious experience he had. After this return home he spent most of his time in Chinthana & Dhyana. He cultivated Vairagya and desired to be out of whirl-pool of Samsara(family). Bangale-selling he did occasionally, but not with zest. He became increasingly other-worldly. His indifference towards domestic responsibilities incensed his wife. She started hurling insults at him day in day out nagging him endlessly(vide verse-156). The soft-spoken, sage like Naranappa who had already grown other-worldly was completely disgusted with life and men as he saw around him. He did not know how best he could break the bars if the cage of Samsara.

Luckily for him his unsympathetic wife provided the much needed opportunity. One night when he returned home empty handed after a long bangle selling beat his long tongued wife greeted him with a shower of abuses. Without giving him a chance either or to recover the breath, she turned him out mercilessly shouting at him that he was more fit to be a Sanyasi than a Samsari.

The dark night and the "dark" words of his Un-understanding wife showed him the life which he had been hungering for. Having been turned out his doors he decided to turn his back on life altogether. He was reminded of the "Astaksharee Manthropadesha of  Paradesha Swamiji". The light of hope brightened his face even that moment of dark misfortune.

He walked up the near-by Hillock and while resting on a boulder near the Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swami cave a bright-faced(Amara Narayana Swami himself) cow-herd ringing advice - "Know Thyself Truly Thou Art God" - decided for Naranappa the future course of action. 

By day-break he repaired into the Narasimha Swami cave(so called because a stone image of that deity is inside the cave even now) popped a pebbel into his mouth and sat in Tapas repeating fervently the Ashtaksharee Mantrhra. For full three years (1776-1779) he performed the rigorous Tapas. 

  His yoga training and yogic mind stood him in great stead. At the end of those three years the pebble in the mouth had turned into a sugar candy. Interpreted symbolically, it means that as long as man chooses to be engulfed in worldly infatuations he is in no way better than a stone. But the moment he conquers moha and tears asunder maya, he grows divine (like a rough stone carved into a deity) and the moment he discovers atma tatwa he becomes sweet as well. Naranappa became Nareyana Yathindra. With that the second stage of his eventful life was reached.

His radiant face, sweet smile and kind words attracted many a cowherd as the Yathindra stood as the mouth of the cave. He distributed pebbles among them saying that they were sugar candy.

When the boys pipped the pebbles into their mouth they were amazed to discover that they were sugar candy indeed! The news spread pretty quick that Nareyana Yathindra could perform miracles. Many of his old acquaintances ans some of hos sworn enemies at Kaiwara went to the cave on the hillock either to call the bluff or to greet him with sneer or to scoff at him roundly. But those who came to scoff remained to pray. 

The magnetism and the radiance of the Yathindra coupled with his newly-endowed spiritual wisdom were such that the erstwhile cynical disbelievers became his ardent admires and devoted disciples. The sage was invited back to Kaiwara where a modest hermitage was put up for him to pursue his tapas and preach viveka and jnana to the people. The enlightened Yathindra thus made Kaiwara a centre of the highest learning and holy pilgrimage even in Kaliyuga. In Krithayuga Devendra himself made the place such a sacred centre that it came to be called Kaiwara (a place where devethas offered prayers). In Thraetha Yuga Sri Ramachandra (called Aranya Ramaswami here) with Seetha and Lakshmana rested here on his way to Kishkinda and worshiped Amara Narayana Swami installed, according to sthala Purana, by Devendra. In Dwapara Yuga the mighty Pandava, Bheema, slew Bakasura here and installed a Bheemalinga. Thus the place which had been famous and important in the three earlier Yugas waited, as it were, for Nareyana Yathindra to re-establish its illustrious name in Kali Yuga as well.

With his setting down in Kaiwara, on the outskirts of the village, near the Amara Nararayana Swami Temple, the venerable sage's next significant stage in life was reached. He spent his time either in raising the wretched, enlightening the ignorant, alleviating the sorrow and suffering of the poor (which were termed miracles) or in writing his famous works. 

His work and compassion extended even to dumb animals, tender plants and birds of the air. He was loved by one and all and seekers of wisdom and truth came from far and near to have their doubts resolved or to learn at length the philosophy of adwaitha at his feet.

He lived for the full span of 110 years. He announced in 1836 that he would give up his body at midnight on third day of (Thriteeya) of the bright fortnight (Shuddha) of the month of Jyestha. In this context his poem on how a Yogi can give up his body at his will - Iccha Marana (Self Death) acquires additional significance.

On the day he had chosen for his Maha Samadhi he went about his usual task as if it was like any other normal day. In the evening he sat in deep penance. As the Maha Yogi started the prescribed process for iccha marana a bright circle of radiant light-almost like an aura or halo - formed itself around him, and as the hours rolled by the light became brighter and brighter. Exactly at midnight, the hour that he had chosen for his maha samadhi, the maha yogi merged in Para Brahman. the sorrowing disciples, hundreds of whom had gathered round at that mighty moment, burst into fits of uncontrollable tears. The next day when the body was being carried round the village in procession, it is reported that the beads of the perspiration fell to the ground drop by drop. He lies buried in the place that he had chosen to renounce his body. It was a SAJEEVA SAMADHI (We can see the SAJEEVA SAMADHI EVEN KNOW) and hundreds of people report that they 'SEE" him even know, and some clearly hear his unmistakable voice. Some yogis who visit the Samadhi say that the sacred and resonant sound of OM emanates from down below every day. He who helped thousands to tread, the path of Jnana leading to Moksha while alive, continues even after death to alleviate the suffering of many. His celebrated works are for those who seek enlightenment.

Temple of Shri Yogi Nareyana Yathindra in Kaiwara