Thursday, April 5, 2012

Siddharuda Swami of Hubli

[1836-1929]

Satguru Siddharudha Maharaj lived in the style of an ascetic throughout his life. He never practiced casteism and saw divinity in everything in existence as well as disagreeing with the notion that only Brahmins were entitled to liberation, firmly believing that everyone was entitled to it. Considered to be the reincarnation of Nijaguna Shivayogi, a medieval king turned saint, Siddharudha renounced his home, parents and all relatives at a very young age to go in search of his Satguru or spiritual master. He roamed around, finally arriving at Gudigante in present Andhra Pradesh somewhere near Srisailam, home of the realized soul Shri Gajadandaswami. Wholeheartedly serving Gajadandaswami, Siddharudha cleaned his ashram, washed his clothes and vessels as well as did the cooking for his Satguru and learned the Brahmavidya.

At the end of this period, his Sadguru blessed him and asked him to undergo a pilgrimage, help the needy, uplift ignorant souls and put them on the path of spiritual science, duties Siddharudha carried out with the utmost sincerity and devotion. He wandered from Kashmir to Kanyakumari delivering the souls of many devotees before finally settling down in Hubli. Here, people quickly realized his supremacy, divinity and sainthood and started to flock to him to receive his blessings. He served the people without any discrimination, having a Muslim disciple who was particularly dedicated to him. Parampoojya Shri Kalavati Devi (alias Aai meaning mother in Marathi), was his supreme disciple. Formerly known as Rukmabai Mallapur, she herself is well-known as a supreme saint, whose Samadhi is in Shri Harimandir at Angol near Belgaum. He had a very dedicated disciple called Gurunatharudha. His samadhi is just beside the samadhi of Sri Siddharudha swami in Hubli Matha. He gave sannyasa to Swami Muktananda who studied at his ashram in Hubli until Siddharudha's 1929 mahasamadhi, when he then left to study with a disciple of Siddharudha called Muppinarya Swami at his Airani Hale Matha.

He died in Hubli town, Karnataka and people believe that he was capable of performing miracles. A proverb in the Indian Kannada language runs: Siddharudhara Jolige Jagakkella holige which means that if Siddharudha begs, every one in the world receives sweet pancakes.

Early Years
Siddhappa was the youngest son of Guru Shantappa and Devi Mallamma. He was born and brought up in the town of Vanshadurga (Bidarkoti). Like his parents Siddhappa was a devotee of Shiva. From the very childhood he showed his inclination for the spiritual science and performed many miracles even before he was initiated. Once as a small child he cursed a buffalo to die for not moving and when it really fell dead he brought it back to life on his mother's pleas. He used to attend the spiritual discourse given by the family priest (Kulaguru), namely, Shri Veerabhadraswami, who visited his home daily and ask him questions. Once Shri Veerabhadraswami told them that during Pralaya, earth would dissolve in water, the Five Elements (Panchamahabhoot), heaven and all other Lokas (the places inhabited by DemiGods) too would be annihilated. Every human being would be destroyed." On listening to these words of Kulaguru, child Siddha asked him, "How would the sky be annihilated?" When he realized that answers to his questions could be obtained only from his Sadguru (spiritual master), one day he left his home in search of his Sadguru.

Initially he went to Shri Shailam where he learnt that a great spiritual master, Shri Gajadandaswami was staying at a place known as Gudigante. Young Siddha went and met Shri Gajadandaswami, who after testing him accepted as his disciple. After serving his master dutifully doing all menial jobs in the Ashrama happily and sincerely and performing his spiritual austerities (Tapas), Siddha was blessed by Gajadandaswami who named him as 'Siddharudha,' the one who as conquered the three Gunas (Sattva, Rajas and Tamas) as well as Six Doshas (faults) like, Kama, Krodha, Lobha, Moha, Mada, Matsara and asked him to first visit different pilgrimage centres and deliver the masses. 

While leaving his Sadguru's Matha, Shri Siddharudha removed the Ishtalinga, which is worn by all the Lingayathas and left it there and proceeded. Thus, he roamed around all over India and finally settled at Hubli. He underwent a great deal of sufferings and troubles at the hands of people who were unhappy about his not wearing the Ishtalinga, as well as initiating the people of all the castes and the creeds with the holy Mantra of "Om Namah Shivay," which they thought was the sole right of the Lingayaths alone. 

People realised who he was, when one day he corrected a Shastri who was giving a speech on a Vedic Rucha. The Shastri was pleased and asked Swami to conduct a seven day lecture. From then on, Swami found many followers.


He spread the philosophy of Advaita and had innumerable devotees belonging to all castes, creeds and religions. He has performed innumerable miracles for the benefit of the masses. He was supposed to be the reincarnation of the 16th century saint-philosopher, Nijaguna Shivayogi. 

He was known as Advaita-Chakravarti, the Emperor of the Advait Philosopher-Saints. Hundreds and the thousands of the devotees benefited from his religious discourses. He was a personification of non-detachment. He was the ascetic of the highest order. 

Once he left his native place, he never visited it again. On the day of Shivaratri, there used to be a great Rathyatra in his honour, wherein the devotees used to seat him in the decorated Rath (Chariot) with a gold crown on his head and pull the Rath with the ropes. Thousands of the devotees would be fed on that day in the open kitchens, which are called as Dasohas. He also got five great written works of Nijaguna Yogi published for the benefit of the masses. 

The supreme saints who were his contemporaries were Shri Madivallappa, Shri Sharief Saheb from Shishuvinhal, Nagaling Swami from Navalgund and Sivananda Swami from Gadag etc. His disciple, Smt. Rukmabai Mallapurkar, later became a Supreme saint, known as Parampoojya Shri Kalavati Aai who is famous for her teachings in Maharashtra as well as Karnataka and whose Samadhi is located at ShriHarimandir at Angol, Belgaum.

He devoted his life to the goal of spiritualism and universal brotherhood. Swami taught the importance of namasmaran. He also taught the way to practice namasmaran in day to day life.

Influence

Among his followers and disciples the names of enlightened Maharaja's of the erstwhile States (Sansthans) stand out, such as Sandur, Kolhapur, Akkalkot etc. National leaders of the Indian Independence Movement viz Lokmanya Tilak and Mahatma Gandhi sought his blessings. He was the Guru of Parampoojya Shri Kalavati Aai.









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