A seven feet tall physical body that went underground in a flood and was found alive in the same state, days later. The residing spirit is Poondi Swami.
It’s some time in August 2021 and we’re riding on our scooter to a village called Kalasapakkam. Sarasvati read about Poondi Swami in Mountain Path (Ramana Ashram’s bi-monthly journal). The magazine spoke about Poondi Swami and the author highly recommended visiting his samadhi in village Kalasapakkam by the river Seyyar (it was completely dry when we went).
Apart from Mountain Path, we read a bit about the great swami online and made a beautiful picture of this saint in our minds. The story goes- There was a man found roaming around a village in rural Tamil Nadu. The time was perhaps around 1935 and this man was supremely well built, around 7 feet tall and arms so long that they’d reach his knees while standing up. A curious thing about the man was that when he’d walk, he’d walk. For months together. When he’d sit, he’d sit. When he’d eat, he’d just keep eating.
One day, when he was sitting on the banks of the river Seyyar, a flash flood occurred and the villagers believed that the saint must have been swept away! Once the waters ebbed, maybe a few days or a few hours later, people went looking for this apparently ‘mad man’ and found him sitting in the same position, neck deep in mud. They dug him out and he still behaved as if nothing had happened.
Another story goes that the flood was so severe that he had been buried underground in the mud! Some time later (‘time’ is a very obscure term in such matters), maybe years later, a villager was taking his cattle along the banks of the river and one of the bull’s hoof got stuck in sand and blood started oozing from the ground. The villager dug a little and found someone’s head! He called his friends and on digging further, they found the swami sitting there in samadhi! (more on samadhi in a separate post)
Both these stories are stories at the end of the day but there’s no denying the mysticism of the world. There’s certainly so much more than what the human senses perceive. Now, what happened to the swami after that? Well, the villager folk brought his body out and ‘installed’ it at a place near the bus stand where it was convenient for people to come and worship the saint.
And this is where his samadhi still is, in 2021. It’s an interesting place now, beautiful beautiful village! If you’re in Tiruvannamalai for a while, definitely visit the ashram. The energy of Poondi Swami is palpable. Supremely alive place. On the face of it, you might feel differently because it seems there are two factions among his followers at the ashram and there are two trusts. But again, this is job of us ‘followers’, right? 🙂 To maintain samsara in everything we do! We were taken by two different pundits in two different shrines and given some intructions in Tamil which I’d let you experience yourself.
The main shrine/temple is where it feels like Ramana Maharshi’s ashram. One thing you’d have to bear with me is the insane bias/love this person (I) have for Ramana Maharshi. Anyways, go to Poondi Mahan’s samadhi, spend some time and enjoy the serene views along the way. And while you’re coming back to Tiruvannamalai, ofcourse there’ll be Arunachala Mountain in full view!
Modern Mind Question: These stories are just myths and blind worship. How can an educated person believe in this?
Probable ancient wisdom answer: This is not a question of belief. In an individual’s journey, this is a question of experience. From an advaitic stand point, when one is dreaming, the story feels absolutely real. One wakes up and feels that what happened was not ‘real’. The more one meditates and contemplates, this line between ‘waking state’ and ‘dream state’ starts to blur. And both of these are just different states of being. And there is a third state- deep sleep of which we don’t register anything. ‘I’ dreams, ‘I’ wakes up and does things but this ‘I’ seems to disappear in deep sleep. Underlying all of these three states is the consciousness, god, bhrahman, whatever we choose to call. But the point here is, if one has experienced even a hint of a subtle experience beyond this body, there is no denying more dimensions of life. And in different dimensions, all such states are possible. One does not have to strive to achieve or do something special but the takeaway from stories is not to analyse the story just at the level of the brain but be with it, receive with an open mind and see what it shows. One might choose to reject it but give it some time and contemplation, things reveal themselves.
Websites dedicated to him: