Tucked away in a corner in the busy streets of Madurai, is the jeeva samadhi of saint Kulantai ananda swamigal. It is located near V.V complex, Kalavasal (Just adjacent to the Signal), Madurai. This saint is considered to be a reincarnation of the famous Trilanga Swami of Kasi. He is said to have born in 1627 and attained Maha Samadhi in the year 1932.
This small yet powerful shrine has the Samadhi of the saint with a Shiva Linga on top. A Sri chakra Meru has also been installed nearby, to which Puja was performed by the saint himself. There are innumerable tales of the greatness of this saint, who was brought up inside the Meenakshi temple itself. It is surprising that most of the Madurai devotees are themselves are not aware of this place.
This samadhi was sanctified by none other than Sadguru Seshadri Swamigal of Tiruvannamalai. People who are interested in meditation must visit this shrine which radiates calmness and peace. There is a version that this swami is same as Sri Trilinga Swami of Kashi. Some of his life story is depicted in the Tamil movie “Sri Kanchi Kamakshi”. He also established the Jayaveera Anjaneya temple at Madurai.
He is considered as the son of Goddess Meenakshi. His parents(Sri AnnaSwami and Smt. TripuraSundari, who lived in Samayanallur near Madurai) had prayed to Goddess Meenakshi of Madurai to bless them with a child. The Goddess blessed them with twins. She instructed them in a dream that the eldest child,which the divine marks on his body, had to offered in her temple. As per the wishes of the Goddess with much reluctance, the child was left in the temple.
The next day the parents wondered who would feed the child and visited the temple. They were surprised to see the child drinking milk when on one was nearby. The Goddess then instructed them that she would take full care of the child. From that day on, the child remained in the temple eating the food offered to the goddess.
It was the time of king Tirumala Nayaka at Madurai. One of his ministers visited the temple and was surprised to see this child consuming the offerings to the goddess. The priests informed him that he was considered as the son of the goddess. He replied saying that if he was indeed the son of the Goddess then he should be able to walk on the water of the holy tank. The kid who was 5 years at that time, laughingly went and walked on the Pottramarai temple tank casually. The minister then apologized.He then informed the king Tirumala Nayaka who came to visit the Swami and seek his blessings. After a few years, the bodily parents of the Swami passed away. Swamiji moved away to Kashi.
This incident needs a special mention. The mother of Swamigal was known by the name of Tripurasundari and both her parents were initiated into Sri Vidya worship. His mother had showered a lot of affection on all those who lived nearby. There was another child from a different family who grew up along by name Chokkalingam. When the mother died, Chokkalingam was not in the town and he came just after cremating the body. When the Chokkalingam felt very bad, Swami instructed that the mother had left some items for hin. When he went there and saw in the cremation ground – a portion of the dress and some jewels were left unburnt. He took them and kept it with him.
The mother again came in his dream and asked him to keep those items and do puja every year by him and his family descendants. This tradition is still being carried forward for more than 350 years. There is a huge box which contains the items and it is taken out only once a year. The descendants of the family offer their puja and keep it back. There is also a small temple located in the place where the mother’s items are placed.
Swamiji then moved to Kashi at the age of 16 and became the must famed Trilinga Swami. He remained in Nirvikalpa Samadhi and stayed at Banaras for 150 years. He then travelled to Mount Kaliash, Badrinath, Kedarnath,Nepal and various other himalayan regions. He was worshipped by the king of Nepal. Hence, he is called as “Raja Poojitha”.
Then he came south to Sittalangudi near Madurai.He attained Samadhi there and it is said he took up another body. His Samadhi temple is still there at Sittalangudi and Pujas are being performed.
In Tenkashi town in Tirunelveli district, he took the name of Kadir Velappar. His Mahasamadhi can be still seen in Kanni maramman koil street.
Then he went back to Kashi, where he was instrumental in restoring the Kashi Viswanath and Bhairav temples. He also met the great saint Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. In the year 1887, he instructed this disciples to put him in a big wooden box and drop it in the Ganga river. After this incident, he was seen again in south India.In 1919, he settled down in Batalagundu in a house which later became a temple. Regular pujas are being conducted along with the Maha meru to which Swamiji had performed puja.
There are multiple versions of the story here. Some say, Swami reincarnated and some say he remained the same. Lot of research and discussions are going on this topic and this article will not get into any of it. Today the 7th or 8th generation of the Swami are still there is Batalagundu and it is their strong claim that the Trilinga Swami and Kulandai Ananda are one and the same.
ZThere are numerous books written on Trilinga Swami by his disciples and Historians. Swami Paramahamsa Yogananda mentions about this saint in his famous book “Autobiography of a Yogi”. There are also government records of the miracles performed by Trilinga Swami in Kashi.
One of the disciples of Swamiji who lived in human form till very recently was Mayamma of Kanyakumari. Her actual name was “Mayamayi”. Even today, several of the older generation of the town of Kanyakumari remember her miracles. Several of my friends and relatives was seen her strange ways. Sri M (Mumtaz Ali) , the author of “Apprenticed to a Himalayan Master” mentions about meeting Mayamma and getting her blessings. She used to always sit near the sea in kanyakumari accompanied by a huge number of dogs. She used to go into the sea and come back after a long time. She would never go to any house or shop. But on very few occasions she entered any shop, the shop would see a hug business that day. Sri Gnananda Swamigal of Tapovanam has mentioned that she was a great yogi and more than 200 years old.
Her mahasamadhi is located in Salem in Salem-Yercaud road.