Saints and Gurus

170 Year Old Hanuman Das Baba: A Living Saint of Vrindavan


Baba

The following photos are of Hanuman Das Baba of Vrindavan, who may be one of the oldest living saints on earth. Once I asked this Baba how old he was. He Replied he could not remember his age, but recalled that he was 12 years old when Jhansi Rani fought the British. You can deduce his age from that. Jhansi Rani fought the British in 1857, so he would be around 170 years old.

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Poondi Swamigal – The Siddha of South India


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[Note: please see rare videos of Poondi Mahan at the bottom of this article.]

It was the fag end of 1969. On my way from Tiruvannamalai to Vellore, I stopped at Polur to have darshan at the samadhi of Saint Vitthoba. We met Duraiswami Swamigal at the mutt who introduced me to a Mr. R. Pargunam. The latter’s father had been a contemporary and devotee of Vitthoba and had had a close association with the saint. Pargunam narrated certain incidents he had heard from his father about Vitthoba’s life.

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A Life of Devotion (Biography of Sri Gour Govinda Swami)


His Divine Grace Om Vishnupada Sri Srimad Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja made his appearance on September 2nd 1929, in the village of Jagannatha-pura, not far from Jagannatha-puri Dhama, Orissa, India. Sri Braja-bandhu, as His Divine Grace was then known, grew up in the village of Gadai-giri, where he practiced devotional service to Krishna from his early childhood. His grandfather was a paramahamsa, whose only business was to chant Hare Krishna and cry before the Deity of Krishna, known locally as Gopal Jiu. He taught Braja-bandhu how to count by chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra on his fingers.

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Sri Aurobindo: A Life Sketch


Sri Aurobindo was born in Calcutta on August 15, 1872. In 1879, at the age of seven, he was taken with his two elder brothers to England for education and lived there for fourteen years. Brought up at first in an English family at Manchester, he joined St. Paul’s School in London in 1884 and in 1890 went from it with a senior classical scholarship to King’s College, Cambridge, where he studied for two years. In 1890 he passed also the open competition for the Indian Civil Service, but at the end of two years of probation failed to present himself at the riding examination and was disqualified for the Service. At this time the Gaekwar of Baroda was in London. Aurobindo saw him, obtained an appointment in the Baroda Service and left England in January, 1893.

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Tat Wale Baba – Rishi of the Himalayas


According to Vedic scripture, the mere sight of a yogi saint is sufficient to transform an individual’s life from the pursuit of mundane pleasures to the pursuit of wisdom and god-realization. My personal experience bears truth to this statement. I was profoundly influenced by the sight of Sri Tat Wale Baba, and my brief two hours’ encounter with him. Sri Tat Wale Baba was the living embodiment of the Vedas. He did not have to speak or preach. He exhibited those qualities about which other yogis only preach. His presence radiated a divine essence that, of itself, communicated the goal of life to all who had the honor to come within his aura.

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In Search of Trailanga Swami of Benares


Trailanga [also called Tailanga] Swami is spoken of with reverence, awe and almost with fear in the city of Benaras. As we ask for directions to his temple, the people we speak to display all three emotions. Who was Trailanga Swami? Was he really superhuman or an incarnation of Lord Vishwanath (Shiva) as they claim? The sceptic in us perks up for the first time.

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The Mahimandala Gita of Tantric Saint Arakkhita Das


Arakkhita Das (Arakshita) occupies a unique place in Orissa”s rich tradition of saint-poets. He was born into the ruling family of the big zamindari (estates) of Badakhemundi in Ganjam district of coastal Orissa towards the end of the 18th century. Various sources place his year of birth between 1780 and 1788, more likely towards the later date. He grew up in tumultuous times, when the British were finally gaining ascendancy in Orissa; and perhaps his renunciation from his privileged context took place at about the same time as the British conquest of Orissa in 1803. But he seems to have left home and taken formal sanyas (permanent renunciation of worldly life and the status of a householder) after the death of his father in a battle with the British, and his uncle”s subsequent ascent to the throne. He wandered around coastal Orissa for some time before settling on the Olasuni hill in Kendrapada district; he never left it again.

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The Life of Sri Madhvacarya


“Sripada Madhvacarya took his birth at Udupi, which is situated in the South Kanarada district of South India, just west of Sahyadri. This is the chief city of the South Kanarada province and is near the city of Mangalore, which is situated to the south of Udupi. In the city of Udupi is a place called Pajaka-ksetra, where Madhvacarya took his birth in a Sivalli-brahmana dynasty as the son of Madhyageha Bhatta, in the year 1040 Sakabda (A.D. 1119). According to some, he was born in the year 1160 Sakabda (A.D. 1239).

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Siddhas of South India: Sadhu Chidambara Swamigal


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Recently I visited the samadhi temple of Sadhu Chidambaram Swami, who is also known as “Valla Naattaar”. A samadhi is the location where the physical body of a saint or siddha is burried. Such locations are spiritually very powerful, as the saint continues to interact with devotees through his samadhi. I would like to narrate a few stories of this little known saint of South India, who entered samadhi in recent times.

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