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Visit PANDURANGA at Thennangur, Tamil Nadu

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Hare Krishna,


Jaya Panduranga.


I thought visiting Lord Panduranga at Thennangur is a great experience. I visited that place and would suugest others to visit if they can. It was built by Swami Haridas Giri.




Probably some of you have heard of Swami Haridas(Not the Mahaprabhus disciple) and his GURU Swami Gnanananda. My uncle used to tell me often that Swami Gnanananda was nearly 500 years old. I think HE lived till late 80s before attaining samadhi. Swami Gnanananda cured Swami Haridas from small pox by just touching Swami Haridas with his hand. The story goes like this. Swami Haridas was working in Crompton Greaves company as an engineer. Once he was suffering from Small Pox and Swami Haridas' father having heard of Swami Gnanananda Guru came to him and surrendered his child before him. Swami Gnanananda Guru agreed to cure his son on one condition if he would allow his son to become his desciple and allow him to take sannyasa. Swami Haridas' father agreed so that his son atleast would live. With one touch Swami Haridas was not only cured of small pox but was given Gnana diksha, which Swami Haridas realised when his Guru asked him to teach the students in the ashram. To his own surprise Swami Haridas not only taught highly spiritual knowledge to students without any previous education but also was given the gift of singing Lord Hari's name. Swami Haridas himself had told this story to a group of sudience at Madurai and my uncle was one of the people in that audience. My uncle narrated this story to me. My Uncle had also visited Swami Gnanananda Guru once at a pplace near Madurai. During that time Madurai was in drought and people visited the Guru for help. The Guru promised them that before those people reach Madurai it would start to rain. Before my uncle reached Madurai it was already raining heavily. These are some of the stories I heard about the powers of this Great Guru. Swami Gnanananda was himself lead by Lord Vittala in his childhood.


Swami Haridas was a great singer in Tamil Nadu and a great Bhakta of Sri Krishna. He loved the Lord as Ram the most(I guess). During his end of life(late 80s or early 90s) he entered Ganga and asked his desciples not to follow him. I heard that water from the river started flood and Swami Haridas disappeared from this world. He is now with his beloved Lord RAM.


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Hare Krishna,


Jaya Panduranga,


All glories to Swami Gnanananda Giri




The world in which we live today distributed, all over in villages and cities, in the deep valleys and plateaus and on the steep slopes of the hilly ranges is one in which one may not easily know, and know really, the Great and the Good near and around.


But one and all will easily know and talk or the evil amidst them. Because the evil and the vicious, in thought and life having become predominant everywhere, one is not able to see the really Good and Great or accept them as such when told. So the, so called good and great among us today is one who enjoys that position conferred on him by others with their own comparative yardstick, till he is exposed, betrayed or superseded by another cleverer than himself in carrying the evil, But then the really Good and Great continue to be still there from time to time in our midst and by and large a majority who would by some unconscious urge flock to them, do so only for some quick returns and for easy annulment of their wrongs. Only a few go to them and it is due to their evolution - with a unique and spontaneous dedication and complete surrender. They pray to the Great Souls for no quick returns but, certainly for being helped — nay blessed to be purified of their karmic accumulation and absolved. They are rewarded in due course and to the extent to which they are in the stage of their evolution.


The individual who is conscious of his evolution and who aspires and works for it gets always the help needed by him and the help comes from the Divine and through the Divinity itself in human form. They are adored and worshipped as Gurus and as God Himself. To sincere aspirants God comes in the form of Gurus. And they come from time to time, according to the requirements of the age. They may be many, but each has His unique purpose and mission. It is futile, and blasphemous even to compare and contrast them with one another. One should hold fast to one’s own chosen Guru and while following Him scrupulously should not even in thought, consider others as less important. One such Great Guru in our midst today is His Holiness Shree Gnanananda Giri Swamigal of Tapovanam in South Arcot district in Tamil Nadu.



Tapovanam meaning ‘forest of penance’ is today a place of pilgrimage; a spiritual haven and an abode of peace and bliss for thousands of devotees as well as many great saints. It is rightly situated within a couple of miles from a sacred town called ‘Tirukoilur’ meaning a town of sacred temples as it contains great temples dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu the presiding deities of which had been adored by the great Shaivite and Vaishnavite Saints known as Nayanmars and Alwars. The place has another importance as the seat of penance of the illustrious sage. Nearby flows the reputed Dakshina Pinakini winding its way through the sacred place with the range of hillocks at the background, cluster of green trees around and tapering towers to the Holy Shrines—all providing at once a picture of celestial beauty and atmosphere of transporting divinity. There is also on the bank of this river the Samadhi of Swami Ragothama worshipped by the followers of Madhwas and others as well. It is in this divinely charged atmosphere and place is the Holy Thapovanam inviting like a mother all the children of God. And there is really a Mother who is at once the Father too, in the form H.H. Gnanananda Giri Swamigal.


Compassionate Divine:


When the aspirants enter into the Holy grove of mangoes the Thapovanam—some in awe and wonder, some in reverence, some in ecstacy, they come across, either near the gate or in some other corner of the grove, taking a stroll or supervising a work that is going on or even seated somewhere under a tree or in a cot, one with a radiant smile on his face assuring at once his compassion and greeting the visitors and showing them the room to stay, the bathroom to wash and clean their external dirt, the kitchen to refresh their physical appetite. The visitors, some of them atleast may have taken Him for some guide or manager of the place. Only later, they will be thrilled to learn that He is the one whom they wanted to see and salute, the one who enables, them to clean their Internal dirt—to satisfy in full their spiritual appetite, and to give a room in His blissful heart. Then they will be fortunate to have Him, as their guide and manager in life. The simplicity of the external form, the natural solicitude of the Compassionate Divine and the uniform affection and concern for one and all who go unto Him are things that get embedded permanently in the hearts of thousands of those devotees who are able to create the same impact on others who did not go to Him yet, and make them eager and restless till they do it.


It is natural for every one to be eager to know all about such a great Guru—his age, his parentage, his early life, his growth in spiritual life, his achievements, his powers, and so on. This has become almost traditional, though there is nothing wrong about it. Only one should realise that there is no importance in these things. For, a realised soul has no birth or death in the usual sense and therefore he is ageless. As a realised soul he has no special physical, attachments and hence parentage is not of much consequence. It is perhaps crazy and impertinent to assess them by a knowledge of their spiritual growth, achievement and powers. It is the subtle desire to derive worldly benefits in most of the cases that prompts people to assess the great ones. However the story and background of the lives of great ones has one purpose in that they reveal the secret of evolution, how the soul is continuous and eternal and how it evolves In successive births. Except to remind ourselves of just the growth and evolution of soul and therefore learn how to march successfully on the path of evolution it has no meaning. In the case of H.H. Gnanananda Giri Swamiji, there is not much information on the surface of his life for us to know all about him. In fact, his age in this form is itself & beyond one's estimate. The calm serene and ever fresh face and form of the Swamiji baffles anybody’s guess about his age. But certain evidence available from valid sources outside and also from occasional and casual observations being made by the Swamiji himself would enable us to put it at over 250 to 300 years. We shall come to this later.


Life History of Swamiji


Coming to the life of the present form of the Eternal Soul of the Swamiji, He was born long long ago at Mangalapuri in the North Kanara district to a pious couple, Sri Venkoba Ganapatigal and Smt. Sakkubai who were childless for a long time. He was named as Subramanya in his Poorvasrama, He was duly initiated into Gayatri while he was seven. He was not much, interested in his school education. What should the Loka Guru that He was to be, learn at school? He was always indifferent to external things and was deeply absorbed in contemplation of his self. This went on till his twelfth year when suddenly one night, the boy Subramanya saw a divine light (Jyoti) before Him. Desirous of touching it, He went towards It and it was receding as He was following it. At daybreak it disappeared. Only to appear again in the nights that followed. Thus following the Jyothi Subramanya reached at as last Pandharpur. Leading the boy to the Sanctum Sanctorum of Vittal inside. the Shrine, the Jyoti vanished. The boy had, a hearty darshan of Lord Panduranga and-Rukmayi. When the night came, the boy who was hungry fell asleep and in the middle of night. Lord VittaI woke up the boy Subramanya, fed Him and blessed Him. As usual in the night, the Jyoti appeared again and led Him to a place nearby where a Great saint was camping then. He was H. H. Shri Sivarathangiri Swamiji, Jagadguru Sankaracharya of Jyotir Math in Kashmir. This Peetha of Jyoti Math in Kashmir is one of the Peethas established by Shri Adi Shankara Bhagavad ., and comes under the lineage of Shri Thotakacharya one of the four chief disciples of Shri Adi Shankara.


Jagadguru Sri Sivaratnagiri Swamiji could gauge the spiritual depth of the boy Subramanya before Him and immediately accepted him as His Priya-Shisya. The earthly parents of boy Suhramanya in their search for their beloved child came at last to Pandharpur where they saw Him under the affectionate care of the Jagadguru. They were advised properly in the matter and they could understand the secret of the advent of Subramanya. They went back after having been fully convinced about it. For over 18 years, the blessed Subramanya underwent his probation under the Jagadguru. He was Initiated into the esoteric knowledge of Advaita and when the time came for the Siddhi (Eternal rest) of the Jagadguru—Shri Sivarathnagiri Swami He transferred all His powers of penance to His Priya-Shishya and christened him as Shri Gnanananda Giri while granting Him the order of Sanyas. He was also nominated as successor to the peetha of the Jyotir Math. H. H. Shri Sivarathnagiri Swamiji entered into Mahasamadhi on the Purnima day of Chaitra and his mortal remains were interred In Srinagar after the due rites were performed. The Samadhi is still in Srinagar. Every year now the Chaitra Purnima day is observed at Thapovanam in memory of the Jagadguru Shri Sivaratanagiri Swamiji.


Moth moved by the separation of his revered Guru, Shri Gnanananda Giri Swamiji did not desire to continue long in the Peetha and so he nominated another Shishya as His successor and started out to the high Himalayas. For over sixty years he did severe penance at Monasarovar and other places and then moved out on . Yatra from the Himalayas to Kanyakumari and to places outside like Ceylon where he met a number of Great men of spirituality.


His Greatness


The Swamiji has mentioned that he knew personally of the initiation given by Totapuri to Sri Ramakrishna Paramahams. (1836-1886) at Dakshineswar and similarly of the initiation given by Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa to Narendra (later Swami Vivekananda ). He has also met Saint Ramalingam of Vadalur ( near present Neyveli 1823—l874). He had come across the boy Ramana in the Madurai temple when Ramana was just 13 years old. Later when Ramana became Ramana Maharishi and was living in the Virupaksha cave at Tiruvannamalai, Shri Gnanananda Giri Swamiji used to meet the Maharishi frequently and discuss. In the early part of this century, the Swamiji came to many places in the south like Tiruchi, Salem and Attiyampatti where be transformed the dacoits who were causing great hardships to people then. There is an ashram at Attiampatti and another at Siddalingamatam near Tirukoilur itself. He came to Thapovanam in 1950 and in 1953 the present Ashram came into being.


The Swamiji is unostentatious and easily accessible to one and all irrespective of their status in life or other divisions, of caste, creed etc. As already said, His unsophisticated appearance and behaviour apparently hide His Greatness. He comes down from his height of spiritual attainment to the level of the ordinary aspirant who goes to him in earnestness for guidance and solace. In the midst of his intimate association with the visitors going to Tapovanam he would still be out of them remaining in Sahaja Nishtai, seeing the Supreme in everything. His Grace is showered on all who go to Him and they are cured of their physical lapses and are nurtured mentally to pursue righteous life. He advocates the path of Bhakti and complete surrender to Guru and God as the best suited and the easiest to practice in this age. He would expound the big ‘tatvas' in a simple manner with apt stories and parables. Music and Namasankirtan are dear to Him and He asserts that sincere chanting of the names of the Lord is bound to liberate people in this age. For those who have attained the height of practices He imparts knowledge of the self and exhorts them to practise self-enquiry.


Swami Haridas and Sri Gnanananda Seva Samajam


In order to consolidate and coordinate the various activities so far being done, Shri Swami Haridas has started Sri Gnanananda Seva Samajam at the instance of the devotees and with the blessings of his Guru. The Seva Samajam is a registered Trust at No. 26, Lloyds Road, Madras - 6) with Sri Swami Haridas* ( Swami Haridoss has since then attained Jala Samadhi in 1994.) as the Managing Trustee and four others as trustees. The main objects of the Samajam are the dissemination of knowledge, education and culture of Indian Philosophy through Institutions, lectures, seminars, bhajans and namasankeertans, melahs and through publication of religious works and journals and also running libraries, orphanages, medical centres etc Swami Haridas has been highly blessed by the Great Guru Shri Gnanananda Giri after severe tests and has been commanded to take up this service of spreading Bhakti among the people all over the country. His devotion to the Guru is unique and he swears that whatever he says is because of the Grace of the Guru who inspires him then and there to say and sing. The Message he got from the Guru is: ‘When people praise you much do not become egoistic but ignore them in all humility: And do not be worried about the insults thrown at you likewise. Then you will sett1e down well". This is equally a message to us all. To see such a Great Guru is to know Him: to know Him is to know God. For God and Guru are one and the same.

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dear raghuraman,


i have enjoyed satsang thru your possts here.

Thanks. Jai Sri Panduranga!



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I would like to correct some of the citations in this forum


Sri Swamy Haridhos or Nott Hari Narayana Rao as he was known before Sanyas, was Cost Accountant before was in charge of a tea estate. His account of meetint the holy Master Sri Ganananda was narrated personally to me by him one evening when he was on Tour of Malaysia in Mallaca in 1981.

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Neela Megha Shyamala !


Raguraman thats pretty good news about your visit, but how did you went there , you had vehicle ? , i went by town bus and it was loong hard journey and i returned to chennai at midnight. Needless to say its worth going in all the trouble.


May be Government can operate more buses to tht place , but it depends on how many people are coming there. These days no one is ready to do good things without money.


Jus to add butter to your posting.




I didnot had enough money and time to visit north , Madhura brindhavan and Jagannath temples to see my lord.


But i was very happy to see similar temple in south little near to my place. I have got one more Poori jagannath temple in chennai near to Mahabhalipuram , a place called Kanathur , if you get time pls visit ( its before EJOY).

Such a nice temple.


Me and my friend went last sunday right at the time of the prayer. we really had a nice time there , when we went

at 6:30 its the exact time for the pooja , there were around six brass plates which are distributed to play during pooja , the temple is built in one floor height and we can see the beach from the temple sannidhi , One

shell is given to hearby person to blow it during pooja , it started and i had one brass plate to strike , the poojari told us how to strike ,


quickly everyone got onto the rhytham sequance he told and the sound hit the top of the mandapam , the door opened and poori jagannath , balaraman radhey are very beautiful decorated with flowers , the aarti went on , while that time

, the shell was blown with high pitch , i gave the brass plate to my friend to let him have his chance... when i closed my eyes at front of him , i heard a heart striing rhythm from the brass plates , and in between the guy started blowing shell , right at that time , i felt as if krishna is blowing panjajanyam ..it went nook and corner of my heart and my mind .


we had prasadham , the poojari has done archana for all of us , and gave prasadham , he also made thilak and

everyones forehead , and while one rich guy offered him money , he has asked him to put it in hundi , that person sounded soo good to me . He gave ashirwaadh to the girl of that rich guy , he as very young poojari ,there were actullay two who has place nearby the temple. Then we worshipped vimala devi lakshmi . I have explained to my freind the paintings in the temple, the dhasavatahara sculptures ..and sat there for some time before we started.


I wish i could get money and time to see my lord in all temples he resides.


Madhava Kesva Madhana Gopala !



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Today is ashada ekadasi day . one of the holiest days for lord vittal @pandarpur .


Jai hari vittala

Jai Jai Vittala

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Dear Srivats,



I have seen your post regarding the jagannath temple in kanathur.. CAn you please tel me the exact location and landmark address, contact info if any so that i can reach there. We are unable to get any info over web regarding this temple.


Any help nicely appreciated.




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