Vallalar was born in the year 1823 in Marudur, near Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu. Ramalingam was the fifth and last son of Ramayya Pillai and mother Chinnmmayar. Ramalingam as a child relentlessly meditated in a room where he set up a mirror and in front of it a small, lighted lamp. Vallalar started an association of spiritual fellowship called “Samarasa Suddha Sanmarga Satya Sangama” in the year 1865. He also opened a “ Dharmasala ” in the year 1867 at Vadalur, forty miles from Pondicherry for feeding the poor and the hungry. In the year 1872, on January 25th, a symbolic shrine of worship called “ Satya Jnana Sabha ” the sanctum of truth and knowledge in honor and respect of the universal coming of the God of vast Grace-Light. Vallalar preached deathlessness of body to the people.
Arutperunjothi Ramalinga Adigalar
“ Year 1823 ”
VALLALAR was born in the year 1823 in ‘ Marudur ’ near Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu State, South India, in a Hindu Saivite family as the fifth child and last son of his Father Ramayya Pillai and Mother Chinnammayyar.
The saint was conscious of his birth not merely at the time of birth but even during all the processes that culminated in fertilization, as he wrote to say in one of his writings called “ Peru Vinnappam ” that the emanations of his soul took active part in the formations of the sperm-cell of his formal father and, of the egg-cell of his formal mother with the divine inner light of protection for keeping up the divine qualities of his soul and a good physique.
When the child was five months old, his parents took him to the Chidambaram Temple. It is said that this infant laughed aloud when the priest offered the traditional ‘ Deepa Aradhana ’ to the Lord ! This apparently routine visit to the temple thus offered him his first spiritual experience as well.
“ Arutperunjothi ”
Sometime at a later date Ramalingam, was to record this experience in the following words : “ No sooner was the light perceived than happiness prevailed on me ”. It is significant that as he matured spiritually, he consistently and decisively advocated the worship of God in the form of ‘ Arutperunjothi ’ or “ Effulgent Light of Grace ”.
Ramayya Pillai however, did not live to see his son’s glory. He passed away the very next month. His sudden death forced a helpless Chinnammai to shift to the residence of her eldest son Sabapathi and his wife Parvathi at Chennai. This was in the year 1824. When Ramalingam was five years old, Sabapathi, in a true patriarchal manner, decided to formally educate his youngest sibling. The young child however demonstrated a deep disinclination towards formal education preferring trips to the local Kandasamy Temple instead. his invited the wrath of his brother who was convinced that the child was on a self-destructive path.
As a punitive measure, he forbade his wife from giving Ramalingam his daily meal. His compassionate sister-in-law, however, surreptitiously fed him food and gently prevailed upon him to pursue his studies seriously at home.
“ Meditation ”
Ramalingam relented on the condition that he be given a separate room of his own. Now, in the solitary confines of this room, he set up a mirror and in front of it a small, lighted lamp. With these as aids he relentlessly meditated and this was the beginning of the spiritual journey of the young boy.
The first reward came in the form of a vision of Lord Muruga. In the saint’s own words : “ The beauty endowed divine faces six, the illustrious shoulders twelve ”. But the miraculous portion in this whole episode lay in the high levels of erudition which, Ramalingam attained without any formal tutoring whatsoever. The outside world was also soon to be a witness to it.
“ Substitute is preferred ! ”
It so happened that once Ramalingam had to substitute for his brother at an ‘ upanyasam ’ session. His brilliant exposition and uninterrupted flow of words while enunciating a verse from the ‘Periyapuranam’ elated and amazed the on-lookers. Audiences everywhere preferred this ‘substitute’ to the original and his brother also graciously acknowledged the mental and spiritual superiority of his brother ! Ramalingam himself expresses his gratitude to the Divine when he says : “ Effulgent flame of grace that lit in me intelligence to know untaught ”. As he made quantum leaps in his spiritual journey, he progressed from being a devout ‘ Saiva ’ to worshipping the Formless.
“ Jeeva karunyam ”
In the last decade of his life, he started first in the year 1865 an association of spiritual fellowship called “ Samarasa Suddha Sanmarga Satya Sangam ”, the association for the path of purity, truth, the right and harmony, opened in 1867 a Dharmashala at Vadalur .. forty miles off Pondichery .. for feeding of the poor and the hungry he read the first chapter of his prose work “ Jeeva Karunyam ” to his disciples.
He wove round this practical way or sadhana of compassion to fellow-beings and creatures, the fulfilment of the highest aspiration of man in realizing the bliss of the Integral Divine on the earth with a body free from disease, ageing, decay and death. He deprecated killing of animals for food and for religious sacrifices. He could not bear the least harm or injury to animals !
“ Satya Jnana Sabha ”
Lastly, he founded at Vadalur, in the significant year 1872, on January 25th, symbolic shrine of worship called “Satya Jnana Sabha”, the Sanctum of Truth- Knowledge in honour and respect of the universal coming of the God of Vast Grace- Light who was about to manifest.
“ Flag of brother-hood ”
On October 22nd, Ramalingar hoisted the Flag of Brother-hood atop his one room residence called ‘ Siddhi Vilakkam ’ at Mettukuppam.
It was at this juncture that he delivered, what was to be his last and most famous discourse. He exhorted people to devote their time to spiritual enquiry, which would lead them to probe into the “ nature of the powers that lie beyond us and move us… ”. He then removed the lighted lamp from his room and placed it outside and advised his followers to meditate.
“ Instrument of the divine ”
He had the divine call in him as a representative of the earth and felt himself an Instrument of The Divine, for the universal manifestation of the death conquering Vast Grace-Light on the earth.
He saw the vision of a divine evolution of the earthly life in the wake of its Manifestation.
He realized the supreme and Universal Divine integrally and his body also became transformed and filled with the Light so much so it did not cast its shadow on the ground !
“ Divine body ”
He eventually attained a transformed and divinized golden physical body, deathless and ever indestructible, shadowless and sleepless, and full of Light, Amrita and blissful energies and with a potential power to resurrect the dead into the bodily life.
“ De-materialisation … year 1874 ”
He preached death-lessness of body to the people and said that it was by an error they are consenting to death. After about a year or two of attaining the deathless body, he sacrificed it by de-materialisation on 30th January, 1874.
He locked himself up in a room and instructed his followers in words which have been recorded that they were not to open it under any circumstance .. and that even if they did, they would find nothing.