Sri.Vidyadhiraja Chattambi Swami Thiruvadikal a Great Yogi from kerala was one of the most worshipped spiritual leaders of our country. Chattambi Swamikal was born on Chingam 11, 1029 (ME) (August 25, 1853) in a Nair family known as Ulloorcode, near Kollur Mutt in Kannanmool, Thiruvananthapuram. Sri Vasudevasharma was his father and Smt Thiruanga mother. Parents called him by name Ayyappan, but he was known by per name ‘Kunjan Pillai’. He could not join a school for his studies due to the poor condition of his family. He overheard teaching of the ‘Ashaan’ from the Kollur Athiyar Mutt and knowing this he was
Athiyar Mutt and knowing this he was permitted to sit inside the classroom. He studied Malayalam, Sanskrit and Tamil languages from this ‘Asan School’. He supervised the class and therefore, he came to be known as ‘Chattambi’, which means ‘monitor’. After his education, he practiced document writing as a job. He was also served as an Accountant in the Government Secretariat.He learnt the art of ‘Hat yoga’ from Sree Thaikkattu Ayyavu, a Tamil Pandit and hat-yogi. He also learnt Tamil vedic works from Pandit Swaminatha Desika. He became a disciple of the famous pandit and scholar Subha Jatapathikal. He traveled thoughout South India and attained knowledge in different languages and religions. On return, he obtained expert training in the art of yoga from Admananda Swamikal.
Chattambi Swami’s meeting with Swami Vivekananda was instrumental in bringing about social changes in a caste-ridden society. When he met Chattambi Swami during his visit to Kerala in 1892,n 1982 while Swamikal was staying in the house of a devotee at Ernakulam, he came across Swami Vivekananda who was on his Parivrajaka (wandering monk) tour at the time. They spoke in Sanskrit. Swami Vivekananda introduced the topic of Chinmudra and asked Swamikal to unfold its esoteric meaning and its role in achieving higher levels of consciousness. Swamikal quoting from an old commentary on the Brahadaranya Upanishad, still unpublished, explained that when the tips of the forefinger and index finger touch together a vibratory energy would be produced, and it would flow up to the Sahasrara Padma of the aspirant elevating him to a higher stage of consciousness. Swami Vivekananda was very much impressed by this ,
he wrote: “Here I met a remarkable man”. He made this remark on hearing the clarifications on ‘Chinmudra’ from Chattambi Swami.
Sree Vidyadhiraja Chattambi Swamigal, popularly known as Chattambi Swami was one the greatest scholar-saints of Kerala. He fought against the rigid caste system and social vices prevalent in the society.
Way of Life
Swamikal lived a life of austere simplicity. A mundu (a garment worn around the waist in kerala) an iron ring, and old umbrella, a walking stick and a Ganjira were his only possessions. He had no home and no intimate friends. This world was his family. He flitted from place to place like a carefree singing bird.
A Man of Miracles
The spiritual and mystical powers that Chattampi Swamikal had acquired were innumerable. But he was ever averse to showing off. If on rare occasions he was unavoidably compelled to display them, his intention was not to win credit or impress others. His brahmacharya and intense tapas had conferred upon him all the Yogasiddhies.
Swamikal possessed a commanding power over natural elements, animals and human beings alike. But he never misused these powers for selfish ends. He had the power to cure seemingly incurable diseases and make cobras and even tigers obey his behests.
The Feast for Dogs is considered the most popular miracle he performed. One day Swamikal accepted the initiation of a vain officer to dine at his house, on condition that he should be allowed to bring with him some of his disciples. When the feast was served on leaves a pack of stray dogs entered the hall, sat by the leaves and had their meals in an uncharacteristically disciplined way. They finished their meal, took the leaves outside and disappeared mysteriously. To the astonished host, Swamikal said, ‘These dogs were high officers in their last life. Corruption, oppression, plunder and other heinous crimes led to their being reborn as dogs. The wages of sin are sure to be paid in the next life if not in this’.
A Master of All Arts
Chattampi Swamikal had commendable mastery over diverse fields of knowledge. He possessed extraordinary memory power. Veda, Grammar, Astrology, Ayurveda, Yoga, Tarka Sasthra, Tantra Vidya and Tamil and Sanskrit literature were a few areas of his interest. He was a singer and composer. While his favourite art was music, his favourite instrument was Ganjira. His skill in playing on any instrument with originality was widely known and acclaimed. He was interested in acting, particularly in Kathakali. He was equally good at painting. He was a wrestler par excellence. His poems and writings were the offsprings of necessity. His Yoga Siddhi had given him the power of prophecy.
Sri. Vidyadhiraja Chattambi Swamy, found the Goddess Attukal Bhagvathy temple premises ideal for his meditations.
Sree Narayan Gurudevan, was a Great Hindu saint from kerala ,a sage and social reformer of Indian society.Sri Chattampi Swamikal. who discovered and appreciated Sree Narayana Guru’s philosophical genius and passion for Yoga, introduced him to Swami Sree Thycaud Ayyavu, a Great Hatha yogi. Under the Yogi, sree Narayan Guru mastered various Yogic practices including Hatha Yoga. The exposure gained from this scholastic experiences had a lasting impact on the later life and philosophy of Sree Nārāyana Guru.
Swami Chinmayananda who founded the Chinmaya Mission was given the name Balakrishna by none other than the revered Chattambi Swami whose love and affection, he enjoyed during his childhood.
.Sree Nilakantatheerthapada Swamikal and Sree Theerthapada Paramahamsa Swamikal were his two prominent disciples. Most of this disciples belonging to different strata of society were house-holders. All these disciples and devotees of Swamikal made significant contribution to social and spiritual regeneration of the people of Kerala.
Mahayogi Sri.Vidhyadhiraja Chattambi Swamikal was a multi-faced personality.the great peripatetic scholar, His religious quest and discovery, his austere simplicity and great self-denial, his humble sharing with others the light with which he himself was illumined, his loving tenderness for all living creatures are all inspiring and instructive for all time. He was a saint ,a Yogi ,a Maharishi ,a friend of the world who loved all creations alike, great philosopher who pioneered the social relations without being a part of it, a famous scholar who had no higher education, an expert who built up his knowledge out of his experience, a social reformer who succeeded in establishing cordial relations between different communities and a learned intellectual genius of our times.
A Perfect Jeevanmukta
A Jeevanmukta is the liberated individual who while still living in the physical body is not conditioned by the limitation of his gross constitution and believes the entire universe to be the manifesation of the Absolute or his highest self. Such great souls see and experience Brahma Tattwa in a Brahmin, a cow, an elephant, a dog and the one who eats a dog, all alike without any distinction. They enjoy the Bliss of Self at all times and roam about for the well being of humanity at large. When their Prarabdha Karmas are over, they cast off their bodies, and the Jeevan dissolves in the Absolute Brahman.
Sree Chattampi Swamikal was such a Jeevanmukta with Sarvatra Samadarsan. (Experiencing unity in al
Swamikal didn’t settle down at any particular place. Towards the end of his life, he revisited places like Thiruvananthapuram as if bidding farewell to them. He settled down at Panmana, a village 18km north of Kollam, enjoying the services rendered by his disciple Sree Kumpalathu Sanku Pillai, a young and spirited freedom fighter. Hundreds of people used to visit him to have his darshan and seek his advice and blessings. He used to receive them all with warmth. Gradually all the infirmities of old age began to attack him. He used to remind his disciples that all the ills that the flesh is destined to endure have to be endured before the soul would secure its release. He prophesied the time of his final departure though many could not understand it. When the final moment came Swamikal sat himself in Padmasana and mediated on Brahman. In that pose, in a few seconds, Swamikal entered into Eternal Samadhi at 4 pm on 5 May 1924. His mortal body was laid to rest at the place he had already selected for it. At the Samadhi Peedom a Sivalinga was installed as he had instructed.
Sree Vidhyadhiraja Theerthapada Paramabhattrakasram was established 1089 (ME) (1914 AD)
Sri Sanku Pillai one of the disciple of Chattambi Swamika established an Asramam at Panmana where the Samadhi of Swamikal is situating.