A Sanyasi’s samadhi

His Sanyasa name was Swami Chidananda Saraswati…

He breathed his last on Saturday, 2nd June…That was a doubly auspicious day, being a Pradosham happening on Saturday (shani pradosham).

Here’s a picture. taken when I met him some ten years ago, maybe more…

When he passed away, he was 98 years of age.

Swami Chidananda entered the Sanyasa order some 27 years ago… His wife had passed away a few years earlier. He had set his worldly affairs in order. Wanting to take Sanyasa, he had gone and spent time in different monasteries, understanding the different types of Sanyasa orders, the requirements of each, and figuring out what would suit him better than others… And he finally chose to enter the order of Avadhuta Sanyasi, and sought the acceptance of Swami Krishnananda Saraswati of Shendamangalam in Tamil Nadu. Swami Krishnananda hailed from the lineage of Avadhuta Swami Sadasiva Brahmendra (different from the Nerur Swami of same name), who was also known as Judge Swamigal, as he had been a Judge in his poorva-ashrama… Swami Krishnananda did not accept him straightaway, but asked him to stay on… He stayed on, and worked as per Ashram rules, and after testing his ability and resolve, Swami Krishnananda formally accepted him as  a disciple, and initiated him into the holy order of Sanyasa…

The Aadi-Guru of the avadhuta lineage being Dattatreya, Swamiji was asked to go as a parivraajaka, walking along the region of Narmada river, visiting holy places, seeking bhiksha for food, and staying where chance provided…. He did that for three years… And these were years of great revelation for him… The great power of supreme surrender…

And then many a year he lived, in different parts of India, by himself… Finally, the last three years or so, he was in Chennai… He was staying in an old age care home… Well into his nineties, he remained independent. Till the last few days, he did all his things himself. Although Alzheimers did seem to affect his memory, there was many a glimpse where one could see absolute clarity of thought, a razor-sharp decisiveness that sprang from a level of consciousness that we could not easily understand…

He passed away on June 2nd, 2012, late afternoon, on Shani Pradosham…

Destiny helped me play a small role along with his poorvashrama sons, to be a part of the final journey of Swamiji’s physical body… In an amazing saga of ‘automatic divine happenings’, we found ourselves as puppets in the hands of an unseen force, and were on our way to Kanchipuram the next day… Idea was that Swami’s samadhi would be in some place by the banks of Palar river, and a priest in Kanchipuram was arranging for that…

But the ‘automatic happenings’ wrote a different script…  And Upanishad Brahmendra Mutt enabled a place for samadhi… Its a very holy place… Other Sanyasis too have their samadhi there. It is  primarily a temple of Rama. A great Rama yantra carved on a big Shalagrama is the deity here… Said to be unique…   A very holy kshetra… Upanishad Brahmendra is he who has written commentaries on all 108 Upanishads…..

Evening of 3rd, we found ourselves there… A large courtyard, a temple, a pond…


Swamiji’s physical remains were first laid out…

The rites began…

The body was seated, and Abhishekam and other rituals began… Some 15, or so, Vedic scholars chanted  suktas and mantras… The whole place reverberated with the great energy of Veda shakti…


On the other side of the pond, there were a row of Samadhi spots… Many with Tulasi Brindavana, some with Siva Linga…


A pit was being dug… The resting place for Swamiji..


Meanwhile, the rites continued… Till past twilight…


When the rites were completed, the body was carried to the final resting place….

Lowered amidst chanting of Mantras…. The kapala was cracked with coconuts… Material prescribed by Shastra were thrown into the pit… Salt, some powdered roots etc… A thin branch of a nearby tree was broken, and placed on the kapala to mark the spot.. The pit was filled and closed…  The green of the tree branch peers out of the holy place.

More rituals followed… A cool breeze blew…

Up in the sky, the moon was full…

Ah yes, it was the night of ‘Vaikashi Vishakam’, a very holy day…

Who can script this… Dissolution on Shani Pradosham, Samadhi on Vaikashi Vishakam…

He was born 98 years ago on a newmoon day, Aadi Amaavaasya…. And merged into the elements on a fullmoon night, Vaikashi Vishakam…

He was born in the star Punarvasu, that of Rama.. He found his final resting place in a Rama kshetra… The star the day he passed away was Swati, that of Sita… And Sita had gathered him back, where she had gone… Into the earth…



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11 Responses to “A Sanyasi’s samadhi”

  1. Adelina Says:

    what a journey and grand finale!- and witnessing all these would put one into perspective of what’s all boiling down to. Great write up, enjoyed reading.

  2. Adelina Srinivasan Says:

    what a journey and grand finale!- and witnessing all these would put one into perspective of what’s all boiling down to. Great write up, enjoyed reading.

  3. Sudheer Says:

    Hi Kamesh, firstly thank you for sharing this. Your narrative almost makes us feel we were there in person.
    You observations made towards the end of the article left a chill….thanks again – sudheer

  4. ashu Says:

    Very interesting read. Please share some more anecdotes connected with his life.

  5. Ajay Says:

    Dear Kamesh, indeed you’re very blessed to be associated with such great souls. His blessings will be with you. Abhisekham to his body remainded of this sloka

    om gayadini ca tirthani ye ca punyah silocayah
    kuruksetram ca gangam ca yamunam ca saridvaram
    kausikim candrabhagam ca sarva papa pranasinim
    bhadravakasam gandakim sarayum panasam tatha
    vainavam ca varaham ca tirtham pindarakam tatha
    prthivyam yani tirthani saritah sagarams tatha
    dhyava tu manasa sarve krta snanam gatayusam

    (Having meditated upon all the holy tirthas, rivers, and oceans, the deceased has bathed in all these rivers.)

    Thanks for sharing – Ajay

    • gkamesh Says:

      Dear Ajay,

      Thank you for sharing the shloka about the holy waters.

      As it happened, couple of my friends had gone to Himalaya a month ago. And they had brought a bottle of water of Pancha-Prayag, from Badrinath. These contain the waters from confluence of rivers As Alakananda goes down, all the way till it meets Bhageerati at Deo Prayag and becomes Ganga….

      I had used a little of that water for worship at home. When Swamiji passed away, I took that bottle and the pancha-prayag water was also used in the abhishekam of Swamiji’s mortal remains…


  6. Ravi Chandhiramouli Says:

    Awesome. Kamesh -fantastic to read. Very poignant. You transported us to the event itself. Great narrative celebrating the superb life of Swami Ji. Namo Ramana. Jai Ma. Jai Hanuman.

  7. G.L.N.Murthy Says:

    Very nice presentation Kameshji, I felt everything before my eyes when your narrating.If it is possible for u ,
    can u throw some light on the life of Upanishadbarhmendra swamyji?with regards -Murthy-

  8. s.krishnaswamy Says:

    excellant write up. thank u.

  9. S. Sandilya Says:


    Dear Kameshwar

    I just read through. Excellent write up. Having been there I could recall all the steps. Divine, it was indeed. Your recap is very vivid. The concluding part is great indeed. Great Soul.

    The Agastheeswarar temple, The Agastheeswarar Tank and the Hayagreeva in Linga Rupa in another temple in the premises add to the sanctity of the place.The Single Saaligraama piece used for Anjaneya Vigraha looking at the Rama Yantra with Bhavya Bhaava is another unique thing in the place.

    Kudos to you.


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