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Athishtanams, Brindavanams, Samadhi Shrines of Holy Saints!

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I am starting a thread in subforum Pilgrimage under Temples under Customs and Traditions. I request all devotees to benefit and also post more information on these shrines. Athishtanams are places where a Shivalinga is placed over the interred Mahan. Brindavans have a Thulasi maadam installed instead of Shivalinga. There is no Siva-Vishnu Bhedham in this. I start with Vadavambalam, the Adhishtanam of Sri Athma Bodhendra Saraswathi Maha Swamiogal at Vadavambalam near Panrutti, Tamil Nadu. Please pray to these Great Mahans and receive their infinite Grace!
Adhistanam at Vadavambalam

Sri Atma Bodhendra Saraswati , the 58th Acharya of Sri Kanchi kamakoti Peetam, was a native of Vruddhachalam, Tamilandu and born in the year 1586. His pre-sanyasa name was Visvesvara. He toured extensively and stayed at Benares for a long time. He wrote a Bhasya on the Sri Rudram. It was Atma Bodha who directed Sadasiva Brahmendra to write the Gururatna Malika.
Sri Atma Bodhendra Saraswathi Swamiji attained mukti on the banks of the river South Pinakini, known in Tamil as Then Pennai on Krishna Ashtami in the month of Tula of the cyclic year Eswara (1638 AD). The Adhistanam of Sri Atma Bodhendra Saraswathi Swamiji is located at the place, now known as Vadavambalam, near Panrutti. The Adhistanam was discovered by the directions of His Holiness Pujyasri Mahaswamiji (details of which are painted on the walls of the adhistanam) and was consecrated on 17 January 1927. Jeernodharana Ashtabandana Kumbabhishekam was performed on 17 January 1981.

Vadavambalam Athishtanam Picture.jpg
Sadasiva Brahmendra of Nerur, Avadhutha par Excellence!

The Southern India recognizes and adores Sadashiva Brahmendra as the celebrated composerof divine kirthanas; but not many may be aware he in his later years was an Avadhutha, a jeevan_muktha who lonely wandered the hills and dales, ran along the river banks, naked or semi naked, in a state of divine bliss. He unmindful of the scorching sun, pouring rain, blowing chill winds roamed in wilderness without ever uttering a word, slept under starry sky, shunned all human contact and was ever in a supreme intoxicated state. Today he is revered not merely for his musical compositions but also for his sublime Advaita text “Atma Vidya Vilasa” the most favorite spiritual text of Sri Chandrasekhara Bharathi Swami the 34th Jagadguru of Sringeri Peetha. The swami , himself an Avadhuta, a week before his passing away, parted with all his meager passions but retained, on second thought, a copy of Atma Vidya Vilasa till the day prior to his departure.
Not many facts are known about his life. It is believed Sadashiva Brahmendra lived in the time of Sharabhoji, ruler of Tanjore (1712 -1728). This is based on the oral tradition that Sadashiva Brahmendra presented a copy of his work Atma Vidya Vilasa to King Sharbhoji when the king called on the Avadhuta to pay his respects.
His childhood name was Shivarama_krishna .He was the son of Somasundaram Avadhani, a Vedic scholar of Telugu Niyogi origin who lived in Madurai in Tamil Nadu.It is said Shivarama's family name was 'Moksham' and his mother was Parvathy. He was born in Nerur situated by the quiet flowing Cauvery, near Karuru. He had his early education in traditional subjects under Ramabhadra Dikshitar who lived in Tiruvisai_nallur a.k.a. Shahajipuram.There the young Shivarama came under the influence of what were renowned as the triumvirate of Bhajana tradition viz. Sridhar Venkatesha Iyer, Sri Bhodendra Sarasathi and Bashyam Gopala_krishna Sastry.

On his return, Shivarama still in his early teens was promptly married. He however, soon thereafter ran away from home never to return. He went to Tiruvisai_nallur and while wandering aimlessly in the woods nearby, he met his Guru Sri Paramashivendra Sarasvati who initiated Shivarama into sanyasa and named him Sadashiva_Brahmendra.
The identity of Sri Paramashivendra Saraswati is a matter of debate. Some say he may have been an Acharya of the Kanchi peetham , guided by the suffix ”Indra Saraswathi” to his name.But an Acharya of that name appears in the annals of the Kanchi tradition as the 45th Jagadguru who presided over the mutt for 27 years from 1061 AD , that is about seven hundred years before the time of Sadashiva Brahmendra. The 57th(?) Jagadguru Sri Paramasivendra Saraswathi II recognized as the author of the treatise Dahara Vidya Prakashika [Dahara Vidya is an ancient form of meditation on Self dwelling in the small ethereal space within the heart-Chandogya Upanishad –VIII. Sri Ramana Maharshi was an exponent of this method.*] presided over the mutt from 1539 to 1586; that is about a hundred years before Sadashiva Brahmendra.


In any case Sadashiva Brahmendra considered Sri Paramashivendra Saraswati as his Guru , named him as such in all his works and composed poetic works Navamani mala , Guru_rathna_maalika and Dakshina_murthi_dhyana in tribute to the Guru.
Sadashiva Brahmendra was an active young man , talkative and always chirping away. On one occasion his incessant talk so annoyed his Guru that he in despair called out “Sadashiva! When will you learn to be quiet?”. The disciple promptly replied, “Right now, Master”. He fell into silence and never talked again the rest of his life. He gradually withdrew from the world, introspected and plunged into intense penance. He discarded all norms of accepted behavior, wandered naked aimlessly in the hills and along the Cauvery. He looked wild and insane. When some one reported to Sri Paramashivendra that his disciple had gone insane, the Guru was delighted and exclaimed “Will I ever be so fortunate!” He realized that his disciple was now an Avadhuta.
Sadashiva Brahmendra remained in that state; beyond body consciousness, not bound by ordinary social conventions and worldly concerns for a long period. A number of ]stories and myths grew around his mystical powers.
On one occasion when he met his past associate Sridhar Venkatesha Iyer, the later remarked that it was laudable to be a mauni in worldly matters; and questioned what prevented him from singing the praise of the Almighty. Sadashiva Brahmendra saw reason in the argument.
He thereafter created a series of musical compositions in praise of Sri Rama (Pibare Rama rasam, Khelathi mama hridaye, Bhajare Raghuveeram, Cheta Sriramam, Prathi varam varam manasa etc.); of Sri Krishna ( Smara nandakumaram , Gayathi vanamali, Bhajare Gopalam maanasa , Bhajare Yadu natham maanasa , Kridathi vanamali , Bruhi mukundethi etc.); and on Brahman (Sarvam Brahma maya re , Khelathi Brahmande Bhagavan , Manasa sanchara re , Tadvad jeevanam Brahmani etc.).
His poetic signature was “parama_hamsa” .About twenty-two of his compositions have been recovered.
He also wrote a number of philosophical works of high quality such as Brahma sutra Vrithi, Yoga_sudhakara, Kaivalya_amrutha _bindu (based on Upanishads); Siddantha_kalpa_valli (a poetic treatise on Appaiah Dikshitar’s work), Advaita rasa manjari, Brahma tattva prakaashikaa and Mano_niyamana. His Navamani_mala, Guru_rathna_malika and Dakshina_murthi_dhyana are in praise of the Guru.
But his Atma_vidya_vilasa a true classic is the best known.
Atma_vidya_vilasa is a poetic work running into 62 verses in simple, lucid Sanskrit. Its subject is renunciation. It describes the ways of the Avadhuta, one who is beyond the pale of social norms , beyond Dharma , beyond good and evil; one who has discarded scriptures, shastras , rituals or even the disciplines prescribed for sanyasins;one who has gone beyond the bodily awareness , one who realized the Self and one immersed in the bliss of self-realization. He is absolutely free and liberated in every sense - one who "passed away from" or "shaken off" all worldly attachments and cares, and realized his identity with God. The text describes the characteristics of an Avadhuta, his state of mind, his attitude and behavior. The text undoubtedly is a product of Sadashiva Brahmendra’s experience. It is a highly revered book among the Yogis and Sadhakas.
Sadashiva Brahmendra lived in that exalted state on the banks of the Cauvery until he discarded his mortal body at its age of one hundred years or a little more, some time between 1750 and 1753. His Samadhi in Nerur, Karur district is now a shrine to a large number of devotees. His Aaradhana is celebrated annually on the tenth day of dark half of the month of Jeshta (some time during May each year).

Sringeri Jagadgurus and
Sadashiva Brahmendra and his classic work Atma_vidya _vilasa wielded an enormous influence on the life and Sadhana of the Sringeri Jagath-gurus.
It was the 32nd Jagadguru of Sringeri Sharada Peetam, Sri Nrusimha Bharathi VIII (1817-1879) that first recognized the greatness of Sadashiva Brahmendra and arranged for the upkeep and maintenance of his Samadhi.
His successor Sri Satchidananda Sivabhinava Nrsimha Bharathi (1879-1912) made a seminal visit to the samadhi of the saint at Nerur. He became an ardent admirer and devotee of Sadashiva Brahmendra in whose praise he composed two poetic works (Sadashivendra Stuthi and Sadashiva Panchrathna) .He considered Sadashiva Brahmendra his ideal, tried to emulate his principles. He modeled his attitude, his ideals and his way of living in the light of Atma_vidya_vilasa. He gradually withdrew from the active administration of the Mutt starting from the year 1901and devoted increasingly to spiritual practices. Listening to Atma_vidya_vilasa and contemplating on it became a part of his daily spiritual exercise. He in his last days lived like an Avadhuta. He instructed his disciples that in the last moments of his life while he would be drawing his last breaths they should recite aloud the verses from the Atma_vidya_vilasa. He wished to die with those verses ringing in his ears. Such was his devotion to that text.
But the one who really emulated Sadashiva Brahmendra and evolved into an Avadhuta was the 34th Jagadguru Sri Chandrasekhar Bharathi Swami. He studied Atma_vidya_vilasa intensely, imbibed its principles and truly lived according to that in word and deed .Unmindful of the external world he roamed wildly the hills of Srngeri like a child , an intoxicated , an insane and as one possessed singing aloud the verses from Atma_vidya_vilasa:
Discard the bondages of karma. Wander in the hills immersed in the bliss of the Self -unmindful of the world like a deaf and a blind (AVV-15)
Rooted in the Brahman absorbed in the bliss within, he for a while meditates, for a while sings and dances in ecstasy. (AVV-21)
He sees nothing, hears nothing, and says nothing. He is immersed in Brahman and in that intoxication is motionless.(AVV-44)
Sri Chandrasekhar Bharathi was the living epitome of the Atma_vidya_vilasa. He was an Avadhuta - a liberated soul, one who "passed away from" or "shaken off" all worldly attachments and cares, and has realized his identity with Self. He was an enlightened being who lived in a state beyond body-consciousness.



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Sadasiva Brahmendral of Nerur, Avadhutha par Excellence!

Dear Sri Kahanam,

Good writeup on Saint Sri Sadasiva Brahmendral. Sri Brahmendral was a great siddha and Avadhutha who had performed lot of miracles during his life time. He took Jeeva Samadhi at Nerur. At the time of Jeeva Samadhi,it is said that Sadasiva Brahmendral sat in samadhi in a pit, absorbed in Brahmam and the devotees filled it up. On the same night, Sadasiva Brahmendral appeared in the dream of Pudukkottai Maharaja and asked him to plant a bilva tree and place the bana lingam on his Samadhi. Only then did the Maharaja knew that his Guru had left his mortal body. After planting the bilva tree, the Maharaja performed all the pujas according to the Sastras and from then on arranged for the maintenance of the Samadhi. I have visited Nerur Athishtanam of the Saint a couple of times. It is a wonderful place on the banks of river Cauvery.

There is an image of Sri Sadasiva Brahmendral at the foot of a Bikula tree in Sri Kokarneswarar - Brihadambal temple in Pudukkottai. Sri Brahmendral had installed a yantra and made a small vigraha and performed abhishekam at Tanjavur Punnainallur Mariamman temple (Tanjavur Mariamman Koil) . Even today, though the letters in the yantra are barely visible, abhishekam is still performed to it. Sri Sadasiva Brahmendral's statue can still be seen on the top corner of south east wall of Mahamandapam of this temple.

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