Brahmasree Neelakanta Gurupadar - The Paramaguru of our spiritual tradition
Born: 1900AD. Thrikketa Nakshatra. Dhanu Masam.
Mahasamadhi: 2pm on 26th May 1965AD
Biography of Brahmasree Neelakanta Gurupadar, written in Malayalam by His successor Jagadguru Swami Sathyananda Saraswathiji Maharajji Maharaj.
Gurupadar and His successor
Gurupadar with disciples in His Ashram. Shekharan is standing behind Him. Shekharan later became Jagadguru Swami Sathyananda Saraswathiji Maharaj, His successor.
Brahmasree Neelakanta Gurupadar was born in a small village near Chengottukonam in Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala. Not much is known about his early life except that he never went to school and ran a small tea shop. One day he was visited by an unknown Brahmin who called himself Vishnu Potti. The Brahmin taught him how to do Pooja or Worship of Lord Rama. And then he just vanished. Nothing was ever seen or heard of Vishnu Potti again. Later on Gurupadar revealed that it was Lord Karthikeya Himself who had incarnated as Vishnu Potti to reawaken the sleeping spirituality of Gurupadar.
Gurupadar entered the nearby forest and found a cave which had a Shiva Linga installed by the Pandavas. It was located more than a hundred feet up in a sheer rock face with no access. How he entered or exited this cave, no one knows, but he did fourteen years Sadhana in it and in another Subramaniam temple. It has now been named Madhavarpara Shiv Temple and steps have been built upto it. When Gurupadar came out of the cave He was transformed into the state of Atma Rama, or absolute Unity with Lord Rama.
Gurupadar inherited fourteen cents of land (100 cents make an acre) in Chengottukonam and established Swamiyar Madom over there. It consisted of a small shrine dedicated to Sree Rama-Sita-Anjaneya, a thatched hut and a kitchen. By the power of His Sankalpa (Spiritual Thought Force) He brought all the fourteen worlds comprising the seen and unseen Universe into the fourteen cents of land called Swamiyar Madom. On 4th July 1962 Gurupadar renamed Swamiyar Madom as Sree Rama Dasa Ashram. He demonstrated mastery over the fifty two Siddhis (Super Powers) mentioned in the Shastras as well as many that were not mentioned in them. Once, when awe struck devotees asked Him who He was, He refused to answer. When they insisted in the name of Dharma He finally said, "There are only two more beings like This on Earth. But they are in the Himalayas and will never come down to mingle with the common people."
Gurupadar always used to refer to Himself as 'We'. The individual ego had gone. He represented the entire Rishi Parampara of Bharat. Inspite of such Supreme Spiritual Attainment he was most humble wearing only a short white cloth around His waist with another one slung on His shoulder. He used to break a single Oratti (Chapatti) into forty pieces, give one piece to each person around Him, then wipe His hands and say, "We have eaten." He knew the entire past and future and could say what a particular man would say fifty years later. He could take any form He desired. He never went out of the fourteen cents Ashram for the rest of His life but was seen in many distant places protecting and blessing devotees. He could control all the forces of Nature.
Gurupadar began daily worship called Aradhana (Adoration) of Lord Rama. He also started Atma Rama Abhishek where the Ceremonial Ablution of Lord Rama, which is to be done on the Murthi, was done by Him on His own chest, seeing Lord Rama in His heart like Hanumanji. H H Jagadguru Swami Sathyananda Saraswathiji Maharaj once collected the coconut water flowing off Gurupadar's chest and kept it in a bottle for twelve years. It remained as fresh and unspoiled as on the first day. Daily recitation of the entire Adhyatma Ramayana, written in Malayalam poetry by Thunchath Ramanujan Ezhuthachchan, was instituted by Him at Swamiyar Madom. It goes on even today daily and uninterrupted at Sree Rama Dasa Ashram (Swamiyar Madom renamed) in Chengottukonam. In Ramagiri we do daily recital of Ramayana as well, bringing all the great Rama Bhaktas into focus, as well as Krishna Leelas, Ayyappa Poojas, Dattatreya Parayan, etc.
The story of Gurupadar's training of the twenty seven year old Shekharan, who became His successor H H Jagadguru Swami Sathyananda Saraswathiji Maharaj is told elsewhere. Sathyananda Swami Thiruvadikal said, "When the story of Gurupadar is revealed to the world it should be to inspire Prayer, not Praise."
Gurupadar taught the concept of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (World Is One Family). He said, "We must live together like children living together with our Mother and Father." Though He had never studied any scripture except hearing the recital of the Ramayana He knew all the secrets of the Universe through personal experience.
When Gurupadar's devotees wanted to start calling Him their Guru they called Him Gurudevan. This means 'Guru who is a Deva'. But He said, "No, no. I don't want to be a Deva again." So they asked Him what they should call Him. He said, "Gurupaad." (Coloquiolly changes to Gurupadar). This literally means 'Guru's Feet'. The devotees marvelled at His humility. But Sathyananda Swami Thiruvadikal knew there was a hidden significance to this word. He was a master of all Indian scriptures and declared, “According to the Upanishads there are fourteen Spiritual Levels in Creation. Gurupadar is at the Highest Level or Brahmapadam. Devas are four levels below Him. That means one hundred million times His inferior. Paad does not only mean feet. Its original meaning is Foundation. That is why trees are called Paadapa and sandals are called Paaduka. Gurupadar is one with the Nirguna Brahman, the Trancendental Absolute, which is the Foundation of the entire Universe."
At the date and time decided by Gurupadar He sat in Padmasan and called His disciple, Sathyananda Swami Thiruvadikal, to His side. He tapped on His chest which split open and revealed the rapturous scene of Sree Rama Pattabhishek in His heart. Then He told His disciple to support His body for the final conscious exit or Mahasamadhi. As the body fell limp His tearful disciple heard an ethereal voice say,"We go nowhere. Do your duty."