UUkkamum unarchiyum olitharum aakkaiyum
Aakkamum aruliya Arutperumjothi’
The fulfilling practice of Compassion, Devotion and feelings of Divine Love
Radiates Grace Light and triple transformation
The merging of the physical body into light
All through the grace of the Vast Grace Light.
Ramalinga Swamigal, popularly known as Vallalar, was one of the most notable saints of the Indian Sub-continent during the 19th century. He was born on the 5th of October ‘1823, in Marudur near Chidambaram, to a Hindu Saivite family, the fifth child and last son of his father Ramayya Pillai and mother Chinnammayyar. It is said that she had borne him in her womb after she received ‘vibhuti’, which is the sacred ash of blessings from an unknown guest of honour – a Shiva Yogi who blessed her with a son like himself. Vallalar left the world on January 30, 1874 at age 51. When he was only six months old his father died and Ramalinga was brought up under the auspices and tutelage of his elder brother, who -it has been said- had a good working knowledge of things religious.
At the age of 27, he was married to one Danammal. Marital life did not distract him from his religious duty. As an ardent sycophant of bhakti (the practice of devotive worship) he was a relentless critic of practice based on birth, class, status or privilege. He had no regard for the ‘Puranas’, ‘Vedas’, and the ‘Agamas’. He worshiped god as Light (Jothi) and was a man of utmost love and compassion for all living creatures. It is said that he would weep at the sight of even a withering crop. He firmly believed in Anna Dana, the free offering of food to the needy.
Earlier, the saint had told his disciples that he was in the last days of his physical existence and that he would soon pass into the astral world. He then secluded himself in final preparation. The news that the saint had locked himself up in a room soon became known. There was much excitement as the saint had earlier been talking about the possibility of the living dissolution of his physical body. Many people believed him and now they knew the final days had come.
Three months after he locked the door to his room, the news eventually reached the government at Madras. Some officials came to investigate. They ordered the door to be opened. To the great wonder and amazement of all that stood around, they found no one inside the room. A thorough inspection of the whole building was made and nothing suspicious could be found. The officials questioned the disciples and found them to be very simple and innocent people. Now it was clear that as proclaimed, the saint had achieved the unachievable. Without discarding his physical body, he had dematerialized.
The life and writings of Saint Ramalinga (Vallalar) have enough evidence to support dematerialization. They make it clear to us that the swami had been preparing all his life for this final achievement. He had been telling his followers that he would pass into eternal life not by shedding his physical body, but by changing it into a subtle, invisible, deathless body. There are frequent references in his poems first to the hope and then to the certainty of his union with God by means of acquiring a wonderful, celestial body that would be beyond death or destruction.
“Lord, take this body of mine and my spirit in exchange for your body and your spirit”
“…. to enable this very body of flesh to become a body of light ….”
“Transmuting this body of skin and bones, I shine with a golden form”.
“You have given me a form perpetual which nothing can destroy”.
“Grace, knowledge, love and an indestructible body these have been your gifts to me”.
It can be seen from the history of his life that in his later years his physical body had become tenuous and translucent. Disciples have recorded that it cast no distinct shadow. It is said that several attempts were made to photograph him. But since light passed through his body no clear image could be obtained. What could be seen were only his clothing and a very misty vision of his face and limbs. And from such a translucent body made so by pure living, dematerialization was but a few steps away.
Swami Ramalinga (Vallalar) says, “Life of eternal bliss is union with God. Those who have achieved this will have transmuted this impure carnal body into a pure golden body and again have the pure body transformed into super sensible, spiritual body”.
Spirituality that secluded itself from the common people had no meaning for Swami Ramalinga (Vallalar). His God-consciousness was based on love and compassion. As already seen he was never at peace when people went without food. What was the meaning of kindness and love if one did not satisfy the hunger of a fellow human being? Moreover, food was the basic need of the body and body was the seat of the soul. Without taking care of the body how could anyone take care of the soul that dwelt in the body? Thus the very basis of spirituality was according to the Swami, the removal of hunger, since compassion seeking to remove hunger seeks to renovate the living temple of God, the body.
Jothi, the Light, In All Traditions and Religions
The heart and mind can find peace and harmony by contemplating the transcendental nature of the true self as supreme effulgent light – From the Yoga Sutra of PATANJALI, second century B.C.
Patañjali is often called the father of yoga because he was the first person to codify and write down the yoga practices. In this meditation instruction, he is telling us to let go of all distracting sights, smells and sounds and to meditate on our spiritual nature, our luminous true self. He is telling us to look inside and experience the radiance within.
All cultures, peoples, and religious groups throughout time- have talked about the phenomena of light in the context of the religious or mystical experience. Those who have seen visions of holy beings typically see them surrounded by white light. People have always described going to the light, finding the light, being called by the light, and dissolving in the light. We read about light in The Egyptian Book of the Dead as well as The Tibetan Book of the Dead. Men, women, and children who have had classic near-death experiences vividly describe arriving in a place of white light; they speak of themselves and others as being bathed in white light.
Prior to being described as the light of any religion, light was just light. Light is a part of the primary source material. Later, as the history of mankind developed, the concept of light became institutionalized; it was then interpreted according to cultural and religious beliefs. Pure light thus became light of God, light of truth, light of Buddha, light of Jesus, cosmic light, and ocean of light depending upon where you were born and what you were taught. Light, however, is constant. It is fundamental energy.
The most magnetic of all religious symbols is the light, the light that radiates everywhere within and without — the light that never was on land or sea. Great mystics have realized the Peerless One in the form of Light. Moses saw the burning bush and received the word of God. The Upanishad seers saw It as Jothi Aham — the Splendour in the self.
“Gleaming as the earth and all the spheres
Oh Thou expanse of matchless Effulgence!
In radiant forms of Light art Thou beheld
Oh Formless One!” – Tiruvacagam 22.8.9.
In many a Devaram and Tiruvacagam, and the lyrics of Tayumanavar and Ramalinga Swamigal, we have allusions to light as the symbol of the formless God; and ‘Light’ also indicates goals and the radiance of Wisdom, as well as the illumination of Supreme Awareness.
All is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The parable of His Light is as (if there were) a niche and within it a lamp, the lamp is in glass, the glass as it were a brilliant star, lit from a blessed tree, an olive, neither of the east (i.e. neither it gets sun-rays only in the morning) nor of the west (i.e. nor it gets sun-rays only in the afternoon, but it is exposed to the sun all day long), whose oil would almost glow forth (of itself), though no fire touched it. Light upon Light! All guides to His Light whom He wills. And All sets forth parables for mankind, and All is All-Knower of everything.
– Surah an nur (Al Quran)
The New Testament, referring to John the Baptist, reads: “He came for testimony, to bear witness to the light that all might believe through him.” Later Jesus says, “Put your trust in the light while you have it so that you may become sons of light.”…
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by Him;
And without Him was not anything made that was made.
In Him was life; and the life was the Light of men.
And the Light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehend it not.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
The same came for a witness,
To bear witness to the Light that all men through him might believe.
He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness to that Light.
That was the true Light,
Which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. – John 1:1-1
“The Bible is seen to be full of terms about light. Lossky tells us that “for the mystical theology of the eastern Church these are not metaphors, rhetorical figures but words expressing a real aspect of godliness.” “The godly light does not have an abstract and allegorical meaning. It is a data of the mystical experience.” The author then referred to “Gnostics”, the highest level of godly knowledge [that] is an experience (a living) of the non-created light, where the experience itself is the light: in lumine tuo videbimus lumen (in Your Light we shall see light.)”
Eternal, endless, existing beyond time and space, it appeared in the theophanies of the Old Testament as the Glory of God. The Glory is “the Uncreated Light, His Eternal Kingdom.” Being bestowed to the Christians by the Holy Spirit, the energies appear no longer as external causes but as grace, as inner light.” Makarius the Egyptian wrote: “It is . . . the enlightenment of the holy souls, the steadiness of the heavenly powers” (Spiritual Homilies V.8.)
“The godly light appears here, in this world, in time. It is disclosed in the history but it is not of this world; it is eternal, it means going out from the historical existence: ‘the secret of the eight day’, the secret of the true knowledge, the fulfilment of the Gnosis . . . It is exactly the beginning of Parousia in the holy souls, the beginning of the revealing at the end of times, when God will be disclosed to everyone in this distant Light.”
According to Buddhism, all beings are imbued with a spark of inner divine light. In describing our original Buddha-nature, we use such phrases as innate luminosity, primordial radiance, the un-obscured clear natural mind, and the clear light of reality….
The Jewish mystics use similar words when they speak of the inner spark or the spark of God. The Koran, referring to man, talks about the little candle flame burning in a niche in the wall of God’s temple.
This name Buddha means “the man with a light.” but the Light that Buddha had was no ordinary light such as the light of a lamp. His Light was of the heart and for the mind. His Light is not the kind that eyes can see. Nor is his Light the kind that burns ones’ fingers. Buddha’s Light can be felt only with your heart when you know you are at peace with yourself. Buddha’s Light is the Light of Truth.
“The brahma-jyoti, the non-differentiated marginal plane, is the source of infinite jiva souls, atomic spiritual particles of non-differentiated character. The rays of the Lord’s transcendental body are known as the brahma-jyoti, and a pencil of a ray of the brahma-jyoti is the jiva. The jiva soul is an atom in that effulgence, and the brahma-jyoti is a product of an infinite number of jiva atoms. “Generally, souls emanate from the brahma-jyoti which is living and growing. Within the brahma-jyoti, their equilibrium is somehow disturbed and movement begins. From non-differentiation, differentiation begins. From a plain sheet of uniform consciousness, individual conscious units grow. And because the jiva is conscious it is endowed.” – Srila Sridhar Deva Goswami Maharaja
Almost inevitably a spiritual search becomes a search for divine or sacred light. By cultivating our inner core, we search for this light in ourselves as well as the divine.