Swami Premananda ji:
Great personality who upheld Dharma
Swami Premananda ji well known as Ravi Swami in Matale and the
founder of Sri Premananda Ashram situated on a 400 acre land in
Fathimanagar (later named as Premananda Nagar) Trichy and Cadloure
Ashram Chennai, attained Maha Samadhi on February 21, 2011, shortly
after his 59th birthday. He was ceremonially laid to rest in a
sanctified Samadhi, in a special structural Trichy Ashram on February
Swami Premananda ji
His body was placed on a sandlewood chair after laying sacred yantra
plate on the seat and decorated with garlands. The Samadhi structure is
nearly eight feet in length, breath and height. At the centre of the pit
there was in laid a special yantra plate, and cemented over. Thereafter,
the body seated on the sandlewood chair, was gently lowered into the pit
and a new set of Swamiji's clothes were draped on the body. The body was
then gradually covered with various items that were considered
auspicious for the occasion, such as, Vibuthi, Vellam, Camphor,
Navathaniam, Viva and Thulasi leaves and garlands made of cardamoms etc.
Finally, the rest of the pit was filled with sand up to brim and a
lingam was placed. This pit was dug inside the Shivan temple where Swami
Premananda ji started when he was living, and the temple Moolasthan will
be the place where the Lingam was placed on the Samadhi structure.
Thereafter, special poojas were conducted thrice a day for 40 days.
For Swami Premananda ji's maha Samadhi ceremony, there was a
gathering in the thousands, including a large number of foreign devotees
from Belgium, Switzerland, France, Italy, Sri Lanka etc. The Samadhi
ceremony was conducted according to Swami Premananda ji's advice given
to the doctor who was a regular visitor to the prison where Swamiji was
* The great Saint Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa said, “Saints and sages
have to undergo agonies and suffer. They sacrifice themselves for the
welfare of mankind”.
* Disciple Devadatta, a very close relation of Gauthama Buddha tried
his best to defame the Buddha.
* Lord Krishna was born inside jail.
* Lord Rama was sent to the forest and he was there for 14 years.
* Christ was betrayed by one of his disciples named Judas. The rulers
of that country gave a judgment to crucify Christ.
* Sathya Sai Baba's own students tried to kill him.
Likewise Swami Premananda ji had to go to jail due to the allegations
made by some of his own orphanage children and close associates.
Swami Premananda's character was independent, critical, but not
cynical. He was never downcast, or felt helpless. He had a wonderful
power of forgiving men for their faults. When anyone spoke harshly to
him he did not retort.
He expressed his sense of gratefulness even for a single act of
kindness, done to him by others. He never remembered if one rendered,
hundreds of unkind acts. He had no time for gossip, scandal, or useless
little talk. Swami Premananda ji was a great personality who upheld
nothing but the Dharma.
Whether we look upon Swami Premananda as an Avatar of Vishnu or as a
human being a perfect exemplar of all human virtues, we are wearied
admires of Swami Premananda's transcendental excellence. Those who look
upon Swami Premananda as an Avatara seek the trace of his perfection to
his being ad hoc human manifestation of the divine person; on the other
hand those who regarded Swami Premananda as a perfect human being seem
to my view as doing justice to his character in that the perfection of
his character is regarded as the result of strenuous self-discipline not
the mere sifi of the divine. However, it is perhaps fair to say that the
difference between the two views seems narrower than is often thought.
Human qualities in such perfection are not indeed anything but a product
of the grace of the divine.
I have mentioned above that Swami Premananda was known in Matale as
Ravi Swami. Once Ravi was addressing a meeting at Koombiangoda hall in
Matale on Vijayadassamy day after Navarathri when a strange thing
occurred. Despite lack of electricity and running water the hall was
crowded with devotees. Ravi's parents also were present there. Suddenly
people saw a light around his whole body. An ochre robe, which was in
two parts, the top and a dothi, appeared on him, amidst the wandering
gaze of all present. He was being granted spiritual initiation by an
invisible hand. The miracle received press coverage but Ravi's parents
objected to publishing about this event in the newspapers. As far as his
parents were concerned, they did not like this change because it was
considered demeaning to have a son as a Swami and a mendicant. But Swami
ji was delighted with this experience and vowed to himself that he would
always wear a robe and that he would live up to the principles of a
Swami, to be of service to mankind, and to be an example to his
devotees. According to my view there were two living Avatar's upto 2011.
That is Sathya Sai Baba and Swami Premananda ji. Both attained Maha
Samadhi last year.
Mahashivarathri is a sacred day for Hindus. On this day, Lord Shiva
manifests himself in the form of lingam. This manifestation takes place
after midnight on Mahashivrathri day. On this particular night an
auspicious phenomenon takes place. Swami Premananda manifests four to
five lingams and brings them forth through his throat and mouth which is
an in voluntary sacred happening in him.
He had performed this act on all Mahashivarathri days, each year for
the past 42 years until 2010. Though he was in jail this sacred
happening continued every year during Mahashivarathri period. Not only
lingothpavam (taking out lingams) Vibuthi (Holy Ash) also comes out from
his mouth. In 1989, we openly saw the Holy Ash pouring from all over his
body during the lingothbava. Swami Premananda said it is God's Grace
manifesting through his body in a tangible form for our sake. To receive
Vibuthi from an enlightened soul is a rare opportunity. Such Vibuthi has
the power to cure disease, solve problems, relieve physical and mental
pain and nullify the effect of past deeds.
In the early years of his mission in Sri Lanka he played the role of
playmate to the orphanage children and a friend and companion to the
elders who visited Poobala Krishna Ashram (Gandhi memorial hall) in
Matale (adjoining land to the Rest House premises).
He was in the practice of having trips, sathsang programmes at public
places and at houses of devotees for small gatherings. He had a charming
personality which exuded a spiritual glow of his radiant smile and eyes
flashing. He is a very striking figure five feet in height wearing
saffron or red colour attire.
He had dark curly hair like halo on his head. This human magnet drew
men, women and children of all races and religions towards him. He is an
extraordinary person with super natural powers. I have experienced and
witnessed his divine and miraculous powers. By this time he had Ashrams
in Jaffna and Puliyankulam.
With the riots of July 1983, that took place in Sri Lanka there was
an exodus of the victims of the riots. The Matale Poobala Krishna
Arshram was burnt and destroyed.
Swami Premananda ji accommodated a large number of members of the
Matale Ashram and orphanage children at Fathimanagar Ashram, in Tamil
Nadu and helped them to re-orient their lives in foreign climes and also
spread his spiritual message to the world at large.
Similar Premananda groups later sprang up in America, Japan,
Singapore, Germany, London, France, Belgium, Spain and Italy.
I furnish below some important extracts from his Sathsang programmes;
* In Matale Ashram he mentioned during a Sathsang programme that in
his previous birth he had 18 disciples and all of them have been born
again in different parts of the world. When he is about to attain Maha
Samadhi he will summon them from the different parts of the world. On an
auspicious day in the presence of said disciples and devotees he will
disappear. After his Samadhi he said that there will be a spring in
front of the present hall. This spring water will be able to cure people
just like the miraculous water of Lourdes in France. * A devotee
questioned; are we near to the period of destruction?
Swamiji replied it will not happen by war or due to bombs. It will
happen through natural calamities. Even if the world gets destroyed
tomorrow we cannot do anything about it. That is not our business. As
long as we are alive let us do something useful and good to society and
self without having selfish motives. God is Truth and Truth is God.
* You always look to find out other faults. You always tell others
that you do not like them doing this, that and the other. When we are on
the correct path, let us tell others about it. Let us all move on the
correct path together. In such a manner, let us advise our own minds and
correct our own mistakes. Therefore, try to purify your own mind.
* Don't give money to find out and try to know God.
Don't give money to Premananda to see God.
Spiritually nothing can be achieved through money.
You do not need money to approach God or Nirvana.
* Monks of all religions, there are some who are genuine and some who
are not. In Sri Lanka, Buddhist people have much devotion and prostrate
themselves before the monks and render due respect to all Buddhist monks
and accept them.
But you (Hindus) do not give this same respect to all Swamis. Some of
you all even wonder about me. If you do not truly like them it is better
you stay aloof rather than putting them down. Be kind and loving to
them. Do not suspect them. If they are wrong then that is their sin and
it will not leave them.
(Swami Premananda ji)
I would like to conclude this article as follows. Bodhisatvas always
committed their lives to the salvation of all the spiritual aspirants in
this world. He will not attain Nirvana and will continue to foster our
spiritual developments. So, let us give up petty arguments and surrender
ourselves completely to the cosmic will or Dharma and to live according
to whatever the religion we follow.