"Feed the hungry not the belching. Respond to the needy, help people in trouble." are some of the sayings of the saint from Golgamudi.
It is a difficult question to answer who Sri Venkaiah Swamy is. Some say he is physician supreme who has cured many incurable diseases like cancer, some say he is avatar of Lord Datta who has uplifted many spritual seekers to reach their spritiual goal but every one agrees that he is for the benefit of the people.
A Saint of Golagamudi, a small village near Nellore, is the embodiment of dharma and practised dharma through out his life. He has always been the saviour for the ones who belived him and came to him for help. He helped his devotees and disciples in all possible means. As God rescue's every creature in the universe and lead them to the divine path, Sadguru Venkaiah Swamy also helps not only human beings but also he is the only saviour for cattle, and all creatures who came to his presence at the time of dire need. Sri Venkaiah Swamy resembles Sri Sai baba of Shiridi in many ways. The experiences of the devotees confirm that they both used similar ways to save their devotees. You can know more about it in his life history.
Sri Venkaiah Swamy was born in a Kamma family to a pious couple Smt Sompalli pitchamma and Sri Penchalaiah as their eldest son at Nagulavellatur - a village in Nellore district. He has two brothers and a sister. No one is alive now.We do not have exact date of birth of Sri Swamy. Swamy said he was 13 at the time of great famine in the year DATU. By that, Swamy should be more than 100yrs at the time of his maha samadhi (this was from a old lawyer in Nellore).
In his boyhood, he was just like any other boy of his age. For a few days he went for a private tution, during nights, to Sri Siddiraju Ramaiah. After one or two months due to poverty he discontinued his studies at his tutor. From the age of 5 he is a lover of loneliness. When his playmates invited him to play then he used to avoid them politely by saying "Brother! I have commited a theft; now the police will come and arrest me. If you are with me you will also be arrested. Please go away from me". When the children went away he used to sit behind a door for meditation(says Komarigiri Ramaiah a servant who had served Swamiji nearly 30 yrs). Swamy used to go to jungle along with his friends to collect date fruits. He will sit behind a bush and carry on meditation. If any of his friends disturb him he will tell the same words and send them away.
It is always the tough times which shows the differences of a common man from a yogi. A true saint will take all his troubles as a tests from god and see divine bliss after crossing every hurdle. Similarly, Sri Venkaiah Swamy has took all responsibilities of his family at very early stage. At the age of 16 he used to earn expenses for his family. He used to cut firewood and sell it in the near by town. He also used to bring banyan leaves, which were used for the preparation of leave plates, from the forest and sold them at Nellore (a near by town to his village).
His sister Mangamma who died in 1989 at Golagamudi narrated his boyhood in this manner. He learned ploughing at the age of 12 which was impossible for any one at that age. Every one was surprised on how Swamy learnt all the work without any help, but at that time there were none to guess a yogi within Sri Swamy. He performed all sorts of agricultural work to the best satisfaction of elders. He did every work to utmost precision that every one wondered and cannot control their expression to appreciate Sri Swamy. The furrows laid in the field were so straight that the egg kept at one end was seen from other end. They were like the lines drawn using ruler. He cut the crop so neatly that it resembled machine cutting. All the crop was cut at the same height. All the heaps was of equal bulk and not even a single plant was scattered. He demonstrates us that doing even a smallpiece of work assiduously, was yoga itself. He used to work in the fields for the daily wages also. His parents treated him with great regard. They used to send swamy's sister or brother to assist him to get the grain home. When Swamy was 5, he sowed tamarind, margosa etc around his house. Even though they did not take proper care of them, they grew up into big trees. At that time we could not know that they are miraculous hands of a yogi.
Sri Swamy's sister says, "Even from his childhood he was very intelligent and was respected. Even though I was quite younger to him, he never addressed in singular name. He always called me by full name. I used to call him Venkanna just like his playmates." But he corrected me saying "You should not call me Venkanna like the other boys, Sister! You should call me "brother" You should not call me by name."
"He was leader for all his playmates. They came to him to settle their disputes. At the time of my marriage he was not considered a lunatic. My mother wanted to seek an alliance, for my marriage, from a faroff village, Rajapadmapuram. Sri Swamy was not willing to send me to such a distant place. So he quarrelled with my mother on this issue. But my mother was adamant and settled the same alliance. He did not attend the marriage function and slept in the fields expressing his dissatisfaction. "
This is the turning point in Sri Swamy's life to move out of his home to continue his spritual goals. For an external world it may appear that he is going aganist his family but one point to guess here is he took his family responsibilities till his sister is married. In Indian tradition, it is one of the major responsibilities for a elder brother to get his sister married which Sri Swamy fulfilled according to sastras. Now he turned towards his Spritual quests.
Lover of truth:
Sri Swamy right from his childhood never lied at any point of time. Rather, every word and every prediction of Sri Swamy came true. Once during the childhood of Sri Swamy, a beggar came to his house to take alms. Swamy's mother replied that there is no grain in house. Swamy immediately asked him to come after an hour and collect grain. He always encouraged every one to be honest than to escape from truth.
After his sister's marriage, Sri Swamy has strong internal urge to carry on his spiritual sadhanas. He wants to be alone without any hinderances for his sadhana. Once, at the age of 20, he was suffering with severe fever for a week. In those days there were no medicines or hospitals as today and fasting is the only remedy. He took few ground nut peas and was in bed. One day he began to speak insane words. He asked his parents "Our house is going to be auctioned, where will u live?" There were no debts to his family. How could it be auctioned and by whom? As they could not make out any meaning or reason for his words, they concluded that he was off his brain due to severe fever. So, they started doing all sorts of tantric and quack treatments. After a month he began to run round the streets shouting "Mangal Yoga, Chakal Yoga, Zakkala Yoga" dubuduck dubuduck.He used to move only in lonely places. He did not take food and water for 2 or 3 days. He did not come to the house. No one knows what spritual sadhanas he used to do during that time. His parents used to send food tied in a piece of cloth through a cooli. Swamy used to follow the cooli and come home. After taking his meal, he used to runout hurriedly.
People used to think that he is insane when he is running on streets saying "Mangal Yoga, Chakal Yoga, Zakkala Yoga dubuduck dubuduck". Is he really insane? Does it mean any thing? Probably, people during that time could not make out hidden meaning in it and concluded that he used to say meaning less words. In this Kaliyuga Lord datta promised that he is going to take avatar in the form of Avadhutas. People in this yuga should believe in the lotus feet of Sadguru to get rid of all their sins and get spiritually advanced. Sadguru cleanses his devotees just as a dhobi (Washerman) removes dirt from the clothes. He removes all the sins of his devotees and make them pure and eligible for spritual progress. Sadguru removes unwanted samskaras from his devotees which are obstacles for their spritual growth just as barber takes out the unwanted waste from us. Sadguru Venkaiah Swamy used to mention how he uplifts people in a very crisp and mystic way but unfortunately, at that time, there is no one to understand hidden truth of his words.
He used to snatch food from dhobi, barbers, and other low caste people and eat. Caste system was very strictly followed in those days. Due to endless wanderings in forests without food and drink for days together, all his clothes were torn to rags. When he came home his mother gave him sumptuous feeding and kept new clothes ready for him. He put on the new clothes and ran out into forest. At this stage all people called him mad Venkaiah.
Once his parents tied him to a pole by foot and hand and gave him some treatments. When he was tied swamy never resisted them and used to bear it to any length of time. As there was no improvement in his condition his mother set him free as she could not bear the sight of her son being bound to a pole like a bull.
During this time he lived in Rajapadmapuram for some time taking food at his sister Mangamma's house. One day the village children asked Swamy "Venkanna, please tell us story, we will give u sankati", Swamy crisply replied " If rice is given, sight will be lost, so give sankati only". They came to conclusion that he was not at all mad. He neither abhorred nor bet any one. He would never use impolite language. He would ask only those who would give him food. The only thing which was different from all others was that he would be wandering in lonely places without any rest.
His occult powers: One day Sri Swamy came to Mangamma to take her to his native place, Nagula Vellatur to see his mother who was ill. She thought "If I go with this mad boy he may leave me some where in the middle. Now what to do?" At once Omniscient Swamy crisply replied to her unuttered thought "What sister! I am not such a mad boy to leave you in the middle of the way". This shows his super human powers right from childhood.
One day Mangamma's son was seriously ill. She was crying in fear. At once Swamy waved his palm on the face of the child and said "Sister! You need not fear. The child will be alright. Strangely, from that moment the child began to recover gradually.
There were many number of incidents to prove that he was endowed with occult powers even from his childhood. But the pity was no body could believe his powers. They thought that it happened by chance.
While people considered him as Lunatic and ignored him Sri Swamy used to do yogic sadhana in the lonely places. He used to hang his head downwards by twisting his legs to the branches of a tree that projected into the wells. When he lost the grip of the twist he would fall head long into the well. He will swim out of the well and again hang in the same fashion.
This type of sadhana was given to Sri Sai by his spiritual teacher and was also practiced by many saints. Swamy's younger brother narrates some such habits of Swamy which he saw. If any double bullock card was going on the road Swamy would sleek behind the cart and hung head downwards twisting his legs to the cart. If anybody noticed it the he would sit right nicely.
He was wandering freely in his village for two or more years. One day he disappeared from the village. Nobody knew his whereabouts. His parents searched for him in the near by forest and villages but in vain. They lost hope and gave up their trials. At this time he was aged twenty years.
After four or five years he again appeared in the neibouring villages. But by this time he was no more a mad person. He was called Sri Venkaiah Swamy. Every body treated him with great respect and reverence. At this stage he was able to cure incurable diseases only with a word or by giving a piece of thread or incense.
Swamy's younger brother narrates - Swamiji used to sit at a distance of 4 inches from the sacred fire eventhough flames were raising to heights. We cannot tolerate it from such a close distance. After his days wanderings he would go to his sister's house for food. When he brother-in-laws zeered at him that he is eating wastefully, he would not stay there any further. Whenever he came home, we should silently serve him and come out of his room, only then he would eat. If we stand there he would ask for privacy.
After his ramblings in forest he would gather 2 kilos of groundnuts from forests and give it to his sister and eat food in her house, probably, he did not want to be indebted to his sister.
After he left his native place, Nagulavellatur, he never entered to that village again. His brother requested to come to village but swamy did not enter to that village. At that time his family was cutting maize crop. He began to cut the crop with his usual slogan Chakal yoga, mangal yoga and did double the work, four days work was done in two days.
Sri Swamy maintained sacred fire called Dhuni throughout his life. It is still being maintained after his Maha Samadhi(shedding his moral coil). Irrespective of season or day where ever he stays he used to have burning fire next to him. In hindu traditions fire symbolises pious ness. It burns away all your sins and purify oneself. Swamy redirects all sins of the devotees to the burning fire and whence purify them. None else apart from saints in Datta tradition could be able to do this. He resembles Sri Sai Baba of Shiridi who maintained sacred fire throughout his life in Dwarakamai.
At kotitheertham village, once a very big log of wood came to the banks of the river through flood waters. Many tried to take it home but they could not take it as it is very heavy. But the next day morning that log was burning in the sacred fire of Sri Swamiji. The villagers reproached swamy for burning useful log. One of them slapped swamy. By the time those people went to their home their houses were in flames. They came running to swamy and begged his pardon. Swamy assured them saying that only sinners will be effected and the rest will be saved. Only the house of the reprobate was burnt to ashes and all others were safe and intact. The reprobate prostrated at the feet of Swamy and begged his pardon.
In those days there very few visitors for Swamy's darshan. On seeing his fire, palmyrah leaves, gunny bags, aliminum utensils, dust ladden clothes, ordinary people took him to be lunatic. How can ordinary people understand dispassion of a saint? Only those devotees who has personal experience came to the darshan of Sri Swamy and took him as "the God on earth".
Saints from many ashrams used to come to have darshan of Swamy. Once Chidananda swamy, Madhavananda swamy and Devananda swamy from Rushikesh - sivananda ashramam were coming for darshan of Sri Swamy. On hearing this thousands of people came to Golagamudi to take darsan of these swamis. As they did not turn up on time mob was disappointed and were on their way to home, atonce swamy said, "Ayya! they are coming still there is a little time". Really within few minutes those swamiji came in taxis. When they came they were immensed in chanting devine nama, "Narayana, Narayana." They all prostrated to the feet of Sri Venkaiah Swamy. They realised vishnu tatwam (protector of the world) in Sri Swamy and treated him as Lord Vishnu. Poor villagers, they were wonder struck to see how Venkaiah Swamy is treated with greatest reverence and this incident is a eye opener for them to realise the greatness of Sri Venkaiah Swamy and treat him as "God on Earth." Madhavananda swamy offered sweets to Sri Swamy. Swamy Said, " Ayya ! Eating sweets is same as eating poison, give these to every one who gathered here." Madhavananda Swamy realised his mistake, begged pardon and distributed sweets to every one around. Sri Swamy blessed Chidananda Swamy that he will cross ocean on a tour, to his surprise as soon as he returned from Golagamudi he as to go for a tour for America.
On another occasion when sweets were offered to Sri Swamy, he mixed chilli powder, killed the taste and took it. Sri Swamy never in his life time cherished on taste of the food items. He only takes diet which is exactly sufficient to maintain body. He never comments on the taste of the item offered. When any thing is offered to swamy, he always distributed it among his servants. He took very little part which comes as biksha.
It is offering of devotees when any one comes to their house for alms. Lord Datta used to take biksha from his devotees and who ever offers him biksha they will be relieved from their troubles or diseases. Sri Venkaiah Swamy being in avadhuta tradition followed the same way indicating that he is avatar of lord datta. Eventhough devotees organised poor feeding and functions in presence of Sri Swamy, he still insisted his servants to get biksha from the near by houses in Golagamudi. He always sticked to his tradition (of Lord Datta) who lived by biksha.
One day two famous magicians came to golagamudi. They sat under a tree in front of the ashram at 10AM. They did not move upto 4 PM. They did not speak to any one in the ashram. During this period swamy raised flames of dhuni. At 4 PM swamy ordered his men to give food and Rs 2 to these two men as they are tired of day's work. At the time of departure they said, "We were very jealous of Sri Swamy's fame and we came to do witch craft on swamy. It is very strange that we forgot our purpose and sat silently. Merciful swamy treated us with affection and we are not eligible for his compassion and love." They prostrated before swamy with whole hearted repentance for their misdeeds.
One day Swamy was suffering from Asthama. As a remedy servants gave Swamy cup of garlic essence and pulse came down (almost to zero). Thinking that Swamy would shed off his physical frame they all started to weep with grief. They were dosing at night and during early hours they could not find swamy. They searched for him at every place and could not find him. Finally after some time they found him returning from bath with smiles leaving every one around in surprise about the previous suffering.
One day it was pouring heavily. Swamy was sitting under a tree and protecting his sacred fire. Drops of water are falling from leaves of the trees but with strong determination swamy is making fire by putting thin dry twigs. Devotees requested Swamy to shift the fire into temple. Swamy said, " Ayya! it will lead a hole". Devotees could not understand this. Probably he means that, if on account of difficulty, if we break our principle the roof of the temple called Swadharma(ones own duty) will be broken. His every blazing Dharma nistha will also be put out like the fire in the rain. If it is the decision of the God to extinguish his fire, even though he shifted the fire into the temple, it will certainly be put out by a leakage in the roof of the temple. So, it is better to continue as it is without changing its place."
Once a rich man left a costly bedsheet for Swamy even though Swamy refused to accept it. Sri Swamy's servants kept it with them. During hot summer, at 1 PM Swamy wanted to come down from Siddalaiah hill. On the way swamy stopped them at a place and asked for a new bedsheet. Servants were very happy to offer the new bed sheet of the rich man to Swamy. Swamy asked them to make it into small pieces of 6 inches width. When they cut into small pieces he asked them to give them to the patients as his blessings. These would relieve them from the suffering.
He always used gunny bags palmyrah plates and mats, earthen pots and utensils made of aluminum. He never allowed his servants to keep costly articles with them. One day a rich man, even after direction of Swamy, left a costly zip bag at Swamy. One of the servants took it and kept his clothes in it. Swamy put the zip bag into the fire with the help of the stick. As a punishment of receving the bag a servant lost his clothes.
Lived by Biksha:
Without shradda and devotion if rich people offered money he refused it and did not give blessings. When people come with sincere devotion and sradha they get his blessings written in piece of paper. He is always dependent on biksha(food offered by earnest devotees). When wishes of the devotees are fulfilled by swamy they conducted anna santarpana in presence of Swamy. Some other people conducted such feasts during festivals. Even during such occasions his servants should inevitably go out and collect biksha. He used to say, "Ayya! if we do not go to villagers as these people are conducting feasts tomorrow villagers will not give us biksha."
Servants once asked swamy, what would be their fate when he takes samadhi? Swamy promptly replied that he would arrange every thing for his devotees and they need not beg for food. They will get food even if they are in forests. On some other occassion for the similar question Swamy assured, "I will not go any where. I will be available till sun and moon exist."
He never accepted service of his servants when their minds were polluted with bad thoughts, anger, abuse etc. One day Guravaiah served gruel after listening to his colleagues critising others. Swamy said, "You have come here after listening some comments. I cannot take gruel from you." Upto 1978 Swamy never accepted new clothes from any one. He is always satisfied with his rags and torn out bed sheets which were got by begging. Also he never allowed his servants to receive new clothes from others.
At times he used to ask his servants to take straight. However thorny or full of boulders the path may be, straight means straight. His servants never used shoes. One of his servant says,"On his command we uttered omkar loudly and walked straight stepping on thorns and rocks. By the grace of Sri Swamy not even a single thorn had pricked our feet. Even though we carried Sri Swamy from 12 noon to 3 PM, without any rest and food, across such a rugged path, at times on burning sand we never got fatigued." Swamy used to say, "Ayya! Gods from heaven have paid thirty crores and took receipt."
One day Swamy pointed to sacred fire and said, "Ayya here is the worship of crore lingas being carried out."
Palkonda Subba Reddy says, "Once Swamy was saying at Mudigedu village. Daily when returned from bath he asked me to carry a bundle of chaff of dried gingilly oil plants. Within a month the compound of A Venkata Rami Reddy was filled with the bundles of dried gingilly oil plants. One day I asked Swamy What for are these Swamy ?" Swamy replied, "Ayyo after a month there will be continous pouring for days together. At that time this chaff will be the only source to our fire" Actually there was continous down pour. Logs of wood were laid on the floor under a thatched shelter. These dry gingilly oil twigs were placed on the logs and fire continued to burn. The rain water flowed under the logs of wood! A Vekata Rami Reddy has to accept the fact that Sri Swamy is aware of every happening in the nature.
On 20th June 1974 Sri Swamy was very very weak. Devudula Venkataiah thought that Sri Swamy will not survive long. At once omniscient Swamy answered his doubts: "Ayya! I am not going just now. I should be here for a period of eight years, two months and four days." Exactly on that day Sri Swamy had his Mahasamadhi.
From the year before his Mahasamadhi he was continously asking for chappals. He never used chappals in his life time. He wanted to establish padukas as his representatives resembling datta tradition. His devotees wanted to make sandal wood padukas. But they could not make it in time. One day swamy continously shouting "chappals, chappals." The Omnipotent swamy mysteriously impelled Rosi Reddy's son to get a pair of padukas. He hugged those padukas and did not leave them for hours. Those padukas are now worshipped in Guru sthanam (Place where Swamy used to be in meditation for longer times and where he left his mortal coil) in Golagamudi.
In the month of April 1982 Sri Rama Navami day Sri Guravaiah, his close servant had a dream. In that dream Sree Rama came with Seetha and Lakshmana and requested Sri Swamy "Your time is over, shed off your body and come along with us".
Two months before Mahasamadhi Sri Swamy was very weak with asthama. One day he asked them to write on piece of paper "I am going away" He was unconscious for few hours. All the devotees thought that Sri Swamy was going to take Mahasamadhi. The servants were in great grief. After few hours he woke up and sat erect and said "Ayya! the Gods did not agree and asked me to be here for some more time".
In the same way Shiridi Sai also got back his senses after seventy two hours as mentioned in life history of Sai.
Four days before Mahasamadhi Sri Guravaiah had a dream vision. A celestial charriot from heaven came and stood before swamy. Sri Swamy got into the charriot. Guravaiah also tried to get into it. But the inmates did not allow him to get into it. The charriot went into the sky and disappeared.
Three days before Mahasamadhi Sri Guravaiah goat a dream. The picture of Sri Swamy which was in Samadhi Mandir, came into the thatched shed where Sri Swamiji was living and stood by the side of Shiridi Sai picture. It is an indication that here after, his devotees should worship his picture just as they are worshipping Sai.
A few days before Mahasamadhi, Sri Swamy was continously shouting "It is Sun Set, it is sun set" On one hand he means that his avatar's mission on earth was coming to an end and on the other hand to evoke the people to get up from their deep slumber and use their precious time in Sadhana for the realisation of mukthi.
Sri Swamy already predicted his Mahasamadhi to Rosi Reddy through a vivid vision for a few days continously. In his vision he saw a "fine and bright sun set".
On that day, 24th August 1982 Guravaiah completed the devotional reading of the life history of Madhavadasu. In his life history a chariot from heaven took Madhavadasu to heaven.
Sri Swamy shed off his mortal coil in 24th August 1982. The servants and devotees thought that he was in Yoga sleep and wake up again. They hopefully waited for 3 days. On the third day Guravaiah was possessed a trance like state, and carried Sri Swamy's body to Samadhi Mandir from the thatched shed, saying that Sri Swamy directed him to preserve his body in the samadhi on the same day.
Pallam Reddy thought "Sri Swamy is undoubtedly a great saint. But why was his body swollen like that of an ordinary man?" Pallam Reddy removed his shirt and banian and got down into the Samadhi pit. He lowered swamy's body into the pit. By the time he came out of pit his chest was smeared with fresh blood. It was not from his body. It was from the body of swamy. While Guravaiah was carring Sri Swamy's body, through the hedge gate, a thorn might have pricked Sri Swamy's shoulder and it is bleeding. The bleeding of warm blood from a three days old dead body is a extraordinary thing. This answered doubts of Pallam Reddy.
In 1980 Sri Swamy, once pointed a place in Golagamudi and said there will come up a maszid as big as Penchala Swamy hill. By the end of 1981 Sri Swamy's words turned to be true. Within a year there was built up a big Samadhi Mandir for Swamy. But why did Swamy call his samadhi mandir as maszid? Undoubtedly Sri Swamy confirmed in his own words his oneness with Shirdi Sai. A good number of devotees experiences also prove the same truth.
Dwarakamai is the name given by Shirdi Sai Baba to the Maszid where he lived for sixty years. This maszid is unique in this world as no maszid in this world allows people of all religions to worship there according to their own rituals except the maszid of Saibaba at shirdi. Sri Swamy also referred his samadhi mandir as maszid. His words came true because people from all the religions worship Swamy and get solace from their problems.
Once Sri Swamy assured, "I will pull my lambby leg, even though it is mixed up among thousands of sheep". That means, Sri Swamiji says he would pull his devotees where ever they may be and drag them towards him.