Bhagawan Shri Venkayya Swamy
Bhagavan Sri Venkaiah Swamy is a famous spiritual saint and is regarded by his devotees as an Avadhuta, and Sadguru. Bhagawan Sri Golagamudi Venkaiah Swamy was born in Nagula Vellaturu, a small village in the Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh to a pious couple Smt Sompalli Pitchamma and Sri Penchalaiah as their eldest son. He had two brothers and a sister. The exact birth date of Swamy is unknown; however, Swamy should be born around 1880-90 as he was about 100 years old at the time of his Maha Samadhi on August 24th, 1982 in Golagamudi.
Preface to Venkaiah Swamy’s Incarnation
Sripada SriVallabha is considered the first incarnation of Lord Dattatreya in Kaliyuga (1320 A.D-1350 A.D). Around that time, somewhere in Andhra region, there used to be a pious Brahmin family very much devoted to Lord Dattatreya. One day, on occasion of thread ceremony of their only son Ananda Sharma (7 years old), an Avadhuta visited their house and explained many divine secrets relating to the chanting of Gayatri mantra, and directed the father of Ananda Sharma to visit Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple in Penchalakona (Nallamala forest area, near Nellore). As directed by Avadhuta, the father, along with his young son Ananda Sharma visited Penchalakona. While at the temple of Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy, the boy’s father fell into a deep Samadhi unexpectedly. That meditation went for several hours and Ananda Sharma was all alone, scared and hungry. A stranger visited him, offered him food and took him to the great Kanva Maharshi who was served by his 101 disciples. That old sage told the boy that he was in fact Kanva Maharshi and that the area was his land of penance. His disciples, even though they appeared young, were thousands of years old. He added that on account of the great Punya earned by seeing Lord Dattatreya in Avadhuta form, he could visit his Tapobhoomi (land of penance). Ananda Sharma was astonished and delighted to have the Darshan of Maharshi. After Kanva Maharshi blessed Ananda Sharma, he was instantly transported to his father at the Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Temple. Ananda Sharma did not disclose his experience with Sage Kanva, or the fact that the new incarnation of Lord Datta was in Pitikapuram (Pitapuram, AP)
Three years passed by. On one fine day around 1325 A.D, few relatives of Ananda Sharma’s family visited them and requested them to join in the pilgrimage to Pitikapuram. After visiting the Kukkuteshwara temple in Pitikapuram, Ananda Sharma’s family decided to visit the much revered Bapanarya, a great scholar and maternal grandfather of Shri Pada Shri Vallabha; the first incarnation of Dattatreya. The Ananda Sharma family and relatives were welcomed with much respect. It was at this auspicious occasion, Ananda Sharma met Shri Pada Shri Vallabha, the Lord Dattatreya incarnation. Ananda Sharma worshipped Shri Pada with great devotion and to Ananda Sharma’s surprise Shri Pada Shri Vallabha blessed him as follows “My grace will be on you in this and all your succeeding births. In your final birth; you will become an Avadhuta with the name Bhagavan Sri Venkaiah Swamy. May you shine well by constantly keeping holy fire (Dhuni); be capable of invoking rains during drought; be capable of saving the worldly difficulties and diseases of your devotees”. This boon given by Shri Pada Shri Vallabha to Ananda Sharma in 1325 A.D manifested in around 1880-90 A.D; when Bhagawan Shri Venkayya Swamy was born to pious couple of Smt Sompalli Pitchamma and Sri Penchalaiah in Nagulavellatur, Nellore.
Born to a religious couple, Venkaiah Swamy. As their eldest son at Nagulavellatur, Sompalli Pitchamma and Sri Penchalaiah – a tiny town in Nellore District, Andhra Pradesh, India. He had a sister and two siblings. Currently, nobody is alive. For a few days, during the evenings, he came to Sri Siddiraju Ramaiah for personal tuition. He left his studies at his teacher after one or two months of poverty. He has been a lover of loneliness since he was five years old.
He used to say them “brother” when his playmates invited him to play! I committed a theft; now I’m going to be arrested by the police. You’ll also be detained if you’re with me. Please leave me. “When the kids left, he used to sit for meditation behind a door.
Swamy and his friends used to go into the woods to collect date fruits etc. He’s going to sit behind a hedge and meditate. If any of his colleagues are disturbing him, he’ll say the same phrases and give them away. At the age of seventeen, he used to cut firewood and bring it on a bullock cart to Nellore and sell it there. He also took and sold at Nellore the banyan leaves that were used to prepare leaf plates.
At that age, he learned to plough at the age of twelve which is impossible. To the greatest satisfaction of the elders, he conducted all kinds of agricultural jobs. He did all the work with so much interest that the people on sight couldn’t but praise the precision of the work
He was suffering from a fever at the age of 20. This made a shift in his life. He used to cry out yogam chakali, yogam jakkali, etc. He was disappearing from his home.He resurfaced in Madras after about twenty years. He came back to Nellore and walked widely around Golgamudi in the villages. He lived in Penna Badvel Thippa for the first time. He came to Kotithirtham later, whom he called his Pandari.He used to light in his samadhi mandir the holy fire or gundam that is still burning. He defined this holy fire as equivalent to a koti linga worship.
He used to compose prophetic pramana patras in nature. A visit to Golgamudi is crucial for anyone following the tradition of Datta avadhuta. Even now, Swami is mysteriously protecting his devotees. In many books, Golagamudi Venkaiah Swamy Miracles were recorded.
Golagamudi, The Shirdi of South
Just like Baba chose Shirdi, a remote village in Maharashtra as his abode, Sri Bhagavan Venkayya Swamy chose Golagamudi, a remote village as his abode for his Maha Samadhi. Golagamudi is located in Venkatachalam Mandal of Nellore district, Andhra Pradesh (About 7 km from the Nellore town). Swamy once told his disciples to note down that only 5 acres of land in Kashi is sacred; whereas, 11 acres of land in Golagamudi was equally sacred. The Mahasamadhi temple and the Dhuni (Gundam) are now located in 11 acres. In addition to what Swamy had said to his disciples, there has been another significance to Golagamudi according to the puranas. It is believed that while Garukmanth was bringing the 7 holy hills to Tirumala from Vaikunta in Krita Yuga; a piece of the hills fell in Golagamudi. This was probably the reason for Swamy choosing Golagamudi as his final resting place. Today, lakhs of devotees visit his Samadhi in Golagamudi, the Shirdi of South.
Day to day life of Swamy
At first glance Swamy, with dust-laden clothes, with a bundle of rope bits on his head, a munta (a small earthen pot) in one hand and a rope on fire on the other hand, ordinary people considered him lunatic. For many years, he wandered on the banks of river Penna. He used to get his food as Biksha from a house chosen by himself. Eventually, moved into a small hut made of palm leaves on a hillock called Ankalammabotu near Rajupalem, Nellore. He always kept an oil lamp burning beside him and played tambura (a stringed musical instrument) all through the night chanting ‘Om Narayana Adi Narayana’. Swamy then moved to the temple premises of Lord Shiva and Kamakshi in Koti Theertham, Nellore across the Penna River. While in Koti Theertham, he used to be deeply absorbed in the divine chant of his Maha mantra ‘Om Narayana Adi Narayana’.
After a few years in Koti Theertham, he travelled village to village on his mission of saving the poor and downtrodden. He never stayed at any devotee’s house. He always resorted to deserted houses, temples, and animal shelters. Finally, he moved to Golagamudi, Nellore, where he stayed in his ashram till his Maha Samadhi.
Shri Swamy maintained a sacred fire called ‘Gundam’ (Dhuni) throughout his life. It is still being maintained after his Maha Samadhi. Irrespective of the season and his stay, he used to have the burning fire next to him. In Hindu traditions fire symbolizes piousness. It burns away all our sins and purifies us. Swamy used to redirect the sins of the devotees to the burning fire and therefore purify them. He resembled Sri Sai Baba of Shirdi who maintained sacred fire throughout his life in Dwarakamayi.
Bhiksha is the food (offerings) that devotees give when someone asks for it. Lord Datta used to take Biksha from his devotees and whoever offers him Biksha will be relieved from their troubles or diseases. Sri Venkaiah Swamy being in Avadhuta tradition followed the same, indicating that he is an avatar of Lord Datta.
He was always dependent on Bhiksha (food offered by earnest devotees). Even though devotees organized grand feasts in presence of Sri Swamy, he still insisted his servants get Biksha from the nearby houses in Golagamudi. He used to say, “Ayya! if we do not go to Biksha today, villagers will not give us Biksha tomorrow”. Even today, before serving Maha Prasadam (Annadanam) at his temple in Golagamudi, volunteers collect Biksha from the neighbourhood and mix it with Maha Prasadam before serving the devotees, thus, continuing the tradition to this date.
Sri Swamy used to bless his devotees in very strange ways. At times, Swamy used to ask them to write their problems on a piece of paper and give it to him. He would bless the paper by touching his forehead. Other times, he used to give his fingerprints on paper and bless his devotees for their prosperity. He also used to give sacred threads (Raksha – to be tied around the wrist) to give protection from evil and often used to write a note on paper and give it as blessings (promissory note). In whichever, he blessed the blessings to come true every single time.
Two months before Mahasamadhi Sri Swamy was very weak. One day he told his disciples that he was going away. Following that, he was unconscious for a few hours. His disciples thought that Sri Swamy was going to take Mahasamadhi and were in great grief. After a few hours, he woke up and said “Ayya! the Gods did not agree and asked me to be here for some more time”. Similarly, Shirdi Sai also got back to his senses after seventy-two hours as mentioned in the life history of Sai.
Following this incident, a few days before Mahasamadhi, Sri Swamy was continuously shouting that sunset was nearby. Figuratively he meant that his mission on earth was coming to an end. Finally, Sri Swamy left his physical body on 24th August 1982 in Golagamudi. Today Sri Swamy Samadhi at Golagamudi, Nellore district, Andhra Pradesh became a pilgrimage center where lakhs of devotees visit Swamy and seek his blessings to mitigate their problems and fulfill their desires with his divine grace. Sri Swamy referred to his Samadhi Mandir as a masjid just like Shirdi Sai. His words came true today as people from all the religions worship Swamy and get solace from their problems. These days, Swamy Samadhi has become the Shirdi of the South.
Sri Swamy beloved sayings
- Feed the hungry but not the burping.
- Whatever you desire will be fulfilled; if asked in full faith.
- For granted, Venkaiah Swamy is in all creatures.
- Even if you leave me, I will not leave you.
- What is it that you gain from having Darshan of the Maharaja of Mysore? You reap what you sow.
- I will be blessing my devotees as per one’s faith.
- I will pick up my lamb even though it is in the herd of thousands.
- Equality and love for all will enable you to realize God.
- I am responsible for the welfare of the people who donate a mouthful of food in my name.
- There is no mantra or tantra, watch and learn from the good around you.
- It is nothing great if a sadhu sticks to dharma. It is great if a householder sticks to dharma.
- We must stick to dharma even while lending money for interest.
- We must achieve nobility, simplicity, and serve Sadguru.
- You will incur a loss of ten rupees for stealing a quarter of a rupee.
- If we crave for a share in the profit; we would also share the sin.
- We should leave a place, rather than asking others to leave.
- If we give up greed, we give up all the sorrows.
- If you are careful that the thread is not severed (connection to him), I will be ever with you.