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Malladihalli Raghavendra Swamiji : (1895- 1996


Malladihalli Raghavendra svamiji, was a profound, Yogacharya, and Ayurveda ratna,
who gave life to thousands of patients who came to him. His yoga demonstrations
were well cited in most of his devotees who are running Yoga centers in Malaysia,
USA, Australia, and England. Some of them have settled in Bengaluru, Maisuru,
and other cities of our country. Svamiji, was a scholar, in Kannada literature,
studied Sanskrit, and knew Hindi, Konkani, English, and Tulu languages. “Brihad
Yogadarshana” Is the reference book, on all aspects of Yoga, for the promising
students of Yoga. This book deals all the fundamental aspects of Yoga, including
‘Angamardana kriya,’ as well ! He was an excellent organizer, prolific Speaker,
Writer, Actor, and Singer. More than any thing, he was a great human being! He
loved the poor, oppressed and downtrodden, and spent his entire life in the
upliftment of their lives. Gandhiji’s teachings had a great influence on him.

Raghavendra Swamiji was not like the other Swamijis’ who belong to particular sect
or group. He did not belong to any cult or section of a particular cast, or sect.
His universal message of Service and love for the entire mankind, has become self
evident. Svamiji was born like that and practiced the same till his end. He was a
self made man, who brought the divine bliss to an obscure village, called
Malladihalli- which was unknown to some of the people of Karnataka even. The
sleepy hamlet had the major share of Devanga community, and next in the order is
Kurubas- farming community, and the rest are Dalits, Muslims and others.

Kumara swami, as he was named by his parents, Shri. Anantha padmanabha nambudari,
and his wife Padmambal, born in the state of Kerala, during 1891. The baby boy,
was terribly sick, suffering from “Balagraha pide “and was unable to cry or smile,
and recognize his own parents, Leave alone Nambudaris, he was not responding to
any one. He was like a piece of flesh, just opening and closing his eye- lids
occasionally. Nambudaris were old., they were not keeping good health either.
They approached all Ayurvedic pandits and Yogis for help. English medicines were
unknown then ; even the medical science had not developed. But nothing helped
them. Mother was very much disturbed with the child and went to several Gods and
Goddesses, to get the ‘Anugraha’. Finally some one suggested that, ‘Devi
Mukambika’ is the goddess of ‘wakshakti’ , and hence to go to her mercy.

The temple was far away at Kolluru. Although it was a few hundred kilometers
away, there were no buses or motorcars then. There were no roads, and one has to
walk all the distance amidst jungles, rivers, and some times wild beasts.
Nambudaries determined to visit Kollur. They took their 14 year old son, in their
arms, and back and traveled all the way by bullock carts, and most of the times by
walk. Finally they landed at a place called ‘Barakur’. It was already night, and
they sought the shelter in a house of a Brahmin. His name was Sri. Narasimhaiah, a
Gamaki, Scholar, and a Yakshagana specialist; and his wife were Smt. Puthalibai.
Both were very ‘satvik’ people, and offered a place in the corner of their
coconut garden.

Nambudari, was an Astrologer, Priest and a great scholar of Sanskrit. He was
advising the village folks, and helping in their Ceremonies, rituals, pujas etc;
in the process he was getting some money as Dakshina.
Once, the acting Swamiji of ‘Mantralayam math’, came to the village of Barakur
and had his camp, in the sourrounding villages. Padmambal, was very keen to meet
Svamiji and show her child, Kumarasvami, and get the blessings from the seer.
Manthralayam Swamiji, saw the boy and blessed the child, with ‘Mantrakshate’. He
said that, all the ailments would be cured by the grace of God, and he would be a
great man one day, and will help to uplift the lives of poor and needy.

Swamiji from Mantralayam had blessed the boy, and also christened him as
Raghavendra. These words some how made Padmabal immensely happy; with out her
senses, she was repeating the lines that guruji said, ‘My son will become a great
person one day, and will help the poor and the needy’ ! She was suffering from
body pain and temperature was rising on her forehead. She died leaving her beloved
child in the lap of her husband.

Ananth Padmanabha Nambudari, was bewildered. How to look after this grown up
child ; Kumara svami was already 15 years old then. Nambudari begged Narasimhaiah,
and wife Puthalibai, to help him to take care of his child. But they had their
own children .How to take care of a boy who is so sick and not able to look after
himself. One scholarly person from Bhirthi, Pandit Ramachandrashastry advised
Puthali bai, to take care of the orphan child. He advised Puthalibai, that a
mother less child needs a special care and only she could give it. Since his words
carried highest reverence and weight age in their family, he convinced the couple
to take care of the motherless child. The monetary help would be provided by him
and as well as by Nambudari. Puthalibai, sincerely followed the words of her guru,
and adopted Kumaraswamy as her own child. That day was the auspicious Ugadi, day
in 1906.

This was the greatest turning point in the life of Kumumarasvami. Nambudari,
could not stay there, he offered money all that he had to the couple and left for
Himalayas to meditate and spend his rest of his life there. Some how, it was
proved right. The boy started watching at the faces of the people whoever comes in
contact; lips started moving a little, and there was a significant improvement in
taking food. This metamorphosis happened all of a sudden, like a miracle. No one
could believed including Narasimhaiah and Putlibai. Raghavendra, started
walking like other boys in the neighborhood, and practically he was one among

All the schooling up to matriculation was done at kundapur. He had some very good
teachers like shivaramaiah, who initiated him to study kannada literature, and
provided him all the books of great of kannada lieterature.

Raghavendra was very studious, in his studies, he was very good in acting, singing
and speaking on the stage. Above all, he was conducting himself with the elders,
and friends, made everybody spell bound. The exemplary character he possessed.
Every one wanted to talk to him and help in whatever way they can.

A Swamiji called Nityananda, came to his house. Narasimhaiah was a great devotee
and had immense reverence for swamiji. Swamiji was residing at the house of
Narasimphaiah. Bhajan, kirtan and pravachans were being conducted for a week
period. During the period Ragahva helped swamiji in his pooja, and other things.
Swamiji had great love and affection towards Raghava and wanted to offer him
Ramataraka mantra and did so on the last day. Raghava was very emotional, and now
he became completely aloof from the worldly events. His Metric exams were fast
approaching but he never bothered. He wanted to witness God, and have the
blessing of the almighty ! The quest for realizing God in his mind, enhanced and
he some how could not overcome it.
His Kannada teacher, Shri Shivaramaiah came in rescue of him; he told Raghava, to
complete Metric and afterwards any thing could be done. Raghava now explores the
world, and started learning yoga, Ayurveda vidya and with palani svamiji the
muscle building. While learing Vyayama at ‘Jumma dada Vyayam shala’, Baroda under
Professor Manikya rao, after successfully completing the course, he was granted
BPC degree in presence of Baba Guru Lakshmana das, of ‘Kaivalyashram’, Lahore.
All these career developments were done with the help of Swami shivananda. He was
very much satisfied with his performance of Raghavendra. Now he felt the time has
come to bless him to hand over out to the mankind. First step was to

Inaugurate’ Maruthi Vyayamshala’ at Bhatkal, in Karnataka.

Now Raghava was looking very muscular and youthful; every one was pleased to see
him with so much of vigor and healthy body and his humility was unmatched to none.
This aspect was loved by all his gurus. He visited nearly 45- 50 villages in and
around karnataka. His Yoga camps were arranged for a week at the most. Then the
place called Malladihalli came on the way, which became a place of his
‘karmabhumi’ for a period almost 50 years, (he came in the year 1943) the rest of
his life! Initially as per his schedule he will select a village and as per the
first come fist serve basis, and after one week he would proceed for a next
village. But after one saptah, the villagers were not ready to part with him. Now
a sage called Shankaralinga bhagavan sarsasvathy came to negotiate. He advised
Raghava to stay some time and do the upliftment of the poor and needy in the
village of Malladihalli. This village resembled the replica of a backward village
of India, where much more was needed. Some now Raghava was here to do it.
During his stay of nearly 50 years to his death he did lots of work to uplift the
poor and the villagers of Malladihalli. High schools, Colleges, Ayurvedic
colleges, Hospital, Hostels for Students and as well as Teachers ,Library,
‘Sarvodaya Printing press’, Vyayam shala, Banashankari Temple, ‘Parappa svamy math
’ ‘Palani Svami math’, ‘Vyasa pith’. In yoga, they have subdivided into 8
branches. They are:

1.yama, 2 Niyama 3. Asana, 4. pranayama, 5. pratyahara. 6. dharana, 7. dhyana
8. Samadhi.

In Ayurveda there are 8 branches; This is known as Astanga Ayurveda.

1. Science of Surgery
2. Sciences of Eyes, Nose and Throat etc;
3. General Treatment
4. Treatment of Demonical Diseases
5. Management of Children
6. Toxicology
7. Science of Rejuvenation
8. Science of Aphrodisiac

During (Shravana masa) while observing penance, (Mauna vrata) one month, he was
writing volumes of books dealing with Ayurveda, Yoga, Kannada literature, Drama,
Prose, Poetry, and Novels. Raghavendra svamiji had profound knowledge in kannada
literature, Sanskrit, Hindi and English. He knew Tulu, Konkani also; while
traveling he learnt many languages. He was able to create so much in Kannada
literature. Total books that he has written so far amounts to 8 Kavyas, 9 Novels,
12 Dramas, 2 Gita Nataka, 7 One act plays, 1 Basava sahitya, 3 Collection of
stories, 5, Vyayama, 2 Others, 'Bruhad Yogadarshana' is a monumental work on
Yoga- Svamiji’s practical experiences are elucidated there. Every year, during
October, 4th to 24th 'Yogabhyas' are performed by the students of 'Anatha
sevashrama', Malladihalli. While morning sessions were exclusively devoted to
Yoga sessions, and demonstration of ; Asanas The lecturers were to be conducted in
the evenings. The programmes include, Harikatha Pravachan, Dramas, One act plays,
Lectures, Bharatanatyam dance performance, Karnatak classical music, Uttaradi
type; instrumental music, Gamaka etc;

Number of people spoke numbered in hundreds. Eminent Politicians,
Doctors, Poets, Literary figures, Matadhipatis, Sports persons, Musicologists,
Press people, Yogacharyas, Engineers, Business people, Actors, and actresses, to
the young and old alike. During 1991, Svamiji’s 100th birth Anniversary was
celebrated by all the villagers and devotees. Svamiji brought a book called
“Atma nivedane’ during the occasion. This was a short description of Svamiji’s
life sketch of 105 years dedicated life! However, his fans and disciples were not
satisfied with the information that svamiji furnished. So with the insistence of
the well-wishers, and followers, he planned to write a book named “Joligeya
Pavada” It gave the comprehensive details of every milestone in Svamiji’s life,
till now most of us were unaware! Initially Sri. Vaikuntaraju, a writer, was
supposed to take this work. But he was stationed at Bengaluru, and each time he
has to come for every clarification to Malladihalli. Svamiji was neither free to
give him appointment. Some how the pressure was so heavy, finally Svamiji himself
started writing with the help of Chidambara rao and others. It was really a tough
work for him to recollect all the single events and finally he put it so
meticulously; it was practically impossible to conceive the idea, how he could go
back, nearly 80-90 years! The language, the narration, and the development of the
story are excellent! It is story of an Indian, who had the right kind of cultural

nging in the homes they live, and the aspiration and love for his culture and
Indian way of life!
Among his several followers, Sri. Surdas ji was the prominet one. He hailed from
Holalkere, and stood with Svamiji till his death, at Malya Hospital, at Bengaluru.
Svamiji was unconscious for almost a month and a half, and never regained
consciousness even when he was kept under observation in I. C. Unit. The villagers
of malladihalli brought back the body from Bengaluru and in the samadhi there.
Every one at Malladihalli were very much. They intensively loved svamiji from the
bottom of their heart. Svamiji gave every thing to the village and its people in
return! The lines, "Butti gantu tiritinnu horate nanu urige “expresses volumes to
be told about Svamiji. Surdas ji also breathed his last, in 1998, exactly after
two years after Svamiji’s death. The figurers are interesting; his death was on
Saturday, the time was at 10-30 am; and it was on 31st August 1998Surdasji’s body
was also was also cremated next to the samadhi of Raghaavendra svamiji, August

Svamiji was little upset about the successor to take care of the massive
activities in organizing Schools, Colleges, and Teachers’ Training College,
Centenary college of Physical Education, Hospital, Hostels and the general
management of the day-to-day activities. He sought the opinion of Marugharajedra
Svamiji of Chitradurga, while he was alive. The response was not encouraging

Now Marugharajendra svamiji has come forward and took over the Management of
“Anatha sevashrama”. All the Educational institutions and the connected are
running well.

But some how one cannot help to watch the absence of Raghavendra Svamiji, who
gave Philip to the movement of ‘Rashtraseva’, initiated by Mahatma Gandhiji!

• I, belong to Holalkere, and Malladihalli. My parents were very much seen and
sought the Ayurvedic medical help of Svamiji during 1960s. I remember to have gone
to M’halli while I was just seven or ten. Svamiji’s life sketch was was not known
to the inner circles also. Firstly, even Svamiji himself was not aware his
earliy childhood days. His adopted parents loved him as their own child and did
not give room for him to think that he was not the one, in their family. Svamiji
himself came to know, many things, when Shri. Bhirti Ramachandra shastry
narrated whole episode when he visited the Ashram, in later stage. He was stunned
to know all that has happened. We are also benefited by reading the Auto
biography (Atma kathana) of Sri. Sri. Raghavendrasvamiji.

• I was not aware of the activities and developments at M’halli; Since I was
away from home for practically several decades. Even my stay at my native place
was hardly for a period of 3-4 days. Hence, I was not able to visit M’halli and
meet Svamiji for a long time.

• ‘ Jolige pavada ’ gives immese insite of a selfless person, who lived for
the upliftment of the poor; needy and orphans-
• I saw the web sites of man on the Internet. But it was very discouraging.
All the so called the disciples of Svamiji, are presenting their scheme of things
under the name of “Malladihalli Raghavendra svamiji” None of them are aware or
want to highlight the services of Svamiji. That was the tragedy. Hence I went to
Malladihalli myself and collected the relevant information and presented in my
blog ‘, ‘ and as well as in Kannada Wikipedia. I
am the first person to give all that is needed to know about Shri Shri.
Raghavendra svamiji. These in formations are given in his book, in detail. He
takes us nearly 90 years back and one can enjoy the events, customs, thought
processes, that were prevalent in those days. It is a great book. I tried to catch
some of the glimpses. One will enjoy after one reads the entire book.

• My humble request is, please read my writings. Please visit Malladihalli
and purchase all the collected books, there are several of them. And donated some
money to Ashram I wanted to initiate the curiosity to know about the svamiji, who
sacrificed his entire life in the betterment of the villagers. Surely, he deserves
accolades and he should be made know to the people who talk big things like,
Rashtraseva and such things. You can purchase the books that he has written.
Propagate the news of his services and the activities done by a single individual,
just by collecting money by Bhiksha, with a Jolige. (Begging bowl)

• There were no such fund driving means like, Daily pujas, Arathi, or hundi
money for that matter. There were no foreign followers, and the rich ones from the
bigger metros. Svamiji was not an ostentatious person also. He was a very simple,
down- to- earth person. Part of the money came from selling his books, and by
printing press. Always he used to visit the devotees for help, and was getting the
money in the form of Bhiksha. Government wanted to offer his ‘Padma Bhushan’ and
‘Padma Vibhushan’. ‘Keep university’ wanted to offer Hon. Doctrate to him.
Svamiji was not very keen on such awards. He wanted money to run the institution.
This aspect, he has expressed in the book, ‘Jolige pavada’ as well.